Sunday, September 30, 2007

Not the greatest of days today but ...

Woke up with a clear case of steroid withdrawals again. It is really hard to wean off of it, finding the balance. I hate the stuff and really want to stop taking it as soon as I can. It makes me gain puffy weight, and it makes me feel bad all around. But I have been weaning off of it too fast, so the adrenal glands haven't had a chance to start producing their own cortisol hence the withdrawals symptoms. Just achy and pain all over, no energy and blah. Headache too!

The day hasn't been very productive, but I did manage to do a few needed loads of laundry. Just ordered pizza for dionner, just one of those days. Things wasn't helped by Ken being in a stressed, pissy mood about work either (went in to work half the day, worked the rest from home.) He is like a PMSing bitch on wheels when he get cranky over too much work stress. He will get over it, and I have learned not to take it personal, but it is a real mood killer for sure! Yesterday was such a fun day, and today not so much.

But that is life for you, up and down. Still love it!

Now I am going to take a long shower and then watch a Swedish DVD that my sister gave me this summer, haven't had a chance to see it yet (well, it is Danish with Swedish subtitles) Riket.

Have a great Sunday evening everyone!

Nighttime frog hunting...

Something we like to do on our nightly walks with the dogs are to hunt for frogs. This time we brought the camera to show you what we found!

We went out just after dark last night, around 7:30 PM. It was still nice and warm at around 85 degrees, nice and humid, a perfect night for finding frogs (we got 4)! We also found a beautiful legless glass lizards in the grass!

Stan, Sarah and Bob getting ready to look for frogs!

OK, where are they hiding?

Aha! There is one!

Found one!

Cute fellow!

Got another one!

We also found this beautiful, shiny coppery-brown legless glass lizard. It looks like a snake!

Saturday, September 29, 2007


Kom precis hem från en svettigt varm dag på Busch Gardens, det var lite väl varmt idag, långt över 90 F. Jag var nog inte riktigt redo för ett så stort steg som att gå omkring en hel dag i en supervarm park så där, jag kände mig jättesvag efter ett par timmar! Men kul hade vi! Nu blir det slappareftermiddag för resten av slanten...

Jag har en förfrågan, jag har ALDRIG bakat svenska kanelbullar, men skulle gära vilja prova. Så om nu någon har några bra recept skulle jag gärna vilja ha dem, men med ett krav: det måste vara med torrjäst, eftersom jag inte kan få tag på annan jäst här. Jag har svensk sirap, kardemumma och pärlsocker om det skulle behövas!

Ska bli spännande att se hur jag lyckas med det... Monica gav mig en ide, vi kanske ska ha en liten fest för några av våra vänner till jul, med tema svenskt! Bara svenska rätter, kansk lite glögg eller svensk cider, julmust osv. Skulle vara kul!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Finished smörgåstårta

Well, until we actually eat it I won't know if it turned out OK or not... I made a goo out of tuna, lemon, mayo, dill, a little sambal oelek, fresh ground black pepper and a tiny bit of salt. The second layer had a goo I made by pulsing together liver wurst and mayo. The topping is half mayo, half whipped cream, and the decorations you can see for yourself.

Looks OK, but we will see when I actually eat it if it is!

UPDATE: It was good, but I didn't like the American liver wurst, it has a too strong flavor, and is not at all like Swedish creamy "leverpastej" (which is more like a pate). Next time I will probably do the tuna filling in both layers, it came out really good, or maybe a ham filling instead.

Ken asked if we maybe could have this as an early lunch on Thanksgiving, and then eat the turkey dinner much later instead, so he must have really liked it! It is pretty easy to make, but it looks very festive, so it brightens up a Friday dinner for sure!


Today I have decided to try and make a Swedish smörgåstårta. It literally means sandwich cake, and is delicious! It all depends on if I can find the ingredients I need, especially the bread. It really is suppose to stand overnight with the filling to get really juicy, but I have a feeling I won't be able to wait that long... A few hours should be sufficient I think!

How a smörgåstårta looks like is all up to you. Here are a few examples:

Layers of yummy filling!

If I manage to make one tonight I will take some pictures!

GRATTIS kusin!

Happy Birthday cousin Magnus! Hope you will have a great day today!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Making weekend plans

It looks like we will spend either Saturday or Sunday at Busch Gardens in Tampa this weekend. We have annual passes to the park, so we better make sure we use them! Busch Gardens is one of my favorite parks, it is a combination of zoo and amusement park, very lush and green. A nice feel to it! I usually have a hard time with zoos, feeling bad for the animals. They seem to do an effort in helping preserving endangered species here, and the habitats are very nice.

Too bad Ken is such a wimp when it comes to rides, but to be fair, he gets really sick from too much motion. Sarah is just tall enough to go on the Scorpion, and last time we stayed on it for 5 times... She and I will have a lot of fun when she gets older, I love rides, but have definitely gotten more cautious with age...

The Scorpion

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Pig butts?

Today I got my newest issue of Smithsonian Magazine, an always interesting read. Sarah happened to see it and the cover caught her eye. The October issue features an article named "Denizens of the deep", with newly discovered weird deep sea creatures. We spent quite a long time reading about these off looking things and looking at their pictures. So cool!

