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zird is the word [userpic]
Last week, I passed a major anniversary. It wasn't my birthday. It wasn't even my wedding anniversary. It was the anniversary of the day I moved to Sweden...TWENTY YEARS AGO. I was planning to write a post that day (Wednesday) but work was crazy and I clean forgot when I came home, even though I wasn't doing anything special that evening. So it went by unmarked.

Twenty years ago. When I passed my 10-year anniversary of living in Sweden, I wrote a post about it, because of course I did. I wrote a similar post when I reached my 7-year anniversary, too. Every year, nearly, I have at least mentioned the fact of my moving-to-Sweden date on or near January 11.

But now, I can officially say that I have lived HALF MY LIFE overseas. Isn't that weird? Half my life away from the country of my birth. When I wrote the post 10 years ago, I had still not applied for Swedish citizenship. That's been rectified...I'm a dual citizen now, since several years back, though I give more and more thought to becoming a single-country citizen again for every article I read about Trump and his cabinet. Ironically, it would cost me MORE to renounce my US citizenship than it did to apply for Swedish.

Just for the record, I love it here. Of course, there are things about living in Sweden that are not perfect, but that's true of every place I've lived. I can't imagine moving back to the US, what would be the point? The only reason I would want to, in any case, is to be closer to my mom and sister, but instead I think maybe I should be campaigning to get them over here!

Both my children want and plan to move to the US...Martin is in the middle of college applications for next fall, and Karin is already chomping at the bit to get there as well. I think both of them consider the US as the place to be because every time we go there, it's FUN. We go for vacation, we shop, we eat out, we have parties and go places and do things. It's not boring like every day life home in our tiny village far away from anything cool or trendy or happening. It's not work and bills and stress.

I have very mixed feelings about this, of course. I've always encouraged my children to think about going to school in the US, or living there, but I really, really hope they will come back. And I worry even more right now, in the current political and cultural climate that has changed so much in recent months.

And it's not that I don't miss things about America, I do. I just think we have such GOOD lives here. I've never lived so long in one place, ever, and now we've been in this ONE house for what sometimes feels like forever, and I still love it just as much as the day we moved in. I dread leaving this house some day, which is weird considering that I've loved moving around my whole life and loved moving to new places.

Even though I am a Swedish citizen, I am very much NOT Swedish. I never will be, no matter how long I live here, or how well I speak Swedish. I will always be a child of America but Sweden has wormed its way into my heart, and I don't think it will be easily dislodged, no matter what happens. It would be fun to live somewhere else for awhile, but I think I've found my forever home.
mood: calm
music: Act—So Let Me Give Your Heart a Break

zird is the word [userpic]
I've been very much enjoying the return of several "old" friends to Livejournal lately, as I just mentioned to one of them in a comment. She talked about returning to online journaling and why, and her thoughts about Facebook prompted me to think about how I feel about social media in general and Facebook specifically.

I suspect many people feel the same way as I do: Facebook is not the place to share anything substantial. It was fun and trendy and rather like walking into a party where all the people you haven't seen in awhile were gathering, in the beginning, but now? It drives me a little crazy.

Of the 677 Facebook friends (!) I currently have, I probably see 20 or so. I have hidden hundreds of people because they post nothing but memes and links and stuff I'm completely uninterested in. At least a couple hundred of them, if not more, never post anything at all. Some of them, like my son, for example, only use Facebook as a photo album on occasion. I hide ads. I hide memories. I hide my friend's memories. I hide game suggestions and page suggestions. I hide political arguments and mean-spirited posts. I hide the stupid Facebook anniversary notices (You've been friends with so-and-so for 3 years!). I tell Facebook constantly to STOP SHOWING ME posts from this page and that page, and that page too while you're at it, OMG Facebook, STOP SHOWING ME ALL THE CRAP. And yet, it never ever ends.

My Facebook friends include people I went to junior high with in the Netherlands, people I went to high school with in Germany, people I went to college with in Michigan. They include people I knew in Chicago, people I have previously worked with or current colleagues, former boyfriends, best friends, family members and distant relatives. They include people who sing in my choir, neighbors, teachers or parents of kids my children went to school with or the ACTUAL kids my children went to school with. Many of them are former or current AWC members. Some of them are people I met right here on Livejournal or are bloggers I have read for a long time.

