November 26th, 2010



It's been snowing for several days. We've had the big fat flakes, the tiny polka-dotted blizzard conditions, full-on rain mixed with snow, which is the literal description the Swedes use for sleet. I wasn't exactly excited by the first snowfall this year because I had to drive in it, twice. People get stupid in cars the first time the snow falls. They slow WAY down, they brake too hard, and some of them still have their summer tires on.

I'm coming around slowly to just seems too early for snow! Karin has been out sledding on the hill at the front of the neighborhood every afternoon this week; the drying cabinet is full of wet snow pants and mittens. The purple plastic sled and the little yellow snowboard are propped by the side of the house, ready and waiting for a winter of use. I haven't had to shovel yet (Anders did it yesterday), but since he leaves Sunday for a week-long business trip, I bet I'll get my chance.

As one of my other LJ friends said, I've been celebrating Thanksgiving on the Saturday after for so long that I can almost forget that yesterday was the actual day. It's just another work day here in Sweden. The other American colleagues in my department walk by in the morning and we greet each with Happy Thanksgiving! but it's not the same, exactly. We're not looking forward to an afternoon of football and family and gluttony; we have a few more days to wait.

Nevertheless, for me at least, Thanksgiving Day is something to look forward to. For several years, my friend Debbie has scheduled a wreathmaking workshop at a local florist in her town that evening. It's an AWC event, and it's so much fun! I know how to make a wreath now; I've been going since the first one in 2000, but it's not the workshop part that's important: it's the smiling faces of my friends as they put the pine branches and boxwood in place and decorate with dried orange slices and cinnamon sticks. It's the laughter and teasing as I wield the gold spray paint can to put the finishing touches on my masterpiece. It's the pastries and pumpkin bread and gingersnaps, served with steaming glögg and strawberry juice by Rosa (the florist) and her husband Lasse. It's the smell of poinsettias and amaryllis and hyacinth, the smell of fir and snow and cold fresh air: the smell of Christmas coming.

I can't believe it's less than a month to Christmas. So many things to do that I haven't even thought of starting! Cards and letters and gift shopping. Cookie baking, decorations and tree-hunting and birthdays. First, however, there's our annual Thanksgiving potluck tomorrow evening. All the traditional trimmings, served up with a bunch of Swedish-American couples that have been celebrating with us for years. The house is still a mess, but the playroom has been painted and the turkeys are ready to go in the oven first thing in the morning and a couple of hours of cleaning should see us ready to receive our guests.

I hope your Thanksgiving was everything you wanted it to be. I'm thankful for so much, for all of it, and for you.

Feasty Fabulous Belated Birthday Wishes to gnostraeh!