FREE TIME, ME TIME
It's a kid-free evening! I dropped Martin off at work at noon (late start today), where the apple orchard and cafe were already hopping, and he had plans to go to a party this evening and then spend the night at a friend's house. Karin is also at a party, and won't be home until around 1 a.m. though I am hoping she'll be responsible and come home earlier, since she has to get up early to leave for a soccer game tomorrow...though she will be able to sleep in the car for 1.5 hours as it's an away game. Anders is driving her, so that means tomorrow, I can sleep in.
AS LONG AS I WANT.
And I can do whatever I want, ALL DAY LONG, since no one will be home until mid-afternoon at the earliest, and Martin isn't done with work until 6. Woo hoo!
I am very pleased with the absentee voting procedure this election. I am receiving THREE ballots! To be absolutely sure that my vote will be counted (hopefully three times, haha!), the Chicago Board of Elections sent me a paper ballot via email to be printed, filled in, and mailed; a link to a secure website where I could fill in my ballot, then print it out, sign the certification, and mail it, AND an actual paper ballot via post, which should be here by next week. Martin, too, and I have to say, it made me very happy to tick a box that did NOT have Trump's name next to it, that wanker.
Guess what I saw today! You might have thought that because the autumnal equinox was this past week, on Thursday, September 23, that it was then that fall officially began. That might be true for the rest of you residing in the northern hemisphere, but for those of us in Skåne (or at least for me), it's the first sighting of a sugar beet on the side of the road that really marks the changing of the seasons and the official start of autumn.
The sugar beet factory actually lit up and went into production a few weeks ago, and Anders said he'd already seen harvested heaps of sugar beets in the fields, but I hadn't seen any, and it's not until they start falling off the beet trucks that I consider fall has officially begun. They're big, beige (not red), ugly harbingers of seasonal change.
Today, I vacuumed, wrote a long email to my first family, stripped all the beds and remade ours, finalized the cover for my recipe book and sent it to print, prepared several webpages for the AWC meeting & newsletter, took Martin to work, grocery shopped, played iPad games for far too long, surfed Instagram, did 5 loads of laundry, emptied the dishwasher, cleaned out the food garbage container and washed the bins, got Karin to clean the bathtub, drove with Karin to Sandby, finished one book, and am halfway through another. Oh yes, and I voted! Very productive, eh? But tomorrow?
I don't have to do a damn thing, if I don't want to. Double-woo!
THINGS I FORGOT TO WRITE ABOUT
Twice recently I drove home in the evening and marveled at the full moon. It was huge and silver and beautiful. When I got out and parked the car, I went into the back yard, where the streetlights aren't so bright and stared up at the sky. Black and clear and spangled with stars and that huge glowing moon hanging over the side of the sky.
We're supposed to be getting our election ballots by the end of this week. If you are American and reading this, you had better be voting. If you are American and living overseas, it's not too late, if you act NOW. Go to www.fvap.gov
and get your ballot, STAT. Why wouldn't you vote when you have the chance? YOUR VOTE IS COUNTED.
Yesterday, I drew cookies and stars and a tomato and a strawberry and a cow and a piece of cake. And now my recipe book needs a cover, and then I can send it to print, wahoo!
I went to WW tonight and I'd lost the half a kilo that I went up last week, that I went down the week before, that I went up the week before that. *sigh*
The leaves are starting to turn. I've had to wipe water off the car windows in the morning for a couple of weeks. I'm dreading the day it's ice, not water, and I have to scrape instead of squeegeeing.
When we picked up Martin from work on Sunday, we were told to go pick a kilo of apples for free. I couldn't reach any of the ripe ones, so I just wandered the rows reveling in the smell of apple and grass and autumn while Karin climbed up on Anders' shoulders and picked the biggest apples she could find.
Things I have planned for the next couple of months: shopping and dinner with D&C, TWO get-togethers with the Wonders (though one person will be missing from each), a bachelorette party for a friend, singing with Star For Life, going to see Elton John in concert with my daughter, a short trip to Berlin with Anders and Karin (the week after Martin leaves for Peru).
