This blog follows no particular theme. My constant craving soul just wont allow it! This is my musings on wisdom, travels, life in Spain, kettlebells, running, rock music and so much more.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Boasting sweetness with pictures

My life is sweet.
This weekend was sweet.
I like sweet.

Friday I did a kick ass kettlebell workout and then hurried down town to meet Sara for some "fika", but this is Spain so fika turned into tapas instead. It's all good. For you out there who do not know fika, let me tell you about this fabulous Swedish invention. Coffee/tea + cookies/pastries = fika and swedes love it. I have tried to find a sufficient English word for it but there is none. But if you are in Sweden you will hear it a lot "come over for fika one day" or "lets meet at the cafe and have some fika".

But yeah, this is Spain, so you cant find a good fika place here easy. So we went to the Castillio Cafe and sat our pretty behinds down for some much needed girl chatting and gossip. Ah, I do love being a woman. But the tapas were gone too quickly so we continued to Sara's office and popped open a bottle of cava for some more chatting. Ah, I do love Cava and high-styling it with plastic cups. A perfect afternoon.

Then I hurried home to make myself even more gorgeous (how is it possible?) for the chief hail and farewell party on base. Oh man oh man did we have a good time! Around midnight we all got bored of the base and headed into Rota for some serious good time at Paddys, Los Arcos and O'Gradys. Muy perfecto!

Oh and don't you just love Saturdays? Gods best creation I think. Actually didn't do a whole lot (no Sanlucar trip...) but that was just what we wanted. It was our friend Tomas birthday so we met all them for dinner at the homey comfy German restaurant. They serve this white wine that is just adorable (can wine be adorable?). Potatoes, Sauerkraut, bratwurst, ham and pork was served to me and it was tasty as can be! Had a perfect 3 hour dinner with loads of good conversations and company and I think the birthday boy was happy. Me and the husband rounded of the night with some intensely fun hours of dart and loving each other (aaaawwww... yeah we make people sick), a good combo.

And today its... lazy Sunday! We did go on base and we were forced to stop at the Baskin Robins there because a crazy zombie hale storm! Oh no, not baskin robins, anywhere but there!!! Sweet torture it was indeed, I haven't had an ice cream like this in ages. Peanut butter chocolate vanilla caramel ice cream with warm gooey caramel sauce topped with cream and almond sprinkles. I have never felt so sinful in my life (ok, that is a lie). And hey, what is it I do all this kettlebelling and running for if not for moments like these? Seriously, that was the taste of pure joy.

A smidgen of how I rocked the last days of February, hope you did too. Now I am ready and fully charged for March and this upcoming week! Going to be diving head first into my theology books, its gonna be hectic, but I am a rock star, I can deal, *wink*!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Alien abduction

Vinyl Ready Art - Holidays
The weather gods are so kind to us here in southern Spain. They chose to give us one day of warmth and brilliance and then switch it all up so the next day turns into a wet gloomy mess. All of this just so we don't grow tiered of that cheerful brightness, how considerate they are!

The peoples moods here in Andalusia seem to be more weather dependent then anywhere else I have been in the world. They do a total Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde! On a sunny day you see them out socializing and playing with their family, friends and miniature dogs. People wave and smile and laugh. But then the clods come... Poof! They are nowhere to be seen, like they all have been abducted by aliens. This mass abduction is definitely a horrible experience for the poor souls left behind. You walk the streets and see traumatic twisted faces or blank faces staring into infinity. That is if they even bother to lift their hanging heads up. It is as if they have never smiled or laughed before in their lives.

I might be over exaggerating and generalizing just a bit there, but the change is dramatic! For me as a (tough viking) swede I guess it doesn't hit me as hard since I am used to cold and gloom. Walk the streets of Stockholm and you pretty much see those sad twisted faces everyday of the year. Hustling and bustling, running around but heading nowhere. The people of Andalusia are born into the sun, it is a part of their everyday life, it is their culture. The clouds affect them so bad since they are spoiled with brightness most of the time, and I hope they know how lucky they are!

