All weekend I've been planning to edit and post photos from our trip to Toronto (almost wrote "trip to vacation") but the weekend has been so busy that suddenly it's nearly bedtime on Sunday evening and the farthest I've managed to get is opening Photoshop.
Jet lag seems to be pretty much gone...just the dregs of it left, but that could be regular afternoon fatigue. I can't believe I have to work 5-day weeks from now until eternity. We had all these short weeks in spring; it was crazy! Like 6 in a row or something and now? Nothing until CHRISTMAS. Suck. It's inhumane, that's what.
Thursday was book group and it was really fun. We read a book I recommended, and which I bought nearly a year ago and had to sit on until just before book group for fear of reading it too early and forgetting everything before the actual discussion. Instead, I started reading it a week before and nearly didn't get it done in time thanks to traveling and jet lag and playing with my new iPad, that I got for my birthday. I actually read the last 2 chapters 20 minutes before I had to leave to get to book group. Anyway, it was good and the discussion was fun and it was great to see everyone again. Felt like I'd been gone forever!
Then Friday, the Wonders took my out for my birthday. I think that is the last of my birthday celebrations, since I decline to throw a big birthday party for myself. It's too late for that. I'll have to wait until my 60th. (now THERE'S a scary thought: 60. Sheesh!) We started with a canal boat tour in Malmö, which up until a year ago I had never done. It was chilly but fun. Debbie had bought kanelbullar and hot chocolate for us to carry along. Then we walked through Malmö to a sushi place that I've been wanting to try since it opened a couple of years ago. Everyone who has been there swears it's the best sushi on the planet and it's won piles of awards.
I tried to book it once for an AWC sushi night and they were rude as hell to me and refused because they said 10 people would "fill the whole place"...whatever. They have plenty of room so whoever I talked to was full of shit. Anyway, they have what they call a "taste menu" which provides a little bit of everything from the various parts of the menu, but it's all basically chef's choice, and it cost 500 kronor per person PLUS the waitress told us everyone at the table had to order it because it takes 2 hours. They wouldn't let just me order it. So we all chose a la carte instead.
They have "japas" (japanese tapas) but nothing on the menu really tells you what's involved and they have no list of sushi pieces or rolls. Just "10 pieces", "15 pieces", etc. We all ordered an appetizer and 2 of us ordered one that just said "calf/chicken w/noodles". It turned out to be a bowl of chicken broth with noodles and snow peas sliced longways and 2 HUGE slices of fried beef tongue.
Debbie said it was delicious, and I should try it, but I couldn't get past the look of it. It LOOKED like a slice of tongue. I couldn't bring myself to eat it, though I managed the noodles and veggies. Wimp!
Then we got our sushi, and mine was a california roll with shrimp and something I don't remember on top, and a salmon roll with sausage chips in/on it. It was really good, but I was super glad that I specified because the chef's choice that the others got turned out to be picked herring rolls, and baby squid. Yuck. Mine was tasty but I didn't think the place was that great, frankly. Still, I was really glad to finally get there!
We all had a laugh at the bathroom in the restaurant, though. It was quite a big room, decorated in a woodland theme, with photo wallpaper of tall dark trees and mossy ground all around. And then logs and antlers and such around the floor with candles and right by the toilet was a taxidermied fox. It was so dark in the room that he looked very alive and we all expected him to move. But the most startling thing was that as you sat down on the toilet, facing the door, you saw up in the corner (behind the door, so you didn't see it when you came in) a big plush stuff moose head glaring down on you.
After dinner, we headed back down through Malmöfestivalen to Lillatorg and ended up at Pronto, a cheesecake dessert cafe on the square. It started pouring rain again just after we arrived so we went inside to the second floor. I had a delicious New York Classic cheesecake piled with strawberries and white chocolate. Yum! We hung out there and talked for a couple of hours, partly because 2 of us were waiting for our kids who were at the big last-day concert on Stortorget. My gift from the Wonders, in addition to the lovely evening, was a gift certifcate to the opera house! I get to pick between Doctor Zhivago, Aida, American Idiot and a couple of others! SQUEE!
Tomorrow is the first AWC meeting of the season and we have some serious recruiting to do for the board, since elections are in one month and we still have 4 positions to fill...including, hopefully, mine, so I can step down for awhile. I've been on the board, with one 1-year break, for 16 years. I think it's time someone else stepped up, don't you?
