lizardek's obiter dictum lizardek Home Now Then Friends Info Ek Family
zird is the word [userpic]
IN MY HEAD, IN MY HEART
Every day as I drive to and from work, or to and from the grocery store in the next village over, I take snapshots in my mind. I even caption them, thinking as I do, that I should take the time to stop the car and take and shoot an actual photo, even if just with my phone.

The little abandoned building in Östra Ödarslöv, with peeling paint and pale turquoise doors.

The huge autumn-yellow tree with a bare crown and a ring of leaves around his foot ("Balding")

The road through Flyingeby, lined with trees, and the huge yellow brick stables at the end.

The field full of storks. The field full of sheep. The field full of seagulls.

The mist and the early morning sun coming up over the rise of the hill toward Lund.

Haybales. Windmills. The curve of the road past the half-timbered house with the many-paned windows.

A burst of bright red maple leaves peeking over a fence.

A hawk perched on a pole, lifting his wings, then rising.

I've had no luck yet finding spaghetti squash at the ICA. I was really hoping they'd be coming in now, since they have already been stocking pumpkins and butternut squash. I'm under orders to lose as much weight as possible before my surgery, and the doctor actually told me to do a protein power diet for 2 weeks. URGH. Feel like this week could be titled "Eating minimally" although yesterday I ended up having both lunch and dinner out (was still restrained though). When I got up today, after sleeping in, and then lying in bed reading for an hour, I wasn't hungry. I took a shower, dressed, put laundry in, and went to the pharmacy and grocery store for salad fixings and fruit. I bought a box of mixed protein powder meals and 2 smoothies from the same brand, and when I got home I STILL wasn't hungry even though it was after 1, so I read for awhile, and then took a nap. I've had one of the smoothies and it's 4:30 and I'm only now starting to feel a little...peckish. Salad or WW soup for dinner, since it's chilly and I feel the need for something warm. I didn't even buy anything for myskväll. GAH. FML.

Next week I have to go have blood drawn for tests and have an EKG done, and hopefully will get the notice in the mail with the actual surgery date, which should be week 48 or 49. I told the doctor if he wanted me to lose a lot of weight, he'd have to give me some time and not schedule the surgery too soon.

I've been in a bit of a depressed state this whole week, I think. Worrying about surgery, obsessing about weight and eating habits, and other issues, to boot. And to top it off, the treadmill has suddenly stopped working. Something is wrong with the motor, it drags and if you try to walk faster, it suddenly jerks to a stop and flashes an error message. Anders took a look and tried to figure out what was wrong, and oiled all the machinery, but it's still not working. *suck* I need a hug. I need several hugs.

Our long weekend trip to Stockholm is pretty well planned now, with a room booked at the Långholmen Prison (former prison, but still!). We stayed there once before when the kids where younger. One side is not renovated and still resembles the old prison and the rooms are barebones cells with metal bunkbeds. The other side has beautiful, much more luxurious rooms with built-in showers and all the amenities. We booked the nice side :) We plan to visit the ABBA Museum, Fotografiska and Hallwylska Museum, none of which we have ever been to before. It looks set to be a nice little get-away.

I had dinner last night with Debbie and Camilla and we made plans to go to the theater in Copenhagen in November to see A Patriot's Guide to America which struck us all as interesting, even though Debbie is Canadian and Camilla is Swedish :) We go to see plays and shows often, but it's been awhile since our last outing and we haven't made it over to Copenhagen for a long time, since it's been such a pain the past couple of years to get back over the bridge to Sweden, due to the lines and waiting times for border checks.

Is it too terribly awful to take another nap? It's been grey and gloomy and dark all day and I'm just in the mood to curl up with a blanket and my book and hibernate.
 hungry
mood: hungry
music: Naked Eyes—I Could Show You How


zird is the word [userpic]
IT'S BEGINNING
I don't know if you are anything like me, but the second fall seems to have entrenched itself, I find my thoughts turning more and more to Christmas. There are always so many things to plan for and anticipate around the holidays. I don't know if it's a way of speeding up time in an effort get through the dreary, sodden winter season or what, but it's something I can't seem to help.

