Sunday, August 15, 2010


A bit about friendship!  A reflection on how lucky I am to have met and befriended so many amazing people.  Leaving Sweden at the age of 16  1/2 with a suitcase my Uncle Gunnar provided, a red carry on bag from my parents, and forty dollars in my pocket, it has been quite a journey.  Part of my trip was paid for with money I had saved, part of it paid for by Carl Quist Jr.  Moster Helmi and Morbror Gunnar also added Crowns to my thin pocket book.

My mom putting me on the boat to America 

For many years I kept in contact with old school friends, eventually lost track of some, but I think of them often..... Marie Louise Orräng, Ulla Britt Nielsen......  Maud Jandenius, or Maud Bradley as is her name these days.  We, Maud and I, are still connected, still tight, still together!  After all these years!!!  I could go back even further, to life in Uppsala with school mates like Åsa Pålsheden and Monica Sjölund who lived across the hallway from us at Svartbäcksgatan 101.  Who knows what they are up to today?  They too pop into my mind every so often.  But this is a note on true and lasting friendships.

Me, my sister Monica, and Maud
Maude and I

Not long ago I  sat here talking to visitors/guests about how lucky I have been never having lost a friend in anger.  I am truly lucky!  Yes, I have lost track of even close friends due to moves and new addresses, but never due to grand "fall outs".

Leaving Sweden at that very tender age,  I still stayed in touch with many special friends.......Mona Botes for one!  What a role model she and her husband Hasse have been!!  When I was an apprentice beautician at Annie's Hairdressing Salon we met.  Are friends still.

Me at the Hairdressing college

My new life in Oklee, Minnesota introduced me to many knew wonderful people who took me in and guided me into an entirely new culture in an entirely new world!  Sharon Johnsson- Remick- Barnes was one of those.  Jani and Charles Seeger, though in the beginning they were not a couple......... they are now and have been for , yep, many, many a year........... along with and especially, Jean and Kenny Rolandson.  They took me in, opened their home, a place filled with big noise and warm hearts and smiles that never stopped!  We baked bread and Danish pastries, I baby sat, we made gingerbread houses for Christmas!  We have stayed in touch!  One more time........ All these years!!!!

Jani and Charles
Jean and Jani

In addition, there are the friends from San Jose, The Foppianos, Mrs. Mullholland, we still communicate.  Not to forget many friends from the Hewlett-Packard days. Nancy, Geri, Rose Mary, Steph, Lucy.....

Mr. Bonetti
Nancy and her Sister

The customers at Oakhurst Feed, many of whom became more like family than customers, the neighbors and coworkers and other members of the staff at the store.  Special people such as Adeline  Smith, Sharon and Gene.  Jana, Albert,  Little Brian and Big Brian, Rand, the Presho's, "Corky", the Jouettes, special "Angels " like Noreen Mc Donald......  so many, it is not possible to mention them all.  This is not a matter of counting names. This is not a "Face Book, I have 2000 friends deal".   Rather, I would like for each and every person that has been so special for me to know, that without them I would not be the person I am today. They have added so much to my life.  Have helped create the person I have become.  All I want to say is: Thank You!

Our experiences, along with those friends, teachers and relatives who have made an impact on us, those who teach us something, those who give of themselves and those who embrace us,  those who contributed something, be it a valuable lesson, or other "information" are part and parcel of who we become in the end.  And as we are sometimes measured by "our friends" or "by the company we keep" I am grateful to have met you!!  You know who you are!!

Remembering talking to Annika about how lucky I was to have been able to meet so many dear and special people in my various walks of life.  This  conversation taking place when she did NOT want to move away from Sweden, did NOT want to leave her parents and her sister, nor her friends.  There was NO going to America for her, that was NOT in the plan.  Wonder if she thinks about any of that today?

Recently I received a letter from Mary, Jean Rolandsons' daughter, telling me her Mother, my dear friend had died.  She will be missed.  Included in her letter was this verse.


I'd like the memory of me
To be a happy one.
I'd like to leave an after glow of smiles when life is done
I'd like to leave an echo whispering softly down the ways,
Of happy times and laughing times
And bright and sunny days.
I'd like the tears of those who grieve, to dry before the sun
Of happy memories that I leave, when life is done.

