Enjoy Not Knowing

Just another American living in Sweden


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go skating on a bandy arena while it’s snowing

Just to be clear, it needs to be an outdoor bandy arena. Little did I know when I wrote this list, there are, in fact, indoor bandy arenas. The thing is, outdoor hockey rinks work just as well.

A couple of winters ago I was practicing with my hockey team on the outdoor rink.

outdoor rink

There’s something about being outdoors in the winter. Working up a sweat and having a blast with your teammates. It’s a feeling that’s hard to beat. I think working out and training during the winter is especially important. Especially when one lives in Sweden where the winters are dark like night for 6 months. Getting outdoors in the winter time can also be less than motivating. Which is why I highly recommend this activity.

Gliding along in a muffled world of white while snow sprinkles down from above. It’s truly an experience.

The thing is, there is no longer an outdoor hockey rink where we play. A second rink was built this past year, and finished for this season.

new rink

It’s a beautiful rink, fully equipped for sled hockey. We even have our very own sled hockey team here in town.

new rink

Check out those clear boards!

 

Luckily there’s still the outdoor bandy arena. So there really is no down side. It’s soon to be spring in Sweden, but don’t forget to lace up those skates next year and take the time to be outdoors in the winter. It’s worth it.

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another season come and gone

Not only is it officially spring, but the hockey season has officially ended.

If you haven’t read my previous hockey update, check it out here. We had our last playoff games this past weekend. Although we didn’t quite get the results we were hoping for, we still had some successes along the way. Here were the results:

final standings

We came in 7th place. It would have been great to be one of the four teams moving up to Riksserien, the highest women’s league in Sweden, but it just wasn’t in the cards for us this year. But, like I said there were some positive aspects of our play. We won 2 games, and tied 2, winning 1 game in over time. Against the team that has played their season completely undefeated, Djurgården, we were the only team in kvalserien to score against them in both games in playoffs, scoring one goal each time we played them. We were also the only team to win a period against Djurgården in the entire playoff series, our third period in the second game against them we won 1-0. We took points from Sundsvall, winning in overtime our first game against them. We worked hard, but most importantly we came together as a team.

We played with determination and heart. Although we didn’t achieve all of our goals, and while it is difficult to be completely satisfied placing 7th in the standings it’s important to focus on the forward strides we did make. Live and learn.

damlag_4x3_bakgr

Here’s looking forward to what next season will bring, and all the hard work to come during the off-season.

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season’s ending

Not only does it feel like Spring in Sweden, but they hockey season is ending as well. As of my latest hockey update, around half way through our season, I discussed our team’s goals and expectations that we discussed last summer about what our expectations for the upcoming season were.

Looking back, I think we have had a successful season. Concerning the wordclouds I made, I would gladly say that we have found success in all categories…but one. Unfortunately this year we did not make it to AllEttan (take another look at the previous post for an explanation of AllEttan).
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Last year we were one win away from AllEttan. This year we were three wins away from AllEttan. But all was not a disappointment. We play in a tight league, and all the games this season were close competitions. So, really, when you look at the season over all it was certainly a good one.
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Not making it to AllEttan was a let down, but the continuance series was a success this year, as it was last year. As in the regular series we continued to play close games. The continuance series is six games, where the four teams who did not move on to AllEttan play each other twice. Of our six games four of them were taken to shoot outs, where we were able to take an extra point in two of them. Our team fought hard, and lead the continuance play in points throughout the series, unfortunately only up until the last game. The loss of the extra point gave us equal points with AIK, who had one extra point in goal differential and therefore won the series. Still an over all success for the team though.
photo 1 (3)
I’m proud of the work we have accomplished as a team, and look forward to start off ice training. (Accompanied by my marathon training of course.) I’m a little less proud of my personal statistics in the continuance series. photo 3 (3)I’m certainly glad I was able to score 2 shoot out goals, as well as another two goals and an assist in regular play, to land 4th over all in points. (First in decisive goals.) Decisive GoalsHowever, my penalty minutes are embarrassing. Before the game today I had 14 minutes in the box.
Penalty Minutes
Luckily I managed to get my act together for the final match up of the season, but as the most penalized player in the continuance series I can’t really count that as a win. In the off-season, as well as focusing on forward strides in my fitness, I’ll have to focus on clean play. I’ve yet to figure out how to work out for that, but I’m sure I’ll think of something.
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See you in the gym!
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spreadsheets and triple contractions – with a side of running

Don't be fooled by the rosy filter, it is cold in there.

Don’t be fooled by the rosy filter, it is cold in there.

After starting my marathon training I did what any sensible person would do. I made a spreadsheet. Okay, to be honest the absolute first thing I did was take an ice bath, because man my legs were not pleased with my decisions. Then I made a spread sheet.

I love spreadsheets. I almost considered being an accountant once, because I heard they get to make a lot of spreadsheets, and I want that to be my job. Nothing came out of that, so that’s neither here nor there, but it does emphasize my point that I love spreadsheets.

My spreadsheet is beautiful and catalogues the training I have completed and the training I plan to complete. For now, our ice times and schedule only come out one week in advance, so I haven’t planned very far into the future as of yet. Once the hockey season ends, and I am better able to gauge what I am capable of, I’ll be able to plan farther in advance.

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This is what I’m talking about:

Training Schedule Pic

You may notice a gap there in the training. I got sick at the end of January, and wasn’t up to training. I feel I should take something away from my getting sick so soon after starting my training. However, it’s still unclear if I jumped into too much training at once, or if I should focus on abstaining from allowing three year olds to cough directly into my air passages. Definitely one of the two.

I’m excited to see what will come of the spreadsheet in the future as I complete more training. Y’all’ll just have to wait and see! (Why isn’t a triple contraction acceptable in the English language? Triple contractions are another thing I love.)

