Thursday, March 11, 2010

My 100th Post!

How cool is this? I just realized it. Wasn't keeping track until I saw that big #99 staring at me when I logged in. Now, how to celebrate? I think I'll take a page from Mon's book and do a 100 Random Things About Me Post. Oh and I should take this opportunity to thank her for encouraging me to start blogging. Hers was the first blog I'd ever visited, apart from (yes, I just freely admitted that...for shame!).
100 Random Things About Me
1. I have no idea how I'm gonna make it to 100 random things.
2. I've had 3 dogs in my life: Buster, Boomer and Dobber. I will never have another and will be content loving everyone else's mutt. Too much heartbreak.
3. Hubby is 16 years older than me and Newsflash: Age DOES matter. But in more good ways than bad. Like, I never would have discovered Led Zeppelin, Monty Python or Love Story!
4. I am a chronic procrastinator but am getting much better.
5. I look up to my younger brother. He is my polar opposite in so many ways and we have a richer relationship because of it. Though we get on each other's nerves FAST (or rather, I get on HIS).
6. My 23-year old stepson rocks but he needs a good kick in the arse these days. He's super smart and is a great teacher.
7. I discovered fancy food late in life. Thai, Sushi, Indian. I grew up on meat and potatoes.
8. One of my biggest pet peeves is unnecessary facial hair on women. Seriously ladies, take some wax to that mess of fur.
9. One of my all-time favourite movies is Annie.
10. I spent 2 and a half years in Montenegro. It was the greatest adventure of my life...not counting the 3 year old.
11. My son has more stamps in his passport than most people I know.
12. My son had a nanny for the first 2 and a half years of his life. We were all so spoiled. We love her like family.
13. I'd rather clean the toilet than do the laundry.
14. Moving to Sweden was a bigger culture shock than Montenegro, go figure.
15. I've had the same best friend since I was 10.
16. I've had the opportunity to do a lot of travelling but have yet to set foot inside The Magic Kingdom.
17. I love fried balogne, baloney, balogna..however you spell it, smother some ketchup on it please!
18. I was my high school's Valedictorian.
19. I wish I could play an instrument, the clarinet doesn't count.
20. I'm waiting to meet Will Ferrel. His wife is Swedish, his kids have Swedish names and they have a summer home here in Sweden. We're gonna be bestest buddies one day (stated in my most crazed stalker voice).
21. I once asked a blind guitar player, Jeff Healey, for an autograph and then asked him to make it out to my brother, to which he replied, "You realize I'm blind, right?"
22. I've seen The Rolling Stones in concert three times.
23. I loathe taking the bus anywhere but have relented thanks to a very excited 3-year old.
24. I believe in God and in Jesus but haven't been to church in ages, and I feel bad about that.
25. Some of my most cherished friends were random strangers I met on a beach one day. I spent very little time with them but we tell each other we love each other.
26. I am outgoing, bordering on obnoxious.
27. I.Love.Lamp (only a select few will get this reference)

Ok, I know you were all hoping for 100 but:
28. My mother says I have ADD.

So, in honour of my 100th Blog Post, there are 28 Random Things About Me. I've sure enjoyed getting to know all of you this past year and have really appreciated the following:

1. Reading your amazing blogs and participating in some fun discussions.
2. Your thoughtful comments and support.
3. Your willingness to come back again and again, even though my blog has to be one of the ugliest, most disorganized out there and I really have no THEME (must be the ADD).
God love you all! SwedishJenn xoxo

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Weigh-in Wednesday: Week 4 of 10

Yup, we're almost at the halfway mark and I'm still 14 pounds shy of my goal weight..sigh. Still down 4. Though a few days ago, I was down 6 and then I celebrated and went back up.

Why do celebrations always need to be dependent on alcohol? It sets me back every time. And then there's the whole sitting on my ass problem. I know, I know. I promised to exercise and I am pleased to report that the past few nights, I have indeed been getting a workout. Slightly unconventional and all thanks to the 3-year old's obsession with ABBA.

Picture me doing interpretive dance to the first 20 seconds of every song on ABBA Gold, from Dancing Queen to Mamma Mia (the all-time favourite), Super Trooper, The Winner Takes it All and straight on through to Waterloo...couldn't escape if I wanted to...seriously (how clever was that last line?). And most of the time I'm dancing by myself while the little man sits on the floor and presses the Next button continuously. At least 10 rounds. I'm sweating in sock feet all the while thinking about how I'm gonna break this to my blog readers.

But it's something, right? Better than the nothing I had to show a few short days ago! Hey, if Bjorn and the gang can't get my arm flab under control, who can?
All I need is a disco ball, a headband, some leg warmers, a unitard and Jane Fonda by my, John Travolta.

And Hyacynth's little, "Nothing tastes as good as healthy feels" mantra has been keeping me away from those evil carbs for the most part. Except for this amazing Guacomole Dip they sell in every supermarket in Sweden. You know the one fellow Swedes. It's in the Taco section.

