Enjoy Not Knowing

Just another American living in Sweden


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2017, that happened

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My last blog post that did not feature a book was in July. That’s quite a few months of happenings with no writing. In fact, after doing a quick scroll through of my 2017 blog I now realize I’ve only posted 7 times outside of my book of the month posts. Seven:

  1. one year old
  2. finally 2017 (a look ahead)
  3. ry-guy
  4. mediwift
  5. t-man
  6. 15 days: my iphone withdrawal story
  7. four(teen)th of july

Either there’s not a whole lot going on for me, or a whole helluva lot. To be honest, definitely some of both. So, yeah, that happened. I do want to continue my recent tradition of reverse bucket listing my year. This year’s list will serve two purposes: it’s a great way to reflect on the good times of 2017, and is also a list of blog posts soon to be featured here:

  1. Hosted wintry guests
  2. Went on a cruise
  3. Celebrated weddings in Newport, RI and Sundance, UT
  4. Traveled to the western USA with my family
  5. Saw the Grand Canyon
  6. Went to Vegas
  7. Followed my savings plan
  8. Coached a growing group of girls
  9. Attended my 10 year high school reunion
  10. Completed another year of my ECE degree

I’ll stop at 10, because that’s been my modus operandi the previous two years, but there may be an extra post or two coming down the pipeline with happenings from the eventful 2017 – like my epic summer vacation. Get ready, 2018 is here.

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why this american is rooting for sweden

For all of the sports inclined people out there, it won’t be news that the Olympics are currently occurring. For all of the women’s soccer enthusiasts it won’t be news that the USA woman’s team has won four golds in the past five Olympics. Or I should say, six Olympics, as this Olympics marks a marked decline in the teams results with a loss to Sweden in the quarter finals.

Why, you may ask, would this American then be rooting for the exact team that dashed the USA team’s chances and dreams of winning a fourth consecutive Olympic gold? My answer is Pia Sundhage.

Pia Sundhage

To summarize the media coverage (and awesome memes), after the US lost to Sweden in a nail-biting shoot out, Hope Solo called the Swedish team a bunch of cowards. When asked about this comment Pia Sundhage said “Jag skiter i vilket. Jag ska till Rio, hon ska hem.” The popular translation of which is: “I don’t give a crap. I’m going to Rio, she’s going home”. My personal translation would be “I don’t give a shit…” but I suppose that makes for a slightly less child-friendly meme. So I understand the distinction.

Hope & Pia

What makes tonight’s final even more exciting is the nail-biting shootout win that brought the Swedish team here. After an initial loss to Brazil in group play, Sweden came to play this past Tuesday. Overcoming the initial loss was no small thing either, the two team’s first meeting this Olympics was an epic loss for Sweden with Brazil finding the back of the net a full five times. But with another grand display of defensive play the Swedish team did it again in five shootout shots, with two saves by Lindahl.

And yes, no one in Sweden has any finger nails anymore after all this shootout action.

The cherry on top is that Pia Sundhage was the head coach of the US women’s team for the past two Olympic golds. That is to say Sundhage is coaching tonight for her third gold in a row. Making their win over the US team a little sweeter for the Swedes, and her response to Solo’s comments all the better. But wait, this also happened: A reporter asked Sundhage if she could coach a men’s team. What do you think she said?

A whole country

Mic drop…

Now, I hope I’ve convinced you to also root for Sweden tonight. As we say in Sweden: Heja Sverige!

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å-loppet number three

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2016 marks my third go at Å-varvet. 2015 I was unable to run because of a shoulder injury. This year though, I was so there!

The woman who won this year, Tigist Jabore, ran the quarter marathon in 35:34. I’m going to tell you right now, my time was nowhere near that. I’m also going to tell you right now I did not train for the race this year.

Bear with me. (If there had been maybe I would have run faster.)

I had actually not really planned to run. I hadn’t been able to train since the birth of my wonderful and amazing baby, you know the one. So I was thinking I’d skip this year, and go big next year. Then at the last minute I found out that my place of employment would be footing the bill (a whopping $50, so we’re not talking ridiculous sums here) for all those who wanted to run or walk. GREAT! I shouted. Alone in the break room. I signed myself up then and there.

