Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

We have decided to repeat last year's success and spend New Year's Eve downtown and watch the fireworks - one at 9 pm and one at midnight. I'm Swedish (or European) at heart - I need the year to go out with some major dynamite explosions. The small "puffs" people randomly throw around on New Year's Eve here doesn't count. It should be loud and big.

Usually New Year's is one of the few days of the year when I really feel home sick (Midsummer Eve is the other) - I miss the fantastic feeling of hitting the streets at midnight and everyone is out, cheering, seeing, hearing, smelling the fireworks. Watching the ball drop in New York on rerun from 3 hours earlier just doesn't do the trick...

But our newly invented tradition is as close as you get to a European New Year's Eve.

I wish all of you a Happy New Year and hope you get to see lots of fireworks!!

Thursday, December 30, 2010


Sometimes the lack of standards here makes me crazy... it sure would make life easier and less adventurous... In our house we have five closets with sliding doors. We have decided to exchange the doors on two closets to sliding doors to make them more accessible. When we started measuring it turns out that the five closet doors have tree different dimensions and when we came to Home Depot it turns out that neither of the dimensions we had can be fit with a sliding door - they have totally different dimensions... And that's just the width - if you add height things are even more complicated. Seems you have to decide what doors you want and then build the closet around them. For about 5 times the price of a "normal closet door" you can special order and it will take at least 6 weeks... that's IF the height is in the "range" of normal.

Oh, sometimes I miss 40, 60, 80 cm as standards...

Or maybe things are the same in Sweden when it comes to interior dimensions - after all I've only had a house in the US - never in the US....

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Piggybacking on social networking services

When I started up this blog in 2006, I had already been writing my personal family blog (but called it "diary") for over 3 years (and I still do - going on over 7 years now with daily updates), chronicling the life of our family far away from our close family and old friends. The blog was (is) my little outlet of thoughts that wasn't necessarily family related but topics that I wanted to write about still. 

In 2006 the main issue was how to defeat the standard themes of Blogger... there was no Twitter... Facebook... or Buzz. In the past 4 years life has become swamped with social networking. In essence I love it - it's a way to keep close to friends and family - and meet new friends (as a sidemark - all local Swedes I've connected with here are the result of social networking in different forms). But it can also be time consuming - especially when you use it for your professional life as well (as I do). There are only so many hours in a day.

My goal is to maximize effect with minimal effort and try to piggyback on all social networking services so updating and adding will be easy and smooth. It took me all fall to find out a smooth way to do it in my professional life - and now I'm trying to build the same process in my private, social life. Using services as Posterous, Twitterfeed, apps and extensions in Chrome etc. 

We'll see - bear with me the next couple of days (weeks?) when I try to optimize my flow of thoughts to this blog and get the feeds to work... 


Monday, December 27, 2010

New Year - new home :

Dear readers (if you're still out there), after a busy couple of months I had to take some time off my dear blog and focusing on other things. Now on Christmas break - I decided to take some time to make some long over due changes and upgrades. I spent some time today looking back at this fall and made a couple of reflections below.

I'm also moving my blog to it's own domain - a move I've been planning for over a year (or more come to think of it), but never really finding the time. 

From now on A Swedish Alien in California can be followed over at Links to here will still work - but if you want to update your blogroll lists - this is the new home. I hope to see you there (here) as I'm preparing for a new, great 2011!

I've connected a Twitter account to the blog too if you want to follow along there.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Lucia for the first time in...a long time

Every year we have the kids dress up and sing Lucia songs at the local IKEA. This year we also got a chance to to it a little bit more for "real" - a local Lutheran church let us sing in their cute little church on the actual Lucia Day. And this year we had decided that the grown-ups should participate too - to make the singing a little bit stonger (which sure was needed at IKEA - as it happened to be the same day as the "julbord" and it was very noisy and busy).

This was the first time in... well... 25 years (?) that I walked and sang in a Lucia procession. I think the grown-ups were more excited than the kids - and we have decided to make it a tradition - we want to do this again! Poor kids...