Tomte Trouble

Today’s post comes from Renee in North Dakota.

I have always liked Scandinavian design in textiles and folk art, and I often shop at The Stabo, a Scandinavian store in Bismarck and Fargo. My daughter finds this embarrassing. “Mom, you aren’t Norwegian. You’re Dutch and German! Why do you shop there? Why do you like that stuff” I tell her that my ancestors are the people of Beowulf, and that something in the designs speaks to deep yearnings that must come from beyond the mists of the long distant past (well, not really, but if she wants to think I’m weird, I’ll play along).

My daughter takes particular exception to the tomte I have purchased-figures in different shapes made out of wool with luxurious beards and red hats. These are made from the wool of sheep raised on the Swedish island of Gotland. I keep them, along with a couple of Yule goats and straw girl, on top of our media cabinet in the living room all year long. Daughter warns me that I am to stow the tomte and goats in a closet the first time she ever brings a beau home to meet the family. I ask “What if he is Norwegian or Swedish?” She says it doesn’t matter, and the weirdness must be hid in favor of good first impressions.


Imagine my surprise this Christmas when I received this hefty fellow from my daughter. Now, I like tomte, but this guy is almost too much, even for me. Unlike the others, he has hands and thumbs, and I blame him for the dishwasher breaking down after Christmas. I didn’t put out the rice pudding, you see, so I suppose he let me know his disappointment by preventing the water from draining out. I mentioned this to daughter and she said “Good. Serves you right”.

I don’t think I need any more tomte after this. I have no more room, in any case. I am touched that daughter purchased something for me that I like but that she professes to loathe. Maybe something in the design speaks to a deep yearning in her. If so, the weirdness may continue long after I am dead and gone.

What do you love that others can’t abide?

77 thoughts on “Tomte Trouble”

  1. Rap. I used to hate it myself but now that I’ve experienced urban life, I have gained some eelimited understanding of the stories being told. I no longer direct people to “turn that blankety blank off”

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I like creepy, crawly, creatures that most people don’t like. Our basement in Clark’s Grove was infested with basement spiders which fascinated me with the way they vibrated in their webs when they were disturbed. My wife didn’t mind having those spiders in the cellar.. She wasn’t very happy about the house millipedes that also lived with us in Clarks Grove. As far as I’m concerned, house millipede are welcomed guests. Many people don’t like insects. Those people are not impressed when I tell them that insects are our friends.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. when my kids were littel the kids would freak for minute at the boxelder bugs and such in the house. i would tell them the names of the bugs and ease the discomfort. how can you get upet at mort or nellie sitting here on the wall? they bought it and asked me ow i knew the names of the bugs i told them the bugs told me. simple enough… they bought it.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I don’t profess love, but fascination for an orb weaver spider that created a gorgeous web in front of my kitchen sink window. I have watched her weave her gorgeous webs since sometime this fall. She seems to have caught a few of those Japanese lady bugs, but hunting must have been a bit grim. Sometime in the past weeks she has built a “cocoon” for her eggs (I presume). Today I don’t see her, so…is she hiding, moved on or did she die?
      I have resisted naming her Charlotte, but was likely inspired by E B White’s beloved story to let her live and have conversations with her while doing the dishes..
      I don’t tell many people about this fascination…in fact maybe only one or two people know about her. And their reaction was as to be expected, except for a friend with a zoology PhD who told me to “block off the window and burn the house down.” (He raises tarantulas for pets — speaking of loving something others can’t abide), so I know he was just teasing.)

      Image courtesy of Bing:

      Liked by 2 people

    3. I have a bee puppet in my play therapy room, and the children are confused when they put it on their hand and find that while they have five fingers, the puppet has six legs and they can’t figure out what to do with the extra space.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Black licorice. I seem to like strong flavors in general: blackstrap molasses, smoked tea, and in my meat-eating days, liver and authentic wild game.
    Used to be that since most people don’t like these things it meant More For Me, and sometimes bargain prices, but merchandizing has caught up and now I find I have to really search for such things. Or buy a bag of nothing but black jelly beans, but that is not the same thing.

    What was your daughter thinking? A tomte with hands is asking for trouble.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I love black licorice, too…and even the Scandinavian salty licorice fish. (Available from Amazon, would you believe?) and the Finnish black licorice Panda. I like ouzo, too.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. my confusion as a child about why others didnt like the things i did led ton understanding of how the world works that has accompanied me throughout life. my stuff is my stuff. it helps me understand all the stupid stuff you care about. what is the matter with you anyway

    my wife has put her foot down. no new stuff is allowed. old stuff should be stashed. i have a problem i admit it but im not throwing out my collection of hero clix or pokeman cards just because my son doesnt play with them anymore. they might come back into fashion. and i kinda like them

    Liked by 1 person

  5. OT-17 years ago at exactly this moment I was becoming a mother the hard way, under the knife, in a big hurry, with a nasty cold.

