May 24th, 2015
After an all-too-brief weekend home, I arrived back at my Uppsala apartment a couple of hours ago. I left home before dinnertime and neglected to eat anything en route, so after I unpacked my suitcase I made some very basic macaroni and cheese with some of that Laughing Cow soft cheese. It actually wasn’t so bad; it reminded me a bit of the way I used to make macaroni and cheese with Velveeta back in the States, but milder. With the liberal addition of salt and pepper, it was a totally acceptable dinner.
The rest of the evening I’ve spent with half an eye on the Braves game while trying to catch up a little on some reading for this coming week. This will be my last week at work for a while, as next week I’m going to Liverpool for a few days and after that, I’m planning to be out of the office until September. I’ll still be working for part of that time, of course, but as I don’t have any courses going on in the summer, I can work from home. I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to that; I very much need a break from the traveling.
May 18th, 2015
I’m getting ready to head down to Uppsala again, for what should be only a three-day trip. However, the looming threat of a pilots’ strike to start on Thursday, when I’m supposed to come home, has me wondering a little if I’ll make it home as scheduled. I actually feel fairly confident that the negotiations will work out before then and it will be business as usual come Thursday, but I’m feeling a little extra glad now that I have an apartment in Uppsala and that having to stay over wouldn’t be too big a deal. The worst of it would be that I’d have to stay an extra week, as I’m already scheduled to go back on Sunday night and won’t be back until next Friday, the 29th. I’m not too thrilled about the prospect of being away from home for nearly two weeks, though, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it doesn’t come to that.
It’s been a nice week-plus home, with not nearly as much work being done as I’d planned, but also not as little as I’d feared. The weather has been mostly nice, so the kids have been out getting plenty of fresh air and exercise, and it’s finally, finally, starting to look like spring in our front yard.
I had to make a quick run to town this afternoon to pick up dog food (we buy our dogs’ food from the vet’s office, so we have to work around their opening hours), and while I was there I also got a table-top grill/griddle that Olof’s been wanting. He’s busy now making hamburgers for his and the kids’ dinner, and after that’s all squared away, he’ll run me out to the airport to catch my flight. After all my years as a housewife and full-time mom, it still feels a little weird that the tables have turned and he’s the one keeping the home fires burning while I jet away to work. Not bad, but weird.
May 15th, 2015
I saw a set of wooden animals in a shop window in Uppsala a couple of months ago and I was immediately taken with them. I fully intended to buy them at the next available opportunity, but that opportunity never presented itself and I never saw them again. After thinking about them more than I should probably admit to, I finally searched them out online last week and had them delivered to my door.
They’re exquisite little figures, and I love the lot of them, but it’s the rhinoceros that has really taken hold of me.
There’s something about the look on his face and the way he’s just sitting there that practically overwhelms me. Seriously, it’s almost more than I can take. In fact, this rhinoceros makes me feel a little bit like Kristen Bell in this best YouTube clip of all time:
May 13th, 2015
It had been close to two weeks since I’d seen Lydia, so I jumped at the chance when she suggested yesterday that we have lunch in town today. Tage joined us as well, but between Lydia and me I don’t think the poor guy got more than two words in the whole time. After we ate, we made a quick trip to the mall for some odds and ends, and also met up with Olof, who had a short work day due to tomorrow’s being a holiday. On our way back home, we dropped Lydia off at her place, then got back here just as the three littler girls were wrapping up their school days.
Over the course of the past few years, Lydia has been spending less and less time at home, but it’s still a strange adjustment having her not really show up here at all. She does still drop in from time to time, but it’s nearly always when I’m away in Uppsala, so I feel more disconnected from her than usual. Thank goodness for text messaging and Facebook; otherwise I’d have hardly any contact with her. She’s doing well, though, and it was fun to be able to catch up face to face. Once summer comes along in a few weeks, we should be able to see more of each other, and I’m looking forward to that.
Speaking of seeing more of each other, I’m very much enjoying being at home with my family (and my dogs and cats!) for an extended period. The last time I was home for this long at a stretch was at the end of March. Even better than just being home, this is a long weekend, with everybody home through Monday (which, coincidentally, is when I leave again for Uppsala). Olof does have to work on Monday, but he always works from home on Mondays, so we can all just sort of take it easy until next week.
May 6th, 2015
I took this picture last week, at our Valborg bonfire. Spring is coming to northern Sweden, slowly but surely.
