Days 82 and 83 — Fog?

Yes! I went out this evening and it was utterly, completely totally still outside. Living in the Bay Area in a densely populated area there was always some sort of noise, even in the dead of night. It was  amazing to step outside and experience complete stillness and silence. Some people get creeped out  by fog. I find it extremely peaceful and it was liberating to stand for a while in that utter stillness. I literally could not hear a thing except my own footsteps. Wonderful.

Got some other good news today: the landlord came by to look at the lawnmower which needs oil. He said that this has been the wettest fall on record here, which was a relief to find out.

A couple of guys have been going through the neighborhood cutting down all the brush and this has opened up the views of the sea. When all the leaves go, and the wind is getting rid of them pretty quickly it will give the area a whole different look.

I’m guessing they must do this every year to keep the vegetation from taking over completely.

All over Sweden there are rune stones erected in the Viking Era for different purposes and on a walk yesterday morning I came upon this modern version of one.

No idea what the writing says.

Right nearby there were three headstones. No idea how old these are but they must be a couple hundred years old at least. Stuff like this–burial mounds, rune stones–is all over the country.

Finally, the recent brouhaha over paying victims of the foster care system 250,000 kronor in compensation was resolved and the money is going to be dispensed. I think this issue came up a couple weeks ago and it is now a done deal. Done. Finito. I am trying to think of some national issue in the U.S. that was ever resolved in two weeks’ time and I cannot think of a one, except maybe bailing out the banks with trillions of taxpayer dollars in 2008. But that was more a robbery than legislative action.


Days 80 and 81 — Orientation

Just for orientation purposes, I took these shots this dusk standing at the center of my trampoline looking North, South, East and West. They are fuzzy because the light was fading, I think.

The light flash is from my camera/phone looking due North.

Facing South towards the sea.

Here is East.

And West,

It was clear tonight and when I took the dog out for a pee I could see something that you can’t often see in the Bay Area with all the light pollution and nightly overcast–other worlds. It is a crowded galaxy. Oops, gotta run, literally. Aliens are calling and I don’t want to end up as just another recipe in “To Serve Man,” from the old Twilight Zone series.

Day 79 — Indian Summer

Mariette read in the paper yesterday that Indian Summer is hitting this week. Today was a great start. Zero wind, warm, blue skies. An ideal day for a picnic, so we did! Mariette, Bianca and me bringing up the rear toting the back pack.

Mariette thought this was a newly dug burial place for someone’s pet. Could be. Every once in awhile you find little burial plots in the forest for a pet. I hope it is a pet, anyway.

We weren’t the only people on the trail by a long shot.

A view of two bays from the spot where Mariette was in the photo above.

Radio tower at the top of the hill we just walked down. It switches back and forth down to where we took the photo.

Time for a picnic. Couldn’t have picked a better spot. Well, actually, we could have but it is a little further on.

Me, mid chewing. Bianca, mid begging.



Bianca, working for her next meatball.

The water is cooler but still quite pleasant. I went swimming later in the afternoon.

Lots of people were out enjoying the view of the sea near the Tylösand Hotel. There were quite a few people dressed up at the hotel and we found out later there was an Amway convention there this afternoon.

Fall colors are here but the wind blows most of the leaves down before people really have a chance to enjoy them.

The ideal indicator–a pennant hanging completely limp.

Let’s hope this weather continues for a while. 

Days 77 and 78 — Ancient Rock Carvings



Found these ancient carvings yesterday as we took the dog to the beach:The fraction is a clever way of showing the day and month, in this case the first of August.

Natural graffiti.

Bianca was not impressed and wanted to play with the ball.

Later I went out for a ride and took some shots of the more modern looking houses in the area.

You can tell that Swedes value the daylight. Also, metal roofs are common.

 Most second stories have balconies and places to sit to enjoy the sun.

The following is still my favorite, though.

Had some good Thai food for dinner and on the way home Mariette spied wild apples. Sorry the shot is fuzzy. Our food was pretty spicy. Anyhow, last night she made apple cream with them. Yummy!

Apparently, elves come out and dance in the mist but we didn’t stick around to watch.

Miraculously, the wind has died down the last couple days which makes things even more enjoyable. And there is no rain in the forecast for the coming week. Fingers crossed.




Days 75 and 76 — Gray, gray and more gray

Got a good pair of rain boots today and I will be needing them. There was an article in the paper today that more and more people are biking to work, regardless of the weather. They say with the right clothes you can always bike to work and avoid traffic and not be dependent on bus schedules. Plus it is good exercise. So long as the bike paths don’t freeze, I am now set to join the mob of year round cyclists.

We had not seen the sun for a few days and while people here don’t seem to notice, I sure have.

The sky this morning.

The sky a little later this morning.


