Although I used to be pretty fluent in French from having lived, studied and worked in Annecy, France and Geneva, Switzerland for a year, it appears to be Greek for me (incomprehensible for Swedes) at times…
This figure is what Christmas this year reminded me of – with a more (at times hysterical) funny script.
Enjoy – and be careful with the fireworks this New Years!
My first Christmas in San Francisco. My first Christmas on “my own”.
I know Christmas or this Holiday Season brings mixed feelings to people. There are so many expectations. Expectations on happiness, good food, fulfilled traditions, togetherness, Christmas gifts… and not everyone has that.
To me, Christmas is a very dear holiday with many meaningful traditional elements. And historically attached with a fair amount of hospital visits as well. Some easier than others. My mom always tells me that the fact that I wasn’t aware of how severe the situation was when she was in hospital (probably 30 years ago), and that I came joyful to visit and also was very keen to get home on time to see the Christmas Calendar on tv, helped her in the process of healing.
This past Thursday I got the question from someone “I need to give her something. For Christmas she is going to her friend who is severely ill and maybe dying.” The book I chose to quote was Osho’s “Maturity”. It is a beautiful book that I warmly recommend you to read. I was recommended to read it many years ago and ended up reading it first on the way back to California after my fathers passing. Wishing that I had read it earlier, and grateful that my attitude to the situation with my father hadn’t been too far off.
“Life should be a continuous celebration, a festival of light the whole year round. Only then can you grow up, can you blossom. Transform small things into celebration. For example, in Japan they have the tea ceremony. […]
An ordinary thing – just tea – and they have made it a beautiful religious festival. Everybody comes out of it nourished, fresh, feeling younger, feeling juicier. And what can be done with tea can be done with everything […]
Even if you fall sick and you are lying in bed, you will make those moments of lying in bed moments of beauty and joy, moments of relaxation and rest, moments of meditation, moments of listening to music or to poetry. There is no need to be sad that you are sick. […]
When you are sick, call a doctor. But more important, call those who love you because there is no medicine more important than love. Call those who can create beauty, music, poetry around you, because there is nothing that heals like a mood of celebration. […]
Make everything creative, make the best out of the worst – that is what I call the art of living. And if a man has lived his whole life making every moment and every phase of it a beauty, a love, a joy, naturally his death is going to be the ultimate peak of his whole life’s endeavor. The last touches. … his death is not going to be ugly as it ordinarily happens everyday to everyone.
If death is ugly, that means your whole life has been a waste. Death should be a peaceful acceptance, a loving entry into the unknown, a joyful goodbye to old friends, to the old world. There should not be any tragedy in it.”
Now, this was not at all what I intended to write about – but it is something important, especially at times when things “should be” jolly, and they don’t appear like it.
I have gone with the flow and created my own little celebration of Christmas, had a really nice day, and ended Christmas Eve celebration together with friends. Now, stats from Sweden shows that the elements that are the most important at Christmas are:
1) Christmas Tree (89% of Swedes has one)
2) Christmas gifts
3) Christmas Ham
4) Donald Duck and his friends wishes Merry Christmas (3pm Swedish National Television) 5) Santa Claus
7) Christmas Pourage
8) Christmas Mass
And yes, since I woke up yesterday morning I have been trying to get SVTPlay app to play Donald Duck and his Friends – but it “can’t at this moment”. I do have a recording of it somewhere… but luckily I found it on YouTube. And the first one that I landed on was from my very first Christmas 1975! This is now a 52 year old tradition for the Swedish people. Very important. Indeed. Here is a compact version:
In my past days I have successfully made cinnamon roles that were pretty – but small and hard as stone, so you could almost hurt someone with them, should you want to…
This year, would be my first year of five in San Francisco that I actually have a traditional Glögg Party. Along with that goes saffron bread. Now, scarred from the memory of the past I wanted to make sure that these were presented in the light they deserve.
Off I went to get the ingredients. One thing remained on the list. Fresh yeast. Trader Joe’s – no. Safeway – no. Whole Foods – no. [Shame the one who gives up!] Rainbow Groceries – YES! I don’t know how you guys (Americans) do it. Baking with dry yeast – ain’t working for me. Or maybe it was because I got the advise to heat the liquid (milk, butter…) a little extra for the yeast to have effect – and by the time I added the egg and turned my back away, it had coagulated… It became pancake of everything, as we say in Sweden.
This time… I got a lot of dough. Cha-ching!!
Practice makes perfect.