Goodness knows, I could use the time to edit photos.
Turning 50 is weird. I don't FEEL like I'm fifty. I feel more like 35. 37, maybe. Max. Maybe younger, some days.
On Monday, my boss sent me an email informing me that she had scheduled me for 1 hour today to train our newest team member, who started last week. "Can you please go over guidelines, logo, brand, templates, etc.?" she asked. I replied in the affirmative, no problem, since this kind of training is part of what I do.
But jetlag the last couple of days has been kicking my butt, so I was really tired at lunchtime today. "Ugh..." I groaned. "I don't want to do training this afternoon," I said to my officemates. "Training is fun!" chirped Helena. "If I wasn't a zombie brain," I grumbled. Training IS fun, normally, but it also requires forethought, can-do enthusiasm and general on-the-ballness, all of which have been at lower than usual levels the past couple of days.
I met Erik outside the conference room and we waited a minute for the people using it to finish up so we could get in and start. I logged in, and started opening up presentations and websites and server windows, while starting to fish for what areas had already been covered for him so I didn't inadvertently repeat anything he'd already learned. Suddenly, voices started singing in the hallway and the door opened and my team mates started pouring into the room. "What? Oh. OHHH NOOO." I said. They were singing Happy Birthday to ME.
Totally surprised!! I had no idea. I mean, I figured there would be SOME sort of acknowledgment at some point since Axis makes a big deal out of big birthdays but I wasn't expecting it yet. I had thought maybe Friday, but Pia totally snuck one by me. Flowers and a huge card signed by all my co-workers "Dear Liz, Happy Birthday! I'll always be younger than you" read one greeting. :D
And lovely presents, to boot! A Pandora bracelet with 4 pretty beads (including a cupcake, a hugging family, and a passport), and a KINDLE! The Kindle is actually arriving tomorrow because it's being hand-carried from the UK by another colleague. I would probably never have bought a Kindle for myself, and I read a LOT, so I will be sure to make good use of it, even though I doubt I will ever give up paper books completely. Mmmmm books!
Then we had cake, three kinds, and then I went back to my desk and perused the Pandora catalog that had been in the bag with the bracelet. Then I went and had my hair done in Malmö. So much for getting anything else done at work!
I hope the jetlag is almost over though. I have three busy days ahead (book group! Wonders! More birthday goodness!) and I'm tired of that achey around the eyes feeling.
BACK TO REALITY
I didn't think it was going fast while it was going but suddenly, here we are at the tail end of summer and the good times are OVER. We spent the entire weekend traveling home and arrived here at 8 pm last night. I actually slept well almost all night and worked all day without turning into a zombie, though I could feel the jetlag creeping up my eyelids by about 3 pm. The kids start school tomorrow and it's rained for 2 days straight, both signs that autumn has definitely begun.
Camilla, my awesome friend, and our housesitter extraordinaire, kept the fish and the plants alive while we were gone. We brought her Sanders chocolate fudge caramels from Michigan and maple syrup candies from Canada. NOM.
My birthday celebration went on for about 2 weeks and I don't think it's actually over yet. When you have a big one, the celebrations should last all year, right?
Our week in Toronto was super fun, though very expensive, since we had to meet all 3 meals out every day (no breakfast included at the hotel, what's up with that?). Every time I go to North America, I'm struck all over again by sticker shock. I should remember by now that prices go UP, and when you've been away for nearly 20 years, prices will not be at 1996 levels.
We did all the requisite touristy things in Toronto. Highlights included Canada's Wonderland, the islands, the distillery district, Chinatown, the CN tower revolving restaurant dinner and Church Street's rainbow street crossings. Poor Anders couldn't get anyone to go with him to the Hockey Hall of Fame. We also spent a day at Niagara which was great fun. Now I've been there 4 times and I still haven't been on the boat. But we went down below, behind the falls, and figured that was wet enough :)
I got to spend oodles of time with my mom, my sister, her family, my friends Kathey & Russell. And I got to see my grandma, my Uncle Mike and Aunt Kathey, and several of my cousin's kids. Time got away from us, though...we didn't see everyone we would have liked to. Ah well, next time!
I have LOTS of photos but jetlag is telling me it's nearly bedtime. Jetlag is telling me it's time to put the computer down and put the nightgown on. YAWN.