Some of them are people I see all the time but most of them are people I never see, who live far away, and Facebook is excellent for keeping in touch with them as much or as little as desired, at least on a superficial level. It's a great way to message people, to put up events, to share information, to remember birthdays, and much much more. But it doesn't fulfill the need I have to write about what is really going on in my life. It isn't the place where I want to share the kinds of things I share here. I don't write there for posterity, the way I do here.

And it's not the place to make NEW friends, the way blogging and online journaling are, or to really find out what's going on with someone. What they think or feel, what they genuinely care enough about to WRITE about.

I'm eternally glad that I started this journal so many years ago, and that I keep at it, despite writing slumps and hiatuses and the desertion online of so many, many bloggers and good writers. I hope even more of them start trickling back and stay to enjoy the real intimacy and camaraderie that can be found here. I'm grateful for ALL my friends, but the ones I've found through this platform are definitely keepers.
mood: thoughtful
music: David Bowie—Heroes

zird is the word [userpic]
Sometimes I get frustrated at my writing here, especially as so often it seems to be only a litany of what I am doing and what I have done. It's not the creative journaling that I envisioned from the beginning and which I managed to do for some years (on and off, obviously). I sometimes feel creatively stifled, but I know that I'm the only one that is judging. And, of course, the one doing the stifling, if that is really what it should be called. It's like writer's block of the creative kind. I can still write but only lists, plans, calendar fillings, dates, events, and then, afterward, what happened, what I did, what I thought, or what I experienced.

It's not that it's boring, exactly, it's just that I expect more of myself. Once upon a time, I felt like I had energy and time to be creative in so many ways, at the same time. I drew, I painted, I sang, I read, I crafted, I wrote. Now, I often seem to have only the inclination to tackle one of those areas at a time. It's like all my multi-tasking talents have gone into work (where, granted, I am also creative) or projects.

Did you know that once upon a time I did embroidery? Now, I no longer remember any of the stitches and couldn't do a French knot if you paid me. There's a large framed piece (seashells) that I did, which I haven't hung up in years.

Did you know that once upon a time I did calligraphy? I still have bottles of ink and scores of pens and nibs and several posters of beautifully lettered poetry that are shut up in old art portfolios in the closet.

Did you know that once upon a time I did quilling? I think the last piece I did was Anders' niece's name in pinks and yellows for a sign for her door for a birthday when she was quite small. She's an adult now, living in her own apartment, and I'm pretty sure that sign is long gone. I still have packs of paper and the quilling tools in my craft collection.

I used to write poetry. It's been years. I used to work on a collage book. It's been years. At one point (in high school, but still) I even tried macramé, though that was short-lived. :D I've always been creative, in some way, and I still am, but I don't seem to find the time or motivation these days to indulge any of the time-consuming, non-digital art forms that I used to.

Nowadays, I am most creative with my photography, which I share mostly on Instagram. It's "only" iPhone and iPad photos, though, nothing sophisticated. I love taking photos of flowers, of nature, of my kids.

I am creative at work, where I design marketing materials and pour my heart into Powerpoints. That's kind of sad, since it's nothing that lasts and nothing that's ultimately satisfying as an artist, but I'm proud of the work I do there, and I love my job, so there's that.

And, I guess, even though it's not consistent, I am creative here. I love writing and I continue to journal here, even though my audience has withered and my frequency has diminished; blogging has changed drastically since the glory years when I enthusiastically joined in and spent hours reading about other people's lives, commenting on their posts, making online friends far and wide and writing about my life and my thoughts. Time changes everything, so I supposed it's only natural that the ways I am creative now are different from the ways I was creative years ago.

Sometimes I think I'll have more time again to be creative in the traditional ways once I retire. After all, I'll have more time to fill, right? Either way, there will always be creativity in my life, whether I'm reading books, looking at paintings, illustration, crafts and photography or making my own, writing this journal or finding my way back to other art forms that I once had time for.
mood: thoughtful
music: Calaisa—When Tide is Low

zird is the word [userpic]
How hard do you sneeze? I once worked with a woman who sneezed like a machine-gun mouse...a sort of mini rapid-fire pew pew pew, if you will. When I sneeze, it's like all my internal organs and everything inside my head are trying to come out, explosion-style. And I sneeze a lot. Multiple times every day. I start the day with a sneeze, in fact, if I don't manage to blow my nose minutes after I am awake and/or vertical. I think my sneezes have gotten more violent over the years...they actually scare me sometimes. Thanks, allergies.

