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LJ Idol Break week, challenge #1 Jantelagen

The Law of Jante (Jantelagen) is described by The Swedish Expat Blog as “a pattern of group behavior towards individuals within Scandinavian communities, which negatively portrays and criticizes individual success and achievement as unworthy and inappropriate. Generally used colloquially as a sociological term to negatively describe an attitude towards individuality and success common in Scandinavia, the term refers to a mentality which de-emphasizes individual effort and places all emphasis on the collective, while discouraging those who stand out as achievers.” Jantelagen comes from the Danish word Janteloven and has its source in the writings of Aksel Sandemose’s 1933 novel ‘En flygtning krydser sit spor’ (A Fugitive Crosses His Tracks) which is set in a fictional Danish town called Jante.

According to the novel, this is The law of Jante:
1. Thou shalt not believe thou art something.
2. Thou shalt not believe thou art as good as we.
3. Thou shalt not believe thou art more wise than we.
4. Thou shalt not fancy thyself better than we.
5. Thou shalt not believe thou knowest more than we.
6. Thou shalt not believe thou art greater than we.
7. Thou shalt not believe thou amountest to anything.
8. Thou shalt not laugh at us.
9. Thou shalt not believe that anyone is concerned with thee.
10. Thou shalt not believe thou canst teach us anything.

The enforcers of this strict law were, of course, the same people that were oppressed by it, the citizens of the town of Jante. Sandemose said that it was in the culture to keep each other down in Scandinavia.

It has parallels to the Japanese concept of Chodo, or “the middle way.” Basically, everyone is the same, part of a group, and one is not to set themselves apart from the main by bragging or by putting someone else down. This level of cohesiveness has both upsides and downsides. It brings a society together through strong shared values, but it can also lead to an enormous amount of peer pressure to accept or reject certain ideas, regardless of how one may feel, and discourages innovation, achievement and thinking outside the box, all of which retard invention and development of new things.

The strict ideal of jantelagen is not something I think I would want to live under – the basic premise reminds me a little too much of the story of Harrison Bergeron, a short story by Kurt Vonnegut. Everyone in the fictional world of the story is equal, as determined by the “Handicapper General” – pretty people wear ugly masks, everyone has the same education and those of higher intelligence are either intentionally handicapped with devices or taken away, and people who are stronger have to wear heavy weights to make them the same as everyone else. This is all strictly controlled by the government, and the penalty for resistance is death.

LJ Idol Season 10, Week 3

LJ Idol Season 10, Week 3 – Brushback Pitch

brush·back - ˈbrəSHˌbak/
NounBaseball, noun: brushback pitch
a pitch aimed close to the body so that the batter must step back to avoid it.

The sole purpose of a brushback pitch is to intimidate, to get the batter to do what the pitcher wants them to do. The phrase began in baseball, but a quick google search reveals its use in several articles about politics and other non-sports related applications. The Urban Dictionary defines it thus - “In baseball terminology, a brushback is a pitch, often used for intimidation purposes, thrown near a batter's head. A pitcher will throw a brushback if he thinks the batter is crowding over the plate, is being a showboat, or for retaliation. Brushbacks can result in warnings, ejections, or even bench-clearing brawls.”

I had no idea what this term meant, as I am not a sports person. But I immediately recognized it from the description. I’ve been subject to it all my life, just didn’t know what to call it. All those times when the mean girl got in your face and tried to intimidate you? Teacher that didn’t like you put their hands on your desk, leaned in like a vulture while they lectured you? Mom when she was ticked off, planting herself right in front of you, up close so you couldn’t ignore her? Oh, yeah, that is familiar.

Sometimes, the lesson you have to learn is when to back off and when to stand your ground.

