After arriving last night we made it to the house to stretch and have a warming Sambuca and barely escaping a Yeagermeister shot. " No thank you Håkan I have bad memories of that stuff." In my mind everyone does. Håkan and I took that custom crystal shot glass of Sambucca and welcomed it down our gullets. Håkan is a lover of the good stuff all for special occasions and his custom wooden bar from Sweden and has a giant wine opener that a man's man should have. Like a giant Sword for slaying dragons a small bartenders wine opener just won't do. And of course all drinks have a special glass that need to be drinking with. That's the part I love about coming here is that always has something new from a far away country and they are always with wild aroma and flavor. Aquavite or Absinthe are somehow brought into play for the holidays. Bring it. I love it cause it is fun and he get a kick out of him showing me. We bond like men over a couple tastes of the firewater. A bit of bonding the jokes and the laughing begin. From Sweden he always has a love of laughter and story telling and some hoe they always manage to get a laugh in the end. I come to expect this every visit and I always ask " Can you tell us a couple jokes?" My mother in the kitchen readying dinner , my sister hesitantly takes her shot of Sambuca " I'm a wine girl." But she woman'd up and shot that sucker and guess what she liked it. " Oh it does warm you up. " As my sister wandered to the couch to tend to her things I asked Håkan if he had anything other than the starter shot. " I do have this bottle it is very good", He reached behind a gathering of bottles and pulled out a box of #Laugavulin I instantly am taken back. I say " you know what we must do a toast at some point for Ewan", my friend/brother who passed away 2 years ago. " Of course, we will."
After the couple of pleasantries at the Bar in the house " Dinner is ready" my mom says in her happy to to see us cheerful voice. We sit and have some roasted beef stew she made in her new roaster appliance. We have some Chamagne surrounded by every holiday decorations imaginable.. My mom gets into decorating, like she is trying to out do Macy's window displays in New York. She loves and you definitely feel like you are having Christmas from the moment you enter. All is needs is to snow inside and it would be perfect.
A few laughs over dinner and dessert, my sister got a kick out Håkan's couple jokes. And writes down some stuff in her notes., I tell you he has some good jokes that always get you. My mom rolls her eyes but she always ends up laughing and joining in. I start to pass out and the night for me is done.
New Day in Vegas..
I wake up and realize it is December 20th. this is the day Ewan passed way. As #facebook memories reminds me in the morning. I am trusted back to 2 years ago when I found out. I am wildly amazed that Håkan pulling out the bottle last night was Ewan tapping me on the shoulder subtly. But as I was so tired from travel I did not catch it. Tears eyed I post something on Facebook. I miss that man such kindness and furiously loyal. I will toast him later for sure.
Dry and dressed in my camo thermals from #uniqlo I make take my vitamins and supplements with some tea. I decide to make some #glutenfree pancakes for breakfast and my mom pitches in by frying off a whole package of bacon and a few eggs. After the day before I need some food man! I make ready the pancake batter and add some cinnamon and cacao a touch of goat milk. My sister after a well deserved sleep in emerges and we all sit down to eat she has her turmeric chai and is headed out to meet a friend who just moved here. After my lathering of Maple syrup over my mound of food I get the serious food coma. I am so off and it bothers me. Vegas throws with me off every time in the winter, Dry and I just become not myself no energy and sitting is a constant. Håkan offers a bottle of water and I accept. After one sip my brain lights up, " oh my god I am dehydrated." I guzzle the plastic bottle of water I am sure was purchased from Costco. I am up and ready to go. Not happy with sitting I ask Håkan if we can get out so we take the dog Jolie for a walk. We take her to a man made pond and park, Lots of geese poop bottles in the water and plenty of people fishing, for what you ask? I have no idea. But they looked pretty serious. I saw a dead bird in the water, bottle caps and just not well kept. " Uh can't be good" I say to Håkan. " They don't clean here very well " he frustratingly replies.
On our way back my sister tells me to meet up with her at the Cosmopolitan. We decide to go to Ice rink. Quickly ready we head out to the Strip. On the top of the Comsopolitan they have a small but festive ice rink. A bit chilly I buy my mom a hot machine made hot chocolate, an adult hot cider for myself and Håkan a nice Christmassy holiday #StellaArtois. Smiling everywhere the families and locals we completely enthralled with the fun time they were having. My sister arrives from downstairs and we buy our skates. Håkan also joins, at first not interested, he tells us he used to do Ice hockey back in Sweden. I am of course surprised but not really. He is multi talented and seems to have had many different lives. In the running for. " The most interesting man in the world " title. My mother sits and enjoys her cocoa as we snap on our skates on. We pose for a couple shots before we jump on the ice. Kids skating by jaggedly and people falling all over. I think " was this a good idea? I mean, was it?"
We do a couple turns and our smiles grow the ice on my heart starts to lessen. hmm could this be what holiday cheer is? Some play or letting go and just trying to have fun again? Thud I look over and Håkan has fallen ass down on the ice. I instantly felt horrible as I awkwardly skate over like 5 people grab him up and joy over comes me. People rushed to help him and I see this burliness of a man being slowly brought up. Ice on his bum I asked him if he was ok. As he skates away he mutters " I am done" I am understands completely. But I do get a quick snap for this is a memory to keep I will post later.
A couple videos and photos taken from the side by my mom, my feet ache after 10 minutes I am settled. We did it now let's go. We all agree and we walk on the strip wandering around with all the other tourists and costume dressed performers headed to or from work. Of course we had to just a get a few more posed photos since we have never really taken them before. We are all so distant in the country and it is impossible to get holiday photos. We do our own thing and this visit is to do that. Get some memories and some photos.
We head back after blocks and blocks of walking around. I am beat and I nod off. Arriving to the house we plop on the couch and click on the TV to see what to watch. As Håkan makes his traditional Shrimp cocktail my mother starts to make her sweet potato & butternut squash soup. I roast off some pumpkin seeds and add some goat cheese crumbles and olive oil drizzle to the soup. I mean come on let's get some visual eating going on.
Time for some glogg and dessert. They all have ginger cookies but I am left out as my #glutenfree decides whether or not I have fun with food. Håkan walks over with 3 Chrystal glasses poured lightly with Laugavulin and one ice cube. We stop and have Håkan says " Let's have a toast for Ewan" I let him know we miss him and hope he's rested with no more pain. After our moment of silence we check out what's on and decide to watch Frozen. Clicking around we have the NFL game on #BREAKINGNEWS, someone has just run on the sidewalk and hit 20 people on the strip. right were we were walnut by the PARIS hotel. This, as we know now, woman with a 3 year old toddler ran off the street and intentionally injured 36 people. the part that is the shocker was that we were just on that same stretch of sidewalk not even. 1 hour ago. Easily could have been us and I can tell you I was not even paying attention to the surroundings as I am sure no one else was either. I am sadden as this was just last night so fresh and still developing.
After some more glogg we turn on Frozen and my mother wanted to watch it as did my sister Katy. Well not even 20 minutes into it, my mom passed out and we watched it. My sister loved it and the funny part was I took my grandma, my mom's mom, to see it in the theater. Thinking I was watching it again and knew it. I was surprised I missed or forgot lots of parts. Håkan pointed out this was basically a Danish King as Hans Christian Anderson was Danish who wrote " The Snow Queen " from which it is based on. I found myself appreciating again and finding joy in catching all the parts I missed. My sister loves Olaf now.
Late night we finish a couple movies and we turn in. another day gone, checked off the list. Good night Vegas.