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zird is the word [userpic]
BITS AND KIBBLES
Still buried at work, but at least can see the light at the end of the tunnel, as one of my teammates is done with her monster project and back to normal workload. The other one is still out of the office, but we are hoping she'll be back by the end of the week.

I got my printed blog book for 2017 and I was right: it was the skinniest yet. OY! It's, like, just over a quarter of an inch thick. Considering that most years it's closer to double that if not more, it was a lean year of posting last year. Which is why I am here, now, posting, even though I have little to talk about.

Anders and I went up to Skryllegården, a nature preserve outside of Dalby, on Sunday morning, to go walking in the woods. They have running paths, walking trails, a mountain bike trail, a gym, a playground, a nature room and a restaurant. It had snowed up the hill the night before and as we got nearer, it got whiter and whiter and all the trees were covered with rimfrost. It was quite foggy as well, so the whole world was veiled and white and winter-beautiful. Our plan was to walk and then eat lunch in the restaurant, which we did, though next time I'd like to walk for longer. The problem with snow on the ground is that I can't wear my walking shoes, and my snow boots are hard on the feet. We walked for half an hour, stopping rather too frequently to take photos, and then went and had lunch. The place was absolutely packed, but the food was really good.

I am dreading bill-paying day this month. We are already struggling thanks to the holidays and it seems like every possible bill and then some have landed on the desk, yelling for remittance. I have to pay for Karin's graduation cap and the fee for my choir. Plus that stupid #¤%&! parking ticket. I guess we'll be eating toast and beans for February, too. :D

Except we never actually eat toast and beans. Ew.

Choir starts this week, on Thursday. Karin and I are singing in a Gospelfest (with 700 participants! despite the fact that are neither of us at all religious) on Saturday, and Anders is leaving for a week-long ski trip with colleagues. Next Monday is our first AWC meeting of 2018 which is the media sale (and I managed to pull together 3 bags of books to donate, when I thought I didn't have any!). I was putting events into my calendar today and realized that February and even March are starting to fill up already. Crazy.

Things to look forward to after that: Melodifestivalen (I know, don't judge), Olympic ice skating, the next episode of Bron, Pie Night (mark your calendars! save the date! March 3), having some sushi. It's been simply ages!
 contemplative
mood: contemplative
music: Eliza Doolittle—Roller Skates


zird is the word [userpic]
THE BAD WITH THE GOOD WITH THE BAD WITH THE GOOD
No let-up at work so far...in fact, just the opposite as one of my team members has had a bit of a breakdown due to several factors and is taking time off for mental health. Apparently the fact that doing so will contribute to giving the rest of us a breakdown wasn't enough of a deterrent. Augh.

Yesterday was horrible as I was already stressed about everything at work before I even got there, and when I drove up to work and parked, I realized that my parking permit was missing from the little holder on the windshield. AUGH! Anders had very kindly taken my car this weekend and washed it and cleaned the entire inside, which it was in dire need of since I had 1) spilled the dirt from a potted plant LAST SUMMER in the back and 2) spilled the gravel from a fake mini-Christmas tree pot last month in the back and 3) had apparently flung every tissue and receipt and scrap of paper on the floor over the course of several months (not really, but it sure looked like it).

So, I thought he had perhaps moved it during the cleaning process, but it wasn't in the holder between the front seats, and it wasn't in the glove compartment and it wasn't on the floor or under the seats. GAH. I texted him but I had to go in to work, and to go get a temporary permit would have required a 15-minute trek through freezing cold and wind to our main building reception and I just couldn't be buggered so I called our reception to ask if I could pay via the machine outside for our lot and they said yes, so I walked to the end of our building, got the number of the lot and paid for parking with an app (Parkster, which I normally love).

Our receptionist also informed me that if I needed to order a new parking permit, it would cost me 500 kronor. Suck.

Around lunchtime, Anders texted me back and said he hadn't touched the permit and perhaps it had slid down between the windshield and the dashboard? So I went out in the freezing cold to check and THERE WAS A PARKING TICKET ON MY CAR.

