Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Day 363

As we sat watching tv in the morning, suddenly a hummingbird showed up outside the window. The little creature lives in the trees outside, and comes to drink water from the balcony.

The day was spent at Great Mall i Milpitas. It was huge, and with lots of outlet shops. We rode there with Åsa in their red Ford Mustang.

Daniel bought two ties, one is for New Years eve, and I did some other bargains. I love brand shopping! =)

Tom and Åsa lives in an apartment complex where there are lot of foreigners, and in the apartment below them lives another Swedish couple, also from Linköping. They were invited to drinks and a chat, and we had a great evening.

Here is the ice cream we had for dessert; Moose Tracks. Sounds a little funny, but it was very tasty, with chocolate and peanut bits in it. Yum!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Day 362

Britt-Marie and I in line at the gate at Amsterdam airport. We was delayed from Linköping due to snow and ice, and in Amsterdam due to the rigorous security checks. Every handbag was opened and we had to scan shoes and coats. But once in the air everything worked fine. 11 hours after we left Europe we touched down in San Francisco, CA.

We were picked up at the airport by Tom, while Åsa waited at home in San Jose. They are our lovely hosts, and we felt so welcommed. This is where we will stay during our trip, except for a few days in San Francisco over New Years Eve.

The view from the apartment. There is both an ordinary pool, nicely heated, and a jacuzzi.

Daniel with a drink. We worked hard to stay awake, as we are nine hours after our ordinary time here. At 6PM the clock is 3AM at home, and the bedbugs bite pretty hard. We managed to stay up until 9:30PM (me) and 11PM (the rest).

Strongly colored nachos, Christmas style. We were amazed by the bright reds and greens, this is not something you find in an ordinary Swedish shop!

Day 361

Today was all about packing. The cab will show up at 5:40AM tomorrow morning to get us to the airport. I hope I have remembered everything now...

Day 360

Home again after a few days at Daniels parents. This is one of the presents Daniel got from Santa; a radio controlled helicopter with lots of LED lights. It is kind of cool, and flies very nicely, even indoors. Big boy's toys. =)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Day 359

You get a little collage from Christmas Day; it continued snowing but we took the sled and went to the hill on the golf course, not far from Daniel's parent's house. We had so much fun!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Day 358

In Sweden Christmas Eve is the big celebrating day. We woke up at home, shared some Christmas gifts and ate breakfast. Then we stuffed the car with things and cats and dog and us and went 30 kilometers (19 miles) south to Daniels parents house. It is almost more snow there than we have in the city.

Christmas is a lot about the food. A wonderful smörgåsbord was set for lunch with different traditional food. There are smoked salmon, pickled herring, meatballs, ribs, potatoes, egg halves and lots more.

Daniels parents and I, after we have stuffed ourselves.

Suddenly Santa came walking over the yard and into the kitchen. He looked a lot like grandpa, but it couldn't be, right? ;-)

Linus on daddy's lap, with a packet to open. The t-shirt he's wearing is a gift from the morning.

The kids got several gifts, guess they've been very nice this year. =)

Us grownups has played a gift game the last years, and the kids was old enough to take part this year. It was lots of fun, and there were tons of laughing before we were done and everyone could enjoy their presents.

Another Christmas to its end.
To all of you who celebrate on Christmas day; may you have a Merry Christmas day! =)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Day 357

Today is the day before Christmas. We celebrate on Christmas Eve in Sweden, so tomorrow is the big day. Tonight was another night of cooking. I realize that this has almost turned into a food blog. =) We finished the Christmas ham today, and for dinner we had bread, ham and Christmas Beer.

That is very traditional to me, and marks the start of the Christmas holiday. We have finished working, all gifts are bought and wrapped, and all food for tomorrow that can be prepared is done. We are done! Just to relax and wait for Santa Claus.

Merry Christmas to you all!
Hope you get a nice and peaceful Christmas, weather you celebrate tomorrow or the day after.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Day 356

We did the last Christmas shopping today after work. Both Ebba and Linus are with Linus' mother, so we had all the time in the world and no need to fuss about all the people we supposed would be in the stores too. But it was pretty calm and we got out in no time. Home to wrap up the gifts and continue cooking.

