Wednesday, March 23, 2011

wee bit of me wednesday

{one} what was your first job?
I worked at a Canadian fast-food chain – Harvey’s Hamburgers. Pretty good food, but horrid uniforms – brown polyester overalls, orange and white gingham shirts and brown, orange & white hats.
{two} have you ever seen a stand up comedian?
Way back in the day (1988?) I saw Dana Carvey, plus some locals at comedy clubs. In about ‘03 I saw Jerry Seinfield. He was great
{three} when was the last time you played mini golf?
I really can’t remember . . . must be sometime in the last few years, though.
{four} what was the last picture you took?
A picture of the view from our balcony, for my other blog.
{five} burnt food: yes or no?
Yes! I love it:)
{six} if you have a pocket full of change, what do you do with it?
Either give it to one of the kids for doing a chore, or put it in a dish I keep on my bureau.
{seven} can you touch your tongue to your nose?
{eight} do you scrapbook?
Yes, I have even facilitated some courses . . . but it’s been awhile since I’ve actually done some work in my own albums (doesn’t stop me from ordering stuff, though).
{nine} do you buy lottery tickets?
Every once in a while. Twice in the 5½ years since we’ve lived here.
{ten} do you prefer to be in front of the camera or behind it?
Behind it . . . I guess that’s why it usually looks like my family goes on vacation without me.


Sunday, March 20, 2011

accident prone

It’s been a busy week . . . what with work, parties, sports, activities . .
and x-rays.
Our oldest son seems to like visiting the local x-ray technician. Last Sunday afternoon, he and a friend were out snowmobiling and he got thrown from his.
The details were a little mucky, but he either landed wrong on his foot, or his foot was caught on something as he flew through the air, but here’s how his ankle looked last Sunday evening:
His fourth toe is fractured, and the doctor wasn’t sure about the ankle. She was going to have a radiologist read the x-ray, but we haven’t heard anything. He goes back in tomorrow for new x-rays. In the meantime, he has an air-cast and crutches.
And, as a stroll down memory lane, his other injuries . . . in reverse order:
July 2009 – he was biking with a friend and went over the handlebars, while we were visiting in Canada. Fractured collarbone . . . an expensive visit to the ER.
December 2008 – he tripped on a mat at school, and then a group of kids walked over him on their way to class. Broke the bone on the outside of his foot. This happened on the day before we went to Russia to bring Sofia home, so we had crutches to deal with during the whole trip
August 2006 – they were playing a game at school . . . Sam fell off a log onto the asphalt and fractured his elbow. Within 2 weeks of the cast being removed we got another call from the school to take him for x-rays again – he had fallen on the adventure playground with his arm between 2 boards . . . fortunately nothing was damaged that time.
At least he’s alternating between feet and arms.
PS When the doctor showed him his x-ray last week, she pointed to some lines that show that he is still growing. (He’s 191cm now – that’s 6’3½”, an inch taller than his dad.)

Sunday, March 13, 2011


Some people already know from FB, but last night I had a wee accident on the ice driving home.
Nobody was hurt, and there’s no apparent damage to the van.
I was driving Joel home from a floorball tournament. He was in the backseat and Mattias was riding shotgun. At one point, about 15km from home, Mattias asked me if it was fun to drive. I said it was.
When we were about 1km from the house, we were going around a bend in the road, and the back end of the van slid to the right. As I was heading to the snow embankment on the left, I tried to correct the slide and then started heading over to the right side of the road.
Apparently, I over-corrected and drove into a snowpile on the right side of the road. So far in that I couldn’t open my door. The van’s back end slid along the road so I was sitting sideways.
Mattias got out and went back down the road a bit to alert any drivers coming around the corner while we waited for Stefan to come with the tractor and pull us out.
I went for a walk today and took some pictures:
Here’s Joel’s version of how it went down:
First I thought we were going to make it because it almost always happens that the back  just turns like that but then it goes straight again. But then when you turned I thought you were going to go in the ditch but then you turned again so I thought you were going to make it. But then you turned and went in the ditch. But the drifting was fun.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

