I'm ready for autumn

I remember writing a similar post two or three years ago, about stumbling out of the tattoo studio I worked at and getting hit in the face by Mr. Moist, aka summer in late August.

He's here again my fellow internetters, oh, he's here again.

That time of the year when you find spiders in the basement surprisingly often, like, almost every night just before bedtime, and of course just by your bed. It's that time of year when you try to take an evening walk but have to admit defeat before even leaving your own street because you've already almost stepped on 25 snails that have taken the chance to relocate when everything's terribly wet and moist - just like they like it.

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Everything feels weirdly cool to the touch, because everything's a little moister than what it should be. Clothes feel clingy, sweat breaks long before my body temperature usually requires it, and the misty sunlight fries everything in sight without lifting the heavy feeling.

I mean, I guess it's fine because we have a bajillion tomatoes and chilies in the garden that need to ripen but I as an individual does not appreciate it. I never really appreciate 27C/80F, but even less so now. The moisture content in what used to be called "the air" lays like a heavy blanket atop my breathing organs and it even makes everything smell differently. You know when you walk through your house and all of a sudden it smells like.. building materials? That you haven't smelled before? So you instinctively assume you have water damage and that's gonna suck so bad to clean up because gawddangit you're just finished with the dang carpenters? And then realise it's just September soon and that's how life works?

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BUT, my friends, the wet blanket of hopelessness will eventually lift and it will leave us with my favourite season - autumn. So I'm making all the preparations for it! Curtains are changed and the dining room and the fireplace is kitted with autumny colours and fake flowers because I am a thousand years old. Autumn scented candles have been picked and put on display and I've colour-coordinated some others, which I may say is easy, because my entire house is well adapted for the autumn life.

I've put hours into boiling purees and making apple sauce and have frozen and preserved berries and fruits for later (ya know, I'm AM a newbie at preserving so some of it goes into the freezer in case of failure). I've made pumpkin puree and picked plums off of our neighbour's trees and sorted out convincingly summery clothes, all of which I wanted to throw into the laundry bins because of their apparent wetness, but then I again realised it's September and that's just how life works some years.

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So yeah I accidentally broke off the more yellowy pumpkin when digging around, so it had to come in prematurely. Ahem. But at least we finally got an orange one!

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I've googled recipes for fall and baked an autumn spice cake (SO GOOD!) and eaten warm plum compote with ice cream. We've invited way too many people for the traditional crayfish celebrations and it's gonna be great!

We've planned loosely for the Swedish version of Thanksgiving because we have one! It's the 13th of October this year and is apparently for giving thanks to God for this year's harvest. Being the heathen that I am, I'm opting for nature and the universe and maybe the trolls that keep stealing our socks, leaving the monotheistic deity-bit to my partner.

Hopefully, we'll be able to have a Halloween party as well, we'll see. The autumn plans drifts over into Christmas, having to prepare things here and there for that glorious time of the year as well. Christmas cards are to be made, wreaths decorated, glögg has to be mixed six weeks in advance.

The house is ready. The garden is almost ready. I'm ready.

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In case anyone of you wonder where I spend most of my down time, it’s right in that corner. Love my corner, inspite of looming ancestry in the shape of oversized Polish clocks. It’s the only place in this entire house it fits, haha!

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Midsummer's Eve 2019

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Looking a little worse for wear the day after, but hey. Still beautiful!

Having been brainwashed by the traditional Midsummer celebrations in Dalarna during my upbringing, this year I kind of missed all that jazz. The decoration of the Maypole, the dancing, the schnappsing (I didn't do this in my youth, just to make it clear), the cabin hanging and the BBQing and most importantly, the new potatoes! The classic Swedish Midsummer celebrations are not quite as unsettling as that new horror movie Midsommar wants to make it out, as the biggest threats to one's person are flying blood-sucking terrors by the hundreds and getting rogue pieces of wood tossed at you by sloshed participants in the classic game of "kubb". Oh, and the Chinese water torture that in this country goes by the epithet "rain" that most Midsummer Eve's have to withstand.

After a short session of getting my plans enabled by my dear partner in crime and household, I invited all the peeps. In the end, around 25 people came and celebrated with us. And, as usual, I ran around doing stuff and trying to be a hostess and then suddenly, the day had turned into night and the last guests left in a taxi. Someday, I'm gonna learn how to plan better so I can hang out more with my friends when having heaps of them over. Someday...

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Kubb, the epitome of “use what we’ve got”, aka throw pieces of wood at other pieces of wood.

But the weather was beautiful and sunny for once, and just windy enough to help keep the mosquitoes at bay. We ate, schnappsed, laughed, talked, threw sticks at each other, played traditional Swedish music. We decorated a wonderful Maypole with scraps from our yard, heaps of daisies and pieces from a thuja we're taking down when we find the energy. You take what you have, ya know? It was a lovely way to celebrate and at least three people have already said “Next year…” as if we’ve started a new tradition. Well, I don’t mind!

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The plundering of the daisy field in our backyard didn’t even cause a dent in it.

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“Pfff, see if we care!”

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Done! Beautiful!

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The inauguration of the pole by “troll dancing” and stomping around. Yeah, I don’t know either, but it was great!

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The thoughtful club

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Mingles

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Ponderings and the obvious signs of a party having taken place. Also, a heap of old wood and trash that we have to cart away to the recycling yard. It’s in half of the pictures. #neverforgetthemess

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My sister's wedding

Last week, I made my ten hour way south to participate in my sister's wedding. They finally decided to get it done after twelve years together. It was an intense weekend and I brought one of my best friends for my plus one because I have a complicated love life, haha. The weather was lovely (you never know with the Swedish summer) and it was such a loving atmosphere. 

