Category Archives: health

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

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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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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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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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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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

 

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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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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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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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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Yes.

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…

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One step removed celebrity recipes

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.

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Toothbrush thoughts

My son had a good dentist appointment this week and the dentist gave him a new toothbrush when he left. He took it out of the wrapper and slowly ran his fingers up and down, over the top.

“This is so soft. It’s like when I touch your toothbrush. It’s soft under my fingers. My old toothbrush feels like straw.”

I realized I hadn’t replaced the kids’ toothbrushes in a while. I told my son that I didn’t know his toothbrush was so hard, and that he should remind me to replace it more often. 

I gave him a hug and told him he could go on ahead of me to see if his neighborhood friend was home. As I watched him run down the sidewalk, I thought about how happy I was that he didn’t have to suffer through all the problems I had at his age with my teeth. What a healthy kid. He eats well, exercises and….

Wait a minute. 

“Why are you touching my toothbrush?!” 

How to disappoint your kids

Bicycles and mopeds are a conspiracy to sell more bandages

I haven’t been writing much lately as I don’t have time between having accidents, putting on bandages and bleeding everywhere. Also, wearing a bandage on your face really brings your self-confidence down.  Speaking of that, why did all my appointments and meetings have to be scheduled last week when I was forced to wear a bandage on my chin in front of people? You know everyone probably thought I was covering up a zit instead of the half-dollar sized bleeding scab. Swedish culture dictates that it’s not polite to ask why someone’s face is all messed up. That’s why I prefer other immigrants like me, who flat out say, “Whoa! What’d you do to your face?!” Let’s just get it out there.

After going through a set of bandages and almost an entire box of Band-Aids for my chin and hands, I was finally presentable enough to take them off by Friday, a week after flying off my bike like a moron by hitting a curb full speed at the wrong angle.

So what did I do to celebrate? I took out the moped Saturday and ran it into a curb at the wrong angle, falling down and ripping up my knee, as well as my new jeans. Plus my whole right leg is covered in bruises. My husband was sent back to the store once again to purchase more large bandages that I will run out of soon because somehow my knee is still bleeding 2 days later.

I’ve learned two things over the past 2 weeks:

  1. “Flesh”-colored bandages on your face make you look like a serial killer.
  2. I should not be allowed to ride things with two wheels.

I’m leaving the house in a few minutes and walking to the subway, where I will trade in disgusting sores and bruises for contagious colds and flus. Instead of financing the bandage industry, I’ll be moving on to tissues.

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And THAT’s why you always wear a helmet!

Today I learned that you can’t jump a curb full speed with your bicycle if you’re a 42-year old with bad coordination and a history of extreme clumsiness.

In my head, I thought, if you just believe in yourself, you can do anything you put your mind to.

Nope.

So now I have a busted up chin in a huge, hideous bandage and a mild concussion. But on the bright side, you really get to know your neighbors when you smash your face on a sidewalk. They were all helpful, and I like to think I added to their day by giving them a good story for work. “So this moron tries to jump the curb and goes flying ….”

I’ll wrap this up by reminding everyone that no matter what those inspirational books say, believing in yourself is not enough. Wear crash pads everywhere.

Overheard conversation between my kids

Boy 1: Are you ok with guacamole on your tacos?

Boy 2: You don’t seem to understand the meaning of tacos. With tacos, you can add what you want – meat, cheese, lettuce, tomato…

Boy 1: Yeah, but would you eat guacamole?

Boy 2: I could do it if necessary, but I just don’t see the point.

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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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