Saturday, February 28, 2009

The New Zen

We found the house. And now we've sold the apartment. We've found a school for Wilhelm, but no pre-school for Blanka (she's number 90 on their list, muahahahaha). We're moving a whole lot sooner than we thought and la sweet cousine is getting married right in the middle of it, about a thousand miles away and my hotel reservation seem to have been cancelled. But do I fret? Is my neck all red and blotchy? Is there a hint of panic in my voice? Do you find me packing through the night? Oh, No. I'm positively buddhist these days. It's the new me. I'm so calm it's frustrating. And I love it.

Leo enjoys it too.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Really Very Interesting

Today is Question Day! I have haircuts on my mind, the middle aged haircut to be specific. There seem to be in Sweden a certain age when women cut their hair short. After which, with hardly any exceptions to the rule, they look like this:

This haircut is de rigeur for Swedish women after 40. And I wonder why? What happens that day at the hairdressers? Is it the Swedish woman's practical nature that wins a lifelong fight with vanity and just conquers all? For let me tell you, after this move there is no going back. This is the haircut Swedish women wear from here to eternity.

So tell me, will this ever happen to you? Does it happen to women where you live? Is there a male equivalent? And what would Leo do? Talk to me.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Daylight, Anyone?

We've been having a lot of this lately.

And though it's pretty in many ways, I'm having this big crazy ass craving for daylight. Call me a spoiled brat, but there it is. Please, please, please, bring on the light. Anytime soon.

Leo would fall off the wagon in two seconds if he had to endure a Swedish winter.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tuesday Book Report

"Excuse me, sir, but may I be of assistance? Ah, I see I have alarmed you. Do not be frightened by my beard: I am a lover of America." I picked up this book at the airport and surrendered after reading the first paragraph. This is pure delight. Beautiful, alarming and urgent it deals with the world post 9/11 and how living in fear and mistrust affects us all. At the same time it's funny and very exciting, more of a thriller than many crime novels I've read. Do read this, you'll be a better person for it. And should you have a thing for John Le Carré (hello Mr Slättner), the language will have you drooling in no time. Buy it here. Yes, please do.

I'm currently reading this diary of a British housewife during World War 2. She was part of something called "The mass observation project" and very thoroughly recorded her thoughts and feelings during and after the war. She writes about what she's making for tea, how her chickens are doing, the cost of a new perm and how work at the Womens Volunteer Centre makes the days bearable. She gets angry at her husband, worries about her sons and takes comfort in her old dog as she's sleeping underneath a led roof in the livingroom to survive the bombings. It's a great book and Nella Last's turned 0ut to be very good company. Especially when she's angry! Find Nella here.

Leo would like both these books. He'd probably buy a copy of The Reluctant Fundamentalist for president Bartlet.

Friday, February 20, 2009

When The Cat's Away

The children are at my parents for a couple of days and Jesper and I have just gone craaaazy with the unexpected freedom. There's dirty dishes everywhere, noone makes the bed, we stay up all night watching The Wire (really loud too, we're just regular gangsters), leaving the livingroom covered in leftovers and clothes, and sleep late in the mornings (if you consider anything after seven o'clock late). It's very different.

Last night we went out to dinner and spent too much money and ate too much crème caramel. And today after work I was supposed to go home and clear out the attic, but instead I had a cup of tea and fell asleep. Tomorrow I think we might actually go OUT for breakfast. We haven't done that in a very long time. And after that it's time to drive down into the countryside and get the kids. Who will be so happy to see us that they'll be like angels for about ten minutes. After that everything goes back to normal. Which is brilliant in it's own way.

I wonder what Leo would do with unexpected freedom? Would he even notice it? Maybe this whole post doesn't make any sense unless you have young kids around on a daily basis. In that case, sorry guys. This was never meant to be a married-with-children-blog. Though, of course, I am. So I guess, in some ways, it is.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Signs Of Spring

Blue sky. Crazy cold, but blue.

Out of focus snowdrops, pictured by photographer with very cold hands.

Semla surprise for the kids. And their mama támbien.

Dinos in the kitchen. Happens every year, around this time.