This is probably going to be my last post until Sunday. Got a really nice weekend planned. I am starting Friday out with Swedish "fika" in town and ending it with a Hawaiian themed party on base (I am just so very international!). Come rain or come shine, Amen! I hope you all do too, just watch out for those pesky aliens!
Alien with champagne bottle and glass

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

That woman was trying to kill me

Oh, what happened here? The blog has a different look yet again! OK, I promise I wont change it again (for at least a week...). I like this on though, loving the vineyard feel and the vines. I love grapevines. Been wanting a tattoo with some actually...!

Enough about vines! Today was yet again another beautiful day here in Rota. In fact, it was so warm that I think I have to retire my "winter" running outfit! Halfway through the run today I was dripping wet with sweat. That means time to get the shorts and tank tops out again, yay! (Sorry to you all who are stuck in various snowstorms, I might just be rubbing it in a bit too much?) Had great form throughout the run, listening to a brilliant playlist containing a mix with my favorites; The dead weather, Metallica and Marilyn Manson.
Marilyn Manson in Concert at Austin Music Hall

Then I came home and went to do my kettlebell workout. Come to find out my darling husband had accidentally taken my favorite DVD with him to work... This turned out to be a blessing in disguise , I found this Maureen Martone DVD that I forgot I had. Oh my lord, I think that woman was trying to kill me! It was no joke! You all know I totally adored the torture! So now I have to figure out how to work this into my routine...

Other news from south of Spain? Not really, been busy with my studies as always where I am looking closer into modern theologies biggest obstacles. Husband and I are thinking about another Sanlucar trip on Saturday, need to explore that town and their tapas more closely!
Spanish Appetizers
Also thinking that I need to continue writing again, but where do I find time? I needed to take a break with writing after last semesters creative writing class, didn't enjoy getting graded on my creativity so much.

That is it for now, time for me to relax and read some other wicked blogs!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Crush your enemies

"Conan, what is best in life?"
"To crush your enemies..." (Conan the Barbarian 1984)

Some wise words from the 'govenator' inspire today's post. It was actually my husband who quoted it from the top of his head when we were talking about priorities in life. He has the most random things stored up there, you gotta love his brain!
But there are some very important truths in those few words. First, to be able to figure out what ones priorities are, one must figure out what one finds most enjoyable. What attracts you to living with full potential?

Like I mentioned in yesterdays post, I have been pondering what I want out of life. No, I am not going through some sort of midlife crisis! It is just so very important to take a step back and look at the situation. Am I living the life I want? Nothing selfish about it, everyone deserve to live a full life! A wider perspective is all it takes sometimes. I know what I enjoy, I know what makes me smile, I just have no idea right now what to do with it! My problem is I have a hard time relaxing and just letting life happen. If I feel I have lost control and just 'flowing about', then it is time for some sort of action plan! I like striving towards things. But what the hell do I want? Am I even close to living a life of purpose?

Sorry, cant answer those questions. Wish I could, but for right now I am just thinking aloud. It is nothing one should stress, this is one thing that needs to linger for some time... Oh why do I crave constant action?! Patience Annika, it is a virtue after all...

But Conan's answer to the best in life is to crush your enemies. Maybe that is the answer! To crush you enemies, to concur whatever stands in your way for you to live your life of purpose, or whatever your goal destination may be, is the priority. Maybe it is not the purpose it self, the goal, that is the solution, but the journey getting there? Life is not completing, life consists of struggles to complete (or enemies to crush). Everything you concur to get to you goal, that is what makes life and who you are and that is the most important, not the end solution.

So maybe it is just the right time to sit back and keep crushing those enemies. I want to find my purpose in life, and all the while it might just be my life that is the purpose! So live now and live strong peeps.

