I have quite a few non-quick drafts behind the scenes here but they are all shit. I have started writing for a big collaborative blog and have less time for blogging, while I have also got more time for blogging because Mini has started her day care. I am so out of tune with a regular lifestyle! I drive her to her day care and then I run around in panic. SO MANY THINGS I CAN DO. I do a few. Today I started on an important job application for my DREAM JOB and picked up a large bucket of sand for the ice outside of our house. Tomorrow I will clean the house. Fun times here!! I’ll think of something fun to write, or post photos. Found so many pretty photos in my old Flickr account, want to get back on track with that too! EVERYTHING at ONCE please!
And then there is a dance class and a baby without a babysitter so she sits on my back and falls asleep while I am literally jumping around to loud music. I flax my arms accompanied by her snores. The bliss!
And then there’s the poledancing! Oh my god the poledancing, how can I get back?
I was a long way from home and stepped behind a hill – this is was what I found. Now I live 10 km away and it looks pretty much the same here. The path on the photo is part of a long hiking trail that I hope I can take parts of this spring, together with my little family. (Yes it’s been instagram-filtered quite heavily, sometimes I just can’t help myself)
We had quite a bit of snow for a while.
I love love love this weather we had over Christmas, freezing cold with a shit load of snow! From now on we’re getting more and more light back too, but even just going out in the evening to look at the stars is wonderful with snow. Day time gazing through glittering frost on my eyelashes, and evenings looking up to catch a northern light or two. When we were driving home from my parents on christmas eve we both saw our first actual aurora, with the Aurora of flesh and blood sleeping next to me in her car seat. She has turned one year since I last wrote, and she has learned how to stack blocks among other things.
There is such a massive buildup before Christmas that I am just a tiny little bit disappointed that it’s already over. Isn’t it odd how we spend weeks or sometimes even months bragging to everyone we know and don’t know online and in our real lives, about all that decorating and baking that we have done. And then we spend one or two days only with our closest ones. People also take a break from all modern things like instagramming and facebook, and THAT is actually the Christmas. What I think is a little odd is that we’re not more quiet about the preparations and then blast the internet with our christmas joy on the 24th (for us scandinavians) or 25th (the rest of the christian world?)? Or is it actually the final proof of the scariest thing with christmas – it is supposed to be about love and celebration but can for many people turn into drunken violence or just feeling slight suffocation listening to elderly relatives think freely and loudly about the modern world. Or someones annoying little kids running around everywhere. My parenting forums on facebook these few days where packed with stories about crying behind a closed door so no one can see or how to protect your newborn from grandmas being too grabby… I was disturbed by all this of course. Bloggers are good at sharing the beauty of the season though which makes me grateful, even though it might all be for show and could be just as awful underneath the surface. It still gives me motivation to plan our own Christmas next year.
This Christmas was not awful in any way, we got to spend it with our baby’s grandparents and my sister. Baby got to taste traditional swedish christmas food. She did not enjoy it. Neither, I think, did we! Growing up in a family that where very into keeping the traditions, I still have a strong memory of celebrating it completely backwards one year and what a relief it was. In my student dorm, with a friend, with TV blasting my Newlyweds DVDs, with chocolate cake coming continously from out of the oven (I think we did like one each in a row), us two just laying in the couch staring in front of us. AMAZING.
So what makes the ultimate Christmas then I wonder? It must of course be very individual, and I am sure that it also depends on what is going on in our lives that particular year. I want to create a Christmas that we can adapt to wherever we are in the world and to whatever mood we are in. I can live without MANY of the traditional swedish dishes for christmas, and I wish to add others. I am not even talking about american cookie orgies, which we have also tried out this year thanks to my husband, I am talking about persian orange desserts and doing something fun outside of the house. I am all for staring at the TV, but I don’t feel like stressing out on Christmas prep so that I can’t do anything other than watching TV on the actual day that I am building up for… I think I will want to spread out the few swedish food classics that I like, through out the weeks. From when the darkness makes us want to die (november) until the sun stays up for so long that november has been forgotten (february). If Christmas is a season of bringing light, I want that light to stay much longer than OMG just ONE day! I refuse to feel that I am missing out on something because we couldn’t fit a tree into our living room as it is yet again filled with crap from our last trip with a moving truck. I love the smell of spruce inside my house and as soon as I feel like it I will run out and get myself a little tree and/or some branches. Maybe tomorrow. Or maybe never now that I finally gave myself permission for it, wouldn’t be surprised!