I need to go write an email to my mom, sister and brother, who have all been seriously and mysteriously incommunicado ever since we all scattered at the end of the summer. What the hell, first family, was 3 weeks of togetherness too much for us?
It's the middle of Sunday, nearly, and it's been a productive weekend. I vacuumed, windexed, drove Martin to work, and grocery shopped. I finished the AWC presentation for the annual meeting that is coming up and sent it for review, prepared the ballots for the board elections and worked on real work (another PPT) for 2 hours. And in between I did laundry and read all of Neil Gaiman's The Ocean at the End of the Lane, which I was VERY late in finally getting around to, and which I promptly regretted because it was wonderful and I gulped it down all day until I was done.
After dinner (artichokes, macaroni & meatballs, thrown together by me), Martin and I watched Ex Machina. It was really good, but claustrophobic and unpredictable and provocative. Now I'm reading The Invisible Library and after one chapter I'm hooked so I hope it continues at the pace it started out with.
It's sunny at the moment, and I need to go for a walk and I need to work on my recipe book since I didn't have time for it yesterday. My personal deadline is end of September, as I need to send it to print in time for it to come back and be ready for Christmas gifting. I updated my to-do list today and you'll never guess what's on it: yep, Christmas stuff. AUGH.
And after that, I have a couple more hours of real work (never-ending PPTs) and then, I think, we are going to visit Anders' mom this evening. The reason why I have real work during the weekend is my own sense of obligation. This coming week I have FOUR half-day workshops about our new helpdesk platform which means 2 days worth of time I can't do my regular job. URGH. And since it's busy time, especially for PPTs, I thought I'd better get some of them dealt with over the weekend to minimize the amount of stress in the next few days. Smart, eh? Except, when I think about it...it's sunny out, and even if it's chilly, sitting at my desk and working on work PPTs is not really the way I want to spend my free time. *sigh*
I went to see Kinky Boots (the musical by Cyndi Lauper & Harvey Fierstein) on Friday night with my friend Debbie. Camilla was supposed to be with us, but ended up having to cancel last minute as her mom had fallen and they were at the ER getting her checked out (broken arm in 2 places, sprained ankle). Debbie and I had a lovely dinner at a fantastic tapas place near the opera hall, and then enjoyed the show. It was very well done, and the message is one we all need reminding of, but I found the story predictable and rather rote. The 2 leads were fantastic, though, with amazing voices.
Not the most exciting post, but there you have it: my life in 1 weekend. :) Now I'm going to draw a cake before my walk.
12 THINGS YOU MIGHT NOT HAVE KNOWN ABOUT ME
I grind my teeth.
My parents called me Lisa until I was 5 years old.
My fingernails are really strong.
I'm an alto.
I can type 90 words a minute, approximately.
Bug legs give me the heebie-jeebies.
I'm a Monday's child
I've moved 29 times in my life...so far.
I didn't get my first driver's license until after I had graduated from college.
During an average 7-day week, I eat salmon at least 4 times.
I've never been drunk.
WHEN IN DOUBT, POST ROSES
I've started to write a post twice but was stopped by a sense of futility: faced with blankness, my mind was blank, too. This is my third attempt and I figured it was easier to just start typing and see what happens. Sometimes, words flow better if you open the valve without looking at what you are doing; let them pour from between your fingers, between the keys of the keyboard, gush from the wellspring of a mind that sometimes needs to be tricked into thinking.
The sun shone all weekend; the sky a flawless blue. In the early mornings and in the evenings, the light lies like a glimmer on every blade and tuft and leaf. It's not as if I had a lot to do these past two days; nevertheless, I have been constantly in motion: busy, working, a million little things to clean and sort and start and do.
I read a bad book and now I'm reading what I hope is a good one. Usually I can stop when I hit the bad books. Life's too short to read bad books; but I kept thinking it would get better. It wasn't badly WRITTEN, but the plot points were heavily manufactured and the author kept making clumsy references to things that dragged my attention from the story, so that I landed with a thud outside the book. Anyway, now it's in the bag for the media sale and I've started the book for book group, which so far, is flowing along and pulling me with it in the way that good books do. Effortlessly, and well, not mindlessly, but mindfully.