Cant believe I got all that from a quote from that silly movie! Hasta la vista baby, I'll be back!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Some major construction accompanied by rock and roll

OK, I admit it... I was learning about and experimenting with blog backgrounds and headers when I was supposed to be studying today... Ooops! But I tell ya', that stuff is addicting! You fix one thing and then you want to fix another and then that doesn't look right so you have to re-fix it all over, and so on over and over. I don't even know if I will keep this style, it might be too much for me... We will see how I feel tomorrow.Yep, it is not only my blog page that is getting some remodeling. I have been thinking about priorities lately and trying to figure out what is important (that is a whole different blog post though!). But my health is sure a priority and today I did some serious work on myself I have to say! Or at least, after today's run followed by a kettlebell workout it sure felt like some major construction going on! That is me after the hard core and kick ass workout, my hair was dry when I started! Ah felt great though. The run was perfect and sweaty, proud to say the hills where easier to tackle thanks to kettlebells creating some muscle!
2009 mtvU Woodie Awards - Show
While running I was listening to those talented guys above, 'The dead weather' which is my new favorite band. Really recommend the whole album (do you still call it that? God I am getting old), it feels like it could be the soundtrack to the next Tarantino movie. When you listen to it just picture some bad ass broad (or yourself, I do) and loads of explosions in the background and you will get what I mean. Then the kettlebell workout was accompanied by some classic 'Metallica', I swinged those bells harder then ever before! I sure do love my rock and roll!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Bulls eye of destruction

Darts in bull's-eye of target
This weekend was strange... Hadn't made many plans since it seemed so much was going on and I wanted just to be cool and go with the flow. Come to find out the flow went nowhere unfortunately! I guess I will have to stick to the plan making if something is going to happen, no point sitting around and waiting for the knight in shining armor to come save the day. This princess is fully capable of doing that herself!

Friday I had a nice run, well that is a lie actually. The run was pretty darn crappy, I was just not feeling it, think my body must have been a bit tiered. Kept playing Marilyn Manson's "Beautiful people" over and over to help motivate me, but alas... Stayed in at night and had a dart night with the husband, that was hilarious! Just us, some classic rock and a few beers and we had a blast. Ended up being a tie, and I figured out that the art of darts is all about confidence or if you sing while throwing it is easier to hit the target, no bull!

Saturday was a kinda downer day. Started out awesome with some much needed yoga in the morning. Later we went on base (the American navy base where the husband works) and enjoyed a couple of productive shopping hours at the NEX and commissary. But here is the strange thing, I was in such a silly playful mood all day until the evening and it, without any warning, just went into hiding. I looked everywhere but it was nowhere to be found, and then on top of that I started feeling sick... So the carnival Saturday with my Swedish friend Sara was canceled. Blah. Don't you just HATE the feeling that you are missing out on all the fun?! Ended up having a movie night with the worlds most wonderful husband trying to cheer me up. Bless his humongous heart!

Today was a gorgeous spring day here in Rota, woke up feeling refreshed and much healthier then the night before. Walked around town and beaches taking some photos of the destruction that all this rain has caused. The rock arch (or I guess it was clay) by our house, which is Rotas pride and joy, was gone! The arch had collapsed. It is really sad in a way, like an end of an era or something. And then more cliff damage...

Hard to see in the photos but you might get the picture. On our way back home we took a break and sat quietly looking out over the ocean. The sun was so hot so when I closed my eyes it was easy to picture one of those long lost and wholeheartedly missed summer days. I think I even got a whiff of coconut sunscreen! Ah, not too long now I hope!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Looking into the mirror

Severe thunderstorms and heavy rain outside right now, don't think Andalusia's soil can take much more of this rain! Half the beach walk by our house is shutdown after the flippin' cliff collapsed from all the rain... And that was last week. I sure hope the rest of the cliff will hold! And I am supposed to go running in the morning, but do you think some measly rainstorm will stop me? Hmmmm, maybe!

Today after I finished my lovely kettlebell workout I stood looking at myself in the bathroom mirror. Sweaty, panting and my whole body so very tiered I realized that I have become, I am now, the person that I always wanted to be. This person is the person I used to dream about back when I was about 112 pounds heavier. I used to imagine what her life would be like, how it would feel being her. Now I am her!

