Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Wordless Wednesday


Joyce with tail end of her dog Carmen

Monday, March 29, 2021

Gray on Gray Solution

 I've had few reasons to get out of my pandemic old clothes and put on something nice for over a year now. Same as for most of the human race. 

A couple of years ago, I bought a gray sweater from Land's End online. 

Buying clothes online requires a bit of luck and returning things can be a pain.

As it turned out, I never wore this particular sweater. I think I had some buyer's remorse, the color was just not the right kind of gray. 

It grayed me out.

Friday, I had an appointment with my dental hygienist and decided to try on the gray sweater with my gray turtleneck underneath. It was a cold and overcast morning and the sweater looked like it would keep me warm with no outerwear necessary.

The sweater felt really nice, warm and toasty. But did it make me look washed out? Gray on gray on gray me and so on... 

I usually don't worry about things like that, but for  some reason all this gray made me wonder. Should I go with my blue and brown? 

I was only going to the dentist, after all, where I would be covered up in a big lavender (as it turned out) paper napkin. 

And I do look good in lavender. All silver-haired old ladies do. This is a well-known fact.

Now, my dentist is pretty hot, but then I wasn't seeing him.

Hopefully I wasn't, as I just can't afford any cavities right now. I have some plans for a new car.  

Back to dressing for my visit:

I couldn't figure out what was wrong with me. I usually don't worry about how I look. A pair of Wrangler men's jeans with a sweater on top is all I've worn since I moved here, about 16 years ago. 

Then I remembered that I had just the thing to tie it all together and make all this gray look coordinated and cool. 

So I put my gray mask on and was ready to face the world. 


It's been a bit of a dizzying experience to look at my baby pictures and those above and to even begin to think about the span of time between them.

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Swedish Traditions During Lent

According to Swedish tradition, on Shrove Tuesday, also known as Fat Tuesday, families eat semlor. The semla is a bun, a wonderful bun, that I can't describe, so if you're interested, please check it out here:  Swedish Lentil Buns

Looking this up online, it looks like the semla is only eaten on Shrove Tuesday, but I seem to remember we ate them every Tuesday during Lent in our home.  

Also during Lent, brightly colored feathers are attached to bare birch tree branches and brought into Swedish homes, see the b/w photo above. I have no idea why we do this. But of course there's always Google, who said this:

The tradition dates back to the late 19th century and is thought to reference the playful practise of bashing friends and family with birch twigs as part of the carnival of fun and games before Lent.

Oh, reading that I'm giggling at the image of a bunch of Swedes running around bashing each other with birch tree branches. What a picture that paints in my mind! 

Friday, March 26, 2021

Conversations With Faith


Me: Faith, guess what I just read in the Washington Post.

Faith: Too much stuff in there for me to guess.

Me: There's a farm where people can come and hug cows.

Faith: What??!!!

Me: It's true, one woman was very sad, then she hugged a cow and afterwards she felt much better.

Faith: But cows are so big, how can you possibly hug them? And they have horns too. When our neighbor's cows come over here (where they have no business being) I would not want to get up close. 

Me: These cows didn't have horns. And you hug them around their necks. And one woman lied down with a cow and hugged it that way.

Faith: I hate to say it, but sometimes people do the dumbest things.

Me: Guess how much it costs to get to hug a cow.

Faith: It wouldn't be worth it, but I would guess $10.00.

Me: No, $75.00.

Faith: Dumb is as dumb does. 

Me: Now you sound like Forest Gump.

Faith: Who?

Me: Never mind.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Monday, March 22, 2021

Type 1 Diabetes ~ New Technology And Me

Bound to be some problems, right? And I set myself up, for sure.

I've had Type 1 diabetes since I was 49 years old, so over 30 years now. Most commonly ocurring in children and young adults, it can happen later in life as well. 

The first 10 years were very difficult. But still, I was grateful it happened later in life, so I could have all those fun adventures I had when I was young.

Since I got my first pump more than 20 years ago, everything has been much easier. I'm usually able to manage my diabetes  well.  My A1c is always under 7 (in case you've heard that TV commercial -- 7 is the cut off point for reasonably good control).

Some days are easy, everything works, my sugars don't rise too high, emotions are under control (yes, they make you sicker too), and no tempting/but bad food has landed in my system. 

Other days are sheer hell, but I won't dwell on those. They come and they go and life goes on.

However, while I'm so very grateful to have been fully vaccinated for covid-19 with the Moderna vaccine, I've had problems managing my diabetes since I received my second dose. 

Since I got my first pump over 20 years ago, this has never happened. 

I've talked to my diabetes team, but will not have the complete discussion with them until the beginning of April. I must have a blood test before then and also upload my pump data to their office. 

I know I will get some good advice and make changes toghether with them to my insulin pump programmig. 

I also got a new insulin pump recently. I set it up myself, no problems. I verified it with Kathy, who is part of my team, and also a friend by now. 