    Today my strong healthy boy may be hoofing to Highland Park with his girlfriend to see Star Wars.

    New to us car is at the garage getting a new, extremely expensive battery that took forever to be delivered and now requires that the car be “reprogrammed”. I begin to understand I was not meant to own a car.

    Counting my blessings, my boy can easily run to Highland Park and isn’t confined to a plastic box. Life is good, really.

    Liked by 6 people

  6. Winter in MInnesota. Most everybody I know is already whining, even though from my perspective winter just got started last week!

    I chose MInnesota for the winter – love the crispness, the snow. I will admit that I’m not sure I would love winter 365 days a year (I do love the changing of the seasons) but it is my favorite season!

    Liked by 6 people

    1. If you didn’t love the change of seasons, you might have ended up working and living in the Antarctic? I do love winter as well, but love fall better.


    2. i saw the plane crash in anchorage on the news and realized in the dark of the streets where the cameras could be shooting at any time form 2 pm to 10 am. the longest dark days of the year. come out of the bar at noon to cheer yourself up is the main social activity up there according to my alaska buddies. cold and crisp is good dark is appropriate but alsaka would kill me i countnt help thinking in july as much as i enjoy lots of sunshine im not sure i could handle lots of dark


  7. Husband won’t arrive home from the reservation until early afternoon tomorrow, and that means i can listen to New Year’s Day from Vienna. Husband hates Strauss waltzes, and has fits if I play them when he is in ear shot..

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I have a thing for a novel that I know is basically unreadable for anyone with taste, but I read it once a year. I love some recordings by Laurie Anderson. My daughter, who basically shares most of my taste in music, calls Laurie “that weird woman.” I really like a breakfast meal that I’d never eat if there was someone around to witness me doing it. The upside of living alone is that there is nobody around to freak out at some of my choices.

    Liked by 2 people

        1. tomatoe onion and mayo is my style on the fried egg. peanut butter mayo and peanut butter pickle is good too
          i miss the damn bread.
          im bringing in the new year with cheese fondue and gluten free is cramping my style
          im getting better at my creatiions. i am up to a 4 now cramping my style


    1. You are both right.
      Laurie Anderson IS a weird woman but fabulously so.

      Mr. Sharky? He’s not at his desk right now, bit if you want to leave a message, just. start. talking.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I have a fondness for some weedy plants that other people dislike. I love velvetleaf for its soft velvety leaves. Jewelweed is a lovely color when it first comes up in the spring. Nightshade is such a pretty vine, I am thinking I should try growing it in a pot on the porch instead of sweet potato vine. Japanese knotweed, Asian dayflower, tansy, violets, wild asters…

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Soup for breakfast (Steve reminded me). Squirrels. An oddly shaped tree that’s lost most of lts limbs. I know there are more…

    Fun post, Renee – my dad had a small collection of Norwegian trolls, some of them carved, all of them humorous. I have two of them… like this:


    1. LOVE Gordon Bok (+Muir & Trickett)! I don’t understand their hatred either. Right now I’m listening to Norwegian folk music from NRK…lots of Hardanger fiddle which they probably would hate as well. Sometimes it is a little too much for me, too. But never too much (or enough) Bok.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Being Norwegian by descent, I grew up with nisser, the westerly equivalent to tomten (though I also grew up with The Tomten book by Astrid Lindgren – which I love). Our nisser have been mostly good this winter. I think they may like the extra timothy hay that the guinea pigs scatter outside of the cage for them. Renee, if your daughter doesn’t want your tomten, she can ship them to me when they need a new home – even the one with thumbs. 🙂

    Odd things that I like that others may not…time was I could say Dr. Who, but now that’s cool – like bow ties are cool. So what next? Opera – which mostly is odd because at my tender age of 40-something, I am definitely part of the younger crowd still when I go. Sad really – it’s lovely music. I sometimes wish MN Opera wasn’t so stuck on bel canto…I’d love to have a bit of Wagner in the mix or something other than Puccini once a year whether I need it or not (best friend who goes with me to the opera loves Puccini, so I can’t say this too loudly when she is around). Cold crisp winter days when I can look outside and the brilliant colors through my picture window (and slightly warmer days when I can go out and skate or play in the snow). And peanut butter on my pancakes.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thing is, Wagner is very much it’s own thing.

      People who sing it and direct it are sort of specialists AND it can be hard to sell, which these days is a top consideration.

      So many opera companies that provided full-time work are now completely gone, and the artisans who made the magic are fast disappearing.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. lets do an opera field trip to the movie theaters and see it in super sound.
        but i am not a wagner fan. i dont hate him i just dont like him
        kind of like bob seeger. if i never heard him again id be fine


  12. Daughter asked why we didn’t celebrate Christmas with traditions from her father’s gentic background-his ancestors supposedly hail from Belarussians and Slovak gypsies. She was dismayed to find that Slovak Gypsies practice widespread forgiveness at Christmas, meaning she would have to forgive me for being weird.

