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zird is the word [userpic]
I'LL TAKE IT ALL
A blog friend of mine posted this poem on Instagram last night and it struck me hard...it's nearly exactly how I feel about spring and the coming of the green, even if the winter treated me well, or at least, not badly.

Instructions on Not Giving Up
by Ada Limón

More than the fuchsia funnels breaking out
of the crabapple tree, more than the neighbor’s
almost obscene display of cherry limbs shoving
their cotton candy-colored blossoms to the slate
sky of spring rains, it’s the greening of the trees
that really gets to me. When all the shock of white
and taffy, the world’s baubles and trinkets, leave
the pavement strewn with the confetti of aftermath,
the leaves come. Patient, plodding, a green skin
growing over whatever winter did to us, a return
to the strange idea of continuous living despite
the mess of us, the hurt, the empty. Fine then,
I’ll take it, the tree seems to say, a new slick leaf
unfurling like a fist to an open palm, I’ll take it all.

Of course, I then had to google the poet, and read everything else she's written that I could find on the web (thank you, poets.org) and it was a splendid way to rouse myself from the cave of my holiday-morning sleep-in bed.

Pulling the blinds up to let in the light of another beautiful day: no clouds to be seen, just a solid, breathless blue. The tops of the birch and pine trees are swaying in the breeze. Birds stop and perch and rock in their deciduous swingsets, then soar away. There are magpies hopping about on the lawn, hopefully they are vacuuming up some of the seed spill from the feeder. I only have sunflower seeds left, and suet balls, and the birds have been fiercely attacking both. Anders set up the GoPro outside and caught them squabbling. Then he filmed the sunset, with the comet streaks of airplanes whizzing on their flight paths over head, zip zip zip. Then he filmed the stars wheeling and coming into focus: the Big Dipper clear as a bell. The sky cobalt and satin, star-studded: this brave o'er hanging firmament, this majestical roof, fretted with golden fire. I'm no poet; Shakespeare said it better. He always does.

The hours stretch before me, another day to do whatever I wish in, to spend or squander how I want, to live, to endure, to enjoy. Holidays are stolen time, set aside from our real lives. Time to regroup, relax, reread, re-envision. Shall I sit on the deck, in the sun, or under the shade of the umbrella, and watch the sparrows come and go? Shall I make some use of myself or only live in my skin and my eyes and behind my eyelids, where the thoughts rise and sink again, bubbling. A morning is filled with possibilities; evening either with repletion or regrets; there's no knowing beforehand which it will be.
 mellow
mood: mellow
music: Roxette—Some Other Summer


zird is the word [userpic]
SPRINGY WEEKEND WITH EXTRA TISSUES
If I did internet quizzes, which I don't and neither should you, the one I would be providing right now, for your pleasure and edification, is "Which one of the Seven Dwarves is Liz?" Hint: I do not have a medical degree, and while I DO like to sleep in, Sleepy is not the correct answer either.

I thought, after the interminable 3 weeks in March where I would have preferred to actually remove my eyeballs from my head rather than endure one more minute of unbearable itching, that I was done, HA HA HA, with allergy symptoms for the spring. Cue April, who set me straight: one is never done with allergy symptoms apparently. One just mutates from itchy eyes to other unspeakable irritations. ATCHOO!

We are in the middle of a 4-day (for me, 4.5-day) long weekend and I am soaking up every minute of it when I am not a) sneezing, b) blowing my nose, c) pressing on my sinuses which seem to have bloated with pollen. Is that what sinuses do? Suck up pollen like little facial vacuum cleaner bags? Do we really NEED sinuses? Couldn't I have them removed, like tonsils or my appendix (both of which I still have), and avoid this annual misery?

Yesterday was Good Friday, or as it is known here in Sweden, LONG Friday. It is yet another of the religious holidays that people celebrate here with food and not much else. It's such a secular country nowadays, that I find it peculiar that nearly all of the public holidays have religious origins. It is also the first year in the last twenty that I have not colored eggs with the kids. Anders, however, DID color the eggs (with turmeric) that he hard-boiled for dinner, but even though they were a very pretty spring yellow, it wasn't the same as getting out the food coloring and the vinegar and dipping, splotting and splashing eggs into tye-dye patterns.

