Blog: For Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Jews... Or, Much A-Blog About Nothing...

Friday, December 29, 2006

Hälsning från Sverige!

Editor's Note: I wrote this post on December 26th while at my grandparents' apartment, but Blogger was having some kind of issue (I think) so I wasn't able to save this draft or publish it when I wrote it, and I haven't been able to get online again until now that I'm back in the States. Oh well, I figured I'd post it anyway. Enjoy :-)

Hey there, J-bloggers! Thought I'd stop by to let the 2 of you that read this that I'm alive and well. I'm still in Sweden visiting my grandparents, and won't be back until the 29th, so I probably won't post again until New Year's Eve. Hope everyone had a great end to
Chanukah and such! Things are going alright here but it has been a very stressful trip for all of us. It is especially hard for me to see my grandparents because each time they seem to have gotten much worse than the last time I saw them. I know it is hard for anyone to
see someone they care about deteriorate mentally and/or physically, but for my family it is exacerbated by the fact that my grandparents were once such lively, vibrant people--even just a few short years ago. They used to ski. swim, sail, hike, dance, and travel all the time--well into their 70's!!! Now, my Farfar (Swedish for Father's Father and what I call my grandpa) is paralyzed on one side after a stroke and while it didn't affect him mentally, the stress from trying to keep track of my Farmor (Father's Mother) who is growing more and more difficult to deal with as her Alzheimer's worsens and she becomes less and less functional due to her sciatica. It is just too sad. I am thankful that they are still with us, don't get me wrong, I just wish there were some way to improve their quality of life. I know they are lonely here, and with things getting more and more difficult to handle, I think that they may need to move into
full-time assisted living in the near future. Anyway...On to more pleasant (sort of) things!

The weather here has been unseasonably warm, and so far no snow (which makes me sad but everyone else is happy!) boo! We will be going to see some of my cousins tomorrow and I'm very excited about that, as I haven't seen them in almost 8 years! It will be a BLONDE family gathering, that is for sure. My three cousins, Caroline, Cecelia, and Catarina are all blonde just like me, plus my younger brother and mother are blonde. The rest of the crew is grey-headed so I guess I will lump them in with the blondies ;-) Ha ha. It should be a good time. I hope.

Oh, I'm sure you all are wondering how the trip here was? Well, fuggedaboutit. I ain't tellin' ya, cuz it was SOOO miserable!

So don't even ask. I'm not gonna crack.


Ok I lied. I want you all to hear about my suffering
So, I think we all knew it was a bad sign when we were informed that the first leg of our trip (to Chicago) had been canceled due to weather and delays in Chicago. But we all chose to ignore it thinking that international flights would be ok and we drove up to Chicago figuring that everything would be hunky dory. Oh no no no, sirree, that 'twere not so. Why? Oh, well, let's see. First off we went to the wrong terminal TWICE because they have redone things in the airport since the last time FamilyHila has been there. Then we finally get to the United area and are told that no, for our flight we have to go back to a different terminal to check in because the flight is really through Scandinavian Airlines and NOT United
(which is horse puckey because, as any of you regular travelers know, you check in with the Airline that you booked your flight with, regardless of which airline
is actually responsible for the flight). So we get to the SAS line and of course there are about 50 people and onl 4 people working the check in desks. Yippee. And of course we think we're all top banana because we get to go in the "Premium" line since PappaHila flies so much for work that he has a membership card and whatnot that entitles him to this shorther line, but does that mean jack squat? No, of course not, why would an airline want to do anything, ya know, LOGICAL?!?!? So we waited in a shorter line but an equal amount of time to check in, only to find out that our flight to Denmark (yes, why would we want to fly directly to Sweden when we could complicate the trip ourselves?I. Don't. Know. Ask PappaHila!) is
delayed approximately 5 hours. So we go and eat, and then figure we should look at duty free stuff only to be told that we'll have to put our stuff back because we can't take the liquids through the security checkpoint and that oh by the way the store on the inside is closing in 20 minutes. Well skit(that's Swedish for something I shouldn'tsay in English :-D).
So we go through security, only to discover that the duty free store inside the
waiting area was more like a kiosk and didn't have most of what we wanted. Whatever.

