Comments on my posts, especially “Beggars”

This is the final time I write a post like this, on the comments I receive from you, my readers. While I find it wonderful that people take the time, to read about my thoughts on different topics, I do get irritated when I open up my dashboard and see that I have 22 useless comments sitting in my spam queue. I say useless, because when I open the spam queue, more often than not, I have to dump all the comments in the trash or as it says, permanently delete them. I KEEP MY BLOG IN ENGLISH FOR A PURPOSE! My native language is Swedish but I have chosen not to keep my blog in Swedish because my friends are not Swedish, nor do they know my language. I have chosen to keep my blog in English, a language most people understand, in order to reach as many people as possible with my thoughts and opinions. That means, that to comment on my blog posts, you really need to write in English. You can not write with chinese letters or other Asian lettering. You can not write in French or any other language that me and my readers do not master!

1) When you write in a language I do not understand, I have no idea what you are saying and I do not know if your language is abusive, if it contains opinions that would be offensive to me or other readers. I am not going to approve a comment which I do not understand! For heaven sake, I could approve of nazi propaganda or anything without knowing it!!!

2) A blog is supposed to be able to be read by a wider audience. When you write your comments in your own language, it has nothing to do with me, nor with my readers. You are trying to reach out to your countrymen via MY BLOG. If you want a discussion in your country, on something that you have read in one of my posts, please start your own blog and discuss what you feel you need to discuss there. Just a recommendation. As it is right now, I permanently delete French and Asian comments daily, and it feels sad that you took the time to write something down, and it never got published for the cyber space to read. So write your comments in the language which the blog is kept in!!!!

imageThank you to all my followers and readers, who do comment on my posts in English, even if it is difficult and not your native language! We ALL appreciate it! After all, a comment to a post, is not so much a comment for the author as it is for other readers of the post! It is supposed to add something, to what the author has said. Either you approve or not.

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Alf Proysen’s “Mrs. Pepperpot” or punishment?

This week is the first one, when “Boo’s” ‘old’ teacher is back from maternity leave, and on her own with the class. I feared it all, tremendously, and so did the head master, “Boo’s” assistant and his teacher, who he has him for over a year now. From day one, in zero class, this one teacher hated “Boo” from moment one. Every day there was something new to complain about. I finally resented it so much, that I stopped going up to the classroom fetching my son, but just waited in the car. When she went on maternity leave in February 2012, I was so happy I could have done a somersault. Well, technically not, but in my mind. The new teacher, was one who had had lots of experience with children who do not fit in to the regular pattern. Children with ADHD, with learning disabilities, you name it. She stopped the punishing of “Boo”, which was a daily feature of his school day and school experience. She tried to meet him half way. She has bent over backwards trying to understand him and making things better for him. He’s loved her and so have I. It is always helpful when your child gets a level-headed teacher who uses common sense. Who sees the child as a child who needs help and not an evil trouble-maker. And who realizes that too much negative feedback will alienate the child and break the parent.

We all hoped that through a miracle, she would get to stay on. But not so, the teacher who was supposed to have come back from maternity leave in August, decided to come back these two weeks before Easter holiday, out of the blue. We were all in shock. And wondering of course, how “Boo” would take it. His teacher told me that he is so behind in school, that he really should re-do his first school year, but it is not an option, because the parents in the now-zero class, are ninnies. They scream as soon as someone as much as touch a hair straw on their children’s heads. “Boo” does more than touch a hair, when he is angry/upset/feels bullied/feels threatened/feels sad. So, if he is to stay in that school, he is forced to continue with his class and with his old teacher, even though he is behind and need to get away from her.

