Friday, October 30, 2009


For about the last month Myrna's favorite word has been "Dada." Not directed at anyone, but a fun word to say, while clapping her hands and smiling. Imagine my surprise when "Mom" entered in the fold this week. But it only comes as a long whine - "Muuuhm " - when she wants something. I still say she's not associating any particular person to this shrill vocal outburst - but I suppose I should get used to the whine.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

What to do with an extra hour

We observed the end of Day Light Savings today. This is one observance I've always enjoyed - not only did you get an extra hour of sleep on Sunday morning, but that also meant that it would be light for a while in the mornings - my favorite time to run. Well, Myrna decided to abstain from such a practice and was wide awake and ready to play at the new 6:30 a.m. (to be fair, she hasn't quite grasped the concept of sleeping a little later on the weekends either) - so much for that "extra hour of sleep."

After four and a half hours of play and breakfast and more play, she was ready for her nap, and I could enjoy my "extra hour" and finally unpack my running gear, which still was in ziplock bags from the move. My last run had been over three weeks ago in Freiburg - where it was warm - shorts and t-shirt weather. I was reminded again that we missed the gradual change of seasons as I bundled up in my winter running wear (which certainly won't be enough for winter here).

As we've mentioned before, we live on Reimersholme, a tiny island just off the northwest end of Södermalm. I started the run crossing the short bridge on to Södermalm and then quickly crossing another bridge to get on the neighboring Långholmen island. Långholmen once housed a prison (Sweden's largest of the time) but now the prison is a hotel and restaurant and the island is mostly one big park. It was lovely seeing our apartment from the other side of the water. However, after about 12 minutes I had completed my perimeter tour, so I needed a new direction.

I opted for the north end of Södermalm. Chris, Myrna and I had walked along the water there, so I at least knew there was a walking path. This route took me east along the water and I could enjoy views of beautiful buildings slightly obscured by the drizzle and clouds. Across the water first was Kungsholmen and then the small island Gamla Stan (the old town). Even though my Tunnelbana stops at Gamla Stan everyday, I've yet to see the historical old town - but it was an outing enjoyed by Myrna and her dad last week.

View Stockholm Run in a larger map

Not feeling too adventurous, I took the same route home, returning to Reimersholme. We've been learning a little history about our island (thanks to the Lonely Planet): in the 19th Century the prisoners at Långholmen built a textile factory on Reimersholme. In 1879 a young industrialist by the name of Lars Olsson Smith took over the building and developed a new kind of vodka he called 'Absolut Rent Brännvin,' the obvious ancestor to what today is Absolut Vodka. But he wasn't happy just to have a better tasting vodka - he wanted to break the city of Stockholm's monopoly on selling it. Conveniently Reimersholme wasn't part of Stockholm city limits then, so he could just sell the stuff here (and to add insult to injury, he offered Stockholmers a free ferry ride to come buy his product). Now, there is no place to buy Absolut on our island (all alcoholic beverages must be bought in the state controlled stores) and there certainly was no Absolut Gift Basket given to us as a welcome gift.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Settling In?

It hasn't been easy acclimating ourselves to our new city. Mostly because just after we moved into our apartment, there was a dispute with our landlord and her landlord. Long story short, we had to move. We're now in Reimersholme, a tiny island just off of Södermalm. I suppose we never really will get totally settled, as each day we have to move books, computers, movies, etc. up a few inches as Myrna figures out how to reach them.

We're slowly starting to explore the city. Yesterday we picked up three travel guides of Stockholm at the beautiful library (thanks to Myrna - the only one of us able to get a library card). We hope to soon check out some of the parts of the city that we see in the majestic view from our 7th story apartment. We do, though, have the coffee offerings closer to home fairly well staked out, and already have many a favorite.

And now that it's the 18th of the month, let's do an October Picasa page of our little cutie.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Dear Old Stockholm

One train, one plane, and one automobile, and we (and our five suitcases) arrive in Stockholm Wednesday night - Myrna chalking a sixth country to her travel journal, and adding a fourth city to her running list of homes. We're far from settled at this point, but we have learned a thing or two about our new environs.

Today we spent a decent chunk of the day sipping coffee, so I'll start with that. It looks like our thirst for robust coffee will be well-satisfied here. We took a quick ferry over to the Södermalm area, where we enjoyed fine cups of manually-filtered drip and, later, aeropressed coffee. In addition to coffee, we've also looked into food, and found that we can buy Cheerios for Myrna to snack on - something we couldn't track down in Germany. The grocery shopping experience, in general, seems closer to the American experience than we've known in Germany. While that means we can buy taco shells on a Sunday, it also means a boost in pricing scale. €1,19 wedges of brie, we already miss you! Also, you can only buy 3.2 beer at the supermarket. But we did spot, of all things, a Lidl, and loaded up on a few of our favorite deutsche staples.

On the matter of climate, suffice it to say that our Alsatian summer has come to a close, which means more time-consuming bundling of the baby. It also, though, means breaking out some of the winter clothes she hadn't been able to wear before. And it's not arctic or anything - we still have about eleven hours of daylight per day. At this point I should have a photo or two to share of something particular to the city, but we haven't really taken any yet. Next week perhaps....

In Myrna news, she's got two little teeth now, and takes every opportunity to use them. They feel like jagged bits of gravel on your arm, a sensation I'm treated to regularly. I also hear them clicking against toys, bowls, etc. intermittently throughout the day. She's also beginning to climb onto furniture all by herself. This has just begun in the last day or so, but we had a little preview while packing our luggage back in Freiburg....