Anders' mom and sister with her husband and daughter arrived around 5 for the traditional Swedish Easter buffet: herring, hard-boiled eggs, smoked salmon, boiled potatoes, meatballs, little "prince" sausages, Janssons temptation, bread and cheese. Anders also tried making cured trout from a fresh fish a friend had given him but it came out a bit too salty. Anders' mom supplied dessert which was an Easter version of a princesstårta with yellow marzipan icing and marzipan chicks on top.

We are smack in the middle of a long stretch of perfect spring weather. It's sunny, a little breezy, warm and beautiful out. We are going to have a bumper crop of dark purple lilacs behind the garage in just a few more weeks. Anders and I went to Flyinge Plantshop today and bought 4 bags of dirt and 2 big pots to plant tomatoes in. We aslo bought seed potatoes and 2 starter plum tomato plants. I plan on planting a bell pepper, a kohlrabi and a zucchini, plus maybe carrots as well. SO ambitious! Anders is moving the vegetable patch and enlarging it, and raising, too.

Then I went shopping and bought some little things to put in the kids' Easter baskets, which they won't get until they come home (mid- and end-May, respectively) and some candy for Anders as well. Just because I didn't color eggs this year, I don't have to give up completely, right? I should have gotten my act together and sent Martin something for Easter but hey, if HE can procrastinate like a champion on important things, so can I.

I was sort of thinking that I haven't done all that much today but it would be a lie, since in addition to all that, I have also grocery shopped, done my US taxes and weeded in the front garden. And started a new book by an author that is always excellent, though the premise of this one is a bit offbeat (Bowlaway by Elizabeth McCracken). It's her first novel in 18 years, which surprised me, though she's published a memoir and a collection of short stories in the interim. Anders and I watched A Star is Born last night. It wasn't a movie I cared about seeing, per se, but it was well-done, for the most part, and I thought both the leads did a good job. I don't think Bradley Cooper has ever been bad in anything, and he's certainly easy on the eyes. Lady Gaga, who I don't pay that much attention to normally, obviously put her entire heart and soul into the film and it showed.

Tomorrow and Monday the weather is supposed to hold and we have no plans other than working in the garden, possibly going mountain-biking or kayaking (Anders) or visiting art galleries (me) for the annual Sweden art-tour where all the galleries and studios open up for Easter week. I can't buy anything and I don't have any place to put it if I did, but it's fun to look. Happy Easter, everyone!
 refreshed
mood: refreshed
music: Dala—Compass


zird is the word [userpic]
TELL ME WHY
It's partly because I work on the computer all day long at work 5 days a week and my shoulders hurt by the end of each day and the last thing I want to do when I get home is sit at a computer again, even just to post.

It's partly because I'm often convinced that I have nothing interesting to say or write about, and some things that ARE interesting aren't things I CAN write about.

It's partly because I get busy with other things, like meal preparation and consumption, like house cleaning and chores and things that must be done, or reading, or playing stupid iPad games.

It's partly because I forget about it until it's too late and then I have to go to bed because I can no longer stay up past 9:30 11 pm on a weekday.

It's partly because I'm inherently lazy though I disguise it very, very well.

The tax papers are strewn across the desk in front of me but I'm ignoring them. The TV is on, but I'm ignoring it, too. I'm ignoring the siren call of the Reese's in the refrigerator as well,...for now. I seem to be ignoring a lot of things, some of them more important than others and procrastinating on yet more...I'm not sure what my deal is. I'm usually full of spring and zing this time of year but right now, I just seem to be sort of limping along.

Everything is turning green. We have baby lilacs on almost every branch of our six lilac bushes, huzzah! The hostas are thrusting like spears into the sunlight. The stonecrop in the big pots are fat and succulent. The roses and the honeysuckle, which Anders ruthlessly cut back, are sprouting leaves and and the plum tree is a giant white cloud of flowers. The cherry tree has yet to bloom, but it won't be long now. It's been quite cold, even below freezing at night, but this whole week has been a solid parade of bright blue skies and sunshine.

We had sad news a few days ago, hearing that an old friend of Anders', who is only a few years older, had unexpectedly passed away. His family suspects it was a stroke or a heart attack but we haven't heard any details. The funeral will be private, for family only. We didn't see him very often; as he lived over an hour away, and we weren't exactly social with him on any regular basis, but because he was a pewter-smith, over the years we have been out to his studio many times and bought pieces of his work. Karin and Anders were there at least twice last summer, once with my mom, to buy some of the pewter and brass rings he'd been making the past few years. We have napkin rings, candlesticks and jewelry to remember him by.

