Sunday, August 30, 2009

Scary fires way too close by

Fires are every day life in California during the dry season - in other words most of the year. We haven't felt any smoke today - the wind have been blowing the other way - so it was a shocker when we turned on the evening news and saw the devastation of a fierce, forceful and quick wildfire up in Auburn about 30 minutes car drive from here. As of now 60 houses are gone in a residential area more or less like ours - it only took hours for the devastation to take place.

People have lost everything, literally... My thoughts go out to all those people - and the firefighters working so hard right now. And no, we won't see any rain until late October usually...

(click on the picture for a link to one news report earlier
today on one of the local channels or click
here. )

Saturday, August 29, 2009

A day at the Circus

The circus came to town over the weekend, converting our basketball area to a circus arean filling it with clowns, acrobats, circus princesses, elephants, horses and tigers. It was the Ringling Brother's Zing Zang Zoom Show that had arrived.

It sure was a show, never a quiet moment. It was a good balance between funny clowns and beautiful acrobats and fantastic performances and an impressive "behind the scenes" logistics to get it all to work. After two hours you're really done with circus for a bit... The kids were in awe and very happy afterwards and now we just have live through "circus performances" in the house for a couple of weeks...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ice cream for dinner

One of the advantages when you travel without kids is that you can toss routines and healthy eating, clocks an food times and just improvise as you please. We had almost forgotten about this during our stay in San Diego - but quickly caught on. By the third day we had ice cream for dinner...

And what a fantastic ice cream it was... we found this place called MooTime Creamery in Coronado that makes the most FANTASTIC ice cream... Ice cream to die for...

Too bad we have a 8 hours and 14 minute drive (without traffic) there according to Google Maps.. If you pass by, you just have to try one of their unbaked sundaes... aaaaaahhhhh...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A trip to San Diego

I surprised the Husband with a four day visit to San Diego, celebrating his 40th birthday. I had planned it for over six months and thought it all was ruined when United made an automatic itinirary call three weeks ago and I didn't get to the phone in time... But since the ticket United called about was only for me (I had a airfare voucher since my Frankfurt incident last year) the Husband didn't connect the dots - and thought I was going somewhere or that it was a mistake. I really thought the surprise was ruined and it was only when we got to the airport checking in, I realized he really didn't know where we were going. He learned about the four day trip a week in advance - but I never said anything about where (silently thinking he already knew...).

We left the kids at our house in the care of our wonderful nanny who had taken on the kids, bracing for lack of sleep... Since we don't have family around - going away without the kids is really rare - actually it has never happened since our Daughter was born in 2003... Now we were going to get four days, three nights with uninterrupted sleep... (so we were a bit bummed when we were wide awake at 7.13 am the first day... even the kids back home had slept in until 8 am...).

Unfortunately the ship wreck dive in Wreck Alley in the pacific I had organized for the Husband on his birthday was cancelled due to rough waves that days. But we quickly made other plans and in the end I think the birthday turned out pretty good.

We had four wonderful days, exploring San Diego and its surroundings with our rental car and with Coronado as our base camp. We stayed at Lowes Coronado with a fantastic view of the bay, the San Diego skyline and the sea from our balcony. At the end of the four days we were checking out real estate listings - wouldn't it be nice to have a house with beach access...

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Surprise barbecue

The Husband, who for months have been receiving membership invitations from the AARP and ads for "pre-paid cremation" is getting closer to the big 4-0. Since he is not going to be at home on his birthday next week, his parents and sister with family decided to pay a surprise visit, planned for months.

And since the gift they brought with them was a new, cool Weber grill, a super duper Geneis 320, the surprise was also a barbecue - once the Husband had assembled the grill...

The kids were mighty impressed with the size of the package. I was very impressed by the wrapping... And the Husband was happily surprised by the far away visit and the grill that he has secretly dreamed about.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Absolutely cool

Absolut Vodka might not be Swedish anymore, but the label on the bottle still says "Country of Sweden" - so I'm going to claim them as Swedish still.

