Monday, July 30, 2007


Ingmar Bergman is dead. Just like that. After 89 years of brilliance, more than 50 films, and never ending madness. No films have made a greater impression on me than his. Some that come to mind are... "Smultronstället" or "Wild Strawberries," "Cries and Whispers," and, of course, "Fanny and Alexander."

I was interested to read that Ingmar Bergman was actually scared of dying. It seems that in order to create films like he did, you would have to be completely free of fear. Or perhaps so full of fear that those are the only kind of films that can be conceived...?

I am sad. A Swedish icon is gone. This is almost as traumatic as the death of Greta Garbo. Not quite, but almost. I'm sure they will be showing Bergman films non-stop on TV in Sweden now. I won't be there to see them.

We'll have to scour the foreign-language section of Blockbuster and hope for the best.

"Film as dream, film as music. No art passes our conscience in the way film does, and goes directly to our feelings, deep down into the dark rooms of our souls." -- Ingmar Bergman

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Hairspray...!!!! I love dancing and singing movies. Makes me want to be a dancer. (I've got to work on that...)

Anyway, I took Rebecka and one of her little friends to see the movie today. Rebecka and Todd had already seen it and Rebecka had downloaded some of the music onto her iPod, so I had an idea about what I was about to experience. After being turned down at one movie theater (3:15 PM show sold out... WT...?), we rushed to the less stylish, less clean, but, on the upside, less populated Regal Hollywood 27 at a dying mall north of our house and managed to catch the 3:30 PM show. We loaded up on popcorn, drinks, and Milk Duds and spent the next 1 1/2 hours in pure bliss. As Todd later stated, "This is the most up-beat movie I have ever seen." It is pure joy. Go see it.

Other than that, we have been doing a massive amount of socializing this weekend (for us). On Saturday night, we had Todd's professor/advisor and his wife over for Swedish meatballs and other Swedish food. They are descendants of Swedes, so they enjoyed it very much. I also sang some traditional Swedish songs for them and they hummed along when they recognized the tune. It was a very pleasant evening indeed.

Today, one of Todd's friends from college and her family stopped by on their way from Missouri to Alabama. We had a nice lunch with them and also played Apples to Apples (our favorite game). At the end, I went upstairs and continued to read Harry Potter (nope - haven't gotten through it yet), so that the rest of the gang could discuss the book. I'm on page 107 of 700 something. Every time I start reading, I fall asleep because I'm so exhausted. I was supposed to read it all this weekend, but that didn't quite happen. I'm going to give it another shot right now. Let's see how it goes.

[singing] Without love... Life is like the seasons with no summer. Without love... Life is rock 'n' roll without a drummer...

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Coffee Houses

Sitting at Panera... I guess it doesn't quite qualify as a "Coffee House" but it is the only decent one in close proximity to our house (other than Starbucks). The past couple of weeks we've been testing out different coffee shops in town:

The Frothy Monkey was very pleasant. Not big, but had good Chai Tea and good music.

The Portland Brew was some jail version of a coffee house. Not very cozy and the bathroom was apparently "disgusting!" (as per Becka). Supposedly good if you drink coffee, which I don't.

I just like to go to coffee houses for the atmosphere, the Chai Tea or Hot Chocolate, and the coolness of it. It is also much easier to get work done when Sophie is not jumping up on me every 5 minutes and scratching my thighs (which is the case most of the time at home).

Anyway, the quest continues, but today we decided to settle for the familiar and the close... and the bagels are pretty darn good.

Todd is reading Harry Potter #7. Rebecka is "working" (i.e. blogging).

I guess I should get back to my fun-filled design activities.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


I went for a good run today. It was pretty fast (for me). I went with a person who was in better shape than I was. This does not happen very often. Probably because I mostly run alone. It made my face red (or more like speckled). It made me want to become a faster runner.

I have a Dr. appointment on Friday (courtesy of my new personal assistant, Dr. Green) for my knee. Hopefully she will wave her magic medicine wand over me and make it all better.

Because I want to run more and faster and better. Now!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Usability woes

Isn't it sad when websites deploy a new, hip look and feel and the usability is worse than before. did just that this week. As an example, they used to have this nice "Quick Transfer" feature that allowed a one-click transfer of funds from one account to another.

Now, you have to select the date you want (it doesn't default to today's date) and you have to select from a drop-down that it is a one-time transfer (again, no default).

Guh... I'll be writing their web master with a link to

Goodbye Reverend Green

Hello Doctor Green!!!!

Yep, Todd defended his dissertation today (boy, did he defend!). Five years of grueling work and anguish over at last! He did an awesome job in that room with all his brilliant professors asking him challenging questions. Todd showed them that he knew what he was talking about and he will not accept the theory that secularization is inevitable. No, no, no!

I'm so proud. :)

Now what fun things can I come up with for him to do with his new found free time? (evil laugh...)

You know you travel too much...

...when the nice, elderly man that works the night shift at the front desk of the "Squirrely-Moose" hotel exclaims:

"There she is! We were getting worried about you."

Good thing I have people worrying about me. I need it!

Sunday, July 08, 2007


Since so many of my friends/relatives have never had the chance to come visit us, I thought I'd put some pictures up so that people can see what our home looks like:

Formal living/dining

The heart of the home (where I am sitting right now typing this up).

Kitchen at a different angle (Todd would like to point out the lack of trans fats and high fructose corn syrup in our pantry).

The "Reading Room," which is also "Sophie play room," "Stretching room," Sit-in-front-of-the-fire room," and much, much more.