Mind you, this was a week and a half before race day. Do you think I went out and got a jump start on my training? Nope. Come race day, I just went for it. So did Ryan. As you recall he was here visiting, and thought: WHY NOT?! He ran bandit, because what else would he do? It was the natural course of things.

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I’m not extremely familiar with running road races, so I was super excited to see that you can log on to the race’s website and see all previous times!

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As was to be expected I ran considerably slower than my previous times, and those most observant of my readers will already have noticed the downward trend that is my finishing times. Not to worry, I will complete number 13 on my 30 before 30 list! Training for 2017 commences now.

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kvalserien

I scrolled through my posts for the past 7 months and found, to my surprise, that I haven’t written a single one about hockey this season. If anybody else is keeping track, this is my 14th season playing the sport.

As I scrolled I noticed how updated I kept you all last season, so I hope you’ll feel the love again as I summarize the 2014-2015 season for ya.

This year the team I played on last year (Linden) joined up with another team in Södermanland (kind of like a county in Sweden), that team is Södertälje Sportklubb. We joined our forces to create SSK/Linden, and my oh my was that a good decision. The resulting team has more players, more talent, and I’d like to think more fun. It’s a totally different environment from last year, where there are always a good number of girls at the practice and practices are high intensity and focused. (Okay, mostly focused.) With so many players we’ve also been able to play four lines all season, which is a great advantage over teams who are forced to play with many fewer players.

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Officially, according to the Swedish Icehockey Association (Svenska Ishockeyförbundet or SIF), we’re only allowed to play under one club name, so on their standings we’re listed as SSK.

image courtesy of the app by swehockey.se

image courtesy of the app by swehockey.se

It has been quite the adventure joining two teams together, but it has paid off in game play as we’ve finished the regular season in second place. Our regular season ended the Wednesday before last with a win, and we’re continuing on to play offs.

Playoffs start TODAY. You read that right, to-day. Playoffs consist of game play across Sweden against one team from the Southern region, one team from the Northern region, one team from the Western region, and two other teams from the Eastern region. We’re the third team from the Eastern region. The two teams that placed last and second to last in Sweden’s highest women’s league, Riksserien, join us as well in playoffs.

The schedule is broken up into three games a week in 30 days. We play Saturday & Sunday, as well as one week day game. All eight teams are competing for four spots in Riksserien. These four spots are two more than any other year, as this season SIF has decided to increase the number of teams in Riksserien from 8 to 10.

The eight teams playing in the play offs have until January 31st to finalize their roster. This means that up until three weeks ago teams were recruiting. Many of the teams in playoffs now knew they would be playing in this league a while back so they have planned accordingling and brought some “fresh legs” to their teams. In the past this has provided for exciting game play as teams no longer have the same composition they had during regular season play.

Who knows what will happen once game play begins?! Things will be exciting. Guaranteed.

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speedway

I thought I had discussed speedway before, but I have searched and searched my blog, and come up empty-handed. If you’re better at sifting through old blog posts, and can find previous mention of speedway, please do comment below and let me know where I lost my way during my search.

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Speedway is a motorcycle sport where two teams compete for the most points. The competition takes place on an oval-shaped dirt track where four riders ride simultaneously, two from each team. There are 12 rounds and the team with the most points at the end wins. Each rider has his (I have yet to see/hear of a woman rider) assigned helmet color during each round: red, yellow, blue and white. Two riders ride from each team, red and yellow are on the same team, and blue and white are on the opposing team. The riders ride counter-clockwise, make four laps, and receive 3, 2, 1 or 0 points for first, second, third and fourth place respectively. As it’s a team sport it’s actually quite strategic, if one team is leading and the other team gets two riders in second and third they may choose not to try for first place, but rather block out the fourth rider, as this gives both teams 3 points each.

Here in Sweden speedway is pretty big and is often shown on sporting television. Here in Eskilstuna speedway is pretty big for Sweden as the team here is in the best league in the country. Meaning they’re pretty good.

