Geography

We decided to book a trip for the winter. I asked the kids where they wanted to go. One of my suggestions was Barcelona and the other was Greece. One son said Greece and the other really wanted Barcelona. As he has never mentioned Barcelona, I wondered why he was so adamant about going. When the rest of us voted for Greece, he said, “But I’m tired of Europe. I’d like to see South America.”
Um, Barcelona is in Spain. Spain is in Europe.
“Oh, I thought you meant Brazil. Never mind. Greece then.”

Two things about this:
1. Oh, is a trip to Greece boring to you? Visiting one of the cradles of civilization, eating good food, getting to see sunshine in the middle of winter (remember we live in Sweden) not good enough for you?
2. Wait…. why Brazil?

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Italy observations

As we rode through yet another small Italian town, my oldest son asked, “How come all of these towns have groups of old men just sitting around together all day? What are they doing?”

“What do you think they’re doing?”

“Probably complaining about the modern world.”

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How to defeat your kids on YouTube

The kids and I have been having a contest on for who can create the most watched video on YouTube. I need to crush them with my amazing video that I spent a whole 10 minutes making, so why not give it a view? It’s so very informative!

Correspondence with my son

Otherwise entitled “My son does not appreciate my humor.”

My oldest son has been away at summer camp this week. We will be picking him up today so I sent him this:

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He now requests that I wait in the car.

 

 

I need some air, take out an organ

Always take a shower in the morning! You never know what the day will bring.

Example, a lazy day last week turned into an overnight stay at the hospital and one son without an appendix!

I have to say that everything went smoothly and everyone was very nice. My only complaint was that there was hardly any air-conditioning! I think they possibly have a very weak system running, but it’s awful. They put a small desk fan in my son’s room, which helped a lot.

The only cold room I experienced was the operating room. I was allowed to go in until they put my son under. I almost wanted to grab a scalpel, cut myself and yell, “I have to stay here!” just to get some air conditioning.

At the same time, my son had a friend traveling in the U.S. with major appendix problems who ended up in an American hospital. I was impressed that my son’s room actually had a t.v. (I’ve never had that experience yet in a Swedish hospital room) and that we had 6, yes 6 channels! His friend in America not only had a t.v. (and air conditioning, I assume), but also a Nintendo Wii, a therapy dog and a visit from the Boston Red Sox.

But when you consider how much that American hospital stay is going to cost compared to the Swedish hospital stay, I’d still rather be here. Guess what our total bill was?

0

There’s never any cost at all for anyone under 18 in Sweden. Not having to worry about getting sick or being able to afford long hospital stays is totally worth not having a Nintendo Wii in your room. My son may not agree, but when he complains, I just shove some ice cream in his mouth.

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It’s Peanut Butter Jelly Time!

I planned to bring both of my sons to the beach yesterday. I packed two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, because they’re cheap to make and I already had everything. Plus, they like them, which always helps.

Just before leaving, my oldest son got an invitation to go somewhere else, so my youngest invited a friend to join us instead. “No problem,” I said. “I’ve already got two towels, two sandwiches and two water bottles.”
And then on the way there, it occurred to me… most Swedish children have never had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
I have this same problem with two other standard American kids’ foods. The first is macaroni and cheese. I can’t think of a kid in America who doesn’t love macaroni and cheese, but guess what? Swedish kids seem to hate it! I have no idea why, other than it’s unfamiliar. Or maybe their environmental, super-healthy senses can tell on some level that a typical box is probably full of chemicals and additives. Still though, it’s pasta and it’s cheese. What’s not to like?
The other problem we often have is frosting on birthday cake. Again, these Swedish kids who aren’t exposed to grotesque amounts of sugar just don’t seem to enjoy it. We have to have whipped cream or fruit to get them to eat it.
So you can see my concern that the peanut butter and jelly sandwich might be rejected by my son’s Swedish friend. That would mean I would actually have to stop and pay for another meal, which I was really trying to avoid.
Luckily, I remembered one of the most annoying songs ever that every kid seems to love, no matter what country they’re from. PEANUT BUTTER JELLY TIME!
If you’re unfamiliar with the lyrics, here are a few sections of the song. Please remember it is meant to be shouted over the music, and not sung:
It’s peanut butter jelly time!
Peanut butter jelly time!
Peanut butter jelly time!
….
Peanut butter jelly! Peanut butter jelly!
Peanut butter jelly! Peanut butter jelly!
Do the peanut butter jelly, peanut butter jelly
Peanut butter jelly with a baseball bat
Do the peanut butter jelly, peanut butter jelly
Peanut butter jelly with a baseball bat
Now, I may not have had a baseball bat, but the song did the trick. The sandwich was accepted and eaten by the friend. Money saved! Though I did have to pay in another way by having that horrible song stuck in my head all day.
pbj