This is where the princess lives (when she is around).

Sleepover headquarters (aka Bonus Room).

Rebecka's office.

Looking out the front door.

I left out the master bedroom, the bathrooms (why would you want to see our bathrooms?), the guest bedroom, and the office for various reasons:

1) They were too messy.
2) It takes so darn long to upload pictures and I have to go get ready for church.
3) This way you will have to come visit to see the rest of the house.

All are welcome (please call ahead so we can stock up on junk food, soda, and other foods that we may not typically keep in our pantry)!

Friday, July 06, 2007

Friday night...

Hmmm.... I can't believe the weekend is already here - again. I guess this sensation is magnified since we had a mini-weekend just a couple of days ago. I was totally convinced the whole day that it was a Saturday. I told Todd that this is a sign of my newfound ability to relax enough to treat a holiday as a day off as opposed to another work day having the added benefit of nobody else working.

Nevertheless, we had a very productive day from a workout, shopping, and organizing perspective. I mounted a broom/mop hanger that we had owned for 18 months or so. It required the use of a drill. We don't drill very often. We can actually see the floor of the "under-the-stairs" closet now:

We also cleaned out the coat closet and filled our new china cabinet with, well, china (and other pretty things):

Once we were all done with our objectives, we settled down on the bed with crackers, cheese, and wine to watch the fireworks from our bedroom window. It was a good feeling.

Now it's time to embark on my very unrealistic quest to re-read Harry Potter #6 in preparation for the release of Harry Potter #7. Sleep well.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Can you teach a Bichon Frise to pace herself?

Sophie has started running with me and Rebecka when we do our weekly run/bike in the neighborhood. She starts off with an amazing sprint (impossible to keep up with) and slowly loses her energy throughout the run to the point where her little head is drooping and her tongue is hanging so far out of her mouth that I feel compelled to carry her.

Today, she went with me as I did an easy run to warm up for weightlifting. Same thing: crazy sprint -> tired Sophie. So, the question is:

Can you teach a Bichon Frise to pace herself?

The only thing I could find on the www (granted I spent tops 5 1/2 minutes looking) was that you can teach dogs to pace themselves on the agility course. That's encouraging. (Hmmm, I think taking Sophie for agility training was one of my goals for 2007. I'd better get on that.)

I also found out that there is a dog running company in New York called Running Paws. They run dogs as a service. In fact, they train dogs to be better runners (and better dogs). Can you imagine getting paid while running!?!?

Actually, I read about a psychologist who offers to see his clients during a run instead of on the couch. My guess is that the simple act of running takes care of 50% of his clients' problems. When I told Todd about this, he said that he is thinking about having some of his office hours on the track once he becomes a professor. I can just see Todd running with a crowd of college students around him, discussing the latest on the secularization theory...

Maybe I can do running design sessions...?

Ultimately, I learned that Bichons don't really need that much exercise. Oh well. We'll still bring her along. When the day comes that she does not jump for joy at the sight of the leash, we'll know that she has over trained. Until then, it's hill workouts and interval training for Sophie every week. Hopefully, she is smart enough eventually to realize that going all out at the beginning of a run is not the best of strategies.

PS. She is currently lying next to me on the floor on her side and breathing contently. It's good to be a runner.

Happy 4th of July!

Todd and I started this Independence Day by lying in bed and singing at least the first verse of all the patriotic songs we kind of know the words to (including God Bless America, Todd's favorite).

Todd sang very much out of tune (in honor of Fluffy, Rebecka's stuffed cat). I sang very much in tune (although I'm sure Simon would have claimed that it was kinda' "pitchy" - it was only 6 AM after all).

It was a surreal (but nice) experience.

Oh - and Happy Birthday to my lil' sis Miriam - 22 years old today!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


You may not know this, but Milwaukee is currently hosting what they claim to be "The World's Largest Music Festival," Summerfest.

I had the privilege of attending last night with some of my favorite pals from my second hometown. The main attraction was the band Social Distortion. I must confess I had never heard of them, but it was good music to move to. I didn't actually see the band, but we sure could hear it (and I also got extra effects from a guy with a very long beard standing behind me on the picnic table, wailing at the top of his lungs and playing air guitar).

What we did see was lots of interesting people of all shapes and sizes and hair styles and such. It was like being in the London Tube. I miss London. I haven't been in six whole months. It's a crime!

Anyway, I had fun. Tonight should be fun. Tomorrow should be fun. And on and on it goes...

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Dancing to Everything...

I have a long list of goals that I want to accomplish as part of my Half Year Resolution. One is to dance more. I danced a lot at Priscilla and Fredrik's wedding and realized how much I love to dance. I've always been self conscious about dancing - especially club-type dancing. We had our share of ballroom dancing lessons in Jr. High, but there is just not many opportunities for this style...

Anyway, today I followed this resolution to the tunes of "Everything" by Michael Bublé. I've been watching this video on VH1 during my runs and today I discovered that I could watch it on YouTube...


So I started to listen to it and realized I just had to dance. I was wearing a full-length skirt from India, so that made it even better. I danced by myself, I danced with Todd, I danced with Rebecka, and I danced with Sophie. Todd learned some new steps. Rebecka danced like a monkey with a funny little monkey face. And Sophie, well she danced like a dog.

This is one of the happiest songs I've ever heard! If you're feeling down, please click on this video, kick off your shoes, and start dancing.

As for my other Half Year Resolutions, I'm sure you'll read about them here little by little.

One is definitely close (found a voice coach today...). More to come. Time to watch Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.