Ode to the Oversized Sweater

Ode to the Oversized Sweater

Not me in the picture, but doesn’t that sweater look divine? (Source: Pinterest)

Ever since I was in grade school, one item of clothing has always been my favorite: the sweater, especially if it was too large and simply felt cozy. Were the sleeves a little too long? Ooh, you’re giving me goosebumps! Did the collar gape a little? Now, we’re talkin’! Was it a men’s sweater instead of a girly sweater? My heart is practically singing!

My mother did all that she could to break my love of too-large sweaters. She’d buy me nice, proper cardigans that fit just so, but I was not interested. They were usually in pastel shades of pink or blue or yellow that made me gag. I wanted black sweaters, or maybe bright red…or white cable-knit or fishermen sweaters. If it smelled like my dad’s cologne, perfect.

When I was in high school, my dad bought a fisherman’s sweater and promptly forgot about it. He wore it once and then, for months, it hung in his closet, abandoned, unloved. I coveted that sweater. I knew it would look perfect with my Under a Blood Red Sky t-shirt, leggings and my favorite pair of scuffed loafers. So I bided my time, waited until my dad bought more new clothes and then liberated that sweater from his closet.

I didn’t want to wear it too soon. That might spur him to remember that the sweater actually belonged to him.

Instead, I waited until the autumn was almost over and we were closing in on Thanksgiving, and then I began wearing that wonderful fisherman’s sweater. It took my dad a few months to realize that I had in fact commandeered his sweater. By that time, he’d bought a cotton crewneck sweater that was more his style and he let me keep the fisherman’s sweater (which I hadn’t planned on returning anyway).

Even now, over thirty years later, I still adore oversized sweaters. I have an old roll-neck sweater from J. Crew that came into my possession via an ex-boyfriend way back in 1990…yeah, I still have it and it still looks good. It’s not as oversized as it used to be as I am fluffier than I used to be, but it still fits. There are one or two holes in it, but I love wearing it at the weekend. It’s soft, it’s cozy and it’s been with me for over twenty years. That’s a quality sweater, I’d say. Now if only J. Crew still sold roll-neck sweaters… but that’s a whole ‘nother kettle of fish. 🙂 Every autumn, I take it out of its storage bag, freshen it up and wear it with my favorite gray t-shirt and jeans or leggings and my sneakers.

I will probably still be wearing oversized sweaters even when I am a pensioner. I just wrapping myself in them. Autumn and winter aren’t the same without them.

What about you? What’s your autumn/winter staple item of clothing?

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Seventeen Years — How the Heck Did We Get Here?

Seventeen Years — How the Heck Did We Get Here?

Today my husband and I are celebrating seventeen years of marriage. Which feels weird. It doesn’t feel like we’ve been married that long, but then again it also feels feel like I’ve known him all of my life. Yesterday someone commented that marriage longevity was almost unheard of these days. We both laughed it off and counted off celebrity marriages that didn’t last more than five years. So it got me thinking about how the Swede and I have managed to keep our marriage strong, even when dealing with the wacky cultural differences and my general grumpiness–yes, I think I am pretty similar in temperament to a Border Terrier. I am cute and cuddly and grumpy. But I digress! I think I’ve come up with 5 reasons that–after over twenty years of being a couple and seventeen of them being married–the Swede and I work so well together.
1. We don’t live in each other’s pocket
Even when we first met and we were sometimes attached at the hip (and the lip), we gave each other space. I have my moments when all I want to do is read or write. Or when I am moody and just want to be alone. The Swede is the same. He needs his personal space, and I give it to him. Just because we’re married doesn’t mean that we can’t have separate interests. And I think this is a mistake a lot of couples make. They don’t give each other personal space. And just as every relationship needs quality time together, it also needs quality time apart. Sometimes I go on vacation by myself, he does the same. When we’re together again, we feel recharged.
2. Mutual respect
We respect one another. Even when we’re driving each other crazy, we always respect one another. Even when we’re angry at one another, we don’t intentionally say or do anything to hurt one another. I admire his intelligence and his integrity. I love that he stands up for what he believes in and that he always makes me feel like I am the most important person in his life. Whenever I am about to make an important decision, I always think about the impact it will have on both of us–and not simply on myself. And though we may both joke about our celebrity “free cards”, we both know we only want each other.

