Tuesday, July 31, 2007
No reports of a wild party (actually he is said to have celebrated his birthday in the Bay Area with a political fundraiser...), but then we're in the middle of budget season (the budget process in this state is one, messy, long story...).
(Picture from Wikipedia).
Monday, July 30, 2007
It actually wasn't too bad.
Even though it felt a bit strange to eat "fiskbullar" for dinner with +35C outside...
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Fiskbullar (fish balls).
I just had to get three cases. However I''m really curious WHO exactly, except Swedish aliens, who buy fiskbullar at IKEA??
I didn't really like it in Sweden (but of course these things change when you're an alien, now I might even like "messmör" just because it's Swedish) (no... maybe not that extreme).
Anyway. I think the kids should know about "fiskbullar". It's par of their cultural heritage. "Finish your plate, kids!".
Saturday, July 28, 2007
And we quickly started going nuts over these measurement units! Ok, there are three - 3 - countries in the world who has yet to officially use the metric system. Liberia. Myanmar. And the US...
We used ClosetMaid's own website to try to figure out what pieces in what sizes we needed, and a metric/US customary unit tape measure - and - a calculator - to our help . But not even ClosetMaid seems to have decided on weather to use inches or feet and kept blending these two freely, making poor metric-using-aliens go absolutely nuts.
The complete insaneness in this system...
Finally we got the material we needed (we think... we're not done... doing the measuring thing too way to long, only one closet is done...) and the Husband could take off for Home Depot, the mecca for home builders...
I have to figure out a way to make my kids be measurement bilingual...
Friday, July 27, 2007
Sometimes I almost jump when they speak English at the check out counter... and I always find it so funny when I have to pronounce the product names in "American" for people to understand me. Sometimes I get so gigglish at the whole situation. Proably making people think I'm even a more alien than I am...
Anyway, got the stuff I needed for tomorrow's big storage project. And of course a bag from the food shop filled with Swedish food essentials.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
The interesting thing, part from new techniques making new kinds of dialogs possible, is that we, as aliens, probably saw things in these photos no one else saw...
I immediately noticed that there was a Swedish IKEA catalog in a basket next to the sofa chair in which my friends' sister was sitting...
... the fantastic Marimekko curtains behind my friend's niece in another picture....
... we both tried to figure out what food was on the niece's plate...
... what kind of "fika" the family was eating on photo from a patio...
There can be lots of things to see in photos... if you look with a different eye...
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Today on of the foreign correspondents of one of the major news papers in Sweden, Dagens Nyheter, writes about his experiences coming back to Sweden after several (4) years in the US. George Cederskog writes a really interesting article of some of the Swedish phenomena you almost are not aware of if you haven't been away, getting other experiences, and then coming back.
The article is called "The total lack of politeness" (freely translated) and he writes among other things about getting doors in your face... I will always remember all the doors that hit me in Stockholm when I came back after a university year in the US, where I got used to always, alway hold the door for the next person (even if she is several meters away)... It took me a couple of months to remember to keep my hands up, ready to catch the door from the person in front of me...
I do like the ending of the article so much I just have to paste it here even though it's in Swedish.
"Att med så här bred pensel generalisera om tre hundra miljoner respektive nio miljoner människor är förstås omöjligt, djupt orättvist. Men jag har ännu inte mött någon svensk som har bott i USA utan att reagera på dessa skillnader. Det är så enormt mycket som vi underuppskattar i vårt land, så många enastående saker vi slött tar för givet. Trygghetssystemet. Allemansrätten. Barnomsorgen. Kollektivtrafiken. Den humanare straffskalan. De kostnadsfria skolorna. Allt det fantastiska i Sverige borde applåderas högre, tänker jag numera ofta. Vår beundran för USA borde samtidigt riktas mot helt andra områden än enbart den obscena stjärnkulten i Hollywood, den ekonomiska hungern och privatiseringsivern: den sociala välviljan och frimodigheten till exempel - allt det där som gör vardagen så många grader varmare där."
Read the full article here.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
I actually do have the first three seasons on DVD. A Swedish friend, totally addicted to the Simpsons, gave it to me as a Christmas gift a couple of years ago. I almost ashamed to say it's still in it's plastic cover...
I just realized this series is going on its 18th year... 18!! Maybe I should sit down and see an episode just to keep up with "common knowledge"... Since the DVD box was bought in Sweden it might even come with Swedish subtitles (or as they say here, closed captioning)...
And just that could be fun for a change...
Monday, July 23, 2007
At least honest in the sense that we would try to return found cell phones (placed by the magazine). Good to know that my chances are pretty high to get my cell phone back should I forget it in Stockholm.
