To vote or not to vote, that really is the question…

imageLast night, D. and I sat and watched the debate, on TV 4, and I must say that half way through it, I had a difficult time not agreeing with D., who claims that he will vote blank. He is 19 years old and is about to vote for the first time and he has already realized that it is just a bunch of lies. Every party promises things they will not be able to keep. Every party say the same thing, more or less. And last night was catastrophe in my view. They screamed at each other, hatred shining out of the redhead Center Party leader’s eyes and all of what they said sounded like a broken record, them having memorized their lines well, but not being able to give flexible answers. What a waste, sitting up till 23:00 listening to that!

I was surprised how long it took for all of the parties to get their posters up around town and all the signs they usually put up in our village, have been missing this time around. I almost thought I was wrong in assuming that this was election year. But then the voting cards arrived and the commercials started on TV and now we are suddenly drowned in advertisements, leaflets, handouts and radio commercials. But what to vote for? I feel completely clueless this year. And I can understand D. feeling even more so. He graduated from gymnasium, officially on the 13th June and since then he has been looking for a job. He has applied for hundreds so far and haven’t been called for a single interview. Last night he said that it must be because he is half-American and I told him that how would the places he applies to, know that? “Well, my surname then? It’s English.” I told him that it is not. It’s a fake name that his potty grandmother put together to fit her Kabbalarian views. He pointed out that it exists in Britain and I had to inform him that it does not because the Scottish spell it differently and so do the French. In other words, his surname exists nowhere else and indicates nothing or any kind of  origin.

For him, the election is all about getting a job or not and I can understand him. Solidarity is gone from this country since long. You vote for what is most important to YOU, NOW and TODAY! He is unemployed and can not receive any money while unemployed because he has never worked and belonged to a union. It’s a catch 22 for the young. And would be, if I went looking for a job as well. Last week, they had a program from a community in the north of our province. A community with high unemployment. One young man was living at home, 23 years old, and had applied for 1000 jobs. He had been to three  interviews but did not get the jobs because he has no driver’s license. Only, he can’t get a driver’s license without money and without a job he does not have any money. This Stockholm brat, who leads a program which tries to help people in debt, sat in the studio and said that youths of today are lazy. That they sit on their bottoms and apply for jobs on the internet, which is not the way to get a job and that they should use their social network to get a job.

I wanted to strangle the man, through the TV screen. When I grew up, getting a job was all about having social contacts. My dad died when I was 14 and my mum, well let’s say she had no friends and no social network. We were on our own. I managed to get a summer job, one summer in gymnasium, by really slipping in on a banana peel. Right then, hospitals were screaming for youths to clean during the summer months. I cleaned during three summers because they liked my work, that I did a good job and the last year in gymnasium, they even called me on weekends, if someone of the regulars had called in sick, to come in and take over the cleaning of a ward. I was lucky because the second year of working at the hospital, they had changed the rules, and the summer jobs only went to youths studying to become nurses. Like you needed any nursing skills to clean! But the jobs got folded for that category of students and I was far from a nursing student, being in a history-language program.

But nothing has changed in these 30 years! It is all about contacts and influential parents. Our neighbours’ children have had summer jobs every summer, for the council, because their mother has a council job. The rule is that the few jobs available, are supposed to be put in a pot and then a lottery is supposedly taking place, but I’m afraid the rule and practice do not go hand in hand. It is all a big sham! The same goes now, when the neighbour’s son was forced to finally bite the bullet and go and look for a job. A friend of his works at a supermarket called ICA. That supermarket chain says in its employment ads that they do not want people without experience from the supermarket business, to apply. The neighbour has never worked a day at a supermarket and yet, the girl he knows, got him a job! He stood here and bragged about it to D.! He had the gall to shove it down D.’s throat, how he has a girlfriend in town, whose family owns three properties and he and she is setting up home in one of them and he starts working at the supermarket here shortly. How can I tell my son that life is not unfair? That A. will have to face life sooner or later? That yes, A. has been served everything on a silver plate throughout his life, but D.’s turn will come one day.

D.’s goal has been for years, to go out on a mission for our church, as soon as he graduated. He’s been a good boy and not at all like his older brother, who gambled away all his mission money on “World of Warcraft”. The church helped him out and he served his two years. But, the church does not want to help D. He’s been told to get a job and get the money together. He has tried, summer after summer, to get a job, without success and now he sits here, still without a job and his hopes and plans for serving a mission, seems to be out of grasp for years to come. No party in Sweden can guarantee him a job! The blue, the right side called the Alliance, stood in the studio, bragging about how many jobs they have created during their eight years in power and especially the last year. But the neo-Nazi leader Jimmy Åkesson mentioned that sure, those jobs were created (can’t remember the number) but we also got twice the amount of new Swedish inhabitants, so in a way, no jobs were created since the same amount of people are still unemployed. I hate to give the neo-Nazis a point, but in that light… There is always a backside to all numbers isn’t there, something they do not tell when they brag!

What is important to me then? What am I looking for? Well, I am a stay-at-home-mum and naturally family is very important to me. But so far, I have not seen any party doing anything good for the family, really. Yes, the Christian Democrats has a very nice, VERY nice, party manifesto, but since they barely get above the 4% they need to get to sit in parliament, that manifesto means nothing in reality. They can vote no, when they vote whether homosexuals should get to adopt etc. But none of the policies they want to implement, can really be forced through with so few votes and representatives.

In an ideal Sweden, for me and my family, I would like a health care system that works. When I phone the health clinic, I would like someone to answer the phone and not put me in a one hour queue. And when the nurse finally answers I want to be treated with respect and not be told to take paracetamol and wait for a couple of days and see if I or my children will not get better with time. I hate this attitude of them assuming that we all phone because we are hypochondriacs. Everyone I talk to tell me the same story as my own, we all wait till we are deathly ill before we make the dreaded phone call, because we know how the health care system will treat us. Not believing that we are really ill.

When I go to the emergency room, I don’t want to sit for two-three  hours before I even get to go in and tell a nurse why I have come there! I could die or my child could die before I even get to talk to someone. That is not right! And when a referral is sent, to a specialist, be it an ear specialist or dietician or psychologist, it should not take months or years to get to the person! “Gubby’s” hearing was questioned and it took over six months to get it tested at the hospital. Because of queues. Two years ago, I had a gallstone attack, and the doctor told me that I ought to go and see a dietician to find out how I should eat to get all nutrients I need, when too many things make me ill with indigestion or bring on gall attacks (not having a gall bladder anymore). My diet is so limited and yet, I still have not received an appointment, two years on! And I must say, that the testing my two sons have had to go through, to get their diagnosis at the child and youth psychiatric department ((BUP), has dragged out way too long from start to finish. “Gubby’s” started September 2013 and he got diagnosis at the end of March 2014. Too long. And “Boo’s” started at the same time and he got his diagnosis yesterday! WAY too long. And all this time wasted, when they could have received help, just waiting and waiting since we don’t know what sort of helt they actually need, depending on diagnosis!

That brings me on to the next ideal thing I am looking for. All our neighbours have had their children in the local council schools. Their children are only let out the door in the morning, they bike off to school and their parents have no more concerns. When your child has any kind of problem, your child can not handle the council schools with 30+ students in each classroom. But that is what the Alliance has given us for 8 years including the Christian Democrats, whose views often coincide with mine. It is so sad, that my children are forced to go to an independent school/free school, to be able to get a classroom with fewer students in it. Because you pay a hefty price for choosing a free school! The independent schools do not have the money to hire resource people and get the help for handicapped students, that council schools easily can get “for free”, if they ask for it. So you have to choose when you have a child with ADHD or Autism: small class with 15 students but no extra help or classroom with 30-50 students but perhaps an assistant. The law says that all handicapped students have the right to learn on their terms and get the help they need to progress but the councils do as they please and the free schools as well. Government handed over all responsibility for the school system to the individual councils in Sweden and this means that a poor council needing to save money, will save where they feel it matters the least: cut the money from the schools. After all, most politicians are middle-aged with grown up children so it doesn’t effect them! That is why Sweden today has 13.1% of all students graduating from ninth grade and obligatory school with grades which will not allow them to go on to gymnasium. What is the right-wing answer to the problem? Our Prime Minister stood there last night and said the answer is to make kids go to school ten to eleven years instead. Why would two extra years make them learn more? There will still be 30-50 students in the classroom preventing learning! And to make children go to school for 11 years ( I assume they include the zero-class in those) and then the 3 years in gymnasium, in order to be able to get any kind of job at all, will create VERY school tired children. It is most likely that children will drop out in gymnasium, being too tired of school to finish the degree. I was an A student, and I had to take a year off after gymnasium because I felt exhausted. D. feels the same way. He has worked SO hard these past three years in particular, that when I told him that he should apply for University if the church will not let him go on a mission without money, he just screamed that he can’t. He would not do well because he is too tired of school right now, was his explanation. And then he has done 9 years plus the three, ONLY.  Not the 14 which Fredrik Reinfeldt suggested last night.

