Long Awaited Update

Ok, so perhaps you all haven’t been long awaiting an update from me… But I have been waiting awhile to give you all a status update. No real reason for waiting except that I have been unmotivated for writing much lately. Every now and again I get a pang of wanting to sit down and write, but if I can’t do so immediately, the urge quickly fades. I want the motivation to come back in force – I have ideas to write out both here and on my fiction site… and especially my Zarah manuscript…

I unfortunately did not get as much written during my two week hiatus as I had hoped. I did at least get a fair bit of other stuff done around the house – a lot of productivity there – as well as focused a lot more on my relationship with the hubs and the kids… so the hiatus from blogging was not in vain. It really did free up more time than I realised I was spending on creating (hopefully interesting) posts for you guys!

Now I’m trying to get back into the swing of blogging, so bear with me please if it seems I am not on here as often for a little while. I need to strike a new balance with my time and work it back into my routine. Who knew two or three weeks would change my routine so much??

On that note, I might as well mention I had to delete the WordPress app from my phone. It had increased to taking up nearly 2.5 GB of my phone storage!! It ever increases as more posts and pictures are added to my site. It literally saves all the data to my freaking phone! No other app even reaches a total of 1 GB by itself! Double-U Tee Eff, WordPress?? My phone reached critical storage limits and could not take photos anymore or update. It was still in the red after clearing out photos, videos, and even deleting some other apps like WhatsApp…. So WordPress had to go unfortunately. The reason I’m telling you all this is that this now means I will have to try to remember to check WordPress notifications periodically on my laptop instead of them coming to my phone… so it may take me longer than usual to respond. But rest assured I will continue to respond 🙂

Ok, I feel like there was something else I was going to update you all on… but I can’t remember what it might have been now. Hmmm….

In other news, I of course told you about my new tattoo I got yesterday… It is still sore, especially when I move my arm around on that side… it’s difficult to reach myself for washing and applying the salve – so lucky hubs is around to help! LOL

Also, when I woke up this AM there was proof that my tattoo artist is no liar haha… He told me that the colours would bleed for a few days and would leave perfect imprints on clothes… check it out:

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My Jammies are badass!

Also, I wanted to say (but don’t think I did yesterday??) that though I had this tattoo booked for two months, it seemed fitting that this week would be the week I would get it (after the Stockholm attack) and that his eye would look somewhat sad… That’s how it struck me when I first saw it anyway. Don’t you agree?

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I’ll need to get a better pic now that the stencil lines are gone. I’ll wait till it’s all the way healed though, I think 🙂

En Svensk Tiger

Today I made a trip back to Main Street  – because it was TATTOO DAY! Woo! I finally got the tattoo I have been planning for several months and had booked the appointment as of two months ago.

Big couple of days I guess, because I also bit the bullet and dyed all of my hair black last night! Eek! Luckily, it turned out well and hubs likes it… sooo… Phew! It was something I’ve wanted to try for quite awhile, but wasn’t sure I could pull it off.

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Anyway, so that happened and then I went to get my long awaited ink at Main Street Electric Tattoo co…

 

My appointment was for 12:30, but the actual inking didn’t start until about 1 since of course my artist, Ryan #2 (Ryan McClelland), had to have me approve the design and print it and stencil it etc etc

The process then took until about 3:30 with a short break about an hour in. Hubs stopped in after work to give me some moral support… because… owwiiiieeeeee. No, I didn’t cry, lol… But I did have to “Viking up.” (Klutzy told me to “Cowgirl up” when I mentioned it was ow… and given the material/person in question, obviously it had to be adjusted.)

At times it was really intense, but the majority of the time it was manageable…. so that was good. Phew… While I have discussed further (complimentary) tattoos with both Svea and hubs, I have no intention of getting any other tattoos nearly this big again.

