Thursday, December 30, 2021

California Winter

California mountains

on a winter's day

Wishing you all a


Tuesday, December 28, 2021

More Love For Samson


Joyce came by with an orchid. I thought it was for Christmas, but then she came back another day with Christmas gifts. So this is for Samson. No one ever gave me an orchid before, I'm so grateful for the love. 

Carole, my friend from UCLA had this cup made. It's so beautiful, she thinks I will drink my coffee from it, but I have other plans. Once I remove the cards and other Christmas decorations, I will find a place of importance in my living room for this lovely gift. 

You were such a good boy, Samson. Mommy will always love you so very much. 

Saturday, December 25, 2021

Merry Christmas


Merry Christmas

Best wishes from

Inger & Faith

With a closeup of the tomte my grandfather made, circa 1905, 

wishing you a God Jul and a Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

A Very Special Tribute For Samson


My friend Jane made this Scrabble board tribute for Samson. Please take a minute to read it, it is truly lovely.

I was speechless, then I cried. Again.

Then I smiled, because that's what Samson would have done.

It's so clever. Now I can't stop smiling.

Jane told me there weren't enough letters, but she had two Scrabble games, so she had enough letters for Fluffmonster, such an important part of his persona.

A blogger friend in Texas, texwisgirl, coined the phrase Fluffmonster. 

She stopped blogging years ago, but I still thank her for coming up with such a perfect moniker for Samson.

And, again, thank you so very much, Jane, for this amazing tribute to a very good, special, and fluffy dog.


Monday, December 20, 2021

Traditions: A Norse God And The Christmas Straw Goat


The origin of the Yule goat can be traced to pagan celebrations related to Thor, the god of thunder, who rode across the sky in a chariot drawn by two goats, Tanngrisnir and Tanngnjostr, which translates to Teethbearer and Teethgrinder. 

In olden days in Sweden, people believed that the Yule goat was an invisible spirit that came to make sure Yule celebrations were prepared for properly. 

Then people began to imagine the goat and made a wood base that they covered with straw tied together with red ribbons. 

And now the straw goat with his pretty red ribbons can be found under most Swedish Christmas trees.

Back to Thor's goats:

Much as Thor's goats were cared for, they could also end up on the dinner table, as told in one of the sagas of the Poetic Edda. 

To be put back together the following day. 

Strict instructions by Thor to the diners: "Make sure to not break any bones." 

When at one such meal a bone was broken, one of the goats ended up limping after being put together again the following day. 

What is the Poetic Edda? Well, I didn't know. I knew about the Prose Edda, but not that there were two. 

So, of course, I googled it and learned that the Poetic Edda is the modern name for an untitled collection of Old Norse anonymous poems. 

Which you can actually buy for $11.49 on Amazon, where it has 3,395 reviews, ending in a five-star rating. 

Reading this, my mind flashed back to one of the ancient poets, long since dead, returning to life to find his poems part of a collection for sale on Amazon, so well liked, so many stars.  

If you read this far, thanks for letting my mind wander back to the culture of my ancestors, as it must be because I feel a strong  connection.

Just one more thing.

The Norse sagas left parts of their culture behind.  

The days of the week, for example, even in English: 

Sunday: Sol, the Sun

Monday: Mani, the Moon

Tuesday: Tyr, the god of war

Wendesday: (W)Odin, the king god of wisdom

Thursday: Thor, the god of thunder

Friday: Freya, Odin's wife, goddess of love and fertility

Saturday: See below.

In English:

It comes from the Middle English Saturdai, from the Old English Saternesdæg, which is a partial translation of the Latin Sāturnī diēs, meaning “Saturn's day.” The ancient Romans named the day we call Saturday after the planet Saturn, which was named for their god of agriculture.

In Swedish:

Lördag is the Swedish name for Saturday, which comes from the Old Norse name laugardagr which meant 'bathing day'. Laug meant 'pool' or 'lake' and dagr meant 'day'

So this was simply the day that my ancestors took a bath -- or washed up as best they could. A bit more mundane than being named for a planet that, in turn, was named for Saturn, the Roman god of agriculture. 