When it comes to ornaments I just keep losing them, which means I keep needing more. With a bigger home than last year I have not decided yet if I actually need much more ornaments for Christmas. I am not Mickie Mouse nor american, so I can decorate LAGOM. I will focus on BIG things that make a BIG difference, like my thrifted christmas curtain in bright red covered with christmas gnomes. It makes such a huge difference I don’t need much else in that room! After new years these big things will be changed to more neutral wintery ornaments. This means keeping all snowmen and happy children on sleds, just letting santa have a break until next year.
In two weeks our meaty Aurora (aka baby) is supposed to start her day care. I have been in touch with different schools in the area about being a substitute teacher in science and maths, which they seemed to be very interested in. Wow, the difference from the field (s!) I am educated for I am also looking forward to working on some of my own projects, but really, with her being in day care only half time (we think she’s too young for more, and we can thank god stay home with her the rest of the time) I am not sure how much will become of that in the end.
Coming up is being more strict with baby’s sleepy times and eating times. She doesn’t really care, hahaha, but us grown ups need some order back in our lives after this messy Christmas! Yeah, that’s another thing. I realize that I have actually always kind of hated how Christmas turns everything up side down for even just one or two days, still very annoying. I like regularity, but I have a hard time figuring it out and living by it so leaving whats regular for just a short bit turns into mayhem. Next year will be HELL for me, as the newspapers are already prepping the swedes for the possibility of using only a few vacation days but getting like close to a month off work in total. This means all of Sweden will basically be shut down for a month. We haven’t had our phones working very well in the village since way before Christmas, but the phone company can’t do anything “over the holidays” because they don’t “have people”. Insert loud curse words here. Why would we want to talk to anyone anyway over the holidays, right…
But I do appreciate it a lot when single girls go their own way. I like to think that I did that too, but there are still things I did miss out on… Like moving to a house and just get it over it. I think I enjoy it in our house more than my husband, even though we share the same dream of growing our own kale and raising a ton of cats.
One of my favorite single bloggers is fellow swede Jonna Jinton. She has no kids and no partner, so she has had time (and you know, motivation and creativity) to learn photography like a boss, and can also wait out northern lights. When my baby goes to sleep I generally have to join her or she’ll wake up so I’m glad someone out there is enjoying those lights! While also taking pictures of them so I can enjoy them from my rss-feed in my phone… The winter sky is amazing on a clear night.
But this above is what I can miss. What really strikes me with this photo is how Jonna is the boss of her own life and doesn’t need to plan for anyone but herself. Those days were nice! Now that I plan our future christmases I need to make space for making it joyous for a kid (and its grandparents), which I gladly do because there’s few things more enjoyable than watching your own happy kid, but STILL. I can kind of miss the simplicity that is in this photo. She likes the lights of the tree, I mean who doesn’t, and decided to put the tree in her bedroom instead of the living room. GOOD FOR YOU JONNA! I grew up with the tree having to be close to a window for the neighbors to see the lights and have a hard time letting go of that which is ridiculous and next year I’m putting a tree in our bedroom too even though it will have to be small since we co-sleep and have more bed than bedroom. I look at our bedroom sometimes and think of the things I could do with that space if it wasn’t so crowded with us… But US is important and I love us. I’m just saying, that Jonna has her single awesome life covered.
The snow melted and it feels like we haven’t seen the sun for months. It’s all so grey and muddy, we stay inside and we get grumpier and grumpier. It’s absolutely terrible. Remind me again why I moved north to a hamlet with no street lights? GOD IT’s DARK!
I enjoy nothing. I went to the gym (~40 mins drive) to see people and get out if the house, it was wonderful but all this chocolate has given me more padding than I need. So I’ve bought everything one can need to run outside even in the dark, it’s a challenge but also how it all started once. Far away from cool and hip workouts like poledance and aerial yoga, or you know, well educated personal trainers. Just me, wooly socks and ear buds filled with music.
