torsdag 16 december 2010


        I just finished the last examining essay for this semester. There have been many of those, this semester, essays and assignments and deadlines and lectures and seminars. It’s not that I am complaining here or anything. I have loved every minute. However, handing in a final essay and realizing this Christmas Holiday will actually provide time for some actual rest is pretty special. At first I felt quite euphoric over this, but now, a couple of hours later I am starting to feel… empty. It’s like I have given birth but I am not permitted to cuddle with my baby, or babies, in this case. I have e-mailed my babies to my teacher, and now there’s just… me. What to do? Well, why not visit blogland and see if my friends there will be willing to take me back after having had deserted them for months…
        I may have been working hard this semester, but guess who has been working harder? My laptop! Which is not exactly mine, since it is the only functioning computer my family has, and we use it for everything: I use it to do school stuff, but everybody else use it to download various material from the Internet, to play games, to play music, to store and edit photos, to order merchandize, to watch movies, to facebook/msn/blog, well, you name it… “My” laptop has been complaining about this. Loudly, he has been telling me he needs a vacation. That he would like to go to a spa. That he desperately needs a massage and a facial, and that he would like to have a foot rub too. I have not listened to him. I have been pushing him further and further towards the edge. I have refused to let him have any sleep; sometimes I have forced him to stay up all night! And now he has started to get even. Three times in a row he has been shutting down on me. At random, it would seem. But every time, he has managed to kick me where it hurts the most. He’s sneaky; I’ll give him that…! The first two times he went all “black screen” on me was when I was having important online seminars discussing literature with my teachers. The last time was just this morning, just as I had pressed “save” on the document containing my final essay. First he showed me a blue screen with strange words and symbols on it, next thing he showed me a black screen with strange words and symbols on it, and finally the screen was just black. No strange words. No strange symbols. Black. After about 30 minutes of tears, sweat, frustration and agony on my part, he decided to come back to life. He has been fine, kind of, since then, but I hear the fan inside him is getting a little loud... I can tell he is annoyed with me. So what do you guys think? Should he get a vacation? Or maybe I should get him a new partner… I mean really, it’s the holiday season, so why not? My laptop might be thrilled and all beside himself with joy if he was to meet…say… a brand new iPad, maybe…? So Santa, wherever you are, I won’t ask for much this year. Just give me an iPad. If you won’t do it for me, do it for my laptop… He needs it.


fredag 15 oktober 2010

Grafitti Mariestad 2010

This summer there has been an interesting art project going on in Mariestad, the town where I live. The town's city council decided to hire an artist, Carolina Falkholt, and let her decorate the silo down in the harbour. This huge building used to be big and ugly, but now it is big and... kind of beautiful. Carolina Falkholt is one very talented woman, let me tell you. A lot of these grafitti paintings she did herself, others were done by other artists that she invited. But what's more, even ordinary people who live in Mariestad, or people who just happened to be in the area at the time, were also allowed to spray away at the walls. Of course, me and my family took the opportunity...

Now I would like to share a couple of photos with you guys. Please enjoy. Soon, photos will be all that remain of this event. The silo will be demolished during this fall, to give room for new houses and buildnings that probably won't be quite as colorful.

The activity down in the harbour made a lot of people curious...

This one is my favorite...

This car belongs to the artist herself, Carolina Falkholt.

A beautiful eye

Another beautiful eye

Pretty cool, huh?

This one gets my imagination going...

L - my pride and joy

L and me

L feeling creative

I väntan på ålderdom...
(Swedish for "Awaiting growing up/aging").

torsdag 14 oktober 2010

A tribute to Jan and Margareta Järnebrand

I have always looked up to the two of you. Strong and united, you have been my role models. Growing up I was trying hard to copy your ways and, in many ways, I still am. You were always consistent. You seemed to know so much and you had that special way with words, with art, and with music… In our home there was a sense of intellectual humor, of irony and of sarcasm mixed with tenderness and genuine warmth. The two of you, although very different from each other, are yet to such a great extent two parts of a whole. All I want now is for you to be proud of me. Proud of what I have become. Proud of choices I have made. As I sometimes struggle on my journey through life, again and again, you are there, rescuing me. Lifting me up. Giving me support. Offering advice. Encouraging me. For that, I will be eternally grateful. Without you, I would be nothing and nowhere. Thanks to you, I am.