Sarah's favorite? Well, of course, the "Pigbutt Worm"... It is some kind of worm, also called "flying buttocks", and its Latin name literally means "resembling a pig's rear."

It was discovered by some scientist down in Monterey. Maybe they smoked something special that day, or they just felt like having some fun...
It does look like a pig's behind... Sorta... Or what do you think?

The Pigbutt Worm

Oh my

I just found out through SWEA that IKEA is coming to Tampa in 2009!!! That is so awesome! Just 40 minutes away from me... Yes!

I better get back to work now. I am so freaking happy about that!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Doctor's appointment

Everything seems to be A OK, and I don't need to see the surgeon again unless there is a problem. It is pretty common to get pouchitis, an inflammation of the pouch, and obstructions, of course, which I already experienced a little bit of twice...

If I have an obstruction that is not clearing up in a few days I can call Dr S's office and they will put me directly in the hospital, so I don't need to go to the ER, that is good to know.

I am going to watch s Swedish Beck movie now. I only have one more, then I have watched all three seasons!

Tuesday update

It worked! I was right, it was a steroid problem! I woke up feeling pretty much 100 % better today; no headache, no fever, no aches. So I guess I will just have to start the taper over again and do it slower. I just really hate steroids. I have already puffed up from them, looking like the Michelin man again...

This afternoon I am seeing the surgeon for the first time since I was discharged from the hospital. Hopefully he won't need any closer examination of the pouch, that is, stick anything up my butt ;-)!

I will let you know what he had to say. Otherwise it is all work today until I leave around 2:45 PM.

Have a great day!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Headache update

I was sitting around thinking about what could be causing this horrible headache. I would have said migraine if it weren't for the fever. Plus, I have ever only had one migraine attack involving a headache before. All of a sudden it dawned on me, what if this is steroid withdrawals again? After all, my joints are sore and in general it reminds me of last time that happen.

So I did some research. Turns out headaches and fever are pretty common with steroid withdrawals! Plus, the doctor only tapered the steroids for less than two week; after being on heavy doses for a longer period of time it is recommended to taper off the drug over several months, so the body's own adrenal system can wake up from hibernation and start kicking in; they usually stop producing natural cortisol when on longterm steroids, so the body has to gradually ease out the prescribed steroids and the adrenal glands have to start back up.

So I took 5 mg of Prednisolone. We will see if that was enough tomorrow. Last time I woke up feeling much better the day after taking some steroids after having suffered from the withdrawals, but that was a much higher dose. I will see what the doctor has to say as well.

I am just glad I think I know what is wrong! Have a great afternoon!

What the...?

Here we go again. It is the medical curse again! ;-)

Yesterday I was having some bad headache on and off, I figured it was some kind of migraine headache. This morning I woke up with so much headache I could barely walk. I stumbled back into bed as soon as everyone left. When I woke up I had a fever. That is weird, you don't normally get a fever with a migraine attack. Sigh...

Well, I figured since I am seeing the doctor anyway tomorrow for a follow up after the surgery, I will wait and see what he says. I am sure it is just something like a migraine attack. But it sure sucks! Now I won't be able to get any work done today.

Sunday, September 23, 2007


Jag insåg nu till min fasa att jag glömde att äta färska frallor när jag var i Sverige! Det var ju högt på listan över saker som jag hade saknat!!!

Och nej, jag är urusel på att baka bröd... Får INTE glömas nästa gång! Hu...


We had a great time taking Sarah out fishing for the first time! We had a yummy breakfast at the Rod & Reel Pier, then we went downstairs and fished for a few hours. Sarah caught two fish!

Ken & Sarah in front of the Rod & Reel Pier

We brought some synthetic bait that was suppose t be really good.

The bait crabs sure looked real enough!

Ken showed Sarah how to fish, and she soon got a hang of it!

I was happy watching the action from my chair!

She got one! Her very first fish!!!

The fish was small but very beautiful.

Just check out it's cool neon colors in this close up!

After admiring her catch she released the fish back into the water.

There it went! Splash!

She caught another one! This one had lots of teeth!

Back with this one too!

When can we go fishing again, mom?

DISCLAIMER: Yes, I see the holes in the fish's mouth. No, I don't think it is nice against the fish. Yes, it hurts me looking at it... But a kid has to draw her own conclusions about things, and I think going fishing is part of growing up... But I feel for the fish, I do! :-)

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Fun & Finances

The entire family, dogs and all, were hanging out in Sarah's room, just talking and having fun.

Lately Sarah has been singing a lot of songs from school - manly one called the Bear Hunt, in Sweden known as Tigerjakten (see below).

I love that something so simple as singing with your kid can make them so happy! We also sang the alphabet song, but she is still working on that. I threw her a curve ball and sang it in Swedish, but that was a bit too hard for her.

