October

My irregular and sporadic blog postings are now a bad habit. It’s not happening very often but I am sure that one day I will be up to speed again and then this website will be up and running as an everyday thing again. Until then…

It’s October on this side of the world and it really shows. Colorful leaves and a constant drizzle, and every now and then blue sky and gorgeous mountains far away. The first snow fell a few days ago up in the mountains and it’s really chilly in the morning before the sun wakes up. We are currently waiting for the big storm that will probably hit us tonight and go on until Sunday. We should be stocking up on emergency supplies and food but the adventurer in family (moi) have a plan to wing it. Well, I made sure that my car is filled up and that my good headlamp is completely charged. According to different news sites we should have a survival kit ready with medical supplies, passports, a crank radio, games and activities for children, surgical masks and lots and lots of extra stuff. Well, I do think I have most of the stuff we need including different color duct tape, whistle, 11 bikes and emergency blankets. Food is a different thing; it says that we might need a two-week supply. I am extremely unplanned and usually I swing by the store every day just because I feel like chicken and not beef, or I need a “3a grädde”, a bunch of parsley or some coffee beans. Oh well, we have a lot of rabbits in the neighborhood so hopefully we will survive. Fingers crossed that we will have electricity all weekend and that the bridge stays open for school on Sunday.

The Nobel prize in literature was announced at 13.00 Swedish time. It’s a big thing in Sweden. The TV studios are filled with knowledgeable people that have planned this perfect day. They have figured out and read a bunch of different candidates. They have their favorites. And then they hear the name Bob Dylan. Anticlimactic. I am not sure how I feel or think. In a way I think it was a great decision, a modern way to think where music and literature (and politics) binds together and the status of poetry is uplifted, new poetic expressions. But in another way… duh…really. The music industry is huge and the book industry is fighting, literature is getting more and more abbreviated and the written word is often read on a flickering screen. Books are not something people buy anymore, we download and then when we are finished, we delete. And yes, I understand this a prize given for poetry and beautiful writing but mostly for its political undertones. The literature (and peace) prize often goes to someone that has a quiet voice in the world and needs attention in the wider perspective. Dylan’s voice is well known, spread around the world and loud. And frankly, quite boring but that is my opinion. Since the prize often gives a political statement I will assume this is a way for the Nobel committee to draw attention to the political and social aspects that is happening in USA and the rest of the world right now. Did it work? Not sure. Will the money help a quiet voice that need to spread to the rest of the world? Don’t think so. But, I might be wrong. The answer is blowing in the wind.   

And that leads me naturally to the craziest election in history. Trump v. Hillary. The lack of human decency is horrifying. We follow the news every day and it’s a hunt for new scoops and headlines. The politics has a second place in this election, first place is how much crap Trump can make up every day. The rest of the world think this is a big, fat joke and a large part of the country is considering voting for Trump. I feel ashamed. And very scared.         

What else is new? School is in full swing. Three kids, three different schools, three directions every morning. It was going great until one sprained an ankle and was unable to drive herself 6.30 in the morning. But we survived that too and she is now both walking (a bit wobbly and interesting) and driving again. 

19 years ago tomorrow I became a mom for the first time. In a way it feels like yesterday. That little cutie is now full time student at UW and working part time, coaching and keeping up with life in an extraordinary way. I am so proud to be her mom. HAPPY BIRTHDAY JOHANNA!  

 

Summer ’16

Long time since last…A whole summer passed. The grass is dry and light brown, the apples are ripe and blackberries are falling off leaving a bluish trace on the ground. Kids are around, working a little, sleeping, hanging out. We have been out and about every now and then, some hiking, swimming, packed lunch and coffee thermos, lazy summer days. I developed a little Molly Moon obsession over the summer and if you want to make me happy bring me a pint of Earl Grey ice cream with some sprinkles. We drove over to one of our favorite spots in Washington, on the Olympic peninsula. Said hi to a couple of mountain goats, deer and squirrels. Picked some blueberries and lavender, hiked around, ate good food and felt the wind in our hair riding the ferry. Seattle is beautiful this time of year; summers here are great. It’s bittersweet, staying home is great but we are so missing our other home.

