May 5th, 2016
I’m itching to post a photo or two, but some technical glitch here is not letting me save files to our server. I’ve asked Olof to fix it but he refuses to work on the holiday, so I guess that leaves me to come up with some words instead.
I got a whole lot of nothing done today, which I suppose is a confession that I’ve also refused to work on the holiday. And I guess that’s a refusal that will continue even here, as I’ve really got nothing.
May 4th, 2016
The kids have a short week this week, with days off tomorrow and Friday, and I am really needing this break from the weekday routine. I’m nearly always home on the weekends, but they rarely feel like real breaks as I’ve either gotten home around midnight on Friday and am using the weekend to recoup from the previous week, or I’m leaving on Monday morning and using the weekend to gear up for a week away. This time I’ve been home for nearly a week and I’m not traveling again for a few days, so I feel like I’ll have some time to relax and also to get some things done in a more leisurely manner.
We’ve got a quite a few things that need to be done around here, including raking up the winter debris from the yard, and as luck would have it the forecast predicts a few days of lovely weather. It shouldn’t be much of a struggle, then, to get everyone out for a few hours to get at least the outside of our place in more presentable shape. The inside is another story, but I’ve all but given up on ever getting that entirely sorted.
May 3rd, 2016
I took Asbjørn to the vet yesterday to have them check out a growth he’s got on his gum. After poking around online, I concluded that it was most likely not cancerous, but I did also read that surgery is really the only treatment for these things. Given that he’s thirteen years old and he’s got a liver condition, I figured sedating him was probably out of the question, but I wanted to have it looked at just to be sure.
As it turns out, Google had told me pretty much everything I needed to know, and I probably could have saved us a trip and a bit of money. The risks of putting him under anesthesia are greater than the risk of just leaving his mouth alone, especially considering that he’s feeling so perky and the growth isn’t bothering him. I suppose if it does start hurting him or interfering with his eating, we might have to do some more thinking, but there’s no sense borrowing trouble.
His liver levels are still rather high, but you’d never know anything was wrong to look at him. The vet even said that it was “a miracle” he was feeling so good with such high liver numbers. I guess that’s a bit of a mixed review, but he does appear to be in remarkably good shape so I’m not going to dwell on the numbers (much, MUCH lower than they were in January, by the way). While we were there yesterday, we did get some dietary supplements that are supposed to support liver function, so my hope is that at his next blood test in a couple of months we’ll see even more improvement.
May 2nd, 2016
I’ve just been checking my calendar and booking a last few remaining flights, and it looks like end-of-academic-year craziness is going to have me gone from home quite a bit over the next several weeks. I’ll still be home more than half the time, but with one full week away and another trip lasting five days, as well as a couple of shorter trips, it feels like an awful lot. In addition, Olof is in the middle of changing jobs and working part-time at both the old one and the new one, so it’s fair assessment that things are feeling pretty hectic around here. Once mid-June rolls around, though, I’ll be home for a little more than two full months and I’m looking forward to a break from all the travel.
Travel aside, work is going well and after spending a day at the archives last week I feel like I’m on solid footing where my dissertation is concerned. I do need to put in rather a lot more hours–or days, even–at the archives, photographing documents and hunting down things I haven’t yet been able to find, but at least I have a better idea of what it is I’m looking for than I did just a couple of weeks ago. One of these times I need to plan a trip that will let me get to the archives for at least a few consecutive days, but with coursework and workshops and other sorts of things, it doesn’t look like that trip will happen before the autumn. I should at the very least, however, be able to get over there and get most or all of the photographs I’ll need to get me a good start. I’m presenting my project at a conference in Sigtuna at the end of August, and I’d like to have something really solid done by that time.
Of course, in the midst of all our own busy-ness, we’ve got the kids’ end-of-school stuff going on, meaning that there are concerts and conferences, barbecues and discos, and all other sorts of happenings to fit into our schedules. Most of it I will actually be able to attend, even with all my time away, and it’s nice not to have to deal with a whopping dose of mother guilt on top of everything else.
May 1st, 2016
The other day I took one of those online tests that pops up regularly on Facebook, this time to determine whether my personality is Type A or Type B. For as long as I’ve been aware that these categories existed, I’ve considered myself a classic Type A, and most of the people who’ve known me for a long time would doubtless agree. Imagine my surprise, then, when the test pegged me definitively as Type B. After some consideration I had to admit that, these days, I would mostly agree with that assessment. Compared to how I was as a younger adult, I’m pretty zen now. I’m sure some of it is to do with getting older, but I think it’s mostly due to having lived for 15 years with Olof, the most laid-back person I’ve ever known. Living in Sweden, too, is surely responsible for this change in me; my life here is pretty stress-free in almost every way compared to my life in the States. It’s sort of funny, because overall I would say that I haven’t changed much at all since moving to Sweden, but maybe it’s time to reassess.
April 30th, 2016
So it’s well past time to update, but I just can’t seem to get myself in gear enough to sit down and get things put down here. It’s not that nothing has happened, because plenty has, but my power–or perhaps just my will–to write continues to escape me. In any case, I’ve set myself the task of posting daily for the month of May because I always seem to do better when I feel a bit of pressure, even if it comes only from myself. I warn those readers who are still hanging in there not to expect too much–there will doubtless be a good number of picture posts–but I hope it gets me back in the game.
Just writing that paragraph has overtaxed my out-of-practice brain so I’ll go ahead and wrap this up, but I promise that I’ll treat you to the following in coming days:
- how I turned 43 and am totally okay with that
- how I was front-row center at a Dixie Chicks concert and loved every minute of it
- how I (sort of) met the queen of Sweden
- how I finally feel as though I have a sense of direction for my dissertation
And much, much more! Stay tuned!
