Wednesday, December 22, 2010
The Advent calendar has been, if not a success, than at least appreciated. And I loved it, so that's that.
Unfortunately the nativity seem to have been struck by some kind of disaster. Or is that Melchior some sort of vicious conqueror? He looks a little scary to me
Flowers trying their best to bloom in time for Christmas. They have 24 hours to go.
"In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan, Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone..."
The tree is already dying (I blame the cold), but it smells just right. Happy they didn't buy into my idea of a plastic one.
Gloria in the kitchen window and in excelsis Deo.
See the swing? No? See my point? Yes.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
It's funny with good bye's.
Never quite like you picture them.
But then again, most things never are.
So you take the leap and the world is not the same and still it's never changed.
The uncertainty of it all fizzing inside me,
making me girly, turning me bubbly.
The finality like a soft pillow under my head.
Comfort. A place to rest.
How strange to find comfort in not knowing what lies ahead.
Yes, it's funny with good bye's.
Never quite like you picture them.
But still, this one.
So good. So exciting.
Here I go.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Office Christmas party tonight and things are looking good. You might not be able to tell from this photo, but they really are. 'Tis definitely the season to be jolly! Time for dinner and dancing! For high heels and oysters and indecent proposals (yeah, I should be so lucky). Will now run out to the dry cleaners to pick up my dress. Let the festivities commence!
Monday, December 13, 2010
Wishing you all kinds of light today. Me and Carl Larsson both, since the photos from this morning are too hard on the eye to share. You'll just have to take my word for it: Blanka made a very appetizing gingerbread man. Complete with overalls and fur hat. Baby, it IS cold outside.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
My father and I had dinner at my grandmother's tonight. My cousins were there and it was good to see them, so very good. Grandma is getting old and the young'ns are becoming all grown up. We laughed a lot, and teased each other and laughed some more. It was good. It made me miss our cousins in Switzerland, who are also all grown up, getting married, finishing school. I'm older than all of them, but somehow it doesn't seem to matter.
My dad is spending the night here, Saint Lucia celebration at kindergarten tomorrow. I can hear him and Jesper talking about Julian Assange, dad watching the news, Jesper ironing tomorrow's shirt. I hear them enjoy each other's company. I feel lucky.
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
So, about the job.
Yes, I quit. I resigned, handed in my notice, said thank you and au revoir. It's been a great four years. A wonderful place to work, with colleagues that have become friends and clients that have been fun, generous and challenging. It's been very good. But for a number of reasons it's time to do something else. To do something I haven't done before.
So come January I will start my own business (website coming soon!). I will do what I do today, but no longer as part of the team I'm used to. No safety net. No paid vacation. No boss. Just me and my computer and hopefully more work than I can handle. I'm very excited and a little terrified.
How I will do noone knows. I hope excellent, but will settle for good. I just know that this is something I have to do. I have to try. I have to see if I can do this on my own. And that feeling, that feeling of not knowing what lies ahead and being thrilled and scared and happy and jumpy and full of joy? Oh, I want to feel like that again and again and again.
Thanks for reading, thanks for listening. Thanks for worrying about me and wishing me well. Thank you.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
The iPhone isn't made for love in a cold climate, as you can see. But I carry it with me, as opposed to the camera, so it will have to do. Yesterday was warmer, around 0°c (30°F), but today it's back to cold again. Cold and pretty. No sun, but snow falling outside my window. Last winter was the same and I feel we're getting used to the extremes. The change of seasons is suddenly as big as in a children's picture book. It's like living on a film set. "More snow over here, please! No, more!" Everything covered in heavy white, every branch glistening with frost. The director's motto seem to be Over The Top. That's my kind of production.
Monday, December 6, 2010
My mother came to town on a surprise visit. My best kind of surprise. I surprised her right back with making gingerbread cookies as she walked through the door, the children white with flour, jumping up and down and rubbing it off on her coat. Everybody happy. And the house smells like Christmas.
Jesper made us fried cod for dinner. So fresh it fell to pieces, we emptied the plates in minutes. (Jennie, it was supposedly fished where it's not extinct. Yes, I can hear myself, sorry. But oh, how good it was.)
Everything is still covered in snow. It's so pretty and the iPhone really doesn't do it justice. But I will post you a whole bunch of photos tomorrow, anyway, because it's like living in a fairytale right now. Weatherwise, that is.
We decorated the gingerbread skyscraper my father and the children made a week ago. A lion, a camel and a parrot moved in. And we dusted it and ourselves with sugar and made little clouds of snow out of cotton.
And I quit my job.
Fried cod, dipped in French mustard, eggs and breadcrumbs. Peas and potatoes. Gingerbread.
Ratatouille, rice, sausages: lamb with rosemary, veal with truffles, crunchy winter salad.
Chickpea and leek soup, grilled sandwiches.
Swedish potato pancakes with lingonberries, salad as before.
Homemade burgers (lamb?) with all the trimmings.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Today it's -12°C, -18°C when I left home this morning. (Fahrenheit readers: This is very cold.)