This summer my family was here to visit (as you can imagine) and in attempts to give them the chance to experience things uniquely Swedish we went to a speedway match. We had the chance to watch Ikaros Smederna win a competition against Rospiggare. I often find it fun to directly translate things from Swedish to English, and the team names are the Ikaros Smiths who rode against the Rose Thorns. It was a big win as The Smiths were ranked well under The Rose Thorns. After such a big win the paper ran pictures from the event. It was my third speedway match ever, and my father’s first, so it was quite fitting we were both included in the fan picture.

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Speedway really is a fun summer sport enjoyed outdoors on those long summer nights. I’m glad my family got to enjoy the Swedish experience, and I’m glad I got to be in the paper! I really am, I’m not even going to pretend I’m kidding.

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a resolutions update: follow up plan

Let’s get this post off and running by first calling attention to the fact that I have yet to share my 2015 New Year’s resolutions. Now that we’ve called attention to it, I’ll get back to that in a minute.

As I left you after my resolutions update in November, I was focusing on making a lasagna that Evelina likes as much as I do, and finishing my painting. I did make a lasagna. I did not paint a lasagna, or anything else for that matter.

First, let me tell you about the lasagna. Step one involved getting Evelina’s favorite meat sauce recipe. Ground beef, crushed tomatoes, yellow onion, salt & pepper. Not complex. I soaked my lasagna noodles in warm water with oil while making my sauce. I carefully layered sauce, noodle, sauce, noodle, sauce, noodle. Finishing with noodles on the top was strategic, as I coated the top layer with cheese. This top layer is then easily removed, because of Evelina’s distaste of cheese. Popped that bad boy in the oven, and waited for the complements.

Latest lasagna

The best I got, was that it wasn’t as bad as the last one. (Y’all remember my pastelon?) Thanks babe. I was then informed that Evelina’s mother’s meat sauce recipe is not in fact her favorite recipe. So the quest continues. I have one final plan, the plan to top all lasagna plans. Garfield would be impressed.

On to the painting:

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This is the current state of my painting. So, yeah, painting is a generous term for this. But this leads me nicely into my New Year’s resolutions for this year. I’ll be continuing my tradition of carrying over my as-of-yet incomplete resolutions on to the upcoming year. Here you have them:

  1. Do a hand stand push up
  2. Paint a painting
  3. Find a lasagna recipe Evelina enjoys as much as I do
  4. Do 5 things off Pintrest successfully
  5. Watch One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Seven Samurai

If you noticed that my “run a marathon” resolution was not carried over, kudos to you. It is still a long-term goal of mine, but in an attempt to be more realistic, I am not including it as a goal for 2015. Maybe 2017, 17 always has been my favorite number.

With one month of 2015 already behind us I’ll have to be sure to be particularly effective this year.

See you out there.

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a yoga-cation

This past spring I headed over the Atlantic on a wedding celebration, that of my cousin Katy. (I’m sure you recall the previous post.) The destination was in Chicago, a wonderfully amazing city.

On the trip home I stopped off in the Greater Boston Area for a visit home. Of course. Can’t go crossing the vast expance of ocean and not stop by, right? It seems only polite. I spent eight days at my childhood home, and they were quite lovely.

I filled my days with shopping and yoga. It was quite the vacation. If you don’t do yoga, I would seriously recommend it. On vacation I did lots of hot yoga with my bother. In a beautifully lit room with the thermostat turned up to a million degrees we sweat our way to relaxation. If you can, though, I’d avoid doing two and a half hours of hot yoga straight. Or definitely bring a water bottle if you do.

Even more exciting than all the yoga was the wedding shower my family threw for me. It was a beautiful spring day and lots of friends and family were able to attend. Plus there were presents! Just kidding. Mostly. It really was wonderful to see so many of my friends and family all at once. Especially since I see everyone much less often now that I live an ocean away.

April Showers

Makes me think I should probably throw a party every time I come for a visit. That way I get all my socializing done at once. Good plan, no?

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