In other words:

If one votes for any party on the right side, for the Alliance, then in all likelihood the classes will remain the same size and a council school is nothing to contemplate for my sons, since they can not handle big classes with their handicaps. And they will all have to go to school forever, before they get to graduate and go on to University or life in general. Also, a vote for the Alliance means that the hospitals will continue with their long queues, bad attitudes towards prospective patients and dirty premises. The prices for bus tickets will continue hitting the roof, which effects my family heftily, since when you have a child in free school/independent school, you have to pay for transportation yourself.

If one votes for the left-wing/red-green side, money might get spent on making classes smaller and employing more teachers. BUT this will never effect OUR village, since they only see to the town’s interest. Our village is always the last one on the list, which means that when the other villages  got their council pools and pool areas re-modelled and fixed, ours still look the same as it did twenty years ago and when all the other villages got new, fresh modern health clinics, ours is still housed in the cellar under the supermarket! There is never any money left when it comes to our village, even though it is growing and the most popular village to live in, within the council’s borders. And a vote for the red-green group, also means that they will do everything they can, to close down the free schools by cutting their funds. In other words, it would be a death sentence for my children.

Talking about a death sentence, all the council politicians in town are talking about, is the planned tram traffic. Instead of spending money on the schools, they want to build tram tracks all over “our” (our council’s seat) mediaeval town. Today, I read that before, the town was ranked the 10th best council in the school world, now it is has gone down to 18th place in Sweden. And no doubt it will continue going down hill if the money are spent on trams instead. I was going to say that I don’t mind trams at all. I find them a charming aspect of Gothenburg, Vienna (Austria), Wurzburg (Germany)… It smells of centuries gone by. The old-fashioned way to travel. All that said, it would not do anything for our closest town and council seat. And this morning I read something which made me start thinking that trams might not be so cozy and charming after all. I hope the man who sent this in to the free newspaper we all get in our post doesn’t mind that I translate what he wrote, but it was one of those things which makes you stop and think. And it made me sad, very sad. The author of this story is called Staffan Fogelmark and I sort of wonder if he is not writing about Gothenburg which has trams and lots of hills.

“Christer just knew that he had done well on his exam and after a whole term of hard studying, it was nice to party with his fellow course mates. The exam party had become just as lively as he had hoped, albeit a little bit too wet, but does that really matter when one is young and is having fun? He felt exhilarated: Life was wonderful and after New Year’s he was getting engaged to Marja. They were going to celebrate Christmas together as well, but he didn’t know what to give her yet. Since she was studying theology, he had been looking at a nice book about inner and outer prayer. Maybe he should get her that one?

Full of anticipation and excitement – I want it all, and I want it now – he left the party and walked out in the dark November night. It had been raining and blowing hard for two days now which had left all the autumn leaves glued to  the ground. How beautiful they were in all their colours, laying there on the ground, but soon they would be decomposed.

He put his headphones on, AC/DC blaring in to his ears, and got on his bicycle. He loved it: the frame made of titan, super light, just the way he felt himself after the exam and the party. And it was fast, especially here going down hill toward the city center. What a sensation of power and speed! Now he was getting closer to the spot where he needed to turn in order to get on to the bicycle lane beside the tram tracks. He had bicycled here many times before and knew exactly how to take the turn. Life was wonderful!

When Marja was reached by the news that Christer was dead, she lost it. At the inquest, the tram driver described how he had seen the bicyclist 60-70 meters away, at a good speed, making the turn to cross the tram tracks. But the bicycle came in at a wrong angle and ended up in one of the tracks. Maybe it was the leaves that made it impossible for the cyclist to take the turn. The bicycle was slung to the side and the cyclist himself somersaulted a couple of times before he landed right across the tram tracks. He was so badly hurt that he could not pull himself off the tracks and away from the tram, which was fast approaching. The driver hit the breaks at once but he knew that the distance it would take to make it stop was a long one and even more so with the rain-drenched leaves on the tracks.His voice grew thick when he tried to describe the  powerlessness and despair he felt, when he realized that he would not be able to stop the tram in time and would crush the helpless cyclist laying there across the tracks. Then he broke out in quiet sobbing.”

The story written by Fogelmark is heartfelt and no doubt it concerns someone close to him. Even if it is not a true story, it does say something about tram traffic and its dangers. Because the truth is, that a bus driver could have swerved the bus away from the cyclist laying on the ground, even if it would have meant going up on a pavement and maybe in to a shop window! A tram is stuck in its tracks and can do  nothing to prevent an accident! And “our” town is full of traffic accidents since it is full of students on bicycles who has not been educated in general traffic rules and/or think they own the town’s  streets because of sheer number. And it is full of aggressive bus drivers  who detest how the cyclists ignore the traffic rules and whose only concerns are to  get from point A to point B on time. Trams do not seem to be the solution at all and I suspect that not only cyclists will be hit by them but pedestrians who also have come to relax on the rules of traffic, because so little traffic is allowed in town.

I told my son right now, that he can not vote blank. That he must vote for something, anything, because it is his duty in a democracy and that many people around the world envy him that right. Yes, the politicians are liars. They are corrupt, they earn too much, they live too far away from reality to know what we need and want, but we still have to vote. You just have to choose a party that have some things in common with your own views. That said, you also have to make sure that some people do not get in to power! You do NOT vote for the neo-Nazis! Noone really want Hitler Germany in Sweden 2014! Anything will be better than them! In that way you really have to vote solidarity.

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Autistic “Play session” at Habilitation

In June, we were sent a little print-out from a woman named Karin at Habilitation, who told “Gubby” in the little “letter” that she was the one who would play with him on the 10th September and that she would try to meet him once before, so he would feel comfortable with her. Assuming that he is a very autistic child who can not handle new people and change. Well, she assumed wrong, which she realized on the 28th August, when she went to visit him at pre-school. She walked towards him to introduce herself, expecting him to shy away, and instead he walked straight up to her and hugged her.

Today, was finally play observation time, which we have waited for, since March, when he got his diagnosis. It’s when Habilitation, will play with your child, film it and decide what they can help the child with. We were supposed to have been in a mirror room, where the psychologist and I would sit behind the mirror. But three children arrived at the same time, to play, so we had to be in another room. Interesting to watch the others in the waiting room. The one Muslim couple, arrived when we did. As all immigrants, they ignored the handicap signs on the parking places, right by the place one is going to, and parked there. It’s not the first time I observe this and it makes me wonder what sort of country they come from, where they steal the handicap parking places from people who really need them. If a meter maid came by, they would have to pay a hefty fine. But it seems like they all have the money to pay the fines with, because I have seen this happen too many times, and it makes me feel angry, since I have been raised to respect the law.