My nose is super-sensitive, in general. Changes in temperature make me sneeze, sunshine makes me sneeze, dust makes me sneeze, some flowers and plants make me sneeze, and I'm pretty sure my bed is trying to kill me. That, combined with the amount of times I am forced to blow my nose each day, often makes me want to rip my head off. I'm pretty sure I'm funding the Corvette that the CEO of Kleenex is driving*. Kleenex is #100 on Forbes' list of the the World's Most Valuable Brands, in case you were wondering.

I have considered trying to count how many times I blow my nose during an average day, but I always give up after the first box of tissues. At work, when I go down for breakfast, I always grab a stash of napkins to keep at my desk for the day. It's ridiculous. And yes, I've been tested and no, I don't have any of the triggers around (except in spring), I'm not even reacting to anything, I'm just in a reactive state 365/24/7. People ask me constantly if I have a cold because I am always stuffed up, but no. It's literally just my usual state of being. The skin of my nose is so inured to blowing that I can use paper towels with no problem. I keep boxes of tissues all over the house, so they are always in quick reach. I feel obligated to tell friends and co-workers that they don't have bless me after each sneeze. I am sufficiently blessed by now.

I've tried several different procedures, and medicines and nothing really works for long. I don't want to take pills or sprays every day, so I use them sporadically. I've considered the treatment that is fairly new, where you get shots to permanently end the condition, but it's not any one thing that they could treat for. It's just my entire system in revolt. If I had developed asthma as one of the symptoms I suppose I'd be much more ready to get it taken care of, but it's just...sneezing. And an over-producing mucus factory in my sinuses. URGH.

This wasn't at all what I was going to write about, and now it's gone clean out of my everything else. Haaaa.**

We had a half-day today and tomorrow is a holiday, so yay! long weekend! We have no plans to boot, so I am hoping to get some stuff done around the house, including book purging for the upcoming media sale, and closet-cleaning, which is long-overdue. I'm already done with May in my 2016 blog book, and fully expect to be done with it and ready to print by the end of the weekend. Maybe I'll go see a movie or something.

*Google knows everything...EVERYTHING.
**Number of times I've stopped writing this post to go blow my nose: 3
mood: indescribable
music: Dala—This Girl

zird is the word [userpic]
What a beautiful day! Even though I was mostly inside for it, WORKING, I did get out after lunch for a brisk 15-minute power walk in the bright sunshine. I admired the blue sky, and the frost on the ground and wished I'd had longer to walk. Work is BUSY. Though I actually worked the equivalent of one day during the holidays in order to not have today be super stressful, it still felt pretty crazy. I finished revising a huge important PPT for the two top people in the company, for our upcoming kickoff and that felt good to send off for final review! I'm very happy with it (as happy as one can be with a POWERPOINT), and glad of my decision to start from scratch creatively and revamp as I think it turned out rather well, if I do say so myself.

One thing I usually get before the end of the year is a calendar full of some kind of pretty images to enjoy all the coming year, but this year, I was in the States in July and they didn't have 2017 calendars available yet. I forgot to ask for one at Christmas until the last minute, so I ended up ordering one the day after for myself and it arrived a couple of days ago. It's one of those family calendars with columns for each person so you can easily see what each member of the family has coming up and plan accordingly. It's a Pettson & Findus calendar, because I love Pettsson and Findus and anything that Sven Nordqvist draws. I've had TWO paper calendars for a few years (because someone has gotten me one as a gift after I'd already bought one for myself), one that is basically just for the pretty pictures and a family-planner type, but this year I think I'll just have one. It's more of a memory-jogger anyway, since I use Outlook at work and on my phone for everything.

In a couple of minutes, I will start on my 2016 blog book project. I've already downloaded the PDFs from what used to be LJBook and is now Blogbooker. Reformatting to my own style usually takes anywhere from a few weeks to a few months depending on how much I wrote during the year...I suspect this one won't take me very long. Drr.

Made it to WW tonight after a couple of weeks break, during which I basically ate ALL THE THINGS. Nothing was safe. And now it's all gone. And over. And I'm back on the WW wagon. URGH. It's not a new year's resolution, so much as a re-focusing on the continuation of my life.

