DOWN TOO LONG
This past week was pretty horrible. We found out that one of our freelancers, a wonderfully kind woman, whom I've been working with for the nearly 10 years I've been at my company, is very ill with cancer. It's the second time for her...she beat breast cancer several years ago, but the cancer this time is worse, metastasized and in her skeleton and stomach. Apparently they won't do chemo or radiation, which brings one to the conclusion that the doctors don't think it will help and that it's not worth going through.
Yesterday was the day I was scheduled for the IUD replacement. And an hour before we were supposed to leave for the hospital, they called and said that the doctor who was to perform the operation had been bitten the night before by a cat, in the hand, and couldn't operate...and they couldn't get a substitute in for him in time. I have to call to reschedule on Monday.
So, instead of going to the hospital to get something over with that I've been dreading for months, I went on in to work. And about halfway through the morning, an email went out to the entire company that another colleague, a man in his mid-forties, had passed away unexpectedly the night before. He started after me, and while I didn't work directly with him, I knew who he was and had had contact with him in the course of work.
That last seemed like the last straw for a very shaky camel's week and I found myself on the verge of tears all day. UGH. Double ugh.
Today, things look at least a bit brighter...literally. The sun is shining. January was the darkest month in Lund in 17 years. Altogether there were EIGHT HOURS of sunlight. February was definitely better, and definitely warmer and we're getting spring temps now and things are getting ready to burst. Including my eyes, which have already been itching like crazy for 3 days. Aren't allergies supposed to start when the green has already started blooming out??
Martin just informed me that he doesn't want to learn how to drive right now, and I've got to figure out how to pay for our plane tickets for summer vacation.
Next week better get better.
This doesn't happen to me so much outside of my own home, but it's starting to drive me crazy. When I walk into the house, I immediately see the things that are out of place. The things that need to be cleaned, or put away. Today when I came home, the first thing I notice when I walk into the laundry room (aside from the blinking red light on the washing machine announcing that the load I put on a timer when I left this morning is done) is that Martin's backpack is on the counter, along with his hat and some books. The shoes are all out of place. There are clothes from the weekend's laundry round that someone didn't put away.
When I walk into the kitchen, I see Karin's backpack and keys on the kitchen table. Dirty dishes in the sink. Recycleables that need to be sorted.
In the little hallway, someone's headphones on the phone stand.
In the bathroom, the kid's cabinet door is open from this morning, my own nightgown on the windowsill (shame!) and the laundry basket lids are askew.
And so it goes, throughout the house. Every room I walk into...the first thing I see is the thing that needs to be FIXED. RIGHTED. TAKEN CARE OF.
It's exasperating, both that it's what I focus on, AND that it's invariably someone else that has done it to begin with. And yet, I close the cabinet, put the dishes in the dishwasher, call the kids to come pick up their stuff, put my nightgown away. *sigh* I can't really relax until things are in order. Or at least in BETTER order. I don't get out the mop or anything, ...I'm not OBSESSED.
And yet, I can go months without cleaning the fish tank or dealing with the well beneath the bathtub. The windows are a disgrace, but there's no point in cleaning them...it's rainy season, right? I'm not obsessed with perfection or super-cleanliness...I just appreciate order.
And if I have to BEAT MY FAMILY INTO COMPLIANCE, so be it.
It's the first day of a new month! That means INTERNET! YAY! But even better, Anders has made the call and placed an order for us to get hooked back up to broadband...no more mobile internet for us, wheee! I'm not sure when that will be in place, but as long as it is, I do not care. I haven't been able to do anything online for WEEKS.
And in the middle of all that, my friend Russell and I were trying to get our BIG Birthday Trip figured out and he basically had to do all the work because I couldn't even get web pages to open, much less check hotel prices or flight schedules. We left off some time ago with deciding on Ireland over San Diego, but then...well, crap. We just couldn't get it to work. Hotels in Ireland are insanely expensive, as is renting a van and since everything we want to see is around the edges of the country, it wasn't going to work to find one place to use as a base and make day trips from...we had to move around and we ended up deciding that was too much to deal with. So we started over.
We looked again at Prague. And San Diego. And Amsterdam. SO EXPENSIVE. ARGH. We looked at Vienna and Berlin. Say! Berlin is reasonably priced! But we've both been there (albeit my visit was when the wall was still up. Am very very old). And neither one was really SPEAKING to us with the exotic vibe we were looking for. So we kept looking.
And now we have reservations, so we can't change our minds anymore! The final destination? TORONTO. I have actually been to Toronto, but I don't remember much other than a general pleasure in the surroundings. I was there for a weekend in college, of which I remember zero except that there was a fire alarm in the middle of the night and my roommate (who was with me) and I had to race down a MILLION flights of stairs to the street and when I got there, I threw up. Classy.