AAAUGH!!!!

And sure enough, the stupid permit WAS down between the dash and windshield and of course, I couldn't reach it. So I went back inside and called the parking company about why I got a ticket when I was PAYING for parking and it turns out you must have a permit in the part of the lot I was in. The parking machine is only valid for the other end, though it doesn't look that way on the app.

Went back inside and got various implements from colleagues with which to try retrieving the permit, none of which worked and which left me almost in tears, in the ¤!&#@ freezing cold, until finally one of my teammates had the brilliant idea of putting sticky tape backwards on a long piece of paper. After two attempts, that worked! HURRAH! Permit retrieved and back in place. 400 kronor for the ticket, thank you very much, plus the time already paid on the app.

Today, the work insanity continued with the news that my sick teammate would probably not be back all week. We are just slammed with work and being short-staffed is killing us. I'm not mad at her or anything, as I totally understand the need, but oy it leaves us in a bad place. We added two of her bigger projects to our to-do list and plugged on.

In the afternoon, however, I got an email forwarded to me from my boss, that was sent to her by another colleague (in a different part of our department), that said this (translated from Swedish):

***

Hej (Liz's boss)
I hope all is well with you!

I know that we, at Axis, are not always so good about rewarding each other, but this time I feel that there is a certain person in your team who is always there for me! And that person is Liz.

She shows me, time after time, that she always goes above and beyond in everything she does!

She is not only fast, but she listens, she OFTEN provides better suggestions, and she challenges me to think in different ways. And I like that!

She is always friendly, even if I drive her crazy with my requests. She doesn't just do a job, she creates delight. That's how I feel when I work with her.

I thought I would just tell you how much I appreciate her and her work! :)

Take care,
(Liz's colleague)


***

Wasn't that NICE?? It made up for an awful lot of the stress that work is causing right now, and I plan to go back and read it every day that I start feeling like everything sucks and nothing is fun or good, because it's not true. It's just tough right now.

I came home and sat with the massager for awhile to try and work the kinks out of my shoulder and Anders came home and made a DELICIOUS dinner. Karin made a delicious dinner too, on Sunday night, so see? Things around the edges are pretty darn good.

I can get through this rough spot at work...I think I can, I think I can, I think I can. :)
 grateful
mood: grateful
music: Jess Penner—A Little Bit Crazy


zird is the word [userpic]
OOPS I DID IT AGAIN
I have such good intentions about posting more regularly here, but it seems that as soon as work gets crazy, which...when is work not crazy nowadays? it all goes out the window. I get home (late) from work and I can't bear the thought of turning on another computer or sitting in front of the screen, even to write something here.

Work has been EXTRA crazy this whole past week, and there is no end in sight. We're short-staffed, too, which doesn't help at all. My shoulder has been hurting all week as well, which... AUGH. I did go get a massage on Monday, as we have a new service at work (after not having any on-site since summer) but he was not very good. It's a huge bummer, because I really was hoping the new person would be decent as I need to go every other week at least to stave off the same arm, neck and shoulder issues which I've struggled with the past few years.

I grumped a bit on Facebook this past week about the fact that we don't have any holidays until Easter and got royally ripped for whining about my first world problems by a former colleague who moved back to the US years ago. She snootily told me to quit my crying since I had just "had two weeks off for Christmas"...which I didn't actually have. And then when I said that the US has TWO holidays (this coming Monday and one in February) was informed that no one gets those off except government employees, banks, and schools. And finally finishing with the oneupmanship comment that THEY don't have any holidays until Memorial Day. So I should just get over my pathetic 12-week wahwah.