So, they parked in an illegal spot, and just walked in without paying parking, while I tried to squeeze our big bus in to a small parking place and walked off to pay parking for an hour and a half, just to make sure. Suspecting we would only be there for an hour. When I arrived at the parking machine, this other man informed me that it seemed to be  out-of-order. He said we had to go to the other one, further down the road and I did not know what to do. I had told “Gubby” I would be just there and soon be back. I looked over to the car and waved and saw him wave back. I started to walk off to the next machine and turned to see that he was alright. He had got big eyes like saucers. As you can imagine, not a great thing. Luckily that machine worked, I paid and ran as fast as I could back to the car, but “Gubby” was alright. I still explained that the first machine was broken.

He thought it was strange to walk in to another building and not up to the neuropsychiatric department where he was tested. I had forgot that this was HIS first visit at Habilitation. But he got excited when he got inside and saw the little play area in the waiting room. The Muslim couple, woman in Hijab, had twin boys about “Gubby’s” age and one was like a whirlwind and threw himself down head first on the slide, which scared “Gubby”, so we walked in to the little play kitchen area instead. It was pretty obvious that twin number one had ADHD because he was climbing the walls. I guess the father, who was an older man, thought him very amusing, since he was laughing the entire time. I would NOT have let my ADHD son behave in the manner this boy was! The other boy must have been autistic since he was just sitting whining. Perhaps he was retarded as well, who knows? It upset “Gubby” to listen to the whining and not knowing why  the boy was so loud. At the same time, “Gubby” had a fun time setting the table for a meal, so the whining did not interrupt his play. He set a place for me and one for himself, with pots and lots of plastic fruit and food, for us to pretend eat. He had me sit on the “Lille Skutt” chair and he chose the “Skalman” chair. I have LOVED “Bamse” since I was a child. Still do and my dad loved it too, which has made me very sentimental about the cartoon! For years the clothing chain Lindex has been selling “Bamse” clothing and “Cookie” and the boys have worn “Bamse” clothing from the time they were newborn till they haven’t been able to wear size 116 cl anymore. For the life of me, I don’t understand why children in Sweden are not allowed to dress like children anymore, past the age of six or when they reach 116 cm. It is very sad, since it is then that they really become aware of the cartoon and come to love it. When there no longer are clothes for their size with the characters!

image

(I am sorry but I am not being lucky with finding pictures on the net of anything that I am mentioning. Not Habilitation, not the chairs… But imagine the above characters as chairs. Their feet sit at the end of the chairs’ legs, the back of the chair is the character. Very cute! Adorable! Next week I am off to Habilitation again, to discuss what they decided after the play session today. I will try my best to bring a camera so it can all be documented. Especially for “Gubby’s” sake. “Bamse” is in front and they did not have him as a chair, perhaps broken? Then comes “Skalman” his inventor friend, who has to nap at all sorts of stupid times, when his help would have been needed. Then comes little “Skutt”, “Bamse’s” best friend who is always scared. And finally the mean wolf. The last three were represented as chairs at Habilitation.)

We were eating away when a little boy came in to the “kitchen” play area, saw our play and got upset that nothing was left in the little stove except plastic animals. He told his dad but the dad ignored his complaints, iPhone being funnier!  I could not determine what was wrong with that little boy because his speech sure was not behind, like “Gubby’s”, and he did not have a visible handicap. Nor was he climbing the walls. But habilitation is not for ADHD children, only Autistic ones and physically handicapped children.

Soon, we were called in, when we had eaten our plastic food twice, and “Gubby” trotted off as happy as can be. We got in to this big room that I really should have photographed! Half of it was an indoor playground with a gym carpet on the floor so you will not hurt yourself if you fall. We all took our shoes off, but the funny thing was that they did not have to tell “Gubby” to do so. He just said “I am taking my shoes off” and so he did. Then he ran over to all the “pillows”. This place had two swings made like pillows. One looked like a boxing ball, hanging on a string and you are supposed to cling on to it with your legs around it, holding on to the rope. He could not quite get the hang of it and I could not help since I was supposed to be the quiet observer, as was the psychologist, who was filming it all. The other swing was like a board made like a mattress, with a half-moon pillow on top. Everything so the child will not hurt itself. I really wish I could have taken a photo because it is difficult to put it in to words.

In a pile, in the corner, where these “pillows” made in different shapes. Everything made in a vinyl fabric and with mattress material inside of them, so they are stiff and can be climbed on and jumped on. He started to build an obstacle course with them. A green staircase, the top of a castle sort of piece, cubes, tunnels… I guess the best way to describe them all would be to say that they look like building blocks in gigantic format and made to be soft. He could have built a castle with all of them. Now, the task was not just to observe what he built, said and did, like running and jumping on the things after he had finished creating the course. But the main thing was to see if he 1) acknowledged that Karin was there to play with, 2) if he included her in the play and  3) if he asked for her help. And he did it all. But he could not say  Karin  and said Rakari instead, which she did not understand meant her. So he started saying “you there” instead. I had to bite my tongue.

After a while she wanted him to come over to the table and sit down to play. He did so reluctantly but soon sat nicely on a chair and looked at the cards she showed him. Something was nutty with each picture and he had to explain what was wrong with it. He was really good and saw exactly what was wrong with each picture she showed him and I was delighted in how she really tried to understand him. He doesn’t have the correct words for everything, but if you are patient and think outside the box, you will understand him. And she did go that extra mile, gave him the time and she did have a broad mind, so he did good. He uses words which make sense, so he is really not difficult to understand if you just decide that it is alright if a person does not use the “fancy” words for things. Down to earth, that is his melody.

Soon he discovered this box behind him which caught his interest and he asked if he could play with it. It was difficult for me to see from where I sat, what it really looked like, but I have found a picture on the net, that looks like what I could seeimage from where I sat at the other side of the room. It is a board full of holes and the child picks little pieces to make a pattern or whatever they want. This is what he did. And then she took out a picture and asked him to make that picture on the board. He worked hard and I saw how she tried to trick him. He sat and looked for a leg piece and she said, “it’s missing, can you not take another colour?”, but he started to look for it and demanded she open her hands and she had hid it in her hand. He is not stupid! If he sees a picture he want it to look exactly the same way, colour and all.

Then she took out a balloon game that I guess he has actually played many times before at pre-school, because he knew exactly how it was to be played. At first she thought he knew the colours but during that game, she discovered that he does not, when he called all colours green. I don’t know why he can’t crack the colour code, but we are working hard on it. One day perhaps? At least he knows that grass is green, sky is blue and so forth, so when he colours, he chooses the right colours. Even if he doesn’t have the names down. Yet.

Finally, she asked him to draw. She gave him a sheet of paper and let him draw what he wanted to draw. Water he said and took an light blue coloured pen and made imagesome waves. Then she asked him to draw his “mamma”. I could not see what he did and when she asked “is it mamma?” he said “no, it is Arthur and the Minimoys”. She did not get that but after the filming was over, I informed her that Rakari is she, Karin. And both the psychologist and myself, informed her who Arthur is. By then she had asked “Gubby” if Arthur is a friend of his and he had not answered her for obvious reasons. He probably thought she was silly for asking. When he felt finished with the picture, above, she told him he could give it to me and then play by the swings again, which he had pleaded to get to do. He ran over and gave me the picture and then he asked me to help him on the swing. I looked at the others to see if it was alright and they nodded, so I helped him till he was done with the swing and wanted to run around a little.

The most amusing thing was when they were filming him and this man just opens the door. The psychologist wheezed at him, “Not now!”. Rude man answered “Yes, now!”. She got angry, kept the camera pointed at “Gubby” and told him “Not now, go away”. He got angry too and said “I am turning on the fire alarm now”. “No you are not!” “I am!”. “You can wait five minutes!”. He sulked and closed the door. Weird! At the same time, I felt that here is a play session in progress, they are filming, and here comes this workman and just interrupts like what we are doing isn’t important at all. When the session was over and we had explained the names etc. to Karin, then “Gubby” and I headed for the loo. We both needed to go and he went first. When I sat there, the fire alarm went off. “Gubby” asked what it was and I answered “It’s the fire alarm and we are really supposed to go outside but … no, close the door, mamma is sitting here with a naked bottom, you can’t go outside…”. He had started to open the door when I said that we really should go outside! Noone was out there though, who could see my privates, and we took our time, washing our hands before we started to walk outside. The workmen had a hole room that they were re-doing as well as the swimming pool. They just stared at us, when we walked by and then the psychologist saw us coming and asked us in horror, if he was alright? He was by now holding his hands over his ears. Had he been a very autistic child, I guess he would have freaked out at the sound but now he just thought it was very loud at the entrance.

