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zird is the word [userpic]
TAKING THINGS OUT
You know, I've not even had that much problem with my gall bladder, but after a third episode, and getting it checked, and hearing that it was "nearly full of stones", I thought it was better to be preemptive about having it removed, rather than wait until I ended up with major issues. Considering that my brother, my mother AND her father all had gall bladder attacks, it was probably just a matter of time.

My surgery was scheduled for Wednesday morning and I'd had 6 weeks to prepare, and by prepare, I mostly mean losing weight. I managed to get down 7.5 kilos, which I was pretty darned proud of, considering that time period included a 4-day trip to Stockholm, Mårtens Gås and Thanksgiving. I worked really damn hard at it, and I plan to continue with my new habits even now, after the fact. All told, since my diabetes diagnosis 2 years ago, I've managed to lose 15.5 kilos (TWICE, but not managed to stay there, sigh) to date. I still have a long way to go to be considered at a healthy weight, but at least I feel I'm a good bit further along the right road, both mentally, emotionally and motivationally.

Anders took the day off and drove me to the Gastro Center in Lund, where the surgery was taking place. It's a laproscopy procedure, which doesn't require an overnight stay, unless there are complications. I had to be there at 8:15 and I couldn't have anything but water basically from midnight the night before. That wasn't as easy as you might think, since I have a terrible gag reflex that manifests worst in the mornings...it's one of the reasons I always keep Tictacs to hand, but I managed with a bottle of crushed ice.

We arrived before 8, and sat in the waiting room for quite awhile, and then were called in by the anesthesiologist, who proceeded to talk up a storm...that I could barely understand a word of. AUGH! What was worse, he kept addressing himself to ANDERS and not to me, and finally I had to stop him by waving my hands (literally!) in front of his face and saying (in my perfectly good Swedish), "I'm sorry, but I'm getting about half of what you are saying...can you please take this in English?!" It turned out he was DANISH, and all those episodes of Bron I have watched (twice!) didn't help a damn bit. After that, things went much smoother, and quite quickly. He gave me painkillers and cortisone to take beforehand and walked me through what to expect, and then discombobulated me again by telling me that the anesthetic that they use was the "same as killed Michael Jackson", though I shouldn't be worried because he didn't have a doctor overseeing him at the time, etc., and wasn't the doctor convicted? I gave him a sort of half-glazed answer, thinking that that info was not really anything I needed to know right before surgery! :D

Being put under is weird. I met with the surgeon and he marked up my stomach and told me how the surgery would proceed (4 holes, 1 for the camera and gas to expand my abdomen so he could see, and 3 for the instruments) and how long it would take, and then said that Anders could go on home or shopping or to work and wait for my call after recovery...should be about 11 am or so. Bye, honey!

I got changed and they walked me into the operating room, all the nurses joking about the Danish doctor having to speak English despite my Swedish being so good, and I laid down on the table, and the nurse next to me told me her name and to think about something "nice to take with me" as she placed the mask over my face. And then I woke up. SO WEIRD.

Unfortunately, I reacted very badly to the anesthetics and had a bad time of it for several hours with severe dizziness and nausea. I couldn't relax or rest properly since it was bright and loud and people kept coming in and talking to me. The surgeon came at some point and said he was surprised I was so ill, since the surgery had gone fine and the guy before me was gone after an hour, and did I want to see my gallstones? NO, I managed to say, EW and laid my head back down. They moved me to a private room and I was finally feeling better enough by 1 pm to call Anders to come get me. After he got there, however, I was still too dizzy and had to lay down again for another hour and a half. By then I was determined to get home, where I could actually rest, so I managed to prove I could get to the bathroom and get dressed and we left. Being in the car, even for the short way home, made the nausea even worse though, and I had some rough moments after I arrived, before finally getting settled in bed, and conking out thoroughly for about 4 hours.

My brother had warned me that I'd probably feel gassy and bloated from the procedure, but I haven't had any issues with that at all, and the pain from the incisions is surprisingly minimal. It didn't hurt much at all the first day, though the second day I found I was much more sore. Today, the third day, I feel nearly back to normal. I'm eating very small meals and taking it very easy and have been very grateful for all the good wishes and conversations I have had with my friends and family. My colleagues, who were at our company Christmas party last night without me, even sent me a greeting from the julbord, which almost made me cry.