Our free cards
3. We talk it out
There are those moments when we misunderstand one another or we get into huge arguments. I won’t even pretend that we never fight. We do, just like everyone else. It took us a few years to figure out a good way to come back from those horrible moments. And now we talk it out. Sometimes I rant and he just waits patiently (he is a very patient man). Sometimes I have to wait a long time for him to verbalize what is bothering him–he’s Swedish, they don’t like confrontations or arguments, so this is kind of new for him. But we try to talk everything out and we NEVER go to bed angry at one another.

anigif_enhanced-9260-1396299187-22 talk
4. We make each other laugh
The Swede is a consummate goofball and I absolutely adore that about him. Though he may look stern and serious (Swedes have mastered this look–just watch any Swedish film: Max von Sydow, Stellan Skarsgård…even Alexander Skarsgård–they’ve all mastered that stern look), he will say and do things just to catch my off guard and set me off into a fit of giggles. And I do the same for him. We spend a lot of time laughing. Lately, we keep making each other laugh with our impression of the now iconic Peter Dinklage SNL skit, Space Pants. Yup, we never get enough of Space Pants.

5. Love above all else
At the end of the day, it’s all about love. I know that I love him, and he loves me. And I can’t imagine sharing my life with anyone else.

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A little taste of Maybe Tomorrow

A little taste of Maybe Tomorrow

MaybeTomorrowCoverMaybe Tomorrow is a standalone novel in my Maybe… series. This time the story focuses on Henrik–Mads’s cousin–and Eddy–Laney’s cousin–and what happens when sparks fly between them one Sankt Hans aften in Copenhagen. Maybe Tomorrow will be available later this spring (I promise). Add it to your TBR list on Goodreads.  

 

“You know, we’ve met before,” he said as he lit my cigarette for me. “Twice before, actually.”

He had the most beautiful hands I’d ever seen. Long, elegant fingers. They looked as though they could just as easily play a piano sonata as sculpt a work of art.

“Have we?” I took a quick drag from my cigarette and pretended to watch the other wedding guests. Really I was giving him a quick once-over. Of course, I remembered him. How could I forget someone so tall and attractive? Especially after our Midsummer weekend. But I’d pretended all day I hadn’t remembered, that the alcohol and the crushing hangover that followed had erased every trace of that weekend.

“When Laney had Liv. We met at the hospital.” Now he paused to light his own cigarette. He took a long, slow drag and then exhaled as if he were savoring every ounce of smoke sliding from between his parted lips. I glanced away. “Granted, I wasn’t there long. I had to leave for the airport—”

“Where were you going?”

“What? Oh! To Spain. My parents moved there when they retired, and I’d promised I’d spend part of Christmas with them.”

“I don’t remember us meeting there.”

“No, well, Mads introduced us very quickly before he rushed off to be with Laney and the baby.”

I nodded, but it didn’t ring a bell. I remembered waiting in the hall with Mads’s grandmother. She was so excited—she kept telling me about how it had been the night Mads was born, how his father had sat with his head in his hands and sobbed, unable to digest the reality that he was now a father. I’d held Alma’s hand and smiled at her reminisces. I could still remember how she beamed when Mads came out to tell us the baby was okay, that she was breathing on her own but that she would have to be in ICU for a while. When I asked him about Laney, he was still shaking and he had to sit down. I could barely hear him when he murmured, “Min elskede Laney er okayj. Jeg troede, jeg kunne miste den begge…Åh gudskelov, hun er okay.” I have a vague recollection of other people being there, of crying and the all-consuming relief that Laney and the baby had made it through, but I couldn’t remember anyone else than Mads and Alma.

“Were you there when Mads told us about the emergency C-section?”

