Saturday, March 31, 2012

Swedish Rhapsody ~ My Theme for the A to Z Challenge 2012

Theme ~ Swedish Rhapsody
The A to Z Challenge begins tomorrow. Over 1,300 bloggers have signed up this year so it should be great fun. To meet the challenge, we have to post every day in April, except Sundays, but since there are five Sundays this April, we will begin tomorrow . That will take us through the alphabet from A to Z.
Last year, my theme was Desert Canyon Living and this year it is Swedish Rhapsody. I have a subject for almost all the letters so that's a relief. 
The parts that cover my memories will be from my childhood and teenage years, the 1940s and 50s, with some from more recent visits. I moved to the United States in 1962, so of course, much has changed in Sweden since then. My posts will not be very serious and will cover traditions, food, drink, nature, folklore, places, books, memories and more. I hope you will join me on this alphabet journey and that I will be able to entertain you.
Since you won't hear from the dogs for a month, here is an update:
Angel, very old now, but doing well. She is healthy and still guards, disciplines Samson, plays with Samson, steals my slippers, and then she sleeps. Pippi Birdie in the background is also healthy and doing well. He's only been sick once in 12 years and made it through OK. A great little companion.

As some of you know, we have been really ill here for over a month (I just had a setback and find myself with a lowgrade fever again. I guess it was the trip to LA, but that had to get done) and Soldier is the one dog that has really suffered from lack of exercise. He needs his daily walks to keep his joints moving and to keep him relatively pain free. I may have to put him on some arthritis medicine and will talk to the vet next week about that.
Samson has recovered well from his bout with pancreatitis (sp?) and is back to his old complaining self. He's particularly mad that I haven't let him blog about his experience at the vet. I have had a running battle with my husband to have Samson neutered. When Samson was at the vet, they determined that he has an enlarged prostate. Something common in older dogs that haven't been fixed, but unusual in someone less than three years old. So, he doesn't know this yet, but next week, he'll go back to the vet to get fixed. I'm not happy that he has this problem, which could turn serious, but I am very happy to get this battle out of the way. Please say a prayer for him, that all will go smoothly. Thanks.
Finally, if anyone can help me with this, I would much appreciate it. It has happened to me once before and got fixed without me doing anything. The problem is that both the size of my Dashboard and the font of both my dashboard and my comment pop up screen in Google Chrome has shrunk to a practically unreadable size. Right before the A to Z Challenge at that. It is still the normal size in Internet Explorer. However, it takes forever to blog in Internet Explorer, so this presents a bit of a problem. But I will deal with it, not much else to do, unless one of you may have a solution. 
 This is the size of the Dashboard in Google Chrome
and this is the regular size, here displayed in Internet Explorer. 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Income taxes, Swedish Food and Berries -- Lots of Berries!

Yesterday, we drove down to Los Angeles to get our income taxes done. Since we were in the neighborhood, we stopped by Fishducky's house, but found no one at home. Sorry we missed you my dear friend.

Happy that we didn't owe any tax money, we then decided to go to the Scandinavian store and stock up on some herring, cheese and these wonderful crisp breads - knaeckebrod in Swedish. I lived off the salty herring and this crisp bread while I had the flu, so we were completely out. The store is owned by a Mr. Olson, old now, but he keeps it going. Yesterday, he had a young Swedish-American guy helping him. We chatted for a while in Swedish and he told me his mom was Swedish and he had learned about the store at Christmas time.

The store is very close to where we used to live and every Christmas, I remember, Swedish women from far and wide would descend on the store to get the Swedish Christmas ham and other goodies. So the young man's mom had been a part of that and kept the old traditions alive. The matjes herring is in the above container. We got two of these, just to have. This is one of our favorite meals: thick slices of fatty, salty herring that you cover with sour cream, chopped up chives or green onions, and topped with chopped up hard-boiled eggs and serve with fresh potatoes (if you can find them). We also have a salad with this meal. 

