Enjoy Not Knowing

Just another American living in Sweden


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the end of the school year

In 2014 I took an unplanned break from blogging. I got incredibly, surprisingly, busy. Upon my return I apologized, as one is want to do, and listed what it was exactly that was keeping me otherwise occupied. The end of the school year being one of those things.

Since 2014 I have concluded two other school years, that is to say here at pre-school we have welcomed the summer of 2014, 2015 and most recently 2016. Where I work we celebrate the return of the sunshine and warm weather in Sweden by singing songs outdoors. I find these songs to be particularly Swedish where the lyrics inevitably include flowers, swallows and mosquitoes. Because…what else?

2014 I was kept particularly busy as that was the school year I was with the group of children moving on to kindergarten after the summer. June that year was composed of many meetings, compiling documentation for the children and most memorably the quiet pang of nostalgia in my heart as I realized I would only very rarely see many of these children in the future.

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Receiving many thoughtful and kind presents was lovely, but I will hold most dear the letter I received from a small human whom I will always remember.

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I am happy that you have been my teacher.
You are a good teacher.
Hugs!

Coming to work daily and teaching the children left in our care is a wonderful privilege.

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flash back three years: last week at my job

Remember 2012? I do. Just last week I was writing the date and rounded it off with a good ‘ol 2002. So part of me still thinks 2012 has yet to happen. But the larger part of me that is in fact in touch with reality does realize that 2012 was three years ago. That was when I promised you this post. This is me: delivering.

In a nostalgic state I’ve been reminiscing on my previous job. That is the job I held before becoming a pre-school teacher. Yes, fond memories have been etched in the blog archives, like fruit basket, when i was youngwhat i think about at work, and my second post ever: a bone to pick with god. However, my last week at REC comes readily to the forefront of my mind.

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Something about knowing, with stark clarity, that it is your final week working at a place allows you to appreciate it with a new light. Or at least that was the case for me. I had my rose-colored glasses on. Not that things were so pink that I thought I would one day miss the insulating machine, or in the beginning when I only knew how to use one pipe making machine. But I did realize I would miss the place.

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It was nice knowing in advance I was leaving because I got to say my goodbyes and fair wells to the colleagues I’d be leaving. We were only about 7 people who worked at the entire pipe assembly factory, so it was a touching moment. I definitely miss the people I worked with at REC. If we hadn’t moved I’d likely still be working there.

Some days I even miss the coffee.

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a short absence

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It’s vacation time!

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It’s vacation time!

We had a song like that which we sang in the 1st grade. I don’t expect you to know it, but if you do, extra points. Today marks the day I begin my vacation! It’s easy to say I was more than a little jealous during the past four to five weeks as one after another of my colleagues went on their vacations. I sent them off on their days of relaxation and sun with genuine smiles, but a very tiny bit of bitterness as well. I’d still be at work as they were enjoying their sunshine filled days of no responsibility. Or at least that’s how I pictured it.

In reality, I didn’t have much to complain about. I could equally enjoy the sunshine and relaxation that comes with summer. It was just a matter of bringing the children along for the ride. Which I think they also appreciated.

But what I’m really trying to get at (my stubborn bitterness isn’t actually the topic here) is that I will be taking a leave of absence from Enjoy Not Knowing. Don’t worry, it won’t be long. I’ll be back.

While I’m gone, please feel free to explore my seven most read blog posts! Now, I wouldn’t claim that these are my personal favorites; however, they are the most visited posts on my blog. The people want what the people want.

  1. book of december: james potter
  2. 5 years
  3. book of november: the shortest way home
  4. what have i done?!
  5. spreadsheets and triple contractions – with a side of running
  6. new job – can you guess it?
  7. paella is good, but tinto is better

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I also don’t want to leave you without some idea of what’s to come down the road. A little teaser to keep your interests piqued, so here’s a list of seven upcoming posts, soon to be available on a screen near you.

  1. gardening explorations
  2. my attempt to diy: a pintrest love story
  3. a first forray into party planning
  4. the land of ice
  5. planes, trains and automobiles: but mostly just trains, actually
  6. a yoga-cation
  7. lördagsgodis

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Happy reading!

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my helpful tips for dealing with ikea furniture

This week I was put on the task of assembling IKEA furniture at work. Let me explain. We’re expanding, renovating and opening new wings. This means beautiful new locales. Which are completely empty. Empty space is less ideal for entertaining small children, I’m not saying it’s impossible, just less ideal. Not much fun for little Harpo.

Which brings me to my task: assemble 41 chairs from IKEA. Sure.

The up side: I am now an expert on assembling IKEA furniture (I figure I can extrapolate my knowledge to be all encompassing).

