I like to wear jewelry, but I also like to be practical. Fortunately, I found the perfect necklace!
My husband was singing in a beautiful Advent concert that I attended this past weekend. Everything was very tasteful, old-fashioned, Christmassy, etc., until the beautiful chandeliers were lowered and the altar boys lit the candles with….. a blow torch attached to a stick.
Hey, this may be a reverent celebration, but this concert is only an hour long and we’ve got to get these candles lit quick! Get the blow torch!
Side note: This church was originally built in the 1600s but has burned down twice. Um… maybe less blow torches duct-taped to sticks in the main chapel? Just an idea.
It’s the giving season! I’ve picked out this special gift for a number of people on my
enemies Christmas list!
- Bus driver who didn’t stop for my son and I in the rain
- Old lady telling me how to raise my kids after meeting me for 5 seconds
- Every person who takes up several seats at my kids’ school performances with their coats and bags and says, “These seats are saved!”
This is my special Christmas gift to them. Luckily, you can order several packages so there are enough for everyone!
For several years now, here in Sweden, I’ve been seeing stores advertise for “Black Friday.” It’s not the chaos of the U.S., but more regular type sales. As far as I know, nothing opens early.
The reason that I and other Americans find Swedish “Black Friday” sales ridiculous is that there is no point behind them. In the U.S., the entire country has the day off on Thursday, which leads many to also have Friday off as well.
In Sweden, we obviously don’t have Thanksgiving, so this is a normal Monday – Friday work week. They might put up lights in the city this weekend, since it’s so dark, and most things naturally kick off around the first of Advent, which makes sense.
On Thanksgiving Thursday in the U.S., almost every business is closed. There are basically no stores open either, so everyone is crowded in a house with no options but to visit with their family. When Friday comes, people are thrilled to have an excuse to leave the house.
No one here in Sweden has a day off to shop this Friday. Not to mention that Swedish “sales” aren’t all that great. Currently at the grocery store, you can get two bags of shredded cheese for 30 SEK. What’s the price for one bag? 14.50 SEK.
Can we adopt other cultural traditions from the U.S. instead? Barbecues and snow-cone stands maybe? Real nachos with actual melted cheese?
An opinion piece on CNN is titled “Should we fear killer robots?”
It does seem like a no-brainer because of the adjective “killer.” If this headline said, “Should we fear killer dolphins?” or “Should we fear killer hedgehogs?” my answer would be the same.
We had a slight bit of a scorpion problem while renting an apartment in Italy last week. However, I still prefer scorpions to giant Texas tree roaches. Scorpions somehow seem more sophisticated.
Because of my respect for the majestic scorpion, I chose to catch and release the two we found by throwing them out of our third floor window.
It was only later that I remembered there was a restaurant with outdoor seating directly below us.
One of my friends is working at a company currently planning the annual Christmas party. She says that last week, the CEO of the company walked up to the woman in charge, annouced that he needed an animatronic reindeer with snow showering around it, and then walked away.
If I were the CEO of a company, this is totally what I would be like. I would never talk to anyone except to wander in once a week and request outrageous things.
“I’m going to need a marble fountain filled with cheese fondue.”
“I need the second season of ‘The Greatest American Hero” on Betamax!”
“I need a horse with a feathered hat by 5 o’clock.”
I would make a great CEO.
Jacket for sale – $10.
Message from Woman: I’m interested. I’d like to try it on.
Me: Ok, here’s my address. (I write address).
Woman: I’ll get back to you tomorrow.
— next day —
Woman: Is the jacket still there?
Woman: Can we meet at the Central Station?
Me: No. The jacket is at my house. At the address I gave you. I’m not going into town.
Me: If you want to come to my house tomorrow, sure.
— 2 days later —
Woman: Will you be near Central Station during the week? (No mention of not showing up the day before.)
Me: Fine. I can be there today at 1pm.
— 12:30 pm —
Woman: I can’t come today. Someone at my job is sick.
Me: Ok. I have someone else who wants the jacket anyway.
— 1pm —
Woman: Are you here at the Central Station?
I looked up reviews on a children’s activity park in Italy, but everything was in Italian so I had to use Google Translate. I don’t know why this person only gave this place 2 stars. It sounds pretty interesting!
These job ads get more specific every day. Today’s copywriting ad states that they would prefer an applicant who is really into chainsaws.
If I come dressed as this guy, do you think I’ll get the job?