It's always a shock when someone dies, but even more so when it's someone who wasn't ill, who was relatively "young" and who went suddenly. All the "we should get together sometime soons" are no longer a possibility. It makes you want to call and write and visit everyone you care about.

Another thing I'm sad about: Notre Dame, though I'm relieved that they were able to put the fire out and it seems like a great deal has been saved or is salvageable.

Something I'm happy about: hearing today that we are quite close to hiring a new graphic designer for my team. The recruitment has been ongoing for several weeks and I have high hopes for some relief at work soon.

Something I'm keeping my fingers crossed for: That Anders' mom's apartment SELLS already. Meet the asking price, people!

I've taken a long break from American late-night comedy shows and regular news programming, which I was admittedly addicted to over the last two years. I just got to the point where I couldn't take it anymore. I'm skimming the news, and limiting my intake, especially of politics. I'm just so thoroughly disgusted with so much of it right now, and I was getting rage headaches far too often. A break was definitely needed, and I think it was a good thing. I'm only sorry that my friends and family back in the States can't take a break from it. It must feel relentless sometimes.

This post feels all over the place, but so is my brain, so you'll just have to deal with it... all two of you. One of you? Hello?

Tomorrow, I'm getting Barky done and not past time. I've got nearly an INCH of grey showing...augh. Awfulness. I am not sure if I want to go as red as I did last time, though. While I got lots of compliments on it, I'm a little worried that it had tipped over into "klimakeriet-röd" territory. Hard to tell. But if I don't have a reddish-chestnut hue, I feel like it's not quite right...too dark doesn't look right with my skin tone.

We've got a ton of short weeks coming up, as per usual in Sweden in the spring. Thursday is a half day because my company generously gives half-day holidays the day before legal holidays. Then we have Good Friday AND Easter Monday, and the week after that we have a half-day on Tuesday because Wednesday is International Labor Day (for everyone except the US) or as the Swedes call it, May First. :D

Then we have to work for two straight weeks but then come two more short weeks in a row with Ascension Day and Sweden's National Day which both fall on Thursdays, giving us a half-day before each. And only another couple of weeks after that, it's Midsummer! I both look forward to, and dread, all the short weeks so close together. It's great to have the days off but man, it gets stressful at work. And I'll be having early vacation this year as well, mostly in June, so plenty of time off to really enjoy the spring and get some motivation back.
 calm
mood: calm
music: Rickie Lee Jones—Juke Box Fury


zird is the word [userpic]
INTERLUDEY
I am sorry little blog and blog-reading friends who might be wondering where I've disappeared to again. Nowhere, just busy. Busy busy at work, kinda busy at home, just forgot. No excuse, just explanation. Now, of course, I think maybe it's better that I didn't write anything for over a week because hey! I got nothing to say really. It's spring! It's cold! My kids are gone, but we're in touch...nothing much is really new that I needed to blather on about and so I didn't. Aren't you glad? No? OK, I will try and write a real post tomorrow. I was only on the computer because I was starting to try and figure out my stupid US tax forms and WHO DECIDED TO GO AND CHANGE THE ENTIRE 1040 FORM that has been the same since I STARTED filing taxes? BASTARDS. I'm too old for this shit.

More soon.
 cranky
mood: cranky
music: music, schmusic


zird is the word [userpic]
WASH YOUR MOUTH OUT
I recently saw an article about common words and phrases that have racist origins and it really got me thinking about how language gets whitewashed (heh) with time. When I tried to find the article again so I could reference it more easily, it turns out that there are LOTS of articles online about such words and sayings. Many of them are so commonplace today with such a wide usage that it's hard to believe they had an unpleasant beginning.

One of my college roommates wrote not too long ago about a vivid memory she has of playing Euchre with friends on the dorm floor and hearing one of them say, while relating a story, that someone had "really jewed her down". She's Jewish, and everyone who would have been with her would have been well aware of that fact, so it seems a little odd for someone to have said it completely unconsciously, without thinking twice. I could easily have been one of the people in the room, even one of the people playing Euchre (since we played a LOT of Euchre in MSU) but I'm pretty sure I wasn't the one who said it. I wasn't even familiar with the phrase, and can, with nearly 100% certainty, say that I have never used that particular expression, but if it had been me relating something like that, I could easily have said that someone had "gypped me" and that is as least as racist in origin.