“I was…” Henrik flicked some ashes on the pale gravel. He laughed and shook his head. “I was sitting right beside you.”

“And the second time?”

“Midsummer…you stayed at my house. We…” He paused as if considering his next words. I wanted to apologize for pretending not to remember him when we both knew I was lying. But he saved me by nodding in the direction of the party and saying, “I think our bride and groom are going to have their first dance.”

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Can *anything* replace Hannibal for me…?

Can *anything* replace Hannibal for me…?

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I’m not really sure how I became a fannibal. Back in the old days, if you’d asked me about Silence of the Lambs, I would have told you I thought it was a great film and that I loved the pairing of Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins. Is it a film I watch whenever it’s on TV? No, well..I won’t watch the entire movie because it doesn’t captivate me the way it used to. When it was first released, I saw it on the big screen and I remember thinking Anthony Hopkins was awesome as Hannibal Lecter. I thought no one else could do that role justice.

I was wrong.

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Danish actor, Mads Mikkelsen

Enter Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen. Now, I’ve been living in Scandinavia for twenty years, so I was used to seeing him on TV and in films. Usually he outshone the actors he shared the screen with, but I wasn’t a rabid Mads Mikkelsen fan. I thought he was a good actor. I thought he picked smart roles to play. I never pictured him as Hannibal Lecter. When he took his first Hollywood role (which I think was as Tristan in the dreadful Clive Owen vehicle, King Arthur), I worried he’d be typecast. He’s not conventional looking. He doesn’t look like your typical leading man. So even if he goes over well as the romantic lead in Scandinavian films, his intensity and his quirky looks aren’t going to win over the housewife in Tupelo or the college girls in Cleveland who want someone like young Brad Pitt to scream over. Mads Mikkelsen broods….he exudes that Scandinavian stillness that most Americans find incredibly uncomfortable–and he’s amazing at playing characters who are not always likeable but who have charisma, which is probably why he’s been typecast as the villain in US films such as Casino Royale and Clash of the Titans).

I think it’s that Scandinavian stillness and his ease at playing morally questionable characters (let’s face it, he’s played a long string of very flawed characters) that made him the ideal actor to play Hannibal Lecter. I will admit, I was skeptical initially. I couldn’t envision him in the role. Before the show even aired, I remember telling a friend that Mikkelsen could never step into Anthony’s Hopkins shoes.

Yes, I know…I was wrong.

From the first episode, I was hooked. I love how creeped out I get while watching it–yet I can no longer sit through most horror films. The episodes are beautifully shot–even the most gruesome images are like these works of art–his suits are impeccable, the entire cast is amazing and the scripts are so intelligent, so clever. Perhaps that’s why NBC couldn’t handle Hannibal? It’s just too clever and intelligent… I mean, other shows that have as huge of a fan base as Hannibal stick around, even with lousy ratings. And Hannibal‘s ratings weren’t dismal. The critics loved Hannibal–it was the thinking man (or woman’s) type of show.

I guess that is the crux of the problem.

Screen Shot 2015-07-02 at 06.33.02My former homeland celebrates ignorance and mediocrity these days. Shows like Hannibal don’t connect with people who would drool over Real Housewives of Atlanta or whatever other reality hell is now currently America’s favourite show.

So now I sit here wondering…what can possibly fill the void left by Hannibal once Season Three ends? I already watch Gotham. I never miss an episode of Game of Thrones. Maybe I will start binge-watching the reboot of Battlestar Galactica again. It’s filled many a dull evening.

But I don’t think anything will sustain me quite like Hannibal…it truly did feed my fear. I hope Bryan Fuller succeeds in finding a new home for the show. Until then, I have seasons 1 and 2 on DVD (yes, I still watch DVDs on my Blu-Ray player) so I can at least binge-watch those if the summer rains return to Stockholm.

But Hannibal will be like the one who got away. Or the bad boy who stalked off into the sunset…though in a perfectly cut suit and probably looking for something (or someone) to pair with fava beans and Chianti or Sangiovese.