The ceremony took place in a castle ruin out in a lake, and then the festivities took place in my sister's and her now husband's garden, complete with a bar and personnel, and a very popular man professionally handling the BBQ. The polaroid camera was sent around and everyone wrote their well-wishes, speeches were held and food was happily eaten. All in all, a very nice experience!

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Before the wedding we went sightseeing a little and crashed another wedding. Maybe you can't see it, but all the men in suits were staring at us when I took the picture.

Kronoberg's castle was the site for the wedding. Having been used and built on since at least the 14th century, it has been in ruin since the 17th century. And of course, like all old places in the southern half of Sweden, the Danish torched it at one time. 

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The guests arrived, with the lovely little café in the background. 

Food and drink! 

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Mingling in the setting sun.

We've always teased my sisters spouse because he's obsessive with the lawn, but dang, it's the most perfect patch of grass I've ever seen! 

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Outdoors dancefloor with lights and a DJ! 

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On the way home we stopped for a bit of air at another ruin, Brahehus, a 17th century dwelling wonderfully placed upon the cliff side, overlooking the lake Vättern. I dropped my phone and got my first dents ever in a mobile screen, but I guess it's fine because it was ON the ruin. If I'm gonna drop my phone on anything, it's a ruin, right? 

All this makes me want to move south because I just love this part of Sweden. 

Midsummer of 2018

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So, I can with great joy proclaim my survival of Midsummer’s Eve in God’s year 2018!

I mean, one guy did almost die but that’s expected when shoving 16 people together in a house in the countryside, having brought twice as many bottles of schnapps than there are people. The weather was as usual too, aka surprisingly cold considering the days before and after Midsummer’s, as if just planning to dance around the pole manages to invoke the rain gods, leaving all the little frog hoppers jump through the drizzle in order to make their children happy with its traditional midsummeryness.

It was a joyful experience, banqueting on great food and schnapps, mingling and talking to old and new acquaintances about everything from the simple things to bigger questions in life well into the night.

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The darkest that the early summer night gets in the center-ish of Sweden. Magic every year.

I’m so grateful to have made a bunch of new friends these last few years since I moved home, it’s such a silver lining in addition to all the things I have to be happy about.

The magic of Midsummer's Eve

This coming Friday, it is Midsummer’s Eve. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the concept of a Swedish Midsummer’s Eve, I can tell you that it’s the national day for getting eaten alive by mosquitos, “involuntarily” drinking schnapps flavored with elderflowers (even though our fathers does not smell of the berries), BBQing whatever we can get our hands on from the trashed half empty shelves of anything BBQable in the stores and being outside in dresses and shorts even though it’s just a few degrees above freezing come sunset.

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Imagine a country full of self-controlled people that lives in the darkness and cold of the north for eight months every year. Then imagine there being quite a lot of the heathen ways left, in spite of Christianity’s tries to subdue them. Most of our holidays are Christian (somewhat) in origin and we, as a pure and godly collection of folks, of course use the days off of work to get pissed in public. But Midsummer’s is a little bit different.

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Firstly, it’s our only holiday of any weight during the summer months. So not only do we get off of our faces in public, we also get to accept our heathen spirits that still roam these lands and give ourselves the opportunity to flee out into the countryside and have sex outside because it’s tradition to do so (some people are denying this, I don’t know why?). All the while freezing to death and being eaten alive by mosquitos, of course. That act of survival is a vital ingredient in any early-to-late night outdoor activity in Sweden. Why one should have sex outside on the night that the sun nearly doesn’t set at all and gives you the absolute minimum of darkness to protect your privacy I don’t know, but hey, it’s tradition after all!

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As dark as the night gets. It's kind of magic really.

As you can tell, it’s obviously the finest holiday of them all and of course, everything I’m telling you is true (except for the sex part, but one can wish, right!). Also, everything you've heard about people jumping around a pole like little frogs are true. Only parents though, and their kids. The rest of us stands around in the background, happy that we don't have to.

Now, I don’t have a set tradition apart from the aforementioned BBQ and schnapps, I just jump on whatever location being offered that the drinking and BBQing (how about some halloumi rolled in chili flakes, ugh so good!) can take place with nice folks. This year I’m shipping myself off to a country side dwelling about an hour away from town with a bunch of people ranging from friends to strangers, to eat and drink a lot during 26 hours.

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What could possibly go wrong?

The lovely Easter celebrations of 2018

Maybe it’s presumptuous of me to assume that not many of you missed this – but recently, it was Easter. And like many other quasi-heathen non-God-fearing Swedes out there, I took the opportunity of this Christian tradition and its off-workness; and got drunk in the company of my (grown-up) family at 3 PM on Easter Eve after already having 1½ days off of work.

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Along with singing songs and downing spiced booze one milliliter at a time, we ate pie and then the classic Swedish princess cake with the only holiday-difference that the marzipan was dyed yellow instead of green. Entangled with the eating and the drinking was talking about life and its mysteries, and getting to take part in my father and my boyfriend getting along very well. After the intense eight hour family dinner, I ventured on to another gathering that plied me with Dragon’s Blood (which is the onomatopoeic version of “Oh God what did I do last night?”) and I got to talk loudly about ancient monuments with a person that was actually interested!  

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Spot the Fireball and the hand of future regret

Later on, much like the miracle of Jesus, I succumbed to the celebrations (being drunk sometimes is my cross to carry) at half past three on Sunday morning after being out and about for thirteen hours, and came back to life on Sunday afternoon. Well, I wasn’t gone as long as Jesus, but hey, no one’s perfect. And, like a miracle; I wasn’t hungover when I woke up! If that’s not a sign I celebrated the right way, I don’t know what is.

A little more than “lagom” level of celebration, I’d say!