Monday, November 30, 2009

Not dull!

Charlotte opened her shop yesterday! After a year or more of very hard work, fixing up a barn previously used to house cows and pigs. Charlotte nearly singlehandedly filled in big holes in walls, insulated and put in a new ceiling, painted, fixed walls and poured cement to create a smoother floor! None of that work was for the faint of heart! Lars, Charlottes husband should be given praise too, as he did give some muscle power where extra strength was needed. A light, bright yet rustic space was created, where Charlotte now display some of her handiwork such as pillows, Christmas decorations, candle holders etc. along with treasures that she has purchased and added her personal touches to, including furniture. David took some of his framed photographs to her shop and it will be fun to see if those beautiful pictures get any attention. So, Charlotte had her "opening", many friends and relatives came to browse and buy, and towards the end of her first day she made a sale to her FIRST real customer!!!!!! Congratulations to a gutsy, creative and hard working girl and loads of good wisher for success!

This mornings headline in the paper speak to crimes against seniors here in our region. And as I sit here in the morning with my coffee flipping through the paper I marvel and shudder over this petty crime! Kids, teens and yes 20-35 year olds too for that matter, knock down old people with walkers and steal their billfolds and purses! Teen age girls push down old ladies and sit on them to hold them down!!!! Elderly people have their monthly pension money taken by those who enter their homes posing as repair men/women! It is for me so disappointing! Is this kind of crime prevalent in Fresno, California? Then I wonder if this kind of crime was simply too common to report in the Fresno Bee? Shortly before we left Mariposa, a former customer I used to bring food to, had a former "care giver" break into his home, in the middle of the night, to steal his medication............
Now my own dear, dear Moster/Aunt Helmi, who had to go to the hospital after yet another fall, to be X-rayed, had her billfold stolen. She kept her wedding rings, her most treasured possession in her billfold along with, off course her money. How can some one steal from a ninety five year old woman??? This comes on the heel of my brother in law Bosse losing his car! He was the proud owner of a BMW X6. In the middle of the night, about a week and a half ago he woke up due to some noise outside his home, only to see his car being driven away from his yard! He tells me there are gangs of expert thieves who know exactly how to disconnect the alarm system, start the car, drive it into a waiting truck, to be taken to Russia or Africa directly, to never be seen again!!!!! But that is a different story, a different kind of criminal, somehow easier to understand, much less personal than the crimes against the elderly, especially performed by the young! Where are these kids Mothers I ask? They are working too hard and not aware of what their children are up to, I am told.
Then, I must confess ,that when we were "ripped off" at our store, whether someone came in took what they wanted, put it in their pocket or under their jacket and left, or wrote checks full well knowing there were no money in the bank, those incidents were relatively few comparatively, yet loomed so LARGE.
Perhaps I should stop reading the newspaper in the morning?................but then I would not know that Zlatan kicked another winning goal for Barcelona, or that Celia Lamberth became this years Lucia, or that there is a light show every night until Christmas, downtown in Helsingborg called "a time and a place", or that 57 % of the voters in Switzerland voted against building more minarets! I am not naive. I just don't understand the mind set.

and so it is.


It is late in the game. I felt compelled to urge President Obama to not send any more troops to Afghanistan. To stop the madness. Wonder what he will do?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Amaryllis and lights

