A Svensk Klassiker for a cause! Please donate!

In 2016 I decided to try to complete a series of athletic events, a “Swedish Klassiker”. But I’d like to use this opportunity to add a charitable cause to my work. I want to encourage you to donate to one or all of the 5 different medically oriented and international relief oriented charities I will also support and contribute to:

  1. Vansbrosimning (3 km swimming) – Cancer research via Concern FoundationWebsite
  2. Lidingöloppet (30 km running) – Medical and educational supplies to needy and disaster areas via Brother’s Brother FoundationWebsite
  3. En Svensk Klassiker (Completion of all 4 events in 2016) – Type 1 diabetes research via JDRFWebsite
  4. Vasaloppet (90 km cross country skiing in 2017) – Refugee support via International Rescue CommitteeWebsite
  5. Vätternrundan (300 km biking in 2017) – Sustainable growth and environmental protection via World Resources InstituteWebsite

Help me add a meaning to my efforts than I could ever achieve otherwise. My fundraising goals are modest, but donations do not need to be!

Can’t decide on a single event/charity? Contribute a smaller amount to each! Every donation makes a difference.

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Taking and giving.

Note: I am collecting for a charity drive against cancer! Please donate!

Those that know me well, or at least have been around me enough, know that I am subject to epiphanies. It’s a little hard for me to avoid, and makes me look like a weirdo when it happens. But connecting dots and reasoning out solutions, in my work and personal life, drives me like a bum to a ham sandwich. It can’t be helped.

Epiphanies are thus nothing new to me. I remember vividly in high school when I first realized how covalent bonding worked (or some other chemistry principle I have long since forgotten).

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Covalent bonding… Oh yeah! Sadly, it seems I am not smarter than a 5th grader.

After staring blankly at a textbook for 45 minutes (my usual study method), suddenly covalence dawned on me. “Wait a second!” I exclaimed, “I’ve got to go to the bathroom!” (That is the cleaner version of what I said.)

My friend looked on in shock and disgust, but I had just felt a huge relief. From solving the problem, I mean. And it was time to, you know, do something else. Yes, this story is as awkward now as it was then.

The point being that I love being tasked with difficult or (to me) impossible scenarios, breaking things down, and solving them.

Generally speaking, I also like to be able to identify with causes. Large or small, doesn’t really matter. Bur particularly being away from work, I feel a need to contribute with some sort of value.

Which leads me to an epiphany moment I had a few days ago. Two things happened that brought this one around.

The Vatternrundan – Join a pack

The first glimpse I had that I needed to do something came during the Vatternrundan just a few weeks back. For the better part of half a day, I sat in my bike staring at the butts of other cyclists.

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The view from/of the rear. “Insert Card Here” was not an option.

It is impossible to not take note of said butts when riding in a pack. One of the primary goals in cycling is to stay as close to the butt in front of you as possible.

For over an hour, I stared at a pack of butts with, “Ride of Hope,” emblazoned on them. They were riding closely together, and the common sense of purpose and support was claer. While training with a team  didn’t interest me per se, I really liked the idea that there was a greater meaning they could draw from the race.

The Hospital – Get engaged!

The second glimpse came during my daughter’s recent hospital stay. She had a lengthy stay of 8 days, thankfully nothing life threatening.

But we were surrounded by people who were fighting all sorts of ailments. I’d been in the adult wings of many a hospital, it’s a little uncomfortable to be around people who aren’t doing well. But try spending several days in the children’s wing. Uff, that will get to you…

There are few things harder than watching a child suffering in some form. We had quite a nice stay under the circumstances, but it seemed there was always the sound of someone crying down the hallway. We went to a play at the Ronald McDonald House, where kids fighting leukemia and other diseases were staying. It was a collective slap in the face, reminding me that I really should do more to help others.

So what are you going to to about it?

So I want to be part of something, but don’t want to formally join a team. I want to enjoy my time away from work, but I want it to be meaningful. I want to help others, but short of volunteering I am not technically skilled for many of these things. So the epiphany came.

Just link my completing the events of the Svensk Klassiker with independently fundraising for worthy causes.KlassikerForACause.jpg

Fortunately, it is easy to find sites that let individuals to do specifically that (I went with crowdrise.com). The hard part was choosing 5 different charities, but after 20 minutes of Google searching, scouring a charity rating site, and reading a Forbes article, it was pretty clear to me who I wanted to support.

Then to quote Matt “Guitar” Murphy in the Blue Brothers, “Let’s boogie.” (see the pic below). Hey, if you don’t try, nothing is achieved.

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“You better think about the consequences of your actions!”

I hope you join me with some sort of small (or large) donation to the 5 worthy causes I have selected. All are internationally beneficial and are causes I believe in.

For more on the events and charities, please click here.