I haven't been a complete slug, though...I've been zooming through books, finishing the third in as many days today. I got the rest of the Christmas cards all done, sealed and today I went to the grocery store, picked up a package, and mailed them. I got most of the rest of my gift shopping done online (it wasn't that much, but still), and I even managed to WORK a couple of hours...just easy stuff, but enough to make me feel better, since I was fretting a bit about being out for 3 days and falling behind. In between, I've been napping, resting, lying flat in bed, and relaxing. I was really hoping to have Anders and Karin go get the Christmas tree today, but Karin worked (at a new job! at a cafe in Malmö, which turns out to be owned & operated by Björn Ranelid's daughter, of all people) all day today and Anders was switching all the tires on the cars, so maybe tomorrow.

I did bring home the little pill bottle of gallstones that the doctor gave me, but honestly, looking at them made me gag, and after Anders and Karin took a look, I threw them away. There weren't as many as I thought there would be...only 10 or so, but they were as big as Pandora beads! Now I'm going to lie down again, and start a new book. Happy weekend!
 sore
mood: sore
music: Nerina Pallot—Put Your Hands Up


zird is the word [userpic]
LIGHTING THINGS UP
This has been a majorly NON-SLUG weekend here at Chez Ek. Anders, who has apparently been replaced by a pod person, went out yesterday and bought outdoor lights and HUNG THEM ALL ALONG THE FRONT EDGE OF THE HOUSE. He was too funny, because he came in to the bedroom on Saturday morning, where I was still lolling reading, and asked me if he could get one of these. Apparently they sell them here in Sweden, now. Guess who got the hairy eyeball THIS time? :D

He had no intention of actually buying one, though, and proceeded to look up nice, plain, white strings of lights. I badgered him to at least give in and get colored lights, alas, to no avail. I had a huge long list of things to get done yesterday, not least of which was decorating the inside of the house. I did that, in between three loads of laundry, writing our Christmas letter, preparing Christmas cards, cleaning, etc. We aren't getting the tree until next weekend (hopefully), so still have that to decorate, but expect my daughter to recruit some friends to possibly help with that monster job since I will be busy laying around recuperating from surgery, and directing where ornaments go from the confines of the couch.

I've also gotten the majority of the gifts I needed to purchase done already, so am feeling VERY ahead of the game, considering it's only the 2nd day of December. Still have my kids, my mother-in-law and stocking stuffers to deal with, but I'm glad to be ahead since I figure the next two weeks are basically shot due to the surgery and recovery.

The lights in the windows and along the houses make everything so much brighter. It's candle time, cozy time, thank goodness, because outdoors it's cold, sodden, chill, wet and rainy. I hope we'll get some snow this year to help brighten things up even more, but that brings with it a load of other problems, so...

I just talked to my mom for an hour and still have to call my sister (and her daughter to wish her a belated happy birthday), and then Martin, after Anders gets home. I miss my family even more than usual this time of year. Holidays are hardest when the people you love are far away. Thank goodness Martin will be home for Christmas, or I don't think I could stand it!
 accomplished
mood: accomplished
music: That's Just the Way It Is—Bruce Hornsby & The Range


zird is the word [userpic]
I DO AND DO AND DO
This has been crazy week. Something every single evening:

Monday - WW, where I expressed disappointment that my scale at home in the morning showed I had lost more than the scale at WW in the evening and was told that "you can't trust your scale at home". Which? What? Why not, WW? SO YOU CAN GET PAID MORE? Give me a break. (it was because it was morning, that's why, and I was getting ready to shower and hadn't eaten anything, so there)

Tuesday - AWC monthly meeting with 2 guest speakers and the annual holiday cookie exchange, which I organize, even though this year, I really thought I shouldn't do it because COOKIES and ZERO WILLPOWER AROUND COOKIES and DAMN IT. I ate cookies for 2 days then I hid them in the back of the freezer and told Anders they were gone. I made Iced Peppermint Sugar Cookies, which were delicious.

