December slog

It’s getting closer, the wonderful Christmas is almost here. How magic and bright. They just said on the news that it’s seven days until Christmas, but that is not true. It’s six days until the real Christmas, the 24th. Everywhere around me people are asking if I’m ready for Christmas. What do you think? This is a recurring affair, this last-minute prep and shop thing. I am behind, that seem to be the theme of this year, behind on everything. But I am pretty sure it all will happen anyway, it will be merry and bright, magical and marvelous. And I am sorry for sounding a bit sour and bitter. Life is a constant battle, some months you walk up front and wave the flag, on top of things and have time for it all. Friends, cooking, family, fun stuff, training. And some months are like December, an endless slog of shores and not a whole lot of fun until the big day. And then it’s like popping a balloon, all the air just vanishes, and you sit there and watch your kids with a glass in your hand, very satisfied and happy.

I think the problem is that we need light and the magic of light. The sky is grey, and the days are still short and dark. I miss Lucia, the early morning of the 13th. The smell of saffron and coffee. The candles and singing in church. The bright and white classy displays of Christmas lights in dark trees. The slushy snow and the cold air. It’s all about the smells again, I miss the smells of home. It is nothing you can recreate with a Yankee candle, a synthetic mixture of fake Christmas.

The live fast, die young thing might have worked for Jesus. I don’t like the living fast thing. I want long walks in the woods, long runs or hikes in the mountains, endless dinners, lazy mornings in bed.

News this morning covered the impeachment and the ultimate Christmas wrapping and the stress it consists of. The mix is fascinating. Get real people, how hard can it be. They are talking binge wrapping sessions. Honestly. This makes me sad. And the impeachment, not a day too early.

What do you want for Christmas? Meat thermometer, a nerf gun, a cashmere sweater, a car. I always say that I want happy kids and something that smells good. And that is still true. But also, I want light. Light in the sky, light in our minds and hearts (And a new Burberry scarf).

Renew, resume, refresh

I was a totally different person seven years ago. The easiest way to go back in time to 2012 is to check the photos on your phone. I raced Ö till Ö and was in the best shape of my life. I renovated (think coveralls, paint, wooden floors) and sold a house, I ran a few marathons, I did obstacle races, adventure races and traveled. I honestly looked pretty good. I looked strong, wrinkle free and happy.

All cells in the body replace themselves every seven years. Does that mean I am a new person 2019? I hope it means that all broken bones are healed, and all muscles are brand spanking new, that the heart is pumping and that my mind forgot how crappy I felt after my last long race. That’s why cells renew, so you forget and restart. The same as giving birth, once you see and hold the result you forget and move on.

I am checking my body and I am trying to get it all done in the fun month of November. Doctors’ appointments, you know all those fun body parts that need to be checked. So far nothing bad has happened but it’s not good news either. No doctor will say – hey, you look so much better today than 7 years ago. I can see that those gorgeous cells of yours are renewing in a fabulous and terrific way. Way to go! Keep it up!

I went to the optometrist yesterday. Nothing super exciting, just a checkup. It’s been two years or maybe more since last time. I’ve had reading glasses for a few years, nothing major just a little bit of adjustment. Well stuff happens in a few years. My eyes are still there, and the inside looks fantastic. The photo you get of the inside of your eyes are pretty great, almost like a painting. I am now a person with progressive lenses and reading glasses. Apparently not all cells renew and get shiny and bright. It sneaks up on you. But I just realized that maybe all wrinkles around my eyes will disappear when I don’t have to pinch my eyes together to see. That is good news.

Made my way to the chiropractor. He is one of my favorites and I do my best to see him often. I just needed some overall body repair. Three longish bike rides and a very long run in the past few days isn’t good for my new cells. Or maybe they need time to adjust?

I had to google the whole cell renewal business and it is true, almost. All cells have different lifespans and functions. Some cells renew in a few days and some need almost a decade but overall it is correct. I vaguely remember reading about cells and the human body long time ago in biology, but my cells renewed 3-4 times since then so no wonder the connection is lost.

The question is was everything better before? Do you miss your old cells? Or do my cells miss my old life?

I see a new goal in the future. A big race might be in the horizon if the gods are willing and if the stars align. And the big question – will my body cooperate? I’m overusing Resveratrol in different forms, trying to bump up my workouts and relax like a pro when resting. I am, as always, grateful for coffee, massages, hugs and baths. I see a lot of mountain bike rides in the future. And I need to get back in the water. I got a new training program a few weeks ago. For some strange reason I insisted on adding a swim session every week. I somehow felt that it was important to get back in the water. How on earth? And why? My extremely successful swim career started with a broken elbow and wrist, and endless training for Ö till Ö 2012. It’s a mystery that I survived a full day of swimming mile after mile in the Baltic sea combined with running a wet suit. I don’t know how many times people have asked when I’ll do it again. Well, never, duh. I’m not a big fan of swimming. I can swim and obviously I survived swimming in the deep dark and very cold sea in extreme waves. But every time I go to the pool for a workout, I get the feeling that I don’t know how to swim. Maybe my body forgot since last time. Maybe my body will sink, it might not be able to float or move in the water. I went for a swim the other day. I did not sink. I moved around for 45 minutes or so, meter after meter, minute after minute. I still know how to, it’s like riding a bike… Obviously all cells are new, and the memory is lost…race…swim…pack raft…sigh…

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!  

