May 15th, 2015

My husband thinks I need to get a grip

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:

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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.

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May 6th, 2015


I took this picture last week, at our Valborg bonfire. Spring is coming to northern Sweden, slowly but surely.


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May 4th, 2015

Up, up, and away

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.

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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.


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April 20th, 2015

Growing up

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.


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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.




Tage and Petra


Asbjørn and Lucy

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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.

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March 30th, 2015

The eyes don’t have it anymore

For the last little while I’ve been noticing that my formerly perfect vision isn’t what it once was. Mostly it’s still fine, but when I’m reading, especially on a screen, I definitely have some trouble. At first I thought it might just be eyestrain, but when it didn’t go away even when my eyes shouldn’t be tired at all, I went ahead and made an appointment for an eye exam. Said exam was this morning and the diagnosis was astigmatism, accompanied by a prescription for eyeglasses. So, in a week to ten days, I’ll officially join the ranks of the glasses-wearing.

I’m less bothered by this than I might have been ten years ago or so. Now I just want to be able to see what I’m reading–’cause my line of work comes with a whole lot of reading–and vanity be damned. Plus, maybe the new specs will give me a studious air, something I could probably use at work every bit as much as I could use improved eyesight.

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March 27th, 2015

More new ink

Way back in January I made an appointment with my tattoo guy to have a couple of new pieces done, and this past Wednesday was finally the day! I’m not feeling particularly wordy at the moment (you may have noticed), so I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

On my left forearm, a Paul Simon line, and on my right forearm, a teasel bloom:

Left forearm

Right forearm

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