But Kathy and I forgot to go over the meter. The thing that I use to check my sugars. It's supposed to transfer the data, the result of the each blood sugar test, to the insulin pump. My previous ones did this also and I don't recall any issues with setting them up. 

This one had 21 steps to follow, most of them logical, but confusing at the same time. Makes no sense I know, it may have something to do with my advanced age and lousy blood sugar control (the higher the sugars, the thicker the brain fog).

Funny thing was, I thought I had messed everything up, tears of frustration were gathering in my eyes as I entered a strip in the meter, pricked my finger and added my blood. 

I was so sure it wouldn't work. But then I looked, and, as Errol would have said, "there it is!" and there it was. In both places, both the meter and the pump. 

I had done everything correctly. 

So there it is, and the lesson(s): 

No point in getting frustrated, particularly not before you know that you messed up. 

Things may not be as hard as you think they are. 

Or you may be smarter than you think. 

And save those tears until you really need them. 

I'm sure you, my friends,  can come up with some more.

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Sunday Morning Reflections

Spring flowers from Sweden

As I write this on a Saturday morning, a soft rain is falling on our dry land. 

They are much needed, these lovely quiet raindrops.


Friday, March 19, 2021

Life ~ The Early Years

 I was born in the evening of the summer solstice in Stockholm, Sweden. The city is too far south for the midnight sun, but June nights are light and lovely there. I have always been happy about the timing of my birth. I'm a Friday's child.

I was long and skinny when I arrived. Later, some chubbiness set in. 

We were a small family. My dad had one brother, my mom a brother and a sister. I was the first child, much wanted, much loved, much spoiled, but also much trusted. Their trust in me was the most important gift I received from my parents.  

My first memory is of ants. I was fascinated by a structure built by ants.

More than half of Sweden's land area is covered by forests, mostly pine and fir trees. As pine and fir needles drop to the forest floor, ants pick them up and use them to build amazing ant buildings, or stacks as they are called in Sweden.

During my first year or two, my parents rented a small cottage on an island in the Stockholm archipelago where we spent our summers. I don't think we owned a boat in those early days.

The rest of the year, we lived in an apartment building in a city suburb. The building was located at the foot of a steep hill and was surrounded by woods. The hill was a lot of fun in the snow. I was totally unafraid of riding down it in one of the above pictured kaelke, a small sled of sorts. 

The winters of 1941 and 42 were very cold with lots of snow I've been told. And I have these pictures to prove it. Looks like I've  loved snow forever.

I was born in 1940, so for the first five years of my life war was raging outside our borders. My dad was in the reserves and was often away, preparing for an eventual war. Above, I'm shaking hands with my soldier dad. As you can see, my dad was tall too.

This is my favorite picture of mom and me.

How awful it must have been, with  the rest of Scandinavia occupied. Finland with its own winter war with the Soviet Union. Was Sweden able to help enough, I hope so. A couple of families in our street took in Jewish refugee children. 

But there were happy times as well. By the time, my brother arrived in the spring of 1943, we needed a larger home. My parents bought a house in a lovely street, where the homes were built at the tail end of the city of Stockholm's first suburb, Enskede.  Some day, I hope to tell the story of this suburb, as its history and how it came to be is quite interesting. 

My brother and I enjoying our very own green grass at our brand new house. I know my parents must have been so happy.


Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Winter ~ And Remembering My Sister Ammi

I had to look on my phone to see what day it was. They tend to run together when one lives an unscheduled life. My phone said: Tuesday, March 16, which brought me back to my sister, Anne Marie. She was born on this date in 1947. She was later diagnosed, no the doctors knew from the beginning, but did not tell my parents. Imagine that? Later my mom was told by a doctor that she had the most severe form of Down syndrome. Nothing could be done, and she should be put in some place that cared for children like her.

In 1947, things were very different. Attitudes, blame cast, and so on. Anne Marie's life did not start out well, I don't think. Later though, she was assigned wonderful caregivers and lived a very good life, much loved by those who cared for her. And by my mom and me. 

Some day, I may tell her story. She was severely disabled, could not speak, would never, ever look anyone in the eye, and had many other difficulties. But still had, for the most part, that sunny disposition you will find in people with this disability.

But that wasn't what I was going to write today. I just wanted to note that winter came roaring back last night with howling winds and snow flurries. A little was left this morning, but will soon melt.

Have a good day, my friends.

Monday, March 15, 2021

New Life

 in more ways than one...

When Joyce told me a baby bull had been born on Friday, I drove up to her place Sunday morning to see him. 

I found him napping, so drove on up the steep hill to Joyce's house.

On my way, I passed papa bull and young bull, that I think has been fixed to live as a steer.  

At Joyce's house, I was met by Judah and Carmen, her dogs, and Einstein, the cat. Both dogs were at my house the day before, when Joyce came over with fresh eggs someone in the canyon had shared with her. 

After Judah and Carmen jumped out of her truck and ran over  to where Samson and Faith were in their fenced-in dog run, a big ruckus ensued. Mainly girl-driven. 

