Just Another Saturday

It was just another Saturday spent at the rink. Goalielocks had five games to referee this morning while the Mayor had a marathon practice for Peewee Quebec. Today’s games were Goalielocks first travel games. Fortunately or rather unfortunately, they were mites or as we call them now U8.

For the uninitiated, hockey parent craziness seems to be inverse to the age of the kids. Meaning as the kids age, the parents tend to mellow. At U8, however, every kid is going to the NHL and every game brings an intensity from the parents you only wished to get out of your players.

It’s been awhile since we’ve been in mite hockey, but the cavalcade of cowbells quickly brought me back. I found my seat in the bleachers next to the hubby, so we could anonymously watch him ref.

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Honestly, I only made it through one game. Refereeing is hard enough because of all the rules and all the responsibilities that go with it. When you add crazy parents screaming at you and you’re only fifteen, it’s a whole different world. At least from a mom’s perspective. I think the best part is watching them scream at both refs for not calling penalties forgetting that penalties are assessed at the end of the game. I left, but my husband was quick to point out this cycle continued. How quickly people forget….

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My ref was good with it, which is why refereeing is so good for our kids. You learn so many viable life skills. On the otherhandn I headed home to take care of the laundry and grocery shopping since I had no desire Not wanting to get into a fight. Goalielocks did end up having to eject his first parent. No surprise here, but it was a goalie dad. We goalie parents are a special breed. Long story short, my boy enjoyed his day refereeing.

Midway through Goalielocks’ marathon ref session, the Mayor’s Peewee Quebec practice started. His practice ran from 11:30-5:30 with Coach Shawn putting them through two on ice sessions and off ice. I missed the practice, but the hubby was able to watch most of it.

We’re so excited that our Mayor’s been given an opportunity to play at Peewee Quebec. Goalielocks did the tournament three years ago and it was one of the best trips ever. I love Quebec City, especially old town, so I’m bummed I’m going to miss this trip. Nevertheless, someone has to hold down the fort in Florida!

The best part about the last practice before the tournament is getting all the swag. My Mayor was wearing his new hat all night! The pin bag brings back great memories for both Goalielocks and I. I know the Mayor will love trading pins.

Tonight we grilled some flank steak fajitas (recipe below) and served it with grilled onions and roasted peppers for a healthy low carb dinner. Well, mine was low carb as I used romaine lettuce as my tortilla. I know what you’re thinking, I’m taking my life into my hands using romaine lettuce and you’re probably right. The Mayor was deeply offended by our gross dinner choice, so he made himself pizza rolls.

Make it here:

Steak Fajitas:

1 flank steak

1 juice of one lime

2 onions sliced

1-2 lbs of mini bell peppers, sliced lengthwise

Olive oil

Pepper

Salt

Instructions:

If using a charcoal grill, get it started.

Onions:

Cut the onions into slices.

Coat the onions in olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Place onions on the grill and cook for 15-20 minutes until they’re tender.

Peppers:

Pre-heat oven to 450

Slice peppers lengthwise

Coat peppers in olive oil and season with salt and pepper

Roast the peppers for 20 minutes and remove from oven once the edges have started to turn black.

(If using regular bell peppers, I prefer to cook them on the grill with the onions.)

Steak:

Use the juice of one lime and olive oil to coat both sides of the flank steak. My hubby prefers to rub the steak with olive oil and freshly squeeze the juice over the steak. Use the salt and pepper to flavor as desired and set aside until the grill is ready. Don’t let it sit for too long or it will get mushy.

Once the grill is hot, cook five minutes per side. We cooked ours for about ten minutes and it was medium rare, which is how we like ours.

Let the meat rest 5-10 minutes before slicing at a 45 degree angle against the grain.

And then assemble. I should have taken a picture of the final product, but I ate it too quickly! It’s so simple and so good!

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Champions in Chicago

Our Panthers’ left Chicago late yesterday as champions.  I guess the winter storm, which was initially cumbersome was a harbinger of our team’s success. By Sunday the roads were nice and dry for our two games out in Geneva.   The rink was a beautiful facility with a great bar (thank you Chelios Pub and Grill,) but was quite far from civilization.  It took an arduous forty-five minutes to get there the first night on questionable roads.  The commutes Sunday and Monday were better, but still long.  Thankfully, our games took place after the storm had stop and the roads were largely cleared.