Wednesday - Extra choir practice to prepare for concert

Thursday - (that's today) Choir concert. I had to sing a solo because my duet partner couldn't make it. We sang in the train station in Eslöv which echoes like crazy, to the commuters coming home from work. It was freezing, you could see our breath. But it sounded like a cathedral...if you didn't count the bonging bells before train announcements and the clattering and chatting of many many people and a bunch of obnoxious teenagers who were just hanging out being loud. Oh, and the pianist who we've never worked with before (he was asked special to come play for us tonight so our director could...direct) playing the WRONG music for one song. We managed, but that particular song was embarrassing.

Friday - WOOT END OF THE WEEK. We're decorating for Christmas at work. Then I'm going to see my friend Camilla's new apartment and eat (a very small amount) of sushi with her and Debbie.

Then it's only 5 days until Gall Bladder Removal Day, assuming that when my doctor said he wanted me to lose a ton of weight, he was thinking 6-ish kilos was a ton of weight.

All that and work, too. I need a nap.
 busy
mood: busy
music: I can hear the cookies calling me from here


zird is the word [userpic]
MAKING MERRY & GIVING THANKS (PLUS EATING STUFFING)
Would you believe that the ONLY photos I have of the 2017 Thanks-Friends-Giving-Aganza are a montage of my antique mini silver salt and pepper shakers being filled? SO EXCITING. Back in the day, we used to record our gathering for posterity, posing on and behind the sofa, which children in our laps, etc. Nowadays, we just wait hungrily for everyone to arrive already, throw things in the microwave to heat them up, and stampede to the tables to stuff ourselves. Nary a photo in sight! No one even lifts a camera, 'cause their hands are full of forks and knives, which are full of food, food, glorious food.

I invited all our best buds and shockingly, this year, they ALL said yes, which, EEK, shit, now we have to buy and cook FOUR turkeys. We have to do this because Swedish turkeys are basically the size of chickens and it takes at least 3 of them to make up 1 American Butterball + enough for leftovers. And then one family (of 5) had to bail on us (for a sad reason) a week before and Anders and I figured 3 turkeys would be plenty. Until I went to the store to get said turkeys and saw that they were only 4.5 kilos and called him, and he said, "Get four." We have a LOT of leftover turkey, not that I'm complaining.

In addition to the turkey quartet, we had 4 kinds of stuffing (including LIVER stuffing), cornbread muffins with jalapeno, spaghetti squash, mashed potatoes, gravy, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, black olives, gherkins and pickled onions. There was also some vegetarian main dish that I never even saw, that Kelly brought for her 2 girls. And for dessert? THREE pumpkin pies with whipped cream, 2 blueberry & raspberry cobblers with vanilla sauce and a full tray of individual pannacottas: chocolate on top, vanilla on bottom, with a dark chocolate wedge.

We had 14 adults, plus 9 teenagers/children, and 1 dog. And in that mix were 5 Americans, 1 Canadian, 1 Brit, 10 Swedes, 6 Swedish-Americans..and a labrador mix, It was very loud. After dinner, while we women were all in the kitchen cleaning up and washing dishes, Kristian turned on Netflix and dialed up (does anyone dial up anything anymore?) the Chargers vs Cowboys football game and it all felt so American and traditional and fun. Ola asked me if I could turn the noise down because he couldn't hear the game, and then I smacked him because he meant the women. We had a great time.

We've been hosting this Thanksgiving potluck with most of these same people for nearly 20 years. Some years, someone can't come, and some years another someone can't come. There have been other people added to the mix, new additions, and some who have moved away, but every year, we gather friends who feel like family around us for an evening that makes me miss being home with my first family just a little less.

This year, Martin wasn't here again. Last year, he was in Peru, and this year, he celebrated the holiday at my mom's with my grandmother, 2 of my mom's cousins and my sister and her family. I wished I could have cloned myself to be in two places at once, but I was very grateful that he has my mom and family to spend the holiday with if he couldn't be with us, for the second year in a row.