Please refrain from discussing my underwear

Strangers are generally much more talkative in the U.S. than in Sweden. At times it can be nice to chat with someone. I might learn something new or come away with a funny story. At other times strangers’ interactions with me can become a little too intrusive.

For example, I was in Texas buying underwear. The salesperson said, “Have you tried this underwear before?”
“Um, no.”
“I have. It’s great. You should go change your underwear to this now.”
How do you respond to a statement like that? Also, maybe I’m already wearing some amazing underwear. Telling me to change my underwear is implying something is wrong with the current pair I’m wearing. One can’t just assume one pair of underwear is superior to any others.
Or should I ask what makes this underwear so great? Does it play music when I walk? Does it always keep a cool temperature of 19c?
I didn’t take the salesperson’s advice that day, but I do have to admit, the underwear I bought did turn out to be pretty great.

Sweden – your new beach destination!

It’s HOT! Really hot! And you know it must be bad coming from someone who grew up in Texas and just got back from a vacation there.

We’ve had a bit of a heatwave here in Sweden over the past 2 weeks. Of course, I’m all for it so I can wear my sandals and jump in the lakes, but when you don’t have any air conditioning, it does become a bit of a problem.

All windows and doors are open, all of our 3 floor fans are on, (in fact I carry one with me wherever I go) but it’s still really unbearable indoors. But I know better than to complain. For 5 months out of the year I’m dressed in 3 layers and still freezing.

So I gladly welcome this new global warming, summer weather. Now if someone could make me a piña colada, I’ll be good to go the rest of the day.

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Apple pie burger

We were told to visit a popular burger place in East Texas that serves an Apple Pie Burger. I pictured a burger with an actual apple pie between the buns (honestly, it’s not that much of a stretch with some of the other crazy foods around there), but it was a burger with apple pie ingredients added – apple pieces, brown sugar and maple syrup bacon. It actually wasn’t that bad, though I prefer a regular burger.

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Pickle juice craze

I’m back from 3 weeks in the states with a confused stomach and many new food observations. Today is all about pickles.

So pickle juice flavor is a thing in the U.S. now. Or at least in the south. I am a huge fan of pickles, but that’s as far as it goes. I have no interest in anything flavored with pickle juice and I honestly can’t imagine who would.

When I was young, my aunt knew that I liked pickles, so one day she made pickle jello for me. It was one of the worst things I’ve ever tasted.

Now the U.S. is selling cans of Pringles chips in pickle flavor, and even worse, the restaurant Sonic is selling pickle slushies. WHY?!

Gee, it’s 100F outside here in Texas. You know what I’d like? A big cup of salty pickle juice!

I also happened upon pickle soda in one store. That’s just wrong.

Happy Father’s day!

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Happy Swedish mother’s day

Today is Swedish mother’s day and I got one present from my youngest son a day early when I picked him up yesterday afternoon.

Mamma, I got you a present.

(digs in pocket)

Here! It’s mascara! I found it just sitting on a wall by the street. It’s still got some in it! I thought you could use it to color in your eyebrows! You’d look cool with black eyebrows!