I ended up just deleting the whole thing, but GAH, it was everything that makes me want to get off Facebook completely forever. If I want to grump that I think it's tough to go all the way to the end of March without an extra day off, why shouldn't I be able to? OF COURSE it's a first world problem. I'm pretty sure EVERYONE on Facebook only has first world problems, because people who are on Facebook pretty much all live in the first world, no? And coming from someone who lives in the US, has a good job, travels to Sweden regularly, and COULD HAVE STAYED HERE, bitching about the fact that she has it worse because her holiday-drought goes all the way until the end of May struck me as a bit much. /end stupid rant that I should also just delete

It's the weekend now, though, and I intend to relax as much as possible. I've slept in, done minimal tidying up, read one book and started another, played stupid iPad games, done a couple of things on my to-do list and now Anders is making dinner. We are taking his mom to fika tomorrow at Karin's cafe in Malmö (which sounds like she owns it, but she just works there). It's a darling little old-fashioned space and Karin makes delicious avocado toast and smoothie bowls. Even though it's basically a coffee spot, and I don't drink coffee, it will be nice to go there again. Plus, they have a delicious ginger pear drink, so there's that.
 mellow
mood: mellow
music: Lou Reed—New Sensations


zird is the word [userpic]
BACK TO REALITY
I don't think this was the first year we didn't watch any holiday movies, but it's definitely the first year where I threw away all the ones we have...they were on VHS tapes and we don't even have a player anymore. Goodbye Rudolph! Goodbye Fred Astaire in Santa Claus is Coming to Town! Goodbye Grinch! Goodbye Ralphie! Goodbye (and good riddance) Little Drummer Boy! I recycled all the cases and Anders will take the videotapes themselves to the dump the next time he goes and make sure they get put in the right place.

It made me a bit sad because I loved watching Rudolph and the Grinch and the old Rankin/Bass stop-motion masterpieces each year, that were such a big part of my childhood holiday memories. I guess I'll have to buy them from Apple TV or stream them next year, since I don't want to buy DVDs either.

This weekend was spent taking Christmas down. Only the advent lights and stars are still up in the windows, bringing a bit of light into an otherwise icy, dark, Swedish winter. Despite the fact that we've passed the solstice, it will be dark here for a long time, so even though the rest of the holiday bling has been packed up, the lights feel more like a necessity than an extravagance. The tree was so dry and droopy-stiff that even Anders didn't make a fuss about keeping everything out until Tjugonde Knut, which is far too long in my opinion, anyway! His gingerbread house is still out, though...not sure when I'll throw that away. It's so cute!

Anders has started a winter project, making a wooden kayak from scratch. He got the plans for it from me for Christmas LAST year but is only now getting around to starting it. It takes up the entire garage and that's just the frame/base to build the kayak around. If you are interested, you can follow along with his progress on Instagram: @anders_62

Martin made it back to Detroit in one piece on Thursday. He got to Newark without problems, but was unable to get a flight rebooked until 8:30 am Sunday. So, we got in touch with my sister, who lives a few hours away, and he managed to get a train to Hartford, Connecticut, where she and her husband had driven through the snow chaos to pick him up. He stayed with them for 2 nights, and managed to get moved up to a flight on Saturday afternoon. He stayed with friends Saturday and moved back into the dorm yesterday. Classes start today, so he made it just in time!

Work was insane today. There is SO MUCH OF IT. I worked until well after 5 and didn't even feel like I made a dent. And as ozswede so cheerily informed me, there are NO public holidays until EASTER. That's TWELVE weeks. I don't know if I can manage that. Sheesh. Last year I took every Friday in March off...maybe I'll have to do that again. Although, I DO plan on taking off time in the beginning of March, to see my best and oldest friend who is coming over to this side of the world. I haven't seen her since 2009 in The Netherlands, when we met up (with a couple of other old junior high friends from our gang) at our old school. She lives in Oregon, which isn't easy for me to get to, even when I am in the States. I can't even remember how long before that we last saw each other.

