Have I ever told you how much I hate running

I know I talk a lot about running and how I much I feel like I really need to run. I really think running is a great way to move and breath, it’s an easy form of exercise and a great way to get some thinking done. And I am lucky to have a body that can take it, no bad knees and a hip that feels like new after some fixing and stitching. Running is great when it feels great. I often hear from other people that it’s my thing and they know I love it. True, some days. Nothing make me feel so good as after a long run, well at least after a long run, a shower, a snack and a nap. Nothing makes me feel so content and calm. I need running for the endurance to keep up with the rest of my life. To fill my brain with oxygen and to feed my muscles.

Nothing makes me feel so awful and low as a bad run. Nothing can make me feel more out of shape as a bad run. Long distance running can be beautiful and strengthening. The only one you really have to beat is yourself and your mind. And nothing can make you feel stronger if you get it done and stumble home after hours of pounding. Sometimes it doesn’t even have to do with a strong will, it’s just a great time with yourself. I think for me running really compensates my other physical shortcomings, I really suck at all kinds of sports that includes balls and gear that you need to coordinate with hands and feet. Pass me a soccer ball and I am pretty sure I would stumble over it.

I hate running. My strong mind leaves me. I feel every step in my right hamstring. In my right big toe. I can’t remember how it’s supposed to feel when you breath. I can’t even remember how to place my feet on the ground, I stumble around. I turn in to the world’s greatest negotiator, I easily talk myself out of 8 miles, it doesn’t take much at all. It takes 20 minutes, 2,5 miles and a few songs and I switch to the true love of my life, the Versa Climber.

Long, black tights

My body smiled when I woke up this morning. I ate a million pounds of crayfish yesterday, tasty small creatures. I am so grateful for good friends that invite us every year and I am always the last one eating. Absolutely amazing tasty little red things. And the singing was extraordinary yesterday thanks to the gentlemen around me.

I started this morning by baking cinnamon buns, writing a blog post about visiting a gym in Sweden but realized after a full page that I was probably the only one seeing the fun in it since I was the only one there to see the disaster of ink covered arms and mirror selfies. I will include a part of it anyway and probably make a few enemies on the way.

I just finished a book that made me think and rethink my core values and my belief in democracy. As you know I am born and raised Scandinavian. We have a sometimes naïve way of looking at the world, we believe in a world that only exists every now and then. And many of us have an attitude that nothing happens in our safe society and it proves to be wrong over and over again. It took me a few years in a new country to realize that we are unsuspecting. I know I have changed a bit the last few years. I read Åsne Seierstads En av oss/One of Us, a book about the massacre in Norway. I don’t know if I should recommend it or not, it made me feel sick and sad. And of course angry. I am meeting with my book club ladies next week and this is our first book of fall. Heck of a way to start out a new season.

This summer I spent a little more than a month in my hometown and a lot have changed since we moved. There are new houses all around Uppsala and the city really transformed. It is still a beautiful place and will always have a special place in our hearts.

During the summer the only form of proper exercise I usually try to keep up is running and some homemade strength with bands. This year Caroline and I joined a gym with a climbing wall. I needed to workout but had big issues with my body after Alaska but some easy gym time was perfect. Caroline needed to keep climbing over the summer so it worked out really well for both of us. The gym we decided to join is only a few years old, really nice and at a great location. This time of year Uppsala gets completely empty. All 25,000 students leave town and the rest seem to hide in their country houses. But we had the opportunity to meet a lot of people at the gym. This was actually the most interesting part of our trip. I felt like an alien and started to really evaluate my own behavior and “Swedishness”. Is the world changing and me too or did I actually stagnate in my development as human being?

I picked up a few things that I have to change to blend in for next time:

Clothes: Women my age wear long, black tights and a basic tank, always. Well that can’t be too difficult to change, only problem is that it’s summer and too warm to wear long tights. Younger women, transparent tights in a size too small and very tight fitting tops. Pink shoes. Guys, tank tops in thick cotton with big letters and pictures. I am sure I can find some old ones in my parents basement that would fit right in that I wore in 1982. Budweiser or MTV logos, preferably.

Footwear: Nike Air Max or just socks. Geezzz people. It doesn’t matter what you do, if you lift or run. Air Max with huge soles is apparently the way to look cool. Or even worse, socks, just socks. A lot of peeps lifted wearing only socks? 250lbs on your back and it feels so…safe?

