Friday, February 25, 2011

Sign of the times

This morning I found my two-and-a-half year-old sitting on the kitchen floor. Her socks were off and she was playing 'This little piggy' all by herself. I had to laugh out loud when I heard her version of the classic childrens' rhyme: ¨This little piggy went to Wal-Mart, this little piggy stayed home¨ is apparently how the modernized and updated version goes!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


The other day I bought some Swedish crisp rolls at the local grocery store. I don't often eat them and I might only have bought three packs in total since coming to Canada eleven years ago. However, it is not so much about eating them as a need for having them available. Crisp rolls, or skorpor as they are called in Swedish, reminds me of my childhood, of sitting at my mormors (maternal grandmother's) kitchen table, listening to the big wall clock ticking away, watching morfar sitting by the wood stove puffing away on his pipe. I used to dip the rolls in my glass of strawberry cordial. Sometimes I let it soak for too long and I would loose a big chunk of sogginess into the glass and would have to use a spoon to get it out.

Today I served my seven-year old and her friend a taste of my childhood for an afternoon snack - and guess what? It still tastes as lovely as I remember it. Only the people surrounding me have changed. 

Friday, February 18, 2011

Snow day

After four hours of writing like a maniac, I look up and notice a thick, thick layer of snow outside my window. It is the heavy, branch-drooping, sound-muffling kind. The 'let's build a snow fort' kind. And there is lots of it!

This gets me motivated to stay up for another hour or two, so that I can take the day off from studying tomorrow and just frolic in the snow with the wee one!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Reliving the magic

I am watching the one year Olympic anniversary show on CTV right now and oh, how I wish I could turn back time and do it all again! 

It is a bit different watching the high-light reel from an exclusively canadian perspective. My take on the Games are coloured by my involvement in it as a volunteer for the Swedish Olympic committee - I was cheering for my Swedish country men, I watched the Swedish coverage, I waved the Swedish flag...

Now, a year later, I am watching the high-lights and the main colours are red and white instead of blue and yellow and I am overcome with pride. Wow. Vancouver did the Olympics really well!

Oh, how I believe!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Me - a computer wiz!

Well, not really.... but kind of!
My Mac got a bad case of the flu earlier today and I have spent a great deal of time today trying to figure out why it was not working properly. With a little bit of help from Google, I have managed to get it back up and running (and quite well, I might add!).

This little episode got me thinking about how different being back in school is now as compared to what it was like when I first went to University some 15 years ago. As a matter of fact, one of our first lessons on campus was in the computer lab, where we were taught the basics of e-mailing and surfing the web. I also remember buying my first computer, a used Compac Pressario, and being really afraid of doing anything other than creating a word document. I had no idea on how to create files, I had never heard of down-loading and I most certainly would never had dared to attempt to fix a problem myself. I am not saying that I am more computer literate than the next guy, far from it, but I am definitely more comfortable now than then.

But on the other hand, I never did experience the intense frustration and aggravation the way I did today. My heart was racing, I was cranky and snappy with the kids and there was also an intense feeling of fear accompanying my revival attempts. I kept thinking about all the things I have on my computer - the files, the articles, the documents, the photos, the contact information, the schedules... I really need to go get an external hard drive. I need to back up all my files. Funny how I never think of that until it is (almost) to late.

                                                  Did you back up your files today?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

What children really get out of a Montessori education

"It takes a brave woman to raise a Montessori child
- because they think and speak for themselves!"

Friday, February 4, 2011

The art of accomplishing nothing

I am struggling right now.

We have a text seminar on Tuesday and I am supposed to summarize an article by ethnology heavy-weight Barbara Kirschenblatt-Gimblett called 'Intagible heritage as metacultural production'. What I don't understand is my inabiblity to get the analysis and summary done. I love cultural heritage, it is "my thing". I think it is important, it is political, it says a thing or two about who we are and what society we live in.

....but no. Nothing. It is not happening.

I am suffering from writer's block. Nothing productive is coming from this. Nothing. As you can tell.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Pippi Longstocking

We are fairly new to Netflix and are still in that first honey-moon phase where we are oooing and aaaing about the movies and programs that are there for us to watch whenever we want to. I remember, in a not to distant past, when I used to fantasize about being able to watch, rewind, fastforward, pause and watch TV on demand. It is pretty wild that that is now a reality and that my youngest child will never know any different.

The girls recently discovered that Pippi Longstocking is available on Netflix. It is, however, not the Pippi that they are used to. We have a collection of Astrid Lindgren movies, the movies that I grew up with - the Swedish (and original and best!) versions of Astrid's fantastic books. The girls have been watching these movies since a young age and Pippi is, to say the least, a hero in our house. The girls love Pippi and there was a time, when our oldest was about 3 years old, when everything was Pippi - the outfits, the pjs, the boots, the hats, the dolls etc. etc. The youngest one is entering that phase now and once again our lives seem to revolve around a red-headed, freckled faced girl with attitude to spare.

Pippi is the strongest girl in the world, she is independent, brave, and kind. Not a bad role-model to have.

However... The Pippi we met in the American version on Netflix is not quite so... Pippi. First of all, the girls were shocked to find out that Pippi's horse had been named Alphonso (really? Alphonso?). In the books and in the Swedish movies, the horse doesn't have a name. Everybody just calls him Lilla gubben - the little man.

Then, we are introduced to a Pippi that is scared, that needs her dad to come rescue her, a Pippi that gives in to the adult-world's expectations and moves into a children's home. What gives here?

Why would anyone want to make Pippi, one of the only truly strong and resourceful girl role models out there, weaker and more vulnerable? Is there a movie-executive out there who is feeling a bit threatened  maybe?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

In a round-about kind of way

I try really hard not to sweat the small stuff. To let things slide. To turn a blind eye.

There is, however, one thing that bugs the hell out of me. Round-abouts. Well, actually not the round-abouts - I love them - but the way people here drive in one. I realize that they are a fairly new thing to Canadians, at least here in BC, but come on!

It is really not that hard, actually it is a much easier system than the four-way stop procedure that is still quite common around here. For those of you who have a hard time when it comes to round-about etiquette, here are a few pointers:

A round-about is really nothing more than an intersection with rounded corners. If you need to turn right, indicate right. If you are going straight, go straight without indicating. And, if you are turning left, please indicate that you are indeed planning on turning left.

Also, it is customary to give the person already in the round-about the right of way. They do not, contrary to popular opinion, have to yield to you. And one more thing - when making a left turn, you actually have do so by entering the round-about by turning right, make a loop around and then exit.

There you have it. Now you know.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A day to remember

Next time I feel like complaining about something I will remember January 27, 2011. That will help me put things into perspective.

I started the week by getting my finger smashed in the car door, which resulted in a broken bone and a finger tip that needed to be stitched back on. Today, that doesn't seem so bad. The reason? A very much unplanned renovation is now taking place in our house. A re-reno of the reno only a few years old.

You see, this morning we were greeted by water flowing though the ceiling in the kitchen. Not really the thing you want to be waking up to. The old plumbing in the upstairs bathroom has obviously reached its expiration date, so now we have a lovely big hole where our kitchen ceiling used to be. And to think that I just the other day was sitting on our couch in the family room, looking around and thinking to myself how lovely it is not to be looking at surroundings in various degrees of disrepair!

 Maybe I should go and buy myself a ticket for the big draw tomorrow night, for surely it must be time for some good things to happen?