crimsoncorundum: (Default)
In Sweden Father's Day is in November, but since it is Father's Day in many other countries I thought I'd post about the men in my family anyway.

First of all I'd like to mention my dad. He and I are very much alike in personality. I can almost hear his voice inside my head whenever something happens. I know what he would have said about whatever it is. I've posted about this before, but I'd still like to mention the many things my dad helped me with.

He always drove me anywhere I needed to go, all without complaining. He'd bring a book and read while he waited. They say my dad was born on a Sunday with a 'victory hood' meaning part of the umbilical sac, which apparently means luck. I'm not sure if any of this is true, since I have found plenty of circumstantial evidence that the woman I thought of as my grandmother (aka the wicked witch of the east) actually wasn't his real mother. Be that as it may, my dad was very lucky in his life. Once he was going to drive me to the railway station (I laugh about it now, since that short walk wouldn't have been any problem), but I had got ready too late and missed the train. I was still sleepy and told dad that we could just go back home and I'd go back to bed, but he wouldn't let me. He drove me to the next railway station on the line (a five minute drive). I told him it would be too late, since the trains are a lot fast than cars. We'll wait, he told me. And sure enough, a minute or so later the train did arrive and I got on it in time.

Secondly, he always helped me with my maths homework and he did it very well, even though he always said he wasn't any good as a teacher and much preferred to be a principal/head master. Others have tried and never managed it very well. It gave me a better grade than I would have if left to my own devices.

A third example is the time when I'd decided to stay at home instead of enduring a 'sports day' with my class. Since it was my form mistress/home room teacher who was responsible for that particular day, she called in the afternoon to check on why I didn't come. My dad had been at work and he'd left before I was up so he had no idea about what I'd done, but when I walked into the hallway, there he was, on the phone with my teacher telling her how sick I'd been. LOL. That's something I'll never forget.

Now I'd like to mention my (maternal) grandfather. He was a very honest and decent man. Very serious and reliable, but he also had a sense of humor and he was very good at appeasing angry family members. Maybe because he was one of the youngest in a family of seven children? He was a grocer and I know he was very respected both in his profession and in private.

That's pretty much the men in my family that I know and have met in person. Sure, there are mom's cousin's two sons, but I don't know them very well. They're nice and we have a bit in common, but I couldn't tell you very much more about them.

Despite never having met them, I'd still like to mention my mom's two grandfathers and my paternal grandfather.

I'll start with the latter. Unfortunately, I don't know very much about him, other than what my dad has told me. He was a business man and he was quite successful at that. I also believe he was honest in his business. My dad was in awe of him, but I can tell from the photos of the two of them together, that they loved each other.

My mother's maternal grandfather seems to have been a rather modern man for his time. In a different time, he might have been a vegetarian. He was kind and loving towards his children and loyal to his wife, even though I believe they weren't very well suited to each other. He was also quite handsome in some of the photos and he had a sense of humor. I've been told he joked a lot. He was a builder and there are still two very nice houses that he built, standing in his home town (in Sweden - he did try to emigrate to America, but his wife refused to go).

My mother's paternal grandfather was a grocer, just like his son. I've been told (not by my mother, who never met him, or even his youngest son, my grandfather, who was far too young when he lost his father) that he was a happy, cheerful man who loved his family and tried to enjoy life to the full. He loved to buy christmas presents for his children and would lead the 'long dance' around all the rooms in the house, on Christmas Eve.

Finally, even though he's not a man yet, I'd like to mention my son, who I think will grow up to be a very good dad. He's the only living male in our family today. He's talented and charming and the most wonderful son anyone could hope to have.
crimsoncorundum: (Default)
My children were invited to the local library for a bit of book info, and to receive a book each. All children of a certain age living in this area had been invited to a little meeting in the library. Not many came. It was nice and I'm not sorry we came, but we did have to stay for a very long time for a very short 'show'. I was also annoyed by one of the locals. My children are quite outgoing and they were also the oldest children present. When my daughter, as she likes to do, walked over to this woman and her much younger daughter, and 'borrowed' a few of that little girls' things, her mother was clearly offended, not amused at all. What did she expect? My daughter is 16 months old. Both twins enjoyed playing in the library's children's room and used all the 'facilities' to the max. By that I mean that they pulled out piles of books and let them fall to the floor. :)

Here is my son considering which books to throw on the floor:

library

crimsoncorundum: (Default)
Today it's Mother's Day in Sweden, and since I have a mother and I am a mother, I thought I'd write a post about that. I'd also like to mention my dad, who is no longer with us, and my grandfather who left us even earlier, but I think I'll save that for Father's Day even if it makes me sad thinking about all those who are no longer with us.