Unfortunately Sarah is not speaking Swedish. She understands a little bit, but is in no way bilingual. I think that if we could spend some more time in Sweden she would benefit greatly from that. I noticed just from our 2 ½ weeks in Sweden this summer that she got a renewed interest in everything Swedish and definitely started to pick up things.Swedish is of what I understand one of the more difficult languages to learn. It is a very musical language, at least to the ears of non-Swedish speakers. The language is often described as melodious, with stresses that move up and down, propelled by numerous vowels. To those who read the written language without previous knowledge, the letters å, ä and ö are conspicuous. These slightly exotic letters correspond to sounds that exist in other languages, but may be difficult to understand.

I have studied German and French and thought those were tough, but I have heard Swedish grammar is a pain for someone who is not Swedish. I can only hope Sarah will pick up more and more, even if she got a slow start. I am definitely intending for us to go to Sweden as soon as possible, if I work a lot in a near future I am hoping for the summer of 2008. But ideally no longer in between than every other year.

My dream is to have a Swedish summer house on Gotland, and stay there when school is out over summer. After all, I can work anywhere I want as long as I have a computer and Internet access. But that is not in our budget anytime soon, but there is hope since Ken's business is doing so good!It is tough when you are a freelancer, it is not like you get a regular paycheck you can count on. I get paid very sporadically, so often when I get a larger payment most of it will go to various bills. Which brings us to finances...

I know Ken and I are a bit different than other married couples. We both prefer to have our finances separate. I think it has actually saved us from many fights, that is usually a main stressor between couples, financial issues! Ken makes a lot more than I do, of course, but he also pays a lot more of the bills than I do.

I am responsible for all food purchases, Sarah's clothes and a lot of her other things, any costs that are just mine, my personal credit cards, my business expenses, etc. Ken pays the mortgage, utilities and insurances. Luckily our cars are paid for, and our mortgage is only about $1,000 a month left on, so that is not too bad. All the different insurances can be mind bogging: home insurance, car insurance, flood insurance, health insurance, life insurance, professional/business insurance, they all add up!

I am very lucky to have had my business now for 7 years. Since I have been so sick during this time I really couldn't have a more ideal set up; being your own boss really helps! I have gradually built up a network of translation agencies that use me regularly when they have Swedish projects, and I have noticed an increase in my income lately.

It is great that Sarah is older now, and that she this semester started preschool, which gives me more time to work. Since my business have virtually no overhead costs, except for a new computer every few years, a few other computer related costs, and some professional membership fees, most of what I make is pure profit.

It also helps having a CPA/financial planner for a husband, he makes sure I only pay as little as I have to in taxes and that I invest in a retirement fund. I am horrible with money and would not be able to do what I do without him. On the other hand I help him a lot, since my degree had a lot of emphasis on marketing, and I help him out with is ad campaigns and such related things.

So my hopes are set for Sweden next summer, but only time will see how that works out. If not my plan is to go during the summer of 2009. We will see!

Sweden, here I (hopefully) come!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Coupon Codes & saving $$$ online

Something I discovered a few years ago was the wonder of coupon codes. I shop a lot on the Internet, especially for Christmas. It can be a percentage off, a free gift, or free shipping, you name it. We have a lot of family that lives far away, so it is great to be able to personalize a gift online and have it shipped to them directly.

What I usually do is search on Google for the web site's name plus the words coupon code, If there is a discount code I can usually find it. This has saved me a ton of money over time! I just placed an order with Victoria's Secret and got a total of almost $50 off in discounts and free gifts... Cool! I am an Angel member (credit card) so that gives me extra incentives and codes. I recommend it if you shop there often as I do (I love their Love Spell scent!), definitely worth it.

Victoria's Secret Love Spell

These kind of codes are available for most online retailers. Never make a purchase online without checking this out first!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Medical claims gone wild

Since I have been so sick I have become a bit of a medical insurance expert over the years. Nobody else is going to figure it out for me, so I really had no choice. It all started back in college when I got my first US health insurance. I ended up having knee surgery my first semester, and got a crash course in how things work. Very different from what I was used to in old Sweden!

We now have excellent coverage from United Healthcare, I have been very pleased so far. I have my own plan and Ken and Sarah shares one. Since we are self employed it is very expensive, we pay lots of money every month (but it should be cheaper and cheaper now when Ken is getting more and more employees). If anyone asks I am Director of Marketing in his company, by the way ;-)! After reaching my annual deductible of $2,850 I am not suppose to pay anything more for the year, but you never know...

Now after having had such a big, highly unusual surgery I have been keeping an eye on all claims as they have been processed by the insurance company. Many times they make mistakes, and when I call I tend to be more knowledgeable than the customer service representatives answer my calls! Not a good thing, but I can usually clear up their mistakes by being persistent. It can be hard sometimes!

Well, the cost for the surgery and the time in the hospital has so far reach close to $100,000... I noticed today that several claims had been denied, so I started digging around looking at the codes. It just didn't make sense to me at all. I tried to talk to the insurance company, but "their computers were down". Funny enough they were back up again when I called back immediately after hanging up! It turns out I was correct. One claim of almost $3,000 had incorrectly been coded as if I was suppose to pay it, when it was in fact suppose to be coded as a network discount... And a whole bunch of lab claims had been denied, because they were processed as medical visits, not lab tests! So they are all back in processing, we will see how that ends!