Today I drew a garlic bulb and a lemon, whole and sliced. I want to do one more illustration before bedtime, maybe a strawberry. Something sweet. It's not exactly drawing; I'm cheating a bit and tracing but then adding my own spin to the line to make it mine.
The rosebush in the front has exploded again; full to bursting with peachy gold pinkness. It's so pretty it makes my heart ache. I take photos of it constantly; I can't stop. Won't stop. I want it to last forever. I know that's part of what makes it so beautiful: the knowledge in the back of your mind that it won't last forever. It's why we take photos of our children, our parents, our loved ones, isn't it?
A good weekend with lots accomplished and much relaxing, to boot. I hope yours was the same.
CRASH BANG NAP
Trundling along. The weeks zip by and I zip with them. Zippidee doo dah, that's me. At least not zippidee dodo, eh? haha!
On Monday morning, when I was driving to work, I made the turn from our big roundabout onto the highway entrance ramp and immediately regretted it. Traffic was backed up onto the ramp, and the highway was dead stop, packed. GAH! No way to turn around. And once you are on the highway, you can't get off until you're all the way to the first exit in Lund. Some idiot several cars ahead of me was stopped halfway down the ramp, backing up traffic into the traffic circle and beyond, behind us, until someone in the car behind him got out and told him to
stop being an ass
move on down to the end of the ramp. Once we got to the merge lane, there was nowhere to go. I turned off the engine and pulled out my book, which THANKFULLY I had with me that day (never, never go anywhere without something to read!). I was extra glad because my phone was very low on battery, so I couldn't just sit and browse Instagram for any length of time.
An ambulance came down the ramp very slowly behind us, after honking several people out of his way, and proceeded up the shoulder (again, very slowly, because so many cars were blocking his access...GAH), so we knew it meant there was an accident up the hill somewhere. A little while later an unmarked car with blue flashers also came down and then another big towing truck. After about 40 minutes, we saw things starting to move up ahead and everyone turned their engines on and we inched towards Lund. By the time we got to where the accident had been, there was nothing left but 2 police cars totally blocking both lanes and 2 policemen sweeping glass off the road. Yikes. What a way to start your Monday morning, being in a bad enough accident to block 2 lanes of highway for over an hour. :(
Yesterday, as I was getting ready to leave, Anders called and warned me not to take the highway. There was deep fog all morning and he had heard on the radio, right before he would have turned onto the entrance ramp. that the highway was closed again, this time due to a burning car. And right after that, a collision in the fog, and THEN a series of collisions by people driving too fast in the fog who crashed into the first accident! YEESH. They had the highway between our exit and Lund closed for several hours. And the trains between Malmö and Lund were out of commission almost all day. We heard of people who made it to work only after THREE hours stuck on trains, and shuffled onto buses.
Seems like Skånetrafiken and Vägverket have their work cut out for them lately. It's a definite that E22 can't handle the amount of traffic it carries nowadays.
Two days ago I put the ironing board in the hallway and draped my two blouses and the big red tablecloth on it. Today I managed to get the iron out and put water into it. Progress! Then I promptly went and laid down for a 1-hour nap. Maybe by the end of the weekend, I'll have actually managed to turn the iron on and get the job done. I hate ironing. I was sort of hoping that having it sit there for
days on end
a while would motivate someone else in the house to step up and do it, but I fear I am
I am extra tired right now. And it's not because I'm not sleeping enough. I wake up every night around 4 or 5 and have to go to the bathroom and but now, at least, I'm usually able to fall back asleep. It's just after an intense day of work, I am completely wiped out. I suspect it's the urge to hibernate, due to the change of seasons, that is at fault. It's cooler, it's darker, it's time to curl up and sleep through the winter. Too bad I'm not a bear.
Interesting! I never thought about this.
A MATTER OF TIME
All the spiders are coming inside, it must be fall. All the skeeter-eaters, too. And the flies come in, but they're so slow and lethargic that it's easy to swat them or blow them back outside. Everything looks yellow-tinged, insect-eaten, wilty. The storks are in the harvested fields, eating worms, every morning in the fog. The leaves aren't falling yet but it feels like just a matter of time. Everything boils down to a matter of time, doesn't it? It's September already. Whether or not it's officially fall, September heralds the beginning of the end of the year. Out of the short 1 and 2-syllable months into the long multi-syllabic names of autumn and winter months. The smoldering end of the year, the dying fire of the seasons. Ember is even built into the names of several of these months, haha!