I was also there on the way to Niagara with Anders and his sister and her husband, when they came to visit us in Chicago, but while I remember Niagara, I don't remember ANYTHING about Toronto except that we went up the CN Tower. Anders has also been there one other time with a friend, and visited the Hockey Hall of Fame.
SO! Anyway, there is a ton of things to do, and there's Niagara nearby which, amazingly, Kathey and Russell have never been to, and I want to take the kids there, and we have hotel reservations, so now I just need to check flights, but I have to talk to my mom first to figure out the rest of the logistics.
And the main point of this post, which took me a very long time to get to, is that YOU are invited. Any chance to you coming to spend a week or some of the days of said week in Toronto with me to celebrate my birthday?? THAT WOULD BE SO COOL. If you are interested, send me a message or email and I will give you the details on when, where, and how.
This living like it's 1999-with-dial-up-modem thing for HALF THE MONTH is for the birds.
I actually feel pretty recharged at the end of this weekend, which is nice, even though a lot has been going on. I've had some good sleep and good relaxation spells as well.
Anders came home with flowers for me (pale pale pink roses), a Pandora bead for my bracelet and chocolates. Made me feel kind of bad about the little box of candy he and the kids got :)
We were supposed to go to Debbie's home for Valentine's Dinner on Friday but late in the day her husband, who'd been feeling worse all day, decided he couldn't manage. She almost canceled but one of my other Wonders friends offered to host it at her house and we ended up moving there instead and Debbie just brought all the preparations with her. There were some things going on behind the scenes that caused some tension and one other couple didn't show up but we ended up having a nice evening anyway and the food was great: raclette Swiss-style (we've only ever had Bavarian-style, so it was new to us). We stayed longer than I would normally have liked but it was a lot of fun.
I suspect that our Wonders group is starting to fall slowly apart. Most of us never see each other outside of the scheduled dinners which have been getting further and further apart, or for Thanksgiving at my house. I only ever see Debbie outside the group regularly, and I know the others only see maybe one of the others as well. We'll see what happens. We've been meeting for a long time and friends for longer, but maybe some things aren't meant to last forever.
Karin had 4 girlfriends over for the night and when we came home at 1 a.m. they were playing cards in the kitchen. Buncha zombies the next day, I can tell you :)
I wasn't able to sleep in much because of the girls all being there, so I didn't do much in the morning and then watched the US-Russian hockey game. Or rather, I puttered around the house for a couple of hours but was so tired by the time the game started that I laid on the couch to watch it and slept through the first 2 periods. I woke up a bit when Russia scored and then watched until the US scored and then went outside and told Anders that they had tied. And had NO IDEA that there was going to be a shoot-out. We both thought they would keep the tie because it was still round-robin games and so I missed the apparently nail-biting sudden death ending with the US winning. Drrr.
Then I talked to my friend Russell on Skype for 2 hours because we are STILL trying to plan the big birthday trip and getting nowhere. We went back and forth about where to go for ages, and finally decided on San Diego, and then that got changed and we went back and forth some more and finally decided on Ireland, and then went back and forth some more about how to do it, because everything we want to see in Ireland is all around the edges of the country which would require moving around a lot and renting a van or several cars for the week and then when we started really looking into prices and accommodations, we discovered that the costs of hotels, even cheap ones, were SKY-HIGH. The prices in Dublin were outrageous and Russell found out today it's because Garth Brooks is playing 5 of the days we'll be there, in concert, in Dublin, and all the hotel rooms are astronomically expensive for those days and plus, already booked up. AAGH. Garth Brooks! OF ALL PEOPLE.
So after going back and forth some MORE, we started exploring our options again. We can't change the dates and I don't want to go anywhere too hot that time of year (which rules out a LOT of options) and we can't AFFORD Ireland. We checked out several other places and they are all also super-expensive. Now we are considering Berlin, Vienna, Prague and Toronto.
Going to Toronto would be more expensive for us (4 people to fly over), but it's close to my mom's and we could extend our vacation to be in Michigan beforehand. I suspect any of those places means my brother won't come (especially Toronto) but he's already set on Ireland at this point, with other plans that what we had in mind anyway. Russell and I spent another 2 hours on Skype today without reaching a decision. I don't know what to do!!! GAH.
Other events of the weekend: watching part 3 of Melodifestivalen...what a trainwreck this year's contest is. And the third and final episode of Sherlock, Season 3 (!) and the last couple of episodes of Mad Men, Season 6 (also trainwreck, but in a good way). I actually have nothing planned for this week and I hope it's calm-ish at work, which it will hopefully be since it's a school-holiday week here and Monday is a holiday in the States...maybe we can actually get a little caught up. HAHAHAHA.