LJ Idol Season 10, Week 2

LJ Idol Season 10, Week 2 - That One Friend

That one friend. You know the one. The one you bond with, share everything with, who knows all of your secrets. Until one day, you discover that they aren’t secrets anymore. She has betrayed your trust. Then you learn that your friend has been talking about you behind your back for years, and what you hear from her mouth is the total opposite of what she tells others about you. She’s driven away boyfriends, other possible friends you might have made, and you knew nothing. She dictates how you dress, drags you with her to Weight Watchers and the salon, because her friends have to look the part. You trusted her, and it wasn’t until she stabbed you in the back that you discover just how blind you have been. That she was never, ever worthy of all of the trust, love, friendship and loyalty.

So many people who stayed quiet, said nothing and let her emotionally sculpt you – you always had to do what she wanted to do, discuss what interested her, go where she wanted to go, eat what and where she wanted to - so you learned to like what she liked, told yourself that it was your own idea. These same people quietly tell you after the friendship has ended, how glad they are that you have distanced yourself. That they never liked the way she treated you, one even went so far as to call it emotional abuse. One ex-boyfriend admits that she is the reason that you are an ex – he didn’t want to make you choose between your boyfriend and your best friend, who he couldn’t stand and dreaded hanging out with, so he quietly removed himself from your life.

The first time you go shopping, and pick up something you think is cute, and she isn’t behind you tut-tutting “Really?” every time you pick up something she doesn’t approve of, or policing your food choices, or you go to a movie alone, it feels like a part of you is missing, and you are at a loss, as you don’t rely on yourself to make good choices, as she always lets you know that you don’t have good fashion sense, you eat too much junk food, and the last movie she allowed you to pick stunk. Actually having to make that choice is paralyzing. You realize you don’t know yourself nearly as well as you thought you did. You constantly second-guess yourself as to what you really want, need, like/dislike and feel. You look in the mirror and ask “Who is this stranger in the mirror? Why am I wearing that? Do I really like this, or do I only think I do because that friend told me I should?” This awakening is painful. Excruciatingly so.

Breaking up with that friend after fifteen years felt like a divorce. It took me over 5 years to fully become myself again. I discovered a love of the color purple, and realized I HATE to shop for myself in person, and am perfectly happy owning only 3 pair of shoes. I rekindled my love of classical and choral music, went through my Ipod and CD’s and got rid of a bunch of songs that she told me I should like. I can’t stand country music, even though I listened to it all the time with that friend. I love bright colors, simple, classic clothing and could not care less of something is trendy, or supposed to be a kid thing. I am a geek who loves cats, books, Harry Potter, and Disney, and started collecting nerdy stuff again, and pulling out the stuff I had put away. It would take me pages to list all of the things I have discovered about myself. But that is who I became – myself. I have vowed never to allow myself to get into a relationship like that again. I will never again allow someone else to define who I am. I am so much happier having shed THAT FRIEND.

LJ Idol Season 10, Week 1

LJ Idol Season 10, Week 1
"I need the Struggle to Feel Alive"

Getting up every day is a constant battle. I have been caregiving for almost 5 years solid. First my next door neighbor, who was as much of a mother as my own. I looked after her at night to give her daughter a break as she was doing 24/7 care. Then my father was diagnosed with what we thought was stomach cancer, turned out to be non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma where the tumor had formed in his stomach.

Nursed him through chemo, and were just getting to the end of treatment when my mom was rushed to the hospital as she was having trouble breathing. They called us out into the hall. She had blood clots in both lungs which would require a risky treatment. When they went in to do it, they discovered her lungs and abdomen were full of fluid due to ovarian cancer. Treatment, surgery, more treatment, and we were told she was cancer free. Six weeks later, it was back, and my world spiraled quickly into preparations to move her home on hospice with myself as the main caregiver. My world narrowed to the hospital, training how to move her, medicate her, wash her, etc. Eight weeks later, my caregiving and the focus of my life ended abruptly when my mother passed away.

I had to go back to work the next day, as we were getting ready to open a theatre festival of short plays and we couldn’t find anyone to replace me on such short notice. For months, I have worked to keep myself too busy to think. I am scared to let myself take a real break with nothing to do because I am afraid I’ll fall apart.