Now for the main event – I know y’all want to see the inking itself and the final result, so here we go!

and after all of that… the final, awesome result was this:

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Don’t you just love it?? 😀

Check out their other social media sites – Main Street’s Instagram, Ryan #2’s Instagram (artist from today) , Ryan #1’s Instagram (artist who did my wrist), and their FB Page

The feels… They hurt: Stockholm

I have a note to myself that indicates I should remember that I wanted to write about that time a car came through a window of an establishment, narrowly missing me – as my next blog post returning from Reblogging Rae for the past two weeks.

Instead, it seems crass at the moment to write that today of all days – let alone I know have something much more pressing on my mind.

Of course, if you know me at all, you’d guess I am quite torn up about the terror attack in Stockholm today – but my feels are more nuanced than simply a concern for a city in general that I love.

Initially I found out that Svea had intended to visit that very department store after work today, but had been held up and was therefore not able to be there at the time the events unfolded.

I of course was relieved that she was nowhere near the scene (well not in the immediate vicinity) and while she was inconvenienced by being stuck at her office till well into the night, she otherwise was experiencing a blessing in disguise.

Thoughts ran through my head about how close it all was. Åhléns City was a department store I frequented with not only Svea, but Maja and Anneke as well when I lived in the Stockholm area. The unconfirmed shots some say were fired in Fridhemsplan? Well, that is where our high school is. It was just all too relatable an incident for comfort.

The worst of the feels came; however, when I learned that Maja was actually at the scene. She told both Svea and I through private messaging before she made any public announcement… Unlike Svea, she got off work early that day and decided to meet her husband in town for Fika (coffee break). He was not there yet, so she decided to go into Åhléns to browse until he arrived.

She reported that the fire alarm went off first and she quickly exited the building. She apparently did not see the truck coming towards her until a police officer yelled for everyone to run for their lives.

She ran until she reached Fridhemsplan where another police officer told her to get off the street as they believed gunmen to be on the rooftops.

She eventually made it home, obviously, or I wouldn’t have gotten her account of things…. I know she’s safe. I know they are both safe… I saw them both check in as safe, among the majority of my other Swedish friends, on Facebook before I even got to speak to them…

But have you ever listened to or read someone’s harrowing tale and felt the fear for yourself? Imagined what it would have been like to be in their shoes and lived the same event? Have you ever learned how close you were to losing a loved one in an instant only to realise they haven’t been lost after all? Realised that you can be joking with them the day before and telling your husband all about them the night before (as I had been doing), and they could be gone without warning the next?

I seem to have some kind of empathetic spirit, because I can recall other times my feels have taken over in such instances – like years ago some coworkers were relaying the story of a car accident they were all in together, how scary it was, and how lucky they were to be alive. I had to excuse myself from the table because I felt the tears coming on…

My feels have been hurting all afternoon while I’m trying to process today’s events. As I’m thinking on not only how Maja was nearly lost to not only me, but her husband and two young children. How if something like that could happen to her, it could happen to me and my family too.

You have no idea how grateful I am right now that Svea was stuck at work and that Maja made it out of the area alive and uninjured.

I want to share some of Maja’s words with you today. I assume she won’t mind as she made the post public… though she’d be asleep now so I can’t actually ask her 😉

Today for the first time in a long time I thought I’d go to town and grab a coffee with hubs since we both finished worked early, it started with a fire alarm and evacuations in Åhlens and ended with me running for my life as I saw this truck gunning for the crowd right towards me… thank you to the police man who shouted RUN FOR YOUR LIVES! ( spring för in i helvetet spring faaan!!!) if it wasn’t for you I don’t know if I would be here now. Thank you to the stranger hugging the distraught mom with the baby, thank you to all the strangers who helped with the girl having an epilepsy seizure , thank you to everyone who took a minute to make sure someone else is safe, thank you to the old lady on the buss who held my hand when she saw how shaken I was, thank you to all the amazing police officers who managed the panicked mob of people, thank you to all you who have opened up your homes, thank you for the man who instead of giving us directions gave us a ride so we could go get the kids, thank you to the people of Stockholm🙏🏻. #stockholmopen #stockholmislove #togetherwearestrong #love #countingblessings

Now, if you’ll excuse me… I need to go have a drink or three.