Remind me to tell you about the game Martin invented.
A whole week off at home and I almost don't know what to do with myself. Hours of unplanned time. Leisurely swathes of luxury to read or nap or putter around the house. No plans.
We leave on Saturday for 3 weeks and I am doing nothing much so far, about it. Oh, there's a slowly growing pile of things on the dining room table and laundry in, but I'm not feeling stressed or rushed or panicked or worried...although I did have a bit of spaz-out moment last night when, talking to my mom, I realized I hadn't written down "CHECK-IN" on the to-do list for the week. Whew!
Most of the things on my to-do list for the week are already crossed off, and the only big thing left is PACK, for which I've designated all of Friday so that we can do it at a relaxed pace. And our house sitter is coming over on Friday as well to learn the ropes and get the keys, so I feel like everything is totally under control...just the way I like it. :)
Today, Martin is in Lund hanging out with friends (again), Karin is at Lomma beach for the second day in a row, Anders is at work, and I am enjoying the summer breezes. Reading. Blogging, having a popsicle.
It's been beautiful all week, literally Sweden summer at its absolute best, and I'm hoping that Toronto and Michigan won't be too hot and muggy to make me wish I'd stayed home for the whole summer.
What is up with the tired? I come home from work and by 5 pm I am so tired I can't keep my eyes open. If I sit down on the sofa, it's all over: I wake up 2 hours later. If I power through and do things around the house, by the time 8:30 rolls around, I have to prop my eyelids up with sticks and they ACHE with tiredness.
I'm not tired when I get up, even though I'm not sleeping all that well (too warm, too bright, gotta pee, whatever)
I'm not tired at work.
It's just when I get home and start to relax a bit.
Today I worked until 7 pm trying to get through the million ads I want to send out, that are due while I'm on vacation. I made it through about 3/4s of them. It is a LOT of ads going out. I also worked late because I didn't get into the office until 11:30 am.
We were at the hospital this morning, at 10 am, for x-rays and then the consultation with the doctor. It was a different doctor than the one we saw first and when he came in the room, I thought, where's the doctor? The doctor can't be this CHILD. Seriously, he couldn't have been older than 20. But he was brisk and efficient, and he told us that Martin's x-rays looked great and he was healing really well, and he was going to take the pins out right now.
"Wait, what?" said Martin.
"Yep! Right now! You won't feel a thing. Or at least not much of a thing!"
And the doctor unwrapped his bandage and pulled off the gauze and yanked out the first pin while Martin was still boggling.
"One down! Two to go!" said the doctor.
Martin turned his head back and said, "Wait, what?? You already took one out?"
When he pulled on the third one, the head of it came off, and he had to pull again, but it came out just as quick.
He put the pins in a little tray and I boggled a bit myself... they were FIVE INCHES LONG.
"Do you want to take them home?" asked the nurse, who was putting a band-aid over the holes.
"WHAT? NO." said Martin.
"Oh," she said, a trifle surprised. "Most people want them as a sort of trophy."
"C'mon, Martin, please??" I begged.
Then we went to the physical therapist and she gave him a bunch of exercises to do every day, at which he got really depressed, and asked me if I was sure his old sling wasn't at home. Nope. No sling.
No pins! No sling! YAY!
SUPER SLUG WITH NO APOLOGIES
What I have accomplished so far today: Woke up Karin and sang happy birthday to her and gave her her presents, with Anders & Martin, and kissed her goodbye (she left this morning for a week in Gothenburg at Gothia Cup). One load of laundry that didn't really need to be done. Unloaded the dishwasher. Put some recycleables in their bins. Watered all the house plants. Made the bed. Showered & dressed, ate breakfast and lunch. Read the end of the book I was re-reading that was taking me forever to finish. Played numerous games of stupidity on the iPad. Watched Tour de France for awhile. Made Martin wash and change his shirt. Watched rain come down. Admired the purple of the lavender under the bedroom window. Napped on the couch. Talked briefly to my brother. Listened to music. Wrote this post.
Still on the agenda: Dinner, at some point. More reading, this time of the sequel to the book I finished earlier. More games of stupidity. Watching the World Cup final. Maybe a walk now that the rain seems to be letting up and the sun is peeking through.
Sometimes, a super slug day is EXACTLY what the doctor ordered.