He had asked me for ice-cream, when the session was over and I had told him that it was a wee bit early in the day to eat ice-cream, but then I thought we might as well head for the mall outside town and buy him an ice-cream since I was curious to see if I could find this new eye shadow by Isadora. So we got in to the car,image drove out of BUP’s parking area and he got upset when I did not drive straight through the lights but turned left. He knows where the hospital sells ice-cream! We have lived so much at the hospital with his kidney that he knows how I am supposed to drive to get to BUS, where to park the car and how we walk through BUS to get to the main hospital part where they sell ice-cream in a kiosk. I had to tell him that I did not want to pay anymore parking and that we would get ice-cream elsewhere. At the mall we had to run around in all sorts of shops to find the Isadora Autumn 2014 collection eyeshadow! Not fun at all. I guess everyone in town wanted to try that colour this autumn, because that particular item was sold out all over. But finally someone found me one in a stock room. Not the shop where I had 20% rebate though. Typical! I have never used brown eyeshadow before so maybe it was a bad purchase? But in a make over program I watched for a while, when we got to see the  TLC channel for free for a couple of months, they always put brown eyeshadow on people with blue eyes, saying that one should go for the opposites, not the same colour as one’s eyes. If I hate it, I know that E. will be a very happy recipient of it, so money wasn’t completely wasted if it doesn’t work out.

We had to go and buy the ice-cream next since “Gubby”” was loosing hope of ever getting to the place. Afterwards we went in to the bookshop. I wanted to see if there was any funny book for learning colours. It has to be something that he imagefinds funny, but I did not find anything. But HE spotted a puzzle he really fancied. Lately he and “Boo” have been sitting watching Astrid Lindgren’s three films about “Emil in Lönneberga”. “Gubby” just loves them. Especially how “Emil” makes the little wood figures when he has been naughty and he loves the film where “Emil” gets to raise his very own pig and the pig goes with him everywhere.

He has never looked in the books about “Emil” but he knew right away that this was “Emil” and for some reason that a puzzle was inside! So I made my little boy happy by buying the puzzle, since he loves puzzles so much, and he had been such a good sport running around to all the shops to find the eyeshadow and then waiting for the shop people searching their stock rooms for it. As soon as we got home, he wanted us to open it and he has done the puzzle over and over now. It became quite big actually. On the box it looked like the pieces would be really small, but they are not. We also bought a little cover for “Boo’s” bus card with the same image as above. First I meant it to be for “Kitty”, since “Emil” acts like he has ADHD. But “Kitty” wanted to keep his not-child-like camouflage cover. No problem though! When “Boo” saw the “Emil” cover, he wanted it for his bus card, even though “Cookie” is always in charge of it. (Below: the puzzle)

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Birthday # 4: A legendary one

Started to write this 22 August 2014…

School started Tuesday (19 August 2014), and boy does Birthday celebrating take a sad shape, when school is in session. Everything just becomes so bla-ha somehow. I wish I could persuade at least my older children, to celebrate their Birthdays, at least the party part, on weekends. It would make it so much more festive, when we are all home, all day. But none of my children are really willing to do this. So, today, we just had to sit and wait, forever it seemed, till everyone was home, so we could celebrate E. and her big day.

imageShe has been walking around for a week, singing “I am sixteen going on seventeen…”, since she feels quite upset about it soon not fitting in on her. I reminded her that she can take “Rolfe’s” part instead, singing “I am seventeen going on eighteen…” but she was not amused. I was amused though, going in on IMDB to see what they all look like today, and reading that “Rolfe” met his first wife on set. She was the Austrian stand-in for “Liesl”. I guess, romance did not last long, like with all Hollywood tralala romances.

While we waited, E. got busy decorating all of her three cakes. Yes, I know, it sounds insane, but we were afraid that there would not be enough. Thinking in the old ways, a ninth person in the household, who used to eat like a bucket with a hole in it. She had opted to not have a bakery made Princess cake this year, but to put together our own cake or cakes, with supermarket bought cake bottoms and then fixing everything else by ourselves. We made two with pineapple/cream and strawberry/cream layers, thanks to the above reason. Not that we expected him to join us, not at all, but because we did not think straight. The third one became the younger ones’ cake with banana/cream and strawberry/cream layers. Does it sound weird? Well, it was this lady in church that gave me this tip many years ago.

She had children that were not that hip on Birthday cake, because cakes tend to be very dry when you make them yourself at home. What her mother had always done and then herself was, instead of for example spreading banana on one layer or whatever, she mashed a couple of bananas and then mixed them with cream. Most children love bananas.  And then she would mix strawberry jam with cream. These two fillings, she would spread on two layers of the cake and then as usual cover the cake with cream and add some funny decoration. She also did a mix of pineapple and cream, since pineapple is very juicy and REALLY prevents the cake from tasting dry.

In our family, “Cookie”, “Kitty”, “Boo” and “Gubby” will not go near pineapple, even if one smuggles it in to a cake. So first mistake today, was making two pineapple cakes. Second mistake was, E. forgetting which cake was which so I accidentally gave “Gubby” and “Boo” of the pineapple, before my strong-smelling sense revealed the truth. I said nothing, to see if they would swallow it, but alas they were not fooled. “Gubby” happily ate but then I noticed that he had managed to save all of the pineapple filling on the plate having scraped off the cake on both sides. Grrrrr!

E. had bought all sorts of candies that she wanted to decorate the cakes with, and she did, but acted like a tookey child, when it was time to eat the cake with the “Lion’s” bars and Ahlgren’s cars on it, since her siblings had to hand over the decorations to her for eating, which had ended up on their pieces. I let her be. I just did not want to start an argument about it. Just  shows that even if you turn 17 you can still act like you are just THREE! “Mine, mine, mine…”.

When we were all feeling like we could not eat any more cake, we put all the leftovers on one plate and realized it was an entire cake! And that made us discuss, that had Johannes been there, it had been gone. Well, his siblings said so but I had to inform them that no, he would not since he is obsessed with dieting and exercise, and IF he had eaten anything, he would immediately have gone and either put his fingers down his throat, which I suspect he did from the time he started this craze, or he would have eaten the pills he put on the table by  his place, that prevents the body from taking in the fat. He was so obsessed, like he gets with everything. T. shook his head and informed us all that he would not have gone near the cake at all today, because his girlfriend is a Vegan so of course he has had to become one as well. That young man is still the teenage rebel that can not think a sound thought on his own. He has been phoning T. to  convert T. to the cause and telling his father what an idiot he is. He just can’t leave us alone. And what about the Word of Wisdom then? Both of them are members of the church, but I  guess they just poo poo on the dietary law we  live by. Where God says that we shall  eat of everything.

When I visited the dietician at  the hospital with “Kitty” a couple of weeks ago, the most  important thing he told me was “Do not cut out things from his diet because when you do, you ALWAYS run the risk of becoming deficient of something.” That goes for both children and grown ups. All healthy food has nutrition in it, necessary for us and our bodies. To cut out  bread deprives you of important grain and everything that gives you. Our  bodies need carbohydrates whatever LCHF people say. Our bodies need the calcium in milk, the protein in eggs and meat… All dietitians insist on this as does God in the Word of Wisdom, and anyone that says different, is a lunatic and deserves to get ill. I was contemplating removing all gluten from my diet, because all thyroid experts said, that gluten kills the thyroid. Well, for most people gluten is not a problem at all. And the problem us people with Hashimoto’s have with gluten, is probably an isolated one. I decided against removing the gluten, since it is not economically possible to do so. I trust my Heavenly Father that he will keep me alive for my children, whether I eat gluten or not. It was not a tough decision at all, since the food the dietitians told me to eat instead was red meat, onions and all the sorts of foods which I can not eat, because I also lack a gall bladder on top of the Hashimoto’s.

