Author Archive: hjonasson

Can I Photoshop us into summer?

I thought maybe if I used Photoshop, I could make winter go away and feel better. I tried this picture with my son, but I still don’t feel very summery…

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Nordic gardens

There is an event taking place in March, here in Sweden, called “Nordic Gardens.” This is what I picture:

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-9c

It’s -9c this morning (16f) and that’s just wrong.

I’m hitting my winter breaking point. It usually happens sometime in February. You can only take so much darkness and cold. I spend my days right now wondering why people would ever settle here. Sure, maybe they showed up in the summer, and maybe they thought the winter wouldn’t be so long, but by February, they had to be saying, “Let’s go invade the Riviera. This is no way to live.” But instead they invaded England, probably during the rainy season, and ended up going back to Sweden (my guess was the bad English food).

The point is, I understand why the Vikings were angry and I really need to go invade the Riviera.

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Pay toilets

Someone today brought up how strange it is that many European countries have pay public toilets. This is something that’s always bothered me here in Sweden. I’ve been here 18 years and still think it should be a basic human right to use a toilet when you need it.

I get the reasons behind it… messy people, drug people, crazy people, etc., but when you gotta go, you gotta go!

Water is clean and free here, but not so public toilets.

When I was pregnant, I managed to make a list of all hidden and free bathrooms around Stockholm. Don’t ask me for it though. It’s of high and secret value and I can’t have all you people messing up my free bathrooms.

Where’s MY emotional support peacock?

Have you ever been around a peacock for a long amount of time? They have the most horrifying scream. There’s no way a peacock could make someone calm.

Now, when it comes to meetings with people I don’t like, however, this would totally come in handy. I gotta get one of these.

 

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Royalty in the park

The weekly school report informed us that our youngest son’s ice skating class had its schedule adjusted by 15 minutes today because of a “state visit.” So I looked it up, and the “state visit” was a bit of British royalty – Prince William and Kate – visiting a bandy practice in the park.

Turns out we had a school meeting today anyway, so I forced my husband to take a bit of a detour by the park to catch a glimpse on our way there. It’s always good to take someone tall when you want to take photographs. There was just a small crowd of people (most people had to be at work).

Occasionally, there are benefits to being unemployed.

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Note the red carpet on the ice. I thought that was a nice touch.

 

Chicken obituary

I check the Houston news about once a month to keep up with things happening back in Texas. I want to be on top of current events and important developments happening in the city, so I know what’s affecting my family and friends.

Sometimes I think I should check the news more often than once a month, and then a story like this pops up as one of the top headlines and I think, “I really don’t think I’m missing anything.”

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It’s melting!

The snow is melting today and it’s just a big slush of muddy roads and giant slabs of ice falling from roofs. I think most people here who claim they hate the snow don’t really hate the snow, they hate what’s going to happen because they know that eventually it will get melty and slushy, which I agree is no fun.

I think people would like it more if slush days were declared days off.  When it ices over in Texas, most people get the day off school or work because it’s dangerous to drive with no winter tires. Well, when melting snow is making ice fall from the roofs, we should all get the day off work here and stay inside as well.

It’s actually quite dangerous with the snow falling from roofs, and many sidewalks are blocked off so that people don’t get hurt. All the more reason to order people to stay inside today.  Can we just have this one thing? I mean, we don’t have sun for 5 months a year, so maybe a few days off on the nastiest days? I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

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foto: DN

 

Children are our future

My husband gave a presentation to a 4th grade class yesterday and asked the kids how they veiw the future and what new technologies they think we will have 50 years from now.

I asked him how it went and he said, “It’s amazing the number of children who answer Robot Slaves. In fact, one kid drew a picture of himself pointing and yelling ‘Bring chips!’ while a robot bent over meekly in the corner.”

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Ding! Ding!

One of my favorite Christmas gifts from my husband about 3 years back was this hotel bell.

One of my husband’s biggest regrets in life was getting me this hotel bell.