Every time I read a job ad that includes any mention of “stakeholders,” I just think of an angry mob chasing Dracula and then I forget what the job was about.
While waiting in line at the grocery store, I spotted the magazine rack, which is pretty much what one would expect in Sweden:
I never read the context of these articles. I pretend they are direct questions posted to me and then I answer them. On to the next headline…
In my old hometown newspaper from Texas, there is an article this week about a sophomore student in high school asking the School Board to remove the ban on boys wearing earrings in school.
I have tried to explain to my Swedish husband that when I went to school in Texas, you could not dye your hair, boys could not have hair past their shoulders, no facial hair and no earrings for boys. That was combined with the usual skirts past the fingertips for girls and no hats allowed for anyone.
Apparently the schools in the place I grew up finally took away the rule about long hair for boys (fairly recently). I know the earring and facial hair rule are still in effect, as well as the skirts and hats, and I’m not sure about hair dye but I think that is still banned as well.
When my husband went to high school here in Sweden, he went through purple hair, bright red hair and blue hair, among many other colors. He also had an earring. And no one cared. He was a smart and great student. No one in class was “distracted,” as some Texas schools like to say in these situations.
Imagine at your job if a man walked in with an earring (many men at your job probably already wear one or more), facial hair (shocking!) and purple hair. You might say, “Whoa Todd, cool hair!” and then do your job. I can’t imagine anyone saying, “There is just no way I can file insurance claims when I can’t take my eyes of Todd’s earring.” or “I would save this woman’s life, but I can’t perform surgery when the ambulance driver who brought this patient in has purple hair. It’s too distracting.”
My oldest son dyed his hair orange most of last year. All this week he has been wearing fake mustaches to school, nerd glasses and a hat that looks like Sonic the Hedgehog. Surprisingly, this does not affect his work or the work of his fellow students, some who have dyed hair, wear shorts or even a rabbit suit pullover (yes, I’ve seen this twice).
I live in the real world. I ride the subway. I’ve seen people dressed as zombies, people with face tattoos, people with piercings and chains. I don’t mind any of those people as long as they TAKE A SHOWER (and don’t eat my brains, of course).
A family member posted a recipe today for a Pinapple pie. The recipe was listed as being “Johnny Cash’s Mother’s Recipe.”
Why would this make the pie any better? As far as I know, Johnny Cash’s mother was not a famous cook. Also, Johnny Cash did not always look the picture of great health or “fun” eating. Just saying.
This past weekend, I took a shortcut past a brand new tram stop that had not yet opened. A very confused looking woman asked me in Swedish when the next tram was coming. I explained to her, also in Swedish, that the stop would not open until the next day, as it was a new stop for the new line.
From her confused look, I deduced that I had once again messed up my Swedish grammar in some way. However, I’m fairly certain I got all the key words correct. “New station” “Opens tomorrow” I’m not THAT terrible at Swedish.
It seems the problem may have been that this woman was not familiar with Stockholm and it’s transportation system. She kept insisting that she arrived at this stop a few hours ago and was trying to go back. Figuring she most likely was not a time traveler from the future, I tried to tell her that there was a different train (not tram) stop about 400 meters up the road just behind a large building. Perhaps that was where she arrived?
But because of what I can only assume must have been bad grammar ( “Different train, you go other side of building, different station.”), she did not trust my local knowledge. In a move I’ve experienced a few times before, she stared at me for a beat, then proceeded to approach another person to ask the exact same question.
It’s so frustrating to take time to help people when they totally ignore everything you say, even if it is in a caveman-like accent. Just because I’m missing a few adjectives doesn’t mean I can’t answer your question!
I need to find out the Swedish equivalent of “But that’s what I said!” and “I told you so!” Otherwise, I might just practice a standard phrase in perfect Swedish and use that for any question from now on. Example: “You only need to wait here 5 minutes. Have a lovely day.”
This will be my response for all future questions, whether they are “How long until the next train?” or “Where can I find something to eat?”. People will trust my confident, perfectly-spoken answer and wait for something that will never come unless they dare to trust information from someone with an accent.
Cavemen have feelings too!
Orienteering has been the theme for my son’s gym class the past few weeks. Today he had an assignment to find his way from his school to a place about 2 and a half miles away.
So of course, we showed him how to use the Uber app on his phone.
Another trip to Italy coming up this fall. What do you think of my itinerary?
We can start at the Egizio Museum, have a coffee at the Piazza, swing by the GATES OF HELL and maybe round up the day at the cinema?