So, do not come and talk about stupid diets and removing food out of one’s life. I know what it can lead to. And I trust that God knows best. Who else can one trust? Obviously my oldest son and his young lady, feel that they are above him and know better. Typical teenagers in other words, even though they are 24 and 25 years old. Birds of a feather, eh?!

We put the left over cakes in to the fridge and people nibbled on them for three days. But I can not recommend three-day old cake. Ghastly tasting! The only one who still enjoyed it, was “Gubby”. What a little vacuum cleaner!

Before we sat down for the evenings film, and in reality, before we had the cake, E. received her presents. It is not easy to shop for someone who doesn’t write a wish list and never has. “Cookie” had bought a travelling mug and “Boo” had made a necklace in school for her with his assistant. I had done the stupid thing and had bought a pair of 3/4 length black jeans on sale, because she has complained that she has too many shirts and hardly anything to wear on her lower body. I know the feeling. Same goes for me, since I hate buying skirts andimage trousers, having the C-section bag which makes me look fat in everything! (The following image is not of MY belly, but this is what you will look like after three C-sections. Image taken from a woman after having just ONE C-section, so you can imagine what my bag looks like!) But surgery cost 35 000-45 000 :- (£ 3065-3941/ € 3816-4906/ $  4944- 6356) so I am forced to live out my life looking like this and receive people’s disgusted looks! Because everyone’s eyes are drawn to this misfoster belly which always destroys every outfit!

Unfortunately, my daughter did not bother putting on the jeans for two weeks and when I got home from having fetched her brothers one day, she informed me that she can not get them over her hips. And you only have three days to return sale items, so now we are stuck with a pair that noone can wear! And she still is short of things to wear from her waist down. If that is not depressing, what is?

At Legoland, I ran in to the yearly sale there, on name brand clothing. T. was standing in Duplo-land, waiting for a ride on the airplanes. It was hot and I needed to go to the loo, so I did that and also ran to the clothing shop, to see if they had something fun on the sale and something I could afford. I saw this periwinkle hoodie, lovely in colour, by Esprit. It was 30% off and somehow in all the calculations I did in my head, from Danish to Swedish and then 30%, I came up with a sum I could accept. Till it was time to pay and I realised that I had counted wrong. Too late! I needed to get back to Duplo-land and the queue, since I had promised to take a photo. I need not have hurried with the purchase or back because the queue had hardly moved at all. But this is also what she received. An over-priced hoodie, even on sale!

Finally came the yearly Thomas Sabo charm. E. plans on going to New York or London when she graduates from gymnasium, and make it big on stage. Her life circles around films, film stars and actors. That is all she and her father talk about and I just want to stick my fingers down my throat, since I think it is unhealthy to be obsessed with these self-absorbed people who can’t tell reality and fantasy apart. Who make the decadence of the 1920s seem like child’s play in comparison. Every year, I pick a charm which symbolize her life right now or her character and this is the charm she received this year:

imageShe loved it and thinks it is the best of all her six charms. Somehow I knew she would feel that way about this year’s charm. Well, she has two years left of school and things can change. I am not saying that she does not have talent and she certainly has the diva part down to a T. But is this really the right thing for a smart girl who basically can become anything, having a head for studying? And how many good actors are there not out there, who are unemployed because the jobs don’t grow on trees? I just watched part of an episode of the last TV-show (The Crazy Ones) that actor Robin Williams did. Pure and utter garbage. No wonder he was depressed! To be such a great actor and to be offered a part like that. I had to change channel!

When it was party time in front of the TV with crisps, cheese doodles etc. I of course had not chosen one of all the silly romantic comedies she insists on watching, but something we could watch and enjoy, all of us.  I chose “the Rise of the Guardians”, because I knew how picky she is and she had asked me for days in an accusing manner, that it better not be the latest Lego film. This was a film I knew some in the family had wanted to watch and it really was a good film. For those over ten years of age. imageUnfortunately, “Boo” thought the film was too scary so he just went to sleep. And little “Gubby” did not really understand what it was all about. Jack Frost is not someone who Swedish children are familiar with, nor the Sandman. Which of course complicates things when one is watching a film about all those things that American children believe in.

The film is really about Jack Frost and him coming to terms with what his true calling is. His talent. He doesn’t know who he really is and why. He remembers nothing from before he woke up and was able to make everything freeze. He is a rascally boy who likes to play with the children, even though they can not see him. A person who detest not being seen and not being someone who children “believe” in, is Pitch. Don’t know why he is called that in English, because when you watch the film in Swedish, he is basically Mr. Nightmare. He feels that his powers diminish when children hope, believe and are happy. And children believe in Sandy, who makes them go to sleep every night, in the Easter Bunny, Santa and the Tooth Fairy and her little helpers.

Nightmare wants to take over the world and for there to be nothing nice for the children. Then they will believe in him. The first thing which happens is that the legends feel that he has become a threat and they need help, help from Jack Frost. But he doesn’t want to help or become a legend. Things of course happens, which forces him to grow up and help. Nightmare kills Sandy, as the first thing he does. He imprisons the little tooth fairy helpers, which means that children do not find coins under their pillows but the teeth are still there in the morning. Santa has a globe in his home which shows how many children believe and when lights are going out all over, he and the remaining legends and Jack Frost, have to try to stop the effect Nightmare has on the world. They help the Tooth Fairy go all over to fetch teeth and leave coins, making it in to a competition. Then the Easter Bunny needs help because all his eggs are getting messed up by Nightmare.

It ends up, that they have to show themselves to a group of children, so they will believe and help them get rid of Nightmare. And the reluctant Jack Frost, gets to see that he had a life before, with a family and that he saved his sister from drowning with the stick he now uses to freeze things with. He died, to save her life and he finally accepts who he is and becomes a legend like the others. And of course, Mr. Sandman or Sandy, does come alive again as Nightmare’s power disappears. The film has it’s funny moments and of course a message like all films for children have nowadays. We all have to accept what life hands to us and make the best of it. We must develop our talents and be grateful for them. We all have something to contribute with. Also, that it is very sad when children stop believing because they really loose their innocence then and we all feel much better when we remain children at heart. To believe in something makes life and the world a much better place.

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Givskud Zoo 2014

4 August

I think it was the 5th of August, when we went on holiday last year, and we had a wonderful time, all of us. So wonderful that “Gubby” has asked me every single morning, not missing a day, “are we going to Legoland today?” and every day I have had to answer him “no, just to pre-school” or on Saturdays and Sundays, something else. When summer vacation started this year, two more boys started to ask me about Legoland and “Cookie” wanted to know if we were going on vacation somewhere. “Gubby” started to talk about the animals and wanting to see them again. I who did not think he was that impressed last year with anything but Legoland! After a couple of weeks, I started to think that no matter how little money we have, it is no fun sitting at home, all summer, doing nothing.

My initial plan, after having to cancel an Italy trip (our car being most unhealthy nowadays), was to take day trips to places, like museums in the Copenhagen area. But for everyone who has looked at the museums and the entrance fees, you know that it cost an arm and a leg not just driving over the bridge, but also to go to any of the fun museums available. In our case, we would have to go and park at Fields shopping centre, on the other side of the bridge, and then buy tickets for the metro, because trying to find a parking place for our big bus would just be a nightmare and I fear impossible. In other words, making day trips are even more expensive, than going on a “real” trip!

Finally I settled for going back to where we went last year. A repeat of everything except one thing. This year I booked three nights at the flat in Langelund, from the start, when a flat was available for all those days. Last year we tried to add one night after the initial booking, since my husband had re-thought our plan to drive home after Legoland closed at 20:00. One is very, very tired after an entire day there. He came to this insight too late and we had to go stay in an expensive hotel, last year, on the third night! Not so this year. I booked all three nights in one go. All summer the children have longed for our trip and have collected cans, so they would have some shopping money. And today, was finally the day for take off.

