Blog Archive for Aug 2013

Pre-trip Movie

NYC, part 3

A rainy Thursday afternoon in New York City, and Jimmy Toner is happy. Here I am on the second floor of the New York City Public Library, surrounded by books and marble and the hush of a holy place. I

NYC movie

NYC movie

Last words for NYC…

What a treasure to be here in New York City, eating bagels, laying our dizzy heads on Theresa and David’s Pottery Barn pull out, having our own set of keys to the most welcoming apartment(s) and

NYC, part 4

Just a few more hours in New York City before heading east to Sweden. Our visit here has been… ahh, what’s the right superlative: spectacular, meaningful, uplifting, joyous. Regardless of what awa

New York state of mind

New York State of Mind   My first visit to New York City was in 1979, nearly 35 years ago. I was young—17—and naïve and beautiful, a trifecta for trouble and/or opportunity. Certain events i

NYC to Sweden

On our flight to Sweden right now, about an hour until landing. For Liam it means seeing his good friend Lukas again, his friend from Sonora. Their friendship began on the soccer field where his fathe

Stockholm, Day 1

Early morning in Stockholm, getting caught up on sleep from our jet lag. We arrived 20 hours ago, and for all 20 of those hours Liam hasn’t left the side of Lukas, the Golden Child, he of the long b

Stockholm–day 2 (part 1)

Early Monday morning in Stockholm, 6am. The sun rises so early here in the summertime that it’s toying with my rhythms, tricking me into thinking it’s the 7:30 light of Columbia. But then again, n

Stockholm, Day 2 (part 2)

Just returned from a run, though “run” might be too inflated a word. “Stagger,” “mope,” “hobble”—more in that family of motion. Still, there was enough forward momentum to observe li

Norwegian Air

Norwegian Air   We are on a big plane heading to Sweden. Eight seats across. Norwegian Air out of JFK.   The first sign of trouble is that each fabric-covered seat is stained. Not little vag

Stockholm, Day 2 (part 3)

It is now Tuesday, August 6, and still no answer to the toilet situation in Sweden. But if Woodward could unearth Watergate, I can get to the truth of Swedish toilets. Tenacious Toner, that’s what I

Stockholm, Day 3 (pt 1)

Okay, out the door to go to a cabin on an island off Stockholm for a few days. They call it the “archipelago,” which is really a tasty word to say. Go ahead, say it. I can’t leave, h

I’ll Take Sweden, Ya Ya Ya

I’ll Take Sweden, Ya Ya Ya   From the air, Sweden looks forested and watery. Red farmhouses break up the expanse of green space. I learned later that red is a traditional color for Swedish homes, s

Stockholm, day 3 (pt. 2)

How did this happen, us on a boat piloted by a strange Swedish man across the Baltic Sea to his cabin on the island of Uvo. Wasn’t I just in Linden, California, watching Liam play shortstop in 108 d

Stockholm, Day 4

It’s 7:40am and I am down at the edge of the Baltic Sea in a rocking chair on a deck. I am the only one awake—odd, since I could’ve been down here hours ago. At 4:38am I rolled over in bed to lo

No blog for a bit

off to a more distant island without wireless, so there probably won’t be any blogging for a few days. But please don’t disappear. We’ll be back, and we want you back. In the meantim

We’re back… to Stockholm (Day 8)

Hello, blogophiles. We’ve been away from wireless for three or four days but we’ve kept up the writing. We returned to Stockholm and I had to learn the ways of the modern world: how to get

I’m OK, You’re OK

But I’m not OK. I am trying to sleep in Stefan’s parents’ apartment in a suburb of Stockholm, Sweden. I am antsy and anxious, thoughts speeding around the course of my cranium, as turbulent as a


Back in Stockholm after a week on the islands, and back on the internet after the rare experience of being disconnected for five days. We helped our friends the Lovgrens move into their new apartment

On the spot blog… in Stockholm

Dolora and I are in a park in Stockholm–she drinking tea, me drinking a latte–beneath heavy clouds that have somehow skirted us. Blue skies, leisurely afternoon, son in a soccer camp–

And again on the spot… in a Stockholm park

The rain and the thick Scandinavian clouds have gone away on this Thursday. Today is all blue sky without the usual hint of a gathering storm for the afternoon. Dolora and I jumped on our City Bikes a

Midnight in Stockholm

It’s nearly midnight out here on the streets of Stockholm. I’m sitting on a park bench outside Stefan’s apartment, looking up at the rare sight of a cloudless night. Some runners pas

music at cultural festival

Morning cafe in Stockholm

Saturday morning in Stockholm. We are down to our last five days here before heading off to Budapest, Hungary. I’m sitting at an outdoor café drinking a latte and eating something with “Paris”

Stockholm Symphony

Movie of Sweden

From jumping into the Baltic Sea to an outdoor concert at midnight with the Pointer Sisters, this movie captures some of our experiences during these magical two weeks in Sweden.      

Monday morning in Stockholm

Back again at the same café on a Monday morning, with the same latte and Parisbrulle on the table. The activity on the streets, however, is entirely different. On this Monday at 9:15am on August 19th

Sound of the Swedish language

  Here’s what the Swedish language sounds like through the mouths of the three Lovgren boys. It took them a year–well, much less than a year–to learn the language.

Siren and a soccer match: The sounds of Sweden

Here are two sounds that you won’t hear in America: a police siren and the chants and cheers in a professional soccer match.Soccer and siren sounds,b    

My breakfast with Liam

Back at the same café, this time with Liam. I promised him a treat that would change his life forever if he went on a morning bike ride with me to see the first day of school for the Lovgren boys. So

Hejdå Sverige

Goodbye Sweden–we’re off to the airport for the next leg of our around-the-world tour, this time to Budapest, Hungary.   If possible I’ll write from the airport, but there might

In the air to Budapest

I tried to get a first glance of Hungary out the window of Ryan Air but the man in that seat was hogging the view. He had a nose that plunged straight down, like he’d been in many fights in his life

Budapest: First impressions

First impressions of Budapest: This air is not Stockholm air. This is a city without the benefit of sea breezes washing its air. There’s dirt in this air, and just enough of a Soviet sensibility to

First days in Budapest

A quick note to my colleagues at Columbia College: It was so great to connect with you via Skye on Thursday. It brought back to me in a rush how grateful I am to have this job, how grateful I am to ha

Sweden Revelry

    I am sitting on a bright blue velvet couch looking out long picture windows that frame the Danube River in Budapest, Hungary. But that’s another story. The ancient Greeks had a word, antak

Budapest, part 2

It’s Sunday morning in Budapest. Maybe it’s because of our location right up against the Danube River, but I’m not hearing any church bells chiming across the city. I want to hear that. I want t

Monday morning in Budapest

It is Monday morning in Budapest, 8am, and I am sipping a cappuccino and writing at a sidewalk café in a pedestrian-only street just around the corner from our apartment overlooking the Danube.  

Early morning at the market

It is early on Tuesday morning, 6:50am. I slipped out of the apartment with both Dolora and Liam still fast asleep, Dolora wearing her eye patches and Liam sprawled out wide as if fallen from a great