However I'm still waiting for that phone that was stolen in 2002...
Picture from Nokia.com
Sunday, July 22, 2007
Sometimes I wonder if the flies know that it's cooler inside... I have a distinct feeling they're waiting by the patio door considering the amount of flies that gets in during the few seconds this door is actually open (when someone is passing in our out).
Every night we constantly check the thermometer. As soon as the outdoor temperature is lower than the indoor temperature, we can open up!! In summer this is sometimes way past our bedtime...
I just found this on YouTube... And you'll see some of Stockholm in it too...
Saturday, July 21, 2007
I ordered a Chocolate Devotion.
Chocolate ice cream, chocolate chips, brownie and fudge all mashed together...
Now I have my chocolate needs all satisfied for the next... hm... two weeks?
Everytime I visit Sweden I stock up on paperbacks and always make sure I have enough room them in my suitcases. Unpacking the bags when coming back is a little like Christmas Eve. And even though I'm a fast reader, I try to read the Swedish books slow, slow...
These are a few of the books that I managed to jam into my suitcases during my summer visit a couple of weeks ago...
Friday, July 20, 2007
I'm a Harry Potter-fan. There is something about this magic thing that I really like. I wonder what I would have thought had I been a pre-teen (but as they say, "always young at heart"...).
Anyway, since I didn't order it through Amazon, to be delivered with Fed-Ex like book 5, my options tonight is to either go over to Borders (like book 6) to pick it up or drive over to Safeway, a grocery store open 24 hours that also will release it at midnight. Probably without the long line at Borders... But then, also without the magic... We''ll see.
Still a couple of more hours.
The interesting thing is that in Europe, they're releasing the book with two covers, one "adult" and one "children"... Maybe European adults are more picky on what they want to show off they're reading.
I actually like the American cover version more (the one at the top in the column to the right). I just love the illustrations by the artist Mary Grandpré (check out her website for some more of her work).
I headed to Borders just to see all the people - kind of fun to see this plaza, normally deserted at midnight full with people. Then I drove over to Safeway to pick up the book and got one of the three books that were left...
Thursday, July 19, 2007
I'm amazed how this woman can walk without tripping over - she is not wearing anything less than 10 cm heals. All the time... Even when she is pitching for the Dodgers...
The funniest part is when she meets her "neighbors" who has invited her over. That part starts 5.30 minutes into this video...
Do people like that really exist...??
I've gone through a lot of phones and pdas. For the second time I'm attempting a smart phone.
My account at AT&T (former Cingular, a name I liked far better...) will have to be upgraded so I get access to the (very limited) services available.
And finally I might be able to return some sort of a MMS message to my friends and family in Sweden who keep sending me these with their cool 3G phones (I, in this stone age cell phone country, get a text message with a link and have to get to a computer and log on to a website to be able to see).
That's next step in communicating with family on the other side of the world, to be able to send instant pictures of what's going on over here...
Hopefully you'll like it when I'm done.
**Update** Not too bad, I made the transfer in less than an hour, phew - all done! The widgets seem to have some problems loading in Microsoft Explorer - another reason to switch to Firefox!
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Hm, I replied.
Now, this is a type of a cat that I would NOT like to meet when on and about. However much I do like cats too. They look... evil. I think I actually would prefer meeting a fuzzy male lion.
More than half of California is mountain lion habitat.
Mountain lions typically avoid people the sign at the zoo said. And if you happen to meet a mountain lion, the recommendation is not to run; instead, face the animal, make lots of noise and try to look bigger by waving your arms or your clothes. You're free to throw rocks or other objects.
Note to self.
Do not run. Look bigger.
(Picture from The Californian Department of Fish and Game)
Monday, July 16, 2007
But sometimes I go nuts. Where I live the summer lasts until October. Until then we walk around in sandals, go swimming and wear summer clothes. I don't care that the "back to school" season has started and that "fall" is here soon in some parts of this huge country.
It's summer! And I need a beach umbrella!! A simple, easy beach umbrella in any color. And I can't find it anywhere. The stores are filled with pencils and school backpacks. I've given up and are researching online stores.
I still have about three months worth of use for one.
Sunday, July 15, 2007
My main computer, my "hub", who has been faithful to me for the longest time, was time to send to computer heaven today. And even though I consider myself being pretty ok with computers and having my own in house IT manager, this is tedious, boring work...
Just getting my iPod to sync with a new computer, without loosing all data on it has been taking way too long... I don't even want to think about all problems I will get when moving Outlook my .pst-file. Oh, well. Life these days. It still beats pen and paper and LP discs.
I'm now getting the fastest computer in the house (why does the Husband look a bit green... did he eat something bad?).