The  order I gave,  was to leave at  07:00, since “Jane” (Our GPS who sounds like Jane Fairfax in “Emma”), said it takes 3 hours and 14 minutes to get to Givskud. Had we left at 07:00, like I said we should, we would have made it for the camel feeding, even if we encountered road work and bad weather, the camel feeding taking place at 11:00. The children loved that feature at the zoo, when they were given carrots and tried to give the babies the carrots, while the gluttonous father wanted all the carrots for himself and pushed the babies out-of-the-way.  But to leave at 07:00, we needed to get out of bed at 06:00, and I was the only one who got out of bed. My husband having problems with authority and being told what to do, shut down as usual with his snail syndrome and we did not get to leave until 07:37. D. and E. were not coming along on the trip but D. finally got out of bed and helped me out with the things to the car, which were too heavy for me to carry. Had he not helped, we would have left way later than when we did. He really is a life saver in my life! But those 37 minutes did all the difference in the world.

It has been hotter than hot for weeks now, but today suddenly it was pouring down rain. Which made packing the car more difficult, of course. But also made the driving dangerous. I had T. drive the first stretch and he really drives like a snail. But I hate driving through the gates to the bridge, since our bridge bizz “machine” has given us trouble every time now, when we have crossed the straight. Last year, my husband had a new VISA card and had forgot to update the bizz machine to this fact. This year the battery was worn out so we were stopped and received a new more high-tech machine.

Since I can never sleep properly when I am going somewhere, I woke already at 04:00 this morning and had to get up taking aspirin, since I also had a splitting head ache on top of the insomnia. At 05:30 “Gubby” started to ask if it was time to leave, which woke T., so he was so sorry for himself, for not getting his full beauty sleep. In other words, I had to take over the driving as soon as possible, since I can’t stand sitting beside him when he hits himself in the face, to stay awake. Makes me feel very unsafe!  There was a another reason for taking over as well. To drive 90-100 km/hr when you are allowed to drive 130 km/hr, makes me irritated. Especially when we are trying to get to a place by a certain time and it is not MY fault that we are late! So even though I was about to go to sleep, I took over the driving, on slippery roads and I had to exceed the speed limit to try to drive in lost time.

But even though I tried my best, we missed the camel feeding with 20 minutes. It broke my heart, since “Gubby” said “Are we feeding the camels now?”. How could I explain to him that since his dad refused to get out of bed, this pleasure was taken away from them all? We just made it for the feeding of the elephants but the subsequent feedings are not as funny as the camel one, since all other feedings are made by the vets. You are not allowed to help.

That said, it was still fun to watch and listen to what the vet told us all about the elephants. Last year, the only thing we did was feed the camels and listen to what he said about camels. We never saw the elephants or any of the other animals being fed. This year, I made sure we almost saw all of the ones they feed in front of an audience. Not just because of the feeding but because it is interesting learning more about the animals. Like what the vet said about the elephants at imageGivskud zoo. They are four old ladies according to him. One fat one, which was standing right in front of us, looked pregnant. But he said that she is not, she just loves food very much. It was only two of them which were interested in eating and it was funny to watch how they wrap their trunks around whatever food is thrown to them, and then they lift the food to the mouth. I guess I have never really contemplated what the trunk really is, but he explained that it is the elephant’s nose, nothing else. They do not drink with it! They do pull up water with it, but only a little bit and then squirt it in their mouths. They would choke if they tried to drink with the trunk just like we start coughing and acting weird when we get water in our noses, when in a pool. What did they get to eat? Melons, bananas and cucumbers. This little boy beside me was shocked when he saw the elephants putting everything in to their mouths, unpeeled. My children wondered about them throwing sand on themselves the entire time. It works as a sunscreen. It cools the blood down and they stay cooler which also protects them from the sun! Smart! Givskud’s elephants are from India so they have no tusks and we learned that their ears look like India’s map while the African ones have ears which look like the map of Africa.  I knew Indian elephants have smaller ears but  I never paid attention to that they look like the India map! I know I have said this in a previous post, but it never ceases to amaze me, how all animals really are a testimony of God’s existence. Everything is so intricate and well planned!!

One thing that the vet really burned for, was the elephants. He had been to Thailand and seen tourists go on elephant rides and he wanted us all to pause for a moment next time we contemplate such a thing. (Like I would go to Thailand!) What is done in Thailand is: They track down an elephant baby, kill its parents and then train it to  do what they want it to do, by hitting the baby in  to compliance. I can understand how he got so upset that he felt he had to mention it several times to us.

Next we moved on to the wolves, because the vet told us they would be fed nextimage and that they had cubs. Personally I thought it was all gross. I had to look away because they are fed dead chickens. Tiny, little furry things with legs and feet and everything. Too much for my sensitive stomach. But it was interesting to hear the information about the wolves. It was a female this time, feeding and teaching us about wolves in general. Some years ago, for someone’s Birthday, we watched the film “Alpha and Omega”. The film was alright. But I guess I have never thought of wolves really being led by an Alpha male and Alpha female. But they are. But the animal carers at Givskud zoo has still not figured out who IS the Alpha male since it seems like  one of the males is in charge and one mates with the females. Pecking order is always an interesting thing, and does the above mean that the wolves in captivity have split their roles on two males, to survive? I guess they also eat in pecking order, the males first and so forth, but she said that the funny thing is that while the cubs should eat last, they are pushed forward by the adults so they eat pretty early on, during the meal. Which assures survival!

image imageThis time we really did try to do what we did not do last year, so we followed her advice, and walked over to the Indian tepees, grabbed  big sticks and made  bread over open fire. When everyone had eaten their bread, an activity that actually did not cost, like it does at Legoland, we sat down in the car to drive through the safari bit. I really got angry this time. If you pay 100 DKK (£10.73/€ 13.41 /$ 17.95 for each child to get in to the zoo and 190 DKK (£20.38/€ 25.49 /$ 34 for adults, what is the rush? Why do people honk at you when you stop to look at the animals and take photos? Are they insane? When we went to Knuthenborg’s Safari park a couple of years ago, where the giraffes are less scared and walk up to your car and stick their heads in, we sat for an hour by the giraffes and so did many others! But in this place, people expect you to just zoom through the safari part quickly. Well, I have the right to sit and study the animals as long as I want to! I have paid! So we put our hazard lights on and sat there till I felt done. But getting all these dirty looks, from especially idiot Swedes on vacation, staring in to our car like we were doing something wrong, was not something I appreciated. Some Swedes should just not be let over the bridge!

We headed to the Lemurs next, since they were to be fed. They are funny little imagecreatures and they will never be the same to me after having watched “the penguins from Madagascar”.  They are all the spoiled “King Julian”! Unfortunately the wolf lady’s voice was drowned this time, so the only thing I heard when she was feeding them with grapes cut in half, was that this little classic looking Lemur was best friends with this little brown one. They grew up together. ((I hope to get a photo in here!)

Next stop was the gorillas and this was really a highlight because they are interesting and their life is like a real soap opera drama. The leader of the flock is Samson  and he is even on Facebook so one can be updated on his doings and the rest of his family’s. I wonder what will happen though? Samson is according to Facebook being sent to Hawaii to retire. But the lady who fed the gorillas, as well as the wolves and Lemurs, said the decision has not yet been made. 42-year-old Samson, is father of the two babies but also of two other “children”. The oldest of his sons, is Kipenzi, and we could all see that something was wrong here. Kipenzi is 12 years old, gorillas becoming about 50, and he weighs 20 kilos imagemore than his dad. And his dad has “told” him he is no longer welcome in the family. Kipenzi was sitting far to the side of the others and one carer had to go feed him over where he sat, so there would not be any unpleasant fighting in front of us all.

