the covid crisis had hit the household when there were no clean towels, no clean bedsheets, not a box of tissues or Vicks Vapour Drop to be found. No rehydration tablets, no Dettol, but I did find that our medicine cabinet was full of wildly out-of-date meds, if we were so inclined to test our immunity that little bit further. If only we'd had two years to prepare.
Missed The Book Club – part 1? Click here to catch up.
Book Club book #2
With the weighty chunk of a bible for Book Club book #1, I was eager to get my hands on the next book as early as possible, to ensure success. With two failed attempts in-person at the library – the book hadn’t come in – I emailed the librarian, who promised to send me an email when the book arrived.
We waited and waited, and life went on. Thoughts of Book Club book #2 sank to the bottom of everything else swimming in my brain. Then the email arrived.
The shock, the horror. It said Book Club was in two days, and would be an in-person event at the library including cake. She’d forgotten to email me when the book arrived; we were screwed.
I told Elsa what had happened, and that we would jump on the Book Club bandwagon for book #3 and skip this one. Then I got The Reaction. She burst into tears, completely devastated that she would miss the next session.
“Did I just say we would skip book #2? Of course, we would never do that!”.
How could I forget to follow up on the book? I pinned that Best Parenting Award badge straight to my jacket, and power walked to the library to claim the book. In the next two days, we powered through the first few chapters, speed reading and skipping the boring bits. We didn’t finish it, but we did make a good attempt.
The Book Club met, and she could keep up with the discussion. The librarian told her to cover her ears when they were discussing the ending. The cake was a hit; smiles returned.
And wasn’t I just totally on top of book #3; got it in my hot little hands the minute it landed at the library. We were off and running with a strong start, plenty of time to read the book before the next session. We were going to nail book #3.
Book Club book #3
Here’s a loose translation of the Swedish book…
It was a grey and damp morning, when Christine, handcuffed, travelled over the meadow towards the harbour. The carriage wheels and horses heels could be heard on the gravel, but nothing else. No wind. No birdsong.
Oooooo, that’s a descriptive way to start a story, I said to Elsa.
Not many were there. Some soldiers, some police, the officials for the protocol; maybe eight, counted Christine.
Mmmm, I wonder what’s going to happen next…
But Christine, doesn’t want her life to end. Not yet. She’s too young.
The officials read out she’s convicted of killing her baby son. She didn’t. He’s still alive. No one listens to her. Her screams have never been heard.
The executioner takes a step forward with a rope. Christine looks at the executioner right in the eyes, it’s all she can see of him, his face is covered in a black hood. He has light blue eyes without life. She falls to her knees… As the clouds appear and dawn arises, there is nothing left of the woman known as Christine.
CHEERY START TO A BOOK FOR BOOK CLUB AGES 9-12. A young, immigrant, innocent women gets hanged beside the harbour, in graphic detail. SHOULD BE A GOOD BOOK.
Needless to say, we didn’t read much more, and Book Club book #3 was one we gladly skipped.
2/2 for 2022, on a writing roll.
I think nothing says ‘injecting some life into my blog’ like writing content that should have been published weeks ago. Why yes, January is the perfect time to write about Christmas. Today is a public holiday in Sweden, Epiphany – thirteen days after Christmas, so in fact, I can legally still write about the festive season, getting it in at the very last minute. To push my point further, the Swedes like to drag out Christmas so it doesn’t officially end here until Saint Knut’s Day – twenty days after Christmas – so maybe I am actually ahead.
Delightful (and dark) December
When December 1 appeared, we were Advent-ready. As a Christmas extremer, I am a fan of this lovely tradition that dates back to the 1890s. On top of our usual adventures with advent – Grandma’s beautiful advent calendar + public television’s daily Christmas tv show and radio saga, with matching calendar – this year, we took it up a notch.
Marigold and Elsa made their own calendars at school, turns out they were my favourites, of course. To hear the matching stories associated with each window was pure joy. Grandma also sent us a ‘kindness’ advent calendar with a kindness challenge for every day. Fabulous!
Christmas near the north pole – Santa included!