This is a video from one of their art projects. They have a Facebook page where you can see more videos. I think they're pretty cool, even thought I'm not a vodka drinking person.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Kissing Hand

My Daughter brought home this excerpt from a book yesterday from school. I had never heard of it - but isn't it a lovely story! The kids all had a small white card with them home and were to trace their hands on it and the moms were to kiss the card (with lipstick...) and the kids could then keep the card in their desks at school and bring out when they get homesick. I finished my Daughter's card last night and wrote a secret message in Swedish along the hand. She was very pleased this morning (I was too - I'm not really the artistic type - but it turned out ok).

"But you're not going to miss me in school so you don't really need it", I told her, knowing she loves school and can't wait to spend the days there. "I know, but let's pretend I need it mom", she said.

The Kissing Hand
- by Audrey Penn

Chester Raccon stood at the edge of the forest and cried.

“I don’t want to go to school”, he old his mother. “I want to stay home with you. I want to play withy my friend. And play with my toys. And read my books. And swing my swing. Please may I stay home with you?”

Mrs Raccon took Chester by the hand and nuzzled him on the ear.

“Sometimes we all have to do things we don’t want to do”, she told him gently. “Even if they seem strange and scary at first. But you will love school once you start”.

“You’ll make new friends and play with new toys. Besides,”, she added, “I know a secret that will make your nights at school seem as warm as cozy as you days at home”.

Chester wiped away his tears and looked interested. “A secret? What kind of secret?”

“It’s called the Kissing hand”, she said.

“The Kissing Hand?”, asked Chester. “What’s that?”

“I’ll show you”. Mrs Raccon took Chester’s hand and kissed right in the middle of his palm.

Chester felt his mother’s kiss rush from his hand, up his arm and into his heart.

Mrs Raccon smiled. “Now whenever you feel lonely and need a little loving from home, just press your hand to your cheek and think. “Mommy loves you” and that very kiss will jump to your face and fill you with toasty warm thoughts”.

Chester loved The Kissing Hand. Now he knew his mother’s love would go with him wherever he went.

That night, Chester stood in front of his school and looked at his mother and grinned.

“Give me your hand” he told her.

Chester took his mother’s hand in his own. Next he leaned forward and kissed the center of her hand.

“Now you have a Kissing Hand too”, he told her. And with a gentle “Good bye” and “I love you”, Chester turned and danced away.

Monday, August 10, 2009

First day of school - and lunch box packing

American kids start school by the age of 5. The first year is spent in Kindergarten, which is usually part of the elementary school. Elementary school usually goes up to grade 5 or 6. My Daughter finished Kindergarten this spring and today it was time to start 1st Grade. She will be there for 5,5 hours every day, five days a week. You have to pack a lunch box since lunch is not provided (as it is in Swedish schools). There is a small "cafeteria" where you can buy "food" (pizza, corn dogs) if you forgot or didn't have time to pack your bag. It's kind of tricky to pack a lunch - it has to last for a couple of hours and usually you can't really heat it up - so it has to be cold.

Well, we better get used to the habit - we're going to be doing this for the next 12 years...

Friday, August 07, 2009

Having fun at Six Flags

As an "end of the summer" treat - we took the kids to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom for a day of play before school starts. Six Flags Discovery Kingdom is a huge amusement park - they have all kids of rides - combined with a zoo and a aquarium. You can see "shows" with dolphins, sea lions, elephants, tigers, killer whales, you can see giraffes, camels, butterflies, sharks, turtles. You can ride huge roller coasters or hang out in the Looney Tunes area for kids. It is a full day's entertainment and you have to pick a day when it's cooler - our you will melt away in the heat since it's located in a valley and the cooling wind will have problems to find you.

After a day at SixFlags you are totally exhausted and done with amuesements parks for a full year...