The wish list I send to my family, soliciting their lists to give me ideas and inspiration for gifts, is in the works. Yesterday, I bought (at an insanely expensive price) Martin's plane ticket home for the holidays. I've actually thought about decorating and getting a tree already. Not DOING IT right now, just thinking about the fact that it's coming up. Fleeting thoughts, but nonetheless. Eek!

Searching for plane tickets online makes me crazy. It's so stressful and so expensive and so confusing. I finally gave up and called my brother to get the contact info for his best friend who is a travel agent in the US. When I got in touch with him and told him I was hoping he could help me see if buying the ticket for Martin FROM the US would be cheaper than me trying to buy it from here, he agreed but also told me that my googled-knowledge idea that mid-October was the best time to buy airline ticket for Christmas time was totally off, by about 3 months. According to him, airlines put up flights and schedules 9 months in advance and sales start 4-5 months in advance, so really I should have been looking in June/July for December tickets. Who can plan that far in advance?! I didn't even know dates at that point. URGH.

We ran into the same issue we had last summer: flying into and out of Detroit is ridiculously expensive. It's much cheaper from Toronto or Chicago but getting Martin to one of those places and back again added up to about the same price it was to fly from Detroit in the first place. And when Mark came back saying that the cheapest prices he could find were $500 MORE than what I was finding, I gave in. I can tell you, though, if both my kids end up in the States, we won't be seeing much of each other unless something changes in the airline industry. One small bit of good news was that WOWAir, the super-low-frills, low-cost airline from Iceland, will be flying from Detroit starting in the coming spring, but that doesn't help our wallets now.

I bought a pumpkin the other day for the front of the house, to be carved or not, depending on how motivated I am by Halloween. I also bought a pile of small decorative gourds for the big bowl on the dining room table, just to pretty things up and make me smile. Thanksgiving invites went out and so far, everyone (!) is coming, though I have still to hear from 2 people. It will be a very full house!

Tuesday I have an appointment with the surgeon to get the details and schedule a date for gallbladder removal surgery. I am quietly freaking out about it on the inside, but since it seems to be the best course of action, am also resigned.

We are planning a quick weekend trip during höstlöv but haven't made up our minds where to go. Karin wanted to go to Amsterdam but we ruled it out as too far (to drive, flying is already out of the question). Then we talked about Gdansk, but it turns out that is actually farther. We talked about Hamburg, but couldn't find anything super appealing about it and Oslo (too far, plus too expensive). I've looked at Bremen as well, but we might just end up in Stockholm. Tips?
awake
mood: awake
music: Stevie Wonder—I Just Called to Say I Love You


zird is the word [userpic]
13 CONFESSIONS
Pizza is never on my go-to menu wish list.

I really don't understand people who think gun control will not help with the gun violence problems in America.

I fear abandonment more than death.

If you are driving under the speed limit in front of my car, I'm probably swearing at you under my breath.

My oldest friend messaged me yesterday to say she was coming to London in March and wanted to plan a trip over to see me before or after and I literally squeed (squeeed? how many eeees does that word get?) out loud.

I'm a hypocrite in more than one way (and I bet you are, too).

I would prefer that you just unfriend me instead of being abusively vocal about your differing point of view.

If you don't see it in my house, I might have regifted or thrifted it. Sorry/not sorry.

Sometimes I play Cribbage on my iPad just to feel closer to my sister (but I'd rather be playing with her).

I want a cat again. I really, really want a cat again.

When I look around my house at all my books, I worry sometimes what will become of them after I'm gone.

I re-write lists like this so that all the sentences don't start with "I".

Q-tips / ears ...need I say more?