little sister

Stefan’s little sister was just shy of her 11th birthday when I first met her.
In September, she turns 30.
But today, she participated in the biggest cross-country race in the world, Vasaloppet (Vasa Marathon) . . . . it’s 90km, classic-style (meaning they can’t skate-ski, but must do the style where the feet slide forward and the arms do most of the work). There was somewhere between 14 000 and 15 000 participants.
I am so impressed.
It was  fun watching the race on TV, and keeping track of where she was on the course via the computer. She finished in 8 hours 12 minutes and 34 seconds. She was skiing for over 8 hours.
We’re so proud of her. This was a huge accomplishment. And, I have a feeling it won’t be the last time for her . . .

And, some background information on Vasaloppet (from Wikipedia):
Vasaloppet is an annual long distance (90 km) cross-country ski race held on the first Sunday of March in Sweden between the village of Sälen and town of Mora. It is the oldest, one of the longest, and the biggest cross-country ski race in the world.
The Legend:
In 1520, the young nobleman Gustav Ericsson Vasa was escaping from the troops of Christian II (king of Denmark, Sweden and Norway - the Kalmar Union). Much of the Swedish nobility was in opposition to the king, and had nicknamed him Christian the Tyrant. In a move to silence the opposition, Christian invited the Swedish aristocracy to a reconciliation party in Stockholm, only to have them (including Gustav's parents) massacred in what came to be known as the Stockholm Bloodbath.
Gustav was escaping through Dalarna, fearing for his life if he were discovered by the king's troops, when he spoke to the assembled men of Mora and tried to convince them to start a rebellion against King Christian. The men did not want to fight while escaping on skis, so Gustav continued toward Norway to seek refuge. He was caught at Sälen by two Mora brothers on skis. The men in Mora had changed their minds after hearing that the Danish rulers had decided to raise taxes, and they now wanted Gustav to lead the rebellion. On 6 June 1523, Gustav Vasa was crowned king of Sweden, having defeated the Danish king Christian and dissolved the Kalmar Union. Sweden has been fully independent ever since.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

winter tanning

 How to Tan in Winter When You Live at Latitude 63+North
Step 1: Find a ideal location with good solar reflective qualities. A light-coloured brick wall directly facing the sun will do.

Step 2: Clear out the snow. Better yet, have your 13 year old son do it for you.P1040338

Step 3: Find a chair. Don’t bother trying to find one of the comfortable chaise/loungers. It’s too much trouble, and then you’ll have to put it away when it starts to snow again.P1040340

Step 4: Get a pillow or blanket to sit on so you don’t get a bladder infection.P1040341

Step 5: Get a big ol’ pair of sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun blasting off the snow – your eyes are unaccustomed to such brightness after a ridiculously long, dark winter. (And don’t forget to wear a toque (that’s Canadian for woolen cap) because your hair is wet from the shower.)P1040342

Step 6: Enjoy a good book and some moments in the sun while you soak up some vitamin D!P1040348

PS. What you don’t see is first the water dripping off the gutter onto my knees and then later chunks of snow were falling off the roof onto my lap. I put the book away, but still sat there for 30 minutes anyways.

The Holms

Denmark Road Trip

The outskirts of St. Pete

St. Petersburg

Saint Petersburg: Sankt-Peterburg, Russian pronunciation: is a city and a federal subject of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea. The city's other names were Petrograd (1914–1924) and Leningrad (1924–1991). Founded by Tsar Peter I of Russia on 27 May, 1703, it was the capital of the Russian Empire for more than two hundred years (1713–1728, 1732–1918). Saint Petersburg is home to more than two hundred museums, many of them hosted in historic buildings. The largest of the museums is the Hermitage Museum, featuring interiors of the former imperial residence and a vast collection of art. Celebrating the 300th anniversary of its foundation, Saint Petersburg was selected as the main motif in a recent Finnish commemorative coin, the €10 Mannerheim and Saint Petersburg commemorative coin, minted in 2003. The reverse of the coin features a view of Saint Petersburg, with the Peter and Paul Fortress and its three turrets. In the coin the words "St. Petersburg 1703-2003" can be seen.