Leo would take better pictures than these, but you're stuck with me, I'm afraid.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

17 Things On The 17th

  1. I've had it with the cold. Bring on spring, please.
  2. The weather brings out the worst in me, style wise. I look like someone's grandmother. Skipper (who keeps track on what everyone wears around the office) will soon lose all faith in me.
  3. I find it increasingly difficult to wake up in the mornings. I'm more like the November version of me than the February one.
  4. Tomorrow it's Grey's Anatomy Season Premiere up here in the North, and I'm seriously psyched. Is that very sad?
  5. I found the above featured photo on the Sartorialist today. It looks exACTtly like my friend Anton. That did cheer me up quite a bit.
  6. Anton and his wife (pretty people marry young) are going to Dubai for a week.
  7. That's probably the most glamourous thing I've heard this year.
  8. Anton, Tina and freakin' Lawrence Of Arabia.
  9. I'm so into The Wire now that I find it hard not to finish every sentence with "Shorty". Or indeed "Shawty".
  10. But then again, my husband does find that immensly attractive.
  11. Today we had a new guy instead of our regular massage dude (therapist) at work. "Can I manipulate you?" he asked.
  12. "By all means try", I replied.
  13. It was very painful.
  14. Turns out he's from Norway and a chiropractor. They speak funny and do the darndest things.
  15. But now I'm very bendy. Who knew.
  16. Today I'm going to be calm, cool and collected when picking up the kids.
  17. Must not tell lies, must not tell lies, must not tell lies.

Leo finds lists like this a terrible waste of time. Leo thinks I should just get on with what has to be done or at least run for office or plant a tree or make apfel strudl. But I'm afraid that Leo sometimes is a big bore.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Actor Slash President

Wilhelm: Look daddy, it's Obama!
J: What, where?
Wilhelm: THERE! President Obama. He is the president of the United States.

A close call for a Swedish 5 year old. I like to think it was their common superhero charisma that made him confused.

Leo would see the humour, I think. Political correctness can be difficult, especially in pre-school years.

The Look Of Love

There is love and happiness at the office. All thanks to Lisa, who surely must be the loveliest and most beautiful receptionist i the Stockholm advertising archipelago. She has a past, as all interesting women do. She used to be a stewardess with Dubai Air. And now and then she takes time off from work and flies around the globe for a couple of days. Ask her where to stay in Nice, and she'll hook you up with some French baron and his 16th century fort. Ask her to bring you back some macarons from France, and she will. Although you were just joking and she actually was in Dubai. But nevermind, Lisa delivers. She is a constant source of joy to all of us. Not to mention that she's also a perfect redhead with ivory skin. It's a wonder we get anything done at all.

Leo would die, should they ever meet. Our clients swoon on a regular basis.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Honey Dearest

With this new 1950's lifestyle we've adopted recently (me working part time, writing dinner menus, buying a house in the suburbs, rearranging the linen), I wonder if you would appreciate the look to go with? Say coming home to Joan, for instance?

Or Betty? I'm pretty confident I could do both, with just a little padding here and some stuffing there. You could opt for either bosom and brains, as pictured above, or tormented hourglass as pictured here. It's your call! Your wish, kind Sir, is my command.

Leo would go for Betty, I think. Something about that faraway look and minuscule waist just gets to him.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Yep, That's Me

I blame my happy childhood. I had (still have, truth be told) a major thing for Anne Shirley, Laura Ingalls, Frances Hodgson Burnett's Little Princess, Noel Streatfield's Ballet Shoes and Thursday's Child, anything by Edith Nesbit, I think you get the picture. Heroines who led lifes more challenged and dramatic and somehow way more romantic than mine. Well, they shaped me, like good books do. And now when I find myself totally swept off my feet by a house, I blame them.

You see, there were almost always a pretty house somewhere, lurking in the background. If it wasn't a homestead on the prairie or a townhouse in Kensington, it was the recurrent nightmare of a palace in India going up in flames or the dream of something better than the hardship life at the orphanage. I was branded for life. The perfectly nice 1975 brick-with-Swiss-Alp-balcony that I grew up in, didn't quite match the House of Dreams. So forgive me now, if my posts have been less frequent and only mildly interesting. I'm in love. I think it's gonna last forever.

Leo would be too.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Now With House!

It's here, it's ours and it has a red door. And apple trees. And a fireplace. And I'm the happiest person in the world.

There's even an apartment for Leo in the basement! Should he ever want to stop over while in Europe.

Thank You Boss

My job is rarely like this. But when it is, I'm one happy copywriter. Friday lunch with clients is an excellent thing. Come to mama, little lobster. (Sorry about the awful photo, but I'm too much of a snob to fiddle with the camera at the table. This was done very hasty, with one eye on the waiter an the other trying to look blasé. Anything for the Leo-readers! I'll work on the snobbishness as well.)

Leo isn't impressed by wining and dining. We are different this way. But I also fear that he might not enjoy food the way I do, he seems sometimes a little too lets-get-down-to-business for me. And being an alcoholic, that Riesling would have done him no good. Me on the other hand...