I love you.

fredag 10 september 2010


I am so sorry for having been such a stranger lately. School has been pouring assignments over me, and I just recently got back to remembering how to actually breathe. I take three courses separately at the moment: English Grammar, Language Proficiency and Pronunciation. I have a lot to learn, but I have to say I am really enjoying myself while doing it. My first written assignment in Language Proficiency was to write a “Description” using 175-200 words. We could describe anything we wanted, our teacher told us. I would actually have preferred being given a picture or a topic or a keyword or something, but no, we should feel free to write about anything. Now, that is harder than it seems, let me tell you. This is not my language, I am just borrowing it. And the teacher who is grading us is an actual American – can you believe it? Not one of those fake wannabe Americans, Swedish teachers who lived a couple of years in the States, no, she’s a genuine authentic actual American. She told us to call her Susan. I almost called her “Mrs …” because I kind of felt like I was back in high school again… As I am the ambitious kind, of course I am aiming towards good grades in school. Susan will either give me an F (fail), a G (pass) or a VG (pass with distinction). My assignment was handed in yesterday and next week she’ll let me know if I passed or not. What do you guys think? I am ready for your verdict. :)

Sometimes when I am under a lot of stress and pressure suddenly I feel an urge to retreat. On these occasions I go to my happy place. This is a place I have mentally created and therefore it exists only in my head. I close my eyes and I can see it. There is a wooden bench right next to a small lake surrounded by tall pine trees. At night the water of the lake looks pitch black and the air rising from the lake is misty. It looks as if there were elves slowly dancing across its surface. The beauty of it all is breathtaking. As I walk towards the lake my toes are softly caressed by the moist grass. There is no sound. There is no motion except for me, since I am the only one here. Descending into the water I start to feel its soothing embrace yet again. It covers me, it carries me and it comforts me. Suddenly there is air again. I can breathe. I fill my lungs and stretch out floating in the middle of the lake. Through night swimming I find peace.

Michael Stipe (R.E.M.) kind of inspired that one really. (Nightswimming is my favorite song ever.) Well, I should get back to hitting the books. And maybe do some laundry and vacuuming while I’m at it. You guys take care. I’ll talk to you later.


fredag 27 augusti 2010

55 - Hooked

“Please? Do it for me?”, my daughter pleaded. “At least one of them, you’ll love them”! “No”, I told her, “I won’t. I’m not into that kind of stuff”. “But just read the first one”, she insisted. So I did.
I read Twilight. And New Moon. And Eclipse. And Breaking Dawn.
And I was hooked.

torsdag 26 augusti 2010

Theme Thursday: Equal

I am the woman
You are the man
I do the dishes
You wash the car
I do the laundry
You change the tires
I get the groceries
You hold the TV remote firmly in you hand
and as you are relaxing on the couch
I am still in the kitchen folding laundry
If we really are equal
…maybe it’s time for me to go wash the car?

onsdag 25 augusti 2010


Please enjoy a couple of snapshots from this summer...

Kids create art... I love those faces! :)

Nature creates art...

I love these...

Polka dot rose

Sun flower

We stepped out of our shoes...

... and dove into the lake

This is me actually wearing a dress... :)


tisdag 24 augusti 2010

Back to school... and blog land

...OK, so tell me, how is this done? How do I do this? I admit I had a hard time even remembering my password to log into Blogger... I seems like it was ages ago since I was here, but now I am... back. Alive and kicking. Today is the big Back To School Day. My kids are back in school, and so am I. This semester I will be studying English. The course they start us off with is Grammar... Hopefully you will all see the results eventually as I gradually make fewer mistakes. Hopefully.
My 7 year old son is back in school and even though he looked really tired (and I'm talking reeeeally tired here, people) when I woke him up this morning he still seemed happy to go play with his  friends at school. The heavy burden of massive homework is not upon him yet so to him school is just a fun place where you hang out with your friends and maybe learn a thing or two along the way.

My 14 year old daughter starts a new school today and I am so excited for her. It is a brand new school. After she finally had figured out what to wear on the first day of school (which took her a good couple of hours), and she had straightened her hair and changed her clothes a couple of times, she, too, walked to her new school with a smile on her face, together with a friend.

Since my kids were off to school, today I started school too. I did this by getting a couple of new notebooks, pencils, pens, Post-its, and markers. I ordered a couple of books from an online bookstore, I facebooked back and forth with my study group friends, and I visited my local library chasing literature.  I am actually excited to start hitting the books. I am looking forward to lots of reading and writing. I'll be sure to catch up on your blogs now and I'll go right ahead and continue stalking some of you like I normally do... I have missed you all so much! Summer has been sweet, but I love the fall too. I can't wait for all the colors! I am feeling a lot of positive energy right now. Good stuff. This will be a great fall! See you!

fredag 9 juli 2010

Knock, knock... Who's there?