 

Reblogging Rae: The Blogosphere

Ok! This is the last one I am posting for this recycling of blog posts series! Hopefully this means that I have had plenty of time to focus on my manuscript! New content to come next 🙂 Hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane… There were so many others I could have chosen… But I veered towards the more upbeat ones in general. Feel free to go back through the archives sometime and read ALL the posts! (I need that Hyperbole and a Half meme to place here methinks… LOL) These will all show up in the Favorite Posts tab, but if you scroll back there are plenty more of what I consider my better work there as well. Anyway. This seemed fitting as a last one… So enjoy. This is from April 2015.

I scan through WordPress Reader and Freshly Pressed, looking at all sorts of blogs that have specific themes, real identities. I feel a slight guilt that I am not one of those mommy bloggers that write all about her children and her amazing views in the arena of child rearing. I really should be at that stage in my life, I ponder to myself. But I’m not. I have two beautiful kids and I love them very much… but I am not that awesome mum. All I can say is that I try and I love them… But I also want to keep my own identity, take it back and be more than just “mum.”

That’s why I wrote my memoir in the first place. Yes, it was for my kids to eventually read, but also for them to eventually realize I am “more than just mum.”

I scan through blogs and find some unequivocally humorous sites, some insightful intelligent sites – I wonder how anyone can write so much on one academic area such as Medieval  Literature and still find a way to make it interesting? There are blogs on so many topics and they have so many followers and I am just over here… in my own little corner of the internet, wondering what I am doing. Wondering if I could ever consider competing with other obviously more popular blogs. It makes me feel almost the teenager again, trying to join the conversation only to be talked over so I stop and quietly walk away while nobody realizes.

Screw that. I’m not a teenager anymore. I will stay over here in my little corner, talking even though nobody may care to listen. I will stick around trying to carve out my own little niche and tell my own story, because …well… I’ll damn well do as I please.

Reblogging Rae: Maja Memory #1

Post # 8 from my recycled series – This one is from May 2015, new pictures added 🙂

Booop Booop Booop – that’s my poor rendition of the skype ring tone – …Booop. Oh My God, Maja’s calling! “Hush up!” I say to the kids. Maja and I had been playing Skype tag for almost 6 months, finally a tangible chance to actually click that little phone icon and actually for realsies talk to BFF girl (#2)…and see her face even!

I just got off of Skype where Maja and I chatted for nearly an hour and a half. …Okay, more like two hours…. two and a half tops! We’ve been BFFs for 16 or so years now and I still learn new things about her every time we talk – and vice versa – and yet it is always so familiar and just the same when we talk.

Now, in addition to her 3 year old, she has a 4 month old. This baby is the main reason we hadn’t been able to do our regular skype dates over the past few months… but one glimpse of his poof of hair and his cockeyed grin and…well… who could be mad?

I made the observation, after shooing my kids to bed and after her littlest puked on her, that who knew? Who knew that we would end up one day, still friends, chatting away being mums and changing poopie nappies or getting puked on together? Even continents apart and we can still somewhat do this – be BFFs and raise kids together. My daughter, Emma, telling her daughter “I love you forever!” as she signed off and resigned herself to her bedtime. One day they’ll meet in person. My son and her daughter were born a month apart – so OBVIOUSLY we are arranging their marriage already 🙂 And then her baby son was born within a month of Svea’s daughter… so there you go. One day we’ll not only be BFFs, we’ll be family too… right? Right. Let us dream about it at least 😉

It’s just such a strange concept to think about the shenanigans we got up to (when she wasn’t grounded) in High School… and now we are Mums. Relatively upstanding ones at that. Our conversations don’t always make us appear as such, however; when we reminisce or reveal memories to one another that the other didn’t know about at the time.