What is soap opera about it all? Well, Kipenzi’s mother is dead, so he could mate with all the females in the flock. But as the animal caretaker said “he is young, inexperienced and perhaps not up to being a leader.” It sounded like it would be better to send Kipenzi to another zoo or to another part of the Givskud zoo. I think it would be cruel to take away Samson from his wives and his children. Because this was a family we saw in front of our eyes! The two little babies jumping on their father and he throwing them off him, not being in the mood. Being more interested in all of us, imagestaring at him! 32-year-old Minnie is a funny mother who wants to cover herself with sticks all the time and she has the youngest baby, called Amiri, who was probably the newborn we saw, last year? Chuma is the mother who will play with both babies. She is 28 years old, and her baby is actually 2-year-old, Yeba. But both babies ran up to her and she would nibble on them, tickle them and throw them in the air or hang them upside down in a foot. T. thought that was the dad since she was so playful, but not so. The cocky one was the “”teenager”, Sammi, who is 9 years old. He was breasting himself while his dad gave him a look like “right, you fool!”. When the apples were thrown to them, this gorilla liked to catch them with one hand like the best baseball player, to show off I am sure, and of course people applauded. The saddest creature in the family, was the old spinster Nille, 50 years old. She has never had any babies but help out with the other females’ offspring. She was bought and kept as a pet, in a flat, in Denmark somewhere. At 18 months (I could have mistook this, since it was said in Danish, it might have been 18 years but that is hardly likely.) , the family realized that they no longer could have her as a pet. So she had been taken to a zoo and then ended up in Givskud. She thinks she is a human, so she is pretty lonely, keeps to herself a lot, does not let any male mate with her. BUT… she has looked a lot of the male human caretakers deeply in the eyes, to show that she is interested in mating. With them! If that is not tragic what is? Could Givskud really break up this family  and just hand over the females to Kipenzi? And what about the babies? Would not the entire family feel confused? I think Samson should be allowed to stay and live out his days with his family. Soon enough Sammi will be a problem too. Too many gorilla boys being born!

Just like last year the lions where laying in the shade  resting. By now, theimage children were getting a little bit restless and wanted to get to  the playgrounds. I just wanted to do a little visit to the gift shop where I ended up getting myself a T-shirt and mug. Why? Well, they had giraffes on them!

Our next stop became a nasty one. All over it says you are  not allowed to feed the animals. Right. I think we all understand that for a zoo  animal to be fed ice cream, cookies, hamburgers and other things, which us humans sit and eat around them, at the zoo, could be lethal or at least cause them digestive problems. But what about feeding the goats grass? They are in this huge pen eating grass all day and what “Cookie” and “”Kitty” did was pulling up grass  and  feeding them with it. Lazy goats ran like crazy towards them like they had never seen food before and of course the children were delighted. I was on the other side of the pen, trying to take a photo of “Gubby” petting a baby goat, when I hear this Swedish man bawling “Kitty” out for feeding the goats. Screaming at him that it is forbidden. The self-righteous moron! That is what it is like living in Sweden. Everyone is self-righteous and thinks they know better than you and they are all self-appointed police officers. This man had decided he was the zoo police of the day. But he did not tell the man beside him anything, the man who did the forbidden act of picking up a goat to be photographed with it, when signs all over say that you are not allowed to lift them. No, this Swede picked on a child, not a peer! And then he walks by me and T. and says loudly to his child “They just have bad parents who do not tell them what they are not allowed to do!”. I said very loudly to T. “And Swedes are the worse self-righteous idiots!”. And if anyone is allowed to say this, it is ME, because I am 100% Swedish and often ashamed of that fact. Because my people can be the most narrow-minded idiots in the world and we have nothing to be self-righteous about AT ALL.

I marched my children out of there, having had enough, and we walked down to the trampoline park instead. I had to cool down but I was ready to bite that man’s head off, if he so much dared to come near me again. He really managed to spoil the rest of my day. How dare he? Feeding the goats grass that they stand and munch on in front of you the entire day, when you are there. For heavens sake! I was so livid that I did not want to jump on a single trampoline and I wish I had had D. there to vent with.

The day was coming to an end, most people had left the park, and I thought we would as well, but “Cookie” begged me to drive the safari run one more time. I thought, why not? So we did, and I will tell you that the hour to drive through the safari park is not noon, when all the animals lay sweating and panting under trees, but around 19:00 when we did. All the animals were roaming around and eating. We had a gigantic buffalo bull walk right by the car and I was afraid he would scratch it. He was as big as our bus almost and very scary. The giraffes imagewere still pretty scared, but they came all the way up to the road and stood there looking at us. Most animals came very, very close. The boys wanted us to drive in to the lion enclosure again, as well, so I did.

It felt a little bit odd. Why? I got the feeling that my door was not closed because I could hear the sounds from the outside, too well. But you are ordered to not open any windows so no way I was going to open the door to see if it was really closed. T. told me about these Japanese tourists who had stuck their heads out on a safari thing and well, you can guess yourself… I tried not to think about the door when the male walked right in front of our car, to get to the other side of theimage road where he lay down there right beside us. Next came the two cubs and they went to play with their dad. He did not appreciate them jumping on him so he roared. Wow! The kids got scared and I once again pointed out, that “I don’t think my door is closed”. The females were on the hunt all over when we slowly imagemoved around the place and towards the exit. Outside, I finally got to check the door and  guess what, it was just pulled to, not closed at all. The lions could have had quite a feast there!

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We drove to Langelund after this, to check in at our converted barn. We received the same flat as last year and while the children jumped on the trampoline and played mini golf, we unpacked the car and fixed dinner. An entire day in the sun, takes its toll. We were all exhausted actually. Not the least me who had been awake  since 04:00. The  best thing today was that  the rain stopped as soon  as we drove  over the bridge to  Jylland. It would not have been a fun day to spend at the zoo, had it rained all day. Noah’s Ark rain is alright, if you are at home and do not need to leave the house, but it is awful to drive  130 km/hr in and awful to walk around in, wearing a dress/shorts and sandals! The only thing I had packed for this trip!

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A little hen mother

I’ve been wondering what my 300th post on WordPress would be. Sure I have 23 drafts, waiting to be finished, thrown away or just edited. It should have been one of them, but I actually wanted a sunshine post to be my 300th! This morning, coming down the gravel road, from the pre-school, on my way home to rest, I noticed a pheasant mother run across the busy highway, that I was about to enter. I needed to make a right turn, but I slowed down to a standstill, to see what was going on because behind her, was a little brood of babies. She ran like a maniac over the road, like they always do, which always makes my husband ask me if we should have pheasant for dinner. Or I just shout out, “look, there’s dinner!”

Through the years, I ‘ve managed not to hit one of them though. I wouldn’t know how to cook a pheasant, nor could I eat something that I had killed! They are such pretty birds, even if the mother is not as pretty as the father. This is really pheasant country, around here, and for the life of me, I don’t know why they always have to run across the roads? Why not fly? Much safer! But this time, I understood why the mother ran, because these babies can not have been very old, nor capable of flying. So I sat there, in order to see what the babies were going to do, and the mother. She had disappeared in the high grass and in to the ditch, on the other side of the highway, and I silently wondered if she had even noticed that her babies were not right behind her, as planned. I did not have my window down, so I don’t know if she communicated with them at all BUT I saw the babies starting to run out behind her, halt and then run back to my side of the road. And they stood there, waiting, probably being scared, and suddenly this car roars by. They are supposed to drive 70 kilometers max, but it used to be a 90 road, and most people have continued to drive that speed, after the change. Those babies would have been flattened had they run out on the road. But somehow they felt that they should stay where they were and I stayed where I was, in order not to kill one by mistake. Good thing no parent was behind me, in a hurry to get to work.

Then another car was approaching fast, and I wondered if the babies would stay put? They had been apart from their mummy for a long time by now. They were good babies and stayed put. Finally there was silence, the mother appeared on the other side, out of the tall grass, and I could see the first little brave baby venturing over the road. Then came another brave little one and finally two of them ran right behind each other, to join the rest of the family. It was such a beautiful sight and it stayed with me all day. I was so happy they all got over safely and were not killed there in front of my eyes. I waited an extra minute, before I dared to turn, in case a little coward had waited for his mother to come fetch him. But I could tell that the mother had all her babies with her now, because they all ran together in to the tall grass and the ditch! (I wish I had taken a photo, but I was too engrossed in what I was watching! This one is from the internet. Makes me wonder, if the mother I saw, had lost part of her brood to road accidents? There was only four of them!)

