Archive for March, 2009

Girls Weekend 09/06/3-09/08 /3

March 8, 2009



“this week kurt was away from the house and us girls got some time to our selfs”.


Kurt and Ulf headed north to Darlarna on Wednesday for an extended weekend of fishing, cribbage and öl.  I imagine he will blog about the weekend of moonshine, frozen pipes, outhouses, broken snowmachines, no fish and good company.  It was the longest we all had been separated since his early departure to Sweden in August. As Lily’s quote suggests, we did okay without him but are all looking forward to his arrival home Sunday afternoon!

In an effort to shake the lethargy that held me in thrall for most of February, I made plans for the weekend. It’s so easy to curl into the couch and let the weekend slide by.  Camilla, Anders, Leia and Mia and her two girls returned from Florida on Friday. Karin and Connie are there now and Patrick and Anna’s family leave in 23 days.  (They are counting days, I’m not)  Camilla was tan and glowing, Leia threw herself joyfully at Lily when we stopped by to visit, and Anders looked exactly the same, except we got to see him in pinstriped pajamas at kl.7 in the evening.  They expressed amazement at the price of gas; $1.98 a gallon (COME ON america, are you EVER gonna learn???) and the price of food which has risen significantly since their last visit.  

Pretty sure that this may fall into the category of “unfit mother” but our weekend included a movie with nudity and a midnight concert at the night club Ritz, surrounded by VERY HAPPY swedish youth.  To my credit, we also spent the afternoon at a museum soaking up culture.  

The movie was a British romance/comedy called “cash-back” produced by Sean Ellis.  The nudity was, for the most part, not gratuitous.  A broken hearted young man discovers he can stop time and uses his talent to draw women.  Naked women.  Okay, it sounds bad doesn’t it?  How’s this:  Women’s bodies are beautiful and each moment is to be lived, fully.  I loved it.  Try to watch it.

Saturday afternoon was for culture.  Rackstadmuseet is located in Arvika and I visited it for the first time on Thursday with my new friend, Ann-Christine.  She is the Spanish teacher at Solberg Skolan and she invited me out to lunch.  Great lunch and company.  (This is for you,  Blind Squirrel.)  Homemade soup: brie with root vegetables, warm out of the oven bread and a pomegrante cheese pie for dessert.  Oh boy.  The girls and I returned Saturday for the last day of an exhibit by Nils Myren, an 88 year old wood carver.  He says, “I have tried to reflect society at large, without glorification.”  Each piece is highly expressive and reflects humour, every day drama and sarcasm.  Really amazing.  







Rackstadmuseet was the sculptor Christian Eriksson’s studio and home known as Oppstuhage.  In 1898 he and his French wife moved to Stockholm and Oppstuhage was rented to struggling artists Gustaf Fjaestad and his wife Maja.  On July 15th, 1898, the two were married at Oppstuhage and the date is considered the birthday of the Rackstad art colony. Värmland at this time was a meeting place for artists who left the city for the wilderness and beauty of the area.  Gustaf Fjaestad is known as the “winter king and the rime champion.”  Being Northern Minnesotan born and raised, I know snow.  I know the shadows, the depths, the glow from the setting sun and the catch of breathe in your throat at the beauty.  The man is deserving of the title.  His paintings left me speechless and a little homesick for the dark deepness of a moonlit January night in Finland.  There is a weaving done by Gustaf’s sister of one of his paintings that is beautiful.


The painting on the right was my favorite  Gustaf Fjaestad.

The painting on the right was my favorite Gustaf Fjaestad.


The girls were equally awed. There was an opening for an exhibit and they were serving saft (swedish drink) and goodies.  Lily happily wandered around with a cup in one hand and a handful of goodies.  Yarrow had been roused from bed earlier the she would have liked and the paintings and carvings helped ease the pain a little.  We ate lunch there.  Of course.  Have you ever tried that recipe on the butter box for graham crackers with melted butter and brown sugar?  Ohh, they  are good.  I found an equally addictive equivalent here called Kolakakor.  I went home and made a batch.


This wooden chair, part of the museum permanent collection was a favorite of Yarrow and Lily.