May 4th, 2015
This last little while I have felt like a true weekly commuter. I haven’t yet been gone an entire week at one stretch, but it’s been close a couple of times, and in April I was away from home fourteen nights (to be fair, one of those nights was in Umeå for Petra’s soccer tournament, but still). This month I’ll be away for twelve nights, but I am managing to work in a ten-day period starting this Friday when I won’t have to travel at all. I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to that.
Honestly, between all the travel and the holidays–spring in Sweden is very holiday-heavy–I can hardly keep track of what day it is. Apart from a couple of classes, my schedule isn’t fixed at all and I find myself having a tough time staying on top of where I’m supposed to be, and when. This evening after dinner I’ll go down to Uppsala, then tomorrow I’m off for an all-day workshop at Lövstabruk, about an hour outside Uppsala. Thursday and Friday I’ll be at an 18th-century conference in Uppsala, as well as a Ph.D. seminar, Latin class, and history classics class–all with their attendant reading–to squeeze in there between workshopping and conferencing. After all that, I’ll arrive back at my own house late Friday evening. Then I’ll be home for ten days! Did I mention that?
It’s a good thing I love this, or else I’d really hate it.
April 26th, 2015
This was a bit of a crazy weekend, with me not getting home from Uppsala until eleven o’clock Friday night, then leaving the house, with a sleepy Petra in tow, at 6:45 Saturday morning to drive down to Umeå for a two-day soccer tournament. The tournament itself wasn’t particularly successful, with our girls losing all four games and not scoring a single goal, surely a consequence of them being the youngest team in a field that was actually made up of teams a year older than they are. Not only that, but the weather was truly awful, and even all bundled up, both players and spectators were chilled to the bone the entire time. Even so, the girls remained in remarkably good spirits, and especially enjoyed themselves sleeping over in one of the classrooms of a nearby school. (Most of us parents took ourselves off to hotel rooms, not being overly eager to share sleeping quarters with a group of giddy grade-school girls camped out with sleeping bags.)
After the fourth and final loss this morning, Petra and I did some shopping and had lunch before heading back home, where I immediately retired to my bed for a long nap. The whole experience was more fun than I had expected it to be, but still, I wouldn’t mind not doing it again for a while. For her part, even though she had a good time, Petra is nagging again to be allowed to quit soccer. I’m pushing back, but I’m not sure how long I’ll be able to keep the upper hand here. When I see pictures like this one, though, I want her to keep playing forever.
April 20th, 2015
Lydia’s boyfriend, who is a year older than she is, just got his own place last week. Though she’s not officially moving in with him, Lydia is obviously spending a lot of time there and has been putting her “womanly touch” on things. This evening I drove her out there, where she unlocked the door with her own key, then gave me a thorough tour, showing me their various furniture and housewares and telling me about their plans for the decor. After a half-hour or so, I bid her farewell and drove back home by myself. It was the weirdest feeling ever.
April 12th, 2015
So I found myself with a little extra time this morning, so the Easter pictures are turning up sooner after all! Our annual egg hunt was last Saturday, and though the weather was chilly and grey, the kids didn’t seem to mind much. And the dogs were plenty happy to be out and relieve a bit of their cabin fever.
The past couple of years the kids’ cousin, Knut, has been joining in the fun. He’s three, which is just about the perfect age for egg hunting. The older kids seem to get a bit too competitive, but the little ones are just thrilled by the novelty of brightly colored eggs peeking out from unexpected places.
April 11th, 2015
I have so much to do that I’m feeling a little paralyzed by it all and sort of not doing anything. I have probably close to a thousand pages that I should have read by Thursday, and I have very little hope of getting it all done. I’ll do my best to at least leaf through all of it, but thorough reading simply isn’t going to happen. Interestingly, and appropriately, last week’s seminar for our Ph.D. introduction course was all about reading quickly and slowly according to different circumstances, and my current circumstances definitely call for the quick variety.
In my defense, I just got home yesterday evening after three days in Uppsala, and I’m already heading back in the late afternoon tomorrow. This next trip will be my longest yet, with me not coming back home until Friday afternoon. And not only is it a long week, but it’s a busy week with my schedule all but bursting at the seams. I’m already planning my long lie-in next Saturday morning.
With all that’s been going on, I still haven’t got around to posting any pictures of last weekend’s Easter festivities, or to reporting on Tage’s and my adventures in Uppsala. I promise I will get around to that sooner or later, but I can tell you now that the smart money’s on later.