December 28th, 2019

wheredidthisdaygo?

INBETWEEN DAYS

I'm officially bored. I finished watching both the British mini-series of Little Women and the last episode of season 1 of His Dark Materials, and I worked for about an hour altogether and read my book and played iPad games, and then Karin and Anders and I wasted 2 hours and 8 minutes of our lives watching the 2019 version of Aladdin. Why does that movie have such a good score on imdb? It's TERRIBLE. Apart from a halfway-decent Will Smith, giving his genie his very best shot, the rest of it was leaden and boring. And I don't think it's because we know the story...I just watched 3 hours of a Little Women mini-series, for crying out loud. We ended up watching the entire thing, as if we couldn't look away; as if it might get better if we were just patient.

Don't get me wrong; bored is good. I needed some downtime to be bored. And I know that my idea of bored is still full of things like laundry and meals and various other activities or chores. I think mostly I need to get out of the house more. Karin went with me to the AWC glögg fest yesterday evening, which was nice but wasn't particularly exciting. I brought mini Caprese canapés and Dessert Goop (melted white chocolate mixed with crème fraiche and topped with raspberries), all of which got eaten. None of the people there were very close friends, though it was nice to see some of them and catch up, and there were several small-ish children raising hell the entire time, which was tiresome but manageable since they weren't mine.

The three of us are going shopping tomorrow, as there are gift cards to be exchanged for things, and I suspect that will be a full day of consumerism in the midst of the mellandagsrea madness (days-between-sales which are so-called because they happen during the week between Christmas and New Year's here in Sweden). And I am hoping to exchange the necklace chain that Anders gave me for a longer one.

This was the first year that we were not all together for Christmas, since Martin is in Detroit. I've talked to him quite a lot both before the holiday and during it, but it's not the same. I suppose this is just the first of many holidays that we won't all be together. Karin was in and out all this past week, spending time here for actual holiday events and then disappearing for days. She's been here all day today though, being a slug on the couch, eating leftovers and watching terrible movies with us and now hockey with her father. If Martin were here, maybe we'd be playing a board game. Martin had the week off, and saw some of our cousins (with my mom) on Christmas Eve and then went to my mom's for Christmas Day (with my grandmother as well). He's heading back downtown today as he has to work tomorrow. I wish he was here, but I'm so glad that he has a job at last that I am also glad that he isn't.

Everyone had a good Christmas here and we all were very happy with the gifts we received, many of which were high on the wish lists. I'm always glad when I feel I've done a good job picking out presents, though of course wish lists make a big difference. I gave Anders a giant, heavy box of dirt...a mushroom farm! It's already prepared with mushroom spores or whatever it's called and we should see fresh mushrooms in only a few weeks! Karin got a new ski suit and boots and Martin got a new iPhone...making me the one with the oldest model again. :D

Another reason it would be nice to have Martin home: help eating leftovers. Our refrigerator is simply packed with food since we hosted dinner both on Christmas Eve and Christmas day. A full Swedish julbord the first evening and a traditional turkey dinner the following. We've all been diligently doing our duty, and we managed to empty several Tupperware containers today but I will probably put stuff into the freezer tomorrow, as we're all a little tired of the same things every day. We only eat turkey twice a year but since we still had turkey leftovers in the freezer right before Christmas, it feels like we've been eating it for ages. Though I could happily eat the green bean casserole for longer. Yum yum! Maybe tomorrow we'll have sushi at the mall just for a change of pace.

Monday is also a holiday and then we are spending New Year's eve with our friends Mats & Annelott. This is the first year that "real" firecrackers are no longer allowed in Sweden, and it's a real bummer. Part of the fun and excitement of New Year's eve is going outside at midnight to watch the fireworks shows that take place all over Europe. Now you can't shoot anything that explodes with a bang. You can only use sparklers and those "cakes" that sit on the ground and shoot sparkles up about 3 feet. It's actually apparently still legal to BUY fireworks, but it's illegal now to shoot them off, unless you have taken a training course with the county (which costs a lot, I suspect). I guess the townships will still have firework shows but all the spontaneous magic in the sky over every village and home will be missing. Usually this time of year, we've already been hearing the bangs of firecrackers sporadicly every evening but I haven't heard a one. And no signs or commercials advertising them either. The reason given on the police website for the law was to minimize the amount of accidents, especially since minors are so often involved, though I've heard a lot of people claiming it was because dogs are scared of them. This will be the quietest New Year's in over 23 years. I have a 3-pack of Thai lanterns, but that's the extent of our "fireworks".

I don't know how I feel about the fact that it is almost 2020. It sounds like a year out of a science-fiction novel. It feels like we should have made more progress than we have, though the progress we have made is amazing. It's been such a hard year to handle in so many ways, with the news every day numbing us...I am dreading the whole run-up to the US elections, as I suspect it is only going to get worse before it gets better and with no guarantees of actually getting better either. We do the best we can, I guess, and make the choices that help us move forward in the world. I am glad the light will start returning, at least. That will help on an emotional and mental level, for sure.