I marveled all month at the fact that it had not snowed. This is the only January I have lived here without snow. I expected every single morning to get up and look out the window to be greeted by a fresh blanket of the stuff, but it didn’t happen. Until this evening.

A lot of thoughts and feelings about all kinds of things brewing – I am contending with the battle I often fight with myself: let some things go or observe, wait, report (you know, the whole credo of the security guards of the world: observe and report). It seems like the wisest choice is almost always the former – just let go. But the former tempts the overly curious, glutton-for-punishment side that immerses itself in can’t-win situations and revels in the “how do I get out of this now?” machinations.

But since when has it ever been, when you see all the writing on the wall, a wise course of action to do anything but let all actors and factors that are not contributing, are deleterious or detrimental, are stress or anxiety inducing, go?

Photo (c) Paul Costanich.

Seahawks + Dodging Deer = Another Commute


This morning/middle of the night made for an awful commute. During the first third of the drive, the roads were clear, but every kilometer or so, I encountered big groups of deer playing in the road. I must have seen 100 deer in about 100 kilometers. I also saw a rabbit, which I have never seen around here, and two foxes. This winter, strangely, has been mostly devoid of moose. It occurred to me that my driving amounted to little more than dodging deer, which would not be a bad name for a video game. I got to use the whole road, just as the Seattle-based 1990s comedy sketch show, Almost Live encouraged Ballard drivers to do. You pay taxes on the whole thing – randomly weave all over the road!

On the second third of the road, most of it was covered with ice that had been covered over by snow. So many cars were off the road and so many tow trucks were pulling the cars out. The whole thing made me not only not want to drive but made me think seriously about the merits of living somewhere warmer – Hawai’i once more? Australia (perhaps much too warm)? Uruguay?

Thanks to the middle-of-night driving, I did not get to see my Seattle Seahawks win against the San Francisco 49s in their playoff game. It sounds like the Seahawks did not play at their best in the first half, so I know I would just have been getting angry and sick watching it anyway. By the time I was done driving the first two-thirds of the seemingly interminable three-hour commute and stopped off at a petrol station in Uddevalla, the Seahawks had claimed their place in the Super Bowl (versus the Denver Broncos). All kinds of mentions of it are going around the internet already – but it seems funny that the two places in the entire US to pass laws making recreational marijuana legal are the two places that send their football teams to the Super Bowl.

Winter has come to Sweden – Temperature drop


Winter usually arrives much earlier than this. But no, this winter, everything waited for January. Last week it was +7C and raining.

This morning when I drove in the warmest temperature I saw was -8C (about 17.6F) and the coldest was -17C (1.4F), which was at my house.

Winter took its time to show up with a vengeance.

Val Kilmer is Still Alive & Perilous Winter Commutes


I am not psychic. Evidence of this: Val Kilmer is still alive.

That said, I have some common sense (sometimes). I did not need to be psychic to know that I was going to have to take a longer route to work to ensure a safer route to work.

During the weekend, the weather turned to the typical cold, snowy Swedish winter one expects. Coming off a vacation and not really wanting to go back (I live about three hours by car from where I work and commute in on Monday mornings, leaving on Thursday afternoons), I envisioned the horrible road conditions on the road I normally take (a road I don’t like in ideal conditions). It winds and twists, is hilly, and wild animals, especially gigantic moose, pop out suddenly at every turn. In warm, decent weather, this is dangerous enough. In the middle of the night, at -7C with snow and ice covering the ground, a recipe for disaster. I also did not imagine that anyone cleared that highway – so I drove a good 100 kms out of my way so I could take Norwegian roads. You read that right. I crossed from Sweden into Norway, drove about 150 kms, and crossed back into Sweden to the south. Most of the drive, this way, was motorway that had been cleared and ultimately only tacked one hour onto the overall drive – although one hour is one hour. A train might have been doable but really not the best option this week.

Beyond that, “ice is evil” according to some dude named Doug.

And now, during my vacation, my work network password expired, so I can’t log in. Right now it is not important since I am sitting in the parking lot of the office waiting for it to open. Really need to rethink this nonsense.

Cookies someday soon… Happy Anzac-less Australia Day


Since taking on several new activities and (for the moment) spending a bit more time in the office, I have not been at home with my dear oven and beloved KitchenAid mixer in order to get some serious baking underway. As a result, Australians throughout the office will be devastated to learn that I have not been able to supply much-loved Anzac biscuits for today’s Australia Day event. (But follow the link! You still have time to make them for yourself!) Likewise, my intention to bake caramel cream cookies remains just that, an intention.

Rest assured, I have an overwhelming amount of serious writing to do for work, which means I will spend a week or so holed up in my house behind the keyboard. This always means that the oven will be going at full throttle as well.

Cookies, dear addicts, will return soon. I would like to say “…return to an office near you…” but recognize that this is misleading. Chances are, they will only turn up at the Opera HQ in Oslo. 🙂

This year, in a reversal of fortune, I am so happy not to be in Iceland for the winter! The main road between Reykjavik and Keflavik, which is NEVER closed, was closed due to snow. This means the weather has reached an insane level of inhospitability. Icelanders are hardy, tough folks for whom a normal blizzard is just “a few flakes of snow”… so I cannot even imagine what is going on over there right now.

Last night, in mildly snowy Oslo, I went to see Reggie Watts‘s live musicomedy act at Parkteatret. Hilarious in that uniquely Reggie way. A long time ago, when I lived in Iceland, I used to know Reggie (briefly). This was before his comedy had taken off, and he was mostly known for fronting the band Maktub. We both had Seattle connections and had a lot of phone conversations. I eventually messed the friendship up by being more than a bit flaky (those were difficult times).

Last night when I saw the show, it suddenly dawned on me how much time had passed since then. In many ways it felt like yesterday, but when I really reflected, I realized how much has happened in my life since we were acquainted — so I can only imagine how much had happened and changed for him. (No wonder he seemed to have very little recollection of me. Not that I am particularly memorable.) The temptation to run to Stockholm to see Reggie’s show tonight is palpable. I will be wise, though, and stick with my working and baking plans (it’s the responsible, and incidentally, selfless, plan).

Happy Australia Day, my Aussie friends!