I've got crazyworkbrain. Can't stop thinking about it, stressing, etc. GAH. I wake up at 4:30 a.m. or 5:30 a.m. or 6:00 a.m. and can't get back to sleep because crazyworkbrain starts right up. No matter how fast we work or how much we do, the amount that is left to do is the same or more when we leave each day. *sigh* Good thing I love my job, eh?
On the plus side, (haaa!) I'm also obsessed with Treadmill Time. Every day when I come home, it's the first thing I do. 20 minutes minimum and usually up to 40. I need to increase the speed though, since it takes me so long to increase the time. I'm looking forward to actual warmer weather when I can get outdoors and walk, though I am SO glad I made the move out to the living room with the treadmill. Being able to watch an episode or two of Friends or Mad Men (or Olympics figureskating) is much more fun than the WALL I was facing before. Stupid that it took me so long to do it.
Have I told you that Karin is completely obsessed with The Walking Dead? I'm not sure what got her started watching it, but she's plowed through every available episode available on the web and is demanding that we ask her questions each time we're gathered around the dinner table so she'll "have someone to talk to about it". :D None of the rest of us are interested (I REALLY don't get the fond love affair with zombies society is still in the middle of) but we've dutifully asked questions. A couple of times she's had it playing while we've been sitting together while she's been watching one, and I've caught myself paying attention. AIIEEE. NO ZOMBIES.
Martin wants me to come watch an episode of Mad Men before bedtime...shall I walk another 30 minutes?
EVERYTHING WAS FUNNY TONIGHT
Conversation at the dinner table
Martin: We had a test in French class today
Liz. Oh? On what?
Martin: Useful words
Liz: Aren't all words useful?
Martin: Well, paraplegic is less useful than inside, for example
Liz: *giggles madly* true
Then the three of us, Anders, Martin and I (Karin is spending the night at a friend's house), had a long, drawn-out conversation starting from the fact that Martin asked me if I knew what longer word the Swedish word kompis was from. Kompis means friend. "No, I don't," I answered. "It's from kompanjon," he told me.
Adding an "is" to a word in Swedish turns it into a diminutive or cute version. dagis from daghem (daycare), godis from godsaker (candy), grattis from gratulerar (congratulations), etc. We spent quite a lot of time thinking of what other words in Swedish were commonly used that had -is on the end. It was funny and interesting but very long.
I just typed godis as dodis, and Martin started laughing really hard, and said "Why? Why do you dodis?"
Penis, incidentally, is from Latin and has nothing to do with this linguistic phenomenon.
Conversation continuing from that one
Martin: If I have kids I'm naming the girl Hjördis (note: pronounced Yurdis)
Martin: Yep. And Åslög. (note: pronounced Oh-slug)
Liz: Oh no no no.
Martin: Oh yeah, and if I have a boy, I'm naming him Odd.
Liz: What? Not Jerker?
Liz & Martin: *giggle madly*
Conversation before bedtime
Martin: *all excited* Did you know Florence is going to be in the new Star Wars??!
Liz: Florence from Florence + the Machine?
Martin: Yes! How cool is that?!
Liz: She'll probably be a wookiee
Martin: *outraged glare* No, she won't!
Liz: ...or maybe an Ewok
Martin: She's the tallest person on the planet!
Liz: Definitely a wookiee then!
Martin: Don't ruin this for me! *glares*
Liz: *giggles madly*
But seriously, ÅSLÖG ...what is up with that name, Sweden??
INSIDE OUTSIDE UPSIDE DOWN
It has started out as a very very bad week. I got the news Monday morning that our graphic designer in the US quit. In addition, one of the freelancers that we really rely on is seriously ill and doesn't know when she'll be able to start working again. Work was insane to begin with and all this just pushes my team and I to the brink. URGH. I had planned to take a week of vacation in 2 weeks because I have 6 days that I have to use or lose by April 1st and now, I honestly don't see how I can take it. Even if I'm entitled, yadda yadda yadda, I don't see how I can do it, because then I'll be ADDING to the lurch, and it will just stress me out even more than this week is already doing.
So that sucks. But! I got some great news today: a Finder's Fee bonus that I had forgotten was coming. Yay! That's Ireland airfare and hotels paid for, I hope!
Everything feels edgy and upside-down and a little crazy. I'm trying to keep perspective. Barky and I went and made her beautiful today: pretty color and cut and a bunch of expensive product to help with the upkeep. And I stopped in a little boutique on my way home and picked up several bars of Black Betty dark chocolate to take into work and share with my team. I think they could use the cheering up, too. And it will cheer me up to cheer them up.
We've got the damn pop-up ads happening again in Firefox, and I'm switching to Google Chrome, because ARGH.