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Fourth Sunday In Advent


Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
Matthew 1:23

Saturday, December 18, 2021

Thinking Of My Mom On Her Birthday


Thinking of my mom today on her birthday. I love this picture of her in the snow, smiling. Young and happy. And I have posted this photo here before. 

I'm so very grateful to have had a wonderful mom. I think of her often, how much I love her, what a great help she always was to me. 

How unselfish she was when she helped me emigrate to the United States, so far away. I wasn't doing well in Stockholm and she knew I needed a change. The change became permanent, but she didn't mind. As long as I was happy. 

I think of how much fun we had when she visited me here and I visited her in Stockholm. 

I love you mom.

Friday, December 17, 2021

Me, My Dog And Snow


You know how much snow cheers me up, particularly around Christmas time. Snow is part of my childhood memories. The Swedish Christmas traditions I grew up with. I have no memory of a Christmas without snow.

The morning after our recent snowstorm, Faith and I went for a walk in the snow. It was still cold, the snow crunched under my feet and glittered in the sun.

It didn't take long for Faith to remember how much fun running and rolling in the snow can be. She's missed her brother and the snow was just a wonderful distraction for her. 

As we started downhill, toward home, Faith discovered this. A part of the divided trunk of one of our more fragile junipers had broken off in the storm.

Faith seemed to understand that something was different with this tree. I would perhaps give her too much credit saying she looked concerned. But she definitely alerted to a different scenario in our backyard. 

I'm sad, this is one of the two trees I visit regularly. It's the most fragile one in my yard. I feel it's a shame when these trees become part of someone's yard and must be trimmed back for fire safety regulations or other reasons. For now, there's nothing I can do, Mark will cut it up and cart it away later.

So Faith and I walked back home, where we found a near perfect row of icicles hanging from our roof. 

Thursday, December 16, 2021

What! No Insulin In The Pharmacy Of The Largest Store In The World!

As some of you know, I have type 1 diabetes, an organ specific autoimmune disease, not to be confused with the more common type 2. 

People with type 1 must inject insulin in order to survive. I get mine via an insulin pump. 

I've now had this illness for about 33 years and not once during all those years have I thought that I may die from lack of insulin. 

I have excellent health insurance, not all diabetics are as fortunate as I am. 

Then this happened:

On or about the 6th of December, I submitted my insulin refill request to Walmart Pharmacy, a division of the largest store in the world. 

Some time went by, I never received a text that my order was filled, so I called them. 

The person who answered told me they were out of insulin. His tone of voice was nonchalant, as if this was no big deal. He didn't know when their order would arrive. 

Fortunately, I don't wait until the last minute to reorder, so I have a vial and some leftovers in a few other vials. 

But what about people who can't afford this way too expensive medicine? (Fortunately, Lilly who produces the insulin I use will again reduce the price in January 2022.) 

Unfortunately, some people need large amouts of insulin every day to just survive, for them, it can get hideously expensive.

You know I'm old now, somewhat wise, so few things make me angry these days. 

But the cost of insulin does. It's one of those things that just infuriates me.  

Yes, I know there's been talk in congress, but that's it, just talk. I don't have much hope things will change.

What about those people who wait until the last minute to reorder? Because they don't have the money. I'm sure for now, they will find insulin somewhere, but still.

I called back today, December 15, to find out when I could expect to get mine.

The guy said they expect a delivery on the 19th, which is this Sunday. 

Exactly two weeks after I ordered it.

That is, if it does show up on that date.

I can't help but wonder if this may be a sign of things to come.

Much has been written lately about supplyline problems. When I read it, I thought mostly about delays in Christmas presents, no new cars to buy, and so on. 

Insulin and other life-saving medications were just not on my mind. 

It seems inconceivable that a real danger to people's lives could be caused by these supply issues. 