Anyway, she and her husband and a friend are coming to London to see Hamilton, visit family, (her husband is English) and then they are coming to Amsterdam for a few days, where I will meet them before bringing them back to Sweden for a bit. I CAN'T WAIT!! When it goes 10 years or more between our get-togethers, we have to make the most of every chance. We used to write stories about our future selves, when we were "old", in which we all lived together in a big house and drove our caretakers crazy with our shenanigans. I doubt that will ever become reality, so we'll have to party it up for the limited time we do get to have together this year. Who knows when we'll see each other again? After all, we're like the living equivalent of VHS tapes. I suspect if our children thought of it that way, they'd probably be taking us apart for recycling right now.
 tired
mood: tired
music: Owl City—Fireflies


zird is the word [userpic]
POST-HOLIDAY LIGHT BLUES
Having grown children is harder than I expected. I keep wanting them to be as cute and easy to order around as when they were young and they keep insisting on having their own way, making up their own minds and doing whatever it is THEY want to do at the moment. It's been a little rockier than I anticipated, this holiday season, but it was still nice to have Martin home and I'm sad that he's gone already. Two weeks is too short, eh Mom? It won't be as long until he's back in May, at least, and hopefully by then, I will have worked through some of my own issues and realigned my expectations with reality....ha. Ha.

We spent the afternoon yesterday, the kids and I, at Anders' mom's, having fika, and then came home for a family dinner together on our last night. Anders made his delicious spaghetti and meat sauce, on Martin's request, and then he started packing. Halfway through, he came in and said he had just received an email that his connecting flight from Newark to Detroit had been cancelled in anticipation of severe weather conditions. AUGH.

We tried for over half an hour to get through to United but had no luck. The link he was given in the email didn't work. I called and warned my mom, but we figured there wasn't much we could do until he was at the airport. He couldn't even check-in online for the first flight (which WASN'T cancelled...which is weird, because if they can fly INTO Newark, why couldn't he fly OUT later?).

I woke up at 3 am with an anxiety attack about the whole thing and couldn't get back to sleep. Talked to my sister online and she said they might not even be able to come fetch him from Newark if he was stuck there because they expect to be in the middle of the storm. So we got up anyway and took him to the train station this morning and he headed off to Copenhagen airport. Once there, SAS couldn't help either since the cancelled flight was with United, but he was able to board his first flight to the US and he's already past Iceland and headed over the southernmost tip of Greenland at the moment, according to FlightAware. I hope he can get out again to Detroit, or least find a hotel room without issues...sleeping in airports is no fun.

I've been doing a bit of work, and also working on my 2017 LJ book, which didn't take long to format, as I was the slackest blogger in the world last year. It will be a very skinny, very short book, I'm afraid. Hopefully I will be better this year! Though I said that last January, too, so...

Anders is at work and Karin left an hour ago for Malmö, also to work. I am meeting Debbie & Camilla at Karin's café at 4:30 for fika, and then hopefully we'll go out for sushi, for dinner. I haven't had sushi in AGES, it feels like. We're still finishing the last of the holiday leftovers, though I threw out everything that hadn't been eaten from Christmas yesterday. This weekend the tree and decorations come down (the tree looks VERY sad and stiff and droopy). Seems like 2 seconds ago I was putting them up.
 tired
mood: tired
music: Edie Brickell & New Bohemians—What I Am


zird is the word [userpic]
LAZY FIRST DAY OF THE YEAR
We just watched the first episode of the 4th and last season of Bron and I don't know if I can take it, waiting for a WEEK to see what happens next, for SEVEN MORE WEEKS. It's like living in the 90s.

We had a nice New Year's Eve with a great dinner cooked by Anders that the kids stuck around for, before disappearing to parties in Lund. They both came home after lunch today and we had dinner together again. Nice! Especially considering that Martin is leaving in just a few days. Too fast!

It's been a pretty lazy day. We both slept in, and I've been reading and lazing around, doing pretty much nothing, like a real slug. Didn't clean a thing, didn't even do laundry, and took a nap again before Bron started. The kids and I tried to watch Loving Vincent this afternoon but it's not available yet so we ended up watching Sing (an animated film by the same people who did Despicable Me), which was cute and funny but very lightweight.