Eventually I will have to figure out where I go from here. But not yet. I’ll find a struggle I can help someone else out with first. Because that is what life is, struggles of one sort or another. I just can’t face my own struggle of figuring out my own life just yet.

LJ Idol Season 10, Week 0

LJ Idol Season 10, Week 0 Introduction-

Hi there. Glad to meet you. Come on in, grab a seat on the couch and help yourself to a cookie or some snacks.

I’ll start with the basics. I’m Rebecca Ann Galambos. Middle name after my paternal grandmother, first name simply because my mother liked it. My friends call me Becky, although my little brother calls me Minion (family joke). I was born and raised in St. Louis, MO, where I still live. I am one of those increasingly rare creatures that except for going away to college and my semester abroad, I’ve never moved. I still live in the same house that my parents brought me home to. I live with my father and brother, a cat and an ancient Labrador retriever. We lost my mother this past spring after an 18 month fight with Ovarian cancer.

I attended the local public schools, and then followed my mother to her alma mater, William Jewell College, a small liberal arts college in Liberty, MO, where I got almost all the way through the secondary ed program before dropping that portion – I have a BA in History with a minor in theatre. I worked at a dry cleaner as a shirt ironer/counter girl for a few years after graduation, before landing an arts administration job at a small theatre company in town. I’ve worked my way up and am now the Assistant Administrative Director of That Uppity Theatre Company, and will celebrate my 5th anniversary at the company in February.

When I’m not working, I love to create things. I’m a quilter. I cut up perfectly good fabric and sew it back together again. I’m a member of Flower Valley Quilting Guild in Ferguson, MO, and am currently the membership chair. I also love to take photographs, draw, color, and craft. I enjoy baking, playing the Sims, and am a voracious reader(I am, after all, a Ravenclaw!), especially of mysteries. I love chocolate, hate black licorice, and have yet to meet a cat I didn’t want to cuddle. My favorite color is purple, but I like any of the bright, clear colors like you’d see in a rainbow – no dusty rose, florals or pastels for me! I collect Snoopy stuff and Disney stuff, especially from Beauty and the Beast.

My favorite holiday is Christmas, and I’m known as a gift giver. I usually start in January making and searching out the perfect gifts. I have three trees in addition to the family tree. They used to be Disney, Snoopy and Snowflakes, but I added those onto the family tree and started a Harry Potter themed tree!

I am a constant work in progress. That is especially true this year, now that my mom is gone, as I have come into the role of the woman of the house. I’m working on speaking my mind (finally) without being overbearing. I have a habit drilled into me from childhood, to give in, stay quiet and not say what I think to get along, and am fighting hard to break it. I’m opinionated, but do my best to back up my opinions with facts at the ready. I am generally easygoing and extremely loyal, and put up with a lot of crap I shouldn’t - but if you mistreat someone else, especially someone vulnerable, watch out! I’m extremely creative, but have a dozen started projects for each finished one. That’s next year’s goal, to either finish or find homes for things with people who will finish them!
Thanks for popping by! I can’t wait to hear all about you, too.

LJ Idol Season 10

I have decided to jump in and join LJ Idol for the first time for season 10!I have had several friends that have participated and always enjoyed reading their stuff. So we'll see how this goes!


Quilt Retreat & Stuff

Quilt retreat was weekend before last. I really needed the weekend away. I didn't get as much sewing done as I wanted as I made myself take it easy and take naps. I've been so busy looking after Mom in the evenings I haven't had a chance to unpack yet, let alone work on anything since then. Mom's started chemo - six rounds of 3 treatments each. She's not keeping anything down at all, I'm thinking that they may put her back in the hospital for some IV nutrition.

Last year, anthraxia gently reminded me that I needed to sew for myself occasionally. I started a quilt for myself at last year's retreat, and there it sat (in my defense, I only finished one quilt last year). So this year, that is what I took. I got most of the blocks finished before retreat, and finished the last 1/4 of the blocks and put rows together. I took it to Scrap Club on Saturday and got the rows all together. I have one block to fix and a row of border to add, and then I can trim it up, correct seam mistakes, etc. Going to save a bit to send it to be longarm quilted. So I'll start my project for myself for this year.