Not right now, but eventually.

Not somewhere else.

But here.

Monday, December 13, 2021

Sankta Lucia Day


Today is Sankta Lucia Day in Sweden

In the old calendar, December 13th was the longest night of the year. It was also the most dangerous. A night when animals could speak and fairies, trolls, and giants roamed the forests. In the countryside, young people would dress up in costumes and go from house to house, singing songs, eating and drinking with their neighbors. 

The custom of a Lucia dressed in white was first recorded in 1764, but didn't become popular until the 19th century. 

The tradition continues today. On December 13th, Sankta Lucia Day is celebrated in Sweden with festivals of light across the country. At the darkest time of year, people are reminded that our earth will soon begin to turn toward the light of spring.

According to tradition, the eldest daughter in the family, wearing a white dress with a red sash and a crown of candles, brings coffee and Lucia buns (lussekatter) to her parents in bed. 

Yes, that's me, bringing coffee in our best cups to my parents in bed. 

During the festivities, the Swedish version of the old Neapolitan song Santa Lucia is sung in schools, homes, and during Lucia parades in cities and towns across Sweden.


This is a repeat post from last year. I hope you are not tired of seeing me as Lucia. 

It's four in the morning here in California and I was awake reading an email from my Danish friend, who reminded me that Lucia is celebrated today. I've told the story of Saint Lucy several times on this day here on my blog. 

Since I'm late, I will just post this now and wish you all a Happy Lucia Day. I will light a candle for Saint Lucy, a Sicilian woman, who has come to represent light during the dark season in the Nordic countries. And I will definitely play Andrea Bocelli singing the Santa Lucia song. Click below to hear this beautiful old Neapolitan song, that is heard everywhere in Sweden today. Traditions, how they originated, how we keep them up, I find it both interesting and lovely. 

Sunday, December 12, 2021

Third Sunday In Advent


The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God

Isaiah 40:3

Friday, December 10, 2021

Rust ~ Post No. 36

Three large diesel engines sit in one of my fields below. They are huge and too much work and expense would be needed to move them. 

Many years ago, I was in the shed when a man came to the open door and said, "hello, my name is Per Persson, and those engines in your field belong to me. I would like to have them back."

Actually, while left in my field, they did belong to me and Errol, who would have a problem giving them up. 

Errol had difficulties parting with things. The most annoying difference between the two of us, as far as I was concerned. 

Per Persson, he couldn't have had a more Swedish name than that, so we struck up a conversation about the engines, his mom who had just died, and bit of Sweden too. 

I told him my husband may have a difficult time letting the engines go, but that I would check with him. 

Of course Errol wanted to keep the engines. 

I'm sure we had some strong words between us. 

I never saw Per Persson again.

The engines are still here, and now I may have found some use for them: 

Rusty models for my blog! 

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Thank You

Samson and Faith last month.

Thank you, my friends, for your kind and caring comments on my Samson post. 

You are the best, always there in times of trouble. 

After Errol died, the three of us, Samson, Faith and I, struggled, but moved on and slowly healed together from our loss. 

We were a team, the three of us. Now, Faith and I will be that team. 

We have a strong bond, we will be fine. 

Thank you, sending lots of love to all of you from Faith and me.

Sunday, December 5, 2021

Second Sunday In Advent

On this second Sunday in Advent, I'm feeling better. No tears for Samson yet today. 

As I lit the second candle, it shone a light on the drawing of Samson that my blogger friend Cyndi made for Errol when he was so ill in the hospital. 

Thinking of her now, reminds me that I have lost contact with her. So many of the friends I made while blogging no longer blog. 

I bought Christmas cards. I must write a greeting and address the envelopes today and mail them tomorrow. 

Inga and Christina in Sweden are so thoughtful and kind. Every year they send me a Swedish calendar featuring puppies destined to be Guide Dogs for the blind. They are all so adorable, some of their little faces look just like Faith's did when she first arrived here. So sweet and so much appreciated by me. 