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Goalielocks played both games Saturday against local teams.  I was happy to have remembered my beta blockers for the game.  He played awesome game 1 and so did his team.  They came away with a 6-1 victory.  Fortunately, the victory was even sweeter for me.  I was blessed to be able to watch the game with my dearest friend Jenny and her kids, who are Chicagoland residents.  They’re awesome people and clearly good luck.  It was quickly agreed upon that they would need to be present at the rest of the games as our good luck charm.

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In between games some of the kids opted for White Castle. We, however, opted for something with less of a laxative effect.  Surprisingly, our hotel had a fabulous restaurant downstairs.  Goalielocks scarfed down a burger, while I enjoyed their yummy chili.  This was also the day I discovered the awesomeness of Adidas joggers and their zipper pockets.  Immediately, after dinner and the conclusion of the Rams/Saints game, Goalielocks and I headed to Dick’s in hope of finding another pair of joggers.  I had given up hope, when Goalielocks discovered a pocket of fancier Adidas at the back of the store. They had more joggers!   I quickly bought a nice pair in black and we headed back to the hotel to prepare for game two.

John, TK, Goalielocks headed back to the rink for game two.  John and I immediately headed to the bar, so we could grab a quick drink before the game and watch the Chiefs/Patriots game.  Sunday night it was Stella Cidre instead of beta blockers.   The cider was quite yummy.

Unlike the morning game, game two on Sunday got off to a much slower and arduous start.  We simply didn’t look good. There weren’t many shots against either goalie in that game with my goalie seeing around 12-15 shots.  Our opponents scored late in the first on a deflection to make it a 1-0 game.  Throughout the second and third period, Goalielocks made some huge saves to keep the team in it.   Unfortunately, it was looking like we were going to end up in the consolation game.  Then we got to less than 5:00 minutes left in the third.  After the referee gave their player a major penalty, we ended up on the power play.  In short order, our squad put in three goals.  Where was this the rest of the game?  It was an awesome end to a solid day of hockey for the team.   The best part of course was the post game celebration as they realized they were championship bound.

We ended our evening and started our Monday morning at the Ale House where it took twice as long to get our bill as it did to get our food.  I don’t for the life of me understand restaurants that won’t let teams order by jersey number.  They always insist it’s easier to do it their way.  Ultimately, they find that their way wasn’t the best way.  At 1:00 am in the morning it’s a bit aggravating to watch them enter and re-enter food trying to figure out what check the meal should be on.  We didn’t get back to the hotel until after 1:00 and were absolutely fried.

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I got up for breakfast, but Goalielocks was fried so he stayed in bed.  They had amazing pancakes with  white chocolate cream sauce and berries that had become his favorite.  Fortunately, the restaurant was able to make and pack up his meal as I finished mine.  By the time I returned from breakfast, Goalielocks was up and ready to eat.  We didn’t have a ton of time, so I finished packing while he ate. 

By 12:00 pm we were back at the rink for the 1:20 pm championship game.  We booked our flight out of O’Hare for 5:00 pm, so I knew it was going to be tight getting out there.  We were also meeting the hubby and my Mayor in Atlanta, so rescheduling was really out of the question.  Especially since I had my hubby’s truck keys.  The game itself was a complete gong show.  The other team started head hunting early and we fed into it.  By the end of the second period, more than an hour had elapsed.  Our games Sunday were relatively clean and quick.  This one was not.  In the end, we had to leave early in order to get to O’Hare on time.  Fortunately, we were able to beat the team we lost to on Saturday night, so our squad left Chicago as champions!

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We raced to the airport literally and figuratively.   Fortunately, the lines at security were not too bad.  We ended up having to wait longer for the shuttle from the rental car center than for TSA.  By the time we got to our gate, our flight was starting to board.  It was complete relief once we made it on board.  I texted the hubby our food order from the plane, since he’d be landing in Atlanta about an hour before us.

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We finally started to push back and then we sat.  Apparently, the tarmac was a bit icy, so our bird slid a bit out of position.  Consequently, we had to wait for the ground crew to come back and push us out further.  This was a first for us as travelers.  As a result, we ended up with a ten minute delay, which wasn’t bad.  Our flight was quick and fun.  Goalielocks and I enjoyed dipping our Biscoff cookies in our drinks (coffee with Bailey’s and coke respectively) and playing a word puzzle game on my phone.  The landing into Atlanta was hard and we took a bounce, but the flight was otherwise uneventful.

