Wednesday, August 26, 2009


You know, I had this idea that I would blog during my trip to Stockholm and Amsterdam. I even brought along my iPhone to connect to various wi-fis and to maybe capture my off-the-cuff thoughts about traveling, Scandinavia, the perplexing ubiquity of 7-Elevens in Stockholm, the akvavit, and Hell and Gore (or was it Helan går?). But it wasn't to be. How do you say mas cerveza por favor in Swedish?

Now that I am back in ridiculously hot, sweaty, dirty, and Augusty New York City, I've had time to reflect on my week abroad -- long enough to wish I was back in Stockholm or Amsterdam, probably because I had zero responsibilities apart from figuring out the next cafe to drink a beer in. Also it should be noted what Scandinavia calls Summer is what we call late September/early October. The temperature when Ms. K and I got off the plane at 7 am in Stockholm was a brisk 52 degrees, which was a little shock to the system after 89 degrees in New York with 80% humidity. Thankfully we packed jackets.

The day after our arrival, we were introduced to many Swedish customs while attending Beth and Nils's wedding, which was held in a church in Södermalm followed by a boat ride to a reception held on the small island of Fjäderholmarna. Specifically, we learned that Swedish weddings are enjoyably long (11 hours! Drinking!), entertaining (many many toasts as if attending a roast instead of a wedding), and punctuated by drinking songs and shots of akvavit (More drinking!). If only all weddings could be Swedish. Skål!

Then we were onto warmer Amsterdam and to the comforts of posh hotel bed at the Grand Amrath. A vacation is only as good as the bed you sleep on, right? The rest of the time was filled with walking around between meals of Indonesian food and lager and canal boat rides. Surely I gained 10 lbs, but I am afraid to look at the scale. August is a sleepy time in Amsterdam as everywhere seems to be closed for an extended holiday including the restaurant we really wanted to try. Guess we'll have to go back.

Someone previously commented that they were interested in knowing what I thought of the Swedes and Sweden. To answer, I thought Sweden was a lovely country, immaculately clean compared to New York, and wonderfully environmentally conscious, which translated into a no frills, utilitarian culture where nothing goes to waste. This is by no means a slam. In fact I think it's a quality that all of us Americans could stand to emulate.

Finally, one of the most exciting things about the trip was that I saw Greenland from my window seat on the plane. Greenland! And not some tiny speck on the horizon, but the high peaks of Mount Gunnbjørn, the coast, and icebergs. Icebergs! How cool is that?

Friday, August 21, 2009


We have returned. Proper update to come shortly.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

"The beast! It's back!"

Last week Ms. K warned me via text that there may or may not be some gargantuan beast lurking in the bedroom and it may or may not be there to deal with when I got home as she was off for work.

A beast?? That sound alarming. My logic oriented brain kicked in with some pertinent questions.

What did this beast look like?

Huge! Black!

Was it an animal or an insect?

An insect! A huge flying black insect! It came through the open window!

After some back and forth, I deduced that the offending insect may or may not have been a dragonfly. I'll admit that I kind of made fun of Ms. K for being such a girl. I mean a dragonfly? C'mon. Not something one gets into hysterics about.

When I got home, I tentatively entered the apartment, crept up to the bedroom door, opening it slowly as if it was reenacting the scene in Ghostbusters when Peter Venkman enters Dana Barrett's apartment to investigate whether or not there was a demon in her refrigerator.

Like the movie, I found evidence in the bedroom of a hasty departure. Her open laptop had been flung onto the bed, laying at a strange angle, and there were papers all over the floor. But what was absent was anything resembling a beast or even a dragonfly. With the window still open, I figured whatever flew in had managed to fly back out. Case closed.

Or was it?

On Sunday, as Ms. K and I prepared to leave the apartment and get dinner, I heard her shriek from behind me. "The beast! It's back!"

I looked up and saw something large flying around the bedroom, which for a moment looked like a bird. Except it was the largest dragonfly I've ever this side of a science fiction movie.

Holy shit!! Huge flying black insect! Flying around our bedroom! But this was no normal dragonfly. No, it was something straight out of the Jurassic Period. I swear to God that it was about 6 inches long (that's about 15 centimeters for those keeping score in metric).

What to do?

Ms. K and I, armed with rolled up magazines and pathetically swatted at it in between shrieks, which only made it fly around erratically. Our savior came in the form of an 80 lb golden retriever named Harley, who sensing our panic, went after the intruder and mauled it. Immobilized, I swept the giant dragonfly onto a magazine and tossed it out the window.

Phew! We were safe once more! I even apologized to Ms. K for having made fun of her. But what I didn't tell her was that two days later I saw four of that fucker's brothers flying around outside the bedroom window probably looking to avenge his death.

We've inadvertently started a dragonfly war. Good thing we're leaving the country!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

"You're throwing away my youth!"

There were a tense few days last year after Ms. K and I moved in together where, frankly, neither of us had much to say to each other. She took one look at all my accumulated crap, contemplated the reality of having it merged with her own, and figured that she wasn't impressed. Cue a night of her sleeping on the couch followed by a trip to our new storage unit, our love finally saved.

But before you think Ms. K bullied me into letting go of sentiment, the pendulum eventually swung the other way. It's just that her cull wasn't as dramatic as my teary eyed trips to curb with bulging trash bags because Ms. K had already done a big cull before we moved in together. Still many things remained in the way of gratuitous kitchen supplies and clothing purchased during the later years of the Clinton administration.

In the run up to our trip to Sweden and Amsterdam, it became obvious that Ms. K needed new adult clothes. With shopping bags full of purchases from a high end discount store in Gravesend, I locked my sights on the stuff that needed to go, clothes that hadn't been worn for years, holding up each offending article with no mercy.

Synthetic blend pull-over from Express? Gone.

90s era surfing logo t-shirt with arm pit stains? Gone.

Jean skirt that is so short it could be a belt? Gone.

Ms. K winced as each item went into the trash. "You're throwing away my youth!"

Whatever nostalgic argument she had, whatever story of inappropriate activities she once took part in whilst wearing said clothes, I wasn't hearing it. Payback's a bitch.

Monday, August 03, 2009

"No, honey, it's our desk."

Each day that goes by, Ms. K and I become a little more merged, a little more complexly interwoven. It's been a year since we moved in together, but there's still plenty of stuff to cede to the collective "we".

"That's my desk," Ms. K will say of the glass IKEA desk that houses both my iMac and her Macbook Pro.

"No, honey, it's our desk."

That's all fine until I started sharing my Netflix account with Ms. K and discovered that a certain someone (ahem) had been watching Cher: The Farewell Tour, irrevocably throwing off my Netflix recommendations. This stands in sharp contrast to the unfortunate pile up of Holocaust themed movies in my queue that I am understandably never quite in the mood to watch. Although Ms. K and I recently watched The Reader, I joked, noting my Netflix queue, that we could follow The Reader with a double feature of Sophie Scholl: The Final Days and Bent.

Hmmm . . . Cher: The Farewell Tour isn't looking so bad anymore.