Cheers!

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bike fix it day

blue bikeIn Sweden you do a lot of biking. Especially when you don’t have a Swedish driver’s license. Initially I thought having a bike would be a lot simpler than having a car. But it turns out you have to also maintain a bike. Especially one that lives outside. The outside life is a hard one. For this reason I occasionally schedule a bike fix it day, in order to keep my bike running smoothly.

Since I moved to Sweden I have had two different bikes. Both of them have been bought used, and both of them were bought in Linköping. Older bikes hold up. The bikes made back in the day were good quality bikes.

My first bike had like a million gears. Or, more accurately, 10. The poor baby broke when the gears broke off of the frame and got wrapped around the pedal. Bad day. I took it to a bike shop and ended up trading it in for another used bike. This bike has been with me for almost three years now. Ol’ reliable.

green bikeBut, like I said, bikes require some maintenance. I’ve replaced the saddle, replaced the break wire, re-strung the gears (multiple times, and I will need to do this again….maybe I should ask someone to do it for me next time…) I’ve also added a basket and front & back lights. In Sweden you will be fined $100 per missing light if you are stopped by a police officer without a front or back light. Front lights have to be white and back lights have to be red.

Admittedly, I am not an expert biker. Biking in the winter is not for me, and I’ve fallen off three times since moving to Sweden. If you think I was cushioned by a nice fluffy snow bank, you would be wrong. It was more accurately a skidding-across-ice-break-my-laptop fall, later followed by a bike-falling-out-from-under-me-in-public event, and even later followed by a face-plant-into-ice incident. I was less than impressed, but thankfully (mostly) uninjured.

Ryan helpingThis winter I needed to replace the inner tube and tire on my front wheel, after it exploded with small pieces ricocheting onto Evelina – my bad. I accomplished this task with lots of help from Evelina and Ryan. Yes, the project was completed during Ryan’s visit! Now my bike looks even spiffier with a front grey tire. It was the only tire in the correct dimensions available at the bike shop, plus it looks ballin’.

I will inevitably need to do more maintenance on ol’ reliable in the future. But I’m okay with it. It’s worth it. Despite the occasional mishap, I really do enjoy biking. It’s good exercise, good for the environment, doesn’t require gas, and is in general rather low-cost. Luckily the cities of Sweden are teeming with well-lit bike paths.

See you on the streets!

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the new year’s tradition

Did you guys know that Ryan was here over New Years? Again. The first time he came for New Year’s he ended up belly dancing in a restaurant.

There's picture proof, so you know it happened

There’s picture proof, so you know it happened.

While that will be hard to beat, I’m glad he took my invitation seriously, and showed up this year as well.

#nye13

It was great having him. On #nye we enjoyed a home cooked meal at Evelina’s parents house, and then walked/ran down to the city in order not to miss the fireworks. We did not.

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I took some time off work, so we took it easy and ate a lot of fika. It was excellent.

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FIKA!

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Besides all the fika-ing we also spent a lot of time at the rink. Ryan got to try out his goalie skills in one of our practices, and I was thoroughly impressed. He also helped out the coaches as well as got some lifting time in the gym. We even ran together, seeing as I went a little crazy and signed up for a marathon. Ryan, consider this your official invitation to run the marathon with me.

Look who's in net

movies 3D style

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Movies were also watched, with HFR, hence the wicked cool shades.

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Having Ryan to visit is always a blast, and I hope we keep the New Year’s tradition going strong. In reminiscing about Ryan’s most recent visit, a summertime visit comes to mind. Both Ryan and Tyler came to Sweden the summer of 2012.

They had both just gone on a tour of Great Britain and Wales, and had had a great time.

lazing about

(Clearly not more fun than Sweden though)

Lucky for me they decided to stop by Sweden before making the trip back across the Atlantic. We spend the time riding bikes around Eskilstuna, and having fika. I hope you sense the theme. A day trip to the Natural History Museum was also in order.

The National History Museum

Where we posed creepily with the animals. Obviously.

There were serious moments as well:

the siblings

Ryan, Tyler, consider THIS your open invitation to visit Sweden the summer of 2014!

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2013-2014 hockey season

Every hockey season spans two years. Since starting off the hockey season in September we have come a long way.  The second half of the season starts tomorrow with a game in Stockholm.

Back in September we had a team bonding day where we played different team bonding games. Games that involved long poles, cooking meat sauce and rock climbing. It was a great day, where lots of bonding took place.

poles and such

meat sauce

climbing

We had a few serious conversations about our goals that day. I thought it’d be fun to take a look back, now that we’re embarking on a new year and the second half of regular play. Which is why I made a word cloud, using the fancy Java found here. Before our season started up we had the following goals and ideas about what this season would look like and what it would take to get where we wanted to be.

lindendam_wordcloud

Yes this is in Swedish. For those of you less adept at the Swedish language I also made one in English.

wordcloud_english

This is how we thought, felt, and expected to act at the beginning of the season. This is what we thought we would need to achieve in order to reach our goals.

Side bar: I know I didn’t translate “allettan”. Let me explain. We play in Division 1 East. That entails that at the end of our season three teams from our division move on to compete in a tournament called “allettan”. Allettan is a compilation of the top teams of Division 1 across Sweden. The top two teams from the allettan tournament go on to compete with the bottom two teams in riksserien for a spot in next years riksserien (the highest women’s hockey league in Sweden).

I thought it would be interesting to take a look again at what we were looking to get out of this season. How well have we lived up to these goals? It may be too soon to tell. We still have a chance at making it to allettan, but the road ahead will be a long one. We will have to work harder than we have worked thus far. I still think all of these words have a place in describing our team. I hope they still do when the season wraps up.

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