But to my relief they biggest bill, the one for the specialist's services, was paid with no problem in the whopping amount of $85,000... Whew!

Weekend plans

I am just taking a break from work. I got a lot of projects done, and I just have one to do today, but it is pretty big so it will take most of the day I think.

I am also downloading some Bamse movies for Sarah. She has been a bit obsessed with Bamse and his friends Lille Skutt and Skalman since we were in Sweden this summer. She has all kinds of Bamse stuff; dolls of the whole gang (even Farmor), cups, stickers, posters, an umbrella, books and magazines. If I would have known she would love him so much I would have gotten a few movies in Sweden as well, but now she will have some anyway. He is a great role model, he always helps his friends, but he doesn't like to fight. Bamse is the world's strongest bear, every time he eats some of his grandmother's special honey he gets super strong. He turned 40 last year!

This weekend Ken is taking Sarah to buy a kids fishing rod, and on Sunday we are having breakfast on the beach at one of our favorite places called Rod & Reel Pier, and then we are fishing from that pier. Or I am placing myself in my collapsible chair with a good book and a drink while the husband and the daughter bond... Should be fun! This pier is almost next to the pier you see on top of my blog, by the way, on the north tip of Anna Maria Island.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Quick learners

I often utilize different businesses' drive thru options. I often have the dogs and Sarah with me when I go out for errands, and it is very helpful not having to leave the car! My personal banking, my business banking as well as the pharmacy are the three most common drive thrus I use.

My business bank has such friendly service! They recognize me all the time and always give me some dog biscuits and a lollipop for "my 3 kids", even if I am alone in the car!

These dogs of mine have very quickly caught on that these places often have a box of dog treats at the ready. I can never go though a drive thru with them without a lot of salivating and barking. And forget the ATM! The dogs (mainly Bob) gets really pissed off when no biscuits come out of the machine... Spoiled rotten! Tonight I had to pick up a prescription and they got 5 huge biscuits! No wonder they have their expectations up whenever we drive through...

Danish invasion

I have said this before, but now it has happened again! It is a Danish invasion! I am working on three projects that are from three different Danish translation agencies. For being such a small country they sure send a lot of work my way! I don't even do that much work for Swedish agencies!

For you that don't know, I used to be a Danish citizen. My mom was born in Sweden, but her dad was Danish, and back in the 50s you automatically got your dad's citizenship. Well, they had changed that rule just for me to be born in 1974, so I got my mom's citizenship (which she never changed, she died when she was 24). So in 1991 I became a Swedish citizen, being Danish wasn't doing me much good, I had barely been there on vacation!

And now I am getting ready to become a US citizen in a few years, only because it is now super difficult to renew a Swedish passport in the US, you would have to go to New York to drop off the application, plus come back to pick up the passport in person!

So when my Swedish passport expire in 4 years I will instead try to get a US citizenship. I am not sure how long that will take, I probably need to get started soon on the application, the immigration authorities have been sloooooow up until now, took them years just to process my green card.

Any idea of a time range for that, Fia? For you who don't know, Fia is an excellent immigration lawyer plus is going through the application process herself at the moment.

If I indeed become a US citizen I will keep my Swedish citizenship. You can do that now, but the US will not recognize a second citizenship, in their eyes you are only a US citizen.

This would be my third citizenship, cool!

Exercise and Thai Adventures

Today I am translating a large user manual for some exercise equipment called the "Twist & Sculpt". I am so not in the mood for any kind of exercise (except walking) right now, so this is not the best kind of text to be working on right now!

After this one is done I am translating a web site for a Thailand based adventure travel outfitter. They have a very nice web site and want to attract more Swedish travelers. Swedes do have a tendency to go to Thailand, so this might help them. They offer customized adventures in the Krabi and Ao Nang regions, camping trips and longtail boat adventures for instance. The owner is an Australian who is so nice. She is having a baby in 3 weeks, so we need to get their web site up and running before that. The husband, who is Thai, is a great cook, and they also offer cooking classes! Fun!

Monday, September 17, 2007


I was feeling a bit down so I made the dogs and Sarah have a cuddle fest with me on the bed. We all instantly perked up! Take your significant other. Your kids. Or your pets. Cuddle! It does a soul good... I promise!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

What's for dinner?

Yesterday I had planned on making something light for dinner, but after skipping lunch I was really hungry. I started craving "järpar" (kind of like an oval beef croquette), something I haven't had since I was a kid! So I ended up making järpar with Swedish cream gravy, mashed potatoes, lingonberries and onions. Mums!

I love cooking, it is a real hobby of mine, as well as collecting cookbooks. Last night I made an Asian marinade and place a flank steak in it for overnight soaking. I am going to grill that later with some garlic broccoli and rice. Then tomorrow I am making bacon rolled chicken breast, and then...

What happened was I started to look what kind of meats I had in the freezer, and what else was in the kitchen. Based on that I made a menu for the week to come. It is so much easier when you know what you are cooking for the week, and everything can be ready. Researching recipes is fun too, I like to try new things often.

