Enjoy Not Knowing

Just another American living in Sweden


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surprising evelina on her birthday

Do you know how difficult it is to surprise Evelina? I’ll tell you, it is incredibly difficult.

Some of my failed attempts at surprising Evelina on different occasions have included such things from Christmas present shopping to trying to make dinner unannounced. Either I’m an open book to her, or she has some sort of magical intuition which translates my sentence “I’m on my way home now, I left late from work” to “I left work right on time, went to the grocery store and am secretly making a surprise dinner for you at this exact moment”.

Evelina may have a crystal ball.
Or be in cohorts with the NSA. Or whatever the Swedish equivalent may or may not be.

This year I finally did it! It took almost 6 months of planning, the careful disclosure of said surprise to select individuals (as to not thwart my plan), and a whole lot of anxiety on my part that I’d somehow let it slip. I didn’t though, and I gleefully completed number 28 on my 30 before 30 list.

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Speaking of turning 30, this year is the big 3-0 for Evelina. Hence the long drawn out process that was my preparing to surprise her. Like I said, it was a six month process that involved ensuring neither of us would be working on the big day (today); followed by planning and booking a week’s trip to Gotland, and then shutting up about it for the (seemingly endless) time up until Evelina’s birthday celebration.

Yes, the big surprise for Evelina’s 30th birthday is a trip to that island off the coast of Sweden that I wrote about back in 2014. The whole family will be going, all three of us. I still can’t believe my lucky stars that I get to share my life with this amazing woman. For every day that I have known you, I am grateful. I cherish dearly every moment that we have spent together. Surprise, my love, I hope you have a wonderfully happy 30th birthday.

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gender reveal party

Now, my avid blog readers will already know the ending of this story, but I’m gong to tell it anyway. The journey is the destination, man.

I don’t know if you’ve explored the baby side of social media recently, but according to that, gender reveal parties are all the rage. From the get go it sounded  to me like an awesome opportunity to eat cool colored cake, so I was in.

Gender reveal parties can be done one of two ways. Either a special someone is designated to find out the gender of the coming baby, keep that a secret from the couple and all other humans, and help make the appropriate color schemed surprise. Or the couple finds out the gender of the baby and no one else knows until the big reveal during the party. Evelina and I went with the latter option.

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After deciding that we needed to figure out how to do the big reveal. Pop a balloon filled with blue or pink confetti, open a present/box whose contents reveal the gender, be sprayed by our loved ones with the correct color of paint…the list is almost endless. We went with the tried and true method of cutting into a cake, and letting the cake do the talking.

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Now, for games and entertainment. A prerequisite of attendance was a specific dress code, everyone had to wear pink or blue, depending on which gender they thought the baby would be. When our guests arrived they were conveniently divided into two teams as determined by their clothing choice. Before dinner was served our guests could guess the baby’s name, by writing it on the appropriate colored paper. We also played a quiz game where Evelina and I had written questions about common superstitions about pregnancy symptoms that can reveal the baby’s gender. Each team answered the questions, and the winning team won the honor of being victorious.

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After dinner it was time for dessert, or as we say in Sweden, fika! Since Evelina and I knew the gender of our little one, we were the ones to order the cake to match, covered in white with the words “It’s a…” glazed on top. That evening our guests gathered round in suspense as we cut into the cake, finally revealing that we were expecting a little girl!

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book of march: modern romance

So many people I know were reading this book last summer, I just had to give it a go. And I am sure glad I did.

  
As per my usual I listened to the audiobook version, because Aziz is a funny guy and funny people are funny to listen to. I even noticed some parallels between this funny guy and other funny people. For example he opened his book, like Sarah Silverman, wondering what the listeners would be doing upon listening. Aziz painted a lovely picture of his listener being curled up in bed, enjoying a cup of tea by the fire. Sarah bet on pooping. I’m not saying one or the other is better…but I feel I should say for the record I’m in the first category.

From Aziz I learned that In the 30’s and 40’s people would go as far as they had to to find a mate, but no farther. The “girl/boy nextdoor” is a real thing, and many people clearly loved the ones they’re with already. What I took away from this is that I must have been terrible at finding a mate since I had to go all the way to Sweden to find her.

I also learned that average age of first marriage is 27 for women and 29 for men, and 30 for men and women in big cities. So, again, I follow none of the norms. To be fai Aziz admits to focusing on heterosexual relationships in his book, so I guess I just don’t fit in here. Joking aside I do think there is a lot of fun stuff to take away from the book. But I’m not going to tell you any more about it, you’ll have to just go read it for yourself. 

I will say that there are robots and scientific studies in the book. If that doesn’t pique your interest I don’t know what you’re even doing here.


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welcome to the world

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Hello,

Welcome to the world my baby. Allow me to introduce myself, I’m your Mommy. We live in Sweden where your Mama grew up. We are very lucky to have you. Some of your family lives here in Sweden with us, and some of your family lives in the US. Everybody is looking forward to your first flight across the ocean. Most of all Mama.

You came into our lives earlier than we expected little one, and we are happy and relieved that you’re doing so well. Luckily, in Sweden both of your mommies can be with you full time these first few important weeks of your life. We have had a wonderful experience at the hospital, where we’ve lived all together as a family for a week now. Everyone says how cute you are. Me and your Mama most of all.

During this first week you have already grown a lot. Gaining weight and getting longer. My does time fly. Images of you going off to college already plague my imagination. Mama says there’s a lot of time between then and now, I have yet to be convinced. I wish we could be together always.