I've seen Judah and Samson sniffing each other gently through the fence. So no problems there.

It's an entirely different story with the girls. 

Anyhow, for the first time in a year, Joyce and I sat on her veranda with a cup of coffee and talked. It felt like normal life had returned. While this is not entirely true, it gave me, once again, a sense that the thin line of hope and light at the end of this long dark tunnel was growing a tiny bit wider. 

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Sunday Morning Reflections

Yesterday, the two-week post-vaccine period ended and my vaccine should now work at full capacity. 

I'm a cautious person, a critical thinker as best I can be, and these attributes have been a great help to me in navigating my life. 

So I listened to and read what the scientists had to say about the vaccines. I realize that they don't know everything, but that they feel comfortable in their desire to see all Americans eventually getting vaccinated.

I also knew with absolute certainty that I would not survive a bout with covid-19 should I get it. I'm 80 years old, I have Type-1 diabetes, and some damage to my lungs from those years, long ago now, when I smoked cigarettes.  I saw no way for me to survive a bad case of this novel virus.

So the choice was easy. 

How do I feel now? Much relieved, but still cautious as new variants show up.  But relieved, for sure. 

I also feel gratitude for everyone who has been involved in taking care of us during this past difficult year. 

And maybe, maybe I see a faint shimmer of light at the end of this long dark tunnel.

Friday, March 12, 2021

Life ~ Looking Back


My dad was an avid photographer with a Hasselblad* camera. My dad loved his camera and since I was the firstborn, and quite the ham, pictures of me as a young child are everywhere, some of them organized in a photo album with my name on the cover.
I hope to post some of my dad's photos here, every now and then, with an accompanying story of a time and place. 

This will be fun for me and I hope it will be for you too, my friends who visit my blog. 

*The Hasselblad is a Swedish camera and one of the best there is. 


Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Conversations With Faith


Me: You can jump up in the bed, can't you?

Faith: Yes, why do you ask?

Me: Looks like you had a little difficulty there. Is your butt getting too heavy?

Faith: Leave my butt alone, it's just fine, thank you very much.

Me: You've always been a great jumper, but we're all getting old.

Faith: Samson and you are old, I'm not. 

Me: OK, otherwise I thought I could buy you these stairs.

Faith -- looks: That's a sausage dog, no wonder he needs some stairs. 

Me: Faith it's not nice to call him names. My cousin had a long-haired Dachshund and he was so handsome, he even was entered in dog shows.

Faith: I've heard about dog shows, can I go?

Me: No, they are only for pure breeds.

Faith: What do you mean? Pure breeds? 

Me: They have to be very fancy and AKC registered.

Faith: You have to buy them, don't you? They are not free like me, given away outside the Tractor Supply Store, scared to death.

Me: Well, but daddy rescued you and brought you home to me. 

Faith: I know, daddy was a very nice man. 

Me: Yes, my sweet dog, he was.

Faith: Are you sad now?

Me: No, how can I be sad when I have you and Samson to cheer me up and take such good care of me?

Faith: Then maybe I can have some of that doggie ice cream you promised? Soon?

Me: I will buy it soon.

Faith: I'll take some people ice cream until you get it!

Me: Maybe just a tiny, tiny amount. 

Faith: Thank you, mommy.

Me: You're welcome.


There were some questions about the four days I was ill after receiving the second shot of the Moderna vaccine. 

I was ill because my Type 1 diabetes reacted to the vaccine the same way it would have reacted to an illness. Which, of course, means that the vaccine was working, it was doing what it was supposed to do. 

If you are healthy, this would not happen, and you would probably just be feeling a bit sick that first night, chills and leg pains, I've heard from friends.

My experience was so strange that I called my diabetes doctor to find out if any other patients had the same experience. They had not heard from anyone else, they said. 

After that, all has been well and it was all so worth it.

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Sunday Morning Reflections

Love must be as much a  light as a flame.

~ Henry David Thoreau

Saturday, March 6, 2021



I got the second dose of the Moderna vaccine a week ago, today.

It's beginning to sink in now. This will make a difference, life will not change much, but I will feel more calm, more at peace.

Thank you to:

The scientists who worked to get vaccines developed so fast.

Dolly Parton, who donated a million dollars toward the development of the Moderna vaccine.

Everyone who is working to get the vaccine distributed across our large and diverse nation. 

The staff of our small Adventist Health hospital, who organized well planned and well executed events to get shots in the arms of people in our community.

The EMT men and women, who stood patiently by their ambulance while monitoring us for allergic reactions to the vaccine. 

I believe both the nurses who gave the shots and the EMT personnel were volunteering their time. So a double thank you!

Jeanne and Joyce, who checked on me for several days to make sure I was OK.

Samson and Faith, who have not been for a walk this week. They have their dog run, but that's no way to live. I promise this will change soon. I was pretty sick for a about four days, so no fun for them. 

As I write this, it's beginning to sink in that I did it.

And I smile as I sign off on this post. 


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