    Liked by 4 people

  13. Renee, I don’t have any tomten, but I do love the straw Julebukker and have several sizes that linger about all year. Then there is the live Trickster Trouble Goat out in the barn….

    Liked by 7 people

  14. O/T – I apologize for inserting a New Year’s Eve saga, but this has always been a tough night for me. I just sent this to a very close friend.

    “I have a funny story for you about the one NY’s Eve in the last 11 that I shared with someone, my best friend,Greg. Knowing how I felt about the eve, he gallantly offered to come to the cottage with “a special dinner”. He came in the door with a box. He’d paid a fortune for two live lobsters. When he opened the box, I saw these four little eyes looking at me as though they were saying, “What am I doing in this box?” I began to cry thinking of the inhumane and painful torture they were soon to endure and how I’d feel dying slowly in boiling water. Poor Greg! His thoughtful gift, rather than thrill me, immediately turned into a trauma for his best friend. I ran from the kitchen and covered my ears because I’d heard that lobsters making a screaming noise as they are boiling to death.

    It also occurred to me that if I were to witness how any warm-blooded creature is killed -worse in my very own kitchen – I’d never eat meat again. It was even difficult to watch my father whack his fish to death when I was young.

    Just another day before another day is my mantra until past midnight.”

    Liked by 1 person

        1. i have though about strting a stone crab farm. the idea of harvesting claws feels to melike cuting fingernails. you never lkill the crab you simply harvest and allow the regrowth for another dharvest andother day. it is the only meat i eat because you dont kill the animal.
          i love stoen crab but thats not fitting for the topic tody because so does everyone else.
          we used to go on a uyearly cruise and one dya at sea they had a buffer with all the stone crab you could eat. i would be the dfirst in line and simply eat until it was over. . a bottle of white wine and 50 or 60 stone crab claws is pretty close to my idea of heaven. stone crab kind of giggle when you take of that big heavy clumbsy claw. without it they can scoot twice as fast until it grows back .

          Liked by 1 person

        1. a coy is the fish that live int he fish ponds and japanese gardens. they are amazing and are one of thefew fish that can live in water from freezing to boiling (so long as it doesnt hit either) the butterfly coy is simply a breed of coy, known for its beauty and how the fins appear when the swimming motion occurs. i liked it because it stops growing at about 12 inches where other coy get to be the size of a lower leg and dont work well in a fish tank.
          it lived in my garage for 10 years and had a challange living wth other fish in the house in the new enviorment. i lawys felt sorry for him alone in the garage tank but he was always happy. i bring him in to the real world of heat and light and other fish to share life with and hes dead in a month. there is a lesson in there somewhere


        1. my daughter and son got me an open box lenovo and she does gobs of research and proclamedit better than anything costing up to twice the price . i am elated.


  15. my likes for old tv and movies makes no friends around my house but it is one of the things my wife and i have in common. when we were dating i told her i loved its a wonderful life and harvey and to kill a mockingbird and old marlene dietrich, claudette colbert katherine hepburn audry hepburn oson wells clark gable jimmy stewart jimmy cagney humphry bogart marilyn monroe and all the divas plus andy griffith, leave it to beaver, dick van dyke get smart twilight zone (marathon on this weekend is my new years activity) miricle on 34th street white christmas holiday inn fred and ginger gene kelly and anyone american in paris… . frank sinatra mel torme george shearing george gershwin elmer bernstein and lenny bernstine rogers and hammerstine and rogers and hart, the days and nights of molly dodd 70s woddy allen any george carlin bill cosby was a favorite but never will be again steven wright, james taylor bob dylan buffalo springfield lennon and mccartney the everyly borthers the righteous brothers miles davis count basie duke ellington robert johnson jimi hendrix joni mitchell franz kline willen dekonning hans hoffman jackson pollack cezanne monet manet rembrandt goya singer seargent francis bacon picasso miro klee giacometti henry moore modigliani ansel adams georgia okeefe calder satie alfred hitchcock john ford john wayne ee cummmings kurt vonnegut bill shakespeare mark twain jon hassler where do you stop. the standard joke aorund out house is when i say something is the best in the world because i believe that movie and that song and that actor and that writer and that painter and that personality are the best of all time. and he next guy i mentio and the one after that too. i am easy. i used to believe that if you missed it it would never come again and while i wish i could do everything everytime i now realize the next greatest moment is just around the corner. it happens every day. the next superstar is here he just needs some roles. tom hanks is fantastic, meryl streep is a gem now my favorite blog is easy but finding time to read writ and respond and create are the things i do for me. a true selfish pleasure. thanks baboons for making the list of my favorite things thanks dale for hosting it.
    see ya next year

    Liked by 2 people

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