Today was still a busy day, washing more dishes, doing laundry, cleaning up and moving tables and chairs. I watered plants and ran to the grocery store to replace milk, and I baked a gazillion cookies for the annual AWC cookie exchange on Tuesday. This year: Iced Peppermint Sugar Cookies! YUM!

I hope everyone had as lovely a weekend as we did, and that even if it wasn't a holiday for you, that you took some time to think about the things that you are thankful for, and the things that make your year, and your life, a little bit better.
 thankful
mood: thankful


zird is the word [userpic]
GHOST TOWNS
Wherever we go, the older we get, the more we are living in the past. Everything around us reminds us of it, whether we realize it or not. Every house you pass, every building, every street you drive down, or road you take is a path, a place, a memory of something from your former self, your former life. And when you live somewhere for a long time, it's even more true. Every rock, fence, tree, garden, has a history imprinted upon you.

That's the house the twins lived in, Martin's former best friends, when he was young. And that one is where Karin's first boyfriend from daycare days still lives, though he's no longer a child, and neither is she. That development used to be fields, where horses grazed. The fields used to glow yellow from the rapeseed blooming every May.

The building by the little traffic circle? It was a store once, where we stopped nearly every day and bought milk or bread or picked up the mail. Then it was vacant, then it was another store (that I never stepped foot in), then someone's home, and now? It's a brewery/pub. Every house has a history, a "used to" story: that one used to be a gas station. That one used to be a bank and then a café. It's someone's home now, but I know what the inside looks like. I know where the bank vault is. I wonder if they kept the vault door.

That smooth slope of grass used to be a wild tangle of lupines. I sometimes seem to see it, though it's only a trick of my mind's eye, when I pass by. I still mourn the loss of the lupines.

Every place is infected with memory. Infused with the ghosts of people who used to live there, who have moved or grown or passed away. Even the memory of cats who once came to visit can haunt you.

It's sharper sometimes, that peripheral impression, when you return to a place where you haven't been for a long time. The facade of former haunts veil the present. That's where I used to play, with my siblings and my cousins, when we were small. That's where my grandparents used to live. See the little iron door where the milk was delivered? The apricot tree in the yard is gone. The lilies of the valley in the tiny corridor between the houses are gone; so are the morning glories on the back fence and the army of small Papillon dogs next door, but the huge screened-in porch is still there. That's where my mother went to school. That's the big street we weren't allowed to cross. It doesn't look so big now. But it's all still there, in your head, like double vision.

Every place you go, you're laying a trail of memory. Everyone you meet, every neighbor you greet, every home you visit, every school you attend or office you work in. The bus route you take each day for years; the place where your choir practices weekly, the restaurant you and your husband frequented so often when you first moved here, that the waiters knew you by name and the chefs started making your favorite dish before you'd even ordered. We smear the present with the past and vice versa.

Every new trip to an old place causes an eruption of remember whens, probably much to our children's disinterest. You're seeing the past overlaid on the present. "I don't remember that place!" or "That's new, where did that come from?" It's an effrontery, almost, that places dare to change, the same way people do, the same way memories do. The details waver and shimmer; all we know is what it used to be. It used to be and now it is, and then will be a used-to-be again.
 contemplative
mood: contemplative
music: Cajsa Stina Åkerström—Kärleken Finns Överallt


zird is the word [userpic]
BEATING THE BLUR
Do you think time seems to go by faster because we stop paying attention to the details? At a certain point, we've seen it all before so we don't have to watch it as it develops, and only need to stop and snap to when something new happens. And after years, nothing new really happens. Unless we really stop. And force ourselves to see the details in the little things, the everyday things that really aren't the same. It's not easy, though. I think we lazily allow ourselves too often to coast along, skimming the surface of our lives, until suddenly we realize that years have passed, years are passing, and we're missing out.

And even if nothing new seems to happen to us (we've already been to school, graduated, moved, gotten jobs, bought houses, started a family, whatever), it's happening all around us, to our children, to our friends, to our colleagues, to the places we live and work in. Maybe it's just the new things, after years, aren't that fun anymore. They're just painful, or boring, or run-of-the-mill, or worst of all: annoying. They're the developing creaks and aches of growing older. They're the news stories that remind us that while the world may be changing, it is often all-too-depressingly the same.

