Dec 03 2015

A gutsy splash of truth

Front page of the New York Daily News, December 3, 2015.


Somebody had to say it.

Nov 25 2015

Is there a message here?

In the past few weeks, I have been gifted two different paracord bracelets by two different people who know me in two very different contexts.

The first one came from the Alpha Geek … father of my youngest Goddaughter and one of my oldest and dearest Swedish friends. He knows our interest in the outdoors and fashion preferences well, so when he came across a good deal on paracord bracelets with flint fire starters built into the buckle, he bought a camouflage green one for me and a black one for Dr. Darling. It was a very thoughtful surprise that will make a fine addition to our extensive collection of bike touring/camping gear.

Flash forward to this morning, when a colleague at my new company who knows very little about me at this stage of our relationship, announced that she had started a new hobby and promptly presented me with a paracord bracelet that she had made herself. And this one will match pretty much ANY outfit.


Surprise handmade gift from a crafty colleague!

A photo posted by Shazzer (@shazzersnaps) on

Another lovely surprise that I am sure to wear regularly even when I’m not bike touring or camping.

But now I’m kind of wondering why two different people, unknown to and independent of each other, thought I needed to have a decent length of military-grade parachute cord with me at all times.  😉

Nov 23 2015

Kate Winslet with an Aussie accent is all kinds of win

It’s no secret to readers of this blog that I am a long-time fan of Kate Winslet. She’s s been on my radar ever since her debut in Peter Jackson’s 1994 masterpiece “Heavenly Creatures.”

What might not be quite as obvious is my love of Australian films. I thought it started with 1989’s Dead Calm (Nicole Kidman’s first big picture), but in fact, my appreciation actually dates back to 1975’s “Picnic at Hanging Rock” … though I’m pretty sure I didn’t see it until sometime in the early to mid-80’s … probably on PBS. Then there was “Strictly Ballroom” (1992) followed by “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” and the amazing “Muriel’s Wedding” in 1994.

So naturally, the idea of Kate Winslet in an Australian film has my heart all a-flutter. The only question is, how many legally questionable hoops will I have to jump through in order to be able to see “The Dressmaker” here in Sweden? Because based on this 8 second Vine loop, it’s going to be AWESOME and totally worth it.

Nov 18 2015

London Report: late, short & sweet

raclette with all the trimmings

raclette with all the trimmings (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We had a lovely long weekend in London with our friends Chaundra and Drake, who were wonderful hosts, as usual. They have a knack for introducing us to new things, and this time they scored a daily-double. The first night it was their Raclette grill, a Swiss method of getting your dinner guests to cook for themselves similar to fondue. It was healthy and tasty and SO MUCH fun that we are planning to get one for Christmas.

The second night it they took us to a place for Argentinian barbecue … a carnivore/low-carber’s wet dream of a meal. We sat at the back of the restaurant near the open grill where we could see all the action. A seriously wonderful experience all around.

Dawn French rocked on Saturday. If you have a chance to see her one-woman show 30 Million Minutes, don’t miss it. But I have to admit that I was a little bit uneasy to be in such a big city and moving about it a number for crowded venues in the days immediately after the Paris attacks.

Before flying home on Sunday, we met up with ex-pat podcaster Nic Burmester, who had recently interviewed me for her show. She’s German, but based in Brighton, and we had a lovely chat over a full English breakfast at a cafe near Victoria Station. Not that I want to jinx it or anything, but I seem to have really good luck when meeting people who I initially only know online. (Like our hosts, for example!)

Our flight home was delayed … which would not have been that big a deal if it weren’t for the fact that I had to be on a train bound for some of my new company’s facilities in Wermland at 5:50 the next morning. But that’s another story.

Nov 13 2015

London-bound because we’re really old

Dr. Darling and I are headed to the city where we met in-person for the first time around this time of year back in 2000. It’s an anniversary that we tend to space, but this time we actually have tickets to see Dawn French‘s one-woman show “30 Million Minutes” … which is kind of special since it was Dawn French and her long-time comedy partner Jennifer Saunders who brought us independently to London 15 years ago.

Because it’s such an easy trip from southern Sweden, we usually get over there at least once a year … and those trips tend to involve French & Saunders one way or another whenever possible. We actually managed to meet Jennifer on one visit and tell her that she was instrumental in getting us together. Since we’re seeing Dawn at a Saturday matinee, I doubt we’ll hang out at the stage door afterward (been there, done that … don’t need a reputation as stalkers).

But somehow in all the planning, organizing and ticket buying for the trip … I somehow totally missed the fact that we would be flying on Friday the 13th. Good thing neither one of us is superstitious … much.

Nov 11 2015

More reasons to love Justin Trudeau

On the heels of announcing that his cabinet would be 50% female “because it’s 2015”, Canada‘s new dynamic young Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, is winning the internet all over again by appearing in a photo with a colleague’s adorable twin toddlers.

Of course politicians scoring family values points by holding babies is not in any way new or dynamic … except in this case the colleague just happens to be the longest-serving gay member of Canada’s parliament, Liberal Scott Brison, whose husband is also in the photo (in the white shirt).


Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (far right) with Liberal MP Scott Brison (center) and his husband, Maxime St. Pierre, with the couple’s twin daughters.

I’ve often heard people in the U.S. say that LGBTQ Americans and their families won’t gain full societal acceptance until the older generation of socially conservative elected leaders retires or dies off. I think Canada is showing its southern neighbor exactly what that’s going to look like.

Nov 08 2015

13 years later, Sweden discovers Half & Half

It has always amused me that “The Land of 9 Different Grades of Cream” has nothing resembling my beloved Half & Half in its grocery store dairy cases. I basically had to mix up my own version until I switched to heavy whipping cream in my coffee in the summer of 2014.

But recently, the Swedish dairy Arla started selling the product in the photo … which translates literally to “cream-milk.” Though my follow-up research has revealed that the Swedish version contains half the fat that Half & Half does … which means I’d still be mixing my own if I were still using it in coffee.

So I will have to wait until I’m in the U.S. for Christmas to get some real Half & Half, but now I supposed I have to start referring to Sweden as “The Land of 10 Different Grades of Cream.”

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