I am starting with cancer research because various forms of it have affected members of my family across generations. I would hope we help can contribute to sparing both my kids and yours (or your future kids perhaps) from it’s devastating effects.

Thanks for your support!

Where have all the blogs gone?

So let me start off by saying it has been way too long since I blogged last.

I can also start off by saying I enjoy blogging quite a bit, but sometimes priorities get a hold of you, your routine gets utterly blown to smithereens, and all the good will and effort turns into, well, nothing.

And then there is also procrastination. There is a fantastic Ted Talk on the subject. I don’t think it applies, but as this blog is basically one big excuse, well crap. It probably applies.

But I can say with a straight face, I have indeed been tied up continuously for the last two months, and knocking out a number of big and small things, each of which could probably have been blogged about, were I a bit of a better blogger. In case you don’t follow me on Facebook, I have been living in interesting times. So the drumroll please…

The kids turned into bioweapons
  1. Pass the barf bag, please — In April I took care of sick kids 14 out of 15 straight days (this one kicked off the blog less mayhem). I’m sure it’s not a record, but it’s definitely a record for me! Not looking for sympathy as it’s a part of the job. But I swear I didn’t know kids could be sick so much, and I certainly didn’t know how much more effort a sick kid was than a healthy one until the second week of insanity began.
  2. Hvor kommer du fra? — I studied for and passed my Danish language exams, opening the door for a permanent residency card. Will say I didn’t study too much (on one question I had to read a bus schedule. No lie), but the consequence of failure definitely got the blood pressure up and scrambled my brain for a week.

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    The slower riders didn’t roll, gathered moss
  3. A hundred miles and running — I participated in the second of four endurance events under the Svensk Klassiker, the Vätternrundan. At 300km/180 miles, it is by far the longest ride I have even undertaken which made for a very long day. And of course being Sweden, it rained too. It was probably more awesome than it sounds.
  4. Get a job, hippie! — So I don’t have a job yet… But my CV is now up to date. If you haven’t worked on your CV lately, all I can say is I am going to make it a point to look at mine once a month from now on. Because I swear updating your accomplishments on paper is harder and far less rewarding than actually applying for the jobs they get.

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    The Walshes. It’s a 60’s sitcom when in Onslunda
  5. 🎶Green Acres is the place to be…🎶 — While the wife got some much needed and long overdue time with one of her oldest and best friends, I decided to park myself with the kids in the countryside with mormor and morfar. The farm is relaxing, but so much different than the city that there is always an excitement element. I think it is because it toughens you up against nature. The oldest is still afraid of spiders, but those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones…(I hate them too). BUT, she has no aversion to snails, fire, dogs, horses, or heavy Skånsk. Yes, the farm is a good place to visit (but no, we still won’t live there…).
  6. I (almost) have a Danish drivers license — After 9 years. Yes, I have effectively waited out the Danish Parliment on this one. Rather than taking the drivers ed courses and physical test, I waited for the law to change. And waited. And waited some more. And then waited 5 years. Sometimes it’s nice to see laziness disguised as patience pays off.
  7. A chip off the old block… — Which brings up up to the last week, where I am now spending several daylight hours in a hospital bed (not as much as Åsa mind you) next to my daughter who is recovering from an appendectomy of all things. Oh, and as I write this the baby developed a rash. Haha! Between this point and point 1, that make 3 of 8 weeks I have been directly taking care of ill children. Now I don’t mind hospitals per se. I get to sit in bed a lot and play Legos (sweet). But I don’t think I can quite call this quality time with the kids. No, this is flat out quantity time with the kids…

Plus Easter, plus this, plus that, plus blah blah blah. Ugh! Get on with it, Jason!

So now that my blog is back up, what happens next? Well:

  • Very soon I will be asking you for money (because, you know, I’m unemployed and all). Just kidding, but it’s going to be good. You’ll see!
  • I figured out the ponytail solution! Or rather, I didn’t but my wife did. And in fact I did do some prototyping which failed miserably. I’ll share the secret invention soon. Dads out there, you’ll be struck with a, “well, duh!” moment, same as me.
  • I have further reviewed my Scandinavian transformation on Facebook, and the trend continues. Of course if Trump gets elected president, that will give me 4 years of defense against all grillings over dinner. “I’ve lived here so long, the last time I saw Trump on TV he was still bankrupting his airlines and casinos. So don’t ask me to explain it… Would you pass the lutefisk, please?”
  • I am now actively working on my Swedish pronunciation and vocabulary. Despite my comprehension being pretty good, my spoken Swedish is somewhere between “buffoon” and “preschooler.” But it not entirely my own fault; Swedish pronunciation is far trickier than most think, including the Swedes! And it’s not what you think… More to come.
  • And a number of other topics I have partially written up, but yeah, that procrastination thing.

So thanks for hanging in there with me, and I’m glad to be back on the board!