Friday, October 16, 2009

Too little time ... or not organized enough

I have apparently totally neglected my blog for months now ... oh well.

Monday, August 17, 2009

P!nk hair

No, not quite, but I think P!nk has fabulous hair—just look at this! Well, she looks fabulous all over, but I’m really tempted to go short on my own hair and thought this was a great look. Do you think if I get this haircut, I’ll get that flat stomach, too? No? Drat! Well, I’ll settle for the hair, then.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

My Budding Artist

Both of my daughters love to draw and color, and in typical fashion I get all kinds of artwork to put on my refrigerator. Some good, some ... well, let’s just say they get filed somewhere else. These two, however, will not go on my fridge, instead they will eventually—hopefully soon—get framed and displayed in my new house. Elisabet did these in her 3rd grade art class. Her monster is so dark, and yet so lovable and original. But I especially love her self-portrait, the way she sees herself.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Life Lessons by Regina Brett

Regina Brett’s 45 life lessons and 5 to grow on
by Regina Brett
Sunday May 28, 2006, 10:13 AM

To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me.

It is the most-requested column I’ve ever written. My odometer rolls over to 50 this week, so here’s an update:

1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

4. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

6. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.

8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.

12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.

13. Don’t compare your life to others’. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don’t worry; God never blinks.

16. Life is too short for long pity parties. Get busy living, or get busy dying.

17. You can get through anything if you stay put in today.

18. A writer writes. If you want to be a writer, write.

19. It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

22. Overprepare, then go with the flow.

23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.

24. The most important sex organ is the brain.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: “In five years, will this matter?”

27. Always choose life.

28. Forgive everyone everything.

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.

33. Believe in miracles.

34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.

35. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.

36. Growing old beats the alternative - dying young.

37. Your children get only one childhood. Make it memorable.

38. Read the Psalms. They cover every human emotion.

39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.

41. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

42. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.

43. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

44. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

45. The best is yet to come.

46. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

47. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

48. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.

49. Yield.

50. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.

Friday, June 5, 2009

A Modern Bathroom Tale

A dear, dear friend of mine sent this to me and I had to share. I do not know the author, but it was definitely a woman. And probably British. Enjoy!

When you have to visit a public toilet, you usually find a line of women, so you smile politely and take your place. Once it’s your turn, you check for feet under the cubicle doors. Every cubicle is occupied.

Finally, a door opens and you dash in, nearly knocking down the woman leaving the cubicle. You get in to find the door won’t latch. It doesn’t matter, the wait has been so long you are about to wet your pants! The dispenser for the modern ‘seat covers’ (invented by someone’s Mum, no doubt) is handy, but empty. You would hang your bag on the door hook, if there was one, so you carefully, but quickly, drape it around your neck, (Mum would turn over in her grave if you put it on the FLOOR!) down with your pants and assume “The Stance.”

In this position, your aging, toneless, thigh muscles begin to shake. You’d love to sit down, but having not taken time to wipe the seat or to lay toilet paper on it, you hold The Stance. To take your mind off your trembling thighs, you reach for what you discover to be the empty toilet paper dispenser.

In your mind, you can hear your mother’s voice saying, “Dear, if you had tried to clean the seat, you would have KNOWN there was no toilet paper!” Your thighs shake more.

You remember the tiny tissue that you blew your nose on yesterday—the one that’s still in your bag (the bag around your neck, that now you have to hold up trying not to strangle yourself at the same time). That would have to do, so you crumple it in the puffiest way possible. It’s still smaller than your thumbnail.

Someone pushes your door open because the latch doesn’t work.

The door hits your bag, which is hanging around your neck in front of your chest and you and your bag topple backward against the tank of the toilet.

“Occupied!,” you scream, as you reach for the door, dropping your precious, tiny, crumpled tissue in a puddle on the floor, while losing your footing altogether and sliding down directly onto the TOILET SEAT. It is wet of course. You bolt up, knowing all too well that it’s too late. Your bare bottom has made contact with every imaginable germ and life form on the uncovered seat because YOU never laid down toilet paper—not that there was any, even if you had taken time to try.

You know that your mother would be utterly appalled if she knew, because you’re certain her bare bottom never touched a public toilet seat because, frankly, dear, “You just don’t KNOW what kind of diseases you could get.”