                                           Author unknown.

No one knows how much time one is given, surely not enough to waste!        CARPE DIEM

Some of Our Family Today all Friends

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Swedish Great Pyrenees National

WOW what a day!  Up early, loaded up the car, forgot the chairs, the car balked, something not right with the battery, but we were committed to be at the show ground/camping area Norje Boke so off we go hoping the car would get us there......... it did.

It was our first Swedish dog show experience  and our first dog show, since David and Maria did the obedience trials with Chico and Silas, long ago.

There is something so nice about being around like minded people!
Many of whom approached us, asking "Oh, isn't this Ralle?"
Ralle got to meet his Mom! An eleven year old "lady" by the name of Jonna. She wanted to play! We also met the owners of Ralles sire. Their daughter actually showed in what I think was the Veteran Class.

The reason we went was because Ralle was competing in the Champion Class, since he already IS a STAR!  Seven Champion male dogs were entered.  Ralle came in as number four!!  He was shown by Jessica Persson and the two of them looked fabulous in the ring!  It was such fun.

The judge was Mrs. Jean Pero from the US.  She was obviously really impressed by the dogs here.
We had planned on staying for the dinner party, but skipped out early partially due to our concern about the car.  It did perform perfectly and nothing seems amiss, so who knows, perhaps we stressed for no reason.  Partially because we felt tired after spending this exiting day outside.  The weather had been absolutely perfect!  All that hobnobbing takes a lot out of you!!  Yep, it was a great day!

Upon our return, David celebrated by pouring Corona and dropping a wedge of lime into the champagne glass that has a Great Pyrenees etched on it, one of the treasures collected this eventful and memorable day.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

July Gone Welcome August

Gone in a flash, July!  Fun filled and loaded with visitors.  Some just popped in and out some stayed a few days, it was fabulous.  We had the pleasure of Mauds company a couple of times, once in tow with Anki.  Aina and Jan-Otto came, Magdalena, Sören and their adorable Malin, then Lotta, David with Malva and Arvid to mention a few.

In between we celebrated Imma, the Chocolate Lab next door. She invited Ralle to her second birthday party and served doggy style, birthday cake made with liver pate', Polar bread (round flat-breads) and carrots.  Yum!!

A really pleasant evening was spent at a grill party at Eva (Lars' sister) and her husband Ken, who grew up in London.  Great fun, nice company and good food galore.  We are thrilled to be included and welcomed  by them in so many of their family gatherings!

We had also been invited to what probably was a true Kansas style BBQ in Jonstorp, but as we ended up with guests that same weekend we sadly had to decline.  I started spying the sky in that direction Friday night, sniffing the air for alder or apple wood, wondering if it was going to be a REAL Low and Slow BBQ, but the winds were not in my favor!  Perhaps the smoker was not started until Saturday, the day of the event, depending on what  kind of meat was being smoked........ guess I will never know!!

Speaking of Jonstorp we discovered a new place to take Ralle, where David also found great photo ops.
Walking along the water from the little harbor towards the swimming area!  We were there on a very windy Sunday morning when we had an empty  house.  A beautiful place, where we met many nice people and many nice dogs.

Ralle went to ViSkalys to be bathed and fluffed in preparation for a dog show. Pernilla worked her magic while we whiled our time away over coffee, chatting with Ingela and Daniel.  That is another awesome group of people.  How lucky are we to have run into them!!

John and his group are back from the Philippines, had a nice visit, but sadly MariVics Dad is failing. Talked to John yesterday, he has chickenpox!!!

Saga can ride her bike without training wheels......
Elliott is learning to swim.......
Linnea attended her culinary class in Florida. We are waiting to hear all about it.....
Kellie is working at Nordstroms an amazing department store.  Started in Seattle by a Swedish man who insisted on having a store with totally impeccable customer service!  There are now several Nordstrom stores on the West Coast!  Kellie is also turning 22 ! ............
Gary is back in San Jose after his vacation with John and a Seattle visit............
Ryan stayed home and took care of Buddy while Maria and Ray went to Florida to pick Linnea up.........
Linnea and Buddy can be seen on You Tube here. , as filmed during an agility event...............