You’ll learn about the world soon enough so I won’t spoil the surprise now, but I want you to know that me and your Mama are over the moon to have you here with us. We are so grateful. Please take your time growing up.

Love,
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book of january: the opposite of loneliness

I remember going to see Marina in a play. My cousin had invited me along, and when we drove up to the blue paneled colonial that housed the theatre I didn’t know what to expect. We were in grade school, and my only previous conception of children in plays was the school produced fifth grade play.  Though I myself did not categorize myself as a child at the time.

It was dark when we arrived, after what seemed like an eternal car ride. The sort of car ride that once illuminated by adulthood is one that could not have taken more than five minutes to span the distance from my cousin’s house to the theatre, door to door. It must have been my anticipation pulling on time, extending it.

At the time I only knew Marina through my cousin, but seeing her on stage I was both awe-struck and inspired. Much the way I am now, after reading her book. My child self went home after seeing Marina completely determined to participate in a play and simultaneously terrified at the prospect. That is how I would describe my experience reading Marina’s book. Inspiring and terrifying.

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In my own mind I fancy myself a writer of sorts. I would love to write a book, but put no actual practice to these thoughts. Marina’s book inspires me to write, to put finger to key and create. Though this thought is also terrifying: it is a daunting task. Many of the similarities between Marina and me are also unnerving. The ending of her really hit home for me. Not to give anything away, but I was shocked by the similarities between Marina and me. We are, and though I wouldn’t use the word terrified, I would use the word concerned, about the future of the human race and what that means. While she focuses on the permanence of the written work I focus on the permanence of genetics, and that is where we differ.

With further thought, I realize it may not be surprising that we share much in common. I’m beginning to realize that growing up in the same home town does expose one to many of the same things. Her life is not so unlike my own. I applaud Marina’s work, and the work of her  parents getting her book out into the world.

If you haven’t already read this book, do so.

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2016 looking forward

As you know, I didn’t do any resolutions in 2015. Whether or not that was intentional or not is up for debate. Along with celebrating my accomplishments in 2015 I’d like to take the time now, at the beginning of this year, to do a retrospective.

I got the idea from Nate Green who runs a fun little blog over here. The idea is to focus on three questions:

  1. What’s working?
  2. What’s not working?
  3. How can I fix what’s not working for a better result?

 

With this in mind I’ll be focusing on my personal life in the following points.

I’ll take another look back over 2015 to figure out what is working:

  • I have a good idea of where I want to be going in 2016 and have laid the ground work in 2015 to get there
  • I’ve taken responsibility for my own health and happiness and work daily at these two things
  • I’ve had the chance to travel, and taken advantage of that chance

Now on to what’s not working. Personally, I choose to focus less on the negative and more on the positive, so I’m going to take this question to be instead what I hope to improve and/or what I’d like to be better at.

  • Strengthen the current relationships in my life
  • Refocus my eating habits
  • Continue to rehab my shoulder mindfully with appropriate increases in difficulty

So, how can I fix what’s not working for a better result?

  • Strengthening the current relationships in my life: My first thought on this one is less phone time. Phone  world is fun and entertaining but also a huge time suck. I’m going to research apps that track phone usage and will give a reminder/alert once I’ve reached a certain amount of phone time for that day.
  • Refocus my eating habits: Though I have yet to write my final posts about PN I’m going to use what I learned there and continue to improve my nutrition. First thoughts on this is more vegetables in my life. Mid PN journey I was eating vegetables at every meal consistently, I want to get back there and beyond.
  • Continue to rehab my shoulder mindfully with appropriate increases in difficulty: I’m going to print out my rehab schedule (up until now I’ve used a version on my phone). After each completed session I’m going to cross off the workout. I did this one summer and saw huge increases in my consistency, and consistency is key for rehab. (And any lasting change).

Nate recommends that you write for 15-30 minutes on the three questions found at the top of this post. I say write for as long as you like, until you feel you are done. Though this exercise probably isn’t meant to take hours on end, so keep that in mind.

I’ve also tried to give concrete actions that I can take in order to work towards my new goals/improve what’s not working as well. If you check out my answers to the third question you’ll notice three things that I can do (basically immediately) to get the ball rolling. To reiterate:

  1. Download phone time tracking app
  2. Buy vegetables for my fridge/freezer
  3. Print rehab schedule


What’s in store for the future? One thing is for sure, more sneak attacks!


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four blogging years

Can you believe this?! Four years ago in January I started this little corner of the internet, and my have we come a long way.

4 years of blogging

I’ve posted 285 times. This post you’re reading now is the two hundred and eighty fifth time I have composed word followed by word to send out into the interwebs.

I have uploaded 796 pictures/collages and y’all have viewed my little blog 11,794 times.

Sunday at 9:00pm is my most popular day and time. I should probably start posting every Sunday, eh?

My top three visited posts/pages (aside from the home page) are:

  1. 25 before 25, published March 21st, 2012
  2. 5 years, published November 1st, 2013
  3. Book of December: James Potter, published December 31st, 2012

The top five countries who view my blog the most are:

  1. USA FullSizeRender (4)
  2. Sweden FullSizeRender (6)
  3. France FullSizeRender (8)
  4. Germany FullSizeRender (7)
  5. Canada FullSizeRender (5)

I want to say: Thank you! Tack så mycket! Merci! Dankeshön! And once again thank you! Without you my lovely readers this blog would be nothing.

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