I bookended 2022 with the spicy cough, having had covid in January and December, with the December version being the most vicious. It has been a slow recovery, and the bad news for you is that I am now way well enough to type.
I’m not coughing, my throat is pretty ok; I have had a migrane for two days, intense joint pain, I’m shaking so much I cannot walk, I’m so tired I cannot move. This feels EXACTLY like the time I had a kidney infection and my kidneys stopped working the way God intended. Laying in hospital, this is EXACTLY how it felt. OMG. What if I’m patient zero for another strain of covid, Stockholmicron, where the virus attacks your kidneys and not your lungs.
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 No rehydration tablets, no Dettol, but I did find that our medicine cabinet was full of wildly out-of-date meds, if we were so inclined to test our immunity that little bit further.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.
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.
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.
Thejoy 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.
“Well, I’m 7-and-a-half and I still haven’t had my 6th birthday party,” was the leitmotiv of Marigold, especially after being asked to empty the dishwasher. There were daily reminders; Tristan chord tensions were palpable.
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.