Instead of stuffing my face with heavy comfort food, this is a time perfect for green smoothies!
THIS IS WHAT SEASONAL SURVIVAL LOOKS LIKE.
Spinach, pieces of apple (a k a the rest of the apple that I earlier tried feeding bebe with), powdered greens and chia seeds. After the picture I also added orange juice and a banana. And the rest of the crap in the pictures are my new reflective vest that can fit a nursing sized bust, screws and tools for putting up stuff on walls, a head lamp and a foodie magazine.
Nature can feel intimidating, he says, as we leave behind the bustle of the boating lake and pick up a footpath that winds through some welcome dappled shade. “People can be put off because there’s just all this green stuff. But once you learn the building blocks, you begin to make sense of it.”
Natural navigator Tristan Gooley in an interview for the always awesome magazine The Simple Things.
He finds his way through towns and nature by looking for signs and I am utterly amazed. I can also very much relate to his quote above! I still remember when I was learning moss and lichens, and experienced a green environment become structured.
I’ve been on walks through the forest with locals that have used the paths since childhood. They see the nature in so many more ways than if you just arrived. They know where their favourite mushrooms grow, and where you can get a glimpse of fox cubs. Learning what species you encounter on a walk can give you a bit of head start, and learning to actually navigate by nature’s signs is a whole other thing. It can be security in a more and more digitally dependant world, and comfort for the spontaneous explorer.
Every plant and animal, every element of the weather, the stars, moon and sun – they’re all clues that can help us to read the landscape.”
In meditation we try to focus on nothing by focusing on something. I imagine natural navigation will work in a similar way? Instead of following a path with human made signs and work hard at being relaxed, we can in a way meditate in nature by walking along a path made by nature. My favorite excursions are often the spontaneous ones, when I find an animal’s tracks and follow its path.
I feel as if I have kind of left the building here. I update but I am not really in the blog posts. Haven’t been able to figure out if I think that is a problem or not… I only know that writing in english changes my language, and in a way also my goals with my writing. I feel more free, even though I am more often trapped in the language than when I write in Swedish. I think I’ve become a little lazy in my own language. I’ve been writing in swedish, online, for so long – scattered with curses, slang and dialect. It’s been fun, but after a while I suppose it gets old?
It’s been hard to move. It is still hard. It took me ten years to get a first hand rental apartment in Stockholm and I was not ready to leave it, but now we have to. The landlord thought we were subletting the apartment which is not allowed, so they wanted to evict us. We of course just cancelled the contract and will move out the last of our stuff in the end of november. That was decided like in a day, from having that security blanket to WE LIVE HERE NOW. On one hand this is exactly what I was dreaming of last New Years Eve when I was non-drunk and nursing my not even one month old bebe, when I could actually hear and feel the massive amounts of fireworks outside of our building. It was like loud singing “MOVE MOVE MOVE” and I was holding la beberina in my arms, almost crying for her sake even though she couldn’t care less about the noise and vibrations of little bombs echoing between the outer walls. My mantra to stay calm was “next year we will spend new years in the cottage” and so we will. Now wether we like it or not, the cottage is soon our only home. AND THAT IS AMAZING in so many ways, but also scary as shit.
Nick has gone back to work after being on parental leave, but he’s just up stairs working from home over the internets. This way we get two whole hours more daytime together. In the apartment, he would have come home from work right after I have gone to bed with bebe! Hrrr… (Yes, we follow her every move and let her be in charge of our day. And she is a calm and content baby, thanks to it I’m sure! Some day I will write more about our co-sleeping, attachment parenting and baby-wearing ways.)
We don’t know any younger families here. I have my colleagues from my summer job close by but we don’t hang out. They’re working! And I’m at home on parental leave with bebelina. Thanks to a society used to parents staying home with their kids for at least the first year, there are places to go with your child to see other grown ups and their babies. It is one hour drive away from our little hamlet though, so I’ve been too lazy to go there even though I am longing so bad for other parents! For weeks I’ve been hoping for a spontaneous meet up in a closer village, but there’s been trouble finding a place for this meet up so the weeks go by. And I meet my elderly neighbors, go see my parents, taking care of some of the shit around the house that needs to be done… I go for hour-long walks in the forest with bebelina on my back in my awesome baby carrier and that is amazing and worth so much for my sanity (and her sleeping pattern), but I really need to start meeting some grown ups closer to my own age.