It was then time to "hurry up and wait" as MammaHila likes to say. We at least had some cards so we played rummy for awhile and we all had magazines and books to read, but man does waiting for 5 hours suck when you know you're then going to be trapped on an airplane for 7 hours. Or more like 8, in our case, because as soon as we got on the plane
apparently someone got sick and they had to get an emergency crew to come and get him off the plane, which literally took an HOUR!!!! Grrrr....and don't even get me started on the bratty little toddler who wouldn't stop crying the ENTIRE FLIGHT!!!! I am so glad I brought earplugs...Typical Scandinavian parents who don't discipline (or even parent) their children
just let the little bugger scream his head off without batting an eye. Now before I get a bunch of angry parents out there telling me that I have no room to talk because I don't have kids, let me say this: I don't have kids of my own but I might as well because my cousins all have enough to populate their own village and I take care of them a lot of the time, so I know a thing or two about kids' behavior and how to deal with them. I also would have given the boy the benefit of the doubt and said he was probably just tired and in pain from the pressure on his ears, but
this kid started screaming long before we were even about to taxi down the runway and didn't stop until several hours into the flight, which even then was only a momentary silence. Anyway, enough about the brat. I managed to sleep a good 4+ hours so I can't complain too much. We arrived in Copenhagen safe and sound and all of our luggage made it too, so that was a blessing. The bad news was that we had missed our original train to Linköping (where my
relatives live) by a looong stretch, and had even missed the second train that my aunt had kindly re-booked for us when she heard we were delayed, because that extra hour waiting on the sick guy to get taken care of cost us the time to make it to the train. (I know I know, shame on me, I really do hope the man is doing better). Anyhoo. So we were kind of in a pickle, because if we took the "night train" it would take us all the way to Stockholm first (about 2 hours out of the way) and wouldn't let us off until about 7 am. If we got a rental car, it would be PappaHila driving the 5 and a half hours it takes to get there because I'm not old enough to drive a rental car and MammaHila was too scared. If we took the bus, it would get us there more directly but would still take 6 hours and wouldn't get to where we needed to be until 3:30 in the morning. It was a meckofa hess. In the end we decided on the bus, which went smoothly and got us there intact. But boy were we all tired. *sigh* Let's hope my trip back
doesn't requre an entry this long!


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Hi ho, Hi ho, it's off to the tundra I go!

Hello, blogheads! :-)

Yet another one of my quickie stop-ins to say hello and to let you all know that I'll be absent for awhile. I am going to be in The Land of the Really Blonde People and Lots of Snow visiting my paternal grandparents and some other relatives.

It's a good thing I managed to get my passport in just ONE DAY!!! Yes folks, I know they tell you that it takes 6 weeks to get a passport, but if you're sly and wily like Hila, you can get it in just a few short hours! How, you ask? Be a dingleberry and misplace your passport and not realize it until a few short days before your trip is scheduled to occur. Fill out all necessary forms and have all required forms of identification as specified by the gov't and be willing to shell out a large chunk of change and bada-boom, bada-bing, prest-o change-o rearrange-o, you'll have a shiny, new, United States passport in no time! :-D

Actually, I take that back. You'll have it, but you will have to wait for it. And wait for it. And wait for it. I am not joking when I say that you actually have to make an appointment to wait to see a clerk. Seriously. What. the. heck. I called and made an appointment, foolishly thinking that upon arrival I'd simply check in with a receptionist of sorts and would soon be pleading my sorry case to some desk jockey and then away I'd go. Much to my chagrin, however, this was not to be. Instead, I had to wait in line just to check in with the receptionist, who gave me a number so I could sit and wait 30 minutes (mind you I HAD AN APPOINTMENT) to speak to someone, just to in turn wait 4 hours to come back and WAIT AGAIN for them to call my name when my passport was finished, which I was informed would be processed at random...Egads is all I have to say about that!

Anyhoo, back to my trip to Sveeeeeden (aka the Frozen Tundra) Am I excited, you ask? Of course! I haven't seen my grandparents in over a year, so I am really looking forward to spending time with them. I am not, however, looking forward to the only 6 hours of sunlight a day and the -2384939843 degree temperature and the 4.23775 feet of snow that will be on the ground...Ok, ok, so I'm exaggerating. But not about the darkness. That's gonna be a trip.

Anyway, I'll be thinking about you all while I'm on my little vacation. I'll be back in time for New Year's Eve so maybe I'll post a little around then!

Wish me luck in my travels!


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

A Home of His Own

Hey everyone...

Chanukah Sameach! Just checking in real quick to say hello, and also to put up this
very important link to MOChossid's post about a wonderful boy called Judah. Please take the time to read his post and see if you, or any one you know, would be willing and able to give this sweet young man a place to call home.

Hope you are all enjoying your time with your loved ones and your latkes!