These were taken Saturday at Scrap Club by Teajuana Mahone.

Quilting Goals


1) Amelia’s baby quilt - top finished, needs quilting and binding - priority 2016
2) Tim’s Quilt - top in progress - work on
3) Ruben’s Quilt - TIP - on hold until we hear from him
4) Geun’s Quilt - ready to quilt, has backing, needs sandwich, quilt, bind - FINISHED, shown 2014 FVQG Show
5) Pink/Purple baby Quilts(2x) - blocks in progress - ON HOLD, the mom dumped me out of her life
6) My I spy Quilt - about 1/3 pieced - DONE and on MY BED!!!! - shown 2015 FVQG Show
7) Jamie's Quilt - top done, needs quilt by check - Priotity 2016
8) Prayer Quilt Celeste- blocks in progress -4 going now, number 1 goes to longarmer tomorrow
9) Mom’s Quilt - top in progress - priority medium
10) Sarah’s Quilt - blocks in progress
11) Taryn’s Quilt - materials purchased and kitted - finish and get to LAQ!
12) Prayer Quilt (Jim ) -is ready to quilt
13) Christy's Quilt - top in progress - med priority
14) Baby Quilt - blocks in progress - Amanda's, shower in April - PRIORITY
15) The Super Secret Quilt of Awesomeness - on hold
16) Purple/Pink Star Quilt - blocks in progress - on hold
17) Timmy's Train Quilt
18) Dad's fish quilt - top done, needs borders and longarm
19) ana - lucky start
20) My lucky star - retreat, top in progress
21) margarets - wheelchair bento box -top in progress
22) Joan
23) bryan noah's ark
24) malia
25) Paula
26) vanessa
27) celtic solstics

Quilting Goals

So, ofenjen has challenged herself the past few years to finish her UFO's. I have not had the time or energy to work on things and that has resulted in a large pile of UFO's (unfinished fabric objects, for the non quilters reading) So, I am going to work and see how many of these I can knock off or at least make significant progress on this year.


1) Amelia’s baby quilt - top finished, needs quilting and binding
2) Tim’s Quilt - top in progress
3) Ruben’s Quilt - TIP
4) Geun’s Quilt - ready to quilt, has backing, needs sandwich, quilt, bind
5) Pink/Purple baby Quilts(2x) - blocks in progress
6) My I spy Quilt - about 1/3 pieced
7) Jamie's Quilt - top done, needs quilt by check
8) Prayer Quilt- blocks in progress
9) Mom’s Quilt - top in progress
10) Sarah’s Quilt - blocks in progress
11) Taryn’s Quilt - materials purchased and kitted
12) Prayer Quilt- - blocks done, needs piecing, borders, sandwich, quilt bind
13) Christy's Quilt - top in progress
14) Baby Quilt - blocks in progress
15) The Super Secret Quilt of Awesomeness
16) Purple/Pink Star Quilt - blocks in progress
17) Timmy's Train Quilt

Reinventing Myself for a Happier Me - 2015

Goals for 2015 –
1. Finish things I have started and try not to start anything new or make commitments until the list is pared down! Quilts, Books, etc.

2. Work on getting healthy. Have a Physical, start exercising, etc.

3. Spend a minimum of ½ hr a day on self-care and take at least one full afternoon a week for myself.

4. Do my devotional every day! (this does not count as self-care time)

5. Start planning, sewing, etc for Christmas in January and putting stuff away!

6. Do more to keep my mind sharp with things other than work – learn one new thing a day.

7. Be mindful of what I put into my brain, visually and aurally.

8. Be mindful of my surroundings - that means keep things tidy, put things away, and don't let things get to be in a bad state to overwhelm me.

9. If I don't need it, give it to someone who will use it, recycle it, etc.

10. Remember I am not superwoman!

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