Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Ha, ha!  I couldn't resist poking a little fun this morning at a serious subject.  There was major confusion the other day when little Sweden was featured in a speech by President Trumo at Mar Lago in Florida. He said that there had been a terrorist attack there and we all went "huh"?  Swedish friends and family confired that there hadn't been any such attack.   http://www.dailysquat.com/trump-pledges-help-sweden-tackle-dangerous-terrorist-group/  Here's just a little bit of the joke:

This is a Waterloo moment in the fight against terrorism,’ said Trump. ‘We know what Sweden needs right now is our total support and money, money, money. This will be the last SOS that Sweden has to send out because together we will fight the terror of ABBA.’
‘Mamma mia, that was a strong statement from our President,’ commented right-wing pundit Bill O’Reilly.
So in all actuality what happened is that Trump had been watching a news segment on the film "Stockholm Syndrome" by the reactionary film maker Ami Horowitz in which immigrants are blamed for violence and rioting. The police interviewed in making the movie said that their words were taken out of context and changed.  They even called Horowitz a "madman".  More here: http://www.dn.se/kultur-noje/nyheter/swedish-police-featured-in-fox-news-segment-filmmaker-is-a-madman/  Wow, I have to say parsing the news has become quite tricky, even for those of us that have the inside scoop! 

Sunday, February 12, 2017

A shout out to my Swedish friends

This song just came on the radio (Because the Night with Patti Smith) and it brought me back to high school! I went to Swedish middle school and high school and I made the best friends in the world there.  They were so incredibly welcoming of me. I didn't speak Swedish but everyone wanted to try out their 7th grade English on me.  Can you imagine that happening in the US?  ;-)

I was a shy kid and reeling from the divorce of my parents and subsequent move across the ocean but I felt so comforted and at the same time in awe of my Swedish peers.  They did everything I wouldn't have dared to do, but soon enough I was swept up too in the dances, drinking and slow dancing.  

But way more important than the boys were the girls who I came to know over long conversations with tea n' scones. When this song came on I remembered clearly dancing in a ring with my friends - just for the hell of it and no boys in sight - just dancing in a ring and loving the music.  

Kajsa x 2, Gabi, Cecilia, Anna, Ann, Anne, Lisa, Lena, the other Tina, Helena, dear Pernilla and more - you all still live in my heart.  I don't know why you let me into your group, I couldn't add much at first, but you accepted me and to this day I love Sweden in large part due to your largess.  

I also miss my international bunch of friends from Skanör-Falserbo!  When we lived there these amazing women welcomed me into their group and I felt such kinship with them.  I loved hanging out with everyone, going to the beach, doing "girls dinners" which basically entails dressing up, eating, laughing your heads off and dancing your hearts out.  

My Swedish gal pals are awesome, empowered, crazy and kind.  I have friends like that in the USA too  but even here I tend to gravitate to international women who understand, as do I, that friends are gold and time is well spent with them no matter how busy your life might be.  Kramar, Tina

p.s. oddly enough I wrote this post on February 9th not even knowing that it was #friendsday!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

High end hygge

Playing with the cat, another cozy winter activity
Hi there, it's our first snow day so it's time to dust off the baking equipment and get to work!  I invited a friend over for some serious "hygge" -- fresh baked scones (recipe at the link), coffee, candles and a nicely set table for two.  Next up, a fire and board games with the kids.  Maybe we'll practice our ukeleles and watch a movie later on.

Hygge (it's pronounced Hoo-gah) is all about cuddling, staying warm in blankies, reading and other cozy stuff.  The words hygge is exported from Denmark and they know how to make the most of the cold winter months!
In the States the closest we get to it are snow days and I'm going to take hygge to the max! :)

Sunday, February 5, 2017


Do you love to read? I do. Right now I'm enjoying Moonflower by Michael Chabon with its patchwork quilt-like memories of a tough old man, and inventive language. Ready to get your dictionary? Here are some new words for me - neeps (turnips), legerdemain (deception), tori (plural of torus, elliptical rings like a donut), Sheboygan (a town in Wisconsin used as a swear). OK, what? I love Chabon but around page 120 things started to bog down for a bit, and I turn to you lovely blog readers for some plain ol' writing.
The Sellout is another good book which I blogged about earlier. Ironically I got it from my father for Christmas who must have influenced by said blog post. (Ahem, he must have read it right?) ;) So now that I have two copies of this weird and thought provoking book I thought a little contest might be in order.
The first person to give me a book suggestion (and it must be a book I haven't read) will get my brand new paperback copy of The Sellout via regular post. It's in English by the way. Just leave a comment below. Ready, setty, go!!

Friday, February 3, 2017

Shared Parental Leave

This is old news in Sweden, but for those of you who don't already know it, Sweden offers parental leave of up to 18 months to be split by husband and wife.  And that's paid! I know that you've been brainwashed into thinking that it's not do-able but it is, and it's been in effect for over 20 years in Sweden. In 1995 Sweden enacted one paid month paternity leave. The total parental leave equals 480 days! 90 of these are reserved for the father only.  The days are paid at a 80% rate of salary for 390 days. The rules are complicated, see here for more information.

There are some pros and cons of course, just like with everything, it may be harder to get a permanent job in Sweden (or "fast" as they call it), but once you do your guaranteed so many benefits including this one that it's well worth the wait.  Can you say five weeks paid vacation at a minimum, two paid coffee breaks (which as a teacher I enjoyed!) and of course free health care for all?  Sometimes it makes me sick to think of what we gave up by moving back.) And oh yeah, college is free.  So there's that. ;-)

Anyway, enjoy these beautiful photos from National Geographic of fathers in Sweden on parental leave! http://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2017/01/sweden-paid-parental-leave-fathers/

Sunday, January 22, 2017

March for Women

If only it was easy as a "Swedish Fika" -- check out this funny video that puts things into perspective politically.  Hey, why can't we all just take a chill pill and enjoy some coffee and goodies you ask?

Well, they do in Sweden, and it does help the corporate climate be more humane.  I'm not such about the politicians, but I imagine they have fika too.  And why not? It's a nice break in the day.
So today I'm headed to Boston, not to enjoy a cup of coffee with friends, but to remind the President that we matter and that we'll be watching him.  I am really worried about human rights, in particular women's rights, and what will happen to them under this President.  So Trump, if you happen to stumble upon my blog, please remember it's not the 1950's.  You can't treat women like meat, and we have a long way to go until we get our just desserts.
Representing strong women everywhere in my Viking Hat on the Boston Commons! January 21, 2017

Friday, January 20, 2017

My Best Christmas Gift

One of my best Christmas presents - not including the love of my family, friends and cats - was one I bought myself.  Ha, ha!  I saw these adorable Pandora charms at the Copenhagen airport and feeling nostalgic about leaving Scandinavia, promptly bought them both.  Aren't they cute?
The is the Viking - my fav!

Here's the Danish mermaid based on Hans Christian Andersen's book "The Little Mermaid".  The real scupture is in Copenhagen.

The Little Mermaid (statue) The Little Mermaid (Danish: Den lille Havfrue) is a bronze statue by Edvard Eriksen, depicting a mermaid. The sculpture is displayed on a rock by the waterside at the Langelinie promenade in Copenhagen, Denmark. (from Wikipedia). 

I've visited the scupture in Copenhagen and it's really lovely, a lot smaller than most people realize but well worth the visit.  Hope to make it back there this summer and jangle my charm at her! :)