This wooden chair, part of the museum permanent collection was a favorite of Yarrow and Lily.


At lunch we also celebrated recent changes; Yarrow pierced her nose and Lily has a cool new haircut.

At lunch we also celebrated recent changes; Yarrow pierced her nose and Lily has a cool new haircut.


Lily and I went for a bike ride when we returned home.  The bike trails are all open, but there is snow everywhere else.  It is snowing this morning, Sunday, and Patrick is out plowing.  They plow out several businesses and all of their rental houses.  Patrick looks exhausted all the time this time of the year.  Camilla said that last year when they returned from Florida in March there was green grass and no snow.  This year is an unusually snowy winter for Värmland.  After the bike ride, I crashed for a nap.  There was no way I would be able to stay up until 2 in the morning without caffeine and sleep.  The girls chose not to nap.  Yarrow is a night owl anyway and Lily yawned her way through the midnight concert.  

We have access to three TV channels and we end up watching Channel 6 more then the others.  This channel repeats commercials at a mind boggling rate and on heavy rotation are Swedish music stars.  Veronica Maggio is a 28 year swede who in 2007 won the Grammisgalan Årets  nykomling;  This year’s Newcomer.  Her music is described as soul and pop.  Check her out on  The concert posters stated that you must be 16 to attend the concert, but I talked to an employee of the Ritz and after a little discussion he said we could all come.  He gave me the impression that there would be other kids there, but Lily was by the far the youngest.  The majority were 16-20 with a handful of old folks.  (my age 40ish)  We had a few minutes of panic when I realized at 10:30 pm, on our way down to the Ritz,all dolled up and wearing glittery makeup,  that I had been sold the wrong tickets.  Our tickets were for May 8 and for somebody named Martin.  The tickets were purchased at a downtown newspaper, lottery, pop and goodies store.  Luckily we were able to change the tickets and get some money back.  Whooo..

Here comes the sketchy part.  The line outside the Ritz was 100 feet of intoxicated teens.  The smell of alcohol and smoke had Lily plugging her noise.  After 20 minutes of watching the line in FRONT of us grow, the police escorting drunk young men out of the line and listening to breaking bottles and loud voices, I went to the front of the line and begged our case.  I should have done it sooner.  Inside was much better as very few people were exhibiting bad behavior.  We checked our coats, drank a pepsi with a straw from a glass bottle and waited for the doors to open.

The concert space was fairly small and we stood next the railing to the left of the center of the stage.  I barricaded Lily’s body with my arms and looked fierce.  Yarrow requested that I not “mother hen” her and only once did I lean forward and insert my steel like upper arm between Yarrow and a drunk young man.  Okay, maybe more then once.  There were 5-6 of my students from Solberg Skolan there and it was fun to see them and introduce Yarrow and Lily to them.  The concert started half an hour late and she only sang for 45 minutes but it was great fun and very entertaining.  Veronica started the concert in a white knitted monstrosity, I wish I had gotten a picture before she removed it.  Her stage presence is energetic and fun and the crowd adored her.  She was separated from the crowd by a steel fence and was able to reach out and touch her fans.  Small and intimate.  I think that most of the folks waiting in line outside didn’t make it in.  The funniest thing was that the black dressed bouncers who stood behind the fence handed out plastic glasses of water to the audience.  It’s been a while since I went to a rock concert, is that something that happens in the usa also?


The girls at the concert.

The girls at the concert.


Veronica Maggio at the Ritz

Veronica Maggio at the Ritz

She took a polaroid picture of the audience.  She has a very chatty friendly stage style.

She took a polaroid picture of the audience. She has a very chatty friendly stage style.



We got home at 1:30 and slept until 10 this morning.  A good girls’ weekend in Arvika, Sweden.


Upcoming Events.

Sally, my sister flies into Oslo on Thursday morning.  Yeah!!  We can’ t wait to see her.  When Scott and Phyllis flew into the Oslo airport, I got a parking ticket that despite a letter from me and a note of explanation from the parking attendant was not waived by the company, Gothia.   Darn thing cost me almost $200, after I calculated in the exchange rate and banking fees.  Grrrrrr.  I will be taking a bagful of norwegian coins with me on this trip.