April 13th, 2016
So, Spain was good. The days were warm and sunny, the sangria was delicious and refreshing, the work was productive, and the city itself is lovely and full of beautiful sights. I probably should have written about it either when I was there–or shortly after I came back, at any rate–but I found myself in something of a strange kind of time warp and couldn’t seem to get my thoughts together. I do have a few pictures that might be worth posting, but they’re on my computer at home and I’m in my apartment in Uppsala and can’t get to them at the moment.
I didn’t buy much when I was there, but I did come home with a lasting memento on my skin. On the last night were were in Valencia, I spotted a tattoo parlor around the corner from the restaurant where a group of us from Sweden were having dinner together and I was quite unable to resist the lure of fresh ink. After a bit of consultation around the dinner table with my friends, I decided to get a bat, which is both the heraldic symbol of Valencia and an animal that I particularly love. I’m quite pleased with it, but it’s in the ugly healing stage and I don’t have a good picture at the moment. I do have, however, a YouTube video I found of the artist who did it, which I think I think is also pretty cool:
March 27th, 2016
In accordance with long-standing tradition, the kids and I dyed Easter eggs on Friday afternoon, in preparation for our family egg hunt the following day. The thing is, when you’ve got as many kids as I do, you need a whole lot of eggs; we had just under five dozen (I had used four eggs to bake cookies), and I can assure you that it takes quite a while to get that many eggs colored, even with a lot of helpers.
I’m not sure of the reason behind Yrsa’s expression here, but it’s a great picture and an accidentally lovely egg, to boot.
While I got the dye ready to go, the girls busied themselves decorating our “Easter tree” (known as påskris in Swedish), and I think they were as pleased with that as they were with the eggs. The best part of Easter, however–apart from the ten-day break from school–is hunting the eggs on Saturday. As usual, it was my four younger kids and their cousin, Knut, searching out what Olof and I had hidden around Farmor and Farfar’s yard. The dogs, of course, were on hand to help, and Asbjørn was eager to assist in devouring the spoils afterward.
March 10th, 2016
It’s just past four in the morning, a time of day I try never to be awake. I’m not a person who usually has trouble sleeping, like ever, but now and then I get out of whack somehow and find myself tossing and turning all night. I went to bed at eleven-thirty and it felt like I only ever dozed, and fitfully at that, for a couple of hours before waking up for real at three. I stayed in bed for another hour, trying to will myself into slumber, but it just wasn’t happening. Unfortunately I have a long and busy day ahead of me with a trip to Uppsala this afternoon and a meeting of the Historical Association this evening, followed by a dinner, so I won’t be able to take a nap later on. Then tomorrow morning I’m flying back home, so I won’t be able to have a long lie-in then, either. Oh, woe.
Actually, I’m really looking forward to this trip, even if it will be a quick and hectic one. I haven’t been to Uppsala for more than two weeks, which is long enough that it feels like forever. Starting next week, I’ll have a pretty regular schedule of one week home, one week (Monday to Friday) in Uppsala, and it will be good to get into a routine. I’ve been feeling sort of shiftless lately and I really need to snap out of it because I’ve got things to do.
The most pressing of those things, at the moment, is to get some serious work done on writing the paper I’ll be presenting at a conference in Valencia, Spain in a couple of weeks (I still have a hard time believing this is part of my life now; it feels like some sort of Bizarro World). I’ve done all the research and got a reasonably good start on the paper, but I need to spend a few solid hours on getting it all together in a presentable fashion. I honestly had planned to have it finished long ago, but the depressing nature of the topic (social differentiation as illustrated by burial rituals, focusing on the case of the death of a clergyman’s daughter in 1768) has kept me away from it more than I’d like to admit.
What I haven’t been staying away from as much as I should is reading novels. I’m currently reading A Conspiracy of Paper by David Liss, and it is SO good. The story is good and the writing is great and I can hardly put it down. The book is set in the eighteenth century and I’ve almost managed to convince myself that it’s work-related. If I were writing about finance in England, and if it weren’t historical fiction, I might be able to make a case for it, but alas, it’s nothing more than pure pleasure.
February 21st, 2016
I had my yearly MRI a few weeks ago, followed a couple of weeks later by an appointment with my neurologist to discuss the results. The absolute worst thing about both experiences was the travel involved in getting to them; for the MRI itself I had to leave my house before seven o’clock in the morning, when it was very cold and very dark–and very, very early–to drive to Skellefteå for the test, and when it was time to meet the neurologist, I had to ride two hours each way on the bus to Umeå for a twenty-minute appointment. The only good thing I have to say about either of those trips was that neither is anything I have to do for another year.
As for the appointment, it was uneventful, which is just how I like it. This may in fact have been the best neurological appointment I’ve had, like ever. The MRI showed absolutely no new MS activity, a pattern that has now held for three years. After a short exam, the doctor pronounced a “very slight” weakness in my left leg the only neurological abnormality and sent me on my way with a new certification for the DMV that I’m A-OK to hang on to my driver’s license (I’m required to send in a certification every five years, and I made it in just under the wire for this one).
This meeting was the first time that the doctor agreed with me that what I’m doing (no official treatment apart from a daily mega-dose of Vitamin D) seems to be working. He didn’t even mention the possibility of additional treatment, something that he and I have been in sharp disagreement about in the past. I don’t doubt at all that he’d rather I did start some medication or other, but I am glad that he’s seen the futility of arguing about it with me and, even better, that he agrees for once that no news is good news.