October 22nd, 2003



Halloween cards for the kids (hey, where's MINE?!) came in the mail yesterday from my mom, and since they were full of stickers, the kids were thrilled. Martin had a card with pumpkins and the stickers were the parts needed to make jack-o-lanterns out of them. Apparently, they've been talking about ghosts and goblins for 2 weeks at school, and now Martin is scared of the dark. He freaked out on a walk around the block a couple of nights ago with Anders and Karin, and Anders said he was literally shaking. This was WITH his father and sister, on a lighted street. Last night when after he went to bed, he called me and told me he was hearing scary noises in his room. We decided it must have been Anders, who was banging around in the laundry room. 10 minutes later he came and asked me if it was okay for him to turn on his overhead lamp in addition to his bedside one. :( They're having a spökfest on Friday at school, but he doesn't want to go, so Anders is picking him up early. We have 2 Halloween parties next week, and one of them involves real trick-or-treating, outside, in the dark, in a heavily wooded neighborhood, so I'm getting a little worried about his reaction.

Karin, on the other hand, can scare with the best of them. She's a wolf and a monster, when she dresses up (when she's not a policeman, racecar driver, or hockey player). Although, I couldn't help laughing yesterday, because HER stickers were teeny tiny ones meant to decorate fingernails and EARS. She went to sleep with "baby pumpkins" on her ears, and before bedtime, made me put a ribbon on her head to hold her hair off her ears so she could admire her "earrings" in the mirror. That's the first time in 4 years that kid has had a RIBBON in her hair.

I'm fighting off a headache at work at the moment, hampered by the fact that I only had one Advil left in my purse. I have to take another one immediately when I get home otherwise I won't be in any condition to go to choir. :( What I really want to do is go home and sleep, but I know no one wants to hear about that, haha.

I just thought about Christmas cards, and our annual Christmas letter that I've been sending out every year since we moved to Sweden. Last year, I vowed that I would no longer spend so much money on Christmas cards, and wouldn't send them anymore to the people who didn't send us one. That includes most of my friends and a great deal of family, at this point. It makes me really angry that people can't be bothered ONCE A YEAR to slap a card in the mail, at the very least. I had at least 2 friends who I haven't had Christmas cards from in years tell me I couldn't stop sending our Christmas letter because they so enjoyed getting and reading it every year (it has lots of pictures too).


My feeling is that friendship is a 2-way street. You can't be friends with someone who doesn't reciprocate. You can't have any kind of relationship with them, other than as a stalker, I suppose. And since I can't go out to lunch or dinner with the people I left behind in the States, or see them at parties, or talk to them in the hallway at work, or run into them on the street, my only options are letters, email and phone calls. Phone calls are impossible because of time zones and cost. No one, apparently, writes letters these days. Email is the greatest thing since sliced bread, but how many people bother?? And I have to admit that I'm guilty, too, even though I ALWAYS answer my emails. I'm not always as good about initiating them though, except with my mom, and lately my brother and sister. It's sad, that's what it is.

I put a lot of work into that damn Christmas letter. I don't think a Christmas card is too much to expect in return.
  • Current Music
    Dire Straits—Romeo and Juliet


One of the things that arrived in the several packages that we've gotten recently from my mom is a CD of American patriotic songs, which I asked her to find. I wanted it for my kids because otherwise, there are hardly any occasions here in Sweden where they will actually hear these songs as they grow up. I just put it in the CD player to listen to while I check email tonight and by god, it's stirring! :)

Okay, well, maybe not stirring, but as a military brat, it does give me a certain frisson of patriotic emotion that I'll probably never completely be able to remove from my character. Another nice thing about it is the note on the back that says a portion of the proceeds from the sale of this CD are donated to the American Red Cross Liberty Disaster Relief Fund.

How can you not like You're a Grand Old Flag and Home on the Range?

Speaking of American music...um...classics, choir was great tonight. I LOVE IT. I'm so tired around 4:30-5 when I get home on Wednesdays that I have these sneaking thoughts of just staying home and vegging/napping on the couch, but when I get there, it's like a jolt of energy. It's just great. And we're singing some of the biggest chestnuts of my childhood, only they sound so beautiful in 3 and 4 part harmony. And Eva, our choir leader, said she liked the Christmas song I put in as a suggestion, so we'll be singing it, too! Hurrah!
  • Current Music
    St. John's Childrens Choir—Yankee Doodle