I go by the name Joan at home after a day at Alki. I bought a cup of coffee at Sbux and the barista asked for my name. Charlotte obviously sounds like Joan.

 

I had a few races to look forward to this summer but I missed the first and will miss the next too. Let’s just say it’s not my season but I have a feeling 2017 will be a great year in many ways. I had the opportunity to join a team for a Ragnar Relay here in Washington in July. Kind of a last minute decision that turned out really well. I met some really nice people and ran my fastest miles in a long time. Well fastest in years actually and it was fun while it lasted. A weekend of no sleep, running in the dark and lots of fun. But I really miss adventure racing and I have to admit that I hope something big will happen sooner than later. My feet look way too pretty and I have no new scars on my body so it must be time for something grande. I had the opportunity to meet up with friends and hike up to Base Camp Muir on Mt Rainier a few weeks ago. A hike to 10000ft, gorgeous wildflowers, meadows, snow, ice and sunshine. The mountain was cracking and rumbling. A fantastic experience, absolutely gorgeous and wild. It was a speedy walk up and an even faster glissading down. I can’t wait to do it again and maybe all the way up next time.

 

School is almost here… we have missed you… not at all. I have started the process of signing papers. No joke. Concussion tests, medical history, medication in school, vaccinations (date for the last Tdap? Who knows when you have 3 kids) It’s easier to slip in something illegal than an EpiPen to a high school. We had the first incident in a long time a few weeks ago, so we kind of know it’s still well needed. Three kids, three different schools. I haven’t figured out how we all will get around in three cars and who’s going to bike or take the bus.

Are we tired of the Olympics yet? No, not at all. But the mix in Seahawks pre-season and Mariners day long games kind of gets me. Let me just finish Rio first before all the other stuff continues. And volleyball try outs starts next week…have mercy.

Joan

 

June

7 loads of laundry and lawn moving, that is what this month’s last day consisted of. June, a month of craziness. It started out with a big graduation. Johanna got her cap and gown, we saw her on the big screen at Key Arena and all her cords of excellence shone in the camera flashes. A very proud moment for her and us. And I have to brag a little bit, top 10%, with honors. We had family visiting for the first two weeks of the month that were also the last days of school for the kids. Off to Bend, OR for a climbing competition for a few days. Stuffy nose, fever and all over achy but had a really nice time with Caroline. It’s a long drive for a few days but well worth it. We stayed at a nice place and ate really good food. The food trucks in Bend are worth a visit.

Back home, unpacked the puffy coat and packed shorts and volleyball gear and off to Orlando, FL. Jo’s last tournament as a volleyball player. Brjann coaching and the rest of us as supporters and team chauffeur/chaperone. Over 2200 teams from around the country and the world playing. 98 degrees and asphalt melting. It’s just too much. And we didn’t get to see any alligators this time. The supporter crew ran between games and Universal Studios, cheering on the team and riding rollercoasters in heat. We opted for the water rides and walked around in wet clothes most of the time. The new Harry Potter area was actually amazing if you are a fan and we spent endless time there. Still a stuffy nose, fever and achy. After little bit over a week at the number one retirement state, two flew to Anaheim, CA for another tournament and the rest of us had another day of heat and midnight burgers and then we flew the team home to Seattle, WA. We got a bit teary and sentimental when we got home, two kids and I. It’s a really great group of kids. It felt good breathing crisp air, the skyline is beautiful and the mountains look inviting. And here we are.

The kids that are back home are sleeping and climbing, enjoying the first few days without school and sleeping in their own beds. Three family members at home, three cars, we all have our freedom back. I am still trying to cure my cold after three weeks, catching up, cleaning my mailbox after a month of other commitments, making phone calls, doing some yardwork and baking. The tomato plants barely survived, grapes are growing and the grass is thriving. Its race time in two weeks and I have trouble breathing. I am running one mile at the time, literally. I run one mile in the slowest pace possible. How do you get your breath back after a cold?

What else? Nothing mucho.

And I forgot to post this. Another week passed and the cold is almost gone, the tomatoes are thriving and blackberries are getting darker and juicier. We are eagerly waiting for nicer weather and for getting into the summer feeling. We haven’t really seen the sun in days and we are heating up around the grill at night pretending its summer.

