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Archive for April, 2007

and it started raining 30 minutes later.

Sigh. . . You never know with the Swedish spring.

 Spring means to me in Sweden:

1. always a surprise with weather

2. winter boots, rain boots, snowsuits, rain suits, jackets, winter coats, hats, gloves, caps, sunglasses

3. bicycles

4. sand

5. hockey sticks

6. rollar blades

7. grilling outside

8. helmets

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1. 5-week paid vacations to full-time employees

2. better maternity leave for working moms

3. a better regulated daycare system. Not everyone in the U.S. has the luxury of staying home to raise their children. I think that these moms should be able to get quality, affordable daycare. There need to be standards about the education daycare workers should have, decent wages, decent daycare program which is engaging and fun, etc.

4. Bicycle paths that allow people to bicycle safely throughout towns and cities without being near cars!!!

5. pear drinks. Yes, the U.S. would be a much better place if they have päron saft –which is a drink made from pears.  

6. better chocolate

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and I’m not sure how I feel about that. Okay, okay, we’re not raising an environmentalist, but pbskids.org and the school system are sure giving it a concentrated effort. Walter announced in a very serious voice, “Mom, the world is in danger. We need to save it.”

 Please don’t get me wrong. I think that we consume way too much, are far too dependent on oil and natural resources, and we do need to preserve wilderness areas and special habitats. I hate the rampant materialism in the U.S. and the alarming numbers of SUV’s that litter the road. I would love to see cities and towns develop bicycle paths and better, more reliable public transportation.

It’s the politics of environmentalism that I can’t stand. It’s Al Gore trumpeting the cause of environmentalism and then using more energy in a month than most American households do in a year that drives me crazy. It’s the inconsistency. It’s the idea that politicians can sit behind their desks in Washington D.C. or in the E.U. or even at the United Nations and tell us how land can and should be used.

So, my responses to Walter are tempered by my personal feelings about the politics. I guess we’ll go the route of deciding what to do as a family to protect the environment and leave the discussion of environmental politics to a later time. . .

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These days I spend a lot of time driving kids around in the Great White Beast “GWB” (our affectionate name for our gigantic 9-seater utility van which we drive in the land of mini-cars). The GWB is functional in the extreme–I can haul herds of children, houseloads of stuff, and racks of bicycles. But it does have its drawbacks: a high ceiling which makes parking in parking garages impossible, its size which makes parking a challenge in the small parking spaces, and a radio which does not function very well.

I love listening to music or books on tape while driving. But I don’t really care for Southern Sweden/Danish radio stations. There was a horrifying period last fall when only three songs were being played on the radio: You’re my lover, you’re undercover, some song about a girl trying to attract the attention of a boy, and another techno song that drove me crazy. These songs were all so annoying and played so constantly that I felt that I had, at last, pinpointed the reason for the weekend alcohol binges that are so common here. I began to wonder if these songs were only tolerable at the nightclub where one is already stoned or completely drunk. In order to escape the torture, I started listening to books on tape.

Well, our tape player has begun chewing and spitting up tapes. So I’m back to channel surfing on the radio. The good news is that I’ve become a bit conversant with the political issues which plague the Swedish government today from a Swedish perspective. The bad news is that I have now heard some very scary songs which are Swedish versions of old country/western music. I think I’ve hit my musical breaking point.

Everyone must have a musical breaking point. I wonder if my neighbors are tired of me playing the same George Strait CD when I clean or feel homesick. I’m reminded of a humorous story my friend told me when she hit her musical breaking point. She related the story of being forced to sit through an Eddie Rabbit concert at a country fair.  This European girl from the city reached her breaking point listening to 80’s country music in the ultimate of country settings-the county fair. It was enough to make her run screaming for the airport to fly back to civilization. She managed to survive the concert and stayed in the U.S. for a longer, but the concert was obviously very scarring.

What’s your musical breaking point?

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After ten years of schooling, he is almost finished. WOW!!!! I’m so proud of him.

 I’ve been proofreading his thesis and I feel like I’ve gotten a glimpse into the scientific section of his mind. It’s very deep. I’m just happy that in the midst of his nanoworld, he still remembers how to be a great husband and father.

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But the packing, decluttering bug has hit me. Brent has applied for a job in Boulder, Colorado. We should know within a month if he got it. If he gets the job, we’ll be moving back to the U.S. in August. As I look around my house, I see all this stuff that has to go.

So, in the last couple of days, I have:

1. put all the dvd’s in one CD case and thrown away all the covers. You have no idea how much weight that has saved me from trying to force in my suitcases.

2. gone through all the toys, thrown out a substantial number of them (shhh, don’t tell the boys) and have decided which toys we will most likely take back with us (legos, bionicles, and the wooden train tracks)

3. collected all the books I am giving away and put them in a bag ready to be taken to church tomorrow.

4. started a bag for clothes to give away. I’ve even thrown away clothes that have been in the mending pile for 2 years awaiting my domestic hand.

5. put Brooke’s outgrown clothes away–still have to remember which ones my sister loaned me so I bring the right ones back.

6. collected scrap paper and toys to be given to IPSL

7. sorted through all the children’s books and have donated them to ISLK and IPSL.

8. sorted through my scrapbook materials and given away material that I can part with (the neon cardstock had to go. . .I’m just not a neon paper layout kind of girl)

This shouldn’t have taken me all day, but I haven’t been feeling well. In between uncomfortable joint pains, fatigue from staying up too late, and general crankiness, I felt a bit possessed as I tossed and sorted.

I just hope I get it all done in time. I’ve seen too many people in the last day of their move frantically running to neighbors begging them to take their junk. I’ve got a jump on that though. I’ve started now begging my friends and neighbors to take my junk.  Anybody want some plants????

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Josef loves Spiderman to the point of wearing all his Spiderman clothes everyday.

I’ve shamelessly exploited this hero-worship to get Josef drink his milk. (Josef, if you drink your milk, you’ll be strong like Spiderman. Spiderman drinks milk!)

Today, Josef wanted a drink in between meals. I don’t let him drink juice or saft (kind of like kool-aid) in between meals. I gave him a cup and said he could get some water out of the bathroom. He said “I don’t want water.”

And then I said, “But Spiderman drinks water. If you drink water, you’ll be like Spiderman!”

And Josef replies, “Spiderman doesn’t drink water, only milk and saft!”

So there you go. So much for my exploitation tactics!

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