My friend Russell sent me a message a couple of days ago asking if we could talk about Toronto via Skype that evening. "It's getting close," he wrote, "It's only 18 days away."
And here I was thinking I still had 3 weeks! My list of things to get done before we leave suddenly leaped into hyperdrive. I have/had several other people with birthdays to deal with, starting with my daughter, who turns 15 on Sunday, my best and oldest friend Becky who shares the big birthday number with me on the 15th, my nephew Sammy who turns 3 on the 20th, my grandmother who is turning 98 (!) on the 24th, my mom whose birthday is on the 28th, plus Russell's! Whew!
I'm a little over halfway done with all that. I've also got to call the flea-market organizers and see if they can take our donations early since we won't be here when the annual village flea market is held, arrange the mail-hold, show the housesitter how the lawn mower works, and get the pins out of Martin's arm!
His arm is healing nicely, at least on the outside. One set of stitches has disappeared entirely, and the area around the pins is clean and free from inflammation or infection. The pins look like guitar tuning keys...the kind that stick out of the sides at the end of the guitar. We go in for new x-rays and consultation next Thursday and I really hope they can tell us the pins can be removed before we leave for Canada, since I don't want to contemplate dealing with them while there.
Anyway, Russell and I did talk about Toronto and we have a list of things we want to do/see while there and reservations for our big birthday dinner at 360, the revolving restaurant at the top of the CN Tower (entrance to the tower included). Our list includes: the Hockey Hall of Fame, Niagara Falls, the Science Center, Canada's Wonderland amusement park, Casa Loma, Art Gallery of Ontario and the harborfront (technically harbourfront since it's British spelling there). If anyone has any don't-miss recommendations, now's the time to share!
I'm really glad my mom and sister & co are coming, but both Russell and I are a little bummed that none of our friends will be joining us. It makes me wonder if we would have had more participation if we HAD decided on Ireland, but that would have raised a whole raft of other issues, so we figure it all works out.
We just lost power for a couple of seconds and I thought I had lost this whole post and was ready to gnash my teeth, but lovely Semagic saved it for me. It's been REALLY hot here (for Sweden), the last couple of days, hitting 30C. The house is stifling, and in the evenings I turn off the lights and open ALL the doors and windows in an attempt to cool it down. It lasts until we close them and immediately feels like they were never opened. Ugh. I like the sunshine, but I could do with a few degrees cooler.
Gotta go wash my kid's hair and torso and help him loosen the bandage around the pins which is too tight. Toodle-o!
A WEEK IN VÅNEVIK IN PHOTOS
Everyone took lots of photos while John and Simone were visiting, which makes me really happy. It's ridiculous that we let 2 years pass since the last time we saw them. It's not like they live on the other side of the ocean...It's 2 years since I've seen my sister and her family as well, but since they DO live on the other side of the ocean, it at least make some sense. Plus we'll get to see them in just a few more weeks, so yay!
Simone and the boys flew up to Copenhagen the day after Midsummer Eve and John drove up during that same day, arriving just a couple of hours after they did. We went to Skånes Djurpark, a lovely zoo about 40 minutes north of us, on Sunday, and on Monday we sent Karin up with them to the cabin we had rented in Vånevik while Anders and I stayed here for Martin's arm operation. We had hoped that we would get in early (he had to be at the hospital at 9 a.m.), and out early as well so we could go on up the same day if all went well, but as it turned out, he didn't go into surgery until 2 p.m. and wasn't out of recovery until after 4 at which point they decided to keep him overnight. I went in Tuesday morning to bust him out of the hospital but we didn't get away until after 1 p.m. We got up to Vånevik in time for dinner, and the week went marvelously after that.( Photos ahead! Clicky clickyCollapse )
WHEN A WEEK OR MORE WHIZZES BY
Good things for remembering
Good things for forgetting
- The sounds a baby makes when he's content
- Walking and talking with my husband during the long hospital wait
- A woozy Martin smiling from the recovery room bed
- Simone's Maultaschen, yum yum!