By this time, the automatic sensor on the back of the toilet is so confused that it flushes, propelling a stream of water like a fire hose against the inside of the bowl and spraying a fine mist of water that covers your bum and runs down your legs and into your shoes.

The flush somehow sucks everything down with such force and you grab onto the empty toilet paper dispenser for fear of being dragged in too.

At this point, you give up. You’re soaked by the spewing water and the wet toilet seat. You’re exhausted. You try to wipe with a sweet wrapper you found in your pocket and then slink out inconspicuously to the sinks.

You can’t figure out how to operate the taps with the automatic sensors, so you wipe your hands with spit and a dry paper towel and walk past the line of women still waiting You are no longer able to smile politely to them. A kind soul at the very end of the line points out a piece of toilet paper trailing from your shoe. (Where was that when you NEEDED it?) You yank the paper from your shoe, plunk it in the woman’s hand and tell her warmly, “Here, you just might need this.”

As you exit, you spot your hubby, who has long since entered, used and left the men’s toilet. Annoyed, he asks, “What took you so long and why is your bag hanging around your neck?”

This is dedicated to women everywhere who deal with any public restrooms/toilets (rest??? you’ve GOT to be kidding!!). It finally explains to the men what really does take us so long. It also answers that other commonly asked question about why women go to the toilet in pairs. It’s so the other gal can hold the door, hang onto your bag and hand you Kleenex under the door.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Jack of All Trades

I am blessed to know and be surrounded by talented people both at and outside of work. I’ve chosen to highlight three truly creative and inspiring individuals in the next few weeks, starting with Jack Simonetta. Jack is an amazing person, a caring friend, and coworker. He is a graphic designer and owner of PB&J Gallery together with his partner Bob Burkhardt.

I remember always having markers and plenty of paper to draw on as a child. I would pick a color and just doodle one endless line around and around in overlapping circles. Then I would meticulously color each space created, one color in each area, until the whole thing was a tapestry of color.

What is your earliest memory of any sort of artistic endeavor?

Tough one. Maybe it was in kindergarten. There were cardboard building blocks that I would always gravitate to. I remember stacking them to make “buildings.” I still like to play with blocks!

When you started exploring your artistic talents as an adult, what medium and style did you first adopt?

There wasn’t one medium or style that I did, although it was mostly 2-D drawing and painting. In college, I did a lot of expressive, fauve-looking stuff, simple with bold colors. Matisse was my idol.

Tell me how your style has changed over the years and if there was a connection to something changing in your personal life.

When I was a young adult and afraid to express myself, or wasn’t even sure how to express myself, my art was at times very dark and introspective. I was attracted to German Expressionism of the early 20th century, its use of color and stark shapes. Hands are very expressive, so I did a lot of hands, sometimes covering eyes, mouths, faces showing a lot of grief. These past 10 or 15 years I’ve learned to get emotions out in healthier ways, not holding things in as much, forcing them out in my art. Because of this, my art has become more free, lighter at times, but still expressive. It’s as if there’s more room in me to express more things than just the darker side of me.

Another conscious way my style has changed is that it might be getting looser, less controlled, more spontaneous. It’s been a conscious effort to not render things exactly how they are, but to interpret them through my experiences. I want people to bring something of their own when viewing my art. Sometimes I do return to a more controlled style, I think, to prove to myself that I can draw “correctly.” One of my goals is to work abstractly and still evoke emotion from people.

I think this conscious change in style has to do with my personal quest of figuring out for myself what this world/universe is all about. I read a lot about living each moment rather than in the past or in the future. I read a lot about Buddhist teachings, as well as other religions, and history and space to try to form some answers for myself. These have all affected my art in my push toward a less controlled style.

In addition to using all sort of different mediums on paper and canvas, I know that you also sculpt. How long have you been sculpting and what are you working on right now?

I’ve been sculpting for about six years. My newest sculpture is an oversized soapstone hand.

How do you deal with writer’s block, so to speak? How do you get the creative juices flowing again when you feel like you’ve hit a wall?

I’ll usually sit down and not think about representing something. Just play with the movement of my hand with a brush, using whatever color attracts me at the time. I guess it’s a sort of visual meditation that clears my head of trying to think of what to do next. Not that it shows me what to do next, but it lets me continue creating something until the next thing finds me.