Well, I just wanted to stop by and tell you all that I am still alive. (In case you were wondering...). I'm like that parrot, you know, the Norweigan Blue (even though I am Swedish)...I'm not dead, I'm resting... When I am not working, that is. And when I'm not resting, or working, I am spending time with friends and family enjoying life and the beauty of Summer. I am looking forward to some time off from school and work, I will be enjoying strawberries, ice cream, road trips, blueberry pie, photo opportunities, hugs, good books, and maybe a glass of wine or two watching the sun set...

I will be missing you all, but have no doubts I'll come back to stalk you all when Fall is here. Until then I am sending tons of hugs and kisses your way...!


måndag 7 juni 2010

Listening to old people

You know how I usually complain about being a poor student? Well, it’s not like this fact really has changed in any substantial way, but I am still very happy at the moment because I have some good news: I have a job for the summer! I will be working part time taking care of old people who still live at home but who need some extra help getting through the day. I will be helping them with breakfast, assist as they take showers, help them put on their clothes, fix breakfast, hand out medicine, take them for walks, clean their homes, deliver lunch, fix supper, take them to see the doctor and the dentist, that kind of thing. I am really looking forward to this. I have had this kind of work many summers in the past and I have loved every bit of it. Maybe I’ll even get to work extra during this coming fall too, if all goes well.

I love being around old people. If you just take your time and really listen to them, they have so many stories to tell. About life. About what’s important. About the stuff that matters, and the stuff that doesn’t. About time. Often talking to them allows me to see things in a different angle, from a new perspective. They make me raise my voice, sometimes only to soon realize I didn’t really have to. Not all old people are deaf, you know. They have on many occasions made me change the radio station. Not all old people love old people’s music, you know… I have seen their scars and tattoos and listened to the stories associated with them. I have seen wounds and bruises. I have carried tiny little old ladies, and I have wheeled heavy ones in wheel chairs, uphill as well as downhill. I have held the hands of lonely people who have told me they have lost everyone and everything, even lost their hope, and I have been trying to comfort them but not always succeeded. I have shared tears and laughter. I have grown in the past. I will grow in the future. Soon I’ll be off meeting my new co-workers and some of the old people I will be taking care of this summer. I am so excited. I can’t wait. Wish me luck!

fredag 4 juni 2010

55 - We are all flowers

We are all flowers
Peeking up from the grass
Stretching out
Reaching for the sun
Roots digging through the soil
Craving water
Needing light
We are beautiful
We come in all shapes and colors
We may bow our heads in the wind
But we rise again after the storm has passed
Again and again

torsdag 3 juni 2010

Sun is shining

Summer has arrived… or at least it is here visiting for a couple of days. Summer makes me want to go outside. Almost makes me want to go outside to live. I live in an apartment with my family. Some day I would love for us to live in a house of our own with a lawn, a garden, trees, flowers and all that. The apartment where we live now is perfect for our needs right now however. It is fine really. It is big and the rent is reasonable. So I am not really complaining here. Well, maybe I am, just a little bit.

This time of the year I always get started dreaming about what it would be like to have a house of our own... It probably has to do with the climate here… In Sweden when spring and summer finally arrive, people go crazy. They go wild. They go find their bikinis (the females, mostly),bring out their barbecue equipment, lawnmowers, shovels (not the snow ones though… Ha!) and they plant flowers and tomatoes and strawberries, and then they sit their on their perfect green lawns in comfortable chairs sipping cold drinks next to their perfect houses with their perfect families and… well, I envy them. I might as well tell you that straight out, in case you hadn’t noticed… I am 35 years old. I should have come further along in my life than this by now. I should have a job by now. I should be making money by now. Instead it’s a fact that I am a poor teacher’s student living in an apartment with my family. I have 2,5 years left of school until I graduate. Sometimes I feel frustrated over this fact and also kind of sorry for my family. They deserve better. Especially this time of the year.

I will not let this post remain a pity party though. We have a lot of things to be grateful for as well. First, my in-laws own a summer house by the beautiful lake of Vänern on the island of Torsö. We have our own room there and we can spend as much time as we like with them there during the summer. Secondly, we live next to the lake of Vänern and there are lots of places to go nearby if you want to go swimming. Mariestad, the town where we live, is beautiful during the summer, it really seems to come to life this time of the year. We have lots of friends who own houses with nice lawns. And the lawn outside our apartment is actually a perfect spot for picnics with kids, just bring strawberry lemonade and cinnamon rolls and go out there. I have realized that the rule must go something like this: If you don’t own a lawn of your own, go sit on somebody elses… And believe me, I do.