Your turn.
 calm
mood: calm
music: Peter, Paul & Mary—Rolling Home


zird is the word [userpic]
CLOSER
Ozswede wrote something that really struck me, today:

"Sometimes it feels like I have sunk very quickly into the mire of old age because I do wonder where the time has gone. I think if there is any regret it is that I just don't know where middle age went. I thought that middle age should be now, when there are big adventures and endless wonderings and wanderings. Too often I get to day's end and think I have just slid one day closer to death."

Urk, that brought me up short, as too often I have the same kind of feelings. Another day over and what have I done? Gotten closer to the end, that's all.

Yesterday was definitely one of those days, with Anders leaving at an ungodly early hour (3 am! His flight was at 6 but he had to be at the airport at 4, URGH) and Karin still gone (she's been gone all month, it feels like). I slept in and then basically lazed around all day. It was another one of my slug days but won't count as far as others are concerned because I did 2 loads of laundry and vacuumed AND ironed 3 shirts, but it was definitely sluggy in every other way.

And I didn't speak to anyone. I didn't even go outside or go for a walk despite it being a beautiful day. I just wanted to veg and read and even though I kept thinking, "Oh, I should get out now while it's sunny" I never managed to get my butt out the door. Pathetic.

Today though, I was gone most of the day. I had planned an AWC activity to go visit a big indoor flea market in Malmö but it ended up just being my friend Debbie and me. Our other friend Camilla was supposed to come, but she ended up at the ER with her mom (not serious I don't think, but I have no details yet). It was fun to poke around but it was mostly real junk instead of nicer antiques, although there was some nice furniture. Too bad I don't need any furniture! Actually, too bad, I don't need anything but it was fun to look at all the stuff.

Afterwards we drove to a small shopping center that has a clothing store we both like, and had fika and sat and talked and shopped a bit (I found a nice flowery blouse and a long black cardigan) and then I picked up sushi for Karin and myself. She was already at home having been dropped off by a teammate after their soccer game (she scored but they lost).

Anders and I talked to Martin on Friday and he's doing well. A couple of the projects he's worked on have been fantastic (and I'm speaking as a designer and not just as a proud mother) and I have asked him if it's okay to share them, but not sure if his answer was definitive and he still has to send me the files. He had some really good things happen this past week: one of his friends who also did IB in high school told him that she was given 15 college credits just for having done IB and he should check out whether he can get the same. That's an entire semester, basically! And the manager of the summer program that he participated in during July emailed him and asked if they could use some of his photographs for their promotional material (he doesn't get paid, but what a nice compliment!) AND she encouraged him to apply for a mentor spot for next summer's program, (and that IS paid) which is unusual as he will be a rising sophomore and mentors are usually juniors or seniors!

I am waiting for my doctor to call and make another appointment with me this week (I will call if I don't hear anything by Wednesday). I had the ultrasound on my gallbladder last Wednesday and the technician confirmed that it is "nearly full of stones". He asked if I knew anyone else in my family with gallstone issues and when I said, "Yes, my mom, her dad, my brother...", he nodded and told me that the predisposition for gallstones is often genetic. He was sending the results back to the doctor and said I would then have consultation with a surgeon for how to proceed, but I expect gallbladder removal surgery is in my near future. I called my brother about it since I was freaking out a little, and he told me to chill out and gave me lots of info based on his own experiences with acute pancreatitis. GAH.

So that was my weekend. Another couple of days closer.
 mellow
mood: mellow
music: Sara Bareilles—If I Dare


zird is the word [userpic]
WE'RE ALL NUTS HERE
Remember this?



At least that one washed off eventually...



She's been talking about it for a long time. I am not sure why she has been so set on getting a tattoo, but she was determined that it be something that had meaning for her and when she finally came up with the idea for 4 acorns and oak leaves (Oak = Ek, get it?) she was convinced it would be perfect. She even asked me if I would design it for her, but I demurred. Not because I didn't want to design a cool tattoo but because I kinda didn't want my perfect daughter to do something so irreversible, at least not without thinking about it for awhile longer. Like maybe YEARS awhile longer, haha! BUT I am fine with it, I think it was done very well (even if I could wish it was a smidge smaller) and I applaud the sentiment. Four acorns for the four of us in the Ek family. :) Anyway, now it's done and there's no use crying over spilled ink. And she's happy as all get out about it, so there's that. She didn't even have to pay for it, since 4 of her friends gave it to her for her 18th birthday.