Ok, off to revisit what I was doing LAST January (probably the exact. same. thing. I'm rather predictable, I suspect).
mood: busy
music: Chicago—Saturday in the Park

zird is the word [userpic]
The last day of 2016, hurrah! Normally, I would be a bit sad about the end of the year, but I am really hoping that, despite the orange-frosted muffin going into office in my native country, things will get better *pastes bright smile into place* instead of getting worse. After all, things are going well for me and my family, so despite the debacle of the US election, and the loss of so many people I admired: Gene Wilder, Carrie Fisher, Alan Rickman, David Bowie, Harper Lee, Richard Adams, George Michael, Anton Yelchin, Prince,...(oof) among many many others, I am looking forward to a new year full of promise.

Family & Personal Highlights of 2016
  • Spending the mellandagarna and New Year's in Germany with John & Simone and the boys
  • Anders' long weekend skiing in Czech Republic
  • Getting started singing again, by joining Eslöv's pop choir
  • Collecting and creating a family recipe book
  • Being declared diabetes-free by January after losing as much as 15 kilos
  • Going to see Billy Elliot, Kinky Boots and Turandot at the Malmö Opera
  • Karin acting in a short film and an Axis product launch video
  • Martin passing his exams and graduating from IB and high school!
  • Hosting a big graduation party to celebrate Martin's Studenten
  • Karin finally getting her ears pierced
  • Finally getting rid of the fish tank (haha!)
  • A month-long trip to the US which included all kinds of family, celebrations and travel, including a day each in NYC and Boston
  • Liz's sister turning 50, mom turning 75 and grandma turning 100
  • A 3-day family reunion with 63 relatives
  • Martin's first 2 part-time paying jobs
  • Karin getting a job as a telemarketer
  • Martin's 7.5 week trip to Peru (with 9 days in Michigan at the end)
  • Long weekend trip to Berlin during fall break
  • Going to see Elton John in concert, with Karin
  • Getting back on the board of the AWC
I read at least 89 books this past year, according to GoodReads, but it doesn't seem to always count books that I read earlier and then read again, so I'm not sure the total is completely accurate.

Best Books of 2016 (in no particular order and not including re-reads)
  • Unquiet Land by Sharon Shinn
  • The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman
  • The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
  • The Blood Curse by Emily Gee
  • A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray
  • Maphead by Ken Jennings
  • At the Edge of the Orchard by Tracy Chevalier
  • Brooklyn by Colm Toibin
  • The Kitchen Daughter by Jael McHenry
  • Grunt by Mary Roach
  • Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine
  • At the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen
  • The Opposite of Everyone by Joshilyn Jackson
  • A Grown-up Kind of Pretty by Joshilyn Jackson
  • The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
  • Goldenhand by Garth Nix
Movies I enjoyed this year? Rogue One, Kung Fu Panda 3, The Jungle Book, Arrival, Finding Dory, Zootropolis, Ghostbusters and Ex Machina. I'm sure there were more. And TV shows we watched and enjoyed? Bron/Broen, Historieätarna, Orphan Black, Westworld, Game of Thrones, Downton Abbey, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and Elementary.

It seems like I spent more time this year on Instagram, finding, admiring and following various artists, so that I didn't spend as much time on Spotify finding new music. I would make a list of Best Artist Discoveries but it would be twice as long as this post, I fear.

Best Musical Discoveries of 2016
  • King Floyd
  • Saint Motel
  • Laura Tesoro
  • Sheppard
Some manageable goals for 2017
  • Walk walk walk!
  • Continue with WW, get weight back down again
  • Encourage Martin in job hunting and college applications
  • Get both kids into driving school
  • Find and buy a new bed
  • Be more regular about posting here!
I have the rest of this afternoon to relax before we have to leave for dinner and New Year's celebrations with our good friends Barbara & Paul. Both kids are coming for dinner, but then leaving for their own parties with friends, which I am a little sad about...harbinger of an empty-nesting future trend that I am not looking forward to. But good food, company and fireworks on the agenda for tonight anyway, and tomorrow is the last day of vacation, so I plan to spend it being a total slug! Happy New Year!
mood: relaxed

zird is the word [userpic]
My husband, who has been working in the garage for a few hours, came in to the kitchen while I was preparing a plate for my dinner (both kids are out tonight). "Oh, is it still leftovers?" he asked. I gave him the hairy eyeball. Has he not looked in the refrigerator?? We have enough food to feed an army for a week. So, yes, leftovers again. Not that I'm complaining since I only get turkey sandwiches twice a year!

