Author Archive: hjonasson

Fancy dishwasher

Our new dishwasher is too complicated for me.

We had our old dishwasher replaced after it finally refused to wash the top level of dishes. It had been hanging on for a few years, through duct tape on the outside handle to superglue on the spinning arm, but it just couldn't take the barrage of dirty dishes that a family of four tends to load every evening.

Enter the NEW dishwasher. It has a digital display. Can someone explain why this is necessary? I tried to push the button to start an empty run. This happened:

NEW Dishwasher: You haven't inserted to extra fancy cleaning solution in case I feel the need to clean my insides when there are no dishes.

Me: I put a regular tablet in you. You're brand new. I think we have a few weeks until a cleaning. (Push button again)

ND: There's not enough salt.

Me: Are you mimicking my husband? You sound exactly like him at dinner time. Also, why does a dishwasher need salt? (Push button again).

ND: (let's out a watery sigh). Fine then 50 degrees. This will take 2 hours.

Two hours??!!! There aren't even any dishes!

Why can't we buy a machine with one button? Clean dishes. Or two buttons at the most. "Clean dishes" and "Forgot for a few days and now it's all dried up so better use the power jets."

The only good thing is that because it's so computery, I can honestly tell my husband that I won't be able to load or unload dishes anymore so that will be his job.

Perhaps the new dishwasher isn't so bad after all.

How to get kids to eat less chips

“Well kids, they might be chips and they might be cobras. How about a nice apple instead?”

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Dress her like a squirell

Saw this graffiti on my vacation. I don’t know what it means, but I like it.

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Bathroom decoration

My son ran out of a restaurant bathroom in Italy very frightened.

“I can’t go! This man with a huge head keeps staring at me!”

So of course I had to check it out.

He was right.

Air raid / get to know your neighbors

We’ve just arrived home after 3 weeks vacation to a city that is mostly empty, as Swedes generally take the month of July off. I was wondering how many people were left in our apartment building yesterday and happened to get my questioned answered about 10pm last night when the city’s air raid sirens suddenly went off.

Stockholm has air raid/emergency sirens that are tested every 3 months at 3pm on a Monday. My 43-year old husband has NEVER heard the air raid sirens at any other time than that during his entire life and I would think most Stockholmers have not either.

So imagine how completely freaked out the entire city was last night when the air raid sirens started to sound around 10pm. Every person at home in our building and the one across from us immediately came out from their balconies to look at the sky. Then everyone started shouting to each other from balcony to balcony and across the courtyard “What’s happening?” “Do you know what it is?” “Are they saying anything on the news?” etc.

And during this time of possible obliteration, I had 2 thoughts:

  1. Why didn’t we come back home from our trip a day later?
  2. I think this is the first time I’ve heard neighbors speak to one another in this building. It’s kind of nice!

Apparently it was some sort of technical fault, so luckily we can all continue to enjoy the summer if we made it through the panic attacks last night.

On a side note, our kids who were reading in bed never asked about or mentioned the blaring air raid siren. Glad to know it’s not just parent voices that they are able to completely tune out.

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Swedish ant bed

I know they say everything is bigger in Texas, but when it comes to ant beds, I think Sweden is in the lead.

These are what ant beds look like in Sweden. They are all over the forest. Mainly made with pine needles. If you go up close, you can hear all the ants moving around (as well as adjusting your eyes to realize that the entire pile is covered and moving with ants). It’s fascinating and replusive at the same time.

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Ducks climbing up a tree

These are 2 ducks climbing up a tree. It’s hard to see, but the tree goes pretty high. It goes at an angle, which is partly why they jumped on (not to mention little kids trying to chase them on the ground), but they also like some sort of berries they can only reach by climbing up.

I’m well aware that ducks can fly, but I’ve never seen them climb trees. Just seemed interesting so I thought I’d share the picture. You see something new every day.

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Hamburgers of Stockholm

I’m actually on vacation for a few weeks, so this is a scheduled post, as are any appearing the next few weeks. To keep up the blog and entertain while I’m offline, I present “Hamburgers of Stockholm.”

We’ve had a burger revolution here in Stockholm over the past 5 years and I think it’s going quite well. When I first moved here, hamburgers were sad, wilted abominations not worth moving my jaws for. But after the mighty burger uprising, where Stockholmers protested and said, “No more boring hamburgers!” while marching in the streets spraying mustard and ketchup along their path, we finally received the first of what would become many QUALITY, TASTY burgers!

Sure, they all cost the equivalent of $10 or more, but it’s still cheaper than a plane ticket to Texas.

 

 

Fashion

Found this shirt for my husband, but he didn’t want it. Man, he’s picky when it comes to fashion.

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Bucket hat of shame!

Children who don’t eat their vegetables are sent outside in the “Bucket hat of shame.”

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(I hope you know I’m kidding.. The truth is, I have no idea why he was outside like this, other than it’s sometimes fun to put a giant plant holder/bucket on your head)

Why we aren’t allowed in the makeup section

This is what happens when you need to shop for lipstick and leave your kids alone for 5 minutes.

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If the war comes…

We inherited this book from the 1960s that was apparently given out to Swedish citizens. It’s called “If the war comes” and it’s an instruction book on what to do in the event of war. In my opinion, the best parts are the nicely dressed 1960s housewives with their pretty skirts and gas masks. They seem totally unconcerned. A close second is the men in suits. Gotta look sharp when the nuclear bomb drops. Here’s a few pictures from the book:

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If the war comes…

 

 

 

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The Ikea table can withstand an atomic bomb. Don’t forget to casually put on your gas mask! Watch that hair!

 

 

 

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Stop, drop and roll is universal.  I like the look on his face as his suit is on fire. It’s a look of mild discomfort.

 

 

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Honey, put on your coat, we’re late for dinner!

 

 

 

 

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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