Thankfully, I had upgraded to comfort seats, so we were just behind first class.  If we had been at the back of the plane, we may have had issues making our connecting flight.  Our plane from Chicago arrived at gate C26 and our flight to Fort Lauderdale was departing from A2.  We booked (don’t worry I didn’t run) as fast as we could through the C terminal and to the tram.   After the tram, we were dodging obliviots that kept stopping in the walk-way to get to our gate quickly.  It was well worth the effort as we were rewarded with familiar faces and some grub.

The flight from ATL to Fort Lauderdale is pretty quick and was uneventful.  We were relieved that all of our luggage arrived in one piece quickly after we had gotten off the plane.  After a forty minute drive, we were home.  It felt amazing to sleep in my own bed.    Meanwhile, Chicago got hit by freezing rain today with over 800 flights cancelled.  We’re glad to be home and in the warmth.    Overall, our weekend was amazing and one that we’ll always look back on fondly!

Day One Chicago

Day one in Chicago has been fun. We beat the storm in, which was fabulous. In fact, it really didn’t start to snow until nighttime. After leaving the airport in my sexy Buick rental car, we hit Target to pick up some snacks and drinks for the room.

For Goalielocks, Target was just one more delay in eating a nice, hot slice of Giordano’s pizza. We checked out and quickly headed to Giordano’s thinking the storm would stay at anytime. Fortunately, we could leave our groceries in the car as we ate. I definitely miss that ability in Florida where we have to race home so our freezer items don’t melt!

Giordano’s was the perfect anecdote to a long day of travel. Our short layover in Detroit afforded us no time to eat. Consequently, we were quite hungry. The beauty of deep dish pizza, at least for me, is that one piece will leave you satiated for the rest of the day. In fact, neither Colin nor myself ate the rest of the day. Our late lunch at Giordano’s was enough to tide us over for the rest of the day.

The snow was absolutely beautiful this morning. We got about five inches at the hotel. The major roads appear to be relatively clean with some of the side roads still quite slippery and snow covered. I’m truly not looking forward to driving forty minutes southwest for tonight’s game. As for the temperature, it’s still pretty comfortable. The wind, however has picked up quite a bit, which is blowing snow everywhere. Meanwhile in Minnesota, my Mayor and hubby were enjoying sub zero weather.

Our hotel is nice enough and centrally located to the mall and Dunkin’. I dropped Goalielocks and his friends at the mall this morning, so they could do something other than look for ponds near the hotel. While they canvassed the mall, I headed to Ikea. I love that the store reminds me of my Scandinavian travels and the AirBnB’s we stayed in that were filled with IKEA items.

After the mall, Goalielocks and his boys headed back outside to cause trouble. They found some nice snowballs. The majority of which seemed to end up on Goalielocks’ pants and hoodie. He’s now down to one pair of pants that isn’t soaked or muddy. His nice Adidas joggers got a bit muddy after he broke the ice at the edge of the pond. You can only imagine how happy I was upon hearing that story.

While Goalielocks wrecked yet another pair of pants, I decided to do some yoga. I took a risk and did a vinyasa video from Fightmaster Yoga. It felt incredible, but it definitely got my heart rate pumping. I did modify some of the exercises to bring my heart rate back down. I’m not sure if it was the fact I’d only drank coffee today or Graves’ disease, but it was annoying either way.

Meanwhile in Minny, my Mayor is having a blast with his team and has already hit White Castle twice. Like I’ve shared before, he’s got an iron gut. At present, he and his team are playing at outdoor game not far from my Aunt and Uncle’s house. Tonight they’ll head down to the Excel Energy Center to see the Wild attempt to play. Last night, the Mayor got to see one of our favorite coaches and his mite coach, Coach Ryan. It’s awesome how hockey introduces you to great paths and how your paths keep crossing through the game we all love.

Chicago Bound… Hopefully

We’re Chicago bound hopefully… I say hopefully because we’ve made it as far as the runway in Detroit and now are parked on the tarmac. My hopes of getting into the city and situated before snowmageddon and Chicago rush hour are starting to dwindle. Ugh! I hate driving in the snow and I hate driving in rush hour traffic.