PS. That big bruise above it is from soccer, not the tattooing.
resigned
mood: resigned
music: Katrina & the Waves—Walking on Sunshine


zird is the word [userpic]
MOOD
Headache day. I've had headaches almost every day this week, waking with them early enough to sometimes medicate and fall back asleep but not always. Today's was a doozy and I ended up staying home and seriously (!) being a slug. I slept on and off most of the day, reading a bit in between and keeping an eye on work emails, since I have a lot to do and was stressing a bit about not being in the office. I don't know if the changes in temperature and weather are responsible, but UGH. Would like to have my head back.

This week marks the definite change to autumn. I saw the first sugar beet on the side of the road, heralding the official start of fall in Skåne. Some of the leaves are turning, but down here we mostly have the browns and golds, and not the blazing reds and oranges I wish we had. When you DO see the red autumn leaves they are almost a shock: so bright and fancy against the still green or drab landscapes. Even the hay bales have mostly been gathered in and the fields are barren and ready for winter rest. Tomorrow is the equinox, and I find myself boggling almost daily at how late in the year it already is.

For some reason, I was making a mental list earlier today of all the physical things that are wrong with me right now. Some of them can be chalked up to aging and some are things that I'm doing something about, but UGH. It feels sometimes like a never-ending list. Just when I start working on one problem, something else falls apart or goes to hell. If this is what getting older is all about, I wanna get off. Start over. Go back to a time when I could really appreciate how nicely everything just WORKS like it's supposed to.

It's such a busy time of year and yet I feel I am sort of sitting things out and letting time pass. Maybe I'm feeling the pain of separation more than I'd like to admit. Learning to live without your children, after nearly 20 years of their daily presence, is tough. I don't know if Karin is making it harder or easier by never being home, haha! I text with Martin often, and we call him every weekend, but it's not the same, and sometimes it makes me miss him more. He seems to be settling in well and is enjoying his classes and the work, and making friends. I just wish he wasn't so darn FAR away. Hi, mom! :D (fruit, fall, not far from the tree, I KNOW)

I wonder if it's partly the time of year...heading into winter, holidays, hibernation, that is making me feel all the feels so much more. We tend to introspection this time of year, I suppose. In the spring and summer we're too busy enjoying the outdoors and all the bright shining newness of things to get moody. For me, anyway, writing it out here definitely helps. And, of course, knowing (or at least hoping) that someone is reading, listening, and possibly nodding their head.
 contemplative
mood: contemplative
music: Haim—Nothing's Wrong
Tags:


zird is the word [userpic]
COMPARING A NON-SLUG DAY
Just so you can see the difference.

Turned off the alarm at 6:45 am
Showered
Dressed
Sprunched Barky
Checked emails and Instagram
Made and packed lunch
Drove to work
Fetched breakfast upstairs and ate it standing at my desk
Sent 25 work emails in response to questions
Closed 30 job tickets
Designed and delivered 2 web banners
Updated and delivered 4 print advertisements
Reviewed 5 business cards
Updated and delivered another business card
Designed 2 flyers
Had lunch with my daughter
Went for a 20-minute walk in the sunshine
Designed and delivered nametags for 2 different internal events
Updated design of 3 maps for a partner event
Had afternoon fika with a friend/colleague
Danced for 3 minutes with my team for our afternoon dance/plank pause
Updated another flyer
Reviewed and approved 4 HTML blasts
Released quarterly partner enews
Released 6 HTML blasts for various regions
Updated mailing lists and databases with new regional marketing staff
Drove home
Read several chapters of my book
Answered emails, checked Facebook and Instagram, uploaded a photo
Called and activated 2 new members for the AWC
Made and ate dinner
Wrote this silly post
Watched an episode of Outlander