On our way home, we stopped in Lancaster, a town in the Antelope Valley, about 45 miles from here. Costco was our destination. We just became members last month and are  trying them out. Not sure yet if we like this huge store or not. Or if we save any money for that matter. With my husband in tow, I am not so sure that any money gets saved when there's food to buy. As an example, I got the berries above. A reasonable amount that I can reasonably finish eating before they go bad. My husband spied these wonderful looking strawberries and just had to have them. 

All four pounds of them! "I want to get healthy again," he said and after being as sick as we were, I can't blame him for that. Maybe he'll create a wonderful strawberry dish from some of them. 
Yesterday went well, my second outing since feeling better, but this morning I woke up early and exhausted. Then I couldn't go back to sleep, so now I'm working on drinking coffee, hoping it will wake me up. I am excited though, because later today I get to go to the library! It's only open three days a week now and it seems I haven't been there for ages. 
Have a nice day, everyone!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Fishducky's Art Gallery

No words necessary here. Enjoy!

I will post more of Fishducky's art after the A to Z Challenge in April is over. Fishducky's life has been varied and interesting and she is now writing blog posts, full of wisdom and humor, about her experiences, people she has known, and places she has visited. You can read her stories every Friday on Elisa's blog:
And while you are there, I recommend you check out some of Elisa's wonderful stories about her Crazy Life as a Writing Mom.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Sunday Morning Reflections

I continue to believe that in order for there to be givers there must be receivers. So when we let ourselves receive we give to others. That is, we let them give to us. True grace in every way.
~ Dee Ready

A special thank you to those of you who commented on my post of yesterday. Your comments and friendship mean so much to me. I am glad that I let my strong feelings regarding this child be known.

Friday, March 23, 2012

What's Going On? --- Justice for Trayvon Martin

Last night I watched on TV the gathering of people, some 30,000 people, demanding justice for Trayvon Martin, the young boy in Florida, shot do death for no other reason than that he was black. I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn't go back to sleep, I was that upset, wondering what was going on, once again, in America. 

Trying to go back to sleep, I composed a poem for the boy in my mind. That didn't help. This morning, I went outside and took these two pictures that are about as dark as I feel inside.
America needs for white parents, who teach their children racial hatred, to stop it. We are not born racists, we are taught by our parents and our communities. These white parents need to look inside themselves and see their own humanity, then they need to look at people of color and see that same humanity in them. Then America needs these white parents to put away their own fear-based racial hatred and lock it up together with their guns!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Tracks, Scanner, Links, and an Update on Fundraiser for Amy

Thanks, Upupaepops, for confirming the jack rabbit tracks. I took this picture late Monday, after the snow had melted for a while, and it was clear then that the animal was light-weight. My tracks to the right and the coyote tracks, as well, had melted to the ground, while these had not. 

Thanks, Sandra, for the scanner advice. I have Photoshop, but not in this computer. I installed the scanner with no problems, but it won't scan. I just haven't taken the time to look into it. With both hubby, me, Soldier and Samson on medicines, I kept forgetting to give Angel hers. As you can see, her nose got worse for it. She has discoid lupus and if this happens to your dog, please check out Natural Canine's homeopathic treatments. Most vets suggest either steroids (terrible) or antibiotics. You may want to check out their web site for other things for your dog as well: Angel has been using their products for years and is doing very well. (As long as I don't forget to give her the stuff.)

I sat outside yesterday with the dogs and enjoyed the sounds and smells of the melting snow, when a butterfly started to flutter around us. It stayed around all day, but with temperatures in the 20s overnight, I guess it must be gone by now. 