We had a major wind storm through southern Sweden last night (it was named Urd, which seems...odd, since that is definitely one Swedish name I have never 'urd of). Winds shook the house all night and howled through the trees. There was flooding along the coast, both in Malmö and even up in Gothenburg, plenty of trees down, and over a thousand people without power...thankfully not us.

I know I should have said more about this BEFORE Christmas, but because it was a Christmas gift, I couldn't really do it then, though I'm sure my family all had an idea of what was coming :) haha! I finished my cookbook project at the end of October and sent it to print. It was my present to my family members and some friends as well, and was very well-received, which made me happy since it was a real labor of love! If you would like to order a copy, let me know and I'll send you the link. You can buy it at cost (I don't make any revenue from the sale).

We bought a third car today. Used, for only SEK 1500. It's a 2003 Peugeot 206 and it's a manual drive. Anders bought it so that the kids can practice driving stick. They'll have to do it with him, though, as my driver's license is only for automatic cars! Heh. He asked if I wanted to re-learn how to drive stick and re-take my license but I said, "Nah, I'm good." It looks basically like this but in much worse condition. In fact, it has körförbud (driving ban) as it didn't pass inspection and needs brake work and new lights and god knows what else. But Anders figured spending a couple of thousand on parts and fixing it up would be worth it. And then we'll have an extra car for the kid(s) later once they (or she) has their (or her) license(s)!

I am reading Franny and Zooey which I managed to never get around to back in high school or college. I DID read Catcher in the Rye at some point, but didn't like it. Franny was listed as an influential fictional female heroine in a book I read not too long ago, and it intrigued me enough to put it on my list. My mom got it for me for Christmas and so far it seems to be a short, zippy read.

Tomorrow, the kids and I are going to see Benedict Cumberbatch play Hamlet with my two best friends and their entourages (we are 10 people altogether). It's at least 3 hours and then we're going to dinner at an Asian buffet place (no leftovers, ha!). I need to get the AWC website finished and published, will work on that now, and then I'm going to take it easy for the rest of this kid-free evening!
mood: lazy
music: Meghan Trainor—I'll Be Home

zird is the word [userpic]
I actually had to roust both kids out of bed today at 10 a.m. with Christmas carols on full blast, since there was no sign of either one of them moving, despite Karin's threats last night to wake us up at six a.m. HA. Teenagers are lame. It rained all day today...super boring weather for Christmas except for the fact that water drops hanging from the honeysuckle creepers looked like diamonds.

Two days ago was my mother-in-law's birthday; she turned 88. She had a knee replacement operation a few weeks ago but is home and recovering well, despite still having a lot of pain. Yesterday we had Swedish Christmas Eve at Anders' sister's home. She and Anders had divided up the traditional julbord food and they each outdid themselves providing a fantastic meal. Anders even made meatballs with moose meat! We watched the Disney special Kalle Anka (Donald Duck Christmas Disney Special from the 60s) that half the population sits and watches for an hour every Christmas Eve. Even after this long in Sweden, I still roll my eyes at this particular tradition. I could understand it when our kids were all small, but the youngest one there now is Karin and she's 17 and a half!

After I got the kids out of bed (Anders was already up), we opened our stocking gifts, then everyone showered and dressed, and we opened the rest of the presents under the tree. Martin's big gift this year was a new lens for the camera he got for graduation. Karin received a Polaroid camera which made her SO happy and a printed-out copy of the ticket to the Emmaboda music festival next summer that we actually purchased back in October. Anders got me a beautiful necklace from Pandora as well as a couple of the things on my wishlist that I really wanted, and he got special Norlan whiskey glasses and a set of drawing plans to build his own kayak, which he's been wanting for some time. Of course, that probably means that nothing else will get done around the house for the next six months, haha!