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The whole scene so much reminded me of myself. Last time this scenario played out, was at Legoland, two weeks ago. I ran over the trafficated road, to get to the ticket booth queues, as quickly as possible. I thought the children had stayed with their dad, who always takes forever to get the pram out of the car and putting in the few necessary things we need to come with us. He always have to put on a hat, have a drink, eat a snack… I just don’t have the patience for it! But then I heard that the children were behind me, trapped  on the other side of the road, alone, with a now red light. So I called out “stay”, lifting my hand like all mothers do, to signal “stay put” and then when the light turned green, I called “run”. The alternative is to go fetch the child of course, but for the most part, it is safer to watch traffic with one eye, so noone drives against red light, because then you have to stop them somehow,  and  with the other eye keep an eye on the child, so it moves quickly and safely across the road. Complete bird behaviour, isn’t it? I did what the pheasant mother did this morning at Legoland! I guess that’s were hen mother comes from?

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To read or not to read “Ulysses”?

imageA couple of years ago, I heard about “Ulysses” in a book I was reading, by this woman, whom I will not name. I was reading her biographies, and since they were not worth the paper they were printed on, I will not speak of them further, except saying that this woman was sex-obsessed and she read the book which was basically forbidden in Britain. I will not say that this perked my interest in the book, but I did wonder what sort of book was “forbidden” in the late 1930s?

Then, shortly after this, I saw a book program on Swedish Television, which brought up the fact that “Ulysses” had finally been re-translated. The program followed the translator, on a tour to Ireland, where he showed how he had been able to translate difficult passages in the book, by looking at what the author had looked at. There was no other way, to describe things with the right Swedish words. What he showed was very pretty and he spoke very highly of the book. It did not really go together with the description of a naughty book, that the above mentioned woman gave!

Then, during a language program, hosted by Stephen Fry, he also went to Ireland, to discuss James Joyce language and his “great novel, Ulysses”. According to Stephen Fry, it is the only thing he would bring to a desolate island if he was shipwrecked, the only thing he could not live without. I must say that I felt confused by this stage. Is it that good? He did add in the program, that it is the book everyone talks about but noone has read. If it is so great, why has so few read it? Because it is naughty? Long? Because this book is LONG!

Out of curiosity, I went to the book shop in town, when the new translation came out, and it’s a brick! I opened the book and read a couple of sentences and thought, what is this? Loose sentences, meaning nothing. Hmmm! Maybe not my book after all. T. said that he had looked as well, at the English edition, and did not understand a thing, so we both agreed that IF I was to read 820 pages, it would have to be in Swedish. But I hesitated after that page I read at the bookshop, which did not make any sense at all.

Then, last week, I was watching “The Antique Road Trip”, a program I really like. And since they do not just shop antiques to sell at auctions, but visit local sites as well, once again I got to see sites from “Ulysses”. The antiques expert, was brought to this tower, featured in the book and got to see what James Joyce had seen. It has almost been two years since I last looked at the book, but once again, I looked at it. It is so expensive and does one really want to buy an expensive book, which one might hate or not be able to finish? The funniest thing was reading the reviews at the book site, I was on. I mean, just listen:

“… I don’t understand anything. Perhaps in ten years?” – Emma Svensson

“A book I have never read and which I am always reading. … I have always had a copy in my bookcase for when I feel like reading it. I doubt one can read it from cover to cover, I’ve never tried.  But I open it wherever, and read till I get tired of it, and put it back in the bookcase. Very entertaining.” – Johanna Hallberg

“I have been reading this book for 25 years. During the first 20, I tried to read it from cover to cover. I started it every summer. Now I have learned how one is supposed to read it. I open it wherever and start reading. I enjoy, I laugh and I am impressed. When I get tired of it, I quit.” – Henrik Fogelberg

I laughed at particularly the last two comments. But I still ask myself, is this a book for me? I am not sure I want to spend the next 25 years on it!

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Spectacles & Misery

There seems to be no end to my woes when it come to trying to get new eyeglasses. When I ordered my new glasses on the 4th June, no way did I anticipate all the hassle that I have encountered since. Not only being not too happy about the frames themselves, since I did not really have anything to choose from, but not being able to look out through them either, without getting terribly dizzy and motion sick, it’s as bad as it can get. I went to another branch to have them looked at and after having a new examination of my eyes, the first glasses were deemed to be wrong for my eyes. The lens part that is. A new “cut” was ordered, we went to Denmark and when there, we received a text message that they were at the shop, ready to be fetched. It took a week before we could get in to town to fetch them, and lo and behold…

I still could not behold! I looked through the glasses and got dizzy. The young woman in the shop, which was full of people, told me that she could not do anything right then and there. I had to go home, but NOT wearing them since that would have been too risky, and then put them on at home to see if I can get used to them. I did what she ordered and let’s say, it did not feel good. I have tried to put them on, from time to time the last couple of days, but there is no point. If I push them up where they should sit, but where they will not stay, then I can look forward. Say, sit in my armchair and watch TV. But if I let my eyes wander to the side, to look at a book beside the TV, then I feel motion sick because things are not in focus. If I sit in the armchair and look at the book-case, at the other end of the living room, then I feel like I am cross-eyed. Well, I am! But glasses should prevent this from happening. And I can not see my nose, so it is not that bad with the glasses but close to it.

Worse, if I decide to turn my head over to look at the pillow on the sofa beside the arm-chair, then it takes two-three seconds before my eyes adjust and can see clearly again through the glasses. I could not sleep properly last night, nor nap properly this morning, even though I was exhausted, because in my mind, I had to practice my defence speech at the eyeglass place. It did not help that “”Gubby”, all night,  kept on putting his legs on my legs, put his knees in my back, stuck his fingers up my nose, all in his sleep, but still. I needed my sleep and was getting none!

I was so nervous, I caught myself shaking on the way in to Lund. The girl had told me that if it does not work with this strength, then it might mean that I can not have that strength of glasses, even though I need it. Then they have to make them weaker OR I have to take them back down south, where I bought them, and ask for my money back. Which has to be done before three months have passed. That means things have to be sorted before the 4th September. It was not fun at all to go in and explain everything all over, for the woman in the shop. She took the glasses, heated them up, tried to bend them in a straighter shape, and had me try them on. They felt a little bit better, but they were not great.

What has happened is that the my eyes need this sort of lens, a convex one: imageBut some people get nauseous from this. Why do I always have to be in the category of “some people”? And the problem with my eyeglasses is worsened by the fact that the frames also bend! What I need is eyeglass frames which are straight. Now she is going to ask her boss tomorrow, the optician, if the frames I had the optician in Burlöv pick for me, can be straightened out. Otherwise, I will either have to go down in strength, which I do not think they will recommend or I will have to pick another kind of frame for the lenses. I who really liked them! (It’s the reading glasses, which I am not too happy about, look wise.)  And to pick new ones, I will have to drive all the way down to Burlöv and ask the yawning football-fanatic Arab down there, for my money back, and then head for town and start all over again.

I really want to rip my hair out. I can only say this: IF the glasses have to be returned down south, then my husband will have to do it. He can go in and tell his football buddy (see previous eyeglass post), that thanks to their chat about the world championship in football, I still sit without the eyeglasses I need! If the Arab had listened back when I fetched the eyeglasses, that they made me dizzy, then we could have been spared a lot of trouble! I refuse to see that man again or set my foot in the Burlöv shop. Whatever inspired me to go there in the first place? Sometimes it does not pay to be inventive and open-minded, that’s for sure. So, the story continues. Tomorrow, I head to town, with all the boys in tow, to hear the verdict. But I suspect that there is no solution when it comes to my pretty black eyeglasses with a pink inside. I feel very upset and very, very sad! Why does every aspect of my life have to be hell or complicated?

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