Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving Birthday

Thanksgiving is one of the American holidays that I miss the most.  Since moving to Sweden 5 years ago, we haven’t celebrated Thanksgiving.  But this year, for my mothers birthday (which falls on the 3rd of November) my sister and I decided to make a Thanksgiving birthday dinner.   We made turkey with stuffing (the turkeys in Sweden are without steroids, so are quite smaller).  The biggest turkey I could find was about slightly over 4 kilos.  We also made sweet potatoes, with brown sugar and marshmallows, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, and strawberry jello with :bananas, and of course gravy.  For dessert we had apple pie a la mode.  My sister set a beautiful table:


Jacquies Galaxy Note pics 20121116 841

At dinner, we all went around and said what we were thankful for.  Most of all, my sister and I were thankful for my mother, for each other, and that we all could be together.  I am so thankful for my family, and Gods blessings.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Fall Back

Finally reset my bedroom clock after both an electrical shortage, and  the Fall time change last week.  I figured out that the clock reset itself to approximately one.hour-and-fifteen minutes slow, so instead of re-setting the clock, I’ve been adding an hour and fifteen minutes to the time all week. 

As far as the clock in the kitchen is concerned, time stopped months ago.  By the looks of the piled up dirty dishes, that’s apparently clear.  Attempted replacing the battery last week, with another dead battery, so time has stood still in my kitchen at 10 past 10 or 10 past 20 (depending on how you look at it).

I have been stuck in a time-warp now for a little over 5 years.  My body moved to Sweden five years ago, but my mind, heart and soul clung on to memories of people, places, times, loves in the states, and it’s really hard to be in two places at one time, so I never reset my clock, my internal clock to adjust to the days, people and new life  around me.

I haven’t sprung forward, just stayed back. 

I’ve always loved the Fall.  The trees shedding their summer foliage, their leaves of red, yellow, orange and brown carpeting the earth, for one last burst of color beneath our feet, prior to the winter snow.  The excitement of starting new schools, classes, jobs.  New school clothes, crisp blank paper in new notebooks, the clean slate of starting over, the academic new year.  The promise of great things if you only apply yourself.

Taking place

This is directly translated from Swedish “att ta plats”, in English it would be more like…taking space, being noticed, not being invisible.

I find that I have taken very little space the last few years here, I have isolated, and kept to myself, and also felt sorry for myself because of this.  There have been very many good reasons, and excuses to not be noticed or draw attention to myself.

One reason, is that I have gained a lot of weight (probably due to not doing anything but isolating).  Funny, but the bigger I got, the less I was noticed, and the more I disappeared.   I think this is because the only acceptable form of discrimination in Swedish society (and probably a lot of other countries), is against the overweight, or obese members of society.

I didn’t realize how moving to another country right before turning 40 would impact me.  I not only went through the midlife crisis (feeling sorry for myself), but also the what am I doing here? crisis.

It’s taken me a little over 5 years to start thawing.  By that I mean, starting to accept where I’m at, who I am, and where I live.  Starting to notice the people and places around me, good and bad.  Starting to have a voice again.

It’s the darkest time of the year over here, but somehow I’m finding the light that went out in my life, many years ago, probably even before I moved to Sweden.  I’m starting to feel alive again.

I’m wanting to take space.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

5 years fly fast

I’ve been living in Sweden for a little over 5 years now.  It’s almost been as long since my last post here.  Time flies fast we hear all the time, but it can also go slow at the same time.  I suppose sometimes we not only count the years, but also accomplishments, and I don’t have that many to count these last 5 years, except getting older and fatter.  I have watched more television than I ever have in my life, which my body can account to.  Believe it or not, but I have gained over 30 kilos since coming to Sweden ( that’s almost 70 pounds).

How does one let this happen, you’re asking yourself? (and so am I) Well, you move to a new country where you don’t really know anyone but your family, and out of all the countries in the world, this is Sweden (probably the most difficult place to make a new friend on earth). really.  So food and alcohol become your new best friends, and little by little, the kilos creep on, and you have watched every episode of everything at least once.

But all that’s about to change, and I’m going to blog about it here amongst other things, opinions and stuff.

Why is it going to change, you ask?  Well, I guess I can’t do anything about the getting older part, but I am going to do something about my physical wellness and appearance.  And you can follow my progress right here.  I figure, what can be more humiliating than writing about weight loss and change, and then not having any results.  I’m a strong believer in the power of humiliation, since I need all the help I can get, to get up off the couch, I’m invoking that as well. 

So, what’s my plan? Starting tomorrow (never start on a Monday), I’m going to be starting to eat LCHF, and start moving.  It’s taken me 5 years to put on the weight, so I’m being realistic when it comes to how long it’s going to take, I have no deadlines.  Just want to get healthier, and look and feel better about myself.

I’m weighing myself tomorrow morning, not sure if I am brave enough to share this number with anyone (for now), but I am also going to measure my (non-existent) waist, and will share that with you.

Alright, that’s all for now, folks.

Monday, December 21, 2009




We lit the fourth candle today.  The world here is cold and white, but darkness comes at 3 in the afternoon.  All of that will change in a few days, as we pass the darkest day of the year, and turn towards summer.  In the meantime, we light candles, tons of candles, I’m surprised there aren’t more fires, but us Swedes are apparently careful and safe (go figure, Volvo and what was Saab).