Daniel has prepared the Christmas ham and ribs today, and I started on the beetroot salad. Unfortunately the potatoes for the sallad were no good, so I'll have to buy new ones tomorrow.

Day 355

There are lots of preparations ongoing right now for Christmas. Tonight we made another kind of Christmas candy; chocolate toffee with salt. It may sound a little strange, but it actually very tasty with the dark chocolate and salt.

The picture is right after we have boiled it and poured it to chill. Tomorrow it will be cut into pieces and wrapped individually in paper.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Day 354

Another cold and snowy day. We took Ebba for a walk and when we got back home Linus was eager to play with his "pulka" (is there an English word for the blue thing he is riding on?). Linus rode it down the hill and Ebba ran alongside, trying to stop it or at least have a real bite of it. And the procedure repeated itself again and again and again, until Daniel and I was too cold and we all had to go inside again.

Later in the evening we made the first Christmas candy; knäck. It is kind of the stuff inside the Daim, only a little more chewy. To make it you boil whipping cream, sugar and syrup for about 10-12 minutes, and then pour it into small cups. The pouring part is tricky, as the knäck is very sticky, but Daniel did an excellent job!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Day 353

When we woke up this morning it was about -17C (1.4F) and our world was covered in a beautiful frost on top of the snow. I took Ebba for a walk in the sunshine, but it wasn't too long as the nostrils almost froze together. We are not used to these temperatures yet! Ebba on the other hand had a blast, she loves the snow.

Just another picture from the winter wonderland.

Day 352

We decided to have a little Christmas party tonight, so we met up with some friends from work. We began at one of the guy's home, drinking glögg and some beer. Then we walked (in the freezing cold weather) to our local pub, where we had dinner and some more beer. A really nice Christmas party!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Day 351

I saw a lovely picture somewhere of a Christmas tree, where the lights were like stars, large flairs. So I thought about it, and gave it a try here at home. High aperture, this one is f/18, and a stable area for the camera. Exposure time is 13 seconds, so a tripod is necessary.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Day 350

The winter is really here! It is so unusual for December, but we are hoping for a white Christmas. :)

Girlie asked about yesterdays picture, so I thought I'd explain a little about how I made it look like that. The orchid grew a little strange, so I had to take the photo from beneath, hence the background is the ceiling.

Then I played with some of Pioneer Woman's actions. Her PW's B&W, a little Boost and also the Quick Edge Burn. I used the layer mask on the B&W layer to "paint" back the color to just the flower. Easy-peasy, create a layer mask, paint on the mask with black to erase that layer, paint with white to bring it back. You could also simply erase the B&W layer for the colored flower to be seen, but layer masks are easier to adjust if you want to change the colored area.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Day 349

I would have loved to captured Linus and Ebba playing in the snow this afternoon, as they had tons of fun, but unfortunately for the photographing it snowed. And I don't think our camera would appreciate being all snowy and wet. For the pictures tomorrow I hope the snow stays but the snowing stops.

This is one of my orchids, and the first of the ones with buds to actually bloom. It has rather small flowers, but I think the pattern is kind of cool.

Day 348

Almost all Christmas cards are ready to be sent out. December 16th is the last day if using the less expensive Christmas-stamps, but they can only be used for Swedish addresses. So when sending to rest of Europe I have a couple of extra days to get it all together.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Day 347

Third of Advent, and Saint Lucy's Day. We woke up right before 7AM and turned on the TV to watch the celebration and beautiful Cristmas caroling.

If you're curious what it is all about the program can be watched from Swedish Television web-TV. Just step a couple of minutes into the program to get a quick glance.

Saint Lucy celebration

It was a wonderful day with sunshine and frost, almost snow, on the ground. Dad, Daniel and I took Ebba for a walk on the nearby golf course. Ebba loved to run around, and we enjoyed the sun. This photo is taken at about 11AM. The sun won't get much higher than this now.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Day 346

We all slept in until quite late, past nine, and then had a relaxed morning. Linus was still a little tired but ready to head to the forest for lunch. There were a forest fire here a couple of years ago, hence the burned trees and lack of smaller trees.

We brought hot dogs and bread, and dad and Daniel made a fire at the viewpoint. Mom and Linus waited patiently for the fire to settle so we could grill the hot dogs.