WAKE UP! I need to channel Cher's character in Moonstruck, slapping Nicholas Cage and shouting "Snap out of it!"

Don't miss out. You don't get a second chance. You sleepwalk through these minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, and guess what? You don't get any more of them. Don't lose out on the time you have by choosing to let it blur past you with a day-in-day-out attitude.

The thing is, too, that we can only live vicariously through our children, our friends, our colleagues, to a certain point...especially our children. They don't want us hovering over them, worrying, watching, wondering. They want to live in the moment, too, until they learn how to blur it and coast themselves. It's all new to them, just like it was to us, until Boom! And then bluuuuuuuuuuurrrrr.

How do you stop that slow slide into an indistinct and lazy existence where you move from day to day in the same routines? What if you LIKE that stability, that security, in the comfortable life you live? Haven't you EARNED it?

WAKE UP! Go outside! Drive a different way to work. Go out at lunch and walk for 15 minutes, even if it's raining (take an umbrella, you won't melt, for god's sake). Eat breakfast for dinner, or popcorn. Tell a co-worker why they're a good colleague. Turn up the music and sing at the top of your lungs. Try a new recipe. Invite friends over spontaneously for burgers and board games. Give a special someone an extra hard hug. Write about what you saw, what they said, why it was funny or interesting or different. LOOK FOR THE DIFFERENCES. Instead of exercising after work, go for a walk before bed and look up at the sky. You might have seen them before, but the stars look very different today.* REJECT THE BLUR.

*David said it best, of course.
awake
mood: awake
music: David Bowie—Space Oddity


zird is the word [userpic]
MEH URGH GAH FLUMP
I was going to come home from choir and write a post. A good post. A long one, full of musings and interesting theories and anecdotes about my life. But, 5 minutes after I got home, and got the computer turned on, Karin called and needed to be picked up, and I had to leave again, and it put me in a bad mood (for other reasons than that she needed to be picked up) and then since I was grumping, I thought about other things that have been aggravating me this week, and by the time I got back home, I was really not in the mood to write anything coherent, much less interesting. So I'm taking my grumpy ass to bed and I'll try again tomorrow. SUCK.
 cranky
mood: cranky
music: None, damnit.


zird is the word [userpic]
GOOD GRAVY
For some reason my last two posts were set to private, though I swear I haven't changed the settings on my editor, so what the hell, Livejournal? Now I worry I need to check back through every post to make sure they are all visible. No WONDER I don't get any comments! Drrrr.

It was a multiple holiday weekend. We have Mårtens Gås (and Mårtensafton, since Swedes insist on celebrating all holidays the evening before, Veterans Day (in the US), Remembrance Day, and Swedish Fathers Day today. On Friday, Anders' mom had us all over for a delicious (catered) meal of turkey (better than goose) with potatoes, vegetables and a gravy that was so good we all wanted to drink it out of the cartons. Luckily, the caterer apparently knows how good their gravy is because they provided THREE huge containers of it. In addition, there was apple cake and vanilla sauce. I ate way too much but since I've been basically starving myself all week, I figured it was due. I've been good the rest of the weekend too, so there's that. It's not much, but it's something.

Karin was with us for dinner, then we dropped her off in Lund to meet up with friends and they promptly headed right back to Malmö for nightclubbing and dancing. I picked her up Saturday at 12:30 after her team interview with her new soccer coaches and we went shopping. She and I had already made plans for Saturday, (I'm guessing because she didn't have anything already planned with friends, haha) to watch a movie, but all the movies we want to see don't open in the theaters until NEXT week, so we picked a movie from the list I have of movies I want to see but it turned out to be HORRIBLE. I should have known, since it was a Woody Allen movie, and I haven't like any Woody Allen movie I've ever seen. And I should have doubly known, since it stars Owen Wilson, whom I dislike, but we watched the whole horrible thing. What a waste of time, both ours and the actors.