While we were travelling in the US, visiting grandparents and desert landscapes, our kitty Edmund stayed with my parents. He was welcomed there with open arms and thanked them by going on a killing spree on the local mouse population. Mom and dad asked to borrow him a week longer, as there was actually still some mice left for Edmund to take care of.
And then he got hit by a car.
My sister found him on the side of the road, where he never went because he was really scared of cars. For some reason he had been there anyway, too close to a car. He was just laying there, peacefully, so he probably died immediately which is a great relief. Cats, and especially our cat of course, are not made for pain and suffering. Only fluff, high climbing and squinting purrs. We were so sad! He was our first baby! And he and bebe was just starting to become friends! He was annoying with his high needs for cuddles when we didn’t always have time for it, and loosing his hairs all over the place but man, he was a damn nice cat!
So within a year we got a baby, lost our apartment and had our rescue cat killed (yeah, so it feels like it’s my fault sometimes, cats survive indoors much better BUT HE WANTED TO GO OUT SO BAAAAD) and now we’ve been living here for almost six months and still have no local friends. EEEEEK.
And then today happened. <3
I left the car with the local mechanic, a guy I have only met once before. All I need to tell him is my first name and the rest he knows just from the sound of my voice. He gave me a quick lesson in Tires 101, and I went for a walk while he changed to winter tires on the car. I saw parents with a pram. I see a few of them, every now and then… They do exist here, only a few kilometers from our house. I just have to wait, and stick around. And try not to galopp up to them which cheeks flabbing like that hound dog from the “this is what I think I look like when I run”-picture hahaha.
As I am picking the car up an old man starts talking to me, in the out-in-the-sticks kind of way of “HEY. I DON’T KNOW YOU. WHO ARE YOU”… I tell him where we have moved and I don’t even have to tell him village or road, as he used to know the previous owner. He got very excited, and told me yet another great story from our house. Everyone seems to have at least one fond memory of the old man with weird ideas on how to wire electrics. He definitely has brought a nice and friendly “air” to our house! And I love hearing about it.
As I closed the door to the car back home I heard sounds of a chain saw up in the woods. It’s outside of our yard, but an interesting part of the woods so I trekked up there to see what was going on. (For my foreign readers – private land is not so private in Sweden, unless it’s your own backyard.) In this area there used to be like five farmers per hamlet, today there is one on five hamlets. Our one and very precious farmer was up in the woods behind my house, to clear up the historical carriage road so he can bring his draft horse into the woods to help him log it old school. Just imagine here, the drool dripping from my chin and glitter in my eyes! Last saturday he became a father and I almost yelled HELLOOOO PLAY DATES WITH FARMERS. I did not know that path was historical as it had been used by heavy logging machines and it was in pretty bad shape. But that’s how it usually looks ahem… I have had a project of finding a lake that is supposedly up in the woods and apparently this path goes straight there! On the way to the lake you end up on the local skiing track (5K!) which means we will have like a private access straight from our house. Yep, drool is still dripping here, as cross-country skiing is one of my childhood hobbies that I am hoping to get back into here in our hamlet. SO excited.
Instead of strapping bebe on my back (baby-wearing remember) I put her in her pram to see if she’s into sleeping in it these days. We went for a nice forest walk along the old village road, met the cutest fox ever, and she fell right asleep. We were out for almost one and a half hour and there was still so much walking to be done if we had felt like it, and everything felt so right.
This is what I was after, the rest is add ons. Foxes, forest walks and easy access to fresh air for my baby. It is worth losing our apartment for, but of course I would have wanted to keep the cat. If we just stick to doing what we like, and maybe uhm dare to drive that hour to see other parents and babies, this should work out fine, in time! That walk cleared up so much in my head, and I got ideas and plans and dreams. A big energy boost just in time for a cold and dark winter season.