Oh the words that have to be said in Swedish so our kids won’t catch on. But then mine go to bed and hers are in another room, so we let the expletives fly after a little while.

Today she pulled out the yearbooks. I lost mine many years ago in Hurricane Katrina – a sad sad day. I love pictures, I love memories – as if you couldn’t tell by now… losing my year books was a sad sad day. She held the pictures up to the screen for me to see, to remind me of someone she was telling me about that I didn’t remember… “Oh, yeah… him… Oh! There’s the kid that died!”

“WHAT? Who??”

“That one, in the sweater… no… over… yeah, yeah that one.”

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in the middle – kid that died

“How did I not know this?” She asked.

“You must have, Maja! He died in first year – got hit by a bus… remember? That’s how I got off the waiting list and into ESb in second semester… I took his spot.”

“What?!”

“Maja, seriously? It was your class first – how could you not have known that?”

“Maybe I did… I guess I just forgot…. Oo… Look, there’s Dan!”

“Haha, yup I remember that pic… that wasn’t even his class… he was in EN, remember? You’re gonna scan these for me, right?”

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The picture we were discussing. Dan is hidden in this ES3A photo, though he was actually in an EN3 class. (I won’t point him out so as to keep a semblance of privacy lol)

“Yeah, oh… AH!”

That’s when the boy puked on her.

We’ll take a pause while she wipes him up…

I learned some more specifics about the antics she got up to with John when I wasn’t around… I knew they hung out some back then, but didn’t have all the details. I learned about when she was in her excessive party days after Gymnasium, she met Owen Wilson and Axel Rose. …Starting to sound like maybe I should have stayed in Stockholm a little longer, huh?

I told her that though I saw several celebrities out and about in Stockholm when I was there – the one that sticks in my head is walking past Tomas Di Leva on the street… he turned and acknowledged me as he passed by. Doing a little bow. I told her he had this look on his face that made me feel like he wanted to say “Blessings on you my child” and then recruit me into a cult.

“He probably wanted you for a sister wife.”

I would rather have met Axel Rose.

RIP Amy

I’m taking a quick break from Reblogging Rae – nearly finished anyway – to make comment on something…

I just saw this article regarding the lady that started the semi colon movement.

She was a Wisconsinite whose influence reached around the world. I personally have at least 4 friends in Australia that received semi colon tattoos due to her movement.

I’m sure the majority of you know of which movement I speak… the one that let people know that a semi colon is used when an author could have ended a sentence, but chose not to. Just as any given person with depression could have ended their life, but chose not to.

Unfortunately, Amy lost her battle with depression at a younger age than I am… it goes to show even leaders of movements and inspirational people can’t always win against all odds.

My condolences go out to her friends and family. I hope that her memory and her voice live on for an exceptionally long time. 

Reblogging Rae: Svea’s Summer House in Sandhamn

Post #7 for my recycled posts series – this one is from March 2015. All new pictures added 🙂

Summertime in Sweden meant that the sun wouldn’t set, the weather would warm just enough to warrant swimming and apparel of tube tops and shorts… but rarely did it get too hot. Summertime also meant that there was cause to pack a bag and head out to Svea’s summer cabin on Sandhamn.

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One year we headed out there specifically to celebrate the midsummer holiday. Unlike the usual midsummer, Svea’s older brother nor her parents had any plans for the cabin, so Svea and I headed out there by ourselves. We liked it that way anyway. Some of my favorite memories are of playing house with Svea whether it be on Sandhamn, at her Winter house in Borka, or on the weekends in her Stockholm flat when her family would often be at one of the other locations.

The midsummer that we went to Sandhamn, we packed our bags, carefully choosing our alcoholic selection – which that year I recall as being pear ciders for the most part, and headed out to Slussen to catch our bus. The bus ride to or from Slussen was never my favourite leg of this trip. Most often the bus was over full and hot… and took about forty-five minutes to reach the harbour where we would catch our ferry.