Here are my top three tips for your next IKEA adventure:

  1. While hammering, keep your eye on the prize. Do not look away, or your thumb will pay the price.
  2. I don’t care what the genderless little drawing says, use a drill, not a screwdriver. Your wrists will thank you. On the other hand if there are two genderless little drawings, bring a friend. It’s worth it in the end.
  3. Finally, practice makes better. Not perfect, your final item will never be perfect, that option was taken from you with the reduced price. What I’m saying is, buy 41 of whatever you need. The 41st time you assemble your new IKEA item, it will be so near perfect you’ll think you should enter the IKEA olympics, category: speed assembly, subcategory: high accuracy. (I’m pretty sure IKEA olympics is a thing.) Next time you need a new wardrobe, buy 41. The 41st time is the charm.

Trust me, I know.

letsbuildsomechairs

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#iworkout

Do you know how tired my legs are? Probably not, because I haven’t told you yet. They’re super tired.

As I mentioned (in 2012) I’ve been working out of late. Alright, to be honest, I haven’t been working out straight from 2012 up to now. But it has been a pretty good run! Sometimes even literally! (Oh, wow, I’m so funny.)

Anywho! On my 25 before 25 list I wanted to get fit! And on June 6th I deemed this goal complete. However, the road was long, and continues on.

Up until this point I’ve pretty much exclusively written about the nutrition side of getting fit (discounting the running posts here and here). The nutrition posts can be viewed here, here, and my post from the other day. But now I’d like to turn to the working out side of things.

As I’m sure you’re well aware, and if you’re not that’s okay too, I play ice hockey. I have played for 13 seasons, plus this past one, which makes 14. (For all you math lovers out there). As part of playing hockey at varying levels over the years I have gained some experience in the weight room. At university I got my first real taste of personally modified, consistent, scheduled training in the weight room. I really liked it. Since leaving I have continued with these workouts, especially during the summer months.

The summer workouts were a bit of a thing to dread when I was in school, especially when they required up to 5 hours of gym time. That summer you could not say what I was doing was efficient training. But, that was what it took for me to complete the scheduled workouts. Since that particular summer an absolutely amazing Strength & Conditioning coach was hired, and started fine tuning our workouts. Since moving to Sweden, every summer, like clock work, Evelina and i have followed this workout regime. I love these work outs — but it does bring us to why my legs hurt so much.

We’re well into Phase III of the workout, and this is where things start getting exciting. By exciting I mean heavy. There are four phases to the summer work out. Starting in May and ending in August, the phases are three and four weeks long, odd numbered phases are three weeks, even are four. Phase III is kicking my butt. Literally. Not only are my legs sore my butt is sore. To the point where it’s uncomfortable to sit down. It’s actually just pretty uncomfortable all the time.

However, it’s a whole different kind of pain than the soreness of my running legs. Funny how that is.

I love lifting, and doing hockey specific workouts. I do also love running, which I think is a great form of exercise. This spring injured myself running, but before that I had kept pretty good track of my runs and workouts. Unfortunately I didn’t keep perfect track of them, but I did open up that old spread sheet yesterday and update it to include my summer workouts.

lifting should alwasy be in pink. lifting is for girls.

lifting should always be in pink. lifting is for girls.

This isn’t something I’ve ever done, keep track of my workouts in this way. I have my workouts scheduled on my iCal and the lift program is printed out, so I can look back and see the days I’ve completed, but I’ve never had everything in one place like this. It’s pretty fun! I’m even more excited about the possibility of continuing to keep track and seeing what I can change and improve upon to make even better strides in the future. Imagine!

Like I said though, I haven’t been working out straight since 2012, every day all day. Sometimes the motivation wanes. That’s when I turn to technology to provide me with inspiring quotes matched with motivating pictures. (Although that was said sarcastically in my mind, it really is the reality of things).

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pictures from google, instagram, etc. found with search words such as #fit #fitness #workout #run #lift you get the idea

Ever in need of a little extra motivation? Save that picture and read some of the quotes. It just might help. If you’re game, you can also keep track of your workouts. I know I will.

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precision nutrition

This is a website and nutrition concept I’ve mentioned in the past. Dr. John Berardi and his team take on clients every six months and work with them to figure out just what the best nutritional plan is for them.

The Precision Nutrition team just last week had their pre-release and took on new clients. It is now open to the public to sign up (if it isn’t already sold out). I put my name on the pre-sale list. But didn’t sign up.

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I was really tempted. I read the entries on the site and have even read their e-book (40+ pages of fun). On their website they often talk about how to change oneself and consciously form habits. this, above all else, is what I am most interested in.