I don't think I knew the origin of the word "gypped" until I was an adult, or at least it didn't really seem to matter, since the word has, to all intents and purposes, unmoored itself from its original association with Roma gypsies in Europe and the perception of them as cheats and swindlers. Except, of course, if you ARE Roma, in which case, it's still just as insulting as it was originally intended to be. The point being that there are plenty of ways to say that someone tricked you into lowering your price or scammed you out of money without referring to either their race or their religion.

Many words and phrases enter the language and stick because they fill a gap that was missing or they stick because they are catchier or more descriptive in some way. English is notorious for collecting words from all over the place. Wikipedia even has a whole SECTION that lists all the words in English that have a foreign origin (or at least many, many, many of them). And of course it's not just words from other languages. English is also adept at adapting words for other uses and turning nouns into verbs.

But it's still a bit of an eye-opener to realize that some things we commonly say were very deliberately coined and/or used at the start in a derogatory or racist way. It certainly has made me think twice about some of the words and phrases I often use, like "no can do" and "long time no see"...they sound innocuous to our ears now because they are such a ubiquitous part of our vocabulary, but they weren't at all innocent to begin with. And some terms, like "grandfather clause", for example, work so well for their current purpose that it's hard to figure out what you COULD replace them with nowadays, if you wanted to avoid the past-racist connotations that they are burdened with.

You might be thinking, well, what difference does that make NOW? The meanings of many of the words HAVE changed and mostly, I would think, these words and phrases are no longer used in a derogatory way at all. Especially when you DON'T know the origins. They aren't being used in a way that demeans anyone anymore, right? What's wrong with greeting someone with "Oh my god, long time no see!", after all? Well, on the one hand, nothing's inherently wrong with it, but that doesn't make it right. Especially once you DO know. Then, I think, if you continue to use it, you have to make that choice each time, to knowingly use a word or phrase that DOES help to perpetuate stereotypes or disparaging terms or just downright racist language.

If you're interested in doing a bit of cleaning up in the words and phrases you probably use without realizing their dirty past, you can google (there, see?) and educate yourself. For my part, I will be trying to remember NOT to use the the above examples or the following: hip hip (in front of hooray, which will be especially difficult here in Sweden, because it's a standard birthday cheer), uppity, fuzzy wuzzies (not even in regards to the bear), and chop chop. There are plenty of other words and phrases that have racist, derogatory or anti-semitic origins but since I already DON'T use them, I'm not listing them here.

After all, English is a rich enough language that I can find other ways to say all of these things, with a clear conscience.
 shocked
mood: shocked
music: Roxy Music—Dance Away


zird is the word [userpic]
MAKING A MOVE
I played two new (to me) games last weekend. I grew up in a game-playing family but there is less and less of that for me nowadays. Anders isn't a game player, per se...I mean, he will play games if we do so as a family or host a game night or something but he's not interested in them otherwise. My mom and dad used to play cribbage together in bed...I can just imagine the look on my husband's face if I tried to get him to do that, haha!

On Friday, I had dinner with Camilla and Debbie's at Debbie's house and after eating she pulled out a board game called Blokus that I had never heard of. It's fairly new, as games go, having been released in 2000 by a French company. It won lots of awards and Mattel bought it in 2009 so I assume it must be available in the States now. It's a strategy/puzzle game where you need to add pieces to a board and the objective is to use all your pieces before you can no longer play them. It's for 4 players and I can imagine that it must be MUCH harder when there are 4 people playing. We played with three and it was a lot easier to win. I like games like that.

Halfway through the first game, I made a comment about the strategy, saying that it was interesting how you could play strategically to both use/protect your part of the board or deliberately try to block your opponents. Both my friends looked at me like I had two heads. Debbie said she'd never even thought of trying to block other people, since she was usually too busy concentrating on how to use and place her OWN pieces. I just laughed and said my family would eat hers alive if that was the way her family played. Then I got called mean every time I placed a piece that blocked one of them. Ha!