Body: Ink, all over. You need a lot of tattoos to blend in. And make sure you flex a lot when you have people around you.

Hair and makeup: Needs to be done and make sure you look really cute. And if you are 30+ some botox around your lips will make you look like you are going to fall forward. If you are a man over 27 you should grow a beard and make sure you scratch it every three minutes.

Mirrors: Make sure you work out facing the mirrors. You really want to check yourself out and by all means, don’t forget to take pictures of yourself at every angle. And lips, pout!

First day at the gym. People notice there is a new person there but doesn’t think much of it. She looks a bit old and she is not wearing long, black tights. I walk around a little, try to find a foam roller, warm up on the treadmill for 15 min, locate the barbells but decide to hang out around the kettlebells and I found a 14 lbs medball. I get a good workout in, staying in my corner. Some serious people watching going on.

Day 2, same people. She is here again? Who the heck is she? I warm up and start talking to people around me. Is she a bit crazy? A couple of guys start to walk over to my corner to chat. I can’t remember the Swedish word for barbell and there are a few other words that my brain can’t remember. I am afraid I sound like Dolph Lundgren. I start to clean up, there are weights and other things all over the place. There’s a group of young men hanging around and they more or less lean on the barbells and talk. I haven’t really seen anyone lift so I ask if I can use the space. No, they are following their program and need the barbells. I can’t help it but it just slips out, “when I have a rest day I usually don’t take up space at the gym”. Let’s just say that I am happy to be home. If I move back I have a lot of work to do, get new clothes, botox and some interesting tattoos.

One more day to go before school starts and the depression fills the house like a bad smell. How will we survive another year of homework, tests and multiple choice questions? Not sure. The Swedish melancholy spreads like poison in your veins and I will try to cure it with a very sad song.


Dinner and a movie

Home with 2 out of 3 kids and I just realized how different my kids are. But also the same. Eating pizza, not the most perfect mom tonight. But to my defense, it doesn’t happen very often. And it’s scary how much alike we all are. It’s a lot of belly laughing and dancing. And I made an awesome dinner yesterday.


Three girls, almost the same age, but so different. When I am home alone with C, we bake, make homemade bars and drink a lot of tea. We talk about hikes and mountains. And we watch Game of Thrones, Marco Polo and British comedies. We lift weights. We go for a run or a walk. Bring a thermos and a snack. So much like me.

Today I am at home with S and J. They just got back from high school try outs. They have ice wrapped up around their hip areas and a wrist and a thumb is taped. They can’t live without the athletic trainer. They are complaining about hurting body parts and they are trying to give me the short version of practice. We listen to weird music and hang out. We decide to eat and watch a movie. This is a totally different deal. We are talking SNL, The Office and Jimmy Fallon. We are going through all Hugh Grant, Hugh Jackman, Dreamy movies. So much like me.

So different but so much alike. A scary mix of all the things I like, mixed up with some new stuff. The loveliest. And dang they are tall.

We ended up watching The American President. Again. And I am loosing another toenail. Will this race ever stop.

Party hardy

This day turned out most excellent. So far. We are all trying to squeeze out the last of our summer vacation. The weather is cooperating. Days are hot and nights are… not. It’s getting dark and cold but nothing some candles and a heater can’t take care of. The barbeque is still working hard. Maybe too hard. Food is good, maybe too good sometimes.

Try outs are rolling on and it seems ok. Hard work, sweat but no tears. Always a good combo. I think it will be another great season.

I went to pick up some shirts and a dress at the dry cleaners today. I am there quiet often and the little lady behind the counter is getting more and more chatty every week. My dress didn’t get cleaned because of the fabric, they didn’t think they could do a good job. No big deal. But the little lady with a very cute Asian accent tried to give me a grown up talk, enlighten me a bit. First of all she loved my dress and I must say that I really like it too. Then she told me… “Ms. Charlotte, if you are going to party hardy don’t wear a nice dress. You are only going to stand up and look pretty in a dress like this.” I felt a little bit puzzled, I didn’t really ”party hardy” wearing the dress. But I thanked her for the nice advice, paid and got my clean shirts and started walking out. The she called me back and said “stop wearing black and white dresses all the time. I keep track! You only clean black and white dresses, striped, polka dot and solid black.” Well thanks, I guess I am going dress shopping. So to all my friends, I will start to party hardy in my not so nice clothes. Whatever that means. Bring out the champagne, I am wearing shorts today. I was thinking of bringing in my good sleeping bag and a couple of down coats I wore in Alaska but I am really afraid she will give me some more creepy advice.