I pull the children home from school on a sleigh. On a sleigh. Positively Laura Ingalls.
The advent calendar I've been bragging about is a triumph (more brag). Will take pictures today.
Yes, the reason for the bad photos lately is the lack of light.
You really can't blame me for that.
To please my mother (ha! good one!) I have made a wishlist on amazon.co.uk. A Christmas drenched in books is a good Christmas to me.
We are going to Egypt.
Unfortunately there's been a shark incident this week and now I'm hiding all newspapers from Wilhelm. Someone was apparently eaten.
So now Egypt spells fear to me in three different ways:
Bankruptcy. Food poisoning. Shark attack.
This should be an exciting trip.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
I started blogging because I needed a place to put my words.
I write for a living. Some days it's all I do, for hours on end. But I had things to say and words to use and sentences to spell out that noone in the world was willing to pay for (rightly so).
So I started a blog. A place for unwanted words (and dolls who pretend to be bears).
I hoped that a friend or two would stop by for updates on the kids.
I thought that maybe one day I could use these words, some way or other.
I never dreamed of You.
You who come here and read my words and wonder if I'm ok.
You who come here and say that I wrote what you felt and that you're crying now and it's all my fault.
You who come here and never say anything, but are here just the same.
Dear Miranda and Kathleen. Dear RW. Dear All of You.
I come here and see you and I can't believe my luck.
Friday, November 26, 2010
A week of things going up and things going down.
Some people being more helpful than one can hope for.
Others being who they are and good enough.
But most of all, all of us, trying our best.
And maybe you couldn't tell from looking at me.
And maybe you couldn't tell from listening to me.
But this going up and going down thing,
when I look at the reason for this roller coaster,
I'm very happy.
I created it. I choose it. I deal with it.
On Sunday Christmas begins.
At least to me.
Have a good Friday and thank you for reading.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
It's November 25th and I'm wearing fur and The Ugly Shoes. A personal best. Last year the snow came on Saint Lucia's Day, December 13, and stayed to the beginning of March. It was like living in a cliché for three months. The Image of Sweden every time you opened the door. I wonder what this winter will be like.
Wilhelm disappeared in time for bed. I looked everywhere.
I did not look here.
After climbing out of the box even Wilhelm was surprised he'd been able to squeeze into it.
"Look how tiny it is! Am I really that small?"
Yes, you are. And a beautiful thing that is.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
- We're having our first blizzard of the season. I love that word. Blizzard.
- The picture above is not from today. If I posted from today you'd all be crying.
- I'm finishing my Advent calendar project and it's starting to look good.
- My parents are driving up from Midsomer (in the blizzard) and will be here until Saturday.
- I love to have them in town.
- Even if I won't see them everyday, I just love knowing they are here.
- Sunday is First Sunday of Advent. Big deal over here. Church outfits ready.
- Dear Lord, make the children behave in church.
- Oh, is that my job? Ok. I see. Will try.
- The picture from above is from two weeks ago. Very hard to believe when you look out the window.
- Many things are upside down at the moment.
- But I trust they will all be alright in the end.
- I have to remember I love all this. I made this mess.
- I love this mess.
- Thank you for reading.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
The little cold turned into a monster. By Thursday both Jesper and I were in bed with fever and throats that felt like they were trying to strangle us. Strep. The doctor actually laughed at us, "Oh dear, whatever do you two have? You are so sick!" Ah, validation is a beautiful thing, I felt better at once. But not good enough to function as a human being, not to mention loving mother. I just wanted to crawl into bed and die. Luckily, Wilhelm was to spend the night at a friend's house and Blanka happily went to bed at seven fifteen, at which we collapsed in a feverish pile of self pity and overdosed the paracetamol (so worth it). That we are back in the land of the living today is only thanks to modern medicine (I love you, antibiotics!), good friends and family. My heart is full of Eva and Jan, Cissan, Sanna and Alexander Fleming. Thank you.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Some days it's good to have a little cold.
A little cold is a good excuse for staying in and taking naps and drinking soup.
To watch tv in the middle of the day. To drink insane amounts of tea. To paint instead of doing the laundry.
A little cold is a good excuse to wear ugly but comfortable clothes. To be a little tired.
Some days a little cold goes a long way.
Monday, November 15, 2010
Outside my window the world is grey. No more pretty leaves. It rains. It pours. It's so November. Blanka's still sick, watching Timmy Lamb on the couch, I'm in the kitchen trying to get some work done. Jesper's on his way home, I will head for the office once he's here. I wish it was Sunday.
Pumpkin soup and grilled sandwiches
Meatballs and mashed potatoes, crunchy winter salad
Cod in foil packages, cooked in the oven with lemon, rice
Lamb in some way, probably chops (courtesy of little guy in the freezer)
Home made pizza (since we never made it this far last weekend)
Couscous, ratatouille, leftovers
Happy eating and have a good week!