He spent the rest of the day cooking and we sat down to a lovely American Christmas dinner of turkey with all the trimmings. His mom was originally going to come for dinner but after yesterday's festivities, she decided to take it easy today, which is too bad for her because she missed out on this:

I made a spice cake and then glazed it with powdered sugar frosting and garnished it with dried cranberries, frozen lingonberries and silver dragées. It looked beautiful and it tastes fantastic! However, since we have eaten so much this weekend, no one really wants a ton of cake and I might have to freeze some of it. Still, a keeper idea for dessert!

We talked to John, Simone and the boys yesterday on Facetime since it was Jakob's birthday (3!) and I'm planning on calling my sister after I get done posting this. I talked to my mom a couple of days ago and I know she is taking my grandma to my cousin's home today so not sure I'll be able to get her until tomorrow.

It's so nice to have Martin home again! He and I finished watching Westworld and plan to rewatch Sense8 this week. He had a great time on his trip and now has to buckle down and get going on college applications and jobhunting again. :) No rest for the weary!

I am really looking forward to this week off (even though I do actually have to do a little work one day). I have a few plans: dinner with friends, getting Barky taken care of, and going to see the National Theater production of Hamlet with Benedict Cumberbatch, at the movies with my two best friends and a pile of teenagers who won't appreciate it. :D And then nothing until New Year's Eve with our friends Barbara & Paul. And the week after that is a short one, so a nice soft end of this year and a nice soft start to the next one. And the light has started returning, too! Hurrah for that!
mood: full
music: Pentatonix—Mary, Did You Know?

zird is the word [userpic]
Every year I am amazed again at how fast 365 days can pass. Here it is, the end of 2016 and Christmas is upon us once again! We’ve had a busy year with many celebrations in it and lots of traveling. There were some major milestones, and some big birthdays as well.

Anders has had a great year of mountain-biking, participating in a series of X Cup tournaments as well as doing the Cyckel Vasa for the first time, which is a race on the same track that the Vasaloppet Ski Race takes place on. His job has taken him to Italy multiple times, as well as Shanghai, so he’s done a fair bit of traveling during the course of the year.

In June, Liz and Anders celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary and had a lovely dinner at the newly opened Gastro Gaspari in Flyingeby. And Martin graduated from high school! He is now a certified diploma-carrying International Baccalaureate graduate. We celebrated his “Studenten” with a big party in our backyard with friends and family. And July was packed with fun things. We left on the 1st and landed on the east coast of the US for a week at Liz’ sister’s home in Connecticut. Our good friends Kathey and Russell joined us and we had a fantastic week, spending a day in Boston, a day in New York City, a day in Hartford and a real American 4th of July which included a picnic in the park and fireworks. The rest of the week was spent shopping, hanging out and enjoying each other’s company.

We then headed to Michigan, by way of 1 night in New York with Aunt Joanne and arrived at Liz’s mom’s on the 8th of July, the day after Liz’s brother John and family had arrived. Sarah and her kids came the day after we did, and it was a full house in the best way. So fun to have the whole family gathered together! During the month, we celebrated several birthdays: Sammy turned 5, Karin turned 17, 2 of Liz’s cousin’s kids had birthdays, and Liz’s mom turned 75. But the big birthday was part of a family reunion which snowballed from a small get-together into 63 people at the house for 3 days straight...

Liz’s grandmother turned 100 and we had 3 days of families parties to celebrate. We started with a memorial service for Liz’s Uncle Sam in Bad Axe and then had 2 days of fun and food with relatives from all over the country. Thanks to the generous use of a friend’s beach house, we had plenty of time to relax and enjoy our family and the kids. Our family went up to Traverse City to spend a couple of nights with Aunt Judy and Liz’s college roommate, and Liz, Martin and Danely took a day trip to MSU to tour the campus (and meet up with a friend from Sweden).

Martin got a couple of part-time jobs after our return, working at a café and tutoring kids. He has started the application process for 4 colleges in Michigan that have programs he is interested in, and then, on Halloween, he left for 7.5 weeks on his post-graduation trip. 6.5 weeks in Peru with his best friends Claudia & Frida, and a week in the US visiting a friend and spending a few nights with his grandma. He won’t be back until December 20, just in time for Christmas.

While he was gone, Anders, Liz and Karin went to Berlin for 4 days, sightsaw everything possible and even got to meet another one of Liz’s cousins who lives there! Karin has also been working, both continuing her soccer referee work and a new job as a telemarketer. Her junior year of high school is going well, especially since she’s got a much easier schedule than last year! She has also done some work acting, as an extra in a short student film and in a product launch video for Liz’s company!