Sun is shining. The weather is sweet. I am still swamped with school assignments and I will remain that way until next Friday, 11:00 am. (We will have our last quiz 10:30 am…) Today I will take my books and go sit outside and study. I need all the energy that the sun can provide for me. My barefoot feet need to feel some grass under them. I need to meet a couple of lady bugs and butterflies. I need to pin a flower in my hair. My hippie soul lives and breathes the beautiful greens of this season. It is gorgeous out there now. I might try to do to some kind of a photo post tomorrow to try and show you all. Until then, take care. / Jo.

fredag 28 maj 2010

Sorry folks...

No 55 today... I have been working so hard this week with my school assignments, and on top of that I have been doing some teaching too. In addition, a lot of things have been going on with my family as well. I have been really swamped with things to do, and even though this has eaten a lot of my energy, it has given me some in return as well... I haven’t been able to write anything for my blog though, and I haven’t had time to visit you guys much either and I am sorry about that…

I decided to google for the perfect picture to use as I try to write a post that will allow you to get an image of what has been going on in my mind recently. This class I am taking, Nature and sustainable development, has been messing with my head big time. That is not always entirely a bad thing. But the other day as my teachers decided to be a little bit "spontanious" and give us another three (!) heavy lab assigments due next week, this is how I felt:

And this is how I feel still. I am hoping it will pass during this weekend.

fredag 21 maj 2010

55 - Fall on me

it’s wet and wild
it’s good for me
i need it in order to grow
going out there and letting it embrace me
taking shelter from it or letting it cover me
breathing it
smelling it
listening to the music it brings
heavy on the rooftops
gentle at the windows
fall on me
beautiful rain

torsdag 20 maj 2010

Theme Thursday: Pets

Just imagine I’d be doing a blog post about pets… Since I am in a desperate need for a break from current school assignments, I have decided I’ll give it a try. I will not, however, use that picture. Somebody commented that it had too much cuteness in it. I agree. That picture was a massive cuteness OD. And I will not even go there…

So what can I tell you about pets? I am not really a cat person. Cats always seem so much smarter than me, and I’m worthless dealing with that… Birds in general, in my opinion, should not be kept in cages. Fish belong in the sea. Rats are far too intelligent to be held hostages by humans. Turtles belong in the wild. But I do love dogs. I really love dogs. And they love me. Dogs are like that, they love everyone… I believe that if some people were more like dogs, this would be a better world. But then again, if that was the case, I guess a lot of people would end up getting arrested too, since dogs seem to enjoy making love in public…

One day I want to have a dog of my own. A big dog. A Scooby-Doo kind of dog. We will take long walks together. I will train him. I will try to challenge his abilities. He will not be allowed in my bed, but it’d be OK to put his bed in my bedroom. If he doesn’t have a lot of gas. In that case his bed will be put somewhere else. A big dog eats a lot of food. A lot of food costs a lot of money. A poor teacher student doesn’t have a lot of money. And therefore, the dog part of my life will have to wait until I get a job. Or until I retire, maybe, considering I really want to be able to actually spend time with my dog too, not just leave him at home all by himself all day while I’m at school working and teaching. Dogs deserve people who care, people who love them and cherish them. Until I get a dog of my own, I’ll just continue hugging other people’s dogs and let them lick me in my face.

tisdag 18 maj 2010

Closing up on beautiful growing things

Trying to focus...

Happy orange

Some more orange...

A promising bud

Some green with a spin

A flower that kind of looks like an UFO or something...

