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Monday, July 5, 2010

4th of July Stockholm Style

We got lucky with a gorgeous day on the 4th of July. 4 of us American women from my book club decided that it would be a good idea to gather our various spouses and dogs and boats and head out to the archipelago for a bbq picnic. Our friend Olle found this little gem of a spot south of Stockholm. Olle and Judy's boat proudly displays the American Flag in honor of our 4th of July celebration!
On our way out the water was extremely rough and I've never seen so many boats in the water. The summer vacation season has begun!
We were happy to arrive after the taxing ride out and once we got ourselves settled, realized what a great little perch our spot was turning out to be! It was hot and sunny and delightful. Our friends Mare and Kjell had their doggy, Cappy, with them. He is the absolute antithesis to Tanner! Calm and mild mannered, he found this little hole and just rested there for a better part of the evening! Tanner on the other hand, was dying to be in the middle of everything! Finally after swimming quite a bit, he settled down as well. 3 of us human types ventured into the beautifully clear but startling freezing waters of the Baltic. I was genuinely hot and wanted to cool off and I'd been in the water near town a couple of times so when I took my first plunge I wasn't quite prepared for how chilly it would be! At 15 degrees C, about 60F, let's just say exhilarating was one adjective that came to mind! Actually, it didn't take long for it to feel genuinely refreshing and the tingle began to restore my hot and tired self.Happy couple after a dip in the Baltic Sea.
Soon it was time to get the bbq prepared and I gotta tell you, this group knows how to put together a feast! Thanks to Doug and Kjell for grilling all the meat on the small one time grills as we forgot our little Smokey Joe grill! We had the charcoal, the "Girl Scout water" (lighter fluid), matches, food...but alas, no grill. Thankfully the brilliant Swedish invention of one time disposable grills came to the rescue once again!All of the food was just perfect and we ate as much as could have possibly have wanted to and then some. I had talked my friend Judy into making the delicious raspberry tarts she had made for book club a few months ago and even though she made me wait until we had eaten dinner to try one, they did not disappoint. What could more perfect than a cup of coffee and one of Selma's tarts on a rock in the middle of the archipelago?Much laughter ensued and pretty soon it was after 9.00 p.m. and we realized we had about a 1.5 hour journey back to the city so we began the process of getting packed up and going home. We engaged in one last photo shoot before departing! Don't you love the faux American flag backdrop?! Too funny. (The gal group photos are taken by Robert Cokery, Sandra's charming Australian husband who is a great photographer.)
The laughter and joy on our faces shows what a wonderful afternoon and evening we had all enjoyed.
We didn't blow off any fireworks, but the sun provided a beautiful display of natural beauty. Watching the day come to a close, around 10.30 p.m. is one of my greatest summer pleasures.The pup was worn out and sleepy from his island adventure.We finally landed at our Marina around 11.00 p.m. The bluish hue that the eastern sky takes on still thrills me. I marvel at the light late sky in Stockholm during this time of year. Likewise, I marvel for totally different reasons how dark it is so early in the day during the winter! We got the boat put to bed, drove home and put ourselves to bed, feeling very satisfied by food and friendship.The folks we spent the 4th with are dear friends. As we drove home through the gorgeous array of islands with the sky dancing and changing colors before our very eyes, I was reminded of how special my life in Sweden really is. I had a hard week last week. I was discontent about many things and felt some frustration with living in Sweden. Those feelings have not vanished with one beautiful night in the archipelago but I was reminded of what a gift friendship is and how beautiful and wonderful our life here can be when we choose to invest in the relationships that we've been given and to be thankful for the many ways that joy comes to us.
And so it is that another good day came to an end. Special thanks to my darling husband Douglas who works hard at the boating so I can enjoy it so much. And here's our little Finnmaster that makes all this summer fun possible. I am blessed in so many ways. I need to remember that when grumpiness and a lack of contentment lurks.