Category Archives: Nature

Sweden – your new beach destination!

It’s HOT! Really hot! And you know it must be bad coming from someone who grew up in Texas and just got back from a vacation there.

We’ve had a bit of a heatwave here in Sweden over the past 2 weeks. Of course, I’m all for it so I can wear my sandals and jump in the lakes, but when you don’t have any air conditioning, it does become a bit of a problem.

All windows and doors are open, all of our 3 floor fans are on, (in fact I carry one with me wherever I go) but it’s still really unbearable indoors. But I know better than to complain. For 5 months out of the year I’m dressed in 3 layers and still freezing.

So I gladly welcome this new global warming, summer weather. Now if someone could make me a piña colada, I’ll be good to go the rest of the day.

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Did you think it was spring? SUCKERS!

Spent a lovely day on Sunday, here in Stockholm, taking a walk, going to a park and even petting farm animals. Spring was in the air. I even stopped at the flower display at the grocery store and considered buying something for the balcony.

Luckily, I’ve lived here long enough not to fall for it.

Sure enough, we woke up Monday morning to -2c and snow.

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Boring Sunday + 3D Printer =

My husband was so preoccupied with whether he could, he didn’t stop to think if he should.

Killer Whale Karma

While watching “Blue Planet” with my son last night, we came upon a lovely part of the documentary about the migration of grey humpack whales. A mother was traveling at a slower pace in order for her newborn calf to keep up. It was very touching until…

THE KILLER WHALES SHOWED UP

A gang of 15 killer whales surrounded the mother and calf, spending 6 hours trying to drown the calf. Finally they succeeded and then swam off after only eating the calf’s jaw, leaving the heartbroken mother to travel alone.

So this got me thinking…

Were we too quick to condemn water parks for training killer whales for our entertainment? Did we look into why the human race started holding them in captivity in the first place? Because I’m thinking we must have made a deal with the peace-loving humpbacks to put those killer whales where they deserve to be. Entertaining children instead of drowning and eating them.

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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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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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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

 

It still beats roaches

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.

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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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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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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. )

Easter spider rabbit

My 10-yr old wishes you all a happy Easter from the Easter spider rabbit.

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It’s not spring yet

I saw a headline today that said:

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But not one of those signs was the overweight old man who lives across the way who constantly smokes on his balcony without a shirt on once the weather gets warm. Much like the groundhog, the man has not appeared, and therefore I say it is not yet spring.

 

Beep Beep, I’m a Sheep

I was “treated” to 30 minutes of my son singing this song OVER and OVER on the way home from school yesterday. This was after taking him to drum lessons, where he apparently forced his drum teacher, a well-respected and talented drummer, to play drums for 20 minutes to the beat of this song. The teacher came out at the end of the class, just looked at me and said, “We just spent the entire lesson drumming to Beep Beep, I’m a Sheep.”
I could see a bit of pride and dignity melting away in his eyes.

So to spread the horror that my brain has been repeating over and over and over since yesterday, I give you “Beep Beep, I’m a Sheep,” on a 10 HOUR LOOP just in case you don’t have children of your own. Oh, and as a parent, I can say that you’re lucky to get away with only 10 hours. It’s on at least a week-long loop or more at our house.

 

Ah, the comforting sound of the… peacock?

On our upcoming trip to Portugal, our hotel shows photos of peacocks that roam the walls and streets of the area. This was charming and exotic when we booked, but lately, I’ve been reminded of the sound a peacock makes. This may not be the relaxing trip we were hoping for.

Jellyfish and wine

My husband and I are soon leaving on a long weekend trip to Portugal. I was able to pack for the trip 3 months ago as the temperatures between Lisbon and Stockholm differ 25 degrees. That’s Celsius of course. After 17 years of turning my brain away from  Fahrenheit, I’m too tired to switch back again. Google it.

In preparing for this trip, I realized that I know nothing about Portugal except for the dangerous ‘Portuguese Man o’ War’ jellyfish, which apparently doesn’t have much to do with Portugal except that the shape looks like an old 1800s Portuguese war ship. I guess you learn something every day, though what I needed to learn was something about Portugal.

At this point, I’ve researched castles, churches, restaurants, local food, customs, etc. My husband prefers to go with the flow and research nothing, except possibly a restaurant or two. I think our traveling styles probably compliment each other. I like to know that I’m not missing anything by researching carefully before leaving. My husband likes to simply discover things he didn’t know about, which must work out great for him since I lead us to places where things are actually interesting.

When asking him if he knew what kind of food the Portuguese like to eat, he replied, ‘I know they drink wine, so we’re good.’

He doesn’t care much for seafood though, so unless the wine can take away fish taste, he might end up a bit hungry. Luckily his amazing wife, me, has done plenty of tapas, steak and pasta research.  I should totally start a travel agency.

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Neighborhood fox update

So now this shows up on the neighborhood forum:

“Idag på em var hela familjen och lekte i lekparken, sonen hade sin gula fotboll med sig och efter att ha lekt runt lite i parken ser vi plötsligt att bollen är borta, den försvann nästan mitt framför oss. Efter att ha letat en bra stund i parken och runtomkring gick vi alla hem, ledsna för att någon tagit min sons boll. Så om ni ser en gul fotboll någonstans kan ni väl säga till.”

Translated:

“This afternoon, our whole family played in the park, our son had his yellow soccer ball with him and after he played a while in the park, we suddenly realized that the ball was gone, it disappeared almost right in front of us. After looking for quite a while in the park and the surrounding area, we went home, sad because someone took my son’s ball. So if you see a yellow soccer ball somewhere, please let us know.”

Now you know what I am very tempted to post in response to the above.

MAYBE THE FOX ATE IT!

(Thank you, if I didn’t share that thought here, I might have actually had to post that and caused a neighborhood war.)

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What does the fox say? “I WILL EAT YOUR CAT!”

Well, the big news around our neighborhood this week is that we allegedly have some foxes going around EATING PEOPLE’S CATS!

Once again, these are animals that everyone in my neighborhood sees (last year it was badgers) but I never catch a glimpse. We live next to the forest and I walk through there all the time. No foxes, badgers or beavers that I can see. Plenty of deer and rabbits.

Anyway, it’s been fun to read the threads in our neighborhood group. On one side you have the cat people “Protect your cats!” On the other side, you have the bird people, “It’s good that the foxes eat the cats because the cats eat too many birds!”

A few more choice favorites are the guy who posted that “city cats are WEAK! A country cat could take out a fox any day.”

And just for fun, if you hit Google translate on some of these, they get really weird. Here’s a case where a woman is talking about a 3-legged deer in Swedish. Google turns more gruesome:

I called Marshall who came here and shot a “Three-legged” kid in my garden for a couple of years ago. I didn’t know if it was right or wrong

Yet another Google translate mistake (with the name of a street) turned another post into something quite poetic:

“I saw a fox last week at the ancient path. It had a cat in his mouth and went with a firm step against the park in front of the ancient house. He seemed very fearless.”

I will do my best to keep you updated in the “Neighborhood Fox Saga.” I hope it lives up to last year’s “Badgers in our Gardens.”

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