I bumped in to a friend that I haven’t seen for a while, that is always nice. I think I need to do better job keeping in touch with friends. I switched gyms and since a year back I don’t hang out with my regular crew on a daily basis, I think this needs to change.

The zoo like feeling around our house changed. The lovely deer family is gone. I guess they ate all my vegetables and moved on. The veggies dried out a bit with the nice and warm weather so I guess it didn’t taste as nice and juicy as always. The bunnies that more or less lived in our back yard moved on last week. They got a few new family members and are now living in the bushes. All good, they got a little bit too friendly. They looked at us when we had dinner outside and more or less asked if we actually made reservations because they were there first. The new zoo members I don’t really care about that much. Raccoons, not my favorites. And a cat that looks half eaten by something big. He insists on hiding in our garage. But since I will never become a crazy cat lady I am running around with a broom chasing the poor thing but really trying to speak nicely at the same time. I am more of a deer or moose person than a cat person.

Back in town

The beauty of getting up really early. I am still searching for it. I used to enjoy running early, greeting the sun, slowly see the forest wake up. Waking up before the newspaper arrives, before coffee tastes good, before the TV news starts.

We are back home and life is slowly getting back to normal. A month away is a long time. There are new houses in our neighborhood, new asphalt on 85th. Jetlag hit me hard this time again, it doesn’t get easier. I woke up early and waited for the gym to open at 5.30. Back home after 7 for a second breakfast. Watching a movie at 8 with kid #2 that is up early too. I hope the day lasts longer than yesterday. A few more minutes every night.

Thanks to all family and friends in Sweden. We all had a great time. Next time, please get this weather thing straight. We have enough rain and cold winds at home 😉 Thanks for letting us borrow houses, beds and cars. And thanks for your time. If we missed you, there will always be a next time. We got a few days out in the archipelago celebrating an important birthday. The weather finally turned around and the sun came out. Thanks for letting us stay in the annexe. We will be back! And we feel very honored that Bosse the dog even considered jumping on to the boat when he saw us, even if he missed and ended up in the water.

We are looking forward to a bunch of visitors for Christmas and we are secretly hoping for company for Thanksgiving.

It feels like it’s been two months since I spent time at home. Before Sweden, Alaska happened and I had a week at home in between. That week was filled with great friends visiting from Sweden and nightly sweats, no sleep and nightmares. The nightmares ended after a few days with my parents. This time I slept through jetlag, I was too exhausted after the race. I also kept on eating lots and lots of food, somehow I felt starved weeks after. For the first time in a long time I didn’t feel like moving around or working out. Lucky me, I had really messed up feet so I could not wear shoes for weeks, so no running. When I finally got out for a run I actually felt good and Caroline and I even joined a gym. Caroline climbed and I tried to rehab my shoulder but I spent most of the time people watching. That will be another blogpost. Wow people. I don’t know if I am a very changed person from living abroad for 8 years or if Swedes changed. Maybe a little bit of both. I even visited a CrossFit box for a workout. That made me more homesick than ever. I really miss BelRed and it will be good to get back on track.

I did a Costco run yesterday and had an Alaska flashback seeing all bars and snacks that I will never eat on a normal day. I think this race will follow me as long as I live. And I can’t wait for the next adventure. And it will hopefully be sooner than later. Hopefully without close to death experiences. I can take feeling like a human piñata a few weeks after but not the nightmares.

School is around the corner and the kids have days filled with school stuff and try outs. It’s a bit different from elementary/middle. A few years ago the most important thing was crayons, markers and notebooks. It’s all money now…parking permits and fees. But I think I will take them getting some new markers and sparkly pens… I am still an elementary teacher, it’s the best part of the year except from the last day of school.

So, basically everything is the same here as it was before summer. We are still the same but different. Kids are still concerned who’s the tallest of the three of them even if they stopped growing. I still get excited when a package shows up on our doorstep even if I ordered it myself. Amazon delivered a new waffle maker today. Do we still shop at Amazon after that very intense article the other day?

Still wondering if the kids have figured out that I have no clue what I am doing. But it seems to work.