Tell me what was the inspiration for your latest watercolor series?

Somewhere in my mind, I saw a visual of cliffs coming down forming a small pass-through. I did a quick watercolor while I was working on a series of women’s faces just to get it down. When I returned to the subject later, it changed into cliffs going into the sea. The last piece I did was using thinned down acrylics on canvas emphasizing wash-like brushstrokes, kind of like finger paints.

What would you like to master in the next five or 10 years?

Tapestry weaving. The craft-like quality of weaving attracts me. I bought a book on it once, and Bob even bought me a portable loom, but it looks like an art that you have to be taught, not try to figure out from books.

Top to bottom: A relaxed Jack; “Sunset Marsh,” probably the first painting of Jack’s that I saw and admired; “Remixed,” one of Jack’s many fabulous paper collages (of which I own two); “Adulation,” one in a series of men’s faces; “Reaching for the Moon,” a sculpture he recently sold and shipped to Texas; “Scylla Charybdis,” one of several in his most recent watercolor landscape series.

Monday, April 27, 2009

A little excited

For some time now, I have been itching to do something to highlight some of the talented people I’m surrounded by at work and in my private life. I have tried to determine the best way to do it and finally decided on mini interviews featuring three artists this spring and, hopefully, three more this summer or fall. Starting off the series will be Jack Simonetta of PB&J Gallery in Kirkwood Station, a new artsy development in east Atlanta. Jack is one of the most multitalented artists I have had the pleasure of getting to know over the past four years. Look for his interview and a taste of his work to appear the first week of May.

To give you a sneak peak of Jack’s work, I offer you a detail of one of his pieces, but you have to wait until next week to see the whole thing.

Monday, April 20, 2009

So, what up?

Social networking has become very popular. We have MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, Flickr, Twitter and Plurk, among others, I’m sure. I have passed some by, thinking they are not for me, and embraced some. Facebook is easy to use and helps me keep in touch with my computer-challenged mother in Sweden. Flickr is a great place to drop my photos for comments and encouragement, and to keep a few of my favorite shots of the girls within easy reach. Twitter was OK ... until I found Plurk. I am totally hooked, and it seems, so are the other Plurkers. My friends on Plurk seem to be the same group of enthusiastic jewelry designers as on Flickr, but here we can keep a running dialog without having to refresh the screen. It’s all happening right there, with lots of fun emoticons to liven up the comments. It gets hysterical some times.

Why don’t you come check it out here?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

First pedicure of the season

They always make them look so good … and I can’t reach them anymore. Sad really. And yes, my toes are very much right next to each other, despite the fact that I wear lots of pointy-toed shoes. And I like ’em that way. So there.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

So over it …

Malena has a fever. Again. I stayed home with her for two days, took her to school yesterday, and last night her fever was back again. So we’re home today. Again.

This has been the longest winter in the history of mankind. Well, at least in the history of winter colds and unexplainable viral infections that won’t give up their grip on my daughter.

So very, very over it …

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

New glasses

I was long overdue for an update in my look with glasses ... I can’t even put in writing how old my previous glasses are. So, what do you think?

Green camisole in honor of St. Patrick’s Day.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

There’s a lot of love

Between all the squabbling and the running and the screaming and the sometimes total mayhem, there is also a lot of love between these two.

Taken after Malena performed as a Slurping Kitty Cat from “Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You?,” in her kindergarten class’ presentation of the Dr. Seuss book in honor of his 105th birthday. Elisabet was dressed—and painted—in all black for the “Cat in the Hat” day at her school.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Hmm ...

Elisabet left a present in my bathroom. Perhaps she ate something that didn’t agree with her stomach?