Last week, she came back and worked alongside his wonderful teacher, and I held my breath. For some reason, the honeymoon lasted all week. And of course, he felt secure as did the others, since their sensible loving teacher was still there. Thursday, she had to take a course, since she will stay at the school as assistant to the headmaster. That is when “Boo” had his first reaction. At the pool, during their last swimming lesson. He had started a fight with someone else, and the teacher and assistant decided that he would not be allowed to go on the Easter walk in the Cathedral, with the zero-class, as he had been promised earlier in the week. He loves going to the Cathedral with his assistant and he gets along fine with the zero-class pupils for the most part. I must say, that I was upset and went home thinking about it and then voiced my opinion to his soon-to-be-gone teacher. I told her how I learned at the course for ADHD children, that you can’t set goals or rewards too high. And if you have reached a certain level, you can’t start to subtract from it. Our example in class was: If a child is promised to get Saturday candy if he hangs up his clothes every day, then you can’t say come Saturday, that “you don’t get candy today because you did not go in to the shower yesterday when I told you to!”. I also asked her, if his other teacher and assistant clearly had told the consequences before he went in to the pool, so he knew what the punishment for misbehaviour would be? We don’t know if he has ADHD or is Autistic, but we do know that he must know what the consequences of his actions will be, BEFORE he makes a choice of how to act.

His now-gone teacher, went in and changed the punishment and told everyone that “Boo” would be going on the Easter walk as planned because for the majority of the week, he had behaved in a very good way. This week, so far has been a good one as well. He has had emotional outbursts but they are always short and do not really effect anyone else. So his assistant promised him in the imagecar, that if he had another good day tomorrow, he would finally get to sit down with her and watch “Teskedsgumman”, a DVD he brought for them to watch weeks ago. Poor thing has waited and waited to get to see it. I bought it for sentimental reasons since I loved this old advent calendar, made from the Norwegian author Alf Prøysen’s book. I watched it in the 1970s and loved it SO much. A couple of years ago, they started selling the old advent calendars on DVD. This year, I found this old one and bought it so that my children would get to see what their mamma watched as a child, because they always ask. It’s black and white. It’s not full of excitement, like many of today’s children’s programs. But it is cute and charming. And “Boo” has come to love it. So happily, he brought it weeks ago, to watch during his and his assistant’s end-of-the-week-cozy-hour. But so far, he has not “deserved” to have a cozy-hour and watch DVD with her. Please “Boo”,image behave so you get to see it tomorrow. On Friday, the school has a study day, so all children are off school and then all of next week they are off for Easter. I want the film to come home again, because there is another little person, who is fascinated by the funny lady, who becomes tiny like a teaspoon and who then can communicate with the animals. Her poor husband is so embarrassed by his wife’s “accidental shrinking”, which always happen at the most inopportune times. They do everything to avoid people finding out about her. It’s one of my favourite children’s books!

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On the topic of driving

imageEvery day at 13:30, I sit down in my mini-bus and start the tedious journey in to town, to fetch the children from school. The shortest route there is a highway with speed limit 80 km/hour and I say it is tedious, because depending on who is out on the road, it can take 20 minutes to drive to school or it can take 30 or more. It all depends on who ends up in front of you. The driver you get in front of you, is the one you have to travel behind till you reach your destination. Unless you get to escape that person, at the entrance-round-about of town, where they might head in to the town center, while I have to head down to the south end of town.

You sit on this narrow road that winds with the landscape,left and right, a little bit up and down hill, just enough elevation to hide a meeting car, which would have you sent to the next world, if you meet that car in the wrong lane! The highway is frequently frequented by tractors, whereupon we all become part of this Guinness world record-breaking snake, all the way to town. But they are a part of the scenery that you have to accept, when you decide to move and live in the country side. They are a nuisance, but part of the picture of all that is nice about country living. Right? Of course right! But they are not the real problem are they? No, you think about it:

Why is it, that all the drivers who are afraid of on-coming traffic, always get outimage on the road, during rush hour traffic? I always get behind one of these drivers, usually of a certain age or gender. The ones in this category on my highway road to school, are the men who have passed 65 and I guess, retiring suddenly made them scared of the world? And the women in the category, are usually women with a fellow woman passenger, them both being in their 50s-70s. I guess they can’t have a nice conversation going and at the same time meet an approaching car?Every time a meeting car approaches, these drivers drop their speed 30 kilometers/hour and I have to step on my break with almost a screech.

