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.
crimsoncorundum: (Default)
I'll start off by saying that this is not the kind of book I usually like to read. My favorite genres are fantasy, mysteries, science fiction, historic fiction and non-fiction. This is - I don't know. It's definitely YA. Drama? Maybe.

At the start of the book, the main character, Cath, is about to go away to college. Her twin sister, Wren, has told her she won't share a room with her. When Cath gets to the dorm, she meets a boy in her room. For a moment, she thinks he's her room mate. He isn't, but he starts hanging out there a lot, with Reagan, Cath's real room mate.

There were some things I could definitely relate to when it comes to Cath. She's into writing (fan fiction) and she has a sister. In the end, there are several things I don't quite understand so well, but all in all I really love this book. Reading about going to college brings back memories of when I was trying to study at the university. To be honest, at times, it made me feel terrible, but despite that, I mostly enjoyed the book. It's well written and the characters are interesting and engaging.

So... Do I recommend this book to other readers? Yes. If you read the blurb at the back of the book and it sounds like something you might like, I think you will enjoy it.
crimsoncorundum: (Default)
Today, my sister [personal profile] thegreenring and I took my son into town on his own for the very first time. Since he has an appointment with the dentist next week, I wanted to take the twins separately into town to get used to being apart. This time we went to the toy shop to buy presents for their birthday next week and we also went to another shop. Salt was a little quiet and pensive as if he was wondering what had happened to his sister, but he only complained a little when we got on the bus to go back home. I had to stand next to the buggy for a while to reassure him. Pepper was asleep back home and didn't seem to notice that her brother was gone for a while. If she reacts the same way when I take her into town, I'm sure they'll both be ok at the dentist's.
crimsoncorundum: (Default)
The other night I happened to look out the window and saw something weird and vaguely unnverving. It was something tall and silvery and I know there's nothing like that out there normally. I worried me enough to wake my sister and ask her if she could see it too which she did. She went downstairs and took a look through the window down there and said it didn't look the same there but it had to be a combination of our trashcan and some tufts of high grass. I knew it had to have something to do with our trashcan, but I still don't know what caused the optical illusion. Odd.
crimsoncorundum: (Default)
Today has been a bit mixed (of course it's not over yet, so who knows?). Starting with the bad to get that out of the way, I saw something extremely distressing on tv. It was a news segment about the Swedish chef team in some competition or other, I can't be bothered to keep up with these things. Anyway, there was this guy, calling himself a chef, who was cutting a live lobster to pieces. Is that really legal? I was horrified and so were my mom and sister.

Moving on to more positive stuff, I think the highlight of the day was going for a walk with my children, in the bright sunlight this morning. Actually, my sister helped my son walk (he's almost a year old). I took the new singleton buggy for a spin with my daughter, who is slightly less sure on her feet (but pretty good too). It rolled very well and all in all seems to live up to my expectations. The reason I bought it was that my twins have been given appointments with the dentist for the very first time. Unlike the child care clinic that always lets twins come at the same time, the dentist wants them to come on different days. It will be the first time they've ever been apart since they were born. Naturally, I could have brought both kids on both occasions and asked my mom or sister to sit with the one who wasn't going inside, but I thought this might be a good opportunity for them to learn to do things apart.

Finally, this afternoon, I got a text message telling me that my medication that has been out of stock for a couple of weeks is finally back and I decided to go into town to get it right away, since I've already been without it for too long. I'm going to get a headache every morning for a few days at least. :( On the way back, there was this good looking, very polite kid who was waiting at the same bus stop who smiled and told me to go ahead and get on the bus before him. Just a tiny little gesture but naturally I appreciate it after living for far too many years in a vile dump of a town. Here people are mostly great. It make me sad that I wasted so many years.
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