Another birthday in Sweden!

Our 14 year old (yikes!) says we need to do something different for her birthday this year to distinguish it from the photos of previous b-days in Sweden. She’s right- it’s hard to tell since she requests the same cake, gets similar gifts in more or less the same setting. So this year we changed a few details and though Bryant had to work the 3 of us headed out on a little adventure to Malmö by bus rather than train. It was easier than train and more pleasant except for the lack of AC on an 80 degree day. I think this was largely due to the kids choice of riding in the upper deck which they deemed more exciting. Luckily we had an abanico (Spanish fan) with us and I tolerated the heat.

I made the Birthday Girl’s favorite breakfast and after hearing about a bunch of cancelled trains due to an accident, we decided on the bus option. The bus stop is out on the highway entrance, which seems odd, but is really quite practical and safe for pedestrians due to thoughtful planning. There are speed bumps, sheltered pedestrian lanes and crosswalks. And of course the round-about keeps traffic flowing but at low speed. Even with all train traffic being diverted to bus, it was on time with plenty of space. Our new place is close to all bus routes and the train so I plan to start using the bus options more often. I think they might be more practical for certain trips.

We strolled though Malmö, stopping at the Saluhall (food court) for picnic lunch and continued on to the King’s Park where the kids played a new card game after our picnic while I took a quick spin through the botanic gardens and castle grounds. This time I noticed a new AnonyMouse installation and some pigeons nesting inside one of the arrow loops in the barbican (Barbican: an exterior defense or small castle defending a gate or approach to a castle).

Then back to Lund for sushi and beloved Dark Chocolate Raspberry Ganache Cake. The Birthday Girl played a new video game all evening and has already made plans to celebrate her day with a school friend next weekend by doing some “tree walking” at an obstacle course near Lund. Fingers crossed for a continuation of this gorgeous summer weather!

Twin Cities Theater Camp 2022 plus

Now that we are back in Sweden I’m making time to elaborate on the TCTC experience which has been a focal point of our last 5 summers. It’s been a joy to see how much the kids grow in their performance skills, leadership qualities, and so many ways. This year was special because it was the last for lil’s age group and also the world premiere of a new musical for which they will always be part of the Original Cast! Because it’s brand new we couldn’t take photos and recordings of The Logic Pit but here are a few from before and after the show. We’re all very proud and impressed at how hard our kid worked on this production, singing and dancing while wearing a mask all day and making constant improvements, a high energy endeavor! She was willing to take big risks, push herself to find new abilities and build on her strengths! That hard work paid off in a big way. It was another extraordinary production for lil and the entire group. Many of our friends and family were there to support lil and co. and for those who couldn’t be with us we hope we’ll be able to share it soon!

It was awfully hard to say goodbye to camp friends and staff. The cast pool party was a nice way to spend a bit of down time together. There were lots of tears as the graduates said farewell to TCTC with the mix of sadness and excitement that growing up brings. How can it be that our baby is starting high school?

There will be more on The Logic Pit once they give us access to the professional photos and I can post a link to the show when that happens.


Here we are at the Anderson’s new place in SP where they hosted a BBQ. It was very nice to catch up with everyone and the good weather held for most of the evening. We played a fun music trivia game which was well -fought by most of the gang, even the youngsters, and though we didn’t keep score I think everyone would agree that Allison is the reigning Queen of Rock. It was nice having my brother’s family in the neighborhood. They have an awesome location near lots of great places where we have fond memories.

Minnehaha Park

A cooler than usual start to the day inspired a visit to the other side of the river where we hiked around reminiscing about our Minneapolis days and the many good times at Mpls Parks, lakes, and pools.

The self guided audio tour is a new feature, and we learned a lot of fun facts by scanning the code for many park highlights.

What a great morning! I noticed new works of art around the falls, including the statue at the end of the promenade of Gunnar Wennerberg. In Minnesota one is never far from a connection to Sweden. This snippet from Gunnar’s Wikipedia page made me laugh…I might have to see if any recordings exist of his poems set to *music***************

*************wikipedia burn, ouch!

Nice easy stroll down from the waterfall to a shallow wading area of the creek. I’ve never continued on to bridges 3,4 and 5 but that could be fun sometime. The cool morning turned hot & humid and we had to get back up the hill to where we parked. Also had a good look at the development of the old Ford plant on our way back to Cathedral Hill, where I’m living my best life with “scarcely a crumpled rose-leaf” and may we all be so blessed.

20th Anniversary!

For the second time, Bryant and I acknowledged our big day in different time zones. But happily we already made plans to celebrate with a food tour in Italy next April. Not a bad compromise since the timing just didn’t work to do anything big this summer.

The Noicelings are both growing up so quickly that we want to prioritize their educational opportunities and Bryant’s summer vacation time is limited. Too much to get done during those weeks.

Theater Camp is rolling along full speed and the 8th graders seem to be having a blast. We had a relaxing July 4 staycation with SoZo and had the pool to ourselves.

Back in Sweden, someone finally got her braces off!

She’s busy with the summer requirements for the International Baccalaureate program. In Saint Paul, we’ve enjoyed catching up with the cousins and cat sitting for them. Juno and Sugar kept us entertained.