Slight misunderstanding

Despite the title of my last post, the weather gods decided to dump this on us today. I don’t understand. Do they not know that we live in the south?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Spring is Coming

See, Malena thinks it’s already here. Leaves on the trees. Birds in the air. Little girls with pigtails playing outside. And a flower with carefully drawn leaves that form a heart. I love how children always look at the positive. Helps me keep my mind on the right thing, too.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Another Use for Condoms

I thought these were so clever, I couldn’t resist adding them to my blog. The things people come up with. No pun intended. These are from the Fall 2008 Condom Fashion Show in Beijing.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I just received the nicest of surprises in the mail, from my dear friend Sirpa. She had asked me earlier in the week if I had received anything yet, so when I knew something was coming, I rushed to the mail box every day, but ... nothing. Until yesterday. And what a lovely box full of pretties it was. Everything was so carefully wrapped, even my girls ooohed and aaahed over each little bag and bow. Each little gift—with ties to Finland—was carefully selected for me. Most precious was probably the letter she wrote, telling me about each company and its history, and more importantly, about Sirpa herself.

Thank you so much, Sirpa!

Each gift was so nicely wrapped, and the two gold bags were tied in a way I had never seen before. The girls and I marveled at each little goodie.

The aftermath of reluctantly tearing through all the pretty bags.

All the pretties revealed. Earrings by Aarikka, a bracelet by Sirpa herself, a reindeer from Pentik, magnet, tags and note cards by Minna L. Immonen of MinnaKortti, a bag by Marimekko, and chocolate and salmiakki by Fazer.

Wearing the lovely earrings from Aarikka.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Woot, woot!!!

The lovely miss Brandi of Brandi Girl [blog] and Brandi from Catie’s Blue [Flickr] nominated me for the much coveted and somewhat elusive Marie Antoinette Award for … right. For being one of the most awesome bloggers ever. Or something like that. Hmm.

The rules are:

1. Please put the logo on your blog.
2. Place a link to the person from whom you received the award.
3. Nominate at least 7 or more blogs.
4. Put links of those blogs on your blog.
5. Leave a message on their blogs to tell them.

My nominations are, in no particular order:

1. Claire of Claire Pearse
2. Sheela of Eclettica
3. Anna-Karin of SmåBlå
4. Maryam of Maryam of Marrakesh
5. Deb of Crysallis Creations
6. Joanne of JoJoBell
7. Natalia of Realisation Creations

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


So, I’m not very good at waiting. And right now, I’m waiting very impatiently for two packages to arrive. Not just one, but two. One expected and very coveted by several Flickr friends. The other a complete surprise until a couple of days ago, when dear Sirpa asked if I’d received the package she sent me. I love surprises like that, especially from Finland and Sweden. And Malaysia and England. And Poland. Or from anywhere, really. Except the IRS, don’t like those very much.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Winter Woes

You know, if it’s going to be cold in Georgia (15°F/-9.5°C currently), it should be cold with lots of snow like this, not just cold.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

I’m Coming Undone

I have had a song severely stuck in my head for the last two days. Does that ever happen to you? They say you need to listen to the whole song—and sing it too?—to sort of get rid of it, but in my case that only makes it worse. It’s not a bad song—and thank God, it’s not a corny song—it’s just getting a little ridiculous. I have watched and/or listened to the video on YouTube probably ten times now. It’s a haunting song and the video is a work of art, in my opinion. Funny thing is, it’s not the kind of music I generally listen to anymore. In fact, even back when I still listened to mainstream music, I didn’t listen to this band. I only recently researched their sound after reading an autobiography by one of the former members*, and most of it is way too heavy and dark for me, but this one song …

I think the lyrics are ingenious. The melody is haunting to say the least. And the bass is just very pronounced in a way I don’t usually hear in a song. I don’t know, maybe you need to judge for yourself, but I’m pretty sure most of you will be surprised at the sound or the group, especially coming from me. I don’t know how to post the video in my blog, so watch it here.

*The book is “Save Me from Myself: How I Found God, Quit Korn, Kicked Drugs, and Lived to Tell My Story” by Brian Welch.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Gray, gray, gray … inside and out

THIS is what I want to do …

… but this is pretty much what I’m faced with …

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Sixteen Facts About Me

I was tagged by both Hee Soon and Patty on Flickr to post a photo and 16 things about myself, and then tag 16 people in return. Not sure I managed to tag 16 people yet (we are a rather close-knit group and everybody ended up tagging each other), but here are my facts:

1. I graduated with a degree in business administration (ekonomiska linjen) and worked in a bank in Sweden for three and a half years before coming over to the U.S. to go to college. Yup, banker.

