Weekend Coffee Share – Last Weekend of 2019 tucked in under a white blanket

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Welcome to share a beverage of your choice with me. What would you like? There is hot chocolate, tea, coffee, and I believe there is a little bit of glögg left.

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I was thinking that we could enjoy our beverage sitting on this bench today. Is that OK? I have extra clothes, if you need something warm besides a hot drink. It is so peaceful here by the lake. The thick blanket of snow makes this white world so quiet. My daughter and I have been enjoying many walks, and relaxing moments this week. How is your week so far?

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Do you still have a few days left of your holiday vacation? You did get a few days off this year, right?

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Besides enjoying many cups of hot chocolate while admiring these beautiful birch trees (my favourite tree,) we’ve started to move some little things to our new house this week. Just a few things. As you know I’m a minimalist and don’t have a lot of things. Moving into this new house is going to be easy. I believe we will move a few more things tomorrow, and then there is not much left at all. The biggest items are the beds, and I’ve ordered new beds from IKEA that will be delivered and carried into the house. This move is going to be a piece of cake, especially since I still have a few days off left after the move. I’m excited to make this new house our home. Then I can finally land for real.

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I hope you’re not cold! Would you like a blanket? I brought a couple wool blankets in my backpack. Are you cozy now? Some more coffee?

It was a special day today. We had a sort of family reunion at a log cabin that one of my brothers own right outside of town. It was great to meet some of my family members that I haven’t seen in a long time. I believe it was 5,5 years ago since I last saw my sister, my father and his wife. It was even longer since I saw my oldest brother, and one of my uncles. We had a good time. We had a fire outside where we made some food, and then we went inside for coffee and desert. It was cold today -10 C/14 F and snowing when I woke up early this morning, and probably around -5C/23F or -6C/21F when we were outside in the afternoon. I love the cold and the snow. My daughter had a blast exploring the pine forest around my brothers cabin. It is an exquisite location. I did not take any photos there today, I just enjoyed the company. I will come back there another time and take photos for sure. The log cabin is an old one, that my brother carefully restored. It is absolutely beautiful. He kept the original details, while adding a modern kitchen and bathroom. Exactly the kind of project I would like to do myself in a couple years, or so. I see myself doing that. There are old homesteads (fäbodvallar) for sale deep in the woods of this region. I want to save up and purchase one, and turn it into its former glory. I’ve been watching a young couple on YouTube do just that. I really enjoy their channel. In this short episode they explain what a fäbodvall is.

They are located close to where I grew up, further north of where I am now. The nature where I am now are similar, but it is slightly warmer in the summer, and the growing season is a little longer. The type of logg house they have are typical for these regions. The quality of these houses, often built in the mid 1800’s are incredible. I would like to find one with a good foundation and some land within one hour from work. That would be perfect. I could spend my weekends, and holidays working on my piece of paradise. I could take the time it takes, and plant a garden in the spring, plant some trees and berry bushes. I really want to do that. Many of these places already have a root cellar as well. Just what I need. …well that is in the future, for now I am super excited to move into our new rental house.

Would you like a refill on your beverage before we part ways? What are you doing this weekend? Any fun plans for New Year?

Love,

Maria

2019 in the rearview mirror

I feel that a look in the rearview mirror is appropriate by the end of a year, before looking ahead towards new goals. 2019 was a rollercoaster at times, but also incredibly rewarding. I’ve been enjoying having a virtual cup of coffee with many of you every weekend. That have been an important part of my weekend routine. I’ve met some amazing people in real life. You all know who you are! I somehow managed to get a few new allergies. I’ve visited many National Parks. Some of them made it into the book I self published by the end of the year. I’ve been camping in incredible places, definitely among my favourite experiences this year, along with the laughs I’ve shared with my daughter. I also read 25,651 pages across 85 books so far this year, (I’m planning on reading a few hundred pages this last week.) These are some of my 2019 highlights:

January:

I had gotten used to living in Las Vegas, after living there for almost six months, and found strategies that worked for me (=getting out of the city every second of my free time.) One of my favourite spots to hang out at in January was Valley of Fire State Park.

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These are my two favourite photos from January 2019.

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I lived by the motto The difference between those who succeed and those who fail isn’t what they have-it’s what they choose to see and do with their resources and their experiences of life. 

– Anthony Robbins

February:

I’d say that February was my absolute favourite month in Las Vegas, because it was cold!

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Red Rock Canyon was my favourite place to spend my free time at in February.

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Red Rock Canyon is fascinating, and worth a visit any time of the year, but I had my best experiences in February for some reason. I think it had to do with how quickly the weather changed, and how the clouds danced on the sky every time I drove out there.

March:

In March I experimented with cityscapes in Las Vegas. Here is a couple of my favourites.

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We also went canoeing on the Colorado River (AZ.)

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March is a very comfortable month in southern Nevada and Arizona. Just perfect.

April:

I’d say that it started to get too hot in Las Vegas for my likings in April. I did spend some time at Mojave National Preserve (CA.) One of the most memorable days was when we visited Carl Faber’s home in Mojave.

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The Mojave Desert shows its most beautiful face in April.