They talk about making small extremely manageable changes, all working towards the final goal. In this case being more physically fit. I really like this whole concept. Have a goal? Write it down. Then consider what it takes to get to that goal. All the steps aren’t necessary, just the first one. The first, super easy step that, of course, is manageable. Start there, see how it goes. It goes great! Continue on to the next tiny, super manageable step. Not working out? Revise the first step, how can it be easier? Does the first step need to be in a slightly different direction?

These things seem so logical to me. Sounds like something I could do. So I really wanted to try it. Even better, it seems like something, a way of working with oneself, that could be applied to any subject matter. It doesn’t just have to be nutrition habits. or work out habits. It can be learning habits. Habits at work. Anything. Not only am I very interested in the nutritional field in general, but habit-forming is something I would love to learn more about. And I wanted to learn it from precision Nutrition.

I’m using the bast tense seeing as I did not sign up for the Lean Eating Program. I was fully ready to do so. But then I considered the price, and where I’m at financially right now, today, this week.

Although I’ve saved up for that big party I mentioned, and although I counted my 25 before 25 goal of saving money as complete, I’m not quite where I want to be. I’ve certainly made some steps in the right direction, but I want my Nest Egg to grow and accommodate an entire years worth of living expenses. I want to have a better cushion, and maybe save for a vacation or two. I examined my finances, and although I can afford the Precision Nutrition coaching, technically, I have decided to wait. At least 6 months.

I’m going to follow my savings plan perfectly for 6 months. If I am able to do so, THEN I will join the next group of Lean Eaters.

I’ll keep you posted.

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fourteen. get a dog

Now, I really want a dog. Evelina is less interested. They are apparently messy creatures that have a lot of hair which often tends to shed periodically. They’re also cute bundles of joy, so how can one resist?
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When I wrote my list of 25 before 25 I imagined my future self to have a lot more time than I do now. A dog requires a lot of time and affection. Especially in Sweden where your dog cannot be left home alone for more than 6 hours in a row. Maybe it’s four. Clearly I need to read up on this.
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Well, Evelina and I have continued our hockey career. And essentially that means no time and extra affection for doggies. When I’m at work from 8-5 and then go immediately to the rink until 9 or 10pm that poor pup would be home alone for 12/13+ hours. There is, of course, doggy day care, but I don’t get paid enough at my human day care to pay for that. For the moment at least.
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Our friend Emma was kind enough to get us a dog for Christmas though! It is quite clear that I want a French Bulldog, or French/English Bulldog mix. Emma, being the lovely and considerate friend she is, found just the dog for us.
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woof
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I’m still hoping for a louder puppy, sometime in the future, when there is more free time. I’m sure the time in my life full of ample free time is right around the corner. I can feel it.
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an apology

I have been away now for over two months. Those of you who have followed this blog for a while can attest to the fact that this tends to happen occasionally.

Life gets busy.

In the recent months I have been wrapping up my Swedish as a second language course – the final exam is tomorrow. I’ve been running like a mad woman. I’ve travelled across the Atlantic, which was lovely, I’ve hosted a friend here in Sweden, and I’ve been party planning. I’m well on my way to taking my driver’s test at the end of the month. Work has also made a big appearance in my scheduling, as we’ve entered the busiest time of the year – the end of the school year. Meetings galore!

I would like to say that you’ll all soon get to hear more about these exciting events soon. But there are no guarantees. Especially with the exciting announcement that’s coming up.

Tune in tomorrow to see what’s in store!

In the mean time, I will leave you with this lovely thought from Brian Andreas:

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My own picture, Brian’s words.

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season’s ending

Not only does it feel like Spring in Sweden, but they hockey season is ending as well. As of my latest hockey update, around half way through our season, I discussed our team’s goals and expectations that we discussed last summer about what our expectations for the upcoming season were.

Looking back, I think we have had a successful season. Concerning the wordclouds I made, I would gladly say that we have found success in all categories…but one. Unfortunately this year we did not make it to AllEttan (take another look at the previous post for an explanation of AllEttan).
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Last year we were one win away from AllEttan. This year we were three wins away from AllEttan. But all was not a disappointment. We play in a tight league, and all the games this season were close competitions. So, really, when you look at the season over all it was certainly a good one.
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Not making it to AllEttan was a let down, but the continuance series was a success this year, as it was last year. As in the regular series we continued to play close games. The continuance series is six games, where the four teams who did not move on to AllEttan play each other twice. Of our six games four of them were taken to shoot outs, where we were able to take an extra point in two of them. Our team fought hard, and lead the continuance play in points throughout the series, unfortunately only up until the last game. The loss of the extra point gave us equal points with AIK, who had one extra point in goal differential and therefore won the series. Still an over all success for the team though.
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I’m proud of the work we have accomplished as a team, and look forward to start off ice training. (Accompanied by my marathon training of course.) I’m a little less proud of my personal statistics in the continuance series. photo 3 (3)I’m certainly glad I was able to score 2 shoot out goals, as well as another two goals and an assist in regular play, to land 4th over all in points. (First in decisive goals.) Decisive GoalsHowever, my penalty minutes are embarrassing. Before the game today I had 14 minutes in the box.
Penalty Minutes
Luckily I managed to get my act together for the final match up of the season, but as the most penalized player in the continuance series I can’t really count that as a win. In the off-season, as well as focusing on forward strides in my fitness, I’ll have to focus on clean play. I’ve yet to figure out how to work out for that, but I’m sure I’ll think of something.
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See you in the gym!
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not dieting/starting again/stopping/then starting again

