Category Archives: Weather

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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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.

 

Bad parent

According to my kids, here are the reasons I’m a bad parent this week:

  1. Ordered clouds to block view of SuperMoon in Sweden.
  2. Did not buy chewable Vitamin D, but nasty adult swallow-type pills.
  3. Forgetting 5-day Pokemon catching streak and having to start over.

My kids have it very hard. I hope child services won’t be called.

On the plus side, I did agree to protect them from the evil eye of Cthulu’s heart, should he ever emerge from the depths of the Earth, so I gained a few points with the kids there.

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I am a mole person

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.

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(Artwork by Simon Stålenhag. A Swedish artist who gets the lighting and mood of winter exactly right.)

 

Autumn is like a mini-Christmas

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.

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I’m on this new bee diet

Many people wonder why people in Sweden don’t get fat at the end of the summer after eating loads of ice cream, hot dogs and chips. Well, I’m here to let you in on the secret to Swedish summer weight loss.

Bees.

August is the time when the bees tend to swarm in our area. Apparently, once the weather starts turning to autumn and flowers start running out of nectar, the bees charge on a desperate search for food. Those of us who like to eat dinner on our balconies are plagued by bees crawling all over our meals. People getting outdoor food from a food truck are likely to get a BURGER FULL OF BEES as we did this past weekend.

I once saw a Duncan Donuts in Germany covered in bees. There were bees on every donut on the display and the workers didn’t seem to care at all. What could they do? The doors and windows are open all day.

This is the one time of year that my kids refuse ice cream. Normally they don’t care if it’s snowing outside, they want their ice cream, but during this time of the year, ice cream and sweets attract hordes of hungry bees!  A trip to the park was completely ruined last year by bees crawling all over my children’s ice creams. And even when they threw their ice creams in the trash, the bees just went for their hands and faces because they were covered in sticky ice cream. (I tried to make this a lesson to always use a napkin, but they couldn’t hear me through the terrified screams.)

So there you have it. Swedes lose all their summer weight in August because our food is covered in bees.

Feel free to market this wonderful diet plan. I’ll take 20% of the profits.

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Fruitopia

We seem to be having an early season for apples and other fruits here in the Stockholm area, and I’m lucky enough to live in a place that used to be a fruit orchard at some far point back in time. Or maybe it was a dump where lazy people threw out rotten apple cores and plum seeds. Whichever it is, it’s paying off now! Earlier this season the cherry trees were full of fruit, and now we’ve moved on to apples and plums. I’m also lucky to have young, eager climbers to get up and reach the good apples. The freezer is full of pies, breads and muffins.

And if I’m not in the mood to search around, people in my neighborhood who have an abundance of apples and plums from their trees often put out baskets for anyone to take extra. Just walking for ten minutes, I passed seven baskets of fruit (and came home with two bags full, while still leaving plenty for other people).

I was thinking how this wouldn’t work in the area of Texas where I grew up. People would probably just steal the basket.

However, people do have the neighborly, sharing spirit there, just in other ways. Instead of fruit, people put their old couches and televisions out on the curb. It’s understood that anything on the curb is free to take. Once or twice when one of my parents would put something like that out on our curb, I would hide near the window to see how long it would take until someone took it. I never had to wait more than five minutes.

Meanwhile in Sweden, I have this bike I bought for about five dollars that I hate and I can’t get anyone to steal it! There’s no lock on it and it’s out in front of the building. I know I need to take it to the dump, but that requires loading it into the car, which requires muscles and time. I have a limited amount of both.

Maybe if I put the bike in a giant basket and hang some apples from it, someone will get the idea. It’s worth a try.

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Someday…

“Someday, when the weather is better…” began my son the other day.

“Um, the weather is sunny and beautiful outside,” I replied before he finished his sentence.

A surprised look and then a smile came over his face. “Oh!”

Living in Sweden, “Someday when the weather is better…” is a stock phrase that I have to use about 9 months out of the year.  “…you can ride your bike”, “…we can go swimming”, “…you can wear sandals”, etc.

I feel we use this phrase as much as people say, “Someday, when I win the lottery..” or “Someday, when we save enough money…”.

It takes a while to adjust to actually having nice weather after such a long winter. I sent the kids out on their bikes yesterday and they didn’t come back for over an hour. And they didn’t even need to wear a jacket! For many of us here in Sweden, this is way better than winning the lottery.

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I wrote a new book!

I have a new book out! (also available on Amazon.co.uk) !
How would you act if you accidentally arrived with your extended family on a nude beach in France? Or if a Turkish salesman in the grand bazaar in Istanbul offered to replace your husband with a new one? How about having to go to the bathroom in front of your friends in the forest behind a sheet with the words “ladies room” painted on it? Heather Jonasson has handled these incidents, and more, on her trips around Europe and the US. Heather Jonasson is a native Texan who moved to the small, frozen country of Sweden in northern Europe for love. Now, follow her along as she tells of her travel adventures in Europe and the US.
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Parents! Want to be frustrated and exhaust yourself?

I was looking over a guide of things to do in a local neighborhood when I came across this article about ice skating. The article is very positive and lists this as a fun activity to do with your family, but what’s going on in this picture? This doesn’t look fun. It looks like an exhausting, awful day!

