January 11th, 2004



It's after midnight, which means it's January 11th, and officially the anniversary of the day I moved to Sweden 7 years ago. My sister-in-law and I talked a bit about it tonight when we were over there for her son's 7th birthday (I went straight from the airport to the hospital to see the new baby). She asked me if I regretted the move at all or if I felt like this was home now. No and yes, which it felt nice to be able to answer her. I miss the States sometimes, especially Chicago, but missing it and wanting to move back there are two completely different feelings. I don't feel any real or compelling desire to move back to the U.S. at this point, although when the kids were born, I remember thinking that I wanted them to have some American childhood as well as the Swedish one. Then I realized that I was giving them one, so it didn't matter quite so much.

Things I've accomplished in these 7 years:
  • mastered a foreign language
  • helped start a club that now has over 100 members
  • survived 2 pregnancies, given birth twice, and began learning the process of becoming a good parent
  • bought my first house
  • gotten a Swedish driver's license in the era when it was a nightmare from hell to do so
  • gotten the first job I applied for in Sweden
  • built a house (well, not ME personally, but you know what I mean)
  • mastered HTML and learned web design
  • been the editor/writer/designer of a monthly print & web newsletter for 5 years
  • began keeping a reading list, FINALLY
  • joined a choir again, FINALLY
  • began a journal
  • started work on an art project, my collage book
  • made some life-long friends
  • Current Music
    ABC—All of My Heart


Karin is currently vacuuming the dining room and singing as she goes, dressed in her outside fleece sweater, snowpants and spiderman woolen hat. Perhaps child labor is the answer to all our problems.

Just got the hall closet partly cleaned out and keep wondering, where do we get all this STUFF from? Every nook, cranny, cupboard, drawer and closet in this house is STUFFED with stuff. It's as if when you move to a bigger space, your stuff automatically expands wwwwwhhhhuuump! to fill the space so you gain nothing by moving if more space was one of your reasons for doing so.

Martin has been listening to a CD of children's songs by Tom Chapin that my mom got the kids for Christmas and has been particularly interested in one song that talks about a dog and the fact that he shouldn't chase skunks or porcupines, etc. Since there are neither skunks nor porcupines in Sweden, Martin isn't all that familiar with them, although he does have a Beanie Baby skunk. He thought porcupines must be like a hedgehog, so we looked them up together yesterday online so he could see the differences.

I'm re-reading Rita Mae Brown's Six of One, which is my favorite of her books. Books I've read before always go faster during rereadings. I've been thinking about books a lot lately, and some of the phases I went through as I was growing up. I read widely, even as a child. At certain points I would get interested in a particular genre and read everything I could get my hands on: mysteries (Encyclopedia Brown! Agatha Christie), harlequin romances, war comics, Eager and Nesbit, English boarding school YA fiction. For a couple of years, as an adolescent, I was particularly fascinated by ghost stories and even at school, would prop my current chillers inside my textbooks so that the teacher wouldn't know I was reading for pleasure "on the job." The Golden Arm and The Monkey's Paw, in particular, freaked me out and probably helped me decide as an adult that I didn't need to go see scary movies because I don't need that stuff in my head. My imagination did plenty to fill my head on its own, thank you very much. There was also a short story by Alfred Hitchcock, directed at a reader (you) sitting in a cozy room, while something stalked and finally pounced, the name of which escapes me, but the thought of which still gives me a good shiver.
  • Current Music
    Lowen & Navarro—She Said No