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LEFT OF CENTER, PLUS POTATOES
Karin is leaving in the morning (really more like the middle of the night, since her flight from Copenhagen leaves at 6 a.m.) for Greece on a last-minute cheap ticket deal with a couple of friends. They are going to Kos, which I know nothing about, but the name was vaguely familiar, a brain-remnant left over from years of Humanities and Art History classes, one presumes.

She came home after work to finish packing and requested "a nice dinner" so I had the inspiration to drive to Eslöv to an excellent butcher that we patronize on occasion and buy something for Anders to grill. The butcher is a little storefront in the back end of a rather sketchy industrial area but it is very well-trafficked. There were a dozen cars out front and several people waiting in line. In addition to many choices of cuts of meat, they also have a small selection of excellent cheeses, lots of homemade sauce choices, farm-fresh eggs and several shelves of spendy imported items like balsamic vinegar and fancy crackers. I bought 3 pork chops which they put into a bag of "sweet & smoky" marinade for me, a little container of "the best" Bearnaise sauce and a bag of excellent fresh-baked croissants. I wasn't going to the grocery store, and we didn't have potatoes at home, so I reasoned we could either have the croissants as dinner rolls or we could always make some rice or pasta.

Then I remembered that Skarhult castle is on the way home and they have a little old brick building on the side of the road where they sell their own eggs, potatoes, tomatoes and wheat flour. It's all on the honor system; you can leave cash in a box or pay with Swish on your phone app (which is what I did since I never have cash on me anymore), and quite cheap. I bought a 2 kilo bag of absolutely delicious potatoes for only 30 SEK ($3.28). These are the same potatoes that Anders bought back in May; which we ended up planting the last few that hadn't gotten cooked as seed potatoes...we harvested them only a few weeks ago and they were SCRUMPTIOUS.

Mostly, I'm a big fan of one-stop-shopping at our local grocery store, which has an excellent deli counter for meat and cheese and a fairly impressive produce section, but it was fun to get "the best" and put together a delicious dinner, which granted, someone else cooked for us. Thanks, honey!

Sweden is rapidly approaching Election Day, which comes here, as in the US, every four years. However, here there are 9 major parties to choose between (plus lots of little ones that don't actually have enough votes to warrant seats in Parliament), which makes things both confusing and difficult, especially since they tend to group together in various alliances to form governments, since none of them are really big enough to have a true majority. This will be the second national election that I'm eligible to vote in, and I'm much more invested now in actively figuring out who really deserves my vote. The thing is, almost all the parties here are so far to the left of what we consider "left" in the States, that it's rather comical. Martin tried to get all of us to take the "Election compass" quiz on the major news sites which helps you figure out what parties your ideals are most aligned with, in terms of the most debated issues of the day. He and Karin and I all basically got the same spread, with our top three percentages going to the Left Party, Green Party and the currently in-power Swedish Social Democrats, though not necessarily in the same order.

That last is NOT to be confused with the deliberately similarly-named Sweden Democrats who have, the past several years, vastly increased their base in politics, popular opinion and government seats. The Sverigedemokraterna are a right-wing white nationalist group with true neo-Nazi roots who have tried to clean up their act, and cover their tracks, in order to gather voters, succeeding quite handily, sadly. Their main platform of success is on rousing people to vote against immigration, refugees, women's rights and political "correctness" just like all the other populist parties across the world, including the one in power at home.

It's been the main topic of conversation during lunch hour, with many of my colleagues there, and friends outside of work as well, unsure of who they will vote for. There is no real "front-runner" and no real charismatic party leaders and a lot of dissatisfaction both with the party in power and things in general, despite the fact that Sweden is doing many, many things well.

Karin, rather surprisingly, is extremely well-versed in the political scene and has very decided opinions about the issues and the parties. She's been very vocal about what she thinks, and decries the fact that so many of the young people she knows are voting for the populist party out of what she (and I) considers to be sheer willful ignorance.

Even though it is already possible to cast your vote in the pre-voting process, I think I'll wait until the actual election day and walk over with my husband to the kids' former elementary school, a couple of blocks away, in the center of our little village and cast my vote in the school library, with a piece of paper marked with my choice, the old-fashioned way. I just hope I can figure out who I'm going to actually vote for before I get there. It's not so easy as it is in the US where these days it feels like there are really only two choices: good and evil. Ha! If only the choices were as simple as potatoes: starchy or waxy, or as they're known in Swedish: mjölig eller fast. It depends on whether you're mashing or not, but for the most part, I choose firm and solid over mushy any time!
 hopeful
mood: hopeful
music: Earth, Wind & Fire—Got to Get You Into My Life


Comments

We are going to be travelling on the 9th so we will get over to the early voting place next week to cast our votes. Ray, while not a Swede yet, can vote in the local and län elections and we had a friend over the other day to discuss the major political issues with us, so we are ready. I spent the last 2 months reading and studying each major party's platform and performance so far, discarding SD immediately, of course, and think I have made an informed decision.

Well, potatoes can be mushy or firm, to go with the main, but no mushy peas. Blech.

(Anonymous)

Your vote choices sound terribly confusing - hope you get it figured out. Martin has his ballot -but don't think he's dealt with it yet. Not sure I'll really like my choices when November comes!
Hope Karin has a great time -perfect to get the cheap last minute tickets. I have a friend who always does that.
Love, Lizardmmom

(Anonymous)
From Megsie

I have always wondered if it would be better to have more choices, but it does sound confusing. I will be voting (as always) in the November midterms. And hoping and praying that things shift for the better...Left.

October 2018
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