imageWhy is it, that people who have no intention of driving the speed limit, never let you pass, before they turn on to the highway? They throw themselves out in front of you, even though they see what speed you are coming in, and you are forced to hit the breaks. You speed up only to discover that it is one of THEM! A member of a certain club! You sit there and your anger just increases by the second till you finally decide to risk your life and that of your child, in order to get around this traffic danger of a person. BUT members of this club will not let someone around! So they speed up at the same speed as you do, to get around them, and finally you have an on-coming car and have to fall back behind said slow-speed maniac! And having accomplished their task of stopping you, imagethey once again slow down to their original speed. And you sit there boiling, feeling like Mr. Bean when he tries to walk past the elderly in the staircase during “Mr. Bean was in room 426″. Norman Bates’ style!

Why is it, that people who can’t drive and talk in a mobile phone, insist on doing so? One week, I sat behind the same car three days, and I soon learned the pattern to why this person drove 50 km/h when it was 80, and 20 getting close to the school, when it was 50. Because this man was constantly on the mobile phone. I could not believe it, what are the chances of getting behind the same person that many days during a week and the person always heading where you are heading, there not being any escape? He would coast in towards the lights in town, in walking speed so that we both failed to make the green light! I am sorry, but if this doesn’t create road rage, the following Malmö/Lund pattern does. Even my mum reflected on it and wondered what was going on, if there had been an accident or the police was lurking about. I had to inform her that no, this is how people in this shire are  driving! You come full speed at 110 km/hour on the Autostrada, like my grandmother always called it, since that was the name for it when it was built in the 1930s. 15-10 kilometers before the next exit, people suddenly drop the speed to about 70-80 km/hour. Why? WHY? In order to get ready for the exit of course! Minutes away at that speed, I guess they are scared of … what? Missing the exit? So take the next one! Missing the opportunity to creating a major traffic accident? Spoil sport! It never fails, it is always the same!!!!

imageToday, it took half an hour, to get to the school because at the village exit, by the round about, this little car sat waiting for better times I suppose or delighting in the landscape? When I pulled up behind him, he finally drove to the right but he did not speed up for a long time. So I finally decided to take a chance since I had promised babysitting D., to hurry home, so he would not be late for piano. The car in front of me which had been content with driving 70 km/h till then, forced me up to 100 to get around him. And then half way to town, I caught up to two Sunday stroll drivers who I was stuck behind for the rest of the journey there. On the way back I sat in a snake behind a miniature tractor, whose driver found delight in showing his power by driving right in the middle of the road so that NOONE, including the regional bus, could get around him. When two of us finally managed to get around, we just substituted the tractor for a car towing another car! It really was not my day on the road today! And in my mind, I sat there thinking back to my driver’s education days: Didn’t the book clearly state that driver’s should make an overtake, a safe one for all drivers on the road? Did it not tell you to focus your eyes ahead (and not on on-coming traffic in the opposite lane, your passengers or your mobile phone)? Did it not tell you to keep with the flow and not hold up traffic since it is dangerous? Mine did!

 

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The latest on the Roma beggars in Sweden

imageJust like I predicted months ago, Romania are not willing to do anything about their country men sitting on our streets. This morning when I drove to pre-school with “Gubby”, I heard on the news that the Swedish government is demanding that Romania uses a section of their alloted EU money, to help their poor Roma population. Romania’s answer being that EU countries should stay out of their business and they have no intention of using the money on the Roma. The case is now going to the EU commission and I hope that it once and for all is settled, that the Roma should not be allowed to leave Romania and enter other EU countries to beg. I am sick and tired of seeing them in Lund. I have come to dread going down town to shop or just to go window shopping, because they will not leave you alone with their coffee cups. In their minds, I guess I am rich, but what do they know about my financial situation? What does the man standing outside the shoe shop know about my shopping inside it? That I have been in there for hours trying to find gym shoes for my daughter, which I can afford and that will not be of such a poor quality, that they break down after a week. Like “Kitty’s” did last autumn.