Today we celebrated Fathers Day by basically doing nothing after giving Anders presents (a PS4 hockey game and a fancy Lakrids advent calendar of liquorice candy). Karin and I did some cleaning, I did one load of laundry and after that I read my book and napped. I just talked to my mom for an hour and then we tried to call Maritn, since we haven't talked to him in weeks, but he was busy at an all-day photo shoot so we've made plans to talk on Tuesday. He's always busy so it's hard to connect. But we have some administrative financial aid things to deal with so he can't escape forever.

This week feels busy though it's about average: WW tomorrow, call Martin and do FAFSA on Tuesday, host Bookworms on Wednesday and choir on Thursday. Hopefully, Karin will still be available to go see a movie next weekend! :D
 busy
mood: busy
music: The Foundations—Baby Now That I've Found You


zird is the word [userpic]
SWINGING THROUGH STOCKHOLM
Oops! Forgot I had a blog. Heh.

We had a really nice trip to Stockholm, though we missed Martin. Karin, unfortunately, was sick with a really bad cold the entire time: fever on the way up, coughing, sore throat, stuffed head, the works. We drugged her up and made her go with us everywhere though :D The weather couldn't have been better. Friday was bright and glorious sunshine with blue skies and chill temperatures. Saturday it was cloudier and felt colder though it actually wasn't. It only drizzled on us once, but we didn't care because we were having fun.



It was a very museumy weekend. We stayed at the Långholmen prison hostel that we stayed at once before, only in one of the "nice" rooms (bunkbed and a trundle). Found a nice breakfast place (Cafe Vurma) a few blocks away and right over from the subway station. We went to the ABBA museum on Friday, which was way too expensive but a fun museum with a bonus Eurovision exhibition. It was fun, especially since ABBA was a huge part of my early musical life, living in Europe in the 70s. The wax figures of them were pretty creepy, though...they were SO realistic, I kept expecting them to move.

Then we took the ferry over to old town and walked around for awhile. I went to the scifi bookstore and then we drove to the HUGE Mall of Scandinavia (biggest damn mall I have ever seen) where Karin bought shoes (SURPRISE!) at the Nike store and a nice blouse, and Anders found a jacket at Naturcompaniet and then we ate sushi at one of the many nice restaurants there.





On Saturday we went to Fotografiska which is a fantastic photography gallery. They had a huge exhibition by Paul Hansen, the photojournalist who has been in pretty much every conflict zone around the world, ever. They also had extended the "Last Night in Sweden" exhibition, which we really wanted to see. It was a Kickstarter project started in response to Trump's comments during the campaign about Sweden, when nothing had actually happened, and comprises photos from around the country of what was REALLY happening: real life, no drama :) They also had a huge exhibition called the Autumn Salon which was a curated selection of photos from 31 different Nordic photographers. It was GREAT.



After that, we walked back to Old Town, had lunch in a fantastic little cafe (Cronan: excellent Caesar salad and to-die-for mushroom soup) and then went to Hallwylska House, which is a museum in an 19th century mansion whose owners were basically hoarders collectors of every thing you can possibly imagine. Most of it stuff we didn't really care about: tons of ceramics, swords, early guns, sculpture, porcelain, figurines, etc. All of it rather ugly. I mostly felt sympathy for the maids who had to dust all that shit before the invention of glass display cases & cabinets. The only thing we appreciated about it was that it was free (if you didn't take a guided tour).

After that we found our way out to the edge of the industrial ports, where Karin had found out about an exhibit of Street Art called Magic City. It was literally out in the middle of NOWHERE, at the end of the area where the cargo ferries come in, in a huge warehouse, and it turned out to be absolutely super. We got there an hour before closing time, after walking for a long way from the bus stop (30 minutes) and we had just exactly enough time to see the whole thing. It was everything about the growing trend of street art around the world, from graffiti to public sculptures to murals to yarnbombing to trash art installations. It was EXCELLENT.


Trash art installation by Bordalo II, my favorite!

We couldn't get into Stampen which was our original plan as it was packed with people enjoying the blues jam. Anders and I went there on our first trip to Stockholm over 20 years ago, but no go on the nostalgia trip, sadly. We were pretty hungry by then and didn't have any other ideas so we ended up in the first place we found that had an okay-sounding menu and prices that weren't sky-high. My pasta dish was really good but Anders was disappointed with his meal. Karin got ryggbiff (steak) so she was happy. We then went back to the hotel so Karin could go to bed early, nursing her cold.