Today I have been cleaning a bit, and the house is looking good! Now all I have to do for today is take a shower and cook dinner later on. Hmmm... That stack of new magazines waiting for me is looking inviting. Great lazy Sunday!

I think we will go down to our clubhouse later too. They tore down the old playground a few months ago, and I just saw they finally put up a new one. I bet Sarah will love that!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Mean? Who me?

Ken just came in and asked if I could watch over him while he trim the biggest palm tree. He is really scared of the height and balancing a chain saw at the same time. I told him I would keep an ear out, and if I hear a big THUMP out there I will call 911. What? Am I mean? It is too hot to sit out there and look at him, and what can I do anyway. If he falls it's not like I can catch him or anything... Yawn! I just got a new issue of Star magazine that needs reading... He, he...

Update: He is still debating if he can handle the height, he scrapped the idea of the chain saw and is using a regular handsaw instead. I didn't know he was that scared of heights, he is really nervous! Well, I am even more scared of heights, so we will see how this ends!

Wonderfully lazy Saturday

Today is one of those yummy, lazy days that can be nice once in a while. I was really tired yesterday after getting up at 5 and then sitting up late. I could barely keep my eyes open when I went to bed. So this morning I asked the husband to feed the daughter, close the bedroom door and let me sleep. This is a very rare treat for me, and I throughly enjoyed it! Curled up with one of the dogs I slept to 10. Woke up feeling very refreshed!

I haven't done anything productive today as of yet. I am planning on just puttering around the house, make a light dinner and relax. The husband has been doing yard work, and he is away buying a huge ladder so he can trim the palm trees out in the front. I am planning on cleaning a little here and there, but nothing too much. I am suppose to get an editing job today as well, , shouldn't be too hard at all.

Tonight I have a few good movies waiting, and I am looking forward to just having a very soft day! Hope you all relax as well!


I don't know if you noticed that Blogger today launched something called Blogger Play? It is a feed where you can watch photos as they are being uploaded by us users to various Blogger blogs, in real time. Very fascinating and addictive to look at, it's a great snapshot of what people are thinking and posting about, right now!

You can click the image to be taken directly to the blog post it was uploaded to, or click “show info” to see an overlay with the post title, a snippet of the body, and some profile information about the blogger who uploaded it. To learn more you can check out the Blogger Play FAQ.

Click on the image below to launch Blogger Play:

Friday, September 14, 2007

November 14, 2007

Anyone Swedish reading this can understand. November 14 is the Grand Opening of IKEA in Orlando, Florida! This means so much to me, I can barely wait!

There has never been an IKEA in Florida before, and this fall they are opening TWO. The second one is too far away for me, it is in Sunrise on the East Coast. But I bet Victoria in Fort Lauderdale is thrilled about that one!

I am planning on going to the store a few days after it has opened, to avoid too much of a crowd. Orlando is about 1.5 hours away, so I am making it a day trip! I am definitively bringing a couple of coolers, so I can stock up on frozen foods such as Swedish meatballs. Can't wait!

We have a Scandinavian store close by that carry some Swedish stuff, mainly candy. But their prices are horrendous, so I am looking forward to IKEA's OK prices. Meatballs and lingonberries, here I come!

Fibreous dog!

Lots of little posts today!

One thing that is recommended after having J-Pouch surgery is to eat these Metamucil Wafers, little crackers made out of psyllium fiber. They are tastier than just taking a fiber tablet. You are suppose to take them with very little liquid, since the idea is to absorb as much liquid and bulk up your waste, thus not having to go as much.

Yesterday the dogs had gotten their paws on a package that was on the kitchen counter. I usually eat only one. Bob the fatso ate 6! And with no water! He could have choked on them!Lets just say we had a VERY productive walk later in the day...

Cute nightmares!

This morning when we were getting ready for school, Sarah informed me she had two nightmares that morning. One I had a little difficulty understanding what it was about, but something about a baby hippo sitting on her belly and then falling off. I think. Bob the fattest dog was sleeping with her, so it could be that he had been on top of her, that would absolutely be enough weight to generate a nightmare of baby hippos sitting on you!

The other dream was more mainstream, about one of the boys being mean to her in school. This particular boy she dreamed off happens to be very nice to her, so it was kind of odd.

Sarah also informed me her dreams come from her eyes! I thought that was a pretty good observation for a 4 year old. After all, a dream feels like you are seeing it!

More local stuff

An area very close to where our house is, is called Lakewood Ranch, it is part of Bradenton. It is a community within the community, and they are quickly almost becoming their own city. When I moved here in 1996 it was pretty much non-existent. Sarah goes to school here, my gym is here, Kens office is here, most of my doctors are here. Very nice place! This is a little bit more representative of how the newer areas around here looks like.

The house we live in is in a place on the Braden River called Braden River Lakes. Our house was built in 1992, and this is a typical 90s Florida subdivision. There are some newer houses here as well, and some streets have more expensive homes, but they are generally directly on the river itself. For the exact same model we have, built the same year, you would pay an extra $300,000 just because it is on the river.

Not again!