Saturday, I did not even want to go in there to shop, because I resent those beggars attacking me. My husband said, why? We pay tithing to church and fast offering. We have already paid as much as we can to charity! D. wanted to know what one is expected to do. I told him the following: “Say I had 10,000 in the bank and took all that money out and put it in my bag and then headed downtown, walked up to the Roma man who stands outside the bookshop shaking his body, and gave it all to him, what would happen? I would instantly imagebe poor and not be able to take care of my family, for one. ( Not like I have that 10,000 in the bank anyway but if I did…)  What would it do? You think that the lady sitting outside the clothing shop further down the street will be happy over what I have done? No, she will put her mug in my face and ask for money, just like she always does. And the man 20 steps down the street, outside the shoe shop, and the woman sitting in front of Åhlens, another 20 meters down the street? You think they care that I gave my last money to the shaking man in front of the book shop? No, they don’t. They will be angry since I did not give it to them. They will be jealous. IF you are going to give money to beggars, do so in an organized manner! Find a charity that will distribute the funds in an orderly manner and so that it benefits all and not the individual who gets lucky one day and not his neighbour. And talking about the shaker, you don’t think he will stick his mug in my face the next day again?”

I am sorry but I am disgusted by the Roma beggars now. That I can not take the little money that I have, and go in to town and buy what my family need, without them giving me dirty looks and “telling” me that I am a selfish cow who should have given the money to them instead. We have lots of discussions about the phenomena in our family since the children see them all the time from the bus to the school. A member of our congregation had felt sorry for them so he had gone and bought the some food. He walked up to and gave it to them and what did they do? Threw the food after him. Same thing happened to this nice, sweet elderly missionary, with a heart of gold, who now have gone back to the US. He and his wife served an 18 month mission in Lund, taking care of the youth center and he had bought milk for one of the beggars. The beggar took the milk and threw it at this very old man’s back! A man wearing a nice missionary suit and name tag telling everyone that he represents our church as a missionary! In other words, they are not starving at all. They choose the charity that they want. It’s just the cash they want, nothing else. Just like I said in my previous beggar post.

Since that post, the Swedish police tried to clear a camp site of it’s 2000 Roma campers. Uproar in the Swedish press but there was no compassion in the write ups anymore. The Roma had dirtied the place down in indescribable terms, which is not acceptable in Sweden. The Swedish people is now responding the way some police forces around the country, expected. Youths are throwing stones at the beggars. Shop owners are throwing cold water on them. And instagram are getting more and more photos posted with photos and the text that they are  the scum of society. In Linköping, a man stood waiting at a bus stop when a Roma woman stuck a sign in his face. He pushed the beggar away from him, she fell and witnesses reported it all to the police, so the man was charged with assault. He turned around and had the Roma charged with molesting him.

There was a long article about it all in Friday’s paper actually. The police says that the more irritated the Swedes become with the beggars, the more aggressive the beggars are getting. People are ignoring them for the most part, since we all have got used to them being there. Noone want to give them money anymore. So they are now stalking people and holding on to people’s clothes.

Shop owners in Gothenburg have contacted the police to find out what is allowed to do to these people. Since many of them throw water on them to move away from their shop windows or entrances. And my question still is the same. Why were they allowed to come in the first place? Why was Romania let in to the EU, when they are clearly living according to ways and customs of past centuries. If one is going to be a member of the EU, certain criteria should be required. Democracy for one. But also, that the country can afford membership AND most of all, that they can take care of their own citizens. EU was not meant as a charity organisation. There are organizations for that sort of thing, but EU is supposed to be so much more than that! The world has just gone completely lopsided. Since these Roma are such a terrible problem to the rest of Europe, why are the countries living next door to Romania, letting them across their borders? Stop them right there and Romania might actually understand that EU are being serious. Stop them right there so that Romania wakes up and deals with it’s own problems, instead of just dumping them on the rest of us.