On Monday, I attended an AWC Game Night at a pub in Lund. One of the other board members organized it and it was on a Monday because that's when the pub hosts game nights to try and drum up business on an otherwise slow evening. They had two big stacks of games on the bar, but one of the other women had brought her own game and that's what we ended up playing. There were 7 of us and we played in teams since the game, Carcassone, was for 2-5 players. Jessika said her colleague had told her the game was basically like Settlers of Cataan but funnier, and I had to agree. I've played Settlers a couple of times and although I know it has a massive fanbase and a lot of people like it, I think it's kind of ho-hum. I bought it for Martin some years ago, thinking he'd like it, but it's sat unopened on the shelf since.

Carcassone is also strategic since you use pieces to build a landscape made up of farms, cities, roads and monasteries and then you people them to gain points. It was really fun and my team won, although sort of by sheer luck, since we were behind for most of the game and had no really well-thought-out strategy. Carcassone is also relatively new, also released in 2000, though by a German company, and has also won awards. Corrie, on my team, had actually BEEN to Carcassone (the real town, in France) and showed us a picture of her and her daughter walking through the city streets.

Both games are available to play online and in the app store, but I think it was much more fun to sit down at a table with a bunch of game-playing adults and have an excellent evening playing them together with lots of jokes and laughter and fun.

It turns out that the husband of the woman who organized the evening is a game developer and he told us that next time he's going to bring a game called RoboRally, which sounds REALLY fun. I can't wait! More games are needed in my life, I think. It's one of the things I miss most about not having my first family nearby.
 tired
mood: tired
music: Kina Grannis—My Dear


zird is the word [userpic]
SHOULDA WOULDA COULDA
There is so much beautiful artwork out there and sometimes it really pains me, like I mean, REALLY hurts, that I can't just buy it all. Or at least one piece from each of the many, many artists I admire so much. Paintings, illustrations, embroidery, photography, drawings, collages...my walls would be literally COVERED floor to ceiling in every room if I allowed myself to indulge my passion for art. Thank goodness for Instagram then, which has turned, for me, into my own private art museum, with ever-changing displays of loveliness. I can admire art, like it, write a comment to an artist about how beautiful it is, but I can neither afford to support their work nor find the space for it if I did.

I've also realized that I'm past the point of acquiring things. Even art, sad to say. If I want to acquire more things of beauty to display in my home, it will now mean removing something I already have that I love equally. I still have boxes of cards I've purchased because they're pretty (not on display), a closet full of framed posters and prints and photographs that I have no room for, notebooks full of pages carefully torn from magazines to preserve something I thought worth keeping, simply because it moved me, and 2 full shelves of photo albums full of family pictures that I rarely, if ever, look at. And that's not even counting the digital hoarding I've done: folders full of JPGs of art I love, art I wish I owned. So much art, so little time and space and money.

On Wednesday night, when I wrote my last post, I wasn't feeling well, but I had too much to do to let myself fall sick. Since I thought it best to go to bed early, I asked Anders to please start looking for a plane ticket for Martin's trip home in mid-May. I've been starting to worry that we were already running late on getting it purchased and prices were already starting to go up beyond what I felt like we could afford. Anders found an excellently priced flight from Toronto. We would still have to figure out getting Martin to and from Detroit to Toronto, but the flights from Detroit itself were a LOT more expensive. So he booked it, and we sent the info to Martin and I went to bed feeling both pleased and accomplished.

Cue the next afternoon, when Anders happened to see a news report by chance, stating that WOWAir had just announced bankruptcy and ceased operations, effective immediately. He sent me the link and then called the bank. We could see in the bank app that the transaction for the ticket purchase hadn't actually gone through all the way; it still showed as "pending amount", but the bank told him that, nope, sorry, nothing we can do, because the payment was made with a debit card, not a credit card.

Since then, I swear, if ONE MORE PERSON says with a self-righteous tone, "Oh well, you should always buy airline tickets with a credit card; I always do." I will chop their head off with the side of my debit card (slowly, since I'd have to saw). We don't even HAVE a credit card. We've purchased airline tickets for over 20 years with debit cards and never had a problem, but this time it bit us royally in the ass.

The page that the announcement was on stated that IF you paid with a credit card, you could contact your card company for reimbursement. And if you purchased through a travel agency or a package tour, you could contact them for reimbursement as they have travel insurance. Our home insurance doesn't cover it, we checked. At the bottom of the page it stated that for all other persons affected, you could lay a claim against the estate. No further info. And below that the page said "Was this information helpful? Yes or no, with a box to send a message.