I woke up at 5 AM this morning in pain. Very familiar pain. This is the exact same thing as when I had that partial obstruction. I hope it will fix itself like it did last time... It just hurts like crazy, so I had to get up. I worked a bit but just couldn't concentrate, so I took the dogs for a very long walk (in the dark). Walking is suppose to help things along. I also had some hot tea, which is another remedy.

I have to take Sarah to school today since Ken is doing consulting in Tampa and had to leave early. And then I have to pick her up again at 11:30 AM, which I could just stay home and take a pain pill or something!

Sure hope this clears up, last time it took half a day. If it just wasn't so painful... I have no idea what I could have eaten that is stuck. Probably too much fiber! Sucks...

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Local flair

I found this little video on YouTube, and thought I would post it here in case anyone is interested in finding out how it looks around here. This is just from the area around downtown, so it is in no way representative of Bradenton as a whole. Plus, when he says there are a population of only 55,000 residents here he must mean just the area I consider downtown of the city. The county, Manatee county, is rather large. With the surrounding areas that I call Bradenton it would be more like 250,000.

The areas outside of the downtown area is a lot newer looking. We have quite a lot of new construction, and many affluent subdivisions. The downtown area is a more classic, old fashioned place, and except for the river district there have been problems attracting businesses to it. Not so for the rest of Bradenton! You can find most anything when it comes to shopping and restaurants, for instance. Due to the explosion in the real estate market that started back in 2004 (just after we bought our house, thankfully) the city and the county have been struggling to keep up with the growing population, sputtering out new schools and expanding roadways.

The real estate market have slowed waaay down, but our house would still sell for about $100,000 more than what we paid for it 3 years ago. Crazy!


Nu har jag kommit hem från flygplatsen. Enligt Continentals hemsida sitter Carina på flygplatsen på väg ut mot landningsbanan för att ge sig iväg. Det känns så tomt! Det är första gången jag verkligen har saknat någon riktigt mycket när de har åkt. Normalt är man ju jätteglad att folk kommer och hälsar på, men det är ju liksom skönt när de åker med, även om man absolut inte har något emot personen i fråga, men det är skönt att få tillbaka sin vardag liksom. Men den här gången känns det lite mer!

Idag börjar jag jobba igen, med buller och bång. Jag har 4 jobb som ligger och väntar, och nästa vecka får jag ett riktigt stort projekt. Eller som jag ser det, det stora jobbet är min jul; det ska betala all julmat och alla julklappar... ;-)

Ja, ja... Jag får väl sätta igång med att jobba då. Ha en riktigt bra torsdag alla!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Snart åker hon! Systra me... Är dom inte söta, Carina och Sarah... Sarah kommer verkligen att sakna sin snälla moster, det är helt klart! Suck ja! Förhoppningsvis tar det inte alltför lång tid tills vi ses igen!

Min syster Carina, en så ståtlig nordisk kvinna med sina 177 cm!

To Ken

Your favorite song of all... I love you!

Nostalgiska 80-tals grejjer

Gud vad kul! Jag fick lite lust att gotta mig åt gamla svenska låtar på YouTube. Jag kommer ihåg när Herreys kom ut med Diggilo Diggiley i Melodifestivalen 1984. Jag var 10 år och tyckte att om DOM inte vann, ja då var livet slut! (Dom vann ju som tur var...) Nu när jag tittar på dem kan jag inte annat än skratta, det var ju oerhört vad hemska de var!

Annat kul jag hittade var Carolas Främling som var oerhört stort för mig. Jag var 8 år och lärde mig snabbt texten till den... Och andra gamla pärlor! Man kan bli sittande länge och ha kul!

Idag är det sorgligt nog min systers sista heldag här! Imorgon åker hon. Det har verkligen varit ett trevligt besök, även om omständigheterna kanske inte var de bästa. Helt klart det bästa Sverige-besök jag haft, speciellt med tanke på att det var 4 veckor! Hon är så snäll och lugn så man går inte alls varandra på nerverna.

Vi ska ut på en liten sista shoppingrunda, inte för att hon egentligen har någon plats kvar i bagaget, men ändå. Sarah ska hämtas vid 11:30, och sedan ska vi till shoppingmallet, äta lite lunch och shoppa lite mer.

Ikväll blir det avskedsmiddag på Outback. Sorgligt att hon ska åka, hoppas vi syns snart igen!

Monday, September 10, 2007

I love life!

I just wanted to let you all know that I am very happy today! I just feel great and am so grateful that things are going so great! I just feel so happy about life in general! I still have a rash, but I am being very good about not scratching, and I know it can take another week before it clears up. I have done what I can about it, so now I just have to live with it for a while, no big deal, even if it is very irritating. I am also very pleased that the partial intestinal obstruction I had yesterday seem to have cleared with the measures I took against that. Wow!

I was just thinking about the new, wonderful life that is now possible for me. Just a small thing like going camping. It used to be a huge hassle for me, not having a bathroom readily available. I am thinking that we should get away for an overnighter in a few months when temperatures start to dip a little here in Florida. It is still way too hot, but it would be nice to do a one nighter, maybe bring the dogs, go hiking and enjoy not having to worry about where I can find a bathroom.