Midsommar 2022

Another strange summer for us, with everyone off on their own adventures. I’m with the youngest in MN so she can enjoy her final year as a camper at Twin Cities Theater Camp. Bryant is in Lund (Berlin, Helsingborg and maybe a few other work trips) until his vacation in July. The two will join us at Laurel Flats mid-July for their MN time. We’ll see the Show and then head to Atlanta for a few days.

At least the projects at our St Paul condo are keeping me so busy I don’t think too much about our eldest’s college scouting trip to the UK with a few friends from Katedralskolan. As they were heading to the airport in Copenhagen I saw an article about the train strike in the UK, followed by a story on a second giant sink hole in London. But the girls were able to ride to and from Oxford by train yesterday and Cambridge today without difficulty.

There are fun moments mixed into the chaos of trying to pack up this condo and deal with daily life here again. Deb got tix to Black Violin which has been on my concert list for awhile. It did not disappoint, though it was a bit too loud for my 50+ ears!

Another school year done

The girls completed their second school year in Sweden! They both had some fun end of year activities, while I passed my level 3 speaking make-up exam this morning – a 15 minute discussion on the topic of Lifestyle. I got stuck a few times but was able to give logical answers and get through it! We’ll have our level 4 results next week. It’s been a crazy week of Studenten (high school graduation) Ceremonies and parties. They party hard from the 7 a.m. champagne breakfast and on through the night, with a long break mid-day to sleep! Each day belongs to a different school and that school gets to parade through town blowing whistles etc and they get the trucks to drive them around town. But it is very organized chaos. Students drink but there are adult chaperones. Systembolaget even donates the champagne, apparently.

And the beach has returned to Central Lund for the summer. Lots to do getting ready for our trip to MN. Picked up new glasses, prescriptions etc. and made time to enjoy the patio at the Grand Hotel with Bryant since he finished work earlier than usual. So we all ended the week on a high note! Noicelings chose Chinese dumplings for a celebratory dinner.

If we can’t be heard it’s Freja’s fault. Worst for test, best for fest.

Snapshots from my LU walking commute

Towers lifted off the cathedral with this giant crane

The botanic garden has a collection of the types of stone found in Sweden. Last photo is a birthday gathering for Katedralskolan friends, playing kubb. Such a wholesome party for 17 to 19 year olds. We hope the friend group stays this way!

Svenskakursen är nästan klar!

Here we are but missing nearly half the class because it was a review day when we took the photo ☹️

I have to make up one last speaking test in order to complete the course, but my teacher hinted that it’s only a technicality so if I take the test, I will pass!

Maybe you read on Melissa’s blog about how in Sweden they say hold thumbs for good luck rather than fingers crossed, so “Håll tummarna för mig!”

My life has been mostly about studying Swedish and going to and from the university this Spring, but I do have an interesting walking route, either through the botanical gardens or through Historic Lund. So I’ll try to post a gallery from those walks. I can’t believe how fast it went!

A weekend in Amsterdam

My first visit to the Venice of the North wrapped up this morning with an early return flight to Copenhagen and then train to Lund. I missed the first half of Swedish class after all.

Stephanie, an adventurous friend I met at International Citizens Hub walks, invited me to sub-in for her travel companion who was not able to go on this trip at the last minute. I decided to take advantage of an opportunity that required very little on my part, and we had a blast seeing the canals and museums of this laid-back city. It was easy to navigate, with tons of good food options, museums and shops. It was hard to choose just a few to explore but we were quite happy with everything we did! The canals were much more elaborate than I imagined, and we spent leisurely hours strolling around admiring the views, with frequent fika and meal breaks. We had some great recommendations from Bryant’s Dutch colleagues and friends who know the city. One of my favorite foods was Bitterballen. They are similar to Spanish croquetas. YUM

Some nice restaurants were Bird Thai, De Haven Van Texel, which was right on the canal in a historic building, and some fantastic little sandwich, brunch and bakery stops! We enjoyed some local cheese chocolates from the grocery store, which is an experience itself.

The canal houses are fascinating. Many of them are super narrow because they were built in an era when structures were taxed by their width. There is a weekend in June when many homes and their odd gardens are open to visitors. That would be a treat!

I was tickled to find out that Miffy the Bunny is Dutch and had to hold myself back from buying every variation in a fever of nostalgia. And now the Miffy theme song is stuck in my head…

There are so many museums! We saw 2 of the most famous, Rijks and Van Gogh, plus the Van Loon (where the Obama family dined a few years ago on their visit to Amsterdam) Maybe we should have chosen the history museum rather than the Van Loon, but it was one of the impressive canal houses so I really wanted to see it, and it was interesting. Also small, which was a plus, since by that time we were quite tired having walked 46,000 steps in the first 2 days!

Pictured above we have the Narrowest Street, the film museum eye where Stephanie set up a remote shot, the station underpass with a Delft tile ship scene, the Van Gogh and Rijksmuseum from Vondelpark and JenJill in the Van Loon garden. The rest of my photos are not downloading so I’ll post a few more later. Now I have lots of catching up to do for my Swedish class. Finals next week. Oj oj oj, fy fan! But it was worth it.