2. I am a Christian and although it isn’t always easy, God has given me the strength to endure the trials that I have had to go through.

3. I’ve studied German, French and Spanish and would love the opportunity to live in those countries long enough to speak fluently. Or at least listen fluently.

4. I tore my right ACL (anterior cruciate ligament in the knee, for those of you who are not familiar with medical terms) skiing on moguls in Crested Butte, Colorado. I had to have surgery to replace it (with a piece of my own hamstring). Yeah, I had no business being up there, but I got a snazzy knee brace out of it.

5. I don’t really like Chinese food anymore. I had too many servings of questionable chicken, so unless it’s from P.F. Chang’s, I don’t really want it.

6. I am the proud aunt of the Swedish Pro Superbike Champion 2008.

7. I worked at Systembolaget, the Swedish Alcohol Retail Monopoly, a couple of summers when I went home from college. We had wine/ beer tastings once a month and I had my regulars hanging on the door every morning before we opened. It was hard work, being on my feet for eight hours a day, but a fun bunch to work with.

8. I’m a Swede with a Finnish name, living in America, driving a Korean car.

9. I loved being pregnant—well, at least the first time, the second time not so much—and would love to be pregnant again, but I don’t want any more children. Go figure!

10. I have a great sense of direction and never get lost. I have, however, gotten sidetracked a few times, but I hate asking for directions.

11. I love being by myself and I rarely feel lonely.

12. When I like a movie, I love watching it over and over ... and over again, until I can’t stand watching it again for a long time.

13. I recently finished two creative writing courses online. I loved the first one, didn't love the second one, and now I’m totally burned out. Hmm ...

14. I love to read, especially non-fiction. Last year, I read a book about cadavers and I just finished a book about brain surgery.

15. I love computers. I love email. I love the Internet. I love online chatting on FB and photo sharing on Flickr. I love to blog. But I hate that my butt gets bigger and bigger while sitting here with all this virtual love.

16. I’m amazed that I found sixteen things to say about myself after all.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A Tribute to Friends

This post is a little belated, but it is not too late. It’s a tribute to friends. New friends.

The older we get, the harder it is to make new friends. Busy lifestyles with full-time work, dinners to prepare, children to read to. When do we have time to meet new people and make new friends? If we work outside the home, we may be fortunate to have coworkers we have something in common with, but very rarely do we form the kind of friendships that we did in childhood. We may even somewhere along the path make a new friend who becomes a best friend. I have been blessed with two of those. I met JoAnne almost fifteen year ago in a yoga class, when I was at a truly low point in my life. She has been my prayer warrior, my shoulder to cry on, my support when the winds around me blew too furiously. She’s the older sister I lost when I was seven, I’m her younger sister in place of the older one she has a broken relationship with. Carol and I met more than eight years ago, when we were both pregnant with our first children, due dates one day apart. Over the years, our friendship has changed, like waves on the sea, ebbing and flowing. We’ve gone through a pregnancy together and the deterioration of our marriages together. We have survived our divorces together and been single moms together.

In the last year, I have been blessed with new friends through the Internet. Although I have never met them in person, I feel as if they are true bosom buddies. I sense through the words they write, that they have beautiful hearts, not just the beautiful faces I see on Flickr. They have a passion for what they do and a deep generosity of spirit.

There is Anna-Karin, my sparring partner, my tower of strength, my greatest cheerleader and encourager. Together, the two of us make up the female version of Abbott & Costello. We sling virtual mud cake at each other every chance we get, knowing that there is a deep friendship behind the banter that can handle the friendly abuse. I find it amazing that we have bonded over cyberspace, when it feels like I just sat down for fika with her at a café in Stockholm. Maybe one day I will get to in real life.

Then there is Lotta, a quiet, sweet soul. She pops up every now and then with some amazing new design, seemingly undeterred by what everyone else is doing at the moment. She is the calm in the storm, the whisper when the winds are howling. So sweet, so beautiful.

And then there is Magdalena. What can I say? Magdalena is one of those amazingly creative and talented people you feel blessed to know. She works hard, she has great taste, and she is generous to a fault. She is one of several talented Polish girls—I think it must be something in the water.