 

Våren har snart passerat

Så blev det äntligen fredag igen. Våren drar sin sista suck här. Träden har blommat förbi och lämnat rosavita täcken av blomblad på marken. Jag kilpper gräsmattan varje vecka, det växer så det knakar. Solen har gjort himlen blå och värmt luften ljummen sista veckan och vi har ätit middag ute varje kväll. Till och med myggorna har vaknat. Förra helgen tillbringade Johanna och jag i Los Angeles. Vi flög ner mitt i veckan för att möta upp hennes lag och spela en lång volleybollturnering i änglarnas stad. Jag vet inte om det är rätt att kalla Los Angeles en stad. Det är ett myller, fantastiskt vackert längs stränder och där palmerna står spikrakt mot himlen men avgrundsdjupt, otrevligt på sina håll. Värme, smuts och människor som utstrålar trötthet. Solbruna ben, skrattande barn och god mat. Trafik som inte går att komma undan, morgonrusning, lunchkö och även nattliga köer. Staden som aldrig sover. Varje gång jag återkommer upplever jag något nytt och jag kan aldrig riktigt avgöra om jag gillar det eller inte. De var en av de sista resorna med laget. Vi har en långkörare till Florida kvar men annars är det bara lokala turneringar fram till juli. Slutet på en era. När vi var borta firade Sofia sin 15e födelsedag. Ett år äldre, mer vuxen och ännu längre. Jag är snart omvuxen på alla sätt. Stora barn.

Här hemma började jag dagen med någon slags rengöring och upplockning. Det är alltid uppfriskande att jaga sopbilen vid 6.30 när vi glömt att dra ut tunnorna till vägen. Det hopar sig, både i hörnen och på öppna ytor. Lagom till det värsta var upplockat och undanstoppat så drog dammsugaren sin sista suck. Tvärdöd, tyst och väldigt stilla. Nu blir det ofrivillig shopping lagom till helgen. Och den gröna Electroluxen får hamna på sopberget.

Klättringen går stadigt uppåt och det tävlades ute på öarna när vi andra hasade runt i Convention Center i LA. Ytterligheter, glesbygd, färjor och naturen i gripbart avstånd.

Jag hade hoppats på säsongspremiär under veckan som varit och ännu ett lopp på lördag men det blir inte riktigt så. Segdragen förkylning, eller kanske allergier och en fot som lever sitt eget liv gör att det får bli några veckors lätt träning. Jag ägnade mig åt löpbandskilometer på hotellet för att undkomma trafik och värme vilket är så långt från uppfriskande skogslöpningar man kan komma. Kroppen är trots allt anpassningsbar och det är ju bättre att springa lite än inget alls. Jag delade hotellgymmet med några 20 åringar som körde discofredag trots att det både var tordag, fredag, lördag och söndag. Pumpade biceps, gjorde grimaser och kollade in resultaten i spegeln. Det är uppfriskande på något sätt. Själv har jag ju en sån otroligt helhetssyn, ha. Vem bryr sig om biceps när kolesterolet stiger och hjärtat åldras.

Jag försökte få upp de unga vuxna och äta frukost, lunch och middag, frisk luft, promenader och annat larvigt. De ville bara sova när det var spelfritt. Min egen dotter lydde mig trots allt men jag tror inte att hon uppskattade mina tidiga morgonringningar då jag gav sista chansen innan frukosten stängde. Jag predikar för aningen döva öron och inser att även de vuxna i sammanhanget tycker att jag är lite knasig. Men det bjuder jag på. Vadå rutiner, fasta måltider, frisk luft och rörelse för att kunna prestera bättre varje dag på en turnering?

Nu ska jag gå och röra på mig. Tacksam över att jag aldrig känner någon träningsbaksmälla, träningsvärken finns alltid men jag känner aldrig att jag inte har lust. Kroppen är lite av ett diesellok ni vet. Den mår bra av att köras runt, står den stilla så rostar den ihop lite. Kanske blir det discofredag, bänkpress och sånt man gör för syns skull. Eller kanske något mer viktigt. Jag famlar planlöst utan lopp och plan att följa. Men jag vet i alla fall att man vinner inga lopp med välpumpade biceps.