- The green and blue of leaves and water
- The way Sammy runs: flat-out
- Reading Blue Hat Green Hat to Sammy and laughing like loons
- Spotify quizzes with John and Anders and the kids
- Simone's victory dance when Germany won the group game against the USA in the World Cup
- Not needing the fans we brought and being able to have the bedroom window cracked at night...mmmm cool night air
- Karin playing soccer with, and Martin reading Pettsson & Findus to, Sammy
- Making it halfway around Blå Jungfrun
- John offering to see me safely back to the boat and being super patient with me on the way
- Martin making it all the way to the TOP of Blå Jungfrun despite his broken arm
- Karin and John bonding
- Watching baby Jake figure out how to sit up from a prone position and ALMOST figure out crawling
- Successful arm surgery for Martin even if it means PINS STICKING OUT OF HIS ARM for 5 weeks
- A long lovely walk through the peninsula and woods
- Visiting the Dödarhultarn museum and seeing some great wood carvings with Anders
- Playing Famous People in the car on the way home and Martin trying to come up with a third colonel after we guessed his first two: Colonel Sanders and Colonel Mustard
- Coming home to a tree FULL of cherries!
- 12 hours of waiting at the hospital
- Standing by Martin's side at the operating table as they put him under
- The hilariously bad artwork in our cottage
- Too much thinking about work
- Waking up at 5 a.m. the first day of work after vacation
- Nearly not making it back to the bathroom after a long walk
- Vertigo on the steep & slippery rock faces of Blå Jungfrun
- Swollen feet
- Seasickness on the boat back from the island
- Bringing 5 books with me and only managing to read what had to be the least satisfying one
- Martin's first hipster haircut: mah baby is gone! *sob*
- The fact that I have to work now for 3 more weeks before REAL vacation starts
Wheeee! Vacation! At least a week plus 1 day, plus 2 weekends, so altogether 10 days off! I didn't get everything done that I wanted to at work, but it wasn't my fault...late responses or no responses from people I was waiting for answers from, and a miscalculation with an IT person that came to fix a problem and ended up making it worse so that I lost nearly an hour and a half of working time. But, whatever: vacation!
Martin has to have surgery on his arm. We went to the hospital call-back on Wednesday, a week after the incident, and the doctor went through the new x-rays with us and explained the situation...the
end of his arm bone head of his humerus is twisted/tipped backwards, straining the muscles and while it will still heal, it won't heal WELL and he could end up with motion restriction, movement issues and chronic pain. So they have to go in and adjust it. That means he has to be put under, which he's glad about because he doesn't want them to do surgery with him awake. We don't know how long the surgery will take or how long after he'll have to stay...a great deal depends on how he feels after and how long it takes him to recover from the anesthesia.
But we hope it will go smoothly and quickly and we'll be able to head up north Monday evening or Tuesday morning at the latest. He's been doing pretty well all this week, though taking pain medication still, and it's too bad this will be a set-back and that it means longer before he'll be really healed. He can dress himself except for his shirt (and buttons) and he can shower himself (with a handy Saran Wrap sling I made him!) and he's been sleeping okay propped with LOTS of pillows on the sofa. But still...it's amazing how much you miss the use of an arm and how much it affects EVERYTHING. He says he never realized before how much you use your arms to balance, walk, bend down, sit up, etc. Or that laughing and coughing would hurt his arm. He's also COVERED in huge yellow and green bruises all over his legs, arm and sides from the fall. My poor baby boy!
Tomorrow is midsommar and I hope the weather improves...we had an absolutely perfect hot summer week until today when it suddenly turned COLD and windy and rainy. Brrr! We're going to our friends' Barbara and Paul, but sadly she won't be there...emergency trip home to her mom who is in the last stage of lung cancer. :( She was emphatic that the party was still on, whether she was there or not, so off we go with 7 liters of strawberries in hand.
Saturday, my brother John and Simone and the boys arrive! John is driving up from Germany, timing it to arrive at approximately the same time as I get home from the airport with his family who are flying up instead. I can't wait! We haven't seen John in 2 years!! Can that be right?? And a new baby nephew to meet, yay!
Martin just came home from a friend's house, and since he walked home in the rain (with a borrowed umbrella), his pants were wet, so I told him to "get out of his pants" and then I had to unbutton them for him. Even if he IS my kid and even if he HAS a BROKEN ARM, it's still a bit disconcerting.
Oh! I almost forgot! I passed my one year no-soda anniversary! I have to say I'm pretty proud of my accomplishment, even if I DID have a handful of sodas during the year. My celebration Coke was sure yummy, haha! :D
I can complain because rose bushes have thorns or rejoice because thorn
bushes have roses.Abraham Lincoln
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