 

Wearing pants and watching movies

It feels like I’ve done this before, written a post-surgery post. New body part this time but same body. I am around, at home, waiting for stuff to fall into place, literally. The days I spent at the hospital were a blast. I had a bunch of nurses and a handful of doctors poking, squeezing, cutting and feeding me. Life passed fast for three, four days, always someone by my side. And at the same time the minutes passed so slow. I got really excited when I saw the menu the first day but unfortunately eating was not the first priority. The two doctors came in every day and told me surgery was a success, two thumbs up. 30 something shining staples in a beautiful row on my tummy. Awesome. I came in fresh and mobile and crawled out a vegetable. I can tell you, I didn’t feel or look that fresh. Surgery is not at all like in the movies, you don’t wake up fresh, smiling and ready to sit up. You wake up with a sore throat, unable to speak, unable to move and with a button in your hand to press to keep the morphine coming.  

The first thing I wanted was black coffee and they all thought it was kind of odd. I had my room close to the kitchen so I smelled the coffee for almost 24 hours before I could ask for a cup. I stood up on my own two legs without passing out and walked a few yards a few hours later. Big success. All motivated by the coffee maker 15 yards away.

I learned the shifts the nurses worked and I also had to work on how to hold on to my tummy when I laughed. They were all great. After constantly setting off the alarm on the heart monitor the first 12 hours, they realized that I wasn’t actually dying, I was just very, very calm.

I felt scared in a weird way when I knew the night nurse started her shift. She was really nice but I had no chance getting a say in what was about to happen. She came in every hour and turned me from side to side, even if that meant waking me up or turning me away from the tv.

And then I went home. It felt great to take a shower and sleep. And then I tried to cut out the medicine and get back to normal. It didn’t work that great so I am back down. Yesterday I accomplished two things, I got dressed and I watched a whole movie without falling asleep. I’ve tried about 10 times the past few days and I must say yesterday was a success. And who knows what today will bring. I put on real pants this morning.

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.

 

Nothing new

Just realized that it must have been over a month since my last update. That’s a long time. So, what happened since last time. A new Whole Life Challenge is going on again. And please remind me why I sign up for stuff like this. No fun, I’m not happy about it. I overusing nut butter, regular nuts and fruit. Overeating as it’s best. I’ve tried to take care of my ever screwed up foot, the fourth time draining a swollen tumor. Life at its best. That resulted meeting an orthopedist for my other knee that is now injected with a bunch of shots and I now hop around on crutches. All fun stuff, all good in the hood. This whole thing will be over after the weekend and life goes on. A never ending story. Limal had no clue how right he was.

More news since last time. I broke my laptop, that is probably why I haven’t posted an update in forever. It was my fault, I drenched it in fluid. I had a sad interaction at the store, begging for help. I tried really hard, opened it up completely, dried it with air in a can. It didn’t work out. At all. Brjann set me up with one of the old Surfaces at home. I am not amused. Don’t get me wrong here, it’s a great machine but it’s not enough. I’m not happy, my fingers complain, my eyes are not happy, it’s not enough. Talk about eyes, I had my eyes checked a while ago. I’m off the hook, only reading glasses… still in the zone people. I am still 25, but pushing 35. I also broke my Band and I just stopped what I was doing, in chock. So that meant that my steps didn’t count that day. No, just kidding. But I did break it again, it just torn. I’ve stopped obsessing about my sleep pattern (even if I find it extremely interesting), my steps are pretty much the same every week. More interesting now is the cardio minutes. Keep your heart rate up peeps.

Tournament weekend at UW. It’s camping weekend for a lot of people. I’m happy it’s not camping weekend for us. I’m pretty much done with that. I wouldn’t mind a 24 hour wander up the mountains but my no 1 company is resting for a while. I can’t wait for his return. A long car ride, a soggy sandwich, nuts and raisins, a few bars, water, sleeping bag, poles that I seem to loose and wool socks. And maybe new plans for 2017. I’m looking forward to it.

We are wrapping up school for this semester. Jo has a few days left before graduation. Caroline is choosing classes for BC next year and Sof is panicking over being left behind at high school by her two older sisters. I am thinking and planning that maybe we need to buy a fourth car, or maybe I should bike every day. Or maybe just get a bigger pack and run. Oh, I got a new car a few weeks ago, not a hybrid this time. But black, for course. It’s difficult, I keep losing it when I park. It’s small. I will not fit a blown up pack raft in this one. The mother ship is long gone.

Elections are getting closer here. Shocking! All of it. I’m not pleased. I have an argument with the news anchors every morning. The country is messed up. Big time. The guy should be a pet mortician or something that didn’t involve people and world politics. But vote like you feel it’s right. It’s all in the hair and spray tan peeps. Irresistible.