Martin and I whizzed through Downton Abbey 4 and were left feeling a little flat. And now we're 4 episodes in to Mad Men 6 and I'm wondering what happened to all the good stuff? BORING. I think it's because they separated Peggy and Don. What were they thinking?!
I have nothing really to say, right now.
I just looked at Martin after writing that sentence, and he looked back at me and said, "Punkt" (which means Period.)
(and then he said, "not the bloody kind").
Maybe I need to hire him as my writer!
Okay, that's all. Talk amongst yourselves.
ALL THE NEWS THAT'S FIT TO PRINT
A friend of mine recently told me that she started the Couch25K program and couldn't understand what had happened in her brain to even make her want to TRY it. This morning, a Sunday morning, a Sunday morning with NO PLANS and a rather late night last night, I woke up at 7:30 a.m. I managed to doze off again, but then I reawoke just before 9 and all I could think about was getting up and getting on the treadmill. WTH? So I did. I speed-walked for 30 minutes, for a total of 2K. Before 10:30 a.m. on a Sunday morning. And I thought about calling my brother because if I was talking on the phone with him, I would probably have managed at least 45. But since I didn't know if he's even home, and I was already ON the treadmill, and didn't want to stop to go get the phone, I didn't.
The snow is all melting but the sky looks as white as ever. We were supposed to get pounded on Friday night with tons of snow and gale-force winds but it never materialized. I don't mind the snow, but I want it gone by the end of February, so the world can really be ready for spring in March.
I am still plowing through my project list. I finished formatting my 2013 blog book and published and ordered it yesterday. And I successfully nagged my husband into going to get the replacement door for the one Mental ate. Of course, then I had bad dreams last night that he wanted a divorce, so maybe the nagging was a bit much. Karin has almost got her whole room cleaned out, but while it makes me happy on the one hand that she's actually motivated, all of her stuff is all over the playroom. *sigh*
Today I have to do some cleaning. At least dusting and vacuuming. When the light starts returning, I start noticing all the spiderwebs and dust bunnies. Gack! My kids keep whining about how they shouldn't have to do any chores on the weekend because the weekend is meant for relaxing, to which I say, "HA!!" And also, "Nice try".
I'm taking week 8 off (vacation days I have to use or lose), but we don't have plans to go anywhere...Anders has to work. It's the winter break for the kids. I'm not sure whether to plan something or just take it easy for a week. What do you think?
And finally, I am weaning myself off Tic-Tacs. I figured I had a month and a half before my next attempt at the hospital and why not work at it? So far so good, though it's extremely difficult on early mornings.
WATCHING, WALKING, WORKING
A long week, a busy weekend and here it's nearly the end of January. Time flies, whether you are having fun or not. I haven't been online much lately, not least because our connection is so slow right now.
I've been walking nearly every day, at least 25 minutes, a daily Watch&Walk, while we plow through 10 seasons of Friends. But now we've had to take a break and start watching Downton Abbey Season 4 because when we went to start season 6, we discovered that the first disc was missing from the box set. And we won't be able to get the DVD from the friend we borrowed Friends from until Wednesday at the earliest.
We picked up DA4 at a 50% off sale this past Saturday. Martin thought I was crazy because I wanted to get up early and get there when they opened...the sale was at the local DVD chain Hemmakväll, 50% off all movies and box sets! In addition to DA4, we got Mad Men 6, Sherlock 1 and 8 movies. But I had to laugh, when we got home and looked at our loot: 2 superhero movies, 1 zombie flick, 3 Disney replacements for my old VHS collection, the last Harry Potter that we were missing and Looper. Not exactly high-brow. Heh.
We watched Looper on Saturday and really enjoyed it. Time travel movies make my head hurt, though.
I've painted the plant stand that my mom and I bought nearly 2 years ago. Bought white spray paint and gave it a thorough spritzing but it wasn't enough to cover the original black so I had to go buy another can today. Anders will probably kill me for getting white paint on his tarp. That was project number 6. One more spray ought to do it, and then it's taking its planned place in the bathroom with some pretty greenery on it.
It's freezing cold here, in the minus temps, and snowing non-stop. It's all powder, though, so it just blows about and looks pretty. Anders is in the Czech Republic skiing with work buddies until Wednesday and he called me tonight to ask if I was still considering taking the school's winter break week off when the kids are out of school. "Weeeell, yes, but I haven't talked to my boss yet," I said, "Why?"
"Because they have rooms available here at this resort!" he said. Heh. I think I let him down when I said skiing wasn't really what I had in mind. :) I'm not sure what I have in mind, actually. I still have to finish planning the Ireland trip for the end of summer, after all!
I can complain because rose bushes have thorns or rejoice because thorn
bushes have roses.Abraham Lincoln
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