We had a nice flight from FLL to Detroit. Including some vintage Saved By the Bell episodes. They did make me feel a bit old, but also had me reminiscing about Saturday mornings. Afterwards we had a nice run down (don’t worry mom I walked) the terminal from gate A60 to A9. And now we wait!

While we wait here’s some things I’m looking forward to in Chicago:

  • Getting to hang out with my BFF Jenny
  • Hanging out with our hockey family
  • Watching the beautiful snow fall from the comfort of my hotel bed
  • Catching up on sleep after only getting 4 hours of it last night
  • Giordano’s pizza
  • Lou Malnati’s pizza
  • Thankful that I’m not on keto- see above!
  • Finally exploring the Schaumburg IKEA after driving by it for year. It works out since I need more lingonberry and cloudberry jam
  • And especially hanging out with Goalielocks

Good news is we’re ready for takeoff!!!! Chicago here we come!

And They’re Off

And they’re off to the frozen tundra for a weekend of fun, family and of course hockey. Luckily the Mayor will be playing at our old home rink, so they’ll be plenty of family to support him. It’s also pretty nice that they get to stay at Hotel Grandma and Grandpa instead of a Holiday Inn!

Goalielocks and I will be heading north to Chicago Friday for his tournament. I’m keeping a watchful and anxious eye on the weather. I absolutely hate the idea of having to drive in a snow storm, but at this point it seems inevitable. I look forward to sharing our adventures this weekend on the blog. You can be sure it will include a lot of good Chicago pizza!

Reading My Way Back to Health

In order to keep myself sane and intellectually engaged,  I’ve been reading my way back to health.  Over the past eight months, I’ve been out of my normal routine due to injury and health concerns.  Sadly, I often found myself too exhausted to write.  Fortunately, I was able to draw my reading list off The Greatest Books.  First, of all I like the site because it has a thoughtfully curated list of the best fiction and non-fiction works of all time.  Secondly, I love that you can track what you’ve read and what you want to read.

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I’ve read some amazing works from a myriad of different genres and authors across time.  Since I’ve read some wonderful works of fiction, I’d thought I’d share some of them with you.   Here’s the list of my favorites:

If you’ve never read Wilkie Collins, your missing out.  He’s a one of kind author, who narrates his stories from multiple viewpoints.  His plot development and character development are amazing.   Collins was a contemporary and good friend of Charlies Dickens.  He was also a huge influence to Edgar Allen Poe.  Once you read both these books, I think you’ll find that the great Agatha Christie was influenced by him as well.

When I first picked up Ana Karenina, I was a bit intimidated.  It is a thick book. As I got into it, I loved it.  Tolstoy doesn’t waste a word.   I was happy to find that Tolstoy didn’t incorporate essays with in the books or long tangents like those found in his contemporaries works.  Both Ana Karenina and Resurrection are beautiful stories.  In Anna Karenina, he tells the story of the titular characters life and the consequences of her choices.  It’s a tragic story told beautifully.  In Resurrection, he tells the story of man confronted by the impact his choices had on someone he loved.   In the end, he finds his redemption in a most obvious spot.  Truly, after finishing both novels, I feel compelled to travel to Saint Petersburg and the rest of Tolstoy’s Russia.

After finishing Nabokov’s Lolita,  I needed a literary pick me up and a shower.  That book will leave you feeling dirty…. I turned to Hesse’s Siddharta.. Hesse, of German-Swiss descent, bring a unique east meets west perspective.   This novel follows the spiritual journey of Siddharta.  His quest for enlightenment puts him in places and situations he never could have imagined.  It’s a beautiful book.

I loved Narcissus and Goldmund, which tells the tale of two best friends who are diametrically different, but still love each other.  While Goldmund leaves the monastery in search of the meaning of life.  His mentor and friend Narcissus stays in monastic life.  Throughout their lives they take different paths, but eventually their paths reunite.  It’s a beautiful tale of friendship and life.

It took me awhile to get into Steppenwolf, but eventually I was pulled into the world of Harry Haller.  Like the other two Hesse books, this one explores the duality of human nature.  This time in main character Harry Haller and not two separate characters like in Narcissus and Goldmund.   At the end of the day, you can’t go wrong with any of these books by Hesse.

