Decorate your balcony… by moving somewhere else

I’m looking up ideas to decorate our balcony for the summer. I came across this list of beautiful balconies. I like the balcony pictured here, but I have a feeling there’s just something about it that’s lacking in my own balcony.  Oh yes, I think I’ve got it now…. this balcony looks over the Italian coast and my balcony looks over another apartment building with a fat man who never wears a shirt. Might be hard to acheive the same look.

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Always be prepared

Sometimes I think I might have a touch of obsessive compulsive disorder, but then I remind myself that there’s nothing wrong with me except the fact that I keep certain commercials in my head. Let me explain:

There was a commercial running for a while here in Sweden for a coffee company reminding everyone that you should always have coffee on hand because you never know when someone might be dropping by. Example:

So now every time we’re out of hand soap, or there’s some food in the sink, or some crumbs left on the coffee table, all I can think of is, “What if the King stops by to visit?” “What if my favorite band happens to be staying in my apartment building and comes in to use the bathroom?” And then I have to make sure everything is clean.  (Having coffee is actually never a problem in any Swedish home. EVERYONE has coffee always. It’s the law.)

So it’s not my fault I’ve become obsessive about cleaning. It’s T.V.

 

 

Advancement of our civilization

Sometimes I think about the hard-working farmers hundreds of years ago, constantly working the land to feed the family and earn enough money to survive. I think about people working all day, sweating in mills or factories to make a decent wage. I think about explorers, facing harsh conditions, hunting for food and making discoveries to further our civilization.

And then I fast-forward to today and realize that there’s a Finnish guy on YouTube making money by posting videos smashing various objects with a hydraulic press. And he has over 1.7 million followers.

 

Nice try, local doctor’s office

I had to look up my doctor’s name to get a prescription filled yesterday so I went to my local clinic’s webpage to find a list of doctors. I got a hilarious surprise when I discovered that the webpage had been recently updated.

Anytime I have to go to this place it’s crawling with infected zombie patients and irritated doctors who seem like they would enjoy their job a lot better if it weren’t for all the sick people.

Let’s take the opening photo on the website. I’m guessing this is a picture of the waiting room.

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First of all, this is NOT the waiting room at our local clinic. How do I know this? Because the waiting room at our clinic has NO WINDOWS!

Also, who are these bright, healthy-looking women? And one of them is smiling! This is not anywhere near the type of people I see when I go to the waiting room. They look more like this:

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And then when I click on the page describing doctors, I’m met with this, which I assume is a stock photo as I don’t remember ever seeing any of these (happy?) faces around our clinic:

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Who are these fresh-faced, energetic, clean-cut doctors? They certainly aren’t the people who work at our clinic. They look more like this:

 

But thanks anyway, local clinic website, for giving me a laugh this morning. Maybe next time I’m feeling sick, I’ll just look at these ridiculous photos instead of submitting myself to the depressing, infection-filled cesspool of irritated doctors down at the clinic. Half the time, it might even be more effective.

 

Watch out!

Is it just me, or is the grammar wrong in this headline? I’m reading this as “this lady is set to die Friday.” Hope she’s watching out for herself.

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School lunch

My son recently got back from a school trip to Tallinn, Estonia where his class visited another school. A nice parent took pictures (because in 4 days my son only took one), and he included a photo of the school cafeteria lunch.

When I saw it, I said, “Wow! That’s like a real lunch with real food on real plates!”

My husband thought I was a weirdo for saying that. He said, “They didn’t serve you on plates at your school?”

I said, “No, it was always rectangle plastic trays and usually rectangle food.”

Estonia, I am impressed!

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Rules of Swedish advertising 

Here in Sweden, advertising rules are fairly strict. No advertising to children. No cigarette or alcoholic beverage ads on tv. And no false claims, such as “Dr.Pepper is the best drink in the world!” They also took L’Oreal to court for claiming one of their products removed wrinkles, since that’s not actually possible. 

I realize this is strict, but other things are more open than you would think. However, some people tend the stretch the definition of false advertising and I can only imagine how many complaints the agency maintaining these rules receives.

One such complaint was in the opinion section of the local “Metro” paper on Friday. A woman complained that a milk company had violated false advertising laws in their tv commercial because the woman in the commercial walks around a farm with the cows and says, “These are my co-workers.”

The complainer then went on to state that in no way could those cows be employees because they don’t get vacation time, pay or holidays off. Therefore the commercial should be removed from the air. 

I don’t think there are any plans for that but her letter certainly made my day. 

Employee benefits for cows!


(Pictured above, Anna with her co-worker Clementine. )

Adventures in public transportation

Otherwise known as “Yesterday: A true story”

Scene 1

Woman runs for bus. Bus drives off as she reaches stop.

Scene 2

After catching later bus, Woman arrives to pick up son at school, but school is dark. Sign on door says school closed early. Woman trudges to separate building where they store leftover kids of forgetful parents.

Scene 3

Woman and kid wait at bus stop in light rain. Five minutes pass.

Lady in yellow vest: Are you waiting for the bus?

Woman: Yes

Lady in yellow vest: It doesn’t go from here this week. You’ll have to walk to the next stop.

Scene 4

Wet and tired woman and kid walk 10 minutes to next bus stop to find group of 50 people waiting for bus.

Woman sighs.

Scene 5

Woman and kid fight their way off packed bus to discover driver stopped 200 meters from station. In the rain.

Scene 6 – Next day

Woman sits at bus stop for 15 minutes. When bus pulls up, woman realizes she has been waiting at the stop that goes the opposite direction. Crosses street to wait 10 minutes more for correct bus.