So, today I'd like to remember and thank all the wonderful women in my family who are mostly no longer with us. Some were mothers, some wanted to be but weren't.

Thank you aunt G, who was such a wonderful aunt and who had a fascinating and varied life, despite claims to the contrary. Thank you great-aunts S, M, M, A and the two E:s, for being such kind and thoughtful aunts. I'd also like to mention 'aunt' E (another E) who I never got to meet, but who according to my mom was a really funny, cheerful and inspiring woman, despite a very difficult life.
Then there's my maternal grandmother S, who I resemble a lot. I can still hear your voice in my head and I know what you would have thought or said about all kinds of things in every day life.

Also, my mom who is still alive and well and living with us. You were a wonderful mom when my sister and I were children. We've all had a difficult life and you may be a touch grumpy and harsh these days, but I can understand why.

I'd also like to thank my sister G who is not a mother yet, but hopefully will be soon. You're my best friend and my role model. I admire you so much. This family would be nothing without you.

Finally, I'd also like to thank my children P and S for letting me be their mom. You've made all the difference in the world.

Thank you, all of you wonderful women in my family, including my mother's grandmothers and everyone who came before them, and also, thank you, my unknown paternal grandmother who gave us our dad, even though we know nothing else about you. I love you all.
crimsoncorundum: (Default)
Yesterday, my sister and went shopping for groceries. It was relatively hot, things worked out fine and I was more or less content with the little outing. However, lately I've begun to whine a lot about having put on so much weight - rather unexplainedly, I think. It's occurred to me that it might be a side effect of my medication against high blood pressure, that I got from being pregnant. I'm not sure about that, but it might be an explanation. In any case, I'm pretty unhappy about looking the way I look. For instance, I've had to put away most of my clothes and had to try and get new ones (not quite successfully, at least yet). Anyway, to cut to the chase, I decided to take a photo of my shadow, or at least part of it because it seems to be better looking than I am.



I've also started using my new handbag. It's pretty big and not my usual style (I'm not really a handbag person, to be honest). I've just been thinking I should develop my Moomin Mama traits. :) I'm going to be carrying around more stuff, that maybe my children will need (other than the contents of of the changing bag). What do you think? Is it too big for me? I thought it would be difficult to carry it, without a shoulder strap, but it wasn't.



Silly trivial stuff, I know. Just ignore this post if you think it's boring.



crimsoncorundum: (Default)
Apparently, The Eurovision Song Contest is over. I say apparently, since I don't keep up with these things. Usually, my mom does, for some weird reason, but this time she only watched some of it and mercifully spared my sister and me the whole house shaking ear drum breaking noise attack. Do I sound negative? Sorry. I'm having a bad day.

When my sister and I got curious, after the fact, as it were, about why many people were unhappy about the song that won, we decided to listen to a minute or so of each of the top ten songs. So we did, and I quickly realized that while the winning song definitely wasn't my thing, I could tell that it actually was a good quality song. The others were meh at best. To me, that is. I'm not judging the people who liked the others.

All this is just a prelude to what I really wanted to say.

I feel out of touch with the world. And considering the way the world is going, that's fine with me. But it does make me feel like some weird freak. I hate the music most people like. I hate most tv series and movies released these days. I hate the aggressive marketing strategies that most people seem to take in their stride. It makes me sound like some grumpy old 100-year-old and I hate that too. LOL.

So - what did I want to say? I'm not sure. Maybe that I want to take my family and find some out of the way place and at least be safe, if not happy. And dive into books and (probably old) movies and tv series and forget about the rest of the world.
crimsoncorundum: (Default)
Reading the results of the DNA test has made me consider my identity. Before we had the results, we assumed we were more or less 100 % Scandinavian, but it turns out we actually have about 10 % less Scandinavian ancestry than the average Swede. It's certainly given me food for thought.

We've always been different and considered different by others, but is this the explanation? That we're partly Irish (and Iberian)? Because being partly Karelian and Wallonian is no different than most people here.

All this has made me wonder what actually makes us who we are and if this in some way influences what I consider 'home' or where I'm going in life. Has our family been shaped by our 'exotic' DNA?

My conclusion, that is by no means final, is that while it's fascinating to find out more about our past, it's not where we come from that matters, it's where we belong - and that's a whole different question. In short, this hasn't helped me decide what to do with my life, but it's been a lot of fun.