Thanks, son.

 

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Coca-Cola Revives and Sustains

I’m spending my morning looking for a list of Coke slogans on Wikipedia. No reason really, other than I got an old ad stuck in my head and started wondering if there could be any worse slogans. No big surprise. There are!

Let me share a few:

  • 1906 – The great national temperance beverage.
    I don’t know. It doesn’t really flow. Maybe if they sang it?

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  • 1910 – Whenever you see an Arrow, think of Coca-Cola.
    Um… ok… I will

    ARROWc

  • 1927 – Pure as Sunlight
    It’s not though.

    sunlight

  • 1941 – Coca-Cola is Coke.
    Pure genius. Must have taken a lot of time to come up with.


 

We’ve got to grow it on her brow

My son, who has his bedroom adjacent to the kitchen where the radio plays, stomped out of his room very confused this morning.

“What kind of song is this? Why do they keep singing ‘we’ve got to grow it on her brow?’ I don’t get it! Grow what?!”

“Um, the lyrics are actually ‘we’ve got a groovy kind of love’ but I think I like your version better.”

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Fake freckles

My kid does this once a month to his face and all he needs is an old Sharpie marker. I’m not paying for a special “freckle marker.” This is going too far.

 

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Old tech, so complicated

We had a bunch of 10 and 11-year olds over for a birthday party last weekend. My husband collects old game systems, so we hooked up the original NES (Nintendo Entertainment System).

Unfortunately, with today’s modern televisions, the Duck Hunt gun no longer works accurately. The rest of the games could be played with no problem, but most kids could not understand how to start the games once the cartridge was in and the system on.

The kids would press A and then B on the controller, saying, “I don’t know how to start. How do you start?”

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(Reading and critical thinking – not a specialty of 10-year olds).

 

Are job ads getting dumber?

Am I too cynical or is it just impossible to take certain companies seriously when going through job application ads?

Today’s example:

We’re on a mission to take over the world, and we believe that the only way to succeed with that is by having the Hungriest Digital Tigers and Toughest Tech Lions available.

(Well, I’m a Cantakerous Copywriting Camel, so I guess I’m out.)

What Google created in 10 years, we will be creating in 6 months.

(I’d put my money on this company being bankrupt in 6 months.)

Just send your email to our Chief People Officer…

(Is this an actual job title? Is anyone questioning how ridiculous this sounds? ” Hello, Chief People Officer, I am the Overlord Writing Governor.”)

Just out of curiosity, I thought I would apply because:

  1. Aside from the lion and tiger thing, I had all the qualifications
  2. If this is their ad, what kind of stories will I come away with after an interview?”

So I went to their page and it turns out, applicants are required to apply word by word as the questions show up. Starting with:

We are looking for a Digital Copywriter. Press YES

(Ok, that answer doesn’t match the question, unless I’m agreeing that YES, you ARE looking for a digital copywriter.)

Then I get to read the ad again and am instructed to press CONTINUE

Then…

What is your first name? _________ PRESS OK.

Now, I can probably guess the next question, but I went ahead and exited the site instead.

 

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Modern nosy neighbors

It seems like Facebook neighborhood groups are just the modern form of the gossipy people who sit at home all day watching the street with nothing to do.

Typical posts for our neighborhood are:

“Does anybody know who cut down that tree?”

“I saw a gray cat by the grocery store. Did someone lose a cat?”

“There was a suspicious looking guy by the laundry room this morning. He didn’t do or say anything, but everyone should watch out!”

Did you think it was spring? SUCKERS!

Spent a lovely day on Sunday, here in Stockholm, taking a walk, going to a park and even petting farm animals. Spring was in the air. I even stopped at the flower display at the grocery store and considered buying something for the balcony.

Luckily, I’ve lived here long enough not to fall for it.

Sure enough, we woke up Monday morning to -2c and snow.

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Boring Sunday + 3D Printer =

My husband was so preoccupied with whether he could, he didn’t stop to think if he should.

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