I am NOT going to miss the cold sweat from fretting about holding it in while I hunt for a bathroom at a mall, now I can go when I feel like it! It must be hard to understand for someone who has never suffered from something like ulcerative colitis, but the total feeling of freedom I am starting to feel is AWESOME! It just dawned on me today, and I am just overjoyed. I have SO MUCH to be happy about I can barely contain myself.

Life is good. Life is awesome. Love you all! (And NO, I am not high on painkillers :) !

Sunday, September 9, 2007


I did some research about intestinal blockages when you have a J-pouch, and I did all the tips they suggested for fixing it. I think it is just a partial blockage, since I am not vomiting and I am able to go to the bathroom.

So the tricks I tired was drinking grape juice and hot tea, plus plenty of fluids in general. I also took the dogs for a long walk, which I think really helped. It was difficult, I was really feeling weak still and a bit dizzy, but my sister suggested I bring the cell phone just in case something happened.

I have now three times passed a few bits of corn, and the pain is not as intense, so I am hoping this means it is resolving itself. Sigh! I am really tired of all this, but nothing you can do but roll with the punches, as they say. It could be a lot worse, so I am still happy!

Carina and I are leaving in 20 minutes to have a girls day out. First we are going to see the flick Stardust, which I am really looking forward to. We both like sci-fi kind of movies, and I think this one will be fun. I very rarely get to go and see a grown up movie, nowadays it is always Disney movies for us, so I am thrilled!

Afterwards we are going by the mall to get some Estee Lauder stuff. We went shopping yesterday at the mall for many hours (me in a wheel chair), and we got all kinds of goodies. My sister has really been stocking up on Estee Lauder, since they are twice as expensive in Sweden. And right now they are having a really nice "gift with purchase" at our Macy's, so she has been getting a few things here and there so she can get a gift with each item she buys.

I really like Estee Lauder. I used to buy mainly Lancome before, but their stuff tend to have too much perfume in them. I like Clinique, but only for a few things. Elisabeth Arden is very nice, but often too pricey for me. Since I moved to Florida I have become so wrinkly, with all the sun exposure, so I definitely need some nicer products to combat that.

Doctor's appointment

No kidney problem, that is good! They didn't bother checking the liver. The doc said a medication like Protonix can stay in the body for 2 weeks, so it might take a while to get rid of the reaction.

They injected me with a huge dose of steroids and told me to double the steroid dose I was taking at home for a week.

They also switched out the Atarax antihistamine to something else that might work better for itching, but it is highly sedative, so it would have to be for night time. I dropped it off at the pharmacy yesterday, but when I came back to pick it up the pharmacy was closed for the day, so I won't get to try that until tonight.

The high dose of steroids seem to have done some good though, I noticed a calming effect somewhat in the afternoon. It also helped that I was wearing jeans (in 97 degree heat!) so I couldn't scratch it too bad.

I finally have hope there might be a light at the end of the tunnel on this one!

Now for ANOTHER possible medical "crisis"... Yesterday my sister made THE most delicious taco pizza. I had made guacamole with it, and together it was sooo yummy! Needless to say I ate a LOT! Unfortunately it had corn, which is suppose to be a big no no for me right now (but I have pretty much eaten all the foods on the no no list with no problems).

I have been running to the bathroom all night, no problem there (the food was spicy too, so I expected that). But this morning I woke up with intense pain in one spot on my stomach. It is driving me nuts! I am getting a bit concerned it might be a obstruction in the small bowl, which is very common in the beginning. One trick apparently is to drink grape juice to get rid of it, so Ken is up at the store to get some right now. Obstructions can usually be cleared up without surgery, and I am going on the J-Pouch community web site to search for more tricks right now. Keep your fingers crossed that I can fix this, if it is an obstruction.

When will my medical problems END?

Saturday, September 8, 2007

I hate this!

After a few days of taking an antihistamine cocktail my doctor prescribed on Thursday after seeing him I am still itching like crazy!

I am now starting to get concerned. I nurse friend told me that sometimes kidney or liver problems can manifest itself with an itchy rash like this. And I am having a heavy, weird sensation over my kidneys, which of course scares the hell out of me!

I called my doctor's weekend clinic, thank God they have that so you don't have to sit in the ER for hours! They sounded very concerned too when I described my problems. Plus, they said I should have gotten better by now on the meds I was taking. (Very heavy duty antihistamines!)

So I have an appointment in 1½ hour. My "pouch" is feeling weird too, kind of painful.

And it is itching EVERYWHERE! Man I hate this!!!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Cabin fever

I am getting really tired of being couped up all the time. I am ready to start living normal life again, but it is hard when you are just so tired! I could barely walk to the mailbox yesterday. But I have decided it is time to start venture out. I am not too concerned with driving, since it doesn't require walking. Walking is my only problem. So. We are going to Wal Mart. It is only a 2 minute drive from here, and I am planning on riding on one of those electrical wheelchairs in the store. I just need to get out some.

The rash is worse than ever! Most likely because I can't stop scratching all over! I took two Benadryl at bed time last night, but they didn't do anything! I even scratched in my sleep!