I know it sounds incredibly xenophobic, but I am sorry, I completely believe in sweeping up on one’s own porch first. I sit with two youths that have not received summer jobs this summer, because there are no jobs for youths between 16-20. They can’t get any allowance from the state, even though the situation is the way it is, because Sweden must save money. I sit with a son who could not get in to the military, because his IQ is below average, who has to sit and pack yoga products because there are no other jobs available, him not having a driver’s license, it costing too much to get one.

I sit with a child diagnosed with ADHD, a diagnosis which has been declared not being a problem at all in the school system, since the schools do not have any money to help these children. But it sure wears class mates, teachers and parents down! In the long run it will cost the state when all the teachers have to take early retirement. After all, 25% of all children have ADHD and the school is not built and set up for their problems. How much are not these children going to cost when they graduate without passing grades? Not having received the help they needed to pass? I sit with a child diagnosed with Autism, who will require lots of help in school like all the other children, 1 in 38 children, who have Autism. But guess what? There is no money for this either. I sit in a house too small for our family, with a malfunctioning fridge, with a broken down stove… But guess what, we have to live with our broken down house and appliance park, since my husband’s job doesn’t pay enough to buy anything except food and pay the bills. And I sit here with 6 children to look after, basically all on my own, because my husband having past 50 and being of foreign extraction, could only get a job hours away from here. Sweden need to take a good look at it’s own citizens and what their needs are. Just like the Romanians need to do with theirs. More and more children in our country grow up in poverty and Swedish politicians have just found out some months ago, that the Swedish school system is beyond critique. The children are not learning what they are supposed to, and guess why? Because there is no money!!!

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Autism in Sweden steadily increasing while all funds are being cut

imageToday, the day after the international Autism Awareness Day, Sweden all makes us proud of living in a country which cares about its citizens, or? Or do readers of Swedish Metro wake up to feeling ashamed and disgusted over the state our country is in?  My feelings this morning when I opened page 8 of said newspaper, made me distraught and so angry I wanted to drive in to BUP and throw the newspaper in their faces. Because this is the problem I spoke about. Fine, label my child with Autism, but what will come out of it? You labeled my one son with ADHD, five years ago and he does not get any of the help, that the law proclaims that he is entitled to. Because just like lawyers can find loopholes in the law for criminals, the headmasters of all schools can find loopholes in order not to have to spend money, they don’t want to spend. Labeling more and more children with neurological disabilities has its consequences. The children will cost more. They will require tax funds and when the politicians refuse to allot those funds for this purpose, you have a BIG dilemma. BUP lives in the pink clouds called a dream world, why the rest of us live down in reality and realize that their institution is pointless. You might as well stop testing children for letter combinations and autism because there are no money to do anything about the test results!

The article that has me ranting is the following. (I am sorry if I translate it poorly in to English, but for all people who do not have Swedish language skills nor the Swedish Metro, hear this): Articles written by Jenny Sköld 3 April 2014 “Autistic Sigge was supposed to get used to the situation in the regular school. Autism. To be put in a regular school, turned out catastrophic for 11-year-old Sigge Holm. Since he received his diagnosis, his mother Malin Holm, has had to fight ignorance and lack of resources, but she still feels lucky. ‘At least he has not been traumatized like many others.’ To be in a regular class-room can be a nightmare for a child with autism. But since the new school law came in to effect in 2011, autistic children with normal intelligence are supposed to attend a regular school. If any support is going to be given, it has to be within this school system. But this solution was catastrophic for Malin Holm and her son Sigge, 11 years old. ‘They hope that these children will get used to it eventually. But a child with Autism, who is hyper sensitive to sound, light and smells, do not get used to it. Autism doesn’t disappear. He ended up sitting all alone in a reading clinic, every day, without any contact with other children. But I have been lucky. He had a really good teacher in the reading class and it has not been traumatizing for him to go to the regular school. He has not been bullied nor abandoned. For many children, this is the case though. A large number of the children who remain at home and do not attend school anymore, are autistic.’ Today, Sigge has a place in a resource school.