I walked back into our gym room and lifted one 24 kg kettlebell in each hand and I started walking around. I used to weigh more then that! The experience was just mind blowing.
So there might be no need to say this but after that I have been feeling totally hot and awesome all day! I really should give myself more credit for the things I actually already have accomplished, probably most people need to do that. Some of it is pretty amazing stuff!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Could go on and on like a broken record player stuck on adverbs trying to describe this place which is seemingly made for the postcard factory!

Alrighty then, back in action! Going to try and make this Portugal post as short as possible, could go on and on like a broken record player stuck on adverbs trying to describe this trip!
The weather was bad, I mean really bad, for the four hour drive to Lagos... The rain gods where trying to drown us I think! But I did get to experience a real police road block (with guns and all!) before we got there, I was so excited since I have only ever before seen it in movies! I know, I am a tool!
Anyway the hotel, Marina Rio, was fabulous and the service darn perfect, so that made up for the clouds outside! That is the hotel and view from it you can see below (I know, tiny pics... but cant seem to get the sizing right when copying link from facebook..).The first night we had some horribly good steak at Don Toro Angus steak house and then walked around Lagos old-town checking out the night life. Found several bars that played rock music, so I was pretty much in heaven! Our favorites came to be Stones bar, Zanzi-bar and Eddies. That's the steak and Stones downstairs dart area (where husband kept winning... I used to be the dart pro!)
The next day it was sunny and we had a good sightseeing morning around Lagos, and W.O.W. that place rocks, it has it all, beaches, marina, romantic streets, dramatic cliffs, museums, slave market (don't worry, not in use anymore, but it was Europe's first slave market) and best of all... a statue of Henry the Navigator!!! My close friends and family know what a big part of life he was for me in my history research, yes I am a geek!

Later in the afternoon we headed towards Sagres, it was just crazy cool. Sagres is the most southern western point in mainland Europe and the cliffs, views and scenery is indescribably breathtakingly gorgeous. Not many times I have ever felt such force of nature! It is also where Henry the Navigators school of navigation was based.

That night we enjoyed some amazing Indian food (no mum, not better then yours!) and some more bar hopping, enjoyed the pub Irish rover very much.
Our last full day in Lagos, Valentines day, was spent up in the mountains, went all the way up to the highest point in the Algarve. I really felt like queen of the world up there! Unfortunately the pictures didn't turn out great. In the afternoon we headed to the Dona Ana beach and Ponte piedade. Again WOW, that is a place made for the postcard factory's!

At night we had a romantic dinner at Italiano restaurant and later some ciders at Eddies surfer bar.
On our way back to Spain we stopped at Faros city. We had heard about this chapel made from human bones and HAD TO go check it out! Was like something out of a movie!
So as you can see, I live a blessed life and will definitely return to the Algarve in the summer! It is such a fantastic wondrous place, awesome people, more variety in restaurants and nightlife and hotels are like half the price compared Spain! Enjoying all this with my the love of my life is true magic.

Been pushing the escape key...

So... I was going to write a long blog post about my wonderful weekend in Portugal... But having internet and computer problems at the moment, welcome back to reality Annika! I will try again tomorrow when its all sorted out. Darn machines!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Até logo!

Portugal! Yes that is where me and the husband are going for four days! Have been there once before and that was not the best experience. We went to Albuferia for a weekend, the town and beaches were amazing... But at night it was swarming with drunken Brits, not so much fun. Oh and I have also been to Madeira with my parents for a week, warmly recommend to spend some of your valuable time on that island!

This time we are going to Lagos which is very close to the most south west of mainland Europe one can come. Haven't had time to research much about the town yet but it has a lot of history (yay!!!) and looks like a place to make memories. The beaches too look fantastic, although it will be too cold (and probably rainy...) to use them to their full capacities.

Since we are staying for so long we plan a day trip to Sagres. that is the most southern point and also where Henry the Navigator was based for most of his adventurous life. The scenery is supposed to be rugged and totally breathtaking! We will also be taking another day trip to Monchique which is a mountain town full of beauty! As you can see, I am very excited!