Swedes have a deep fascination with Mexican food. We've recently added Chicken Fajitas and Tacos to the menu, with none of the tortillas for me. But this damn dip. It's likely full of like the worst stuff possible, junk you can't pronounce in any language and the damn tin has NO nutritional info on it. I have no idea how many carbs I'm consuming when I shovel spoonful after spoonful into my mouth! Maybe if I did, I wouldn't sit with it like you sit with a bucket of ice cream. But I'm having fun fooling myself. I am pretending in my head that because on Atkins you can eat half an Avocado, half a tin of this dip is the exact same! It so is not. It so can't be. I'm delusional.

So where we at ladies? What are you deluding yourself into believing this week? Or maybe you already pulled the plug on those voices in your head. I am determined that the little cushion supporting the laptop on my lap will soon wither away and I'll have to find a new way to sit and type. I think it will be in a bikini. As a matter of fact, I will wear a bikini like everyday, even while cooking or scrubbing the toilet. I will wear it to the local supermarket. I will wear it out at night. My bikini and I shall be ONE when I'm in Montenegro this summer. Or maybe I'll get REALLY brave and head on over to Den's for a day in the buff! Now THAT would be something...

As I type these brave affirmations, I realize with a knot in my stomach, that a few of the people reading this weekly might actually hold me to this. To all of this. Why can't I just keep my big mouth shut and my fingers out of the Guacomole jar?

Monday, March 8, 2010

To Blog is to Berate?

Oy. I still consider myself a blogging virgin. Only been at this for a little over a year now and still haven't truly found my "voice". But that parallels my life in general, or more specifically, my ability to write or speak or debate with expertise and conviction. I stay away from anything controversial or "hot" because, well, I take criticism or anyone "calling me out" as a personal attack. In a nutshell, I long to be liked. I'm scared too. Scared that if I take a stand on something, I won't be able to properly defend myself in the event of an attack.

I have come to admire those bloggers who are smarter than me. Or at least far more skilled at conveying their thoughts and opinions clearly, succinctly and often times, with humour than I am. There are some uber talented writers out there. I love reading thought-provoking posts that turn into discussions and debates. But what I love more, is how the blogger justifies him/herself and their convictions. I'm a star-struck fan at times.

One of these blogs is "A Swedish American in Sweden". This guy can really write and he's only in his early twenties I think. He has amassed quite a following of expats and locals alike. He talks about the cultural differences, his struggles with them and his opinions. His posts are candid, humourous and enlightening. He recently wrote an amazing post on his love/hate relationship with Sweden and it sparked a firestorm. Most were comments of support, "I hear ya. Well done on the blog. Thanks for helping me through the transition, etc." but along came two detractors, harsh critics, whom I assume are rather "schooled". They bit back HARD on a post where I saw no controversy. And the discussion quickly degenerated into mud-slinging and some name calling.

It's riveting to read..I think he's up to over 50 comments now. As much as I felt sorry for HairySwede, I was extremely impressed with his ability to defend his post. I'm sure I sound like I'm gushing. Anyhow, I only jumped into the fray a few times and as per the above description of myself, rather carefully. I was in over my head.

It truly amazes me how blogging allows us to break away from conventional social graces and say exactly what's on our mind, speak to others the way we wouldn't speak face-to-face and sometimes say some hurtful things without thought or feeling for others. It doesn't amaze me as much as it saddens me.

I will try, and subconsciously have tried, to govern myself the way I would if I were indeed speaking to the person. If I don't like what someone has to say, I am careful with the way I voice my dissent and if I feel that strongly against someone's blog, well I can always hit the "Next" button. That person has the right to post whatever he/she wants and if I'm clearly a "hater", then why am I continuing to lurk?

That said, as a blogger you are opening yourself up to the world. And you need to take what comes with it, the good and the bad. And people have every right to question you and/or disagree. For me, it's the way in which this is all handled sometimes that frustrates me. I would like to think, regardless of culture, there is a base moral standard we all (should) try to uphold, that should apply equally to the anonymity of cyberspace. Anonymity should not give us permission to disavow common courtesy, respect, integrity.

"Why can't we all just along?"

Sunday, March 7, 2010

ABBA and World Peace

Yes dear friends. I am convinced that ABBA should be played in the background at all important political meetings in the whole wide world. When Obama travels to Afghanistan to negotiate with the Taliban. East and West Bank relations. The Chubby guy in the green military suit from the bad Korea meeting with whoever runs South Korea. Stick a CD player outside some mysterious-looking caves in Pakistan blaring Voulez-vous and you WILL eventually flush out Bin Laden.

Want your team to win? Earbuds blaring Dancing Queen should do the trick.

Nothing brings the world together like a little ABBA. Who doesn't LOVE ABBA?

My three and a half year old son came home from school the other day singing the chorus to Mamma Mia. Huh? He didn't learn it from me (though he was very close to being "inducted").

ABBA IS Sweden's most powerful export. No question. With IKEA coming in a very distant 2nd.