"NO," I wrote, "Lay a claim against the estate WHERE? HOW?" ...and shockingly, I got an answer! Not a helpful one, but an answer nonetheless, from an Icelandic fellow, who said, "Yes, sorry but that info isn't available yet since the announcement is so new, and the webpage will be updated once there is more information."

I thought it was someone from WOWAir so I immediately wrote back asking if the transaction could please be cancelled immediately since we could see it was still pending, but he replied very kindly that no, sorry, they were the Icelandic Transit Authority, not WOWAir, and couldn't help, but here's a list of all the phone numbers for WOWAir customer support centers. ...All of which were already disconnected, but hey, thanks for answering, anyway, actual person who felt bad for someone. One of the news articles I read also said that WOWAir Support was actually answering questions and I sent a message to them there but of course haven't received an answer. I find it completely unconscionable that the airline was advertising flights and taking payments right up until the minute the announcement was made. I know that's just how business works, but I find it immoral, unethical and just plain BOGUS.

GAAAAH. So we are out 6000 kronor for that ticket and who knows when or if we will be able to get any of it back, depending on when we get info on how to make a claim. And my friends and I still haven't gotten anywhere with our claim for reimbursement for the Marrakesh trip that got cancelled when the travel agency we booked through went bankrupt last year. From what I've read, we are basically shit out of luck. So, I'm down 10,000 kronor on travel purchases. %&¤/#"! We've already bought ANOTHER ticket (yes, with a credit card, and NO, not with a low-cost airline) so that Martin can come home for 6 weeks before his summer job, so there went my entire bonus. Sigh. Good thing I GOT a bonus, I guess.

Too bad I didn't just spend that money on art.
 aggravated
mood: aggravated
music: Valentine—5 Seconds of Summer


zird is the word [userpic]
FOMO YOLO DIEM
Are you familiar with FOMO and YOLO? YOLO stands for You Only Live Once and FOMO stands for Fear Of Missing Out. I never subscribed much to YOLO because I don't believe that's the case, but I find as I age that my feelings of having to enjoy things or try things or do things now is increasing because well, even if I DO live more than once, the *I* that is *ME* this time around is not going to be the same later or remember it. Plus, I ALSO subscribe to the theory that we're all the same as beetles, basically, and reincarnation is just a comforting, if admittedly kinda of wacky, wishful thinking.

FOMO, according to Wikipedia, is "a pervasive apprehension that others might be having rewarding experiences from which one is absent." That's not what it means to me, though. It's a fear of regret, sure, but not for the things that other people are doing...it's for the things I won't get to do. And even if the acronym was coined fairly recently and was hyped in conjunction with the global addiction to social media, I think it's been around since humankind first climbed down out of the trees because they didn't want to miss out on what was happening out on the savannas.

YOLO, however, mostly seems to be used by people being idiots...doing stupid stuff or trying things they wouldn't normally do because of a what-the-hell attitude. I tie it more to the same thing that FOMO means to me: doing things that you wouldn't do because you only have now to do them...you only have this life to make more interesting or better or improved. You don't get another chance at it, so why not live as if your choices were limited? Because in the grand scheme of things, they are. We have a finite amount of time on this earth, and we might as well take advantage of it. Not by doing stupid stuff, but by trying and doing things we might otherwise be too craven or ignorant or oblivious of.

But FOMO is starting to cause me problems. And not for the reasons you might think. Most of the time, it's used in the context of social media and a constant online connection. People don't want to miss a Tweet or a Text or a Post or a Like or a Story. Bleah, I say to that.

I'm more worried about the books I won't get to read and the movies I won't get to see and the people I won't get to be with forever and the places I won't get to visit. I find myself not wanting to take a nap because there are BETTER THINGS TO DO. I'm no longer able to stay up as late as I used to on weeknights because I simply cannot haul myself out of bed in the morning to work otherwise, but I have an even harder time putting my book down after I've gotten into bed than I ever used to and that's saying something. I DO it, because I have to, but it gives me major FOMO. What if I don't get to finish it later? GOD FORBID.

