Saturday, October 17, 2009

I'm on youtube.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

While sitting on the train with the husband, a family got on and sat next to us, parents, teenaged stepson, and a toddler and a baby together in one of those unwieldy double strollers. I looked at the sleeping toddler's mittens: tiny, brightly colored, with a repeated design of skulls. How odd, I thought, that this memento mori has become such a popular pattern for the clothes of small children.

Was it started with irony - dress your two-year-old in goth death metal biker style with a big old wink - or is it a distant reflection of our warlike times? Or did it just filter down, with little kids demanding to have the same things that the big kids have?

More, I wonder if it gives parents pause to pull a wailing baby into a little green onesie patterned with skulls? I want to know if it feels odd to show off this squirming bundle of your genes and proof that life just goes on and on, with a nasty reminder that death gets us all in the end. I guess a hundred years ago and more, when the chances of making it to your third birthday were far slimmer than today, no one bothered with skull patterns since children were a reminder in and of themselves that death gets us all in the end.

As for today, well, we're so removed from death these days that the image of a skull is really nothing more than a fashion statement. I would be surprised if any parents gave any of this a second thought.

But it never fails to startle me.

The Swedish word for the day is ben. It means bone or bones as well as leg or legs.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

We went to see Julie & Julia last night with the girl from LA and her boyfriend. The movie opened yesterday here up in the far north. As every person I've spoken to, every review I've read, says: Julia good; Julie, um, not so good. But the husband came back from the gym this morning and I caught him in the kitchen, making an omelet, Julia-style, shaking, shaking, shaking it in the pan.

"It didn't really work" he said. "I did it wrong at the beginning so it stuck."

Plus he put tabasco sauce on it, decidedly un-Julia.

"It's good anyway," he said.

The Swedish word for the day is omelett, which surprisingly means omelet. An interesting fact, however is that when Swedes want a smile for the camera, they say "omelet," which gives a decidedly more subtle and less radiator-grill-like result.

Friday, October 02, 2009

How old is too old to be out dancing until 4 a.m.?

I am proof in the flesh that 48 is not too old. And we are not talking wimpy dancing, either. I got all sweaty and soaked, in my t-shirt and green suspenders, shaking every part of my body hard and fast.

We were just coming off of a dinner of saffron curry chicken and fried bread and homemade coconut ice cream with cardamom caramel sauce for dessert. Not so heavy going, despite the sound of it. The girl from L.A. had at last moved to Stockholm (well, not at last – she’d been here for a month but we were all absorbed in marrying off the children’s book author and the sea captain) so we were celebrating.

“Welcome,” the husband toasted to her and her boyfriend, and all 11 of us raised our glasses. "Here's to the first of many dinners."

Absolutely, I thought to myself.

So we talked and ate, each group having its own conversations, discussing everything from Maira Kalman - the girl from L.A. went to a knitted hat party at her house! - to getting lost in the Ikea at Kungens Kurva, and the insanity that is shopping at Ikea on a Saturday, to the stripey goodness of her boyfriend's socks (I forced him to come and look at all our stripey socks in the newly refurbished dressing room at the back of the apartment.)

Then, at about 12:30, we all put on our coats and trooped out to go to some club where the pop star was playing, except when we got there push had come to shove, shove, shove as we stood around listening to the tunes being spun, being so manhandled and elbowed by the crowd that our little group nearly imploded.

"Someone pinched my ass," the boyfriend of the girl from L.A. said.

"Was that you, Francis?" the children's book author said.

I denied it.

"Well, I wouldn't have minded if it was Francis, at least I know him," the boyfriend of the girl from L.A. said.

Then some girl tried to pick him up. That is totally un-Swedish I said. I told him it must be his naturally curly hair that was attracting all the attention. Then we left for some new gay club that's opened up, near Norrlandsgatan. Push had not come to shove there, thank goodness. Push hadn't even come to push yet, although at least one of the dance floors was pleasantly packed. It was there that we ended the night.

The Swedish phrase for the day is klockan fyra på morgonen. It means four in the morning.