Since I was heading to Scandinavia this fall, I wanted to read something that was Scandinavian.  After much research and a couple of recommendations, I decided to read The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. While in Finland, I finally started reading the book and I couldn’t put it down.  I loved that I could imagine where they were in Gamle Stan in Stockholm since I was just there.

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It’s an awful tragedy that we lost Stieg Larsson before these books were publishes.  He turned in the manuscripts for the first three installments in the Millennium Series, but died shortly after.  His books are incredible.  There are few characters in literature as vivid, damaged and bad ass as Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander.

I’ve already read the first four books in the series and cannot wait to read the fifth.  Since Larsson’s premature death prevented him from finishing the Millennium series, David Lagercrantz took up the mantle.  I was worried that Lagercrantz’s take on Larsson’s characters would be unfaithful to the original.  Lagercratnz had huge shoes to fill, but he did it beautifully.  The continuity between the characters and stories between Larsson’s and Lagercrantz’s books is seamless. If you haven’t read this series yet, I highly recommend it.  If you love Daniel Craig, like I do, you’ll love him in the movie version.

These are just a few of the books I’ve read since last summer that really resonated with me.  I’ve included links to Amazon for each of my recommended books.  I’m always looking for good book recommendations.  What’s your favorite book?  What books do you recommend?  

Exploring Stockholm

We spent today exploring Stockholm, its history, its food and its drink.  Our day started with a wonderful and real authentic continental breakfast.  It wasn’t the paltry continental breakfast every hotel at a hockey tournament tries to sell you.  This breakfast was legit.  There were no watery eggs or overcooked bacon to be had.  The only similarity is that this breakfast also had a waffle maker, which we definitely enjoyed.

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Our time here in Stockholm is short, so we wanted to maximize our time and see as much of the city as possible.  The best way to do this, especially in the winter, is the hop on and hop off buses.  They run continuously throughout the day with several stops and a narrated tour to boot.  If the weather were a bit warmer and my ankle/foot completely healed, this would be a perfect walking city.  Truly, if my foot was better, we’d probably have walked most of the city.

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We grabbed the bus at Stockholm’s Central nation, which is super nice.  We somehow managed to missed it twice.  Once it was our fault, the second time it just drove by.  When the third bus came by, we were sure to be first in line.  We sat atop the bus and rode for about half the tour before realizing we should have grabbed the headphones downstairs.   The bus takes you through all the major neighborhoods in Sweden and provides a lot of great information about the sites.

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We rode the thing throughout the complete loop before deciding to hop off at Gamle Stan near the Royal Palace.  As soon as I exited the bus, I was cold.  We were dropped off right across from the palace and not far from the water.  The wind was whipping off the water with no buildings to slow it.  I was getting cold fast!  We made our way up the palace stairs to check it out.   Our timing was sublime as we entered the courtyard right before they started the changing of the guard.   I filmed it in its entirety, but I almost froze my fingers off!

As soon as the ceremony ended, we made our way into the Palace to check out the Royal Apartments, the museum and find a bathroom.  The Palace is stunning and a beautiful example of the baroque design style.  Throughout the palace, the artwork was sublime.  At every turn, every room there were a myriad of paintings, sculptures and tapestries.   There was one drawing room in particular that was full of portraits of the royal family.  It reminded me of Harry Potter and a couple of other movies where the eyes in the portraits follow you as you move through the room.

After exploring the palace grounds, we headed to find food.  We explored the palace while past the lunch hour, so we decided to go for dinner.   At the recommendation of our bartender last night, we headed to Aifur.  It was an adventure through Gamle Stan to find it with two pit stops at Stortoget, the oldest square in Stockholm, to get coffee and mittens.  Finally, we headed down the hill to Västerlånggatan, the main thoroughfare, to find Aifur.   I tried to behave, but couldn’t help perusing a few of the stores along the way.  Humorously, when we finally found the restaurant it wasn’t opened yet.  Naturally, we killed the half hour at Corner Bar enjoyed  a few drinks.

Dinner at Aifur was quite the experience.  The restaurant is an homage to Scandinavia’s Viking heritage in its decor, its food, and its staff.  Consequently, the dining room was set up with several long tables with benches on both sides.   On the tables, there were candelabra, silverware and glassware in keeping with the theme.  Each of the dishes on the menu were inspired by the Vikings.