As the pandemic raged on, we were very grateful to be able to spend Christmas together with our Swedish family. For so many both in Sweden and around the world, this type of family gathering was not possible; we were truly thankful.
On Christmas Eve, the Swedish Christmas Goat made his majestic appearance like clockwork and Christmas celebrations officially started. Santa must have been triple vaccinated, because he showed up on a sleigh!!! A day of eating, gifting, chatting, napping, and taking walks with the puppy. Yes, that’s right. A puppy!
A puppy for Christmas
The Ling puppy lobby won their petition for an earlier-than-expected surprise purchase of a puppy, with a strong four votes out of five. By mid-December, we were able to pick her up, an 11-week-old ‘Pomapoo’ – a mix of Toy Poodle and Pomeranian. Her real mix is part dog, part teddy bear, so it was love at first sight; introducing Yumi Rose, the best Christmas present ever! Having her with us up north was golden magic. She even loves snow.
The joy of writing
I have now set a target to write one blog post per week and with this post, I am 100% on track. You’ll have to put up with me a bit longer.
More to come.
Can you ever take too many pictures of a puppy? How was your Christmas? Could you spend time with family or did corona bite you in the bum? Let me know below.
Arriving home on a Tuesday morning in a taxi at dawn, after a night of public vomiting, feeling woozy, clutching an unmarked brown paper bag containing five small blue pills could at once, seem like a night out well spent. Or, on the other hand, signal the return home, after another night in a crowded emergency ward in the midst of a global pandemic, hooked up to a drip after an unexplained anaphylactic episode, that again, took my breath away.
Welcome back! Catch up with all the nonsense from part one here.
Do you glow when you eat a tomato? That’s what I was trying to find out so was very eager to hear back from my allergist with my latest results.
One afternoon at the beginning of Jan 2019, I answered the call that changed my life.
“Hello Louise, your results are in”
“Great, what am I allergy to?”
“Can you say that in English because I swear you’re saying that after 3,5 years of very restrictive eating, a few cross contamination episodes which landed me in hospital, an irresitable love of interrogating restaurant chefs, and a whole lot of faffing about regarding the interpretation of food labels, ARE YOU NOW TELLING ME I AM CURED? I DO NOT HAVE ANY FOOD ALLERGIES, I AM ALLERGIC TO NOTHING?”
“What about tomato or wheat, cooked or raw?”
“Go eat pizza if you want”
“WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT???? CAN YOU EVEN CURE YOURSELF FROM FOOD ALLERGIES? I HAVE NEVER HEARD OF THIS BEFORE, ARE YOU A REAL DOCTOR?”
“Your immune system has now healed and I can’t detect anything in your bloodwork; you’re fine.”
“I thought I hated you, but I love you”
“Do you want a picture of me for your wall or latest medical magazine cover, this is amazing.”
Turns out, he was correct. I went home and tested myself by eating tomato sauce, just a few drops. No reaction. I ate a crumb of bread. No reaction. We ordered pizza. No reaction. Over the coming weeks, I re-introduced all my forbidden foods, all of which came up with no reaction. Not even a single scratch.
Oh, and didn’t I eat for Sweden! Making up for lost time.
“Would you like a cinnamon bun?”
“Yep, make it two!”
“Want a cardamom bun”
“Jesus, of course I do, hand them over”
“Darling, should I get pizza on the way home?”
With gleeful abandon, for 2019 and the first half of 2020 I ate grains with joy, with a side of tomato salad.
Well, until this happened. Since, nearly dyings, I’ve gone back to a restrictive diet, with success I might add, as I haven’t had much of a reaction since. But not knowing really what the cause of my reaction in May was, every time I eat, I feel like I’m playing Russian roulette. Will we end the night with Netflix or a trip to emergency?
But Friday is the BIG DAY. I have an allergist appointment including a skin prick test and the works – with a new allergy clinic as I refused to go back to my original allergist. I can’t wait to sort this all out, and to find out, if I am once again a scientific miracle, or if I’ll be given an epi-pen and orders not to eat anything but apples.
More to come.