‘ They are fantastic. They understand these children, they set apart resources and match the groups as best they can. Sigge takes the national tests just like everybody else and only makes a couple of mistakes. When he attends a regular class, he becomes an abnormality, but here he can function like everybody else.’ Since the new school law went in to effect, resources have been cut down. The school is being closed down and do not accept any new children, but Malin and Sigge, hope that it will be allowed to continue. ‘I don’t know what will happen from day-to-day. It’s driving me crazy not to know.’

Jenny Sköld continued with a second article: “Many remain at home. At least one of 38 teenagers, in Stockholm, has the diagnosis Autism. Ten years ago it was just one in a thousandth, in the same age group. The increase in children and youths diagnosed with autism, can clearly be seen at Habilitation in Stockholm, which gives support to those who receive the diagnosis. The group which is increasing the most, is the one without mental retardation, which has increased 117% since 2007. ‘They have the most difficult time since they are expected to handle the usual demands in regular school, which is not adapted at all, to their needs. There is too much people, too strong lighting and too much noise. Many remain at home, because they get panic in school’ says operations manager Annika Brar. The county of Stockholm has spent a lot of money on investigating and diagnosing persons with Autism. But when the time comes to follow up and support these persons in their daily life, there are no more funds. ‘Of course it will be expensive if 2,6% of all young people in Stockholm are Autistic. But if we don’t do anything now, it will cost society even more in the future, when these people end up outside the job market’, says Annika Brar. “

This is where the articles end. I can see where this is going. My son who has just received his diagnosis, will not get any help what so ever. We have received our first and second appointment to Habilitation, the 14 April and 15 May. I have an inclination to just tell T. to go to work as usual. We can not afford him loosing his job, to go and listen to empty promises of how good “Gubby’s” future will be. imageIt is not going to be good at all. He is more than likely going to end up at a school which is doing nothing for children with Autism. I have already lost all hope. It is five days since I wrote to the Autism school in our neighbour village and asked them to contact me. I told them that I would like to know more and come and visit. No answer. T. wrote them a new e-mail Monday morning and no answer. He tried to phone them all day as well. No answer. In other words they don’t want any new students. I read on their homepage that they now have 14 students and that is all they have room for. No more children can start in the autumn of 2014. I assume that there will not be a place for him when he is supposed to start zero-class, in 2015. But they could at least have had the courtesy to answer our mails and tell us this to our faces. I can not say that their behaviour has given me a positive view of their school or a good impression. If they do not have time to answer mails and phone calls, you are clearly understaffed. And have a bad attitude.

The woman who previously worked at his pre-school (back when “Kitty” was there), as a substitute for a woman on maternity leave, whom we ran in to last term at the supermarket, did tell us just what the article is all about. The council school here in the village doing nothing at all to adapt things for her Autistic child. He can not even be guaranteed to only have 29 fellow students in the classroom, but for some lessons, he has to sit with 49 other pupils. 50 students in a classroom at primary school! Think of the noise level. Who is learning in that room? It’s outright criminal and the idiotic politicians sitting in Stockholm wondering why Swedish pupils are becoming the most stupid in the world, should perhaps visit the school during one of these 50 pupils lessons! The woman is so furious at the headmaster not wanting to spend a single “krona” on her son, so she and her husband are packing up and selling their house. They have had enough and is moving to a community that has an Autism school. I am sorry to say that we can not follow suit. We don’t have the funds to buy a new house somewhere. My husband could not commute from the place where she and her family is moving. And I would have to spend my entire day on the road with children, in a car that has gone beyond its expiration date. Deep sigh! And please, the reader of my blog who keeps sending me a comment that states that now is the time for me to be happy and make plans: Please, refrain from sending me that comment again!!! It’s getting offensive.

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Nepotism in Lund: Council summer jobs go to family as always!

Three summers in a row, D. applied for a summer job with the council. He applied in plenty of time, he said on the application that he could work any of the three time periods. BUT he could not tick the box that we have a social worker assigned to our family nor could he tick the box that he regularly sees the school counselor. They make it sound like the jobs at the council just go to the needy. At the same time, they write that the jobs are distributed according to the lottery system.