Vad som händer runt omkring oss har jag tappat kontroll över. Kanske Trump vinner, valutan devalveras och kanske våren vänder och ger oss floder av regn och dränker mina nyplanterade grönsaker? Vilken toalett får man egentligen besöka, dam eller herr? Och vem vill skaka hand med vem?Tydligen får man göra som man vill. Ve och fasa, världen är förskräcklig. Men ändå ganska bra.

March

My finger hovers over the mouse these days, I don’t seem to be able to post anything, unable to click.

Back from a long weekend of double tournaments in Spokane, the extraordinary city in the eastern part of Washington. I love to pack up the car and drive far. It seems like I am the only one in the family. One kid staying at one hotel and playing downtown, and the other kid staying at another hotel and playing at another arena. The car going back and forth, early mornings and late nights. Cracked the windshield the first day, not a good start. Add on a ton of bad food, lack of sleep, and sore bodies. Tournaments are tough for kids. It doesn’t matter how fun it is or how well you play, it’s intense. It’s a team effort. Rough patches in sports can feel like opening your heart to someone who doesn’t love you back. A long tournament really sucks the energy out of both kids and adults. Monday comes, the week goes on and the whole family is left with a hangover. The kids came home wanting real food, they are like super humans with metabolisms like Spiderman.

We came back to sad news from Brussels. Once again terrorism strikes Europe. I am grateful that friends living in Brussels checked in on Facebook. It’s difficult to understand, and maybe we don’t want to understand. Anger and sadness, and feeling helpless. Terrorists getting too close. Disturbing peace and trying to mess with our everyday life’s. The heart of Europe that was my hometown for a short time in the 90s. Je suis sick of this shit! And I follow the news from here and it seems so far away. I hear the kids talk about Belgium and their friends don’t know if it close to France or Russia, and that worries me. The world is growing smaller and closer yet some countries live outside and far away. Where is the center of the world? Trump worries me. A lot of things make me worried. And angry. And sad. It’s even more important to vote for a person capable of running a big country in a world in stress.

I’ve been following a debate in the Swedish news the past weeks. If they should allow only women a few hours per day at pools. There has been incidents were men get too close, men that can’t handle seeing women swimming with lighter clothes on. And women that swims covered with clothes believes that they should be able to swim with only women. This worries me too. It has taken a long time to get where we are now. Women’s rights, equal rights, men and women, voting, equal pay, maternity and paternity leave. Why? No. Equal. Think about it. At first I felt that the women should have their hours for themselves but when I actually thought about it… no. I don’t think it is right. We are different. If there are men that can’t handle it, move on. We swim, live, work, run…together. Don’t ruin decades of work. Men and women are different but we live under the same sun.

And as always…a training update. I try. I really do try. I am not really a Marvel superhero at the moment, not even trying to act a part. But I am healthy, balanced and pretty strong. Maybe that is good enough. I am trying to build the machine, feed the flame with firewood. But sometimes it’s not all that fun. That’s where I am now, at the intersection of I’m putting in 2 hours per day and not feeling it. I complain in my head before I run. I hear myself take deep breaths, of boredom. I can’t help it. I need something to look forward to, something impossible and beautiful. Mud, rain, wind and some snow. It builds character. You want to look forward to a warm shower. You want to look up at a mountaintop with a pumping heart and tired legs feeling overwhelmed and saying to yourself – Hey, it looks pretty gnarly but think of the view at the top. At the intersection of pushing your limits and experiencing joy is where the magic happens. I need to find that check point on the map. It’s close, I am sure. And goddammit, I really want to be fast again.

We have two scary opossums in our backyard. A man and a woman. We have even seen some opossum porn and it was not very nice. Rabbits, birds, dear, raccoons… you are all welcome. But opossums. Holy crap. Have you seen the teeth? And the tail? Just sayin’. I am more scared of opossums than bears. I sing every time I take the trash out.