Also very excited about kettlebell training! Husband and I have now decided that we are to get back into shipshape and do the HKC certification later this year or beginning of the next! I still have a lot to learn so husband is going to have kettlebell class with me everyday till I get it, great stuff! Never thought that I would actually do it but it feels like the thing I need to do.

Will not be back here for another 4-5 days then, Até logo! (see you soon)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Kenyan wisdom

Olympics Day 15 - Athletics
Hope you didn't get your quote dose satisfied with my last post, since here is another wise on today! "...the essential thing in Nandi society is not simply enduring. It is also always finding a solution." This comes from a the great runner Bernard Lagat talking about life growing up as a Kenyan and in a Nandi tribe with elders.

Why do we, often willingly, suffer in silence. I am not saying that we shall walk up to every single person and vent our hearts out, that would be annoying. But don't be afraid to seek help to better your self or the situation that you are in.
In the book "the monk who sold his Ferrari" the author also writes about how the only one who you should ever feel superior to is your former self. This is something that I am still working on, how to better myself at the expense of not caring what others think. Daring to do what I want and what my heart feels right without looking around the room first for reaction. Anyone recognize this?

But most importantly I see the Lagat quote as is this; start expecting more out of life and yourself. Why go through life just being OK? Why settle when you really can have it all? That is what keeps me going. I don't settle for normal, I truly believe I deserve what I work for and wont accept much less then that. This is not unique for me, anyone can do this as long as one does not quit! And do something to solve the problem instead of wallowing in your troubles.

Hmmm.. This was going to be a post about Portugal (where husband and I are heading for the long carnival/valentines weekend) or the possibility of maybe in the future get a HKC certification for kettlebells... (Where is all this life wisdom and pondering coming from?) Ah well, maybe tomorrow!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Ghandi- it is all your fault.

"Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never have enough". That quote is taken from a friends status on facebook and just thought it tied in nicely to what I was writing about last night.
That is the thing, to be brutally honest, pretty much everything that sucks in your life is your fault but don't forget that all that rocks in your life is your fault too.

I read a book not so long ago called "the monk who sold his Ferrari" and the author was on the same path. You choose how to look at life, if you choose only to see and think the good, all you are going to get is good. Your thoughts is the only thing that you control totally.
It is so easy to get inspired by such quotes, but why are they so darn hard to follow? Is life just too distracting? Or are we humans built with some sort of fault that makes us not appreciate what we have? Is it easier just not to bother? Are we maybe just too lazy? Unfortunately I don't have the answer, all I know is that it takes a lot of hard work.

Hard work makes me think of another quote, this one is from Gandhi; "We must be the change we wish to see in the world". Have you ever heard anything so logical?! You can apply it too everything in your life charity, work, relationships, health and more. When I think like that within the health department of my life I use it in the sense 'be the change you wish to see'. You have to BE it to BECOME it, work it to gain it.

Enough of my rambles for tonight, don't want anyone to drown, its getting a bit too deep in here man!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Stop and smell the sea urchins and sangria

Today I had one of those days when I remember that the grass isn't always greener. I remembered that my life, the way I live now, the people in it and the town it happens in, is not that shabby.
I think maybe some of you know what I am talking about. It is so easy to forget what beauty you have around you, you become blind to the reality of the everyday life.
Of course it is hard to stay focused and in the moment when we (well I do) are constantly planing the next move, trip or the next thing that is going to create happiness.

I have it all around me, happiness, life is there and it is not hiding either! Yesterday we had a nice relaxing Saturday with sangria and sun on our balcony (how awesome isn't that photo?! Like from a charter catalog!). And today went for a walk with my husband into town to people watch and without any effort on my part it turned into this beautiful day. People were swarming the town from last nights motorcycle meet up and today's chameleon festival(see photo above). We just didn't have any idea any of this was happening, since we were not looking in the place where we actually live our lives!

So I guess this weekend I have learnt to "stop and smell the roses", or rather the sea urchin that they were serving at the festival. I am so happy I live in this cool little town! Don't get me wrong, I looove to plan things, research and write lists and will keep doing it too but in the future I might just start too look at whats closest too me and actually see it this time!