We left Sunday morning after breakfast and a stop at a used-clothing store, where Karin picked up an Armani jacket for $80 and drove the 6.5 hours home. But I was really bummed because we made it to the Moose Store on the highway 15 minutes AFTER it closed. Figures! She got an Armani and I got nothing! haha!



Work has been nuts. I've been doing really well dieting, lost nearly 4 more kilos (Stockholm was not so helpful) so far, and still plugging along. Got my hair done tonight and tomorrow is choir, and Friday Anders' mom has invited us all over for Mårtens Goose dinner. But no other plans this weekend, except that it's Father's Day on Sunday so I'd better get to the store soon and figure out something!
 cheerful
mood: cheerful
music: Rebecka Törnqvist—Good Thing


zird is the word [userpic]
HELLO WEENIE
I just activated a new member for the AWC: a guy from Texas who has been in Sweden for 10 years, and has heard about us since before he moved here, but never thought to join because, well, duh. It's a WOMEN'S club. Right? Except, no, not really. It's not just Americans and not just women, though we only have a handful of men at the moment. We've talked about changing the name for years, but no one seems to be able to agree on a new name and the one I would have liked has already been taken by another club in the area.

On Saturday, I picked up Camilla and we headed to Malmö to the SciFi bookstore. It's been ages since I've been there and the incentive to go was an event they had posted on Facebook as a Magical Market complete with wizards and witches and goblins, but it ended up being 4 tables of Harry Potter-ish merchandise with dressed-up vendors. Still, lots and lots of people, kids and families, so the store was packed and felt very festive. I had a hard time keeping my pile of books under 1000 kronor, but managed to just squeak it in. The whole time I was dithering about buying actual books...should I get these on Kindle instead or go for the lovely hoarder possessive feel of holding bound paper and ink. I took several photos of books to add to the "check out to buy later" list and most of the books I DID buy were by favorite, tried-and-true authors; books I'd been waiting for, so that was fun!

So far, just for anyone keeping track (Megsie, I'm looking at you), I have bought Christmas presents for my daughter, my son and my husband. Mostly stocking stuffer stuff, but still, it's a start. None of my first family has sent back the wishlist so obviously they don't want anything this year, haha!

Tomorrow is Halloween and I have yet to carve our pumpkin or decorate the foyer and entrance. I DO have a humongous bowl of candy, as the annual trick-or-treating will commence around 6:30... that gives me time to at least throw some cobwebs against the walls of the house before the kids show up. I have little motivation to go all out for Halloween here, and my kids are either gone or...never home, so they're not helping. I asked Karin this weekend if she wanted to help decorate or carve the pumpkin and she barely looked up from her phone to answer "Nah". Is this how it ends for things like Halloween and Easter? Not with a bang, but a whimper, as your kids grow up and leave the nest. I'll still decorate for Christmas, of course, but those other two holidays were so kid-driven. It's sad.

We did have a Halloween costume contest at work on Friday and the woman who organized it ordered huge cupcakes with Halloween icing for the Friday fika. She decorated the office and there were prizes for various costume categories. I won "Laziest Costume" for my bat deely boppers. :D (I just looked up "deely boppers" and it turns out they are actually deely boBBers, and the name is a genericized trademark, like kleenex or thermos or google).

Here in Sweden, Halloween just doesn't have the same oomph. Although, two of the costumes dreamed up by the younger set for parties this weekend cracked me up: Karin dressed up as Rufus the Naked Mole Rat from Kim Possible (though she said her costume sucked), and one of my colleague's kids dressed up as Bambi's mother...complete with bullet hole in the middle of her forehead! HORRIBLE, but OMG too funny.

In other news, found a spaghetti squash this weekend and now I have a huge pile of baked squash to eat this week before we leave for Stockholm! EEK
 amused
mood: amused
music: Imogen Heap—You Know Where to Find Me


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lizardek

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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 Sven Nordqvist.