I'm looking forward to having this week off, actually, though I am waiting for some answers about a presentation I'm in the middle of, and hope I get them, so I can put the finishing touches on it and send it off for review. I'm also waiting for the AWC editor to send me the articles for January's newsletter...we're already late, so I hope she answers soon. I've got plans for things to get done this week, or least things to get started this week, so it won't be a totally lazy week off, but I'm okay with that. I need to go through books and see if there is anything that I want to donate to our AWC media sale at the end of this month. Usually I have several bags of books to donate, but this year, so far, I only have TWO. Reading more on the Kindle has made a difference there!

And I plan to start editing my 2017 LJ book. Plus Anders' mom gave us her sewing machine so I'm hoping to get Martin to help me figure out how to use it tomorrow to repair a couple of pairs of pants. He and Karin both learned how to use one in elementary school, and he claims he still remembers how. I am CLUELESS so I hope he does!
 relaxed
mood: relaxed
music: TV


zird is the word [userpic]
RETROSPECTIVE
Every year, it goes a little faster, the swing from beginning to end. The seasons march past, the sun rises and sets, the things we do and say and experience, all flying by, to become a memory, a happening, something to look back on. This was a hard year for me, watching from afar as my country's leadership opened its coat and exposed itself to the world. I've been learning how to live without children in the house, since Martin has been gone since July and Karin is basically never home. It's been a year of adjustments, for sure. I hope for better next year, but I suspect it will be more of the same in many ways. But things are going well for us, personally. Martin is thriving at college, my job and work is challenging and creative, Karin is finding her adult feet in many ways and learning how much she can handle, and Anders has a new project to look forward to: building his own wooden kayak from scratch.

Family & Personal Highlights of 2017
  • Keeping myself diabetes-free and my weight down
  • Singing in a huge 1000 participant Gospelfest concert with friends
  • Anders participating in the year-long X-Cup mountain biking tournaments and Cykel Wasa
  • Martin getting into his first-choice University
  • Anders' 4-day hiking/camping trip to Kruger Park during a business trip to South Africa
  • Karin performing and singing in her school play
  • Anders and I spending midsummer and a week in Germany with my mom at John & Simone's
  • 3-week trip to Michigan with the kids
  • Martin participating in a pre-college program during July and starting college at the end of August in Detroit
  • Seeing our friends Kathey & Russell, who came up to Michigan while we were there
  • Celebrating Karin's 18th birthday and my grandmother's 101st
  • A whirlwind 3-day trip to Chicago with Karin, my sister and her daughter
  • Surviving Karin's 18th birthday party bash
  • Seeing Cirque Du Soleil's Varekai in Malmö
  • Long weekend trip to Stockholm with Anders and Karin during fall break
  • Karin getting 2 new jobs this year, at Flyinge's Café Smedjan and Café Dornonville, in Malmö
  • Anders and I both losing weight and changing our eating habits
  • Having my gallbladder removed
  • Martin coming home for Christmas!
I read 109 (!) books this year, which is a record for me. The last time I was even close to that was 2012 when I read 100 books. WOW! Funny, since I felt like I was reading really slowly this year. Guess I was wrong, haha!

Best Books of 2017 (in no particular order and not including re-reads)
  • Artemis by Andy Weir
  • Heating and Cooling by Beth Ann Fennelly
  • The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins
  • Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel
  • Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
  • The Mermaid's Daughter by Ann Claycomb
  • The True Story of Hansel and Gretel by Louise Murphy
  • All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood
  • Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
  • The Almost Sisters by Joshilyn Jackson
  • All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai
  • The Lola Quartet by Emily St. John Mandel
  • Last Night in Montreal by Emily St. John Mandel
  • What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
  • Crosstalk by Connie Willis
  • Silver on the Road by Laura Anne Gilman
  • To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey
  • The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
  • Make Your Home Among Strangers by Jennine Capo Crucet
  • Thick as Thieves by Megan Whalen Turner
  • A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers
  • The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
  • Burning Midnight by Will McIntosh
Once again, I spent far more time on Instagram this year, enjoying beautiful art from all different kinds of artists, than I did finding new music on Spotify. I love my Spotify playlist and listen to it every day but this year the only new artist I added was HAIM.