And now it's after 9 pm! I am going to go read some more, and maybe call my mom before bedtime since I didn't manage to call her yesterday. :)

My week/work days are always busier, of course, than the weekends, but this past weekend WAS really sluggy, really it was! haha!
 busy
mood: busy
music: Paula Abdul—Straight Up


zird is the word [userpic]
NEWS TO ME
Today was meant to be a slug day, too, but I woke up super early in pain (AGAIN), same as last weekend, and couldn't get comfortable or back to sleep for several hours. I've already been this past week to the doctor and gotten a time booked for an ultrasound (in 2 weeks) to have my gallbladder checked, since it happened last weekend and my brother yelled at me, but now I'm just hoping I don't have an acute episode beforehand. URGH.

So, when I finally DID get up, I showered and dressed, and then, thumbing my nose at both Megsie and Ozswede, I cleaned the toilets, the sinks and Windexed all the glass & mirrors in the house. THEN I basically did nothing the rest of the day. Unless you count going to watch Karin's soccer game IN THE RAIN. But then I took a nap. So... slug...ish.

Anyway. I got the confirmation results letter from the allergy clinic and it was addressed to "Bästa ELIZABETH SLAUGHTER EK!" which made me laugh. Very enthusiastic greeting, allergy nurse! I think all healthcare correspondence should start with your name in all caps, the fact that you are BEST and an exclamation point. It confirmed that I am allergic to birch (like crazy) but NOT allergic to cats or dogs. Which, wait, what? Does that mean I can get a cat? (barring my allergic husband, I mean) Or will I just redevelop cat-allergies if I do?

I'm continuing on the board of the AWC again for next year, because I'm ridiculous. But I figure if I DON'T, then there will be pretty much no reasons left to ever leave the house (apart from work, of course). I need to up my social game. With Martin gone and Karin basically treating home as a hotel/restaurant when she deigns to spend a few hours here, I seem to be having more alone time than is really healthy for me. Maybe I should sign Anders and I up for a course or something.

The AWC board elections are in a week but we already have a full slate of excellent nominees for the board, for which I'm really grateful. We even found an enthusiastic person to take over the Treasurer position, which had us all worried for awhile. We've had a slew of new members this past month and about a dozen people who have rejoined in response to my membership drive email to people who were deactivated by the former membership officer a year and a half ago.

Choir did start 2 Thursdays ago, but the jury is still out on the new choir leader. She's enthusiastic, but quite young and inexperienced. I don't know if she's up to dealing with the demands of this one, and we've had lots of people drop out, which is a bummer, though not totally unexpected. And while we DO have some new people, we have yet to mesh in any meaningful way. We'll see. I'll give it some time, but I'm already thinking that if it doesn't make me as happy going as it did a year and a half ago, then it's better to try to find another choir that DOES. I do not want to spend time doing things that don't bring me joy, and while singing DOES, normally, there are other factors playing against it here. URGH.

I went to watch Karin's soccer game this afternoon. Karin had asked me and I said maybe, if it wasn't raining. It was a lovely day all day UNTIL right before the game was supposed to start, then the skies went dark, opened up and let loose. Thunder, too! I waited a little bit but it didn't see to want to quit, so finally I thought, oh what the hell, and I went anyway. I had just waterproofed my raincoat, after all.

Good thing, too, since it poured ceaselessly throughout the game, even though the sun came out in the last half, too. Crazy fall weather. They lost 4-0 but played the second half pretty well, considering they were up against one of the best teams (Karin's former teammates from Sandby) in the series. I haven't been to watch Karin play in ages, (insert bad mom slap here), so it was nice to see her in action.

I need another weekend, I think.
 lethargic
mood: lethargic
music: Anders talking to his mom on the phone


zird is the word [userpic]
SLUG FTW
I have been badly in need of a slug day and today was it.