What is even more special about these three amazing women, is that they all sent me lovely birthday and Christmas gifts last year. I frequently drool over their creations and beg for pieces to be sent to me, but these gifts were totally unexpected. I am in awe over their generosity and kindness, and I will treasure their gifts for a lifetime. But more than that, I will treasure the gift of their friendship.

The ring is Anna-Karin’s signature style, and a lovely birthday gift to me. No. 1. Long and Dangly Earrings from Lotta. No. 2. Gingembre by Magdalena No. 3. Sterling and Amethyst Earrings from Anna-Karin.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Should’ve been a go-go dancer …

So, I was on a quest to make the best chocolate chip cookie ever. Why? I have no idea. I saw a bag of Ghirardelli chocolate chips, the 60 percent cacao kind and thought, “Wow, I bet those would make great chocolate chip cookies.” I looked on the Internet (because all my cookbooks are still in moving boxes from last summer, when I almost moved) and found a recipe for “Absolutely the Best Chocolate Chip Cookies.” Really, that’s what the recipe was called. I also researched further and found quite a few tips on how to make the cookies even better. Armed with all this new knowledge and all the ingredients—or so I thought—I fought to find the time to actually make the cookies. Tonight, yes, tonight was the night.

I gathered all my ingredients on the counter and realized that, hmm, perhaps my butter should not have an expiration date of January 2008. Fortunately, I found two sticks of butter that looked like they would do. For the life of me, I couldn’t remember when I had actually bought them, but they looked good, so I melted them as recommended. After stirring in the sugars, white and brown, I tasted the mixture … interesting, but it had a rather rancid taste. Just to make sure, I had another taste … and another. No, I don’t think it was supposed to taste like that. Really. So I went to the store, and while I was there I got some more eggs and the latest In Style magazine. I was going to need something to read later on while enjoying these wonderful cookies.

Back home again, I started the melting process over again, finished the cookie dough and let it cool in the refrigerator for just a few minutes while the oven was heating up—another trick I learned from all my research. In the meantime, I sat down to help Malena with her homework and looked down to see that my lounge pants were inside out. And I just went to the store dressed like that. Come to think of it, I had also already taken my bra off. And I wonder why I can’t get a date. Strange.

Fast forward to when I’m happily reading the rest of the instructions, while the first batch of cookies is baking. I never read all the instructions first, makes life a little more adventurous. Besides, I’m pretty smart, I can usually figure out how things work on my own. Well, wouldn’t you know it, they mentioned tablespoons for portioning the cookie dough onto the cookie sheet. Interesting, I was sure I had read something about a ladle.

Maybe I should try go-go dancing instead? After I put my bra back on, of course.

Friday, January 16, 2009

This is what I feel like today …

Turns out the Airborne I’ve been taking to keep a cold from coming on does not sit well with my stomach … I am miserable and in pain.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Not really into tarot, but …

I thought the art on these cards were intriguing and the “truth” of my online reading quite spot on. Take a look for yourself.

You are The Empress

Beauty, happiness, pleasure, success, luxury, dissipation.

The Empress is associated with Venus, the feminine planet, so it represents beauty, charm, pleasure, luxury, and delight. You may be good at home decorating, art or anything to do with making things beautiful.

The Empress is a creator, be it creation of life, of romance, of art or business. While the Magician is the primal spark, the idea made real, and the High Priestess is the one who gives the idea a form, the Empress is the womb where it gestates and grows till it is ready to be born. This is why her symbol is Venus, goddess of beautiful things as well as love. Even so, the Empress is more Demeter, goddess of abundance, then sensual Venus. She is the giver of Earthly gifts, yet at the same time, she can, in anger withhold, as Demeter did when her daughter, Persephone, was kidnapped. In fury and grief, she kept the Earth barren till her child was returned to her.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

I found this site through My Marrakesh.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

One thing leads to another

My previous post took a comical turn on Flickr, and my coworker Jack got a little creative. We have had quite a few laughs over the last couple of days and … well, what can I say. It's me and the gulls.