There is still some snow left in the mountains and on the north side of the junipers. 
I know some of you, my dear blogger friends, helped raise funds for Amy, who is fighting melanoma. And kept her in your prayers too. Yesterday, I finally went to their blog to see what happened after the close of the fundraiser. There I found a heartfelt thank you letter from Amy herself, letting us know that she and Sylvia have moved into a small house in San Diego. I know how difficult it was for Sylvia to do this and for Amy to realize and accept what Sylvia had done. I shared with Amy something that my blogger friend Dee Ready said to me: "There is a grace in accepting help, money or other needed things." Or something to that effect. And Amy really needed the help, so thank you for keeping her in your prayers and contributing to them so they could rent a home of their own.
I have to work on income taxes today and hope to get to my emails tomorrow. I know there must be hundreds of them as I haven't done a thing with them for a month now. So, if anyone wrote to me, it will be a while before I will get back to you.
So much for my idea of having a wordless photo blog during the month of March!!!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Fishducky's Art Gallery

My friend Fran, aka fishducky, sent prints of her art to me so that I could post them here from time to time. There is something wrong with my scanner function, I installed it, but  I can't get it to work. I haven't looked into it seriously, but I will soon. My photos of Fran's pen and ink Victorian houses sort of work, so I'm posting a few more today. However, photos of prints of oil paintings and charcoal drawings don't do the pictures justice. I posted one that I love anyway. Enjoy!

Man with beard -- charcoal

Monday, March 19, 2012

Snow and Tracks in the Canyon

Thanks for your comments -- yes, a virtual walk sounds like a great idea, Rob-bear. I couldn't resist going for a real one today, but didn't make it very far. 

 Soldier's ears!
Yes, my Swedish friend, we do get snow in California. You can famously get from the beach to the snow in a couple of hours if you live in Los Angeles. Here in the pass, we are at around 4,000 feet -- the Tehachapis go up to almost 8,000 feet. We are located at the very southern end of the Sierra Nevada mountains in California. This winter has been the first one with little snow since we moved here, so I was very happy with the blizzard we had yesterday. It will melt fast so I just had to go out and take a few pictures. 

There were some strange tracks in the snow that must have been a jack rabbit jumping in deep snow. But I'm not sure.

A juniper tree heavy with snow.

I didn't even make it to the barn. I need a lot of work to build my strength up. The snow went over my boots, so it was hard work, but so much fun. Normally, we'd go hiking all over the land in this kind of weather. 

Jack rabbit tracks, perhaps. Wish I was a tracker! The distance between the tracks was huge.

After we got in the house, the dogs let loose, barking like crazy. By the time I got to the window, the coyote was way down on the road. But it had gone right past our living room window, leaving these nice tracks in the snow.

I don't think you can see the coyote tracks here, but doesn't the Jeep look cute, covered in snow?
Annette, thanks for giving the storm warning. I had no idea all this was coming.
Janie Junebug, I haven't been in my email for almost a month. I need to figure out how to get to you blog all over again. 
Fishducky, I will get to emails later this week. I don't have energy to deal with them all and I have to get our income taxes ready for the tax lady today and tomorrow.
Upupaepops, I wish you were here to interpret all the tracks in the snow for me. It's interesting to imagine that all these critters are here all the time and you just don't know.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sunday Morning Reflections

There's lots of people in this world who spend so much time watching their health that they haven't the time to enjoy it.  ~Josh Billings 

 If I'd known I was going to live so long, I'd have taken better care of myself.  ~Leon Eldred

This morning, I was reflecting on health and how important it is to be healthy as we get older. I have several things wrong with me, but none is holding me back so far. I have thought that maybe one of them would get me in the end, but I never gave a single thought to the power of a virus.
I haven't had a flu for at least 20 years, as the flu shots have kept me safe. Then I got this virus that I've now had for almost a month and I don't remember feeling as ill as I did these last few weeks since I had measles as a child. So I went to to see if I could find some wise quotes on Health; instead I found several funny ones that made me giggle. And since giggling is what I need to do right now, I posted two of them above.
And then we had the first "real" snow storm of the winter! I stayed inside and took a few pictures through the living room window. I wish I could go out and play with the dogs in the snow, but I better not. Have a great Sunday!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Sleeping Dogs

I like few things better than pictures of sleeping dogs. Angel 

always wakes up, but Soldier and Samson sleep well. They 

both doing better. Soldier is still not well and tired, but 

Samson is up to his old tricks. These pictures are from January, I am not up to taking any new ones. And now I'm off to read a few blogs. I will catch up slowly.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Canyon View

A view to the East.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Feeling Better

This is my first time on the computer in two weeks and I wanted to thank you for your comments. And Jane, thanks for your card, I'm glad the book was good. Anyone who may want to copy the Say No to Word Verification gadget, please feel free. I want to spread the word and will be glad to get some help. Someone asked if I was going to write a review of The Pale King and right now I will be too busy. I haven't actually finished it or any of about 8 other books I tried to read while sick.

