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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March 15th, 2015

To and fro

Last week I went down to Uppsala on Tuesday afternoon and came home on Friday evening. Because of weird scheduling, I’m due to head back down in just over an hour, less than 48 hours after I got home. I might have stayed over the weekend, but I’d already bought last week’s tickets before Monday’s seminar was on my schedule and besides, that would have had me gone for a week, which is more than I like to do if it’s not strictly necessary. Mercifully, I’m coming back home tomorrow evening, so it’s not as bad as it might be. Of course, I do have to go back on Friday, to come back the following Monday, but after that I’ll be home for ten glorious days.

I suppose it’s just as well that I get a little taste of the craziness now, because April is going to be absolute madness. I’ll have to make the trip every week, once being gone from Sunday to Friday. May, at least for the moment, looks to be more manageable. I’ll still be going every week, but only for a day or two, in most cases. After all of that, I am most definitely going to need a summer vacation.

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March 8th, 2015


Long ago, in the summer of my first year in Sweden, my then-new-and-shortly-thereafter-lifelong friend, Leslie, taught me how to crochet. I’d been able since I was a child to crochet a chain, but the ability to do anything more complicated had always eluded me. Somehow, though, Leslie was able to explain things in just the right way to make me understand, and in the months following the two of us spent countless hours crocheting and sharing secrets and cementing that lifelong friendship.

Since those days I’ve nearly always had a project in progress, even if it sometimes takes me months, or even years, to see them through to a finished product. My current “big” project is an afghan for Yrsa. I had meant to make one for each of the kids when they were babies, but I think Tage’s is the only one I completed according to that timetable. I would feel quilty about Yrsa’s getting to be four without her afghan completed, but I started it only in November, after I finally finished Brynja’s, when she was nearly seven.

Alongside the afghan project, I’ve been working on a number of little projects, hats and scarves and whatnot. Lately I’ve turned to making small stuffed owls (pattern here). Initially I planned just to make one or two for myself, but it didn’t take long before the kids started putting in requests. So far I’ve yet to finish one for myself–I have a couple that are nearly done–but I have completed Yrsa’s, Tage’s and Brynja’s. Petra’s is up next, of course, as soon as she’s decided on colors.

These pictures aren’t the greatest, I know, but you get the idea. There’s more than one reason I’m not a craft blogger.

Tage's Yrsa's

Brynja's and Tage's

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March 2nd, 2015

Worth a thousand words?

Here, finally, is a picture of my apartment in Uppsala. I bought and assembled this sofa on Thursday evening, and it’s feeling pretty cozy in there.


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February 19th, 2015


Just now I was in the bathroom, hanging up a brand-new, mildew-free shower curtain (!), and Yrsa was rummaging through the clean laundry that awaits folding in the bathtub. After a while she triumphantly drew up a pair of my underwear, which happened to be pink.

“Is this mine?” she asked. (It was the color that made her think so. Believe me, the days of underwear so skimpy they could pass for a four-year-old’s are long behind me.)

“No,” I told her. “It’s mine.”

“Yours? What is it?”

“A pair of underwear.”

“Pink is my favorite color,” she announced, then continued happily, “Thank you for having pink underwear!”

“You’re welcome,” I replied warmly.

If nothing else, I’ve learned that when raising five kids you have to take your appreciation where you can get it.

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