Despite Sweden being considered one of the most secular countries in the world, religion still plays a big part in many of the holidays. Honestly, I think Swedes will embrace just about any reason to take a day off work or, in the case of today, eat pastries.

Swedes love pastries.

Like, a lot.

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I like it when the new year rolls around. There’s a sense of optimism that knocks about the pessimism that sometimes follows me around. It’s like crossing a threshold, and that’s exciting. Who knows what’s on the other side? It makes sense that January is named after Janus, the god of gateways and beginnings, which sounds like an excellent time to start a new year, don’t you think?

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Technically I’m on vacation. It’s not a traveling kind of vacation, but rather a sit-around-and-be-lazy-and-do-things-you-didn’t-have-time-for-before vacation. Which, for me, means I’m dedicating most of my time to these three things:

1.) I’m playing Skyrim. Again. (Any Skyrim fans out there?) But this time I’ve installed survival-type mods that change the experience of the game somewhat. I’m having a ridiculously good time with it, especially considering this is around my fourth time through (only completed the main story on one play-through though).

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Photo by Bengt Nyman — Carl XVI Gustaf och Silvia på Skansen 2009

Just a short post today. Yesterday was Sweden’s National Day, which resulted in me being lazy and not preparing any blog posts. But here’s a picture of King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia, with the Queen wearing the national costume of Sweden, which, I’ve discovered, was created in the early 1900’s, but didn’t become “a thing” until Queen Silvia wore it in 1983–the same year when June 6 became the National Day of Sweden. Prior to that the date had been Swedish Flag Day, but didn’t actually become a full-blown holiday with time off and people being lazy until 2005. Crazy stuff. There’s your Swedish Fun Facts for the day!

Anyway, so the giveaway for A Shadowed Spirit is done, and I’d have to say it was a pretty good success. It drummed up some interest for the book and brought quite a few new folks to the blog, which is great. Welcome everyone! It was also good fun, so I’ll probably do another one in the future. So, if you didn’t win this time, don’t fret, you’ll probably get another chance!

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You might not know this about me, but I have a slight food obsession—particularly in fantasy literature. I don’t know what it is, but descriptions of food in made-up worlds are particularly engaging to me. I think it’s because they help bring that world to life in a way that simple descriptions can’t. We all need to eat, and it can be telling what kinds food a person or a society eats. Also, I’m just fond of domestic life in general. When in a museum, it’s the paintings of kitchens and women doing laundry that capture my attention more than portraits of kings or Madonnas ever could.

Now with Christmas approaching, and me thinking about food a little bit more than normal, I thought it would be fun to do a post about some food and cooking history. This is the kind of information that I find quite interesting, and that may or may not find its way into a story at some point in the future.

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