I'm just going to bore you a little bit with how awful the last two weeks have been. After my last post, I became really ill again with a fever, stomach upset and this terrible cough. Then my back went out from coughing, so a lot of pain again. I saw the doctor a week ago, that was the best I could do, just couldn't get out of bed any sooner. My hubby is also better, but neither of us is 100% yet. 

Then Saturday, I woke up to a huge dog mess all over the living room carpet. Samson sick to his stomach. Cleaned up, let him stay outside. Then we noticed he was throwing up blood. Hubby took him to the vet immediately, which was good. Nothing worse than sick dogs on a Sunday. Samson was diagnosed with pancreatitis -- don't know how to spell it and haven't looked it up yet. From what I understand he suffered from severe inflammation and needed intravenous liquids, antibiotics, anti acids, bland food. He spent the weekend at the vet, where he tore out three IVs and in general didn't think much of the experience. Vet said it was good we brought him in right away, often dogs with this don't make it because they are seen too late. 


Then last night, Soldier got the runs! We couldn't believe it, because he is never sick. After we stayed up most of the night with him, we left him outside in the dog run around two a.m. as there seemed to be no end to what was dribbling out of him. He didn't mind, so we finally got a few hours sleep. We have bland food from the vet and we're cooking rice right now.  Then we'll pick up some chicken to boil and cottage cheese and other bland stuff for the dogs. Who knows what's going on!

Hubby has to go to Los Angeles today and I'm worried because he really didn't get much sleep. But I thought I would end this sad tale with a rainbow from a year or so ago. There's something hopeful about a rainbow, I think. 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

An Update Post

Before I say anything about our wind storm here, let me express my sympathy for those of you affected by the recent tornadoes. I'm pretty sure I could never live in those parts of the country, it is just so destructive. I live in an area where several wind systems converge and sometimes we do get some pretty scary big wind storms. We are under wind advisory right now, I believe the gusts are around 60 mph.

When winds are from the west like today, they stir up the sand at the donkey rescue and blow it all over the canyon. I'm glad donkeys are such tough animals because they are eating a lot of sand right now, not to speak of sand in eyes and ears. My husband and I are both feeling better, but not well. I have a persistent cough and will see my doctor next week if I'm not better. Tomorrow we are going to try to go to town and pick up some more OTC medicines and other stuff I have been longing for while sick, like club soda. Some bubbly stuff for my stomach. I hope the wind subsides by then. 

I  have some plans for my blog for the month of March. If I can keep my mouth and pen shut long enough, I would like to turn my blog into a photo blog for most of the month. Very  few words, just pictures, old and new. That way I will have more time to visit your blogs, discover who my new followers are, and getting caught up on all the wonderful blogs out there. 

That way I can also have some time to prepare for April's A to Z Challenge, a time where I will post every day, except Sundays. I have already begun to write some stories and ideas down. Last year, some bloggers had themes. Mine was Desert Canyon Living. This year, my theme is Swedish Rhapsody and I'll be writing about the country of my birth and all things Swedish from trolls to coffeecake.

Finally, I'm one of those bloggers who loves to leave comments, I find it's a great way to get to know people and perhaps even become blogger friends. Thanks to the double word verification mess, I will no longer leave comments on your blog if you decide to keep this feature. I will read your blog, but I will not leave a comment. I did away with my word verification over a year ago, as did most of my blogger friends. I have not had a single problem! Spam picks up all Anonymous comments, all comments in languages, such as Greek and Russian, where the alphabet is different. If you are concerned you could keep the option to approve all comments before posting them to you blog. 


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