Tuesday, July 30, 2013

last sweden bits: vattnet


sweden is a watery place with all that coastline and rivers threading through the land from the coast, the lakes, and the islands (30,000-ish in stockholm's archipelago alone). probably my favorite summertime activity there is swimming in the dark water—water that seems to contain all past swims while also waking me to the present with the initial chill, the mysterious feathery things (fish? reeds?) brushing by, and the soft, smooth mouth of the water. 

this year it wasn't that hot while i was in sweden (around 70 degrees most days). but i did manage to take a couple of swims in the stockholm archipelago (in addition to the quickest of midsummer dips at alnö). my last full day in sweden was the only really hot day of my trip, which only made me want to stay longer and swim more. 

above photos are from my aunt and uncle's house in spillersboda in the stockholm archipelago.

Saturday, July 20, 2013



good stuff:

lena corwin's fabric for the latest more & co collection.

christer strömholm's beautiful photos

planetary folklore

Thursday, July 11, 2013

sweden bits 3: fejan

in sweden they now call facebook fejan (pronounced fay-ahn), fay is short for face and the an at the end is the article the. so fejan means the face in swedish, though the actual swedish word for face is ansikte

anyhow, occasionally i appreciate fejan. on this trip, because of re-connections made through FB, i stayed for several days in stockholm in inger's fantastic apartment. i hadn't seen inger in about 12 years. (somehow i did not take a photo of her and her beautiful kids, but here is some cool wallpaper in her apartment and us 12 years ago.) i also met up with ola, a friend i hadn't seen in 21 years. 

i met both inger and ola at a folkhögskola (similar to a trade school/community college) that i attended for a year after graduating from high school. because of sweden's generous education funding, it was basically free to attend and live at/be fed by (numerous times a day) the school. at that school, i shared a large dorm room with amelie, and we, with inger and 12 other women, attended weaving and cooking classes. 

amelie and i have kept in contact over the years, but we hadn't seen ola (our dorm room neighbor and friend), since we left school. ola, who studied music at the school, had saved, and shared with us, some incriminating evidence of the gentle torment/somewhat desperate affection amelie and i inflicted upon him. this psychedelic heart was just one piece in a series of strange communications from us to ola. 

ola, inger, amelie, and i agreed that the school we attended was like a year-long summer camp, and we reflected on how lucky/privileged we were to have had such an experience—a year to put off decisions about college/work and just make friends, engage in shenanigans, and learn (about ourselves mostly). pretty unreal.  

Saturday, July 06, 2013

sweden bits 2: cousins

as an only child, i longed for siblings. when my mom and i spent time in sweden in the summers when i was a child, i loved being around my eight cousins. i have three—malin, tobbe, and daniel—that  are close to me in age, and i have many memories of playing with them—dance routines, neighborhood games, dress up, etc., and of being pushed to try things i probably wouldn't have otherwise—riding bicycles around malin and tobbe's neighborhood, braving roller coasters. 

one of my cousins, karin, came to live with us for a couple of months when she was 13 and i was 8. she attended the local so cal middle school. she was very sophisticated—she liked sitting at the dinner table and talking with the grown ups, while i just wanted to leave the table to play. i inflicted many hours of clappy games on karin, and i wished she'd stay longer as my temporary big sister.

karin is still sophisticated, and she can talk to and philosophize with just about anyone, deftly putting people at ease. she does this in her job too, as a radio host. karin has stayed with me in SF a couple of times, once with her husband peter (another philosopher and easygoing guy). on this visit to sweden, i stayed with them in sundsvall in their great apartment overlooking the water. the apartment is filled with color and grooviness, much like karin and peter. so much style and funk. karin has numerous collections (some seen above)—toy horses from her youth, toy cars, globe roses, plastic pearl necklaces, and more. together, they have loads of records and cds and great thrifted furniture and clothing. none of it is precious; it's playful. it seems like the two of them are having a good time, enjoying life and people and each other, which makes staying with them a good time. tack igen fin kusin o yuri.

after my mormor died in 2005, i thought i might not feel so connected to sweden anymore, or as inclined to visit. but it still feels like a second home in many ways, thanks in part to family and friends (with a particular heartfelt shout out to karin).

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

sweden bits 1: midsummer

aka, holding on to vacation—

i spent midsummer with my aunt ulrika, uncle kjell, cousin karin, and karin's man, peter. i was hoping to celebrate some midsummer traditions, and luckily they were all obliging. in the morning, karin and i spent a couple of hours collecting birch leaves in the woods and flowers along roads to create our midsommarstång. then karin and peter and i dressed the pole around noon and made ourselves some kransor. kjell and karin entertained with some singing. ulrika made lots of yummy traditional midsummer lunch, and we forced ourselves to drink snaps and sing drinking songs. karin and i cajoled the rest to dance some traditional dances around the pole (små grodorna, vi äro musikanter, karusellen, o raketen), which was pretty funny since my aunt and uncle were not altogether into it (or pretended not to be), and since we barely could reach around the pole to form a ring. challenging to sing and dance while laughing.

karin and i jumped into, and quickly out of, the baltic sea (which swedes do not call the baltic sea, but rather östersjön—since sweden isn't a baltic country). the water was extremely cold since we were up "north" in sweden, on the island alnö (technically it's in the middle, but like san francisco, it gets called northern). some of us lazed around and dried off in the sun.

later we enjoyed champagne and more yummy food made by my aunt, and then dessert—swedish strawberries and whipped cream. 

and the blue dusk light lasted all night.

Monday, July 01, 2013

love now


after watching some of the parade, elisa and scottie and i crashed the wedding of some friends who were getting married at city hall during Pride in SF. what a fantastic energy in city hall. while outside the building crowds of pride revelers were partying, inside the building it was a different kind of excitement. a nervous, reverent, brewing excitement, until couples were wed, and then  bursts of clapping and joyous hoots from various corners of the room when knots were tied. when the newlyweds left the upstairs marriage area, they passed folks in line downstairs waiting to get sent up. those in line cheered the newlyweds as they exited the building. whole lotta love in that building.

the man in the second photo above was waiting for his man to show, and meanwhile, he was the wedding band.

love now balloons