The Long Swedish Summer

Summer in Sweden
My son, always in motion

As long as there’s no ice outside, we’re calling it summer. That’s what we’ve decided at my day job. And it fits, too, in a strange logical way. Although September is coming up fast, in Sweden the summer feels wonderfully long because of the amount of time everyone gets to enjoy it. Many who live here take advantage of that time. Expats return home to various countries, or perhaps visit a popular vacation spot. Swedes almost always travel to a warm sunny place. After a while, Stockholm begins to feel deserted. It’s not uncommon to walk past darkened storefronts and see the ‘summer notice’ posted on the door, and, for once, you’re able to find parking spaces.    Read more

What do you feel when you realize your child has Autism?

I’m going to veer away from writing discussions today and focus on something that’s affecting my life in a huge way, and that’s the realization that one of my children has autism. We’re still going through the diagnosis process, but last week the school doctor confirmed what we sort of already knew, that my daughter has Autism Spectrum Disorder, and now we’ve had a few days to come to grips with it. Yesterday, I sent a message to a friend to attempt to pin down a date for a dinner we’ve been trying to plan for weeks. I took the opportunity to explain why things are a bit crazy right now. She said not to worry and then she asked how I felt. The generic answer, the one we’ve been programmed to respond with, is anything vague and brave, like, ‘Oh, we’re a little shocked, but we’re good. Learning all we can!’ Or something. Unfortunately, that doesn’t even come close to what I feel.

So how do I feel?

The short answer is like a big, complicated mess. Let me explain:  Read more

A Good Day

20151023_102909-001What a week! We’ve had doctor’s visits, school meetings, planning new meetings to meet our children’s needs, a lot of early mornings and late nights for my husband as his company continues with a crazy renovation project, coordinating schedules and rushing around, a few epic meltdowns, an intense battle between a dragon and a ninja (the costumes arrived yesterday), my son’s acrobatics at the breakfast table (which led to a split eyebrow, a ton of blood, and a bucketful of tears this morning) and for me, very little writing. Everyone is stretched thin. I don’t know how my husband is walking. He must have cloned himself. Emotionally and physically we’re all exhausted and some of us are a little beaten up (not from anger management issues, I promise. You have to know my son. The boy will climb anything, jump off of it, or try to explode it). Read more

Awesome is the New Judgment

DSC_0997If you’re visiting for the first time, you might notice my tagline says ‘Awesome Author of Imaginary Tales’. It says it on my business cards, too. Today, I want to talk about that word, ‘awesome’. No, I’m not entitled–at least I don’t think I am. Well, okay maybe, just a little. I believe if you go to a restaurant, the waitress should wait on you, not chat with her friends. I believe if I pay for internet service, I shouldn’t have to complain every week that the service isn’t working. I don’t think that’s entitlement, though. To me, those are standard, normal expectations. Entitlement would be thinking that if I pay for internet service every month, I should also get a free computer. Just because.
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Motorcycle Construction 101

My son loves building things. Come back tomorrow and there’s a 90% chance I’ll begin my post with ‘My son loves destroying things.’ And it’s true, my son loves building AND destroying things. I think destroying wins, hands down. There are broken bits all over the place. Lego hands keep popping up in the cereal box. Half of a bat’s wing ends up in my shoe. On Christmas morning he’ll rip the snowman paper off his latest truck and proceed to slam it on the ground. He’ll flip it over, crash it into the wall, bend it as far back as possible, then, at some point, he’ll drive it into the toilet. If there are moving appendages on said truck, those will be torn off by lunchtime. Read more

Tomato Soup Days

A series of doctor’s appointments and a spring cold have taken their toll on my work schedule. What I had hoped to finalize last week, sits untouched on my laptop. The deadlines I had constructed in my mind have been pushed further back. In the wake of these setbacks, I spent at least one day fretting about that.

And then my kids wanted tomato soup. Read more

Busy Doin’ Nothin’

Every year, Sweden holds Melodifestivalen, a highly televised song contest, to determine that year’s participant in the Eurovision Song Contest, also a highly televised song contest where different countries across Europe showcase their musical talent . . . sort of. It’s turned into a major event around our household. Every Friday during the months of February and March, we sit down in front of the TV for the show and enjoy ‘fredagsmys’ — a word I’m not even sure has an English equivalent. The literal translation would be something like ‘Friday cozy’. For us, that means the whole family sitting down together with a few snacks and enjoying a special movie or TV show. The fact that we don’t watch TV at all during the week (we don’t even have TV service. We hook up the laptop to the TV and stream the show via the internet) makes this extra special. Read more