Happy 2016

I bumped into a friend today and she asked me if I was in hibernation or if something was very wrong. It has apparently been almost a month since my last update. So here we go peeps…

Welcome back and happy, happy new year. A new year. A blank new, unwritten year to fill up with new experiences, trips, hikes, rides and happiness. 2015 was mucho in many ways. It was a pretty good year for all of us but at the same time I feel really happy to turn the page and start over. For me the Alaska race was a big deal, all the training leading up to that and so was the surgery a few months after and all the training to get back after that; the highs and lows. I am lucky to be alive and kickin’. And I would for sure do the same thing again even if it meant hopeless pain, broken body parts and scary experiences. I have learned a lot about my limits and would for sure love to try to push them further. I am still recovering from surgery. It was a mean one and my whole upper right side is messed up, but it’s getting there… give me another 3-6 months and I will be as good as new.

I hope you all had a fantastic holiday. The last proof of the holiday season around here is the wreath on the front door. It needs to go but I keep forgetting. I almost deleted this Christmas’s playlist yesterday but realized there’s only 10 months before it’s time for a new Christmas so I might as well keep it.

2016 started out with a bang. Well, not really since fireworks are not allowed but it’s been busy since the first day. After going through all five calendars we realized it will be more than a busy season for the kids and I am looking forward to lots of sports related trips with the kids. And soon we will for sure know about our senior’s plans for the fall. This college thing is not all a pleasant story, it’s a never ending process. I can’t remember that it was this difficult back in the days…

Johanna, Caroline and I started with a trip to Portland on Friday, then Eugene this weekend, LA, Anaheim, Spokane, Anaheim again… over and over… (It hits me every time, Portland is a nice city but it is a weird place.) There will be lots of miles in the car and a lot of frequent flier miles this year. All three kids have a lot of team tournaments coming up for different sports. (My Sunday work schedule will be a bit complicated from now on so if you want to hire a HR/marketing/principal/teacher/exercise enthusiast/adventure racer with many combined years of experience for a regular non-weekend job, I am yours.) I can’t believe Pottåker, Börje and Åland felt far for a match when we lived in Uppsala and it makes me laugh a bit. Let’s fly to Florida for a volleyball match or two for the weekend, it’s only a 6 hour flight and a different time zone. My perspective has changed in many ways in the past years and it’s still a work in progress. I guess that is how it is when your kids grow up. This Sunday we passed the 8 year mark in the US, it’s a long time. The world has changed in 8 years, we have changed in 8 years and I really hope it is an ongoing progress.

So, new year’s resolutions. Lose weight, gain weight, move around more, or maybe less, eat more vegetables, less chocolate. No, just no. I don’t think that’s the way you change. So, no resolutions. Just do your best and if you know better, do better. Try to make good choices and enjoy life. Be loud! But not as loud as Trump (I am sorry, I just can’t help myself.) The world is completely upside down, religion is a hot potato as always and the problems are escalating every day. I am clearly not the one to give advice but use your head when you vote. It is important to understand that the person that will become the president of this great country after President Obama will have a huge impact and will play an extremely important part of the whole world’s wellbeing. Think of the big picture and choose wisely. Save the world, peeps.

I do have a resolution and that is to find a new goal. I am lost without a big goal to work towards. It will not be a huge race or something crazy cold and wet. I am thinking and will probably figure out something sooner or later. No more marathons on asphalt or boring city races. Mountains, trails, beautiful sunsets, long runs over bridges, snow and beautiful nature, yes. No boats! Well, kayaks doesn’t count as boats. Feel free to send me suggestions if you think of something grande with a cherry on top.

A few years ago I wrote a post for our three daughters and I am including a little part of that post again. I cannot remind them often enough how great they are and how proud I am.

§ Be nice to your sisters, always.

§ It is ok to be homesick (can we still call it homesick?) and long for all loved ones in our other country… they will still be there next summer. Facetime!

§ Never get in a car with a drunk driver. Call home, any time. And never ever drive drunk!!

§ Work out. As much as you can and as hard as you can. And it is ok to look sweaty, not very cute and feel like you are going to puke. It is actually good for you.

§ Always work hard in school, it will pay off. But remember, you can only do your best.

§ Never be afraid to ask for help.

§ It is ok to spend a lot of money on shoes, especially running shoes.