Then, a tiny patch of blue. My spirits soared. The sun actually came out today. Luckily, I have ordered some Vitamin D from the U.S. It is really expensive here. Really expensive compared to the U.S.

In keeping with the gray morning, here is a grave where someone buried their dog in the forest.

Speaking of dogs, Bianca is in her second week of heat. To take her mind off you-know-what we played ball with her this afternoon.


Day 74 – Job-hunting in Sweden

Mariette here. I thought I´d add something to this blog by talking about looking for work here in Sweden. It is certainly different from in the US. Working as a nanny the last 7 years it seemed fairly logical that I would look for work with children. However, the post of “nanny”  in Sweden is almost extinct. This is because each parent has a full year off after the baby comes and then daycare is close to free of charge. So daycare/preschools is where it is at.

In the US, the emphasis for any work with children is a clean record and good references. Here, the emphasis is on education. Bummer for me since I am not a trained teacher. (Too late for me to go back to school for 3.5 years, I would be too restless.) The government, though, has this push going of replacing all untrained staff in preschools with trained preschool teachers. Although there are many private preschools (that have less strict rules), they are also financed by the government and if the balance between trained-untrained personnel is too large, the government might put a stop to the funding. The government also does frequent inspections of the schools, including the private ones. Some typical topics of conversation after an inspection is how the inspectors measured the amount of bacteria in the sink and issued a big flunk or how the school needs to do more meaningful activities for the children. So, in reality the government is the driving force behind all preschools here, for good and bad.

One thing that is not interfered with though is the learning methods such as Montessori. However, every year the government issues a general learning plan and curriculum for all schools and it includes both guidelines to what the children should accomplish and rules such as; “every school must have a single hatted executive running it who does not have any other duties” and “the balance between trained and untrained personnel must not exceed 50/50” (actual requirements this year)

The exception to all the emphasis on education is substitute work which does not require any degrees and this is what I have been doing. I started by going around to the different private schools, introducing myself and leaving my references. Then the calls stared to come in and I have been working almost every day in September. This has been exciting in many ways. There is a HUGE difference between just touring a preschool and working at one.

But now I have my foot in with some good schools who like to use me and work has been lining up well. This week I will also be doing a trial at a nearby youth-center which I am looking forward to. And lo-and-behold — today I got in touch with a family looking for a part time nanny! They just flew in from Menlo Park so we were practically neighbors in the US. We will see how that turns out, but it is quite a coincidence. I must say that I like getting this insight into the different schools and methods. There are Montessori Schools here that have their own very set methods and modes of thought, the Christian schools, the government run schools and also a private school called Vittra that is free and wild and fun to work at. There is a lot to be said about these schools. I will keep you posted.

Final sobering thought from Dan: tomorrow is the autumnal equinox, if I remember correctly which means 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness. After tomorrow, we start getting the short end for the next six months. I can feel my vitamin D levels crying out already.




Days 71, 72 and 73 — Firewood

Days 71 and 72 were filled with the mundane. Mowed the lawn on Saturday, Mariette planted some bulbs. Ho hum. Saw that the Stanford-Arizona game was going to be broadcast live on ESPN America at 5:00 a.m. on Sunday morning. Decided no way am I getting up then to watch Stanford of all teams. Then at 6:00 a.m. Sunday morning I awoke with cramps in my hamstrings and was up like a shot stretching them out. I went back to bed and then reminded myself, “Hey, that game is on.” So, I got up and watched it until 8 and then went back to bed. I mean, this is how desperate I am for fodder for this blog.

But then, this morning, Day 73, I heard the sound of chain saws or military grade weed whackers somewhere out behind our house. A couple guys were knocking down all the volunteer trees that have been popping up in the neighbor’s yard that he never takes care of and which is turning into a wild forest. I guess he hired a company to do some clean up work. I went out to see what was going on and though the two workmen’s English was about as good as my Swedish we somehow managed to communicate that, yes, that birch tree lying over the fence is from our yard, yes, they would cut it up for me for firewood and I could pay them whatever I wanted and beer would be nice.

Half an hour later we had firewood for next year.

Mr. Birch Tree lying in state.

My offering: a six pack of Heineken and Carlsberg in a Corona carton, plus 100 kronor (all I had on me, $15).

Zip, zip, zip.

Presto! Now I need to find a log splitting machine. The landlord says he will find one.

In other news, the right wing Prime Minister Renfield is taking enormous amounts of heat for trying to kill the initiative to pay victims of the abusive foster care system their 250,000 kronor settlement. He wants to cut the budget. The various parties in the legislature want him to go to hell. By the way, when I say “right wing,” it is a relative term. The right wing here makes Obama look like a Tea Partier. Still, I think this guy Renfield will be back in Transylvania after next year’s election. (Thought I would end today’s post with a little Dracula humor.)