The strange thing is, that these jobs all go to youths whose parents work for the council in one capacity or the other. In the top-notch jobs. It’s the youths, like our neighbour, who has no financial problems at all, who get the jobs. Two years in a row, our neighbour’s son, got a cushy job. He has more money to spend than he knows what to do with. Lives by the computer. Lazy git. School food is not good enough for him, so he goes and eats at the fast food chains in town. All his money is spent on food, computer games and fun, fun, fun. His parents just showers him in money. Last year, “his” job went to his sister, because “the personnel had liked working with him so much”. In other words, the word lottery is just a blatant lie. The same principle that ruled who were going to get the council summer jobs, when I was a youth looking for a summer job, rules today. Without contacts, you can’t get a summer job. I had no contacts, my children have no contacts since I don’t work and my husband works for a private firm, which does not employ kids. In other words, my children are doomed to sit here all summer long, doing nothing. Getting no money of their own. Getting no work experience.

The state changed the rules for family allowance many years ago. When your child has graduated from 9th grade, you do not get the allowance during the three summer months. The youth is supposed to go out and work during those months. Even though there are no jobs in Sweden for more than a handful of youths. So, the majority of 16-19 year-olds lay in bed all summer, watches TV on their computers or play computer games. That is what my two youths did last summer, after they did not get summer jobs. BUT truth be told, D. did help me when I needed help with his siblings. He did help out with cooking. And he always does his chores. It’s “Dollie” that does not lift a finger. She does not do imageher chores and all summer long, last year, she did not help me one bit. She even went to stay with friends for long times, in order for us not to be able to ask any “favours” of her. Just dumping her dishwashing days on her dad. Cleaning the kitchen floor on me. Leaving me to go hunting for all her dirty clothes in that stinky room of hers and for her father to search for dirty dishes, in the same room. The same thing will be repeated this summer. She just received a letter in the post saying that she did not get one of the few summer jobs with the council. (Like working by the council pool. Working on the grounds crew.)

I am really angry about it. So angry I could spit. WE are in need of money. But, had she received a job, I would not have taken the money. I would just have been happy to have her out of the house. I can not stand that a 16-year-old (in August all of 17!), who could help, refuses to do so. That I am run ragged, while someone else who could help, lays and sleeps till noon and then sits on a computer for a couple of hours, goes to the pool with her dad, expects a ready dinner when they get back and then back on the computer for film watching. It’s one thing to wait on people who can’t take care of themselves, but I honestly expect more from the ones who can! Thanks a lot again, Council of Lund, for kicking at the people who are already laying down!!!

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Star for Life concert’s message: “I am beautiful!”

image(I hope people can see the image, because my computer has decided to not show pictures today!) I am so behind with everything that I wanted to talk about this week. So I have to blog about it piecemeal. And break it in to topics, in order to at least get something published about this nightmare week. A week when I feel I have not accomplished anything. And really have drowned in emotions, if not in stress. Too late, we found out from our daughter, that her participation in the Star for Life concert, was this month, this week, this past Wednesday. Nothing had been said, till Sunday evening and then she asked if I was coming. Coming? How? Without a ticket? Without babysitting?

But somehow, we were able to coordinate everything, so that we, both T. and I, could attend the concert. I felt we owed her this. She quit the horrible school choir and joined the professional choir at the culture school. Had it been a concert held at the school, we would have attended, but of course there is a difference. At the school concerts, you are forced to buy horrible tasting cakes, to finance the music program. At the culture school’s concerts, you have to shell out a lot of money for tickets, BUT of course, you get quality. And that is what we received at Wednesday’s concert, that included the much talented music group Triple and Touch, who is very involved with this charity project in South Africa. The program raise money for schools in South Africa, which gives the children music lessons, dance lessons, teaches them how to avoid HIV and AIDS, and gives them a bigger self-esteem, encouraging them to reach for the stars and go for what they dream of.

