One of the nicest gifts I got was a slim volume of stories that my mom had contributed to. And then she gave me some of the Moorcroft pottery that I had originally purchased for her, at her cost, years ago, when I was in England; a bowl and a tiny saucer. I love Moorcroft but have never been able to afford any, so that was a thrill. Martin and Karin gave me pottery too, 3 lovely bowls that were made by the administrator of Martin's photo department. The best gift by far was getting to spend time together, though. It gets harder every year that my mom is so far away and that I see her so infrequently, and now with Martin as far, it feels double as tough.
A few days after Christmas, our good friends Kathey & Russell arrived and we had 3.5 days of fun with them, including going to see Mary Poppins Returns and playing fun new games like Telestrations, which has a stupid name, but a great premise: it's a mix of the old whispering game of Telephone with illustrations. They celebrated New Year's Eve with us, although the kids ditched us old folks and took the car to a college party in Detroit. I had minor palpitations at the whole idea, but they were great and very responsible. Karin drove since she can't drink in the US, and Martin and his friends were very grateful. They even came home instead of staying downtown so I was heartened to see them both in bed when I got up (late) the next morning. We were even able to meet up with my college roommate Julie and her husband for a fun day of museum-going, bowling and sushi. :)
The other Swedish thing that we did in Michigan was eat homemade semlor! Russell came with a recipe and ingredients and the desire to learn how to bake this traditional Swedish Lenten pastry: basically a cardemom bun filled with almond paste and whipped cream that is only available in Sweden between Christmas and Easter. We women went shopping and Anders and Russell stayed home and baked. Yum! Semla are yummy but usually one per year is enough for me, so now I'm done, haha!
It was a bummer that my sister and brother and their families weren't there, though the house WAS a lot quieter. :D We still had a row of our famous Pangborn family knitted stockings hung across the fireplace and I think that alone made me feel like it was really Christmas at last. Mom and I went through some old photo albums and cleaned them out, laughing and saving the good ones of our family, and tossing ruined/discolored photos, photos of landscapes of trips no one remembered going on and pictures of old friend's babies that no one could remember the names of.
I haven't made New Years resolutions per se, but I have manageable goals for the year and hope to work on and achieve them all, with no pressure and no stress, including losing the weight I've regained this year. I'm back on track at the moment, and after our January paycheck will be hunting for a used treadmill to replace the one that broke last year so that I have no excuses for not walking, even if the weather is crappy. What I really need, I suspect, is a dog...that would force me to walk every day, right ozswede?
We flew back to Sweden on Friday, January 4 and I would very much like a vacation do-over with some more relaxation included, if not cookies. It was a great three weeks but jam-packed with stuff and people and go go go the whole time. Getting home was nice, even if I always have mixed feelings about leaving my mom and Michigan. My suitcase didn't make it on to the connecting flight from Amsterdam and I had to wait 2 days for it to get delivered, and had to go buy makeup since everything I had was in it, and I couldn't go to work with jetlag face. Anders had to leave abruptly and unexpectedly on Monday for a work trip to sub for a trainer in Italy that called in sick for a course this week. I am right back in the swing of crazy at work, and so is Karin (and she got her contract at my company extended through the end of February!) and it feels like things are just ramping up, so hello 2019, here we are!