Slept in, read, played games, sat on the porch and enjoyed the sunshine and warm temps, read some more, answered emails, started a new book, watched a terrible 70s movie after finding out it existed, based on the book I had started, ate leftovers for dinner

(did 3 loads of laundry, scrubbed the bathtub, vacuumed the house)

Can I do it all over again tomorrow?

WHY YES! YES, I CAN!

(although I've all but promised Karin I'll go watch her soccer game in the afternoon...as long as it isn't raining)
 lazy
mood: lazy
music: None. Too sluggish to turn on Spotify


zird is the word [userpic]
SODDEN SATURDAY SPECULATIONS
It seems as though lately it's always about to rain, raining, or wet from having just rained. It falls in sheets, in a steady frizzling drizzle, in bursts with the leaves turned sideways and inside-out, showing off their silver undersides. The ground is dark with water, rivulets run from every rooftop edge and corner. If waterdrops were diamonds, I'd be a rich woman...they're hanging from every leaf and faded summer bloom.

And yet, it's a gentle (if annoying) constant patter of water against our lives. Nothing like the thundering gales that are battering other parts of the world. We have no flooding, no gale force winds, no empty grocery stores where water is scarce in bottles, though abundant in places it usually isn't.

The other night, I answered the phone to find someone on the other end taking a (I assume) public service survey. He wasn't Swedish, and consequently I had a hard time understanding him, though he spoke Swedish perfectly well. Without lips to read, I struggled to grasp the entirety of each sentence and had to ask him to repeat himself several times. His questions had to do with my knowledge of the Swedish government's state of readiness for an emergency...did I know there was such a policy? If not, did I know where to find out about it?

What do you mean? I asked. Like if the infrastructure of society shut down in the wake of a disaster...how long would I, and my family, be able to manage? Without electricity, without power, without water, without food. I have no idea, I answered. Did I know what the Swedish government's recommendations for survival were in the event of a national emergency? No, I said. A week? A month?

What I really wanted to ask was, why? Are they expecting one? A disaster so enormous that my family and I would need to be able to survive for an unspecified length of time. Like a hurricane in Texas? In the Caribbean? In Florida?

I suppose if we lived in a place where such occurrences were a fairly frequent reality, I would be better equipped, or at least more knowledgeable, in how to deal with them. Maybe I'd be more of a gardener, prepared with my own vegetable patch. Maybe we'd have a well for fresh water. Maybe we'd have a storage room stacked with rolls of toilet paper and bottled water. I don't think I'd want to live in a place where I had to be worried at least once a year that my home and belongings and life might be irreparably destroyed by a natural disaster that I knew in advance was a consequence of living there.

Even though I lived in the Midwest for a great part of my early life, where tornadoes are something you just live with, it was always something that happened to someone else. Is that how people who live in the path of hurricanes feel? Even though, year after year, they are proven wrong? It doesn't just happen to someone else, in far-off Bangladesh or St. Thomas or Cuba, wherever. It happens to them.

I have friends and family in Florida and all along the east coast of the US. Every year, I worry about them in the wake of that year's slew of storms and hurricanes. Just because I made the (oblivious) decision to live in mostly-natural-disaster-free Sweden, it doesn't excuse me from worrying and empathizing with the rest of the world when disaster strikes elsewhere. And, I mean, realistically speaking, how long WOULD I and my family survive without the infrastructure of society holding us up? Probably not very long. My husband is super-handy but even he can't make food out of nothing and growing our own would take preparation and time we probably wouldn't have. And I'm a graphic designer, for crying out loud. Not exactly survivalist material. I'd be Darwin-awarded in a minimal amount of time, I'm sure.

It's supposed to be partly sunny tomorrow. I sure hope so. A little ray of warmth and brightness could really help lighten the mood!
 calm
mood: calm
music: September—Cry For You


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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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Layout thanks to dandelion.
Findus the cat as used in my user icon and header is the creation of Sven Nordqvist.