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:
If the war comes…
The Ikea table can withstand an atomic bomb. Don’t forget to casually put on your gas mask! Watch that hair!
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.
Honey, put on your coat, we’re late for dinner!
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.
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.
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:
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:
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.
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.
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!
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.
At a flea market in Lisbon last weekend. If only it could have fit in my suitcase.
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.”
Sometimes my husband and I wonder what our kids might say to a therapist when they get older. Last week, we got a little preview from our 9-year old.
We assign the kids at least 2 chores each week. Last week, when I mentioned that I might ask one of our kids to vacuum, our youngest son said, “Vacuuming shattered my view on life!”
“Because one time, you guys told me to vacuum, and then when I got to your room, it turns out you were both lying in bed watching the Simpsons while I had to work!”
Oh well. Life lessons.
With all the government news lately, I’m starting to feel that we might be losing focus on what’s happening in other fields. On CNN today, there was a list of stories all having to do with governmental issues, except for one buried right in the middle. Do they expect us to glance over this, because it’s the only one that really caught my eye.
You see it too, right?
After reading the article, I understand that it’s about growing specific human organs in pigs for organ transplant and not, as this avid Doctor Who viewer originally thought, a race of pig slaves. That was a relief. I wasn’t ready for a Dalek invasion right now.
I did one of those Face Swap photos on the phone the other day with my 9-yr old son. They always leave the faces looking quite distorted, so my son said,
“Mamma, no offense, but I don’t want your face.”
I laughed and said that was just fine, but then he continued:
“So now I don’t need to cut it off and wear it over my own face.”
(As usual, it’s amazing how statements like these tend to give you an area all to yourself on the subway.)
I’ve spent the last 5 days alone with the kids and their various friends who come over to visit. My life has a running background soundtrack of Pokémon, Minecraft and Skylanders. It’s non-stop.
How can they talk this long? It can’t be possible.
They might not be human.
Also, you know when you get a snippet of some annoying song in your head? Well, I’ve had that experience at various points all week when that happens with a live chorus. They can repeat one song line over and over and never stop until someone (me) goes crazy.
“Ducktales, woo-hoo! … Ducktales, woo-hoo! … Ducktales, woo-hoo!”
(No other lines, just that line…. OVER AND OVER)
“Christmas, Christmas time is here, time for toys and time for cheer.
Christmas, Christmas time is here, time for toys and time for cheer.
Christmas, Christmas time is here, time for toys and time for cheer.Christmas, Christmas time is here, time for toys and time for cheer.”
(As if the entire song wouldn’t have driven you crazy anyway, now it’s just the one line.)
I’m just writing this down so it’s understood that when I start writing complete nonsense soon, people will understand how I lost my mind.
(I’d like to add that I was interrupted while writing this for my youngest child to say, “There’s this video with a dinosaur and he goes EEE! EEE! EEE! and then the other dinosaur goes “GEE GEE GEE!” …. which is now causing 3 children in the next room to start screaming/singing EEE EEE EEE! GEE! GEE! GEE!)
We celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve and celebrations start with lunch at noon.
Christmas food in Sweden is ham, pickled herring, meatballs, potatoes with anchovies, small sausages and dry crisp bread.
We also drink Julmust, which is a soda is sold only around Christmas time. (Then again at Easter under the name Påskmust). I say it tastes a little like Dr. Pepper.
And of course we can’t forget glögg, which is Christmas spiced wine, served with raisins and almonds at the bottom. I would look up the traditions and meaning behind glögg, but after having a cup, I am now too sleepy to bother.
… but my son just told me this weekend about what happened when he went trick-or-treating this year in Stockholm for Halloween. I guess he forgot to mention it before.
I’m often going on and on about Swedes just not understanding the holiday. They’ve given my kids money, old candy dug out of their pockets, an orange and loose potato chips in previous years, but we have a new winner this year:
My son told me that when he and his friend were trick-or-treating this year, one couple opened the door, apologized for not having candy and offered the boys an uncooked lasange plate each.
I guess we can start cutting down on sugar around here now if I can replace the kids’ candy with lasagne plates. Not a bad idea.
It’s that time of year again… time to wonder what kind of drugs people in the Victorian age were on when they made Christmas cards. Also time to wonder what their deal is with frogs.
I give you, Victorian Christmas card number one. Frog and Beetle dancing on beach with a dragonfly playing tamborine.
If you can get past a frog and a giant beetle dancing together, much less that they would make a tambourine small enough for a dragonfly to play, I still say the beach scene makes no sense at Christmastime.
My husband posted this on Facebook yesterday:
“The official report is in: Stockholm had only 35 minutes of sunlight in TOTAL over the last two weeks.”
This is true. I haven’t seen the sun for many, many days. My pupils are growing larger, skin is getting paler and I sleep like a sloth.
Today I see a very small bit of sun peeking at my balcony. It’s not full sun, just a sliver, but I’m going to have to get my sunglasses.
Winter in Sweden – a mass conspiracy run by the Vitamin D corporations to increase sales.
(Artwork by Simon Stålenhag. A Swedish artist who gets the lighting and mood of winter exactly right.)
For the second time in a month, I’ve gotten a nasty eye infection. Yes, yes I know it’s my makeup and it’s all been thrown out now to make way for new, fresh, not-digsuting-bacteria-contaminated makeup.
The eye infection causes my eyes to swell up, turn red and develop hideous bags that go into my cheeks. I’ve taken to wearing one of those Venetian masks to the dinner table so that everyone can eat.
On Monday, we had some repair people coming to the house. I didn’t want to scare them and they had their own keys, so I took to the forest to pick blueberries for four hours.
It occured to me that I would have to go deep into the forest so as not to frighten joggers and small children. I already had a vision of someone coming up to me, tapping me on the shoulder and then running away in horror as I turned my freakish head and hissed.
We live in Scandinavia where there are numerous tales of gnomes and trolls living in the forest. I’m starting to realize where some of these tales may have originated.
My eyes are healing now and I feel confident enough to head out into society where I can buy some fresh makeup. I was a bit afraid they wouldn’t sell it to me during the height of my infection and ask me to leave the store by the back door. In which case, I would have turned them into billy goats or demanded they answer a riddle before I left.
Autumn is the time to put away the flip-flops and bring out the fall jackets. No more sunglasses for the next 9 months, they are replaced with scarves and gloves.
I realized my gloves were missing and figured I lost them last year or they were taken by glove gnomes (cousins to sock-gnomes), but then when I pulled out my fall jackets, there they were, stuffed in the pockets!
Yea! What a lovely surprise! I also left some used kleenex from last year in case I had a need to catch the same cold again. I decided to pass on that, but it’s nice to know how thoughtful I am to future me.