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Easter spider rabbit

My 10-yr old wishes you all a happy Easter from the Easter spider rabbit.

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Waiting room fail

In the waiting room at the doctor’s office today, there was a display of old medical instruments to look at while waiting. I don’t think that’s the best decorative idea. 

Hulk’s pants

Dinner time is an important meal for the whole family to spend together. We talk, learn about each other’s day, and discuss important topics of concern to us all.

The other day, that topic was the Incredible Hulk’s pants and superhero clothes in general.

So when Bruce Banner changes into the Incredible Hulk, all his clothes shred off except for his pants. Stan Lee and Marvel have tried to explain this as a special fiber that allows the pants to stretch, but our family has other questions:

  • Why do the pants tear at the ankles but not the upper thighs?
  • Why doesn’t the butt seam break apart like it does on normal people’s pants when they wear out?
  • How many pairs of these pants does he own and how much do they cost, because obviously he has to replace them every time he changes back?

This also leads to questions about another superhero:

  • Superman wears his costume under his clothes. Where’s the cape tucked in?
  • Superman removes his suit (usually in a phone booth) to expose his supersuit and fly off. What happens to his discarded business suit? People steal that right? What would you do if you found a nice suit crumpled up in a phone booth? How many suits does he have? A reporter doesn’t make that much money.

That’s as far as we got because then we were done eating dinner, but I feel this topic could easily be explored further.

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It’s not spring yet

I saw a headline today that said:

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But not one of those signs was the overweight old man who lives across the way who constantly smokes on his balcony without a shirt on once the weather gets warm. Much like the groundhog, the man has not appeared, and therefore I say it is not yet spring.

 

Album art

My husband made a special frame where we can display images from our computer that looks like a framed photo on the wall. We’ve been doing a lot of 60s retro-future posters, but now he has a new idea. He wants to display record album art.

I said I could find some great album “art” to display, but when I sent him the list of album covers that I found, he wasn’t too thrilled.

Beep Beep, I’m a Sheep

I was “treated” to 30 minutes of my son singing this song OVER and OVER on the way home from school yesterday. This was after taking him to drum lessons, where he apparently forced his drum teacher, a well-respected and talented drummer, to play drums for 20 minutes to the beat of this song. The teacher came out at the end of the class, just looked at me and said, “We just spent the entire lesson drumming to Beep Beep, I’m a Sheep.”
I could see a bit of pride and dignity melting away in his eyes.

So to spread the horror that my brain has been repeating over and over and over since yesterday, I give you “Beep Beep, I’m a Sheep,” on a 10 HOUR LOOP just in case you don’t have children of your own. Oh, and as a parent, I can say that you’re lucky to get away with only 10 hours. It’s on at least a week-long loop or more at our house.

 

Fashion

My youngest son made a cape for his brother. When his brother tried it on, it was so tight around the neck that it choked him a bit. When he asked if they could cut or loosen it, the youngest son said:

“Well, you have to take risks when it comes to fashion.”fash

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Noisy neighbors

In Stockholm, there are laws about how close apartments can be built to a highway because of noise pollution. Buildings with apartments from before the law that are already too close are protected by special walls to help diffuse the noise from the street. Some areas in the city close off streets in the summer to reduce traffic and noise.

Then we turn to the other side of the globe, to China, where I saw this picture today. Honestly, it reminds me of when I went to Disneyworld in the late 1980s and there was a monorail that went through a hotel. I thought it was super cool. As an adult, I’d rather not have a train going through my building (the teenager upstairs with bad taste in music is enough noise for me), but I was glad to read in the article that at least there’s a stop for the train IN the building. So you get something good out of it if you live there.

Can you imagine stepping out of your apartment door, walking across the hall to open another door and getting on your train to work? Could be interesting, could be depressing. At least with the monorail in the Orlando hotel, your destination is always “the happiest place in the world” and not a cubicle with 50 other depressed workers.

More photos and article here.

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Unrealistic language courses

I do a few lessons each day on the Rosetta Stone program in Italian. Today, my problem is not necessarily with the language, but with this situation:

  1. A man comes in to buy a new TV.
  2. The salesman asks why he needs a new TV. This is the first indication that something is wrong. A salesman would never ask WHY you need a new TV. He would ask WHICH KIND you want.
  3. The man says he needs a new TV because his old one is broken. Where do I start? Do I start with the fact that this guy is holding a TV with 2 knobs made in the 1980s, while there are obviously flat screens behind him, which would mean he has been using this 1980s TV for about 30 years? Also, I don’t even think those type of TVs have worked for several years now that everything is digital.
    But what troubles me most of all is….. WHO BRINGS THEIR BROKEN TV TO THE STORE TO BUY A NEW TV?! Why would you bring that in the store??!!!

I’m very much hoping that as I get further along in the program, this story will continue. Is he a time traveler? Did he escape from a mental institution? Does the salesman call security? Guess I’ll have to keep learning Italian to get the whole story.

 

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Food trucks

We may finally have hamburger and taco trucks in Stockholm, but we still haven’t reached Lisbon’s standards:

Flea market finds

At a flea market in Lisbon last weekend. If only it could have fit in my suitcase.

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Spara

Pay this if you want to live

I was reading our national newspaper (Dagens Nyheter) online last week and clicked on an article called “How to Change Your Lifestyle to Prevent a Stroke.” But when I clicked on the article, I got a message saying I had to pay to view the rest of the content.

I imagine hospitals around the country are now receiving stroke patients and saying, “There’s another one who didn’t want to pay the online newspaper fee. What a shame.”

I’m doomed.

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