This probably sounds like a cliché, or an all too often told story. About people who try different fad diets, only to eventually fail at them, to then try some other diet that’s big right now.

That’s not what I’m here to talk about. And, honestly, without sounding to preachy or as if I’m trying to sell you something, I think I’ve found a few things that work when it comes to dieting.

Side bar: I am seriously not going to try to sell you anything. Seriously. I have no money to gain here. It is also probably important to emphasize that I am not in the field of health and nutrition. I have no background education in the matter. I told you all about how I’m a pre-school teacher. What I can say is that if we listened to the pre-schoolers we’d eat a whole lot of candy and cookies. That stuff is tasty! But, I do try to limit the advice I take from 5 and 6 year olds. (Though at times they are truly inspiring.) I’m rambling, the point here is don’t by anything from me, and take my advice with a grain of salt. Do your own research, and find out what works for you.

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found here

That being said, I think I’ll say it again. I really do not think there is anything better when it comes to “dieting” than doing your own research and finding what works for you. I want to put dieting in bunny quotes because what I do I don’t actually feel is dieting. Yes I am changing my diet. But ideally I am changing my diet for good. For the forseeable future. My personal goal, when I say I want to get fit (and yes I believe a big part of that is through making conscious decisions about one’s diet), is to find a diet that works for me and the lifestyle I want to lead, forever.

THAT being said, I’m here today to tell you a little about what I have found works for me, and my own personal experience with changing the way I eat (more commonly known as dieting).

Start slowly. I’ve read a million articles online about diets that are guaranteed to work, and just follow these easy 10 steps to a healthier you! (It was a million, I counted.) The problem is, it is almost never that I find all the “steps” in all the different “processes” to be simple. I find the biggest problem with dieting is failing at it. That’s why I choose my own steps. In order for this post to stay at a readable length I’m going to list my top three pieces of advice, or first three steps I took when trying to change my diet.

  1. Make it easy for yourself. I believe that successfully completing your goals sets you up for future success. Therefore, when beginning a new project (any project really) I start as small as possible. Miniscule. I make that first step seem like the easiest thing in the world, that I can definitely accomplish. Then comes the important part, that once I do accomplish my easy first step, I go on and make another step in the right direction. (But again, a very, ridiculously, awesomely easy step.)
    For example: If I want to eat less sugar, first I’ll take a look at what my sugar in take is currently. Let’s say I eat a good amount of sugar every day and want to reduce that. So I’ll first just look at one meal. Every morning I put two tea spoons of sugar in my tea. My super easy step then could be to only add one teaspoon of sugar. I think I can manage that with 100% success, so that’s what I choose to change.
  2. Keep track of what you’re doing. There are a bunch of apps out there, or you can go the old write-it-down-with-pen-and-paper rout. Whatever you do, keep track of what you’re doing and how you feel. If you keep track you will be able to easier tell what is working, and what isn’t. (Hint: this can even be one of your first small changes – make it easy for yourself!)
  3. Be allowed to cheat. They say (by they I mean the internet) that your “diet” will be successful if you follow it 90% of the time. That’s pretty sweet I think. If you eat 6 meals a day for 7 days a week that means you eat 42 meals in a week. That means you only have to follow your diet for about 37 meals. That’s 5 meals/week that you get to eat whatever you want. (Within reason and portion size.) I’m fairly sure if you eat seven pizzas for four meals a week you won’t be getting any fitter, regardless of what you eat the other 37 times.

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How do I know that these steps work? Like I said, I’ve read approximately 1 million articles online regarding changing the way one eats. In the internet wonderland I have found these ideas, and I have tested them myself to see what works best for me.

yummy fruit

found here

To be honest, it hasn’t been a perfect run, as the title of this post would suggest. I’ve fallen off the bandwagon. Dropped the ball. Let it slide. Whichever idiom you like. That’s why I find it important to have my three steps. When it starts going less well, I can take it back to the basics. Back to what I know works. (And keep track of what hasn’t work, and maybe even ponder why it hasn’t worked.)

I tried to keep this short and sweet, but certainly have more to say on the topic.

Stay tuned.

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