It's not just books, though I confess, that's a lot of it. It's hanging out with my husband, my children, my family who are too far away to begin with, my friends. It's that I'd rather be seeing something I've never seen before, going somewhere I've never been or out walking in the sunshine, or trying a new restaurant or looking at beautiful art, than sleeping or cleaning or being sick or playing stupid, repetitive, mindless games on the iPad.*

I even have FOMO about work, and that's not a good thing. Because it's not exactly Fear of Missing OUT, it's Fear of MISSING...because there is too much to do and I have this nagging feeling that only I can do it, or do it fast enough, or do it best, or whatever the hell this stupid feeling is, and I don't have TIME to be sick or take time off. Fear of Not Getting Things Done, that's what. Fear of Not Giving 100%. Gaaah. Hahaha!

Early last week, I thought I was starting to come down with a cold. I managed to stave it off with rest and good old American cold medicine, and I thought that was the end of it, but after several days of "whew, dodged that bullet", today I felt crappier and crappier as the day went on and I have a tickle in my throat that is just begging to turn into a full-blown sore throat. I'm off to bed shortly with drugs in hand, to try and head it off at the pass again, as if I were a cowboy and it were either a runaway horse or a bad guy in a bad Western.

I don't have TIME to be sick. There's too much to do. There's no time to waste. Take advantage of every minute you're here. Read all the good books. Have lunch or fika or dinner with friends. Call your parents and your grandparents and your children. Go for a walk and admire the spring flowers and the sunshine. Play all the fun games. See all the good movies. Watch all the good shows. Do all the good things. Maybe send a text or post something while you're at it. You only live once. Don't miss out.

*Mea culpa
 crappy
mood: crappy
music: Midge Ure—Pure Love


zird is the word [userpic]
AUGH AND HMMM AND YAY
I was at the AWC monthly meeting yesterday evening, and it was the first time in 3 months that I didn't have to run it because the woman that is our President is back from her 3-month sojourn in the US. She went home abruptly right after Christmas as her dad was dying, and ended up staying until this past weekend. She's a powerhouse and we've really missed her, especially on the board. And especially as right after she returned, she got THREE messages, from ALL THREE of our Activities officers saying they are 1) stepping down immediately due to personal reasons, 2) stepping down as soon as possible due to personal reasons and 3) not going to run again next year due to personal reasons. AUGH!

Two of them have two small children and the other has had a really tough year with joblessness and a bad breakup, but AUGH!! All three at ONCE. Activities are the backbone of our club and if we can't find replacements, I'm not sure what we'll do. The one who is staying out her term has been in the position for 3 years, so fair enough and even number 2 has done it for a year and a half, but it's still a bummer as the two of them have done a fantastic job. The other one has been a bit of a disappointment, unfortunately. I really like her but she doesn't seem to have engaged at all or helped organize much and she has an antipathy to FB where the majority of our board communication takes place, so she's been mostly out of the loop to boot, which certainly hasn't helped.

There always seems to be some sort of drama where clubs and organizations are concerned, but it's a shame as we had a really good, outgoing, organized, energetic group this year and I hate to see it fall apart in the middle. Finding replacements is always difficult...heck, finding people to step up at all every year is difficult, and having to do it again in the middle of the season is just aggravating. The President contacted one possibility last night but got turned down. I've sent messages to two others this evening, so fingers crossed at least one of them bites.

People ask me why I do it, why I'm still involved, and why I care, but I still feel like I'm contributing something, that I'm of use and of worth, with the knowledge that I have, the history I remember, and the skills I can provide. A lot of what I do, as the Membership officer, appeals to my OCD tendencies as well: being organized, keeping lists, sending reminders, maintaining the website pages, etc. It's fun, and it's not that much work. Plus I get to meet and talk to new people all the time, and there are lots of cool, interesting people out there.

Our speaker last night was a woman that was very active on the board several years back. She works as an English home-language teacher and she's a very active gardener, growing the majority of her (large) family's own produce. She's been a guest speaker for us on both subjects in the past, and we asked to her to do a repeat of an intro to the Swedish school system at last night's meeting. It turned out to be a huge hit, with a good turnout, lots of very engaged participants and tons of questions, to the point where she was panicking a bit about getting through her entire presentation. It's an interesting subject for a lot of members in our club right now as we have lots of people new to Sweden and lots of people with younger children, just getting ready to start school. And things have changed even since MY kids entered school 15 or so years ago, so it was even interesting to those of us with grown kids!