If you're the least bit interested in your family history or indeed any kind of history, I can really recommend taking this sort of test.
crimsoncorundum: (Default)
The genealogical DNA test results have come! I had no idea they sent these things on a Sunday, but apparently they do.

Unfortunately, most of our relatives don't seem to be doing any research so today we've only found a few people that we're related to.

What we did learn was our genetic origin.

Just like we already knew, we're mostly Scandinavian (Swedish and Norwegian - 82 %). Surprisingly, we are also 9 % Irish, 3 % Finnish/Karelian, 3 % Western Europe (most likely France or Wallonia), 2 % Iberian (Spanish/Portuguese - I'm keeping my fingers crossed it's the latter, since I have a really good friend who's Brazilian, with mainly Portuguese ancestry) and 1 % Britain (most likely Scotland). This is so fascinating. We'll probably never find any relatives from Ireland etc, living today, but just knowing about this part of our ancestry is so thought provoking. Apart from our Scandinavian ancestry, the Irish ancestry has the highest probability, but clearly there's something else as well.

I really hope we'll be able to find out more. When more people join the genealogy site (and possibly some others that use the same DNA tests), we might actually get to know people who are related to us. Maybe we'll even solve the great mystery of our family tree - 'who is my dad's real mother'?

Origin
crimsoncorundum: (Default)
Warning! Potentially boring child related post.

Last week the parents' group (or as I might have mentioned before, by now the mothers' group) had a meeting at the library. Read more... ), but it feels a little sad. Most of the other mothers have gone back to work now. Their children are in daycare and they will only be able to meet during the weekends if at all. Unfortunately, we can't get anywhere during the weekend, so I guess this is it. There are two more mothers still at home with their babies/toddlers, in this case two girls, so those few of us might still be able to meet again a few times, if anyone's still interested. Everyone except us might be able to get together during the weekends, but somehow I think most have lost interest in the group. So sad. It's been so great meeting other parents and learning more about the progress of their children.

Anyway, to begin with, the children's librarian showed up bringing a pile of books suitable for one-year-olds. I hadn't really heard of any of them, but most seemed great so I'll see if I can get my hands on at least some of them. After that, we got to stay in the private room for as long as we wanted.

A funny little incident occurred. We'd run into J and his mother G on the way to the stores the week before. Then G told us that J has met a little girl in daycare and that he's so enamoured of her that he wants to share his pacifier with her. Which might be the daycare equivalent of engagement? LOL. Unfortunately, it seems J is just as much of a philanderer as little M who so courteously approached me to obtain my permission to court my daughter (in a manner of speaking, LOL), then kiss her hand, only to have forgotten all about her the next time. J cornered Pepper and tried to kiss her. (On the cheek, naturally). She skillfully maneouvered two chairs into position to avoid him. In the end, J managed to kiss her anyway and she took that in her stride. Pepper is a tough little girl. G, J:s mother was embarrassed. Poor J seems a bit traumatized by being in daycare. He clung pathetically to his mum for a long time before he finally realized he could close the door to keep her inside. It's so sad seeing that big, confident, mobile boy reduced to an insecure baby again, just because his mum had to go back to work. G says she regrets it now and wished she'd held on a little longer.

After a while, we decided to go to the cosy cafe only a few houses away, where we usually meet. G:s mother was visiting and it seemed G:s husband desperately wanted to get rid of his mother-in-law. G asked us if it was ok for her mother to join us and we all said yes. So we asked if it would be ok to ask our mum to join us and of course everyone agreed.

So now we're a parents' and grandparents' group. :) Maybe L and E want to bring their mothers too if there ever is a next time. LOL. It's always great to have a few extra hands to help with the children. You'd be surprised how long and strong those little arms and hands can be when they're reaching for something like a hot cup of coffee.

Pepper seems to have mastered saying 'Mum' now and both twins are busy practicing their conversational skills, even though we grownups can't quite understand what they're trying to say yet. It seems they're a bit late, compared to the other children. All seem to be speaking several words by now, but T, L:'s daughter isn't walking at all yet.

And - all this happened last week, which means everything seemed normal back then. Now everything's different, after the terror attack in Stockholm that occurred yesterday afternoon. If you're interested I've blogged about it here.

crimsoncorundum: (Default)
Today, my children got to watch figure skating on tv for the first time. Just as I'd imagined, my son loved it. He was jumping up and down while he was listening to the music. Strangely enough, this time my daughter who usually loves to watch dancing, wasn't interested. Maybe she was tired. It seems that way, because she fell asleep a little later. While Pepper was asleep, we decided to take Salt out for a little walk. I was going to get his overall when I tripped over the rocking horse and almost fell down. Fortunately, I didn't drop Salt and he wasn't frightened either.