Here’s hoping your holidays are filled with love, laughter, kindness, NO political wrangling, and hope for a peaceful and positive 2017.

Link to photos PDF:

Liz, Anders, Martin and Karin
mood: calm
music: Anders peeling hardboiled eggs in the kitchen

zird is the word [userpic]
You know, I had seriously good intentions to post more often this month, since I was so lame busy in November, but it appears that I am paving the road to blog post hell instead. I hate just writing catch-up posts of what I've been doing, where I've been, why I'm absent, because who cares, really?

I know I have a few faithful readers, but I really wonder if anyone is REALLY following this journal anymore. I don't know that I would be, if I were you. Though it's not like there are a lot of bloggers left to follow anywhere, anymore, and I'm certainly not one of the interesting ones these days!

Martin has been gone for 7 weeks. He comes home on Tuesday, assuming that my mom and uncle can get him from Michigan back to Toronto in the expected snowstorm that is heading their way. If his flight is cancelled or delayed, it might be an extra day before he makes it back, so we are holding thumbs that the weather is not as terrible as predicted and that they don't have any problems, either driving there or his flight actually departing on time.

We are ready for Christmas: the tree is up and decorated (since last week) and I went Christmas shopping today and made a huge dent in my list. Just have a couple of things left to get, not sure if I will do that tomorrow or wait until after my vacation starts. The kids and I are planning to go see the new Star Wars movie on Wednesday (Martin already saw it in Detroit, but wants to go again with us) and we have our plans for Christmas Eve at Anders' sister's home in place including the list of the food we are responsible for.

Karin crashed her moped last week; nothing serious, but her phone call scared the crap out of me until I figured out that she was fine. I've been dreading that call since she started driving 2.5 years ago. She slid taking a corner on black ice, and ended up with the moped sliding on its side, though she managed to push it away off of her. She was still banged up and stiff and sore all week, but thankfully unhurt in any serious way. The moped is "crooked" but Anders thinks it's fixable, thank goodness. She relies on it so much, so it would be hard to have it out of commission completely.

Anders and I have been binge-watching Bron (The Bridge), a Swedish police/detective series. He started watching it a couple of weeks ago, and I got hooked by the 4th episode, just from watching bits and pieces as I came and went around the house while he was watching. We totally missed the hype around this one, even though I remember my colleagues all talking about it at work when it first started airing several years ago. I don't usually like crime-murder series at all but this one is SO good, so well-done and with characters that you come to deeply care about despite their many human flaws...or perhaps in spite of. Now we are done and have to wait an entire year until season 4 starts airing in January 2018: AUGH.

Choir is over for the year, and I'm quite sad about it, because our two excellent choir leaders have stepped down and won't be returning at the end of January for next year's spring term. I hope they can find a replacement (or two) that are as good, but after having been in choirs since I was 13 years old, I know how rare their particular kind of talent is.

However, a group of women at the office, me included, have signed up to sing in a Gospel concert that is taking place in Malmö at the end of January. I wouldn't normally be interested, since I'm not really into gospel...and not at all religious, but I got a bit railroaded into it by their enthusiasm. :) Anyway, we got the music CDs a week ago, and I am memorizing the alto part by listening to it over and over in the car (it is only nine songs). And Karin, who has been riding to and from Lund with me several times this week ALSO has three of the songs memorized so we sing them together VERY enthusiastically any time we are in the car now, to our own mutual hilarity. There are going to be 1000 choir singers altogether along with several solo artists from the US and the colleague who did this same event last year swears that it is SUPER fun. I've been involved in this sort of multi-choir event a couple of times before (though never gospel) and it IS a lot of fun, so I'm looking forward to it even though it kind of pains me to be singing such super-religious songs. Heh.

What I'm wishing for, right now, and for Christmas, is a little snow to lighten things up. It's SO DAMN DARK. Dark all the time. Sigh.
mood: busy
music: MAGNIFY HIM! GLORIFY HIM! in my head

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lizardek's obiter photos
lizardek's obiter photos

Feeling generous? Be my guest!

I can complain because rose bushes have thorns or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.

Abraham Lincoln

obiter snippets

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