I got my printed blog book for 2018 in the mail on Friday last week and spent some time skimming it and realized I spent most of the first part of last year bitching and moaning about how busy it was at work. And guess what? It hasn't changed a bit. We're still slammed. In fact, today I sent out a message to all of Corporate Marketing and all the regional marketing people to give them a heads up on possible delays handling their requests due to the crazy amount of work coming in right now. At least the recruitment for another Graphic Designer for our team is underway. I hope we find someone really good and REALLY fast, because we sure need them! But within the next week, I should be completely done with my monster project and able to concentrate on all the baby monster projects that are constantly biting at our toes.

Today, at lunch, someone mentioned that one of the women in another department is trying to start a choir at work. I haven't been in a choir in nearly a year. Hmmm....

Recent good things: Dinner last week with D&C and dinner THIS week with D&C. Good talks with both my kids. Blue sky and sunshine, with cold temps. Getting a big bonus at work, YAY! (though now I have to spend it on a plane ticket home for Martin)
 crazy
mood: crazy
music: Marie Digby—Kings and Queens


zird is the word [userpic]
SWEEPING THE CLOUDS AWAY
It's rarely my own birthdays that give me pause, although some of them can't just be ignored or glossed over. It's the birthdays of those younger than me that instill a little frisson of horror about how time is flowing in only one direction. Today marks the 50th birthday of my little brother. My baby brother. Even my sister's birthdays, though she is also younger than me, don't have quite the same effect as my little brother's or my children's. At the same time that you want to celebrate their passing into a new year, you want to just stop the clock because honestly, how is that even possible? How is it possible that someone so young is so...well, old. And, of course, when I gasp about it with astonishment to the birthday boy, he simply points out how much older than him I am, which doesn't help. Sigh. His wife says he still behaves like a kid anyway, so it's all relative, right? Age is just a number! Happy birthday, John!

It's been sunny but quite cold still for a few days, and today is also mostly sunny with a thin overlay of cirrus clouds along the edges of the blue sky. The green stalks of the hostas are pushing aside the soil and poking up. There are pansies, escapees from last year's pots, in the yard. Our yard looks so sad...after being thoroughly dry-killed by last summer's heatwave. It's a patchy mess of moss. The grass is struggling to recover and I fear another hot summer will do it in completely. I haven't yet seen pansies for sale at the plant nursery but soon, I hope. Hard to believe it is already nearing the end of March.

Last night, I hosted Debbie and Camilla for dinner and Camilla and I made Chicken with Gorgonzola topping and a delicious salad with her homemade dressing (lemon juice, garlic, and herb salt). It was so good that we all ate way too much and I could have happily laid on the couch groaning for a few hours afterward. We looked at Karin's photos from Costa Rica and the photos from our Lisbon trip that Camilla was supposed to be on. Camilla has lived abroad several times and has always had a hankering to move again...she's talked about South America in the past, and I've always been sort of dreading that she would disappear again someday. Her mother died a couple of weeks ago and with her dad already gone, she suddenly realized this past week that she could move if she wanted to. She had come home from Poland several years ago, specifically to be closer to her parents, but now she doesn't have that obligation anymore.

We talked about it and she said she had already come to the realization that she really loves the time spent with Debbie and me every couple of weeks and that she would miss that friendship too much to move away. Awww! Although, I know that's no guarantee and she could still move if something came up, since there is nothing keeping her here, but still it was nice to think that my friendship means so much to someone. I don't know what I would do without her and Debbie. They really keep me grounded and provide so many things through their friendship to me. So many of my dear friends live so far away, and even though I'm in touch with many and see some of them as often as possible, it's not the same as having friends nearby. Especially in this time when Anders and I are in the beginning throes of learning to live without the kids at home. :)

I'm feeling the urge to purge, or maybe to spring clean but haven't quite worked up the motivation to really get something done. I've been sort of puttering about all day, doing little tasks and chores and, of course, laundry. We don't have any plans today so it's nice to just have a down day. Tomorrow we are going to Anders' mom's apartment again to meet a couple of people picking up furniture and to fetch the few things that sold this past week, and we'll probably stop by his mom's and say hello for a quick visit, at least. It's nice to have a quiet-ish weekend that includes good friends, good food, relaxation and a sense of accomplishment. All the good things, rolled up into a couple of days. I hope your weekend is equally lovely and that you have spring things to brighten it!
 chipper
mood: chipper
music: Eliza Doolittle—Back to Front


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