§ Don’t worry about love when you are 17, you have plenty of time. I am sure you will not even remember the name of the cutest guy in 12th grade when you turn 30. I don’t. Life goes on.

§ Accept people around you. Nobody is perfect. Not even you.

§ Do your thing. Be different. But don’t wear too short skirts.

§ Travel as much as you can.

§ Laugh often and hard. And laugh at yourself.

§ Keep your eyes on the ball, in sports and in life.

§ Learn how to drive a stick.

§ Cook and bake bread. Enjoy food, it is good for you and it brings people together.

§ Change is good, scary but good.

§ Do things that scare you.

§ No tattoos or visible piercings. And no, I will not change my mind about this.

§ You are all three so much stronger than you think.

§ If you can’t think, go for a run, a long run. Or a long walk, I know you really don’t like running as much as I do.

§ Stay educated and keep learning.

§ Read books.

§ Don’t stress… you have a long life ahead of you.

Beauty is the opposite of perfection – it’s about confidence, charisma, and character.

Happy 2016!

Charlotte

Well, hello ya’ll!

Home alone, the rest of the family went to watch UW play Stanford. Volleyball of course. I am watching old recorded shows, catching up on stuff. Went to happy hour with friends, ate too many sambal spicy shrimp, got a pedicure, picked up dry cleaning, went to the gym and bought coffee beans. All that stuff that matters on a Thursday night. So what’s new? Nothing much but I will give you an update anyway. Just made myself a cauliflower gratin. My grandmothers’ tasted a lot better. Microwaves are good if your out of time but doesn’t really do magic to good stuff. Had some sad news from home this week and maybe caviar of cod would be more suitable than cauliflower.

Kids are tired. Who wants to go to school 5 days/week, I know I didn’t like it that much at their age. I always disliked school and as a teacher/principal that’s kind of interesting. High school is not the shit people. Long days, lots of homework if you want to keep all A’s and lots of practice if you play school sports or climb. Volleyball school season is officially over (and club season starts next week). Combining practice 5 days/week and and matches, school, homework, applying for college and work is not great. It can break the strongest teenager. Let’s just say that we are so longing for a Christmas break or even a short Thanksgiving weekend. And talking about Christmas, what’s wrong with people? Starbucks. Red cups. Christmas. Grow up. It’s a cup. Enough said.

It’s getting closer to Lucia and we have two performances before Christmas. My class at school is getting ready to spread some magic. Come listen at Nordic Heritage Museum December 6th. Always magical. And please say Hi if you happen to be there.

Came home the other day and found the old training bike in the kitchen. One kid had two weeks in between school and club season and wanted to keep moving her legs. Two of the kids decided to drag the heavy thing in and placed it at the best spot in the house in between the tv/couch and the Jura. On a thick yoga mat to protect the floor. I don’t know what to say. I am tearing up. Movement not exercise. Every day. It’s rubbing off. One more thing that is moving right now is the car. Well, not mine (it’s apparently too big and chunky) but the kid’s car. Caroline finally decided to get her license. And we are circling the neighborhood. Practicing right turns, stop signs and stuff. It makes my heart beats a bit fast. We are both doing better and better. Growing up is tough, both for kids and moms. This particular kid is giving something in return, French music. Gorgeous language. The other two are also giving me new stuff to listen to and will of course share. https://open.spotify.com/user/charlotteseattle/playlist/4qW4PFrQqMMxvx9ebGhNDh

Shoulder, as good as new…well almost. I am healing well. Can move, pick up stuff, cook, wash my hair… but not lift my purse. Ran 2 miles last week, and 5 miles and some more. Mowed the lawn and raked leafs yesterday. No bueno, but I got the work done. Gets tired fast and I still sleep really bad. I thought my lovely new Band 2 would read my sleep pattern differently, but no. I guess I need to work on my deep sleep. (And yes, I am loving the Band2) Weights are not in the near future, and biking will not happen soon but my left arm feels pretty strong. I am developing back boobs on my right side. Sad, very sad. If you don’t know what a back boob is don’t worry, it’s nothing good. I don’t see a race in the near future, or ever. That is more sad than back boobs. Met a fellow shoulder injured friend today and wishing him a speedy recovery. Keep moving!