We started our meal with a charcuterie board inspired by Ragnor himself.  Largely, it was compiled of different types of sausages, including reindeer heart.  Surprisingly, the reindeer heart sausage was tasty.  I enjoyed the reindeer sausage with some cheddar chess on a cracker.  While I had the elk sausage on bread with cheddar and boiled apples. It was a nice exploration of the different types of sausages from the region.

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Our main courses were just as yummy.  Jon and I enjoyed venison with hash browns on root vegetables served on a creamy mushroom sauce.  Jake had the porcini risotto, which he thought was okay.  I really enjoyed it!  Brandi had the dwarf chicken also served with the risotto, which was also quite tasty.  We accompanied our dinner with Mead from Poland.

The best part of dinner, aside from the company and the food, was the atmosphere.  Every time new guests would arrive, the host/hostess would announce them to the dining room sharing both their party name and where they’re from. It was fun to guess where our other dinners guests hailed from.  I’d be lying if I said we were good at that game.  Nonetheless, it made for a fun night.  Lastly, as we ate, we enjoyed live traditional Scandinavian music keeping with the restaurant’s theme.

Post dinner we walked back to the hotel and then headed up to The Capitol Bar at the Scandic for the first of two night caps.  I ended my night out at the bar downstairs with a great apple beer from Belgium.  While I got ready for bed, the rest of the party closed down the bar and went on a fast food run.  Sadly, there were no Doritos burgers tonight only zombie burgers from Burger King.

Tomorrow we’re off to Helsinki for several days.  Stockholm has been a blast and we’ll definitely be back!

If you go:

Sightseeing bus: Hop On Hop Off Bus

The Palace: Royal Palace Complex: 

The Dinner: Aifur

We Made It

After nearly nine hours aboard a Boeing 787-900, we made it safely to Stockholm. The 789 was quite comfortable and I actually managed to get some sleep!  Yay!  If I had to guess, our bartender Laura’s heavy pour at the airport helped this mission.  Nevertheless, it wasn’t enough, so I’m totally exhausted now and its only 10:00 PM in Stockholm and 5:00 pm back home.  Once we got through customs and got our luggage, which was quite quick, we grabbed a snack and drink (coffee please) at 7-11 before hopping on the express train into the sitting.

Much like my initial impressions of Norway, Sweden reminds me a lot of Minnesota.  Speaking of Norway, we flew over Fjord Norway on our approach into Stockholm’s Arlanda airport.  The region looked absolutely beautiful from 40,000 ft with the mountains covered in snow.  As for the train, we arrived at central station in a brisk 20 minutes.  Fortunately, our hotel is mere half of block from the station.

Our hotel is adorable.  We have four bed and a beautiful patio overlooking Stockholm.  It’s the perfect place to store our beverages and stinky shoes.  The view is pretty fabulous as well.  Once we got situated in the hotel room, we got ready to head out and about to find dinner.

We started our exodus looking for a meatball place, but found the maps and google searches aren’t too successful here unless we’re on wi-fi.  We walked for several blocks in the brisk evening air until we happened upon a place called Polpette – combination of Italian and Swedish cuisine.  The restaurant was beautiful inside with friendly waitresses and hostesses.

Our dinner started with drinks, my bro and I enjoyed a lingonberry margarita, while B enjoyed a glass of wine and Jake stuck with water.  We started our dinner with an appetizer order of sourdough cheese bread and fresh caprese.  They were amazing.  Unfortunately, we ate them so fast we didn’t even stop to take a picture.

For the main course, I enjoyed a flank steak on a bed of gratinized mashed potatoes.  Jake had Swedish meatballs, Brandi has pasta Bolognese and Jon had fettucine with steak.  Our main courses were beautiful and delicious. My meal came with the bonus of an asparagus spear wrapped in bacon- yum.  Honestly, the food absolutely hit the spot.  We enjoyed our meal and the hospitality of the staff at Polpette.  If you’re ever in downtown Stockholm, I recommend you pay them a visit.

Post dinner we headed back towards the hotel in hopes of finding pastries, but alas all the cafes were already closed for the night.  Since we couldn’t find pastries, we headed to the Ice Bar in Stockholm.  I’ve been to the Ice Hotel in Quebec City, but this was my first time at a year round ice bar.

