When people ask, “What’s your favorite color?”, I am not among the many who wonder, “Yeah, what is my favorite color anyway?” or “Do I even have one?” or “Hmm, let me see…pink, maybe?”

Nope, not me. I am convinced — or rather, have convinced myself — that GREEN is my favorite color. You see, long ago, I had stood in front of the mirror and permanently hypnotized myself: “Look into my eyes, Lara. Your favorite color shall be green!”

Also, that my maiden name is “green-yo” helps me to remember that fact in my lucid moments.

Which makes it not surprising that (A): last weekend’s blog post was full of IT.

And (B): the prominent features in this blog are green.

And (C): my wedding motif was this.

And (D): one can find green objects EVERYWHERE in our kitchen. (No, I don’t mean those extra-terrestrials.)

And (E): I just HAD TO acquire this…

…even when I have never EVER splurged on jewelry, and never EVER will again.


In case you’re now confused about how the title relates to the actual blog post, everything that’s been written above the red line was actually just an introduction; a heavy one compared to the body below, but an introduction, nevertheless.

What I was intending to showcase here was my second favorite color.

I (also) love BLUE…

…on sparkling lake waters,

…and when they turn a deep shade in the seas, contrasting with the lighter sky,

…and in those “blue-moments” in winter afternoons where everything you see, literally, is blue!

But most of all, I love the blue in this man’s eyes.

They just stand out…pop!

And it’s true what the song says: I get lost in his eyes ;-)

In fact, I loved his blue eyes so much that I just HAD to marry him.



These are wonderful finds from an online art gallery in Kristianstad:

And these are framed posters of Lena A Linderholm’s art:

As I write this — on this late Saturday, late spring afternoon — I can hear the pitter-patter of raindrops beating on the roof and the windows. Earlier there was a loud boom of thunder followed by a heavy downpour from our gray skies. This was what it looked like outside.

dark clouds pregnant with rain…

…that could no longer be contained

(Aren’t rhymes simply delightful?)

In contrast, the day actually started bright and clear. So Jaakko just HAD to go out because he simply could NOT be cooped up on such a perfect day (whereas I could but we never EVER travel apart so I just HAD to tag along, as usual).

We decided to deviate from the main highway on some parts, driving along the scenic route closer to the Ljusnan river, through small, sleepy, picturesque villages.

Have I ever mentioned how beautiful Sweden is in the summer? It is, oh it is!

I am fascinated by the different shades of green of the pines, and the spruces, and the birches, and the aspens, and the…umm…(I have yet to increase my vocabulary on Swedish dendrology.)

But I just LOOOVE the colors so much so here’s another shot of it.

And this is the panorama shot that Jaakko stitched together. Please click on it to get a full-size view. The hill is called “Offerberget” which translates to “The Sacrifice Mountain”. Oooh, creepy.

But isn’t it lovely? Isn’t it wonderful? (I’m hearing Stevie Wonder singing in my head.)

The family who lives in that charming red house is fortunate to have a view of the river across the road and the lush forest behind it. By the way, these red wooden houses are everywhere in the Swedish countryside.

Oh, but speaking of lovely greens, ahhhh, there’s more!

And I LOOOVE this shot so much that I must show you a closer view of it.

There were bursts of dandelions everywhere!

And I mean beautiful-bright-yellow-beautifully-scattered-EVERYWHERE!

We are so glad we caught the sun today!

Now it’s gloomy and damp. But then again, that’s perfect for a Saturday evening, isn’t it?

For a cozy sweet cuddle in front of the tv. What are we watching tonight, Sweetie?



‘Raindrops on roses’? Oh definitely! But ‘whiskers on kittens’? No way. Puppy breath and paws are more to my liking.

And here are a few more. These were taken today.

lazy, sunny saturday mornings

budding tulips

and jaakko,




that rotten fish

I ate rotten fish last Wednesday. Alright, it wasn’t actually rotten but rather, fermented. Nevertheless, it did smell and taste rotten.

So why eat it, you ask? Well, because in these parts, this fish dish is rather (in)famous and a very important feature especially in the culture of Northern Sweden (where we are). So I vowed that I must taste it, even if just once in my lifetime.

Over here, “that rotten fish” is called surströmming = soured herring. And to prove how significant this food is in Swedish culture, the calendar even marks one day as surströmmingspremiär!


The author Kim Loughran writes:

The third Thursday in August is the unofficial opening of the fermented herring season. This is Baltic herring soaked in lactic acid and packed in cans that literally bulge with odorous gases (hydrogen sulfide, butyric acid, etc.).

Because the Baltic Sea is brackish, not saline, northern Sweden used to lack easy access to salt. Innovation was needed to preserve food. Pickling, curing and drying are still widely used. The herring was sealed in barrels left outdoors for the spring sun to heat. Statistically, heat would spark the process in mid-April. Eight weeks later, trucks would load the cans and speed out from the salting-house gates promptly by the third Thursday in August.

Ever faithful in helping me integrate, Britt and Rakel invited me to a special lunch last week. It was to be their own surströmmingspremiär and, in their tradition, the only time they will eat this dish for the entire year. (I told you it was special, didn’t I?)

P1010115For obvious reasons, we had to eat outdoors. Here, Rakel waits for Britta to finish putting things in order so they can open the can together.

P1010118Almost there, here it comes!

P1010121And here it is!

As soon as the liquid oozes from the lid, one immediately gets a whiff of that infamous foul odor. But while Wikipedia defines that smell as “overwhelming”, I honestly didn’t think so. It wasn’t strong enough to make you turn away or want to gag. No, no, no, not at all. It was a very tolerable rotten smell, even when you put the fish near your nose before you take a bite. I was…underwhelmed. But that’s just me. Could it be that my receptors have been desensitized by trips to Filipino public markets? Hmm…possibly :-)


So what did it taste like? Well, for the first few seconds, it was very salty. In Iloilo, we have this dried salted fish called “uga” or “pinakas” which I consider very mouthwatering, especially for breakfast with rice (Mmm!). So I would have loved surströmming if only it remained just that: salty.

But then came the strange aftertaste: surprisingly not sour (as one would expect from the name), but bitter. I had to load my mouth with big portions of potato to mask the icky taste, and then drown it in gulps of Coke. Altogether, it wasn’t super-duper-awfully bitter, just mildly awful and rather tolerable. So I went on to eat the entire tiny fillet.

And that was all I had and ever will have.

End of story.

Well not quite.

Britt and Rakel finished six fillets each. Every now and then they would exclaim, “Mmm, vad gott!” (How good [this tastes]!), which made me laugh because it’s a wonder how some consider so heavenly what others find repulsive. This reminds me of people’s attitude towards the durian, or the balut, or even the century egg — either you love it or hate it.


By the way, surstömming is usually eaten with tunnbröd (thin bread — either crisp or soft) spread with butter, potatoes, cheese, onions and tomato, or with sour cream and dill, which we didn’t have that day.


The ladies were thoughtful enough to provide an alternative lunch:

P1010127…thin slices of roast beef!

And to cap off our surströmmingspremiär:

P1010136…afternoon coffee! Of course.

Thank you, ladies!



looking forward

img_0173Delsbo, October 2007

I Look Forward to the colors and chill of Fall,
for it is The Prelude to Winter,
when Christmas and the new year will Finally be spent
at Home, in The Philippines.