Once at the harbour we were sometimes lucky to just catch the ferry without having to wait another thirty minutes for the next one to arrive. The ferry ride was always pleasant. Since we only ever rode it in the spring and summer, the weather was usually perfect. The sun reflecting off of the water, sometimes almost blindingly depending on the time of day.

We would sit and have drinks and chat. Never running out of things to say, that’s the way it goes with best friends I suppose. After a half hour or so, and a few stops at other islands, we would arrive at Sandhamn – getting off at the second pier. The first pier was large and was home to the tourist side of the island – a hotel, a few shops, yachts and music. Svea and I got off on the other side which was quiet and serene. It only took ten minutes or so to walk from her cabin to the tourist side when we needed groceries or an ice cream anyway. So we usually got into the cabin, set our stuff down, turned on the water supply, etc and then started off for the grocery store.

The ten minutes had us walking through lush green woods comprised of tall tall trees. The scenery in my memory I see as an almost mystical green. But the reality was not so remarkable, I suppose.

IMG_3627[1]When we reached the store we usually picked up just enough rations for the weekend so that we wouldn’t have to carry anything home. The only specific things I remember ever getting were tomatoes, cucumbers, and salt. This particular midsummer I recall slicing these tomatoes and cucumbers and arranging them on a plate as Svea and I laughed about something in the kitchen. We grabbed our ciders and packs of cigarettes and headed out to the deck where we laid out in the sun, sprinkling our veggies with salt and drinking our ciders in between puffs of smoke.

IMG_3624[1]The view from the deck was beautiful, we could see the water from there. The foreground was rocky, large flat rocks lead the way down to the beach, and the view was littered with a few trees to block one side of the view from our vantage point. I remember laying out that day and Svea telling me about a book she was reading. This was not an unusual occurrence, we both being heavy readers. This day Svea introduced me to the world of Mikael Niemi as she told me about “Populärmusik från Vittula.” Later this would become one of my favourite books… I now hold both the Swedish version and the English “Popular Music from Vittula” in an honored place on my bookshelf. Svea laughed this day as she described the mountaintop scene to me and I knew I would be reading it soon. Svea had impeccable taste in books as far as I was concerned.

That night, we decided to watch The Shining. For those of you that don’t know, this is a movie based off of a Stephen King novel. Back then both Svea and I enjoyed Stephen King. I do still find him an excellent writer, but my tastes have changed as far as recreational reading goes.

The mistake we made, as we settled in on the couch to watch it with our snacks and cream soda, was waiting til dark to watch it. The TV sat in front of a large window that gave us a view into the semi-darkness, even darker than you would expect from a Swedish summer since we were surrounded by trees. It’s also important to note that we would be required to go outside to get to the building that housed the toilet, and even if I could convince myself to hold it – the structure that held our bedroom area was out that door too.

I had read The Shining a while prior to this night. Generally when I read a Stephen King novel, or watch one of the movies for the first time a second viewing doesn’t bother me any more because I know what’s coming. This night; however, I had apparently forgotten a few plot developments since it had been awhile since having read the book.

Svea and I were curled under a blanket on the couch. We were surviving through the movie even as the creep factor raised as shadows out of the window seemed to move. Without giving too much away to anyone who has never seen it – we got to the part of the movie where the boy is trying to get away from something in one of the hotel rooms. He finally gets out of the room and shuts the door. I took a sigh of relief, loosened my grip on Svea’s leg, and brought down the blanket I had been half hiding my face behind. She turned and gave me a knowing look just as the arm suddenly came out and grabbed the boy and dragged him back in the room.

I screamed out “Jesus Christ!” in shock.

Svea started laughing.

“You could have warned me, you know!”

I made her accompany me to the bathroom before going to bed that night.

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