We suited up and headed into the ice.  Much like the Ice Hotel in Quebec, the Ice Bar had several elaborate ice carvings.  This bar is done in a Viking theme, which makes for an impressive experience.  It should come as no surprise that we spent tons of time hanging out on the Viking ship and throne while enjoying our drinks.  Our bartender was fantastic and gave us a list of places to try before leaving Stockholm After several rounds of drinks, we headed back to the hotel for a night-cap and to get ready for tomorrow.

If you go:

Our restaurant tonight: PolPette

The Ice Bar: Ice Bar by IceHotel Stockholm

Hotel:  https://www.freyshotels.com/

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TMinus Seven

It’s tminus seven until Jake, and my brother and his wife head to Scandinavia for an epic adventure.  Jake and I spent our morning picking up a few last-minute items from Kohl’s. It’s going to be in the 40s-50s, so a light jacket should suffice.  Since we live in Florida our fall wardrobe for Scandinavian weather isn’t quite up to par.

After Kohl’s we headed to Barnes and Noble.  I’ve been reading book after book as I work my way through the top 500 fiction and non-fiction books.  I’m currently reading One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez, but should finish it in the coming days.  It’s delightful this far, quite the departures from Tolstoy’s Resurrection.  I’d highly recommend both novels.  For the trip, I bought Stieg Larsson’s Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Since paperbacks were 3 for $30, I was seriously tempted to by several books.  I behaved and walked out with only two.

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In addition to Larsson’s novel, I picked up a book on Swedish grammar.  I love DuoLingo, but I needed to read through the grammatical rules.  Every night I try to spend at least 30 minutes practicing Swedish before reading for the last hour before bed.  I don’t expect to be fluent, but I hope to at least be able to communicate in Swedish while in Stockholm.  As an aside, there isn’t DuoLingo for Finnish or Finnish grammar books at our Barnes and Noble.    Please see video below for what I imagine I’ll sound like.

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I am super excited, not just for the trip, but for November’s Purple Stride.  This year I’m unable to run due to my left ankle, so I’m taking on a different role.  For this year’s event, I’m happy to announce that I am the Team Chair.  I’ll be in charge to driving team results and recruitment.  Those of you on the fence of joining team Deb Force Five – now it the time to join.   If you’re not in Florida that’s okay!  You can join us as a virtual strider.   Join by clicking here.  I’ll leave you with one of Freddy Mercury’s iconic live performances.  I, for one, cannot wait to see the Queen movie coming out next week.

 

Wanderlust

Wanderlust is defined as a strong desire to travel explore the world. Growing up I have always wanted to travel the world, but travel is expensive and so are kids. When I was young, we weren’t rich (weren’t poor either) and didn’t travel often.  If we did travel, it was normally within the state.   We took an amazing trip to California when I was thirteen.  This trip remains one of my favorite memories from childhood.  In addition, I was fortunate that my parents sent me on a couple of amazing class trips.  My goal growing up was to travel the world and see the sites.  Our last trip, Norway, fed my soul and reawakened my wanderlust. Moreover, it awakened the wanderlust in my kids.

There’s nothing better than exploring our globe and our heritage with the ones you love. Now that I’m getting older and have more money, I’m starting to see the future I’ve always wanted. A future that included exploring the world with my family and seeing all that this life has to offer. I’ve been so excited that this “future” is starting to become a reality.  Moreover, I relish the opportunity to share these experiences with my family.

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After traveling to Europe in high school, I fell in love with European history, architecture and art. The opportunity to traipse around the continent is a complete dream.   Norway was a complete dream as it combined my love of European history with my own heritage.  Moreover, it was made even better by the presence of my entire family and grandma.  For as long as I live, I will never forget the look of wonderment on my Grandma’s face as she looked up at the mountains and hills on the Kongevegen in Borgund.  You can’t script a moment better than this.

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I cannot wait for my next trip!  The future I have always wanted and worked so hard to get is close at hand.  Words are not adequate to describe how hard I have worked to get from the ground floor to where I am now.  Countless hours and years of dedication to achieve the results I have achieved and make my future possible.   All of my adult life, I have been working towards this future.

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As much as I love travel, I enjoy sharing these experiences with friends and family more.    A belief that travel and exploration is inconsequential and a needless expense has stalled my vision for the future. As the wind was knocked from my sails, a crushing pain has taken hold in my chest. The realization that what is important to me does not matter to the one I love most has been a crushing blow.  Nonetheless, I’ll pick up the pieces and move forward my plans for the future somewhat altered, but still intact.