But then there's the post office, the service provided these days leaves a lot to be desired:

I sent a birthday card to Annette in Denmark last summer. It took 48 days for it to arrive!

I should have mailed them before Thanksgiving. I feel so lost in old age sometimes, but there's still time to make up for it. 

Getting a Christmas card toward the end of January...

Will that be OK?

I'm pretty sure it will. Because there is email to be used for a more punctual greeting and an update on my life. 

And then there's the telephone! Back in the days, before email, one would call on special occasions. 

Faith is sleeping on my bed. We comfort each other. Hilary was so right when she left a comment on my Samson post, noting that "Errol was so right to bring Faith into your life."

Faith helped me after Errol died, as she is helping me now. We have such a strong bond, she and I. 

None of this has anything to do with the second Sunday in Advent, but all to do with sorrow and love. 

On that note, I will end my ramblings and wish you all: 

Happy Second Sunday in Advent. 


Friday, December 3, 2021

Samson ~ July 7, 2009 - December 1, 2021


Samson passed away peacefully at the vet's office on Wednesday, while I was stroking his furry head and telling him what a very good dog he'd always been. 

Lately, he had some difficulties getting up from my laminate floors, but was OK on the slate floor in the entrance where he slept and from other non-slippery surfaces. 

But he was clearly old now. He only could walk short distances and would let me know when he'd had enough.

I took him to the vet to be evaluated, without any hope that the news would be good.  Dogs have a way of letting you know when they are tired and done.

The vet tech who took him out of the car, said, "he's tired," without knowing why I had brought him in. 

And that's what Samson was. The long, hot, very hot summer did us all in, and Samson suffered the most, even with the portable air conditioner I bought for him. It was just a brutal summer.

The vet found a tumour on Samson's spine and also something wrong with his left hind leg. Not arthritis, something else, I was too upset to listen, but it wasn't good. 

I knew, I had to let him go. 

He was on the floor, I couldn't hold him, but I petted his furry head and told him he'd been the best dog I had ever known. I told him how much I loved him, tears just kept running quietly, I don't think he knew how upset I was. 

It was over so fast. Then he was gone, my furry, fluffy, sweet Samson. 

And I only stopped crying because I have to be together for Faith.

She sat by the gate in the dog run all afternoon yesterday, looking for him. 

This morning, as I opened the dog door, she ran outside, looking, sniffing, and I have no idea how she felt when she found he wasn't there. 

I threw balls for her this morning, I took her for a walk, Jasmine came and that was a great distraction. 

Now she's sleeping peacefully by my side here. 

Dogs don't stay down and sad for long. Such a good thing. 

I will write a tribute for Samson, a memorial, when I feel better. 

For now, he was the kindest, sweetest, calmest, most patient dog I've ever known .

Young Samson

Wednesday, December 1, 2021


After our morning walk, Samson and I may end up checking on our juniper trees. There are two that I like to stop and check on, and, yes, talk to a little, as well. This is the large one that was so badly damaged in our last huge snowstorm, day after Christmas 2019. 

Mark, who is no tree surgeon, did a pretty good job cutting back all the damage and making it look like a giant bonsai tree 

Samson's taking a rest and I take his picture.

I think this picture tells the story of how old this tree must be. 

While it's true photos add on pounds, shadow pictures really pack them on. I, who don't want to lose weight, lost 10 lbs since I last weighed myself. I never weigh myself, so the last time may have been years ago. The reason I did it now was that the lab where I was to have my CT scan asked, so I thought I better give them a true number.

I swear, I was born with long legs. In elementary school, the much shorter than I little boys would tease me mercilessly, calling me, The Nail, Daddy Longlegs, and -- you get the picture. 

After the first four years at our neighborhood school, those who wanted to attend highschool could change schools. I couldn't wait and insisted I HAD to go to an all-girls school. I don't believe they exist any longer, but they did then, so I escaped my suburban tormentors and bullies for a lovely girls school in the city of  Stockholm. 


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