March 31st, 2010

empty calendar

PASS THE CHOCOLATE

I'm a little stressed out about our 4-week vacation this summer to the States and I haven't even done anything yet but book the flights. You would think that 4 weeks is enough time to fit in everything and everyone, right? But I'm beginning to believe that while it may be possible, it won't be RESTFUL. I don't want to come home from my vacation needing another vacation.

The list of people we want to see is growing: my mom (of course), my brother and his wife, my sister and her family, my grandmother, my aunt & uncle and cousins and their families, my mom's cousins, my college roommates, one of my dearest friends and her husband who are planning to fly up to see us while we're on the same continent.

We will have a REAL American 4th of July, the first one my kids will experience on American soil (if I remember correctly and there's no guarantee that I do), so we must make sure it's done with all the trappings and trimmings and traditions. They DID get a sort-of-kind-of idea of what a real American 4th of July celebration includes last summer while we were in the Netherlands at the military base there, but I want the whole hog: parades and picnics and patriotism and impromptu choruses of Yankee Doodle and America the Beautiful like the time I was with Becky in Oregon and we were sitting on blankets in the middle of a field milling with hundreds of people, eating tuna sandwiches and potato chips and coleslaw and watermelon and rice krispie treats and I started singing The Star-Spangled Banner out loud and Becky joined in and the family next to us raised their voices and after only a few moments the whole field was singing.

Martin and Karin have been a party to American 4th of July celebrations every year of their lives here in Sweden, courtesy of the AWC, but as fun and rewarding as those are as parties, they're more meaningful to US, the parents, the expats. It's just not the same; how could it be?

And then there's the more-than-tentative plans to visit Chicago for a few days, though how we'll manage to afford it, I'm not sure. There's so much we want to do! And it's been 11 years since Anders and I were there and 13.5 since we lived there and I'm sure it's changed a lot and we won't recognize things and the traffic will be worse and we have friends there we'd like to hook up with, too.

Anders says one step at a time: get prices on hotels first and then we'll know which days are best to go and can plan the rest around that. I say: AAH! Stressball!ZOMG!

***

Last night, after the kids had gone to bed, I walked into the playroom to turn off the light in the window and noticed that Martin wasn't in his bed. Hmmm...I thought, last time we dog-sat, he insisted on moving his mattress to the floor so that the dog could come and curl up with him, as well as with Karin, whose bed is at floor-level. He wasn't on the floor though, so I peeked into Karin's room and sure enough, the two of them were in her bed, pushmi-pullyu, with the dog nowhere in sight. Karin got up right after that to go to the bathroom and I whispered to her that Martin shouldn't be in her bed (she's had a cold the past couple of days which I didn't want him to catch*) and she said he was only there because London (the dog) had been up on the bed with them for awhile. So I scooted him back into his own bed, but I kept thinking about the pushmi-pullyu part.

Do you know about pushmi-pullyus? If you're anywhere around my age or younger and American, I bet you do, because you grew up with Doctor Doolittle which was a terrible musical but nevertheless exerted a weird enchantment. One of my most favorite songs to sing is from the movie: Talk to the Animals. Anyway, the pushmi-pullyou was a ridiculously exotic and impossible 2-headed llama (in the movie; in the book it was a gazelle/unicorn), so when you sleep two to a bed with your heads at opposite ends it is called sleeping pushmi-pullyu. At least that's what my family always called it. If you didn't call it that, what did you call it?

I just asked Anders if there was a Swedish expression for sleeping pushmi-pullyou, and THERE IS! It's called skarfötters (att sova skarfötters). Skar, as far as I can tell with some quick online Swedish dictionary searching, is an old-fashioned version of skär which means to cut, or possibly, to intersect, and fötters is feet. How fun! I wonder what other words or expressions in other languages there are for pushmi-pullyu.

Edited to add faroula mentioned a different spelling and when I googled that it seems there are TWO ways to spell the Swedish version of pushmi-pullyu: skavfötters or skarfötters. Which one is correct? Commence poll.

***

Tomorrow is a half-day and then a 4-day weekend for Easter. If I didn't have so much to do at work, I'd be much happier about it. Not that I'm not happy about it, but I wish I was feeling more caught up.

Candles, Candles Burning Bright Birthday Wishes to my SEESTER!