Monday, December 11, 2006

So inspiring...Makes me believe in chesed again

Ok, I know I am a sap, but I just had to post this video link. Free Hugs Guy--Juan Mann No doubt a lot of you have probably seen it already (it's been featured on Oprah). At first I thought maybe it was a joke, but if you watch the whole video, it's really awe-inspiring. What a simple act, and yet it can mean so much.

I'm a firm believer in the "little things." When I was a teenager, I wrote a speech once about how you don't have to think big to make a difference in the world. Small gestures, like opening the door for someone else, smiling at someone you pass, saying hello or simply waving can all make a positive impact. I'm a firm believer in these things, and I make a conscious effort to do them every day. I'm always amazed at the reactions I get. Sure, sometimes people probably wonder why I am smiling at them as I pass them on the street, but more often than not they smile back. When I hold the door open to a lecture hall or restaurant, I am always greeted with "thank-you" and "you're so kind, thanks so much" and the like. I'd have to be a liar to say that this doesn't make me feel good in return. I wouldn't call it an ego boost, but it certainly lifts my spirits and inspires me to take on bigger challenges. One small step at a time, folks. We can do it.

*sigh* Back to studying now. And I PROMISE my post that RaggedyMom
inspired will be up soon. I just couldn't pass this up for now!


Thursday, December 07, 2006

I've been tagged!!!

Hooray! I've been tagged for my first blog meme! I'm going to post all of my "yes" answers in bold white and everything else will be normal text. I may add in some commentary in italics