Four youths and an older woman, from South Africa, had come to be part of the concert and boy could they sing. There was not a dull moment. The choir behind them, including our daughter, was enormous since it contained the culture school’s choirs, plural, the Maria Montessori school, gymnasium schools’ choirs… They had been taught Zulu, songs, movements. They were great in other words. It took us till the end, to see our tiny daughter in the ocean of singers. They were all told to wear Star for Life’s colours. Unfortunately, one could not really hear the text to a lot of the songs. Except the famous songs sung, where one already knows the words. Like “The Circle of Life” from “the Lion King” and some other old classics. My very favourite came towards the end, Miriam Makeba’s most famous song. Can’t come up with the name. (Edit: Called “Pata Pata”) I grew up with this woman’s singing since my dad had her records and loved her music. Her and Glenn Miller, those were his favourites. Funny man! But I love them too, so…

After the concert, I bought their CD, but I am not sure it was a wise decision. When I started to play it in the car, a lot of the songs spoke of wearing a condom, having sex etc. I am trying to tell myself that at least I got the Miriam Makeba song and the money goes to a good cause. BUT I think I should have followed “Cookie’s” lead and have bought a T-shirt instead. She wanted one, and it cost half the price of the CD. Then I was out of money, so we could not buy the pretty bracelets that cost as much as the CD. Oh well, next time I will not buy a CD unless I know the text of the songs! We were able to get tickets because this event was not too well advertised, and we got to sit in the bleachers, since those were the only tickets left, at the handball arena, where the event was located. Not the best of acoustics in other words and we sat too far away!

The reason why the concert made such an impression on me and made me want to blog about it, is the woman lead singer. She was no longer a teenager. She thanked us for coming, for the Swedish people always having supported their cause in South Africa, against Apartheid and now against AIDS. She thanked for all money sent down to their schools. And then she spoke to the youths behind her, in the bleachers opposite ours. To the choir. She said that the greatest disease today is not AIDS but un-gratefulness. To make a point, to make them listen, she said “I am not THAT old, and I am very beautiful”. (When someone commented I guess, that she doesn’t know what she is talking about? Her fellow singers were teasing her.) She told the youths to be grateful for all they have and honour their parents instead of treating them badly. But this is not what made me sit and think. I started thinking about this psychologist, a black, very funny psychologist who gives lectures (I think one can see them on YouTube, because I have listened to them via a link in an e-mail) on male and female differences. One lecture was about women, about how we have so many wires in our heads and how men are single-minded, with a nothing box to go in to. But the funniest part of that lecture is actually when he describes white women and black women. He strutted across the scene showing how sassy the black woman is, how highly she thinks of herself and how she will not take anything from anyone. And then he dragged himself over the stage, portraying the white woman, with her hunched back, telling herself, “I am so ugly, I am so fat, I am so greasy, I am so wrinkly, I am so…”. This South African WAS his lecture. She was proud, self-confident and she stood there saying “I am very beautiful” even though she had the biggest bottom I have ever seen, gigantic hips, thighs and calves. And of course big chested as well. She was wearing the tightest white dress possible which showed every car tire. And still she was as happy as can be and saying that she is beautiful. I would never ever put on anything so tight, since it would show my C-section pouch! (The one that we C-section delivering mothers can never get rid of, unless a surgeon cuts it off and tucks all of it inside. Whatever the method is, that cost a fortune? A method that would have made me able to pick any trousers or skirt to wear.) And I would never have put on a white dress, which in itself makes you look fat. I do not look anything like the woman, and yet, I find myself the ugliest woman on this planet and walk around just like the psychologist said white women do. What is it, that makes us do that? Why do WE have such a poor self-esteem? And what do the black women do, to get such a fantastic self-esteem? Couldn’t someone write a book about that, teaching us self-loathers how to love ourselves like they do? I am sure there is a market out there for it. Unfortunately the psychologist who is so funny, only point out our differences, not WHY they are there and how to get rid of the negative ones. I would like to accept myself the way I look, but I can’t. I never have been able to. And parking the car yesterday, I realised that part of the problem is perhaps that never ever during my entire life, has my mother told me, that I am pretty. Not once! But she told me plenty of times, how ugly I am. Those words stick, don’t they? Negative words stick, positive ones do not. Why is that?

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