My reality

Feb. 25th, 2017 11:02 pm
crimsoncorundum: (Default)
Lately, there's been a lot of negative attention to Sweden in the media. Apparently, we live in a country where things have gone badly wrong and people aren't safe in their beds at night. Where did these people get that idea? Through the Looking Glass?

Since I live in Sweden, I thought I'd give you my impressions.

I live in the countryside and it's true that the urban areas don't spend a lot of money on us out here. When I go into town, by bus, to do the shopping or whatever, I see abandoned buildings. It's getting a bit like what I've seen in photos from America - empty plains where a few major agricultural producers own all the land and grows crops there. People don't feel it's worth paying to renovate their buildings. Unfortunately, that also means that there are fewer buses going and it's getting harder to get by without a car. As for criminality, there are burglaries sometimes, about as many as I remember from before the refugee situation. Nothing more. I feel perfectly safe living out here with my children.

I've also been to the capital (Stockholm) and the two largest cities after Stockholm (namely Gothenburg and Malmö). Whenever I've been there it's felt safe and ordinary. That is, I've been to the city centers during the day. I have read in the newspapers that certain suburbs are less safe, during the evening and night, but to be honest, I've read that for a very long time, long before the refugees started coming.

There's a shopping mall in Gothenburg that we tend to pass through on your way from the railway station to any shops or other places you need to go, or at least we used to. My sister went there hoping to get us something to eat when we'd arrived very early after trip abroad. That place doesn't look safe, but really, it's never been safe, as far as I can remember. When I was a kid, you feared Swedish gangs, not foreigners. Nothing has changed. It's still creepy and we avoid it now, even during the day.

For far too many years my sister and I were stuck in a vile dump of a town. It's bigger than where we live now, and to be honest, there's more culture in the old place. But people were really horrible, and by people I mean Swedish people. That area has been known for its ugly, rude, unpleasant and unreliable inhabitants since medieval times. That's right. In ancient Icelandic documents you can read about the people living in that area and they've always been the same. Then in the last year or so before we finally, far too late, moved away from that dump, you began to notice more foreign people. And by notice, I mean in a positive way.

In the past, I've had people glaring at me and my family. Laughing rudely. Slandering us. Trying to get rid of us. The only reason for that I can imagine is that we're different. Anyway, when the newcomers arrived things started to get a lot nicer. They started talking to me and my family. Helping us with our shopping. Asking us about buses.

Even a few years before so many people arrived, there was this one incident I won't forget. We were on our way back from a shopping trip to the next town. In a roundabout, a little animal, weasel maybe, ran out. Our bus driver was an upper middle aged man looking like maybe he came from the Middle East. I prepared to close my eyes and ignore what was going to happen to that poor little animal. To my astonishment, this older man swerved and avoided it completely. Even a Swedish man would have been unlikely to avoid crushing a small animal, yet this man who didn't in any way look particularly sensitive did that.

Apart from this incident we've been treated very nicely by bus drivers, ticket sellers etc, most of them seemingly born somewhere other than Sweden.

Now that we live in the countryside and need to go by bus every time we go into town, we've had some trouble lifting the huge twin baby carriage (and now buggy) onto the bus, even though my sister is very strong. Fortunately, people have been so nice and kind, both the original locals and new arrivals. For instance, a barber from Syria jumped up along with a friend and helped lift the carriage onto the bus. Afterwards he sat chatting amiably with us, even when he realized I was single. Unlike in all the stories about sexual harassment etc, no one's tried to pick me up or stared or commented rudely about me with my babies. To be honest, everyone is a lot nicer here than in the old place.

So, to sum all this up: I've never met any new arrivals who have been aggressive or threatening. Most of them are very polite and nice. It's meant a lot to me to be treated just like anybody else, to have people listen to me and smile at me. That hardly ever happened before we moved and never before those immigrants started arriving.

Reading all this negativity about Sweden both surprises and upsets me. As far as I know, there's absolutely no truth in any of it. Of course, it's very clear that the people behind all this desinformation have a hidden or not so hidden agenda. They want to undermine our society so they can take over. It may mean that my family and I will have to move abroad, to somewhere safer, if there's anywhere like that. And that has absolutely nothing to do with all these newcomers.
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