And still not keeping track of which movies I've seen, though ones I remember enjoying this year include: Star Wars: The Last Jedi, La La Land, Wonder Woman, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Beauty and the Beast, and The Glass Castle. The TV shows I've watched and enjoyed this year are nearly the same as last year: Orphan Black, The Handmaid's Tale, Game of Thrones, Sense8, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Broen/Bron, Outlander, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, and Bye Bye Sverige, though both Anders and I could have done without the two secondary characters in that last one.

Some manageable goals for 2018
  • Walk walk walk (and get Anders to fix the treadmill)
  • Continue with WW, keep weight down
  • Get Karin into driving school and push her about getting her driver's license!
  • Replace the sofabed/couch in the playroom
  • Do some major decluttering
  • Christmas in the US
  • Get Martin's Klimt project prints framed
  • Be more regular about posting here!
There are lots of things to look forward to next year, and I'm already in anticipation mode for them: Karin's studenten, Martin coming home for spring, but hopefully getting a job! Seeing Becky in March and Kathey & Russell in July, and hopefully some of my first family. In a few hours, our friends Mats & Annelott will be arriving to ring in the New Year with us. Martin and Karin are eating dinner at home, then leaving for parties with friends. And I'm off next week on vacation, before Martin leaves again, so a nice easy start to 2018. Happy New Year!
 accomplished
mood: accomplished
music: music battle between Karin's speaker and the TV


zird is the word [userpic]
HAPPY HAPPY MERRY MERRY
It's been a very relaxing long holiday weekend here in Flyinge. Unlike most of North America, we've had no snow, which is a pity...it's been the usual southern Swedish mix of rain and grey, but inside candles, advent lights and the Christmas tree area all lit. Martin arrived home on December 19 and time is already flying by. I took two days off so we could get some things done and enjoy his being home before finishing up work before the holidays. It was SO NICE to see him and give him a hug and it's SO NICE to have him home!

We had Anders' mom here on her birthday, December 23, and she stayed two nights with us. I wasn't sure how that would work out but it was fine. She slept in Martin's room and Martin bunked with Karin. We've been so busy living in the moment that I haven't had any real time to sit down and write a post, though I've thought about it several times!

After her birthday dinner, the kids and I made Christmas cookies and frosted them. I had made Rice Krispie Holly Bars earlier in the afternoon, so we had several different kinds ready to offer for dessert :) YUM! Anders also decided to get crafty and made a gingerbread house from scratch. But it's not edible...he cheated at the end and used a glue gun, haha!






And yes, that is Pettsson and Findus and some muckles hanging out around the house!



Yesterday was Christmas Eve, which is the real celebration day here in Sweden. Along with Anders' mom, his sister and her family joined us at 3 pm for the annual tradition of watching Kalle Anka (which I suffer through) and drinking glögg (which I don't drink). We had a little fika spread of pepperkakor (gingersnaps), clementines, dates, figs, and nuts to go with it. After that, each of us opened one present and then Anders and Maria finished up putting the julbord together. It was quite a spread! Ander had made meatballs with moose, and Maria brought a delicious stewed kale dish for the first time. I ate a bit too much but haven't had any after effects at all, so am really happy that my digestive systems seems to be adapting well to the loss of my gallbladder. *knocks on wood*



We went to bed rather late, after our guests left, as we still had to wrap stocking stuffers. I bought too many and too big, so the stocking, though stuffed, were spilling over. But I was quite pleased with the gifts I bought this year, and happy that I finished my shopping several days a week before Christmas so I didn't have to stress about anything.

This morning, on Christmas Day, I woke up at 7, but feel back asleep again. Anders got up sometime around 8:30 and I abruptly woke up again at 9 and leaped out of bed. The kids were STILL abed and so was Anders' mom, but after I started making some noise, both kids appeared. We open our stocking first, then the rule is: showers, dress, and eat something before we open the rest of the presents.