The temperatures have cooled everything down, and some of the flowers are having a second wind. The roses are blooming, the honeysuckles have perked up and I expect violets any day now. This year, I am hoping for some snow. It feels like we haven't had snow in ages. Even during the winters, I mean.
Even if it's the beginning of the end of the year, so many other things are coming that I feel like it's just more beginnings in many ways. The AWC season is starting again and we're holding board elections at the end of this month. I'm stepping up again, as Editor, though I'm dreading the board thing a little bit. The whole club is in a sort of downward spiral at the moment and I feel an obligation to see what I can do to swing it up again.
Things that are starting or have started: choir, AWC, school for Karin, Anders' work trips, busy season at work. I have tickets to see two shows this fall; I'm excited for both: Kinky Boots (Cyndi Lauper's musical) in September with Debbie & Camilla. Elton John in November with Karin. Anders will be traveling a lot this fall, which I am NOT looking forward to. But I've already booked several traditional fall events: wreath-making, thanksgiving, the holiday cookie exchange and TWO Wonders get-togethers (!).
It's a busy weekend. I sang last night with my choir in an outdoor concert. We performed with a band, so it was extra fun, but very long... nearly 2 hours of standing on stage plus another hour before hand. It was raining on and off as well, drizzling, so there were not as many people as we'd hoped. Tonight we're going to Anders' sister's for a crayfish party, though Martin is sick with a cold so he's staying home. Tomorrow I'm having a late lunch with my two best girlfriends. Even Monday is busy: WW after work and an extra AWC board meeting which I'm going to even though I'm not officially back on the board yet.
The sun is actually peeking out between the clouds at the moment; I see blue sky! How lovely! It makes me so happy when the sun shines. The clouds are racing above the houses, lots of fat fluffy white ones and lots of gray raggedy rain-holders. Time is racing, the seasons are turning and spiraling round again. Can you feel it? Here we go!
Good day at work.
Lovely choir practice for our concert tomorrow.
Still: tired and grumpy and headachy now
Everyone driving in front of me is stupid and slow.
All our money is practically gone and it's the FIRST OF THE MONTH. WTH.
We have plans every day this weekend...no downtime at all: URGH.
That is all, I remove my grumpiness forthwith. Carry on.
*Bitch moan complain
My dinner went really well, though as usual, I had a hard time with patience...I didn't want to wait long enough between courses and there wasn't a decent interval between the first three. :) Impatience really is one of my besetting sins. Especially when it comes to planning a dinner apparently!
Anyway, I'm recording the menu here, for posterity, because I was really pleased with it!Creamy Garlic & Broccoli Soup
, served with sourdough bread and butter and pumpkin seed knäckebröd flatsDelicious Chicken with Gorgonzola Topping
Steamed & Lightly Sautéed Zucchini, Asparagus & Kohlrabi Strips
Small Wedge of Brie with Smashed Black Cherry Preserves and Fresh Figs
But the dessert was the crowning glory! I made it up or rather mashed it up, since it was a mash-up of 2 other favorites. Chocolate Caramel Cookie
with Crème Fraîche/White Chocolate/Raspberry Goop
topped with Fresh Raspberries and an Anthon Berg Dark Chocolate Square. SO SO SO GOOD.
It was too much, though. Two of my friends couldn't even finish theirs: O! the humanity!
Despite the fact that I dropped boiling things THREE times during the making of the various courses, I managed not to do irreparable damage to myself or my surroundings. Note to self: it's perfectly acceptable to melt chocolate in the damn microwave. Or buy a double boiler, you idiot.
Fresh figs are something I only started eating in the last couple of years. I still don't like dried figs, but I do like fig jam and fresh figs, both with Brie. Yummy! Martin tried a fig tonight but made a face and said, nope, not by itself, anyway.