Later in the evening we handed out Christmas presents. We will be celebrating Christmas at Daniels parents this year, so this was a chance to get Christmas with my parents. Notice Daniel's nice tie. ;)

Linus was very into it all, and helped us all to unwrap the presents. My uncle Bernt also shared our pre-Christmas eve.

My dad and mom and Linus. Linus was very happy with his little knight that had a glowing sword.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Day 345

We went to my parents today, 2.5 hours in the car after work. Linus and Ebba came along too, but Linus was very tired when we got there. After dinner he just wanted to watch TV, and he felt a little feverish. Hope he gets better until tomorrow.

It was nice to visit home again, we haven't been here since summer. It has been a busy fall! We won't go home for Christmas, as we will be celebrating with Linus and Daniel's parents, and then go on vacation soon after. So the plan is to have a little early Christmas celebration here tomorrow evening.

Day 344

After work we went to Linus kindergarten, on an Advent get together. The children had learned some Christmas carols, and sang in the garden. Then we grilled sausages and ate with bread.

Linus went home with his mother, and Daniel and I went on a glögg-night at our neighbors. They had made a lot of treats (gingerbread, knäck and chocolate snacks) and we brought a couple of different glögg. It was very nice, as we haven't met with them in a long time.

Day 343

Actually I got a little feverish the day after the flu shot, but first after work and not more than that I could go Christmas shopping. Daniel and I went to our mall to pick up a few presents, and I started to wrap them up when we got home. I was feeling a little warm and at the same time freezing, so we went to bed straight after gift wrapping and dinner.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Day 342

I have finally taken the Swine flu shot. Everyone who wants it gets it for free in Sweden, and there has been lots of confusion about how it will be distributed, and long queues at those locations when the vaccine finally arrived.

We live quite nearby one of those locations, so I took my bike there. And I was very lucky as it was no queue at all! It all went smooth, and I was soon out the door again. My arm got a little soar, but that is very common.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Day 341

We have relatives in the US, and every year before Christmas we get impressive letters that tell their whereabouts from the year. It is very interesting to read, but a little strange for us here in Sweden. Usually we only send cards for Christmas with a wish of a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

But my uncle compiles a complete letter to send to our relatives, and tells all about the happenings in our family. As he doesn't feel confident to write in English, I get to translate it for him. And that is what I have been doing tonight!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Day 340

In my opinion it is way to early to dress the Christmas tree, but we have some pretty good excuses. =) As we are going on vacation after Christmas, we wont have so much time to enjoy the tree before it is time to put it away again. Also we wanted Linus to be included in the dressing, and he will be with his mother next week. So we decided that today would be perfect.

Linus was very helpful, even though all balls ended up on one side in the beginning. He and I did it all, except the star in the top that we had to call in daddy from the kitchen to help us with. We were all happy with the result afterwards.

Day 339

Linus' grandma was here Saturday evening, to dine and hang out with us. We made Hot Pot, a warm broth in the fondue pan at the table, and then lots of stuff to cook in it. E.g. tuna, beef, broccoli, cauliflower, bell pepper, mushrooms and meatballs for Linus.

Later on we played Buzz Junior Dino Den on the PS2, and had Saturday candy.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Day 338

Father and son, eating the rest of the gravy after our chicken dinner. Daniel always does this, and tonight Linus wanted a try at it too. After tasting from daddy's plate he got some on his own plate, and they ate in the exact same manner. Cute. =)

Day 337

Tonight was the annual Christmas party at work. The event took place at a restaurant not far from work (actually it serves as lunch restaurant at day), and they uses locally produced food. They had set a lovely alternative Christmas smörgåsbord, with for example wild boar ham, lamb sausage, different pickled herring, salmon and egg halves with saffron aïoli, everything from producers in the vicinity.

The party was only for our department, so we were about 120 people there. Altogether it works about 1300 people at Ericsson in Linköping. The last couple of years we have had Christmas parties per department, but earlier there used to be one giant Christmas party for everybody. I guess it has something to do with cost awareness.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Day 336

We had about -5 (23F) degrees this morning, and the world was all white with frost. Even though we had a sunny day with clear blue sky, the frost remained during the day, and it looked like this when we got home from work. The clock is four in the afternoon and the sun has already set, days are pretty short now.