Beautiful rain

Wet wet wet

Time for me to wake up and smell the flowers...

måndag 17 maj 2010

A message

there is a red light blinking on the answering machine
we decide to erase it but it keeps returning
how strange
but, then again, if it’s broken, we can always go out and buy a new one

there seems to be a message here
but we are just not seeing it
maybe we don’t want to
maybe we don’t have the time
maybe we are just to busy
minding our own business
preparing dinner, mowing the lawn and preparing for soccer practice

there are tsunamis, oil spills, deforestation
piles of garbage
and earthquakes
volcanos and ash clouds
there is hunger and malnutrition
there is obesity - people dying from eating too much
but why should I care?
I feel fine. Most of the time.

and all the stress
there are status symbols, status updates, status pressure
we climb higher, go faster, build bigger, work harder
mother Earth
we inherited her
now we are draining her
raping her
she is screaming “no”
again and again
but nobody seems to listen
we pretend we don’t hear
and carry on
doing what we do
minding our own business
the way we always have

and the red light is still there...
if we would push play
I think we would hear her crying

fredag 14 maj 2010

55 - Just do it

The candles were lit, the meal had been fantastic. “I need more than this”, she told him, looking straight into his brown eyes. “You and I have been together for fifteen years. We have been on this rollercoaster ride through heaven and hell, your hand in mine, my head on your shoulder. Now marry me.”

onsdag 12 maj 2010

Theme Thursday: Mystery

you work so hard
to act mysterious
to stay out of it
to take no part in it
to not get involved
to not let yourself be affected
to not have to feel
to not have to know
I am trying to figure out what goes on in that head of yours

To me it is a mystery
why act cool when you are burning up inside?
why look away when you should look me in the eye?
why leave, why now, why at all?
to me you are a mystery
and you always have been

I used to think we were so much alike
chasing shadows,
and dreams,
and shadows of dreams,
and dreams of shadows.

But maybe you went on living
and I am the one still chasing shadows?

It is a mystery.

tisdag 11 maj 2010

A good rule to live by

I completety stole this photo from the Internet. I confess.

Today as I was assigned an English class to teach I went to Vadsbogymnasiet, the school where I work, with a smile on may face. Well, there’s usually a smile on my face actually, that’s just the kind of person I am. Anyway, I was very excited to get to have this opportunity to interact with a bunch of high school kids. The bell rings, and into the classroom two kids enter. Two. And that’s it. Two young male specimens. …(Hmmmm, I suddenly feel like I am discussing Biology here, but I am really not. It must be that course I am taking at school right now, the one about Nature and Sustainable Development, that is affecting me…) Anyway, moving on here with the story… My two students look at me a bit awkward as they inform that the rest of the study group all have decided to leave school early today since last class had been cancelled anyway.

First I feel a little frustrated considering the NSU's (No Show Ups). But then I start thinking… And instead of feeling anger and frustration because of the NSU's I decide to focus entirely on the SU's (Show Ups). These two students are here for a reason. They may be a part of a study group that is difficult to motivate, but they are still here. They want to learn. I am their teacher. Therefore, I will teach.

There is a lot of good energy right here. Positive energy. Ambition. Power. The power of knowledge. Chatting with these kids I feel fortunate. They are making me become the teacher I want to be. Seeing them, hearing them, reaching out to them, getting through to them, helping them out with verbs and guiding them through the mysterious mazes of linguistics I feel alive.

In life in general, we will encounter both kinds of people. There will be NSU's and SU's. As long as we focus on the SU's we are OK. As long as we wish for more of them and less of the other kind, we will be doing just fine. I have one thing to ask from you who read this though. I want you to be honest. Think hard, dig deep into your mind, focus... Promise me to make sure you love what you do. And that, if you don’t, you go do something else. There’s a good rule to live by, right there.

fredag 7 maj 2010

55 - 35

Age is only a number
Youth is an attitude
Age comes with growing
Wisdom comes with age
Halfway to seventy
Feeling no fear
Embracing possibilities
Faith, love and hope
In between young and old
I am me
I am here
I know where I have been
I know where I’m going
I’ll be thirty-five

torsdag 6 maj 2010

Theme Thursday: Pink

Think pink, you say? Is that a dare? OK, here we go...

This is my very favourite kind of flower. I don't know the name of it though, not even in Swedish. I know I have said this before, but if I was a flower, this is the flower I would love to be. This is a flower with an attitude...

In my opinion this woman is really cool and also very talented. And she is beautiful too. This is a woman with an attitude.

Pink roses in the shade... Kind of wants me want to... eat them, actually... Wow, that feels strange... What is wrong with me?
To all the women out there... Feel your breasts. Or have someone do it for you.

Another nameless flower I found right next to a lake. She was begging me to take her picture... She actually said: "Please, please, pleeeeeease, take my picture, make me famous...!"  So I did.

Hey, teacher! Leave those kids alone...
It's funny I'd say that, considering I am studying to become a teacher and all.
... all in all we're just another brick in the wall...
...and that is that.

And finally, some pink blåsippor... I took this photo a couple of weeks ago.
Oh, how I love the first signs of spring...