Hello again! These are two of Lisa's Catalan friends who are joining us on our ski week: Mireia & Xavi.

Hello from lovely Åre. Wish you were here!


Well, I'm back from the 'States. Here's my haul. The total weight of all my bags was probably close to 60 kg.


Howdy from New Braunfels, Texas. As usual, the Lowry clan gathered at “Heimat” to celebrate Christmas. In the afternoon we drove out to the site where Matt's new home will be built next year. We also drove down to the river and took a group photo.


The family at Edgemere

Here is the Howard side of the family posing for a group photo a couple of days ago on the staircase at Edgemere in Dallas.


Hello from the company Christmas party. This photo shows me on the stage, coordinating playing movies and music from my iPod, talking on the phone, and fixing problems on the scheduling system. Fun stuff. Now it' a few hours later, and I'm I'm still working hard. I did at least get to enjoy the dinner. Great dinner, by the way. I can hear the band playing in the bar down the hall, and there are surely lots of people dancing, drinking, and having fun. But I'm stuck with the SAP guys in this conference room working on fixing some problems. I'm sure we'll fix the problem in the next few minutes and we'll be able to re-join the party down the hall.


After work this evening I walked along my usual route to the subway station, passing through the churchyard of Adolf Fredrik's Church. I saw candlelight coming through the windows so I stepped quietly into the back of the church. I caught the last few minutes of a Lucia concert performed by a youth choir. They were very good, and I heard that the tickets were sold out.

This morning's sunrise was lovely.


I went shopping yesterday and picked up some stuff for the cats, including 10 kg of cat food. I also purchased replacement posts for the cat tree; it is now somewhat taller than before. Lotta took the cats to her place this weekend and will keep them until after the holidays.


Clear Plate

In Stockholm at this time of year, the weather can cause many problems for motorists. Clearing snow from one's car windows is a daily chore, at least for those not fortunate enough to have covered parking. Unfortunately, motorists often neglect to clear snow from their headlights and indicator lamps. These don't work so well when covered with a layer of snow.

Even more often, drivers neglect to remove snow from their license plates. It sometimes does not occur to drivers how important it is to have their license places free from snow. This will become even more important when the Stockholm Congestion Tax trial goes into effect on 3 January 2006. The road charging system uses cameras placed on gantries over the roadway to read the licence plate of each passing vehicle. License plates obscured by snow could fail to register, defeating the intended purpose of the system.

So I was pleased to read today about a new device designed to help clear snow from the rear license plate. It fits neatly between the back of the car and the license plate and is activated by the press of button inside the car. When activated, the device tilts the license plate 90° downward, thereby pushing any accummulated snow out of the way.

The device can even be used when the car is in motion. This will be particularly helpful for those forgetful drivers who are reminded of the importance of a clean rear license plate only when they see the road charging gantry above the road up ahead.

Thursday night was Rueda Night at Inger's place on Riemersholm. Cissi brought Lussekatter and Inger served glögg.


And now some action shots of the dancing.

Exhuasting but fun!


Climbing on Wednesday 8 December 2005

As I have done for the past 8 Wednesdays, I went climbing tonight at Klättercenter in Solna. My hands were a bit beat up from climbing on Sunday so I had a bit of trouble. At first I taped the fingers where I had cuts or abrasions; but the trouble is that the tape is more slipepry than skin, so it makes it hardeer to keep a grip on the wall. This photo shows me doing one of my favorite routes on one of the bouldering walls. I can completer this route about half of the time. It's tricky, but fun!

Klättercenter has a good selection of climbing surfaces to suit a wide range of skill levels. In the foreground of this picture are David and Anna, two climbers I'd consider experts. They can support their weight on little grips I can barely see, much less hold on to. :-)

Here Anna (a different one!) tries the fun yellow route. The trick to this one is to use the walls and push as much as pull.


Argurments kill you, not just your relationships.

The New Scientist is reporting the results of recent experiment into the physical effects of psychological stress. The study revealed that the emotional strain of having an argument prolongs physical healing.

Specifically, the researchers found that having a thirty-minute argument about a contentious subject extends by 20% the time it takes for a small wound to heal (from five to six days).

Fighting couples must decide whether it's more important to be right or healthy. Sometimes you've gotta lose the battle to win the war.


Saturday activities

Saturday I helped Lotta move into her new apartment in Hammarby. Later in the evening, after the move, I went out for a few drinks with Åsa, Daniel, and Jenny. I particularly enjoyed the bottle of Karlovačko beer — beer I had at KGB bar. Karlovačko is an excellent lager beer from Croatia. Yum!

Climbing on Sunday 4 December 2005

Here are a few pictures from Sunday's climbing session. Lisa and Anna show off their toned and taut muscles. :)

Yours truly tries the famous terracotta route. I can do everything except the last move. I always seem to swing around and slide off the grip — not particularly fun because it's rough and a bit sharp.

Anna plans her attack.

Lisa tries the green route. This smoothest way to do this route is to do a cross-over move from where she is in this photo. You gotta move your left hand across to the next green grip up to the right. If you take the seemingly easier route and grab the grip with your right hand, you'll be in the wrong position to take the next grip. Some thought goes into climbing.