Saturday, September 20, 2014

Helmi ... A Life of Grace and Generosity

My Mother sitting on the bench and her sister Helmi "my other Mother."

What is it that connects two people in that special way that makes the relationship so strong, so easy, and the love flows strong and natural?  A love that simply IS!

Helmi is far right..
Helmi (far right)
Helmi (third from left)

How many times I have wondered?  Very  many times.  Thinking it might have something to do with the season in which you were born?  Is it connected with the astrological sign?  Chance?  Or simply chemistry?

Helmi and husband Gunnar with their two children Jan-Otto and Gunn

I do not have the answer still.  What I do know is that the persons in my life born in my own birth month, October, or under the same sign Libra, we do have a very special link somehow.

Gunnar and Helmi
My "Other Mother" my Aunt Helmi is on top of that special persons list.  She has had a profound influence in my life, teaching me almost everything I know about goodness, generosity, beauty in it's varying forms, humbleness and appreciation.

Helmi and my Mom

Helmi in her self-effacing way has always given more than she received.  She was never aware of her many amazing talents.  She would sew clothes to order as well as clothes for us, mend for friends and neighbours, let out and take  in seems, she baked the most delectable pastries, cakes and breads using a wood fired stove and oven and cooked and fed multitudes on a dime!  She canned and "apple-sauced" like no other. She the ultimate "caretaker" cared for  her children, her husband, (another special October person), her Mother, her Father, her sister, (my Mother) my sisters and myself.  Helmi tended hers and my Uncles garden.  Never wasting a thing!  She lived, when I was a little girl, in a flat with no warm water, she warmed water on the wood burning stove for those Friday night baths in a tub placed on the living room floor!  She was ALWAYS happy that you came to visit!  When you left  there was apple sauce and cake in your bag and some money in your pocket.

Later property was purchased, a house was built, with the help of family and friends.  There was warm running water and an electric stove. Imagine all the delectable items prepared there.  My cousins were married.  Grandchildren arrived. Great grandchildren too.  Still, in all that, I was somehow given  a special place.  There was always room for me too.

We wrote to each other, year after year!  Once overseas telephone calls became affordable I would call so we could chat, up until the day when it became difficult for Helmi to hear.  The physical distance between us has been far, most of my life, yet Helmi always felt close.  I think she always will feel close!

My beloved Moster Helmi transitioned into another realm today!  Surrounded by her family holding her hands.  It is difficult for me to think of her not physically on this earth.  For me to write to, or visit, or hug, or speak to.  Something I will miss, terribly.

Yet I know she is like a perennial flower, reappearing in all of us who loved her endlessly.

She left us three weeks before turning the 100 year mark.  I don't think she wanted any fuss....

Thank you Moster Helmi for ALL that LOVE!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Heavy Mist and Swirling Thoughts....

We head out the door really early this Sunday morning, as we do every  mornings.  Ten minutes before six we are already going past the Ridgemark Lodge..... in the dark!  A flashlight would have been good to have as the ocean mist is thick and heavy.  Usually the mist stays on the opposite side of the Diablo Mountain Range but this morning it had spilled over.  Garbo's coat and my hair gets damp from the fog, as we go on our way,  down Paullus Drive.

As we walk in the dark I think about the fact that Garbo gives me such a sense of  security!  Without Garbo, would I be out stomping around in the dark?  Hardly!

She is growing up our girl!  Developing a more mature look and sensibility about her.  We are learning a lot at dog class she and I with Tiffany as a positive instructor with much knowledge and patience.
This morning we meet a couple of dogs and their owners as we are about half way done with our close to two hour morning walk and towards the end as we are on our way back home we meet one of Garbo's favorite people!  She gets to snuggle and nuzzle.  Our friend gets her "Garbo fix" and off we go to start our day.  It is fun to think that even our dogs have favorites.

To our delight we see a post from Pernilla on Facebook today about Katia - Garbo's Mom-she won yet another prestigious prize in Eslöv's International Dog Show!  3,500 dogs were competing!  The Vi'Skaly's dogs are amazing!  As someone said:  "what a family"!

Today is the day the citizens in Sweden vote for a new government.  It is with bated breath I await the results..... Will those in the populous fearful of those different from themselves gain large numbers of votes?  It is too early to tell as I write this, Oh, how I hope not.

Sweden is a very progressive country!  People there have, for the most part, such a different outlook on how things should and could be.  Thinking in the collective rather than the "I".  Caring about Mother Earth with more fervor.  Working hard to change the equality gap.  May they continue to go forward...... Is it perfect there?  No.  But it is a fabulous place.  I am indeed proud to be swedish and yes, I voted too!

There is yet another fire burning in Oakhurst as I write this.  Reportedly an arsonist has now been caught, while families are fleeing from the fire!  Hoping fervently that old friends, Brian and his family, Penny Pie, our many ex-customers and everyone else, will be safe!

My mom on the left and Helmi "my other mom."

As we trot down the streets and pathways here, Garbo and I, my thoughts travel to Sweden and hover above and around my Moster Helmi .. (Mothers Sister - or Auntie.)  She will turn the 100 year mark the very 1 of October!  Feeling tired and weak these days, my cousins inform me.  I hold my breath! Imagining a time without her in my life.  Selfishly thinking of the loss of my "childhood" as she, my beloved Other Mother has forever been the link.  She has always been my "touchstone," my "rock," ever since I was a  very little girl.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Out with August

a full month it was!

Filled with Birthdays.... lot's of Leo's in our midst!  Our oldest son in Seattle along with our oldest granddaughter, the photographer had his day as did Russ and Cathy in Mariposa... Magdalena and Lotta in Sweden and Malva turning a big 11!  Wooosh.....