With the food fest behind us, the long wished for turkey sandwich consumed, as well as a bowl of comforting turkey soup ala American tradition, we head straight into the festival of lights.
Here in the dark north they know how to chase the gloom away! Today, the first day of advent the first candle in the advent candle holder is lit. You will most likely find one on most families kitchen table, green or white moss surrounding the candle base and for a bit of color perhaps some red berries or marzipan Santas are stuffed in between. This is also the day when the merchants reveal the Christmas decorated display windows and customers start thinking seriously about shopping for gifts. Considerably understated here compared to the US however.
Each city, town and village will choose their Saint Lucia today, from a group of contestants. She will along with her attendants, Star Boys and a Santa, spend time during the holiday season, visiting hospitals, elder living facilities and such, entertaining with song, Lucia bread (saffron infused sweet bread) and gingerbread hearts! A sweet and bright tradition I remember so well from when I was little. My Mother would get us out of bed in what seemed to be the middle of the night and we, my sister Monica and some kids from our apartment building would go on the bus, to visit Mothers work and various friends! Coffee and the treats in tow and we'd be dressed in our white gowns. It was very exiting! Then as my own children became old enough they too were "dragged around", Maria being our Saint Lucia with John and Freddy as the Star Boys and I the Baker and Director. And so it went until it was Maria's turn to Bake and Direct, baking loads of saffron rolls for Ryan and Linnea to bring to school and with Linnea as Lucia!!
Is Saga next?
Amaryllis, Hyacinth and Paper Whites also play a big part during this season along with the Christmas Cactus................and I think the first blossom on the Amaryllis I planted in a pot about a month ago will open today! The electric candles will turn on in every self respecting Swede's window today at dusk, remaining there to spread light and cheer until the 13th day of January! Welcome Christmas! Welcome Light!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Julie & Julia & Agneta

My best friends daughter Anna sent me the book Julie & Julia for my birthday! What a hoot! I just finished it after several days of laughing out loud ! Laughing is good! As a critic I too think that that perhaps the language could have been less foul, but then, that is the way Julie expressed herself and for good or bad I think we are all becoming desensitized ! Bad language surrounds us.
Today "gosh" and "darn" just does not cut it! The book is so much fun to read. As a fellow "cooker" I can't wait for Thursday, we are having a cooking and feeding frenzy here at the mill, not French fare exactly, but gooey mashed potatoes, stuffing and ooooh, gravy! And other treats including apple crumb pie. Hoping not to mess anything up as these tiny little turkeys came at a price of + 70.00 dollars. Imagine that! No free turkey here no matter how much money you spend at the ICA store. Yes, turkeys , in plural. A turkey larger than five pounds is not to be found. No growth hormone here! So, to feed our guests, there had to be two. David is already dreaming of turkey sandwiches, my mouth waters just thinking of turkey soup. Haughte Cuisine alright!
In between now and then there is some Cranberry bread to be made, more shopping to do and vacuuming.........did I say how much I dislike vacuuming, haven't I done enough of that already?

Maria ran her Mini Marathon, was a STAR and finished in about half the time allowed.

Freddy is in escrow, holding his breath.

John is planning his family feast for Thursday and is actually going to eat the turkey meat.

Next on the reading list a book I already started, another birthday gift ( how lucky am I ) this one from our unbelievable neighbours, entitled : Jean Bernadotte The Man We Chose written by Herman Lindqvist
now that is a bird of a different feather...........a historical novel about Swedish history from 1700 on. How I love to read, so much to learn, history has always been a favorite subject, no wonder I hate vacuuming. It takes up too much time!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Lid recovery

It helps to live in a five story house, in this case old windmill, if you want to see for miles!
Yesterday started out like most grey days with drizzle and mist, giving my face a hydrating and skin plumping effect as we walked our way around the field Ralle and I.
David was off to Kavlinge, to install some sort of heat pump or air conditioner in this brand new police building there. Once there, he realized that he had in his pocket the only other existing set of keys, for Sonesson's main work van. Not a good start of their day! Considerable time, energy and money having to be spent on the key exchange.
As the day progressed I started hearing wind warnings on the radio! Not uncommon here in the "flat lands", I have to stop and think sometimes, when I go out, having to for example hang on to the car doors for dear life, in an effort to not have them fly off the hinges. After all, we live in a wind mill! Yes, if we had wings on this mill still, we would most likely have been able to generate enough electric power yesterday to light up the entire region! Or as someone put it last time we had similar weather, could have milled a lot of flour!
The wind got crazier as the day went by. We ended up skipping our walk around the two some kilometer triangle since we could hardly get the front door open! Don't think Ralle minded.
Trains stopped running, the bridge between Sweden and Denmark was closed, roofs flew,trees fell, car accidents occurred and David was happy to get home!
As David and Lars have this great relationship and much fun together, David after sitting here eating his pork chops sent Lars the following message. (Our house was at this point not creaking but absolutely groaning!) SMS
"Lars, I think the top of the mill just flew off! Can you check to see if it landed in your yard?"
"I saw it on the news! It is in Landskrona!!"
"We have a hitch on the Ford Fiesta, can I borrow your trailer? Wanna come??"
..............then we laughed until our stomachs hurt. What is greater than a sense of humor like that?