One kid is falling all over the place with the adult trying to keep him up (not easy to do on ice, I’ve been there) and the other man in the background has simply given up and flung his kid over his shoulder.

This doesn’t make me want to go ice skating, but it does make me want to go down there to watch the drama.

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Prince hit by snowball

This headline was on CNN top stories. It was the only story I clicked on to read. However, it was not what I thought, but just a piece about Prince William of England playing in the snow with his family.

Of course it wasn’t what I thought. No one would ever do that to Prince. He’s awesome!

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What to wear…

I’m trying to pack for a vacation, but living in Stockholm and wearing a coat and boots for 6 months now, I’ve forgotten what other temperatures feel like.

Here’s what I’m faced with (Vacation above, Stockholm below). Sorry these are in C, but in F, Vacation is going to be between 60-65F, while Stockholm is (surprisingly warmer than usual) 39-44F.

Also, see how there’s not really sun here? Oh sure, it peaks out here and then, but we get no warmth from it until around April. So what is Vacation place like in direct sun? I bet it’s warm. Or I’d like to imagine it is.

I guess it’s layers as usual (with a hopeful bathing suit underneath).

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Graveyard sledding

Our local paper has raised a question in our neighborhood; Should people be sledding in a graveyard?

The initial picture one gets in one’s head is of sleds crashing into gravestones or “this wouldbe great for  ‘The Addams Family Christmas Special.” However, the hill they are using doesn’t have any burial sites, it’s just landscaped in the middle.

The graveyard they are talking about is down the road from us and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Now, I don’t think people should be sledding there at all; it’s a place for peace and meditation especially for people visiting their loved ones, but I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t thought once or twice what a great sledding hill they have. Take a look at the picture and tell me you wouldn’t be a little tempted.

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Swedish problems

I like that I live in a country where this story has dominated the headlines the entire week. Someone drew a penis on a frozen stream in the snow in the middle of a southern city and the city had trouble getting on the stream to remove it, but finally managed to.  Now this happened:

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Boot blades

If they can invent shoes where you can pop out wheels to roller skate, why can’t they invent winter boots where you can pop out blades to ice skate? It would be so much more useful in my neighborhood.

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Winter scores

I had a spectacular fall on the ice yesterday. I’m talking a full-out comedy banana peel-type fall landing horizontally on the ice. The only thing missing was the Benny Hill theme as background music.

It’s mid-January and so far the score is Winter – 2, Heather -0, unless a defeat against winter would be a day I haven’t had to go outside but worn pajamas all day indoors drinking hot chocolate. Then the score is Winter – 2, Heather – 1.

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-18c (-4F) Not fit for humans

As my kids are going to school this morning, it is -18c here in Stockholm, Sweden. We haven’t seen temperatures this low for about 3 years when I was last convinced we lived on planet Hoth (I swear I saw a man riding a TaunTaun to work). The buses barely ran, there were subway problems and it was total chaos in the city. One would think places located in the Arctic Circle would be prepared for these things, but that doesn’t seem to be the case in Stockholm.

For the past week, the evening dinner conversation has revolved around the question of why people would ever settle in Sweden in the first place. I can only think that they discovered the place during the summer and then it became dark and cold so fast that they all experienced mass hibernation and never left.

This leads me to my ongoing argument that people living in northern countries should all hibernate during January and February. We practically do anyway since the darkness makes us all so tired. Why not take it up a notch? Most of us would get the same amount done as we do when we are awake in the winter.

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Yet another holiday

Today is another holiday here in Sweden. I can’t remember the name of it. 12th day of Christmas holiday or whatever it’s called. What it means is that our children have been home from school for 3 weeks now and are getting major cabin fever. It doesn’t help that it’s -10c outside (14f) so I feel a little guilty kicking them out to go sledding (though it’s not totally stopping me from doing that.)

My oldest was so cold yesterday that he wrapped his scarf completely around his head. I didn’t notice this until we tried to go into a store and he ran right into the huge sign outside the door. We were holding hands so I guess he assumed he didn’t need to see.

It’s a shame that ski masks are so associated with robberies. We could totally go for one right now with a built-in warming system. Maybe if I wore a rainbow or pink glitter princess ski mask I wouldn’t look so threatening? I wonder if they sell those.

I did find this ski mask while looking through the internet. Maybe we’ll go for this one:

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Chip thieves

My thoughts on this story from The Local:

  1. It must have occured on a Friday or no one would have noticed the stolen chips.
  2. If it happened in the summer, you could still follow the chip crumb trail or all the seagulls/magpies following the theives.

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A quiet New Year’s Eve

I’m not sure if it’s age or lack of sun, but almost everyone I know in Stockholm (including me) just wants to spend a quiet New Year’s Eve with their family this year. Oh, we still plan to dress up, eat a fancy dinner and have champagne, it’s just that … I’m not sure, maybe we just want a relaxing night where we can be ourselves and not worry about impressing other people. Or maybe we’ve reached the age where we are able to do exactly what makes us happy, which tonight is playing games, laughing and enjoying good food & drink with the people we truly love most in the world.

… Or maybe it’s just way too cold here to head out to a New Year’s Eve party in the snow wearing pantyhose and high heels.

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