Today was the first choir practice of the new term. I am so happy! It's actually a jump start a bit early (the official start of the term is September 8) but we have a concert already scheduled for this coming Friday so our choir leaders called 2 extra practices, one today and one on Thursday with the band. There were only 8 of us at practice today but it went really well and it was so nice to be singing again.
Busy week ahead as we tumble into September. Tomorrow is a work kickoff event involving indoor and outdoor team activities (urgh) which means I'm missing both the first AWC meeting of the season and WW (which is probably just as well, after that dinner, ahem).
It's raining again. It was raining this morning though it had cleared up by the time I got to choir practice and the afternoon was lovely. About an hour ago, though, huge black clouds started rolling over the house and darkness descended. It started raining and for about 20 minutes it poured straight down. Now the worst has passed, I think, but it is still overcast and raining. I really hope it's nice tomorrow for the outdoor portion of the work event, though the forecast is dashing my hopes. Okay then, I at least hope it's not pouring. Pretty please, weather gods?
Martin actually updated his resume, printed it out and went around knocking on doors and talking to managers all over Lund, looking for another job today. Very happy about his initiative! He and his friends bought the plane tickets to Peru yesterday, so apparently this trip is really happening...EEK. Now he just has to get shots, order an international health insurance card, get blood tests, make an appointment with the driving school, get his driver's license, figure out what he wants to study and where, write college entrance essays, apply for college, graduate with honors, get a fantastic job, meet the perfect person, and LIVE HAPPILY EVER AFTER!
Karin left on her moped this evening to go to soccer practice and called home 5 minutes later, crying. I thought she'd had an accident or been hit by a car or something. "WHAT HAPPENED!??" I said (calmly) into the phone. Turns out, a wasp had flown into her jacket, gotten inside her shirt and stung the crap out of her, all over her front. She had at least 5 swollen spots and red rashy splotches all over her chest and neck. :( She got the wasp out, after stopping, screaming, throwing off her helmet and jacket and then got the stinger out as well before she called. YIKES. We don't have any sort of sting medicine except a tube of AfterBite so old it's probably more dangerous than helpful. We put a cold compress on the stings and she laid down, and now, 2 hours later, the splotches are mostly gone and the swelling spots have disappeared and she's asleep. Poor little pooh!!
I spent today doing things for everyone else. And that doesn't even count work, where that's all I do, haha! And running errands. Martin needed his resume printed out. Karin needed money for new inside shoes. I took my car back for its follow-up inspection (it passed). I picked up stuff from my friend Camilla that she is donating to our village's upcoming flea market. I went grocery shopping. I picked Martin up at the bus stop. I washed dishes. I paid bills.
In the piles of stuff that Camilla gave me was a bag of old picture frames that she was getting rid of. They're so pretty! Very old-fashioned, metal with stamped and embossed edges and in 2 cases, flowery filigree. I would have paid a lot of money for them in an antique store, so I am thrilled. Score! I've been sorting through photos and frames, so these couldn't have come at a better time.
It's suddenly warming up again and the sun was shining much of the day. I went for another "long" walk at lunch (extra 10 minutes more than usual) and it was so nice to feel the warmth on my shoulders. It's supposed to be summer weather all week, all the way up in the high 20s. What I'm Reading: Emily of New Moon
by L.M. Montgomery (finally!) and then Memory Wall
by Anthony DoerrWhat I'm Eating:
artichokes, fresh pineapple, spinach salad with salmon, baby plum tomatoes and pine nuts, mushroom soupWhat I'm Watching:
nothing, really. All my shows are over. John Oliver and Samantha Bee, when they have new stuffWhat I'm Wearing:
no-sleeve shirts, stillWhat I'm Listening to:
Haim and the rest of my Spotify playlistWhat I'm Working on:
the recipe book, duh. I drew a chicken yesterday!What I'm Coveting:
paintings by Andrea Migiano-Lavery
, Erin Hanson
, Audrey Kawasaki
, Melanie Morris
, Jess Franks
, Michelle Courier
, Flora Bowley
and Amy Montgomery
, among others...
What are YOU doing?
I can complain because rose bushes have thorns or rejoice because thorn
bushes have roses.Abraham Lincoln
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Findus the cat as used in my user icon and header is the creation of