Not that it will help me write faster e-mails or talk faster on Skype when communicating with friends and family. But still.
Saturday, July 14, 2007
I remember when she was born. Amazed by a princess' arrival. A Swedish princess. I hope she a has a good day and will be able to catch a private moment or two amiss all the public celebration...
Friday, July 13, 2007
The city where I live now almost made the list. It's a "On the verge" city. Seems I'm sticking to "fast" places. What ever that means.
A "fast city" according to Fast Company:
It starts with opportunity. Not just bald economic capacity, but a culture that nurtures creative action and game-changing enterprise. Fast Cities are places where entrepreneurs and employees alike can maximize their potential--where the number of patents filed is high, for instance, or where the high-tech sector is expanding.
The second component: innovation. Fast Cities invest in physical, cultural, and intellectual infrastructure that will sustain growth. //
Finally, Fast Cities have energy, that ethereal thing that happens when creative people collect in one place. The indicators can seem obscure: number of ethnic restaurants, or the ratio of live-music lovers to cable-TV subscribers. But they point to environments where fresh thinking stimulates action and, by the way, attracts new talent in a virtuous cycle of creativity.(Andrew Park, Fast Company, July/August 2007, page 92)
Thursday, July 12, 2007
But why does it feel a bit... hm... I don't know... interesting that Herbalife is the main sponsor on LA Galaxy's shirts... On the other hand, The LA Galaxy's mascot is "Cosmo" a frog-like extraterrestrial.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
I wonder how many Californians decide to choose Sweden a the destination for their vacation?
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Considering the state of our back yard my next living should probably be a condo with a balcony with plastic flowers.
But then... if you get a $28 dollar house, you should be able to keep a couple of gardeners to help you out.
Monday, July 09, 2007
This is a picture of the sun at 4.20 pm, October 14, 2004.
I just have to focus on all the job opportunities I'm helping to support.
Next time I'll just write a darn check to my self in the first place.
Sunday, July 08, 2007
Especially if the patio table is made of glass. And it's been outdoors in the heat all day.
Your berries will be thawed but you will have pieces of glass all over the patio when the glass surface on the table cracks from the major temperature difference.
Just a little recommendation...
Saturday, July 07, 2007
When we came here we had to get used to get back to check writing. Eventually our Californian bank offered online banking and we could finally stop writing checks, most of the times.
A couple of days ago I transfered money online from my Californian company account to my private account. Same bank, actually same physical bank office. The money was promptly taken out of my buiness account, but seemed to never show up on my private account. So I went to the bank today (of course open on Saturdays) to figure out where the money had gone, if they were lost in cyberspace.
It was worse. The money was lost in paperspace. See, even though I did a transfer online, the only thing I did was to ask someone in the bank organization to print a check, send it to my bank office by mail, where they will open the envelope, manually type in the transaction and deposit the money into my account, a process that takes about a week.
I would say this is very much non-online-banking.
Friday, July 06, 2007
The hardest part is to find steaks small enough.
Thursday, July 05, 2007
It's like walking around in a sauna. With clothes. And no cold lake around.
Today we hit 107 F (+41C).
We actually went to the lake to try to cool off today. But "cold" is not what you can call the water. But for awhile we felt somewhat cooler. Somewhat. Then we quickly returned home to the cool AC air. We have +28C indoors.
Nice and cool.
Who would have thought I would consider +28C to be cool...
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
Today is 4th of July, the celebration of independence and other from an American history viewpoint important facts.
Most people will put up American flags, throw hamburgers on the barbecue, light fire crackers (no fireworks except the official) and hang out together with friends and family. Just as Swedes in general aren't really that aware of what June 6 stands for - but the difference is that at least the Americans will celebrate and have fun today, compared to us lost Swedes who still have no idea what to do with our "national day".
Yes, we will barbecue, eat marshmallows and hang out today (no fire crackers however.. I prefer fireworks). You got to take every chance to have fun!
(We also celebrate important days such as "Kanelbullens Dag", eating cinnamon rolls and Våffeldagen, eating Swedish waffles...)
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
I've been unpacking for two days now and I'm still not done. It feels I'm just moving piles around to new places.
Maybe I can blame the heat?
Monday, July 02, 2007
Sunday, July 01, 2007
26 hours door-to-door.
On my own with one cute, but stubborn 3,5-year old and one cute, but loud and insomniac 11-month old. 2 flights and a 5-hour stop over in Chicago.
If you want to know how to build houses out of air sick bags or other traveling tricks, just ask (I didn't know I knew either...).
Flying alone with small kids is hard work. There are only few seconds you can let your guard down. You have to be mentally and physically ready, take a deep breath and just count down.
Now I need a vacation to recover.