I almost cried FOUR times. My brother sent my dad's old (still functional) camera to Martin and when he opened it, I was just overwhelmed by a rush of memories. It's a Nikon from 1974, and there were even a few canisters of film included! Then Karin gave me a new phone case (mine has broken in several places) with a photo of her and Martin on it. Then Martin gave Anders and I a photobook of pictures he had taken every day for his first term of college (!) and then Anders gave me the most gorgeous ring. And I got soup from both my brother and sister, just what I wanted! :D I'm a very happy Christmas camper!

Anders received a Nespresso machine, lots of capsules and some espresso mugs, along with a RokBlok, which I had ordered, thinking it was the COOLEST thing ever, a wireless record player that runs around your record and plays it! The reality, sadly, turned out to be a little less exciting...it works all right, but the speed is slightly off. We'll have to experiment to see if we can get it working properly. Karin was thrilled to get Vans sneakers from my brother, a new pair of Ahnna Rasch earrings to replace the ones she misplaced earlier this year, and a camel-colored long coat with gloves to match. Martin ended up with a photo-themed Christmas: along with my father's camera, he got a new camera bag, a set of filters and lens holders plus some new, much-needed pants :)


Karin reacts to her sneaker box!


Martin opening my dad's camera case


Happiness and satisfaction!

Tonight, Martin and I are going to watch Star Wars: The Force Awakens in anticipation of going to see the new Star Wars: The Last Jedi tomorrow in the theater (he's seen it twice, but I haven't been yet), after going shopping with the kids to do some exchanges. Then it's back to work for three days before the next long weekend for New Year's!





It's been a good end to a year full of ups and downs, for sure.
 happy
mood: happy


zird is the word [userpic]
EK FAMILY CHRISTMAS LETTER 2017
2017 started off quietly, with Liz participating in a gospel fest concert and Anders skiing in the Czech Republic, both with colleagues. Liz continues to sing in Eslöv’s pop choir, and is active on the board of the AWC, handling membership, and Anders kept busy mountain biking, competing in several X-Cup tournaments and Cykel Wasa during the year.

January also marked our 20th anniversary of moving to Sweden! Hard to believe how time flies! In the beginning of February, Martin received confirmation that he had been accepted into his first place choice for college...at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit. He applied to the Photography program and also signed up for a 3-week summer program at the school, which sent us into a whirlwind of financial applications, travel planning and all the things that needed to be done before July.

In April, Anders spent 2 weeks working in South Africa and did a 4-day animal & camping safari in Kruger Park. While he was gone, Liz managed to buy a bed to surprise him with upon his return! No more sleeping in a double! haha! Karin also performed, acting and singing, in her school’s annual play, and was so thrilled with the whole experience that she signed up to do it again for next year.

In June, Karin finished her junior year of high school, and shortly after, Anders and Liz left the kids at home and spent a week in southern Germany with Liz’s brother and family and the added bonus of Liz’s mom, a lovely break with Swedish midsummer included, and at the end of the month, Liz and the kids left for the States. Anders decided it was better to stay home and work on the house and get lots of things done since we were gone all July LAST year.

The time in Michigan flew past, with our friends Kathey & Russell coming up for July 4th, Liz’s sister and family coming as well, lots of cousins and relatives to see, Karin’s 18th birthday, Great-Grandma’s 101st birthday (!) and of course, buying all the things Martin needed for college. After dropping Martin off, Liz, Sarah, Danely and Karin went on a 3-day trip to Chicago, where Danely had orientation; she’s now attending DePaul University there. Great fun! We got to see Liz’s old Chicago pal, Valerie, and cousin Jordon as well.

Martin had a really good experience during the 3-week summer program, getting heaps of praise for his photography and work. We had dinner with him only a couple of times, and it was really hard to leave him there and fly back to Sweden, just Karin and Liz. After his summer program finished up, he stayed with Liz’s mom for several weeks and she got him moved in for the start of his first term as a college freshman at the end of August. He has had photography, drawing, graphic design and English classes and is thriving, working REALLY hard to keep on top of things, despite some major issues with his camera which BROKE the week before classes started and which he didn’t get back until nearly November (luckily, he was able to borrow one from the school in the meantime). He’s made friends, and is doing well, and we are really proud of him.