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Blooming Joshua Trees in Red Rock Canyon.

May:

In May we went camping in Death Valley National Park (CA) for Mother’s Day weekend, and saw some wild horses up in Mt Charleston (NV.) My daughter also graduated first grade as an honor student.

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Camping in Death Valley a few weeks before the big earthquake here!

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Wild horse baby born in May, near Mt Charleston (NV.)

June:

I spent the first two days of June at my property in Arizona. Those where the best days of the month!

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I also took my daughter to Grand Canyon during that roadtrip, which I am very grateful that I got to do.

July:

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We tried our hands at gardening in the desert, which wasn’t impossible, but challenging.

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In July I put a lot of effort into making a Birthday Cake just the way my daughter wanted it. (She can be demanding at times..but of course I enjoyed it a lot.)

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August:

I had severe breathing problems in August, and I found out about several allergies, and sensitivities that I’ve developed. The heat was horrible. The first two weeks of August I had a debate with myself (you usually get the best answers then..) about what to do. It was obvious that I would have to do something. As a start I quit my job, moved from the house I was living in (I still think the house was a big part of my problem,) and I started to homeschool my daughter. I started to think about maybe moving from Vegas here. The very reason I moved to Las Vegas was so that my daughter could spend time with her dad. I hated Las Vegas the whole time. Her dad did not make our daughter a priority, and in August he didn’t even live in Las Vegas anymore! August was a very difficult month. I also spent all my savings on health care.

These were my two favourite photos from August:

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The pomegranates starts to ripe in southern Nevada this time of the year.

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The limes on the lime tree still has some way to go in August, but I think they are beautiful.

September:

Breathing is still a big challenge, so is the heat. It is a little better since I left the old house, but I have serious problems. My Doctor now says he is certain that allergies, mainly sensitivities to pollution (the air is very dirty in Las Vegas) are the cause to my problems. At higher elevations the temperatures are starting to get tolerable by the end of September, and we spend a lot of time in Cold Creek (NV.)

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Dried seedpod on a Joshua Tree, Cold Creek (NV.)

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Sunset silhouettes of Joshua Trees.

October:

In October we did some camping, on several amazing locations in the desert of Nevada. Like here at Gold Butte Monument (NV.)

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I love camping, it is one of my favourite things to do.

November:

November was an intense month to say the least! We started the month with a trip to my property in Arizona. It was lovely! As soon as we left the pollution in Las Vegas my breathing went back to normal, and I felt great. If you ever had trouble breathing you know that amazing doesn’t even come close to describe that feeling of getting your breath back.

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At my property in Arizona.

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High desert sunsets are pretty amazing, and should be experienced!

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On the way back to Las Vegas we visited the old gold rush town Oatman (AZ,) where the burros rules the street. Oatman is a very fascinating place!

The week after getting back to Las Vegas I have an appointment with my Doctor who now tells me that I should move from Las Vegas sooner than later. I knew that I would have to make some sort of decision in a near future, for the sake of my health. I decided to take his advice and not waste my time. I am a doer. I had recently got permission to bring my daughter to Sweden. That had not been an option earlier. Now it was. I sold most of my things, and bought tickets to Sweden.

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We landed in Stockholm November 18, and took the train up to Dalarna, where I was born 40 years ago. I already had some job interviews lined up, jobs that I applied for while still living in Las Vegas. I went to the first one two days after arriving, and everything felt just right. They offered me the job, and I accepted.

December:

December have been a very busy month. My daughter started her new school, we found a house (that we haven’t moved into yet,) I filled out a lot of paperwork, I had a birthday, we played a lot in the snow, we spent many hours on the bus between the town where I was born (where we are staying until we move into our new house) and the town where my daughter goes to school, and I started working right before Christmas.

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December is cold and beautiful in these parts of Sweden.

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My daughter and I spent Christmas just enjoying down time together. We had several dinner invitations but she just wanted the two of us to be together doing nothing. I understand her and I am secretly very happy that she felt that she needed this time to just relax. We are going to move next week, but these last days of the year will have more down time in store for us. We are going to go for picnics with hot chocolate and read books together. If you asked me in the beginning of 2019 about my plans for the year I assure you that Sweden would not of been something I would of ever imagined! Life is good, and always full of surprises ❤  This is probably my longest blog post ever, breaking all the rules of blogging. …well, it has been a loooooooooong year. I hope you enjoyed my favorite photos from the past year. I want to thank YOU for being a part of my year. How is your 2019 in the rearview mirror?

 

Love,

Maria

 

Weekly Smile -Merry Christmas

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This week my Weekly Smile is a Merry Christmas greeting/wish to all of you. I think it is  a great gift that we are able to wish each other Merry Christmas one more year.

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Merry Christmas from a cold and beautiful Sweden to you! I hope that you get to enjoy time with loved ones, and find peace in this season. In Sweden we are celebrating Christmas on Christmas Eve, so this is it for us. My daughter and I are enjoying some cozy time together, since that was her wish. We did have a few invitations, but she really wanted it to be just the two of us, which I am OK with, of course. This downtime is just what we need now. I hope that your Christmas is everything that you need, and wish for.

Love,

Maria