He gave it to me because he thought it might come in handy any time I was sick and needed something in bed. And it has come in handy – for WAY MORE than that!

DING! Can you bring me a glass of water?

DING! Did you remember to make reservations at the Italian place?

DING! How come Netflix isn’t working?

Sure, I could get out of bed, but why do that when I have this nifty bell? I just want to make sure I use it a lot so my husband knows how much I enjoy his thoughtful gift.

DING! Thanks for the bell! By the way, can I get some tea?

I’m a cabbage man…

My husband got a special pickling jar for Christmas. He is currently buying all the cabbage available in Sweden and filling our fridge and counters with sauerkraut and kimchi. Everything in the fridge smells of cabbage. The kitchen smells of cabbage. The apartment smells of cabbage. I’m afraid to go out and meet friends today because I know I smell like cabbage.

Cabbage cabbage cabbage

Cabbage

(help…)

Cabbage

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Boxing day

It is only this year that I learned what “Boxing day” means. Most Americans have heard this term and I guarantee that the majority of us just picture a boxing match or taking out frustration on relatives after being cooped up in a house with them over the holidays.

So for those who, like me, have never understood why the UK has a day to beat the crap out of people after Christmas, I will give you the information I learned this month from Reader’s Digest:

“… it’s actually a celebration of charitable giving…… The name comes from the ritual of opening ‘the box’ – the alms box – in the local parish church and distributing the contents to the poor.”

That’s nice, but there are still a few people out there who could use a good knock-out.

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Christmas card 2017

Our family Christmas card this year. I’ve already heard several of my friends’ children complaining that our family has a flying saucer and their families have to take the bus.

 

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Last-minute gift ideas?

For the person who has everything… Well, I bet they don’t have THIS!

 

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It’s like riding a bicycle

I was talking to another parent in my son’s class about the weather being so snowy and icy outside that it was hard to walk anywhere without falling. The other parent told me that she has been riding her bike in the ice and snow lately, but is a little nervous about crashing.

I said, “I can’t even ride my bike in the summer without crashing. That’s how I got this scar on my chin.”

She laughed and said, “I remember that happened to me too! I have a scar on my chin from falling off my bike when I was five years old!”

I said, “This happened in September. This year.”

She smiled and moved on to talk to someone more coordinated.

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Lucia madness

December 13th in Sweden is Lucia day. It’s basically a celebration of light in the darkness, based on an Italian saint who had her eyes gouged out (really gets kids in the Christmas spirit).

All over Sweden, choirs of children dress in white robes while one girl (the Lucia) has a crown of lit candles on her head. The other children carry their candles.

I volunteered to be the helping parent for one of my son’s classes on this celebration. All I knew was that I was required to stand on the side with a bucket of water in case someone caught on fire. Sounded kind of exciting.

It turns out that kids catching fire was the LEAST of my worries.

First of all, I had to help the teacher accompany the kids from the school to the church. This was like trying to herd goats that are constantly stopping to make and throw snowballs at each other. (Yes, goats totally do that.) I almost had 2 kids get run over because they didn’t stop at the crossing light and were way too cool to acknowledge my screaming “STOP!”, causing them to be stuck in the middle of the road with cars speeding past.

During rehearsal, no one caught on fire (good thing, since they didn’t give us our buckets for rehearsal), but 2 kids almost fainted and a few burned their hands on dripping wax.

I think that all parents should have to assist with a class activity or outing to understand what these teachers have to deal with every day. Not just observing the class, but actually having to herd them, instruct them and keep them alive.

To sum up:

  • Teachers should be paid more.
  • Kids are like goats.
  • I am never volunteering to help out with a school class again.

 

P.S. The actual Lucia concert went just fine. I think these kids behave a lot better when parents and cameras are watching. haha!

My kind of jewelry

I like to wear jewelry, but I also like to be practical. Fortunately, I found the perfect necklace!

 

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Bless this blow torch

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.

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Gifts for enemies

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!

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This is why your cashier wears gloves

Just another news story to encourage us all to use credit cards instead of cash.

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