In August, Karin had a huge party in our backyard to celebrate her 18th birthday with her 70 closest friends, a sort of practice run for her graduation next year...urgh. At the beginning of November, Anders, Liz and Karin spent a long weekend in Stockholm. Martin was much missed, but he is home for Christmas!

Liz had some health issues this year, with a pre-herniated disk in her neck causing major problems with one shoulder and arm. After many, many treatments, it seems to have finally subsided, just in time to start having gall bladder issues. She had removal surgery on December 6 but is fully recovered and is spending the holidays taking it easy and sadly, not eating much yummy stuff.

This year has been full of political upset, turmoil and worry on an international level, but we hope the holidays find you happy, safe and well.

Photos! www.lizardek.com/lj_images/xmaspics_2017.pdf
 calm
mood: calm
music: Stevie Wonder—What Christmas Means to Me
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zird is the word [userpic]
GETTING IN THE MOOD
As always with this journal, I'm torn between simple posts about what's been happening, what I've been doing, and more complex posts about my philosophies and what I think and care about. For the 4 of you reading, does it make a difference?

It was an up and down week, work-wise. I tried too hard and went in on Monday, but ended up only managing a half-day before giving up and going home. Tuesday, however, I woke up feeling much better, worked from home all day and by Wednesday felt I was pretty much back to normal. The only other issue I've had is one of the incisions starting to feel a little inflamed, but a little advice from my pharmacist sister-in-law soon had me put to rights (couldn't call the doctor on a Friday night) and I feel fine now. Still taking it easy eating small portions, but haven't been avoiding anything specific yet.

I just saw that Facebook has added Stories...the same thing already to be found on Instagram and Snapchat. Seriously? How many videos do we need to see? Just post a photo or a status update, for crying out loud. Better yet, write a blog post.

This morning was a nice sleep-in, for once. I woke up early, but managed to fall back asleep but had a couple of nightmares and work up twice with my heart thumping. Finally got up, dressed, showered and went to the mall to finish off stocking stuffers. Mostly I needed to even out what I already had, but I ended up making it worse, and now I have to go shopping again tomorrow to REALLY even it out. The only other thing left is Anders' mom, and I'm ordering that when I'm done writing this. We're giving her 2 tickets to see the gospelfest concert that Karin and I are singing in, at the end of February.

So many people think that Christmas is too commercial, but I love giving gifts and receiving them. I love that someone takes the time to think about me and what to get me, and it's fun to reciprocate. Presents don't have to be expensive or fancy to be appreciated.

For me, it's so much more about getting in the holiday mood: decorating the house, getting the tree(s), pulling out the boxes of ornaments that we only get to see once a year, some of which go back to my childhood. Each one is a little memory capsule. When we cut the tree down to fit in the stand, we end up with lots of extra branches of greenery to decorate with as well.

I put several on top of the bookcases and hang glittery red balls from them. Some end up in little buckets, some go behind the Lenox nativity set and some in various places on the table, windows, etc. The leftovers get fanned out across the little garden bed under the kitchen window outside. They make the house smell so nice!

We rev up the Christmas playlist for decorating and for evenings. Karin and I sing carols at the tops of our lungs as we hang the decorations on the tree: wood, glass, ceramic, clay, metal, felt, and more, all topped with a white & silver stained glass style star tree topper. Family is coming for "Little Christmas Eve" since that is Anders' mom's birthday, and for Christmas Eve. For Christmas Day, we'll celebrate together, just the four of us, as we always have. It feels especially great to have Martin arriving home next Tuesday for the holidays. He told me last week he was ready to come home, and we are sure looking forward to seeing him. 6 months apart...I know it's just the beginning but aaugh, it's hard. I wish my mom was coming with him. And my siblings. We haven't had a Christmas all together in a long time. We're talking about trying to go home to my mom's next year for Christmas, but getting all of us there at the same time is probably not possible.

Now if we would just get some snow, that would be perfect.
 productive
mood: productive
music: some horrible mess on Så Mycket Bättre (NOT)


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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.