I got a suggestion from a nurse friend today to ask for a prescription for a heavy duty antihistamine called Atarax. Apparently it is especially good for hives and itching. So I e-mailed my doctor and we will see if they can call that in for me. They are usually pretty good with responding fast. I sure hope so. This is driving me NUTS!

Tomorrow I am venturing out a little further, since I will drive to pick up Sarah at school at 11:30 AM.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Rash Girl

I have the worst of luck when it comes to anything medical... Today I am completely covered in a very itchy rash. It started a little bit a few days ago, but no it is from the tips of my ears to my toes! And ITCHING!

The only thing that is new and that I never have taken before is something called Protonix, and acid reducer that I am suppose to take with the steroids to avoid tearing up my stomach with too much acid.

I called the doctor. Only about 6 % of people get this type of rash. I looked it up on the Internet: the top layer of the skin can actually peel off! Great...

So no more Protonix. I am suppose to take Benadryl at night and use Benadryl cream. I also took some Claritin (another antihistamine) just now. Hope it helps. Ouch!

Monday, September 3, 2007

Labor Day Update

I am so tired of being tired ;-)

If I stand up too fast I faint, if I walk to fast I faint. I have absolutely no energy in my body! Very irritating! I am mostly just sitting around watching TV, it is too hard to relax enough to sleep when there is people in the house. But I have slept pretty good the last couple of nights.

Right now it is very quiet; Ken is at the kitchen table working, the dogs are sleeping, my very dear friend Linda came this morning and took my sister and Sarah shopping, they have been gone for 4 hours already! Last I checked in with them they had found all kinds of stuff. I am so happy Linda could take Carina with her, because it would really suck for her if she couldn't get a lot of shopping done while she now happens to be in the US for 4 weeks! We did have a shopping day before the surgery, but you know how it is, we women like to shop!

I am hoping so much I will get some strength back until next weekend, I had planned all 4 of us could go to this giant mall, Ken and Sarah could park themselves at the indoor playground (he could work on the laptop), and I could borrow one of those wheel chairs they usually have there so Carina and I could get around. That way I at least don't have to walk.

I had to get some groceries today, and Ken and I went. If it is just a few things I could have sent Ken by himself, but he is that kind of person that if you send him with a detailed list, and I mean brand, color what shelf it is on and so on, he will come back with the complete opposite, and then he gets mad if I don't like it. Luckily America has a lot of fat people (and a few handicapped people, but in this case they usually have their own wheelchairs), and you can borrow these electrical chairs in the store. You ALWAYS see obese people on this things! Scary... But today I was happy they had them, since I just can't walk around.

Ken supported me into the store, and it must have looked like I was drunk, very funny! I go to this store all the time, so most of the clerks actually know me, so I wasn't too worried about making a fool of myself. At least this way I could make sure we got everything we needed!

Before we left home I gobbled down a handful of Swedish Energy tablets, if you're Swedish you know what I mean, these "druvsockertabletter". It is basically pure grape sugar that athletes chew before a race or something. I was glad I stocked up on those this summer, since I often get tired.

I miss checking in on all my favourite blogs, but I just don't have the energy for it. Yesterday my biggest feat was taking a shower without fainting, and that was sitting down... Thank God Carina is here until the 13th!

For those of you who might not know, Carina is 10 years older than me, we have the same father. But this is actually only the THIRD time on our entire lives we meet in person!!! We have had contact for probably half my life over the phone, and finally when I was 6 months pregnant 4½ years ago she came and visited me here in Florida. That was so awesome! Then I met up with her again this summer on Gotland, and I also got to meet my niece Sandra (Sarah's cousin) for the first time. Carina has two beautiful daughters, and they are both the nicest girls you can imagine. Sandra is 15 and Christina, whom I haven't met yet , is if I remember correctly, 24. She has done an absolutely marvelous job raising these girls, I can only hope Sarah becomes somewhat like them when she gets older!

OK, now I need to lay down, I used up whatever energy I had for now!

Take care!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Home from the hospital!

I am finally home! Yesterday I was finally released and got to go home. It took a few painful days, but finally the new plumbing started to work. I am very amazed how easy things have been, considering I thought it would be a lot worse. I am very sore in the "pouch" area inside the stomach, but that should only last for a few more weeks or so. I have no stitches, everything is glued, and all in all I only really have two tiny new scars, since they reused some old scars. Amazing!

I was pumped full of TNP, so I got at least 2,000 calories a day, so I didn't loose too much weight, only about 10 lbs. I can imagine it would have been a lot harder recovering if I had lost more weight.

I feel great all in all, just very weak. I just fainted a few minutes ago, probably just stood up too fast. I had a very hard time sleeping last night, finding a comfy position is almost impossible, so it was after 5 AM when I finally slumbered in, and I was up before 8 AM... But I have nothing else to do but rest, so I am not complaining.

I am not going to write too much, I am just too tired, but I want to thank everyone for all the positive, encouraging comments. I really appreciate them all! My sister will be here until September 13, so I am looking forward to having her company until then!