01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink I'm a poor college student, what do you think? :-p
02. Swam with wild dolphins I've never swam with them, but I've seen them from my Grandpa's sailboat, does that count?
03. CLIMBED A MOUNTAIN. Several different ones, in fact. Mt. Rainier, Storm King Mountain, and Mt. Fuji to name a few.
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive. I don't think they'd even let me on the lot! That is, if there even were a Ferrari dealer out here in the boonies!
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid Not yet, but someday soon, G-d willing!
06. Held a tarantula Eew gross, NO!
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone. Not yet, but maybe once I'm married :-)
08. SAID "I LOVE YOU AND MEANT IT" Yeah, to my family and friends...
09. HUGGED A TREE. I'm with Raggedy Mom on this one, I hugged everything as a little kid!
10. Bungee jumped. No, but PappaHila promises to take me sometime in the near future (when we can sneak it past MammaHila)
11. VISITED PARIS. Class trip after my freshman year of high school. 'Twas good times!
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Seen the Northern Lights.
15. GONE TO A HUGE SPORTS GAME. STL Cardinals, Seattle Mariners, Chi-town White Sox, etc...
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa.
17. GROWN AND EATEN YOUR OWN VEGETABLES. Yes, when I was younger we had quite the garden.
18. Touched an iceberg
20. CHANGED A BABY'S DIAPER. Plenty of times. I babysit for my Rabbi's kids, as well as my cousins' and neighbors.
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
23. GOTTEN DRUNK ON CHAMPAGNE. I'm Swedish, I'm Jewish, and I'm a college kid. Triple strike right there!
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
26. HAD AN UNCONTROLLABLE GIGGLING FIT Um yeah, a lot. Especially with my crazy and amazing friends.
27. HAD A FOOD FIGHT. Yeah, and my MOM was the one who started it!!!
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. ASKED OUT A STRANGER. On a bet, and it actually turned out pretty well. We're still friends, so that's a plus :-)
30. HAD A SNOWBALL FIGHT. Yes, I have brothers. Need I say more?
31. SCREAMED AS LOUDLY AS YOU POSSIBLY CAN. PappaHila is a retired Marine, and former Drill Sargeant and Master Sargeant. Try getting into a screaming match to see who is loudest. PappaHila will always win.
32. Held a Lamb.
33. Seen a total eclipse of the moon.
34. RIDDEN A ROLLER-COASTER. Yeah and they still scare the pee-waddin' outta me to this day!
35. Hit a home run *snort*
36. DANCED LIKE A FOOL.If any of you knew me in real life, you'd be laughing your heads off right now!
37. ADOPTED AN ACCENT FOR AN ENTIRE DAY. Yeah, MammaHila still complains that I sound like I'm from "Chicaaaaagoowww" whenever I visit on break.
39. Had two hard drives for your computer.
40. Visited all 50 states.
44. WATCHED WILD WHALES. Once again viewed from Grandpa's sailboat.
Yeah, I took a men's bathroom sign from a restaurant one time cuz it had fallen off.
46. Backpacked in Europe.
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Midnight walk on the beach. Who stays up that late on purpose?
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland.
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger's table and had a meal with them
54. VISITED JAPAN. Actually, I lived there. For over a year. Konnichi wa!
56. Alphabetized your CDs
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. SUNG KARAOKE. I've done it where it originated, even! And I DOMINATE the playstation game, "Songstar" so don't even mess with me! :-D
59. LOUNGED AROUND in bed all day. Again, I'm in college :-D
60. PLAYED TOUCH FOOTBALL. I have a gaggle of cousins. Go figure!
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed IN THE RAIN
63. PLAYED IN THE MUD. Here in college, we do a lil' something known as "Quad Diving" where we jump around in the mud on our Quad when its raining. Awesome times!
64. Played IN THE RAIN
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight. What is that?
72. Gotten Married.
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. GOTTEN A TATTOO. I know, I know. Shock. Gasp. Horror. I got them before I learned that we (meaning Jews) aren't supposed to. So shoot me.
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on television news programs as an "expert"
84. PERFORMED ON STAGE. I have been dancing since I was 6, acting since I was 11, and singing since I was 14. You do the math :-D
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Kissed on the first date
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a home.
91. Been in a combat zone.
92. Buried one/both of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship
95. Performed in Rocky Horror
96. Raised children. Again, not married...Although I guess in today's world that's not necessarily a pre-requisite...
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. SANG LOUDLY IN THE CAR, and didn't stop when you knew someone was looking
103. Had plastic surgery.
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn't have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication.
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback. I counsel survivors of sexual assault, so this is a pretty regular occurrence.
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Touched a stingray.
110. BROKEN SOMEONE'S HEART. So I've been told. But man, that sounds conceited. And depressing. *sigh*
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a T.V. game show
113. BROKEN A BONE. My nose (lil bro smacked into me during a game of Blindman's Bluff) and my middle finger of my left hand (Cousin slammed my hand in a car door)
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. HAD A FACIAL PART PIERCED OTHER THAN YOUR EARS. I used to have my nose pierced, but MammaHila practically disowned me for it, so I took it out. You can't even tell I ever had it.
116. FIRED A RIFLE, shotgun, or pistol.
118. RIDDEN A HORSE. I have been riding since I was about 5. I love horses!
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet. No, but I used to find garter snakes out behind my house in the woods and bring them home to show my mom.
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. No, but I've been to the top of it :-)
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours.
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states.
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. EATEN SUSHI. I lived in Japan. It's sacrilege not to. Although I'm not a fan of fish in general, so I don't make a habit out of it.
129. CHANGED SOMEONE'S MIND about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school. Uh, I'm still in school. Duh. :-)
131. Parasailed
132. TOUCHED A COCKROACH. Only to smash it with my shoe/book/any other hard object I can get my hands on.
133. EATEN FRIED GREEN TOMATOES. Yes, my Midwestern family likes to think they are from the Deep South, so they actually MAKE fried green tomatoes. And let me tell you, they are A-MA-ZING!!!
134. READ THE ILIAD AND THE ODDYSEY. In 6th grade my Social Studies/English teacher told us the story, complete with voices and acted-out scenes. But I did actually read it my freshman year of college.
135. Selected one "important author" who you missed in high school, and read.
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating.
137. Skipped all your school reunions
138. COMMUNICATED WITH someone without sharing a common spoken language.
139. Been elected (dictator) to public office. Not unless being elected Secretary for F.C.C.L.A. counts???
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you're living your dream.
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn't know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146. DYED YOUR HAIR. I got tired of being platinum blonde my sophomore year of college so I went to auburn red. I had to dye my eyebrows too because they are so light. I was tired of it about 2 months later and it was so ridiculous to keep up, so I went back to my signature blonde. People recognize me this way :-)
147. Been a DJ
148. Shaved your head
149. Caused a car accident
150. Saved someone's life

That was fun! Ok, now I'm tagging:
Chana (Jewess with Horns)

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Thank you, thank you---I'll be here all week

A big thanks to RaggedyMom for mentioning me in her post "International Promote-a-blog Week"

You definitely should check her blog out, if you haven't already. She's definitely one of my new favorites! And I just happened to read her latest post, and it has inspired me to write my next one--hooray! Too bad I probably won't get to write it until next week.

I have a final this week and it's also the last week of class before finals, so it's time that I hole myself up in the library fowevew (*Homestar voice*)

In other news, today is indeed my Birthday. Gratis på födelsedagen to me :-)

Hope everyone had a good Shabbat, I know I did! Until next time, as we say in Sverige, "Vi ses" ("See you later", literally "We will see eachother in the future")

More on all that stuff next time, though! Ta ta!