Wednesday, March 31, 2010


I like semlor. Even though it's basically just a bun with cream and some almond paste. It's a hazzle to make them on your own (and I actually think bought ones turn out better...). I was too lazy this year to make them - but during my stop in Stockholm I had one (actually two...).


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Subway systems

Since I grew up in Stockholm, I'm used to get around using public transportation. It's usually the quickest way if you're downtown and there is a subways system. And if you've used one system, you've used them all. The basics are the same, you just have to remember to keep your ticket - in some systems you might need it to get out.

During our stay in New York, we had meetings in downtown, midtown, uptown in the same day and rush around in the subway, sometimes adding a little taxi drive.

And as all subways systems... they're pretty nasty in during rush over... and in the New York subway, you have no cell phone coverage.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Baskeball in Madison Square Garden

During my visit to New York I got the opportunity to spend an evening at Madison Square Garden, watching New York Knicks play the Detroit Pitsons (where we have Swedens' first NBA player, Jonas Jerebko). An American sports event is like a big party. Everyone is in a good mood, hanging out, watching the game, eating pizza. It's a good feeling and a real show.

During time outs or breaks, all the coaches, always dressed in nice suits, gather on the field, making quick strategies to bring back to the team. All while the audience is entertained by different performances. Even if you don't like basket ball (or fotball or baseball or what ever sport), you still have a good time.

Me and my co-workers were wearing red caps (Detroit Pistons' color), and cheered when ever Jerebko scored. Which he did pretty frequently, but not often enough to save the Pistons, who lost the game to the Knicks.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

New York, New York

New York might be in the same country and on the same continent, but it's still far from California. Getting there from here takes a whole day of boring flying. You don't just "pop by New York". I didn't have time to do much - a quick stop for about 30 minutes at FAO Scharwz and the MOMA Design Shop, the rest of the days were spent rushing between meetings. And then rushing out to JFK to continue to Sweden.

Arriving through the clouds to La Guardia.

The Village. 

In between meetings. 

View from my hotelroom. Empire State Building from the Meatpacking District.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Travel and jetlag

I've been on the road and done a little airport hopping. Had to spend some time in New York and then continuing to Stockholm, Sweden. I used to be pretty good with jetlag - but these days, westbound jetlag (meaning coming back home to California) hits me so hard... it takes me two weeks to get out of it and have energy to do anything past 8 pm at night.

I've fallen behind on my updates - started numerous post, only to fall asleep before finishing up... But here we go - a couple of blog posts are coming right up!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Wooden stairs vs carpet runner stairs...

I saw this picture in the newspaper over the weekend. "Looks great!", I thought when I saw the picture of the wooden stair case. Then I read the text and yeah... sure enough... the wooden stairs case was the "before" and the carpet runner stair case was the "after"...

Scandinavian design runs deep, deep in your veins...

Monday, March 01, 2010

English as a second language and grades in Elementary school

Last week we got notice that our Daughter, who is in 1st Grade, has now formally been moved from the ESL status to FEP - meaning going from limited English proficiency to fluent English proficiency. That means that in theory, if you could correlate for age, we have a Daughter that is now better in English than we are. Cool!

All kids (in California, can't speak for the other 49 states) that speak a different language at home are flagged as ESL students and monitored extra in school. This is the Daughter's second screening (since it's her second year in the American school system that starts with Kindergarten at age 5) and she made huge progress the last year. We're so proud of her, handling two languages so very natural, switching back and forth...

We also got her grading, her Grade Progress Report,  for the second period of the school year. Here you get grades from 1st Grade (well, you got "grades" in Kindergarten too, but they were more based on attendance) and I love it!

It's a great way to track what's going on in school and it's still based on a pretty easy scale - N (needs improvement), S (satisfactory), G (good), O (outstanding). For a lot of the "issues" you can't get more than a "G" or "N". You get the grades three times a year and the first and the second time you have a parent-teacher meeting to talk about them.

The Daughter is doing great - and we can also see some of the issues she had. The teacher writes notes on the grade sheet, following up. The kids (at least in our school) are not aware of the grades and it's not something you really talk about as in "you have to improve your grades", but really a good indication of progress.

The grading is not only "subject" based like you're used to in Sweden (or were used to - I know nothing about how grading is done these days - my last encounter with Swedish grading was.... long time ago...). You get an indication on "issues" like "Citizenship" like "respect self and others", "makes responsible choices", and "Work habits" such as "follow directions", "stays on task", and "Area efforts" in areas such as "technology", "visual and performance arts", and "physical education".  My Daughter is "outstanding" at handing in homework (she should thank her mom!) and "satisfactory" in "staying on task". ;-)