All over Sweden today, in just about every home, church and business, people are lighting the fourth candle on their Advent candle holders.  The first one is lit four Sundays before Christmas, and one is lit each Sunday following until the fourth and final one burns the Sunday preceding Christmas.  This creates a slanted row of burning candles, by the final Sunday.

For a very non-religious and secular country (although officially Lutheran), the Swedes have more religious holidays than I can count, and take advantage of them, socialism has it’s perks.  In addition to all their “red” days,  they are required by law to have a minimum of 5 paid weeks of vacation a year (these can often be stretched out to several months).  And Sweden more or less is closed for business the month of July, really (unheard of in America).  Christmas is also another opportunity for lots of time off.  Most people take 2-4 weeks off around this holiday.   Companies such as Volvo run on minimum staff.    And many businesses just close until next year.  Believe it or not, the world doesn’t end if businesses close for the holidays.  Love it….

(OK, on a side note, I’m not doing so great on the “not eating  of the cookies” I bake , I am thinking this is a hobby I am probably going to have to give up, if I plan on fitting through any doors next year…..I’m either an excellent “konditor” (which I’d like to think), or have no self-control when it comes to Christmas cookies (which is probably more likely)…..ahhh…well there’s always New Year’s resolutions…..I think I’ll have another cookie…)

Monday, December 14, 2009

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Growing up in the Northwest United States  in a Scandinavian community, Lucia was always a big deal. My parents owned a Scandinavian gift shop in the town of Edmonds and it was my sisters’ and my duty/honor to "lusa" every 13th of December, we would usually recruit neighborhood  and church  kids, to join the "Lucia" train. As the older sister, I got to wear the (electric) candles on my head, as well as carry a live candle, to light the way down the dark halls of Old Milltown (an old mill turned shopping mall, where my parents originally started their shop). My mother would have baked "lussekatter" ( a sweet roll shaped like an S with raisins and saffron).

The first year, my parents had to convince the management of Old Milltown to turn down the lights, and we made our debut singing the Santa Lucia song, me with a crown of lights on my head, and all of us in white floor length gowns, carrying live candles, (symbolizing bringing light into a dark world).  After we sang we would serve our “lussekatter” to our captive audience who were stuck in a dark mall.  We apparently were such a hit, the first year, that we were asked to continue the tradition until my parents sold their shop.

In addition to our little local Lucia train, there were always a couple of Lucia "fests" throughout the Seattle area. The Swedish community, was not as big as the Norwegian community in Seattle, however, had very strong Christmas traditions, and Lucia was one of the most popular.

The celebrating of the Santa Lucia started around 700 or 800 AD.  , here in Sweden.  Although there are several versions of the Santa Lucia story, the following is the most popular:


Lucia was a Christian girl living in Syracuse, Italy, during the emperor Diocletian' hunt of Christians in the beginning of the 3rd century AD. The legend says she was a beautiful woman from a wealthy family.

Her mother got very sick, and Lucia prayed for her. When the mother miraculously recovered, Lucia decided to live as a virgin and to give away all her belongings, including her future dowry. Her fiancé got very angry, brought her to court and accused her of being a Christian.

Lucia was heartbroken and with a needle she tried to blind herself. But a miracle happened and she could see, even though her eyes were destroyed. That is why she often is portrayed holding two eyes on a tray.

The judge sentenced her to leave the city, but she refused. Even though a 1000 men, oxen and trolls tried to drag her out, they couldn't move her. When that didn't work, they covered her in tar and set fire to her. The flames twisted and turned in agony, but Lucia was not harmed - not even her red dress. Finally her former fiancé stuck a sword in her neck which ended her life on December 13th, A.D.304. “

Later she was declared a saint by the church and given the name of Saint Lucia. She is still honored in Sicily, where she was born. Christians there gather to celebrate her day with bonfires and torchlight parades... Her remains are now located in a church in Venice, Italy. She is wearing a red dress which is said to be the very same dress she wore the day she died...


Why and how this tradition came to Sweden no one know for sure, but this is how it is said to have happened...
Lucia means 'light'. Until around year 1700, the night between the 12:th and the 13:th was considered the longest of the year in Sweden. At this time, Sweden was a Catholic country and because Lucia died on the 13:th, she became a symbol of light to the sun starved people of the North. They imagined Lucia as a shining figure crowned by a radiant halo, or even with wings, like an angel.
This long night was thought to be very dangerous. People believed that all kinds of ghosts and spirits came to life, and even that the animals talked to each other in their stables. In some areas, people didn't even dare to go outside at all.
Since they got up early and the night was long, they liked to eat a lot. Some even ate three breakfasts... The breakfast usually consisted of coffee, 'lussekatter' Around the year 750 these customs spread from the farmers in Västergötland (a province in the south part of Sweden) to the universities in the cities. The students dressed up in night-gowns and went to their teacher's houses bringing coffee and 'lussekatter' and sang for them.

The first December snow fell yesterday, and for awhile the dark North was a little lighter, as the girls in white dresses lit up homes, churches and malls with their burning candles and song.

Happy Lucia, and may the light of Lucia and Christmas fill your hearts!


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