A year ago we had that fun Hewlett Packard reunion here.  Just a few days ago we had the pleasure of having Nancy visit for an "overnighter," she is another Hewlett Packard person, A VERY important friend from days gone by!  How does that saying about friendship go?  Something about how great it is to have fun with friends, but best of all are the friends you have that you seldom see, yet nothing changes.  With any luck at all the quote will "float to the top" before I finish this.

Garbo has been to the Dog Park in Morgan Hill a few times this very busy month.  She also goes to see Cristina at Bel Amour Pet Spa and Boutique regularly!  Cristina is the best groomer in town!  Garbo comes home sweet smelling and tired.  It is exhausting having a bath you know!

Garbo also got to go on an adventure to Lepa Dog Doggy Day Care!  We have been searching for a GOOD place to leave her, if ever we need to go someplace, "dog-less".  Sue, the owner of Lepa Dog generally only likes to have small dogs stay there, yet she likes  Garbo.... well.  Who would not?  So  Garbo may stay there, anytime!

Sue told us a little story about another new client who came to see her the day before we were there. Sue had made mention of the fact that a Great Pyr by the name of Garbo was coming to visit and the new client said: "I know Garbo".  "No," said Sue, "I don't think so, Garbo lives in Hollister"..... as it turned out, the other new client knows Garbo from the dog park!  Small world?  Yes it IS a small world!

There was also  a Ladies Night in the "hood" one fun Friday night in August!  A few neighbour ladies have had me join them before and it is such a pleasure to attend.  I am delighted to be included in these evenings full of great food, great wine, great ladies and lot's of laughter!  Thank you, Cathy and Cathy, Irene, Patty and Sandy.  (plus a few  others) This is a great place to live.  It is good to  feel like you belong!

Saga made these sculptures of us.
Yes,  August has been a FULL and LOADED month, with Grand Kids and Birthdays, visitors and  parties, plus all the normal dog (and cat) activities, though Mister Kitty truly does NOT get his fair share.  No Cat Park to go to:-(

Maria very gently  talked me into going back to Dog Class!  So, for the next several Wednesday evenings we will go together for dog training.  She to agility and I to obedience!  We need to "fine tune" this puppy!

When Nancy was here, she suggested I teach Garbo some VERBAL commands!  Like what, I asked? Such as NO, she said!  So yea, guess I better get her " whipped" into shape!:-)
...oh yes, the quote: "True friendship isn't about being inseparable, it's about being separated and nothing changes"  author unknown. I like that!

Monday, August 18, 2014

A Macaroni & Cheese kind o' Week

Last Sunday, after Garbos' long morning walk, I climbed into the car and drove half way to LA to pick up the South Cal grand kiddles.  Yesterday we made the same trip in reverse.  Meeting at Mac D's (one of my least favorite places) in Kettleman City to make the child exchange.

It was a very good morning for the Little Man E as he had a big plate of plättar = swedish mini pancakes before we left and then regular american pancakes at McDonalds!  Both versions drowned in maple syrup!  Oh YUM.  The rest of us eating eggs on a toasted english muffin.
It was a wild week!  Intense!  Pretty much Non Stop!

Garbo was in heaven.... having her OWN kids to play with, all the six days!  Talk about a happy puppy!  Even she got tired!

A week when I reflected on times long ago, with the now grown grandchildren, spending time with us.  A time when our  energy  and our  patience was at a different level.  Mariposa was a particularly special place during the grand children's young growing up years.  A place with lot's to do.  If we were not cooking, baking or making Ice Cream there was a bubble pool, there was lot's of dirt, lot's of animals, a forest to explore, and a creek to pan gold in.  There was the yearly Mariposa State Fair, where one could ride those rides until one got sick! :-)  But oh, I am looking backwards,  I am digressing.....

This last week, with the two youngest grandkids we did similar things down scaled!  Miss S who is growing tall and lanky, enjoys cooking and baking just as much as her predecessors.  We ate a lot of good food, Miss S and I sharing a Lutfisk Dinner one evening, with the traditional cream sauce, potatoes and little green peas!  Too bad The Future Chef was not here!!  Little Man,well, if it is not Macaroni and Cheese, Grilled Cheese or Hot Dogs, forget about it!.... No despair! We used to have someone who ate little but ramen noodles, for many a year:-)

There was Golf Camp.  Miss S participated in a three day event and seemed to have a great time.  Little E changed his mind, decided to not go... maybe next year,  he said.

There was dog walking with Little E inline skating on the golf cart paths, he is really good at it!
Miss S also used her roller skates a couple of times.  She is good too.

There were visits to the grocery store, visits to the dog park, shelf building lessons for Little E at Uncle R's one afternoon, and swimming at Garbo's friend Yuki's house two times.  Yuki, the worlds most adorable Aussie, lives near Auntie M's house and she took them there for some water fun.  The kids could skip their baths!  Hurrah!

Boompa showed Miss S lot's of photographs of her Dad, from his life before her time.  That was fun too! It gave her much to think about.

There were of course, the regular squabbles between siblings.  Big Sis is VERY protective and helpful (for the most part) with her little Bro, who runs on two throttles!  He is either uproariously happy or he is mad. Like the faucet.... cold or hot? But when he laughs, well,  it is one of those laughs that makes you laugh right along.

She is like all Big Siblings...a bit bossy!  Yea, you get it!  It can be a lethal combination at times.

It was fun!  But let me say that last night I soaked in the tub filled with hot water, Epsom salt and lavender essential oil!
It felt REALLY good!