Hubedubedo – signing off,
The Swedish Chef
Btw – I got the comment when I started this blog “Why should you write a blog? Who would read that?” At least I am having fun. I hope you get a smile out of it too. Maybe get inspired. I hope the one who said that initial comment do. He has a pretty amazing story to tell. I am sure you do too. Just saying… [#herringbone.fm 2.0]
– They kicked off the Herringbone blog. I’m just saying: UGG!
Now – will they make it to the top in THE dance competition of the year? That is up to you! Please please please – will you give me a vote? Submissions for Virtual Facebook Dance Off Championship 2011 is taking place today, with vote deadline Wednesday! 😉
Having fun yet? Maybe you want to join? Below are the details…
Are you a booty shaker?
Do you break it down like Bobby Brown?
Have you ever shook your groove thang to a simple bird sang?
If you like to cut a rig and rip up the dance floor than this event is for you!!!
Here is what is going down:
1-On Sunday at anytime YOU will make a video of you dancing to the song of your choice.
2-You will post it on my facebook profile
3-You will invite all your friends to watch and join in on the fun.
WHOMEVER GETS THE MOST LIKES ON THEIR POST WINS….
Virtual Facebook Dance Off 2011 Championship!!
The prize…FAME AND GLORY!!
You can enter as a single, couple, group, animals, babies…whatever, as long as there is music and dancing involved.
To get the juices flowing watch the video I made a couple months ago and start practicing your moves cuz I expect you to…
A strap, a tennis ball and a yoga mat. +100 people and Rusty Wells. In a workshop. The quote of the day:
If you want to be happy – think happy thoughts. If you want to fall in love… open your hips.
So there you have it – the master has spoken 😉 And this is how you could do it: (Rusty – where are your YouTube videos? 😉
Happy Saturday all.
Oh – why? The focus of this workshop was to “open your hips and invite freedom and fluidity into the space around the entire hip and pelvis area. We’ll flow through a vigorous practice that is designed to liberate and deeply release this space in the body that tends to be a dumping ground for energetic and physical residue.” So by doing that you will reach benefits such as letting go of the past, feeling more relaxed, grounded and present. Makes perfect sense, no?
A young girl’s dream come true! I met Santa. In Newport Beach!? What’s up with that? The best bear hug ever. Mmmmmmm. And he laugh like Santa too. I wonder… did he also leave the north pole, considering spending the cold part of the year in Southern California? Or was he fired?
Seriously… after watching this movie… I would fire… someone.
Ho ho ho, are there any kind – parents – in the house?
I had the pleasure to attend the annual December Night celebration in Balboa Park, San Diego – what was once called Christmas on the Prado. I think the current name make more sense – the feeling of Christmas celebration was far away. It felt more like a food feast and beer fest, with the rock band from party area playing louder than the Christmas Choir on the main stage and the main area had commercial tents for sponsors rather than vending of Christmas delicacies and gifts. Half naked promotion girls with a featured bottle of liquor in their hand. While kids walked buy – and I was freezing my butt off.
Yes, I am proud to be Swedish, and it is with very objective eyes that I can say that the area by Museum of Man, where SWEA always have had their Christmas Market, Glögg serving and Lucia Procession, was the only place where I felt the atmosphere of a really nice Christmas Market. I knew that there was a competition the first night, when the Swedish Lucia Procession performed by young children, was drowning in the sound of a Mexican Mariachi band calling people to go to the new beer garden of the Museum of Man. The second night when I was there a group of drumming people paraded by. Someone close by said “What the f-k is that?” “Occupy Lucia!”.
That said – the Swedish Lucia Procession made the cover of Union Tribune the following Sunday morning.
Today, December 13, is the day of Santa Lucia in Sweden. This is how it could have sound:
Next year, I will attend the new San Francisco Christmas Market – a market I know will live up to it’s name. Check out the site and complete the email list so that you get the information about it!
December 8. Would have been my fathers 75th birthday. As I visit my sister in-law’s Facebook page I find this rare photo of Elvis Presley and his father. Mm… will pick an Elvis song for my dad today.
So there are beautiful ones to choose. Bridge over troubled water, Love me tender… but the first one we played at the funeral, and the second one… I think he does feel the love and appreciation from me, my mom, my brother and his family. I think he is ready to move on. To move on with us. So the song I chose was this one:
A little less conversation, a little more action please. Time to rock ‘n roll! Get things moving.
Let’s get groovy! And hey – if you would create your own video with One True Media – what would you do?