May 20th, 2010



Spring has been sneaking up on us. We had a beautiful April until the volcano blew and for nearly three weeks we've been shivering and turning up our collars and sneaking betrayed looks at the cloud cover. Today: glorious summer! Though I was at work, head bent to my PC, frantically pounding out task after task, trying to keep abreast of the mountain of work that threatens to slide and consume, so I couldn't really enjoy it properly. Karin called around 3 p.m. asking if she could get the sprinkler out to play with. They put it under the trampoline and then jump around avoiding it: hilarity for eons, that. A beautiful evening and a gorgeous sunset to top it all off with, like pink streaking frosting on my sunshine cake.


Anders took off after work today with the old Volvo and returned in our new Saab. The kids went screaming out the door as he pulled up: "It's RED! It's RED!" He thinks we're all nuts because we're all so excited by the color. Red cars are COOL. "They get pulled over more often by the cops," my mother, who was on the phone with me at the time, cautioned. "Yeah, yeah," I said, walking out the door to admire its gleaming redness. It's REALLY red. It's fire-engine red. Racing red. RED. Vrroom vroom!


Cracking Me Up: There is alway social commentary on the milk cartons here in Sweden. They never have photos of missing children that bring you down at breakfast time; no, the dairies here are more concerned with making sure the population is aware of the importance of milk and promoting milk-related activities accompanied by their mascot Kalvin the calf. He sponsors footraces for kids and invites Swedish children to the annual kosläpp each Spring. Literally, that's "cow release" and it celebrates the beginning of the outdoor season for the Swedish milk cows who are let out into the fields and pastures to graze on the freshly grown grass. Cow Slap! we say, and giggle madly each time. I've tried to get my kids interested in attending a kosläpp, to no avail, alas.

This photo, believe it or not, shows just how interested the Swedish population is in the joy of the cows released into the springtime outdoors.

ANYWAY, the current milk carton, in addition to a promotion to "Meet Scanian milk farmers!" has the following interesting invitation printed on the side: Är det något mjölkaktigt du skulle vilja prata med oss om? Kontakta oss... This stopped me in my tracks the other day, while we were eating dinner. Is there something MILKY you would like to talk to us about? I laughed my head off for several minutes, then decided that maybe I wasn't translating mjölkaktigt correctly. Milk-like? Milk-ish? Either way, it made me laugh. Who doesn't have something milky that they would like to talk about? I wonder how many people actually contact them with milk-related questions.


We are halfway through Watership Down and I'm getting demands and threats and pouting sulks each evening when I finish the (long) chapter I've read through and close the book. Tonight it was extreme because the rabbits just raided the farm next door and released the hutch rabbits (Rabbit Slap!) to bring them up to the warren to live, and Hazel's BEEN SHOT. And the 4 rabbits who went off on an expedition to persuade does from "the big rabbit town" 2 days away have returned, ill and exhausted, and alone. Karin and Martin are practically dithering to know what happens next and I confess to an evil gleeful pleasure in drawing out the anticipation. It's like having to wait for your favorite TV show to air each week before you can find out what happens. Torture! Reading is fun. >:D

I've actually been pretty impressed with Martin's sense of logic and skill at deduction. He figured out long before the rabbits did that the lack of females was going to be an issue. And he figured out what kind of bird Kehaar was from the first description before his species was actually named. He's made a couple of other spot-on comments that make me realize just how intently he is listening. Karin is completely caught up in the drama of it all, wide-eyed and gasping with the adventurous parts and giggling like a fiend at the silly bits.

I've had to move the date of the discussion to August however, and because we jumped the gun and started so early on the book (partly in order to be finished by our original deadline of June 16), we'll be done with the book LONG before we actually talk about it and since I don't want the kids to forget everything they thought and felt about the book, I think I'll make them write up some short book reports to jog their memories with, come August.


My American colleague, Lora, that was trapped here some weeks ago by the volcano, mailed back 2 books that she borrowed from me along with a CD: the soundtrack to Wicked, the Musical. I am dying to see it. We so rarely go to plays or shows anymore, and I really miss it. When I emailed her to thank her, she informed me that Wicked will be playing in Boston, ending its run the day after I arrive for my business trip in October. I was so excited!! But then I went online to check ticket prices and found out that the cost of decent seats for a matinee show on a Sunday was $250 to $300 !! Holy Munchkins, that's expensive! The cheapest seats, the ones I could actually afford at $100 a pop, were the last row in the top balcony: so far away from the stage that I wouldn't be able to see a thing. WAH! How can anyone afford to go see live theater?