And along with all other flying things, our garbage cans lids flew away! I was lucky to recover the cans themselves actually, struggling to get them to a place where the wind would not pick them up again! On my trip out to pick up the newspaper this morning, in the dark, I found one lid, the other one, no place to be seen. Then as I was getting ready for my day, brushing my teeth to be exact, in the bathroom on the fourth floor, I spotted it through the window. There it was, out in the tall grass at the far end of our back back yard, having flown over hedges and fences! Lucky us, the lid was recovered.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Venus version

While David is outside fortifying the fence in an effort to keep the beautiful beast on the inside of it, I wanted to just update a little. All is well in Ryssmollan! This morning I woke up with the sun shining in my eyes, after a cup of coffee Ralle and I went for a wonderful walk around the field. That is always such a nice way to start the day.
Our new addition is working out very well, life seems more right, more like the way it is supposed to be, with a dog. The only negative thing is that he does not like to be left alone. We have to work on that! Left him this afternoon to get materials to improve the fence, he was in the house, had knocked over a plant in one of the windows and piddled in the kitchen. Nothing major, but it will be nice when he can relax and realize we will return.
My incredible Auntie Helmi seems to be getting along well in her new senior living situation. We had a nice little chat this afternoon.
While I work in the yard, bake and or cook, read or go for long walks with the dog, David is either working or pondering the economic mess or in particular American politics. To me both those issues are equally messed up!
So while David tries to figure out how to change the world, I am watching the world close to me change. Just now all the sugar beets are being harvested and placed in mountain high piles in the fields nearby. Other fields have oat stubble still standing, to be plowed under in the spring before another crop of something else is planted. Yet another version of the nearby fields is winter wheat growing, nice tender green. I love the fact that it never looks the same two days in a row, the scenery always and forever changing! This being true throughout the year. Here in Sweden they have this cultural philosophy about walking and being outdoor, everything is easier, everything will be better if you go for a walk! The climate here is perhaps better suited for this age old activity, it is seldom too hot or too cold or too wet. And indeed it can bring you a new perspective, it can make you think more clearly and generally make you feel more invigorated. So, for me , walking around here also gives me a close and personal connection to what goes on close to me. This morning during our walk a flock of, I think swans, flew southwards above us, pretty awesome!
Maria was running a "mini marathon" in the Monterey area today! Go Mia Go!!
Freddy is pondering the purchase of a house in the south California area where he presently lives and is throwing in the towel regarding finding employment in Sweden. No one is biting no matter how many are involved in trying to find a good job for him
John is happy with his situation in Seattle, life is good there, C J has been invited to start at a local college a year early since she has such exceptional grades!
Ending my rambling here to do kitchen Goddess stuff! Cheese Ravioli with Toasted Walnuts and a nice Salad coming up!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Life Goes On

A few weeks ago we lost "Bella" to a sniffles/sinus infection. She was not yet a year old. Agneta's sister gave us two kittens just after we arrived to Sweden. Agneta and I have always had many pets in our lives. We miss her and her brother "Bosse" does too.

We have been contemplating getting another dog. We lost "Rontu" our Great Pyrenees just before he was to come to Sweden with us. We have gone to dog shows and researched dog breeders of Great Pyrenees. We chose a breeder and as luck would have it they had a 5 year old male they were looking for a home for. Well the rest is history. Here we are walking "Ralle", Swedish for Ralph, on the beach by Viken. Viken is a small community about 8 kilometers from where we live.

Some pictures of Viken by the sea.

Life is good.