Friday, November 12, 2010
Thursday, November 11, 2010
For Wilhelm's birthday Blanka and I (birthday boy couldn't be bothered) made long garlands to hang in the garden (a Swedish garden in November can do with some sprucing). When the party was finished we put them up indoors instead, making the living room look somewhat carneval-ish. It's pretty in a half-crazy sort of way and they make me happy. And so easy to do! Just rip old rags into pieces and tie them up on a string. Best outdoors, when the wind makes them flutter, but works over the sofa as well. At least for a day or two.
And I'm sorry about the quality of pictures right now, still working on some design adjustments. Thanks for your patience.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
When the sky is blue in November, it's very very blue. My mother and Blanka were looking for fir cones and evergreen to turn into wreaths for All Saints Day (when we decorate the graves of loved ones) and I had my head in the clouds. It was a good day.
Today I bribed kind Kristofer into helping me to do some adjustments to the blog. He's been very good about it. I have not. I hate not knowing what to do! Anyway, the results are looking better by the minute. Unfortunately every photo I've ever uploaded is now out of focus. Kristofer strongly suggest that I move my baby to wordpress.
We like to cook. And eat. But during the week there never seem to be enough time to stand around the stove waiting for divine intervention. So a couple of years ago we started to plan our meals. Come Sunday, we sit down and talk about what we'd like to eat the following week and make a menu. Some items are always included, for example, in winter there's always a soup, there's always a crowd pleaser (something the kids will love) and usually some sort of pasta. Fish is there, so is meat of some kind. We recently bought a lamb from my parents village, now resting peacefully in our freezer, and are waiting for a deer (we're on the "shooting list" and will get it once it's, you know, killed). We try to limit our shopping to once a week and this seem works for us. Now, when people here this there are two reactions:
1. "Oh, we could never do that, I like to be spontaneous and cook what feels right at the moment." To which I always feel like saying bollocks, but never do. I just smile.
2. "Tell me what you're eating! Please! We're desperate!" To which I smile a whole other kind of smile and say sure thing, mister. So here we go. Mary, this one's for you.
Whole chicken, grilled the night before, with rice and lemony sauce that Jesper whipped up and a salad of shredded carrots, cabbage and rödkål.
Chick pea and pasta soup, grilled sandwiches with cheese and mustard.
Falukorv i ugn! Swedish sausage, extremely kid friendly. Baked in the oven with mashed potatoes, sauce bechamel and apples.
Spaghetti with mushrooms (trattkantarell) and bacon, salad as on Monday.
Jamie Oliver's fish pudding. Very winter-y, very good.
Lamb roast with all the trimmings.
Home made pizza. Ah, bliss.
That's it. Will return on Sunday with next weeks menu. Cheerio!
Sunday, November 7, 2010
The best part of the day
was putting you to bed
reading the Playmobil catalogue
talking about what we like and would like
singing you all the songs
then holding you so close
that your eyelashes fluttered on my cheek
and your breath in my ear
like waves crashing
while you held my heart
in a hand that badly needed washing.
You and me.
Happy seventh birthday to us.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
The children are at my parents for a couple of days and the house is quiet and empty. We've seized our chance to do the things we never have time to do, and there have been dinner and drinks and a movie and dinner again. But the house look funny when the kids are not around. Deserted. Messy in a different way. No toys scattered, no lego on the couch, no railroad tracks in the living room, no tower of blocks to stumble upon in the hallway. No cars on the stairs, no jam on the kitchen table, no underwear on the bathroom floor. But there are dishes in the sink and makeup on the counter, a bar of chocolate on the livingroom table, shoes in the kitchen. There are bags in the bedroom and newspapers everywhere, hats and gloves on the floor, books beside the bath. It's a grownup kind of mess. And as much as I enjoy sleeping through the night, I like the other one better.
Friday, October 29, 2010
H&M Home launched their Christmas today (how early is too early?). They know their stuff, there's no denying it. Our first Christmas campaigns are coming out in a couple of weeks. I've found myself thinking about Advent and how to do things a little different this year. Are you there yet?
Blanka and Wilhelm found their baby journals yesterday (another reason not to clean the house too often: everything looks very interesting and inviting afterwards). And they were delighted at first and not so much after a second when they realised that the books were more or less empty. "But Mommy, why?" Not my favourite words in the world. But what am I supposed to tell them? "You cried so much, blessed child of mine, that my head wasn't properly screwed on for the first six month of your life?" Or "You see, as child number two there really wasn't that much focus on your daily progress, my hands were full, literally speaking." I opted out for the "Hohum, tiddlepom, oh what's that out the window?"
Maybe one day I'll print this blog for them to read instead. A baby book of sorts. With a little editing.
Sunday, October 24, 2010
On Thursday, as we walked home through the woods, there was a new smell in the air.
The day was cold and beautiful and suddenly the comforting smell of mushrooms and wet leaves was gone.
Blanka asked me to stop and together we turned our faces upwards under a big fir.
"It smells like Christmas" she said. And it did.
But even more it smelled like winter.
We hurried home in the bright sunlight and lit a fire as we came in.
Friday morning the ground was covered in snow.