I really have no shame, do I.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Twenty Years in America

How can it be that twenty years have gone by already? It does not seem possible, yet here I am staring at the beginning of 2009, twenty years to the day after I landed at JFK. I was alone in a new country. And I was hot. I had just left a snow covered Sweden, dressed in a turtleneck sweater, a heavy winter coat and gloves and here I was, shuffling through the airport with my carryon and not a snowflake in sight. In fact, I think there was a heat wave. Or, it was unusually warm for the season, as they might have said on the weather forecast that day. Personally, I was having a heat wave. Then again, it could have been the fact that I was tired, nervous, and hot from wearing too many layers at a crowded airport right after the holidays.

I came to the U.S. with the intention of getting an associate’s degree in commercial art. That’s what my school called it back then. Commercial Art. I was going to study art and design for two years and then go back home again. Or so I thought. My studies went well, in fact, I graduated top of my class that year, in May of 1992. I got the cap and gown, walked the walk and attended the graduation dinner. My mother, her husband and my brother flew over for the occasion. It was grand. Then I spent the summer back home in Sweden and had some time to think. We were in the middle of a recession, what was I going to do?

Three weeks before classes started back up again, I called the college and said I was coming back for my bachelor’s degree. I remember there was a scramble to get all the required paperwork ready to renew my student visa before I could return. All went well and I studied some more. And did the whole cap and gown thing again the following May, receiving my Bachelor of Arts summa cum laude. I also had the honor of being the valedictorian and receiving awards for outstanding academic achievement and outstanding achievement in commercial art. More than I had ever hoped or dreamed. After all, I just came here for a two-year degree.

With my BA in hand I was entitled to a training permit, giving me permission to stay in the country for an additional twelve months. Looking back at that year, I vaguely remember goofing off and getting closer to the end of my visa. A few weeks before the dreaded date, I realized I had better get a job or start packing. Not ready to return to my home country yet, I started looking. Two weeks before the deadline, I landed a job at a company that for the next seven years became the only entry on my resume, even though it appears under three different names.

I didn’t work my way up as much as get a new position or title each time the company was bought out. I was fortunate to stay, when others were let go. Every two years, I had to hire an attorney to renew my work visa—and pay big bucks for him to do it. My life was lived in two-year increments, with trips back to Sweden every year or two, usually including a visit to the American Embassy in Stockholm to get a new visa stamp in my passport. Every time I walked through immigrations on my return to the U.S., I was just as nervous as the first time, but they never turned me away.

A few years went by—two or three work visas I think—and then I met a man. I had met men before, but this man was different. I could usually tell if a relationship was going to work within two weeks of meeting someone, and usually I determined it was not. And it didn’t. Yet, I tried to make it work. So much wasted time. This time, I knew within two weeks that this was the man for me. I had recently given my life to Jesus, and in return, Jesus gave me a man. Well, I like to think so.

This man and I were married in May 1998. It was bliss. Why wouldn’t it be, we were married in Sweden and honeymooned in Paris. He was my best friend. We shared a lot of laughs. We cried, too. We had a similar sense of humor. We were both very sarcastic. We were as compatible as a man and a woman can be. We were happy. For a few years, at least.

Along came a little baby girl and a green card. I stopped working and became a stay-at-home mom. My little girl and I spent our days taking walks and recording milestones, but something didn’t feel right. I didn’t realize how much I missed my job until I was forced to go back to work two years later. Our finances were bad and getting worse. Our marriage was heading in the same direction. But, there was still a lot of love there. And I enjoyed being back at work at my old company with a new name. My spirits were lifted and I was back in my element.

Then another baby came along. I took some time off work to care for her, before returning to my little gray cubicle to design my heart away. And to lose the love of my man.

The last three and half years have gone by quickly. I have survived a heartbreaking separation and divorce, been blessed with a new job, sans cubicle, and raised two beautiful girls on my own. There are days I want to run away from the responsibility of being their main provider and then there are days when I count myself so fortunate to have two such smart little girls. Strong-willed, independent, headstrong, willful, beautiful girls. They are the fruit of my love. They are the reason I am still here. Even though it would be so much easier for me to pack up and move back home, where I have family who can help out, I don’t want to take them away from their father. This is their country and it has become mine. Twenty years. How time flies.

*1989 with poodle perm in Helen, Ga., 1994 with hair down to my butt, 1998 on my honeymoon in Paris (at the Eiffel Tower), Elisabet and Malena at our old house, 2005 after getting too skinny during my divorce, today in 2009 … mostly happy, especially with the short hair!