Saturday, September 30, 2006

it's all about the cars

Really, it is.

pure purple

Somebody painted their house purple.

I had neighbors once who had their three front rooms painted soft pink, yellow and green respectively. Visiting them felt like being inside a giant tub of ice cream.

I still haven't figured out what this shade of purple could possible resemble. Maybe nothing. Maybe it's one of a kind.

and they're yummy too

Strangers in daylight.

Friday, September 29, 2006

whiter shade of haze

I like haze. It's soft and friendly.

And then I came home and I watched the 1976 film Network. A student gave it to me after we had discussed conglomeration in class. (And I got to feel dumb for not having seen it before.)

I watched it under 3 blankets because I was cold.
Now I just think I have a cold.

The film was OK. The screenplay is famous but I got overwhelmed. I think that if you want to say something you need to make sure it doesn't get lost amongst all the words.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

right here is where you start paying. in sweat!

I have 41 kids in this class I am teaching on Thursday nights.

Those American style desks always make me think of Fame, the TV series. I so wanted to be like what's her name's character, the dance teacher. The opening of the show always had this clip where she walks in, bangs something in the floor, and starts yelling. I liked that a lot. Once in a while I attempt something of the same, minus the legwarmers. And with far less grace.

sometimes I kill things

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

strangers in the night


I put an ad in Dan's paper this week. I am super excited. This is what it looks like. Obviously in the real one you can read the phone number. (I don't really know why I am OK with having my phone number in a paper but not here.)

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

things that grow

Fennel grows in the wild here. I have heard stories about how the Italian immigrants to this area would pick it and how others couldn't understand what they were doing and wouldn't believe they were going to eat it.

Other than that I have been thinking a lot about people lately. What they say, what they don't say, and why that is. Things like that.

I am reading the latest book by Bodil Malmsten, a Swedish author who at the age of 55 moved to France without really knowing any French. I read a comment by a 25-year old who said that she too wants to live in France and write books. What I wanted to say to her was that France and old farmhouses aside, are you really prepared to take a risk? Whatever a risk would look like in your particular case?

I don't think piggy-backing on someone else's risk taking counts.

(The book is lovely.)

Monday, September 25, 2006


So I went to see a martial arts movie. I liked it far better than I thought I would. It was set in China in the early 1900's and some things like clothes and tableware were very pretty. (Yeah I looked at those things.)
Dan says this is a Chinese/Dutch crossover outfit, and I have to agree. Had she worn yellow clogs there would have been no question.

But either way I really really want one for myself.


Sunday, September 24, 2006

I don't know about you, but this is upsetting to me

35% of adults (all ethnicities) in California are expected to vote in the November election, according to the Public Policy Institute of California.

The recent (Sept. 17) election in Sweden: 82% voter participation, according to Valmyndigheten.

contemplate these numbers

8 127 000 Latinos are in the Voting Age Population in California, but only 4 433 000 (54%) of those are actually citizens.

2 455 000 Latinos are registered to vote in California. That's 55% of those that have the right to do so. Compare that to 76% among Whites, and 73% among Blacks.

the scream

this girl was fishing

Friday, September 22, 2006

thanks stacy

I inherited a bouquet of flowers when someone had to go out of town once. This giant lily made me sneeze but I couldn't throw it out because it was so pretty.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

what's in a name

Before there was Silicon Valley
there was Valley of Heart's Delight.


Richard Rodriguez spoke at Santa Clara University today. Among other things he was talking about the difference between the American "I" and the Mexican (Spanish) "nosotros". He said Mexican telenovelas are popular in Lithuania because they are about family. American stories are always concerned with the "I".

at history san jose

they have pretty Victorian houses and Rainbow Sherbet.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

to the left, a retirement home for asian people

San Jose has a newish city hall. It sits on top of what used to be old Victorian houses and a few homeless shelters and churches that served really cheap breakfasts in the mornings. Some of the Victorian houses were moved a few blocks down the street and done up. I don't know where the homeless people went.

For a while I taught at one public and one private university at the same time. I would drive for twenty minutes between my two jobs and be in completely different worlds. I am not going to say that poor people are closer to the truth, but I am going to say that sometimes money distances you from the lives of ordinary people.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

speaking of morrissey

Clinton on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart last night.

Sometimes you just need to hold on to what you like. Three things right now: Bill Clinton, Jon Stewart, and Morrissey lyrics.

email from gordon

"I've been reading your blog. I've attached a potential photo."

Potential, indeed.

sciatica + six weeks

Almost back to normal. The invisible bandaid on my ankle almost gone. Sensation almost returned to the back of my leg.

Monday, September 18, 2006

my favorite sibling photo

who do they think I am? or maybe they just can't read the swedish

Email from Kathy:
"am in the msp airport and taking a few minutes to check email/etc. on one of the pay terminals - tells me your blog space is restricted because of potentially restricted or objectionable material - ain't that something!"

Saturday, September 16, 2006

tack mats.

And you all know security
Is mortal's chiefest enemy
(Macbeth, III)

Friday, September 15, 2006

it's out

Time to relax, sip something tasty, and read two of my favorite publications.

our favorite number crunchers

Sunday is election day in Sweden. These two fine gentlemen from the university where I used to work will arm themselves with statistics and try predict the outcome on competing TV channels. They are charming and funny and smart and whenever numbers need crunching, they will do a great job. I didn't think political science would ever make me nostalgic, but now it did.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

see that neckline?

Today on Project Runway someone made a dress that looked exactly like the ones I made for myself in the 80's. (Minus the naked back.) I used shoulder pads to hide the fact that I really couldn't sew. I had draping across the front and it usually ended up kind of assymetrical too. (Hi Mayka.) I bet I can still do it.

grandpa in a tree

This is my grandpa in a tree.
I scanned again.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Sunday, September 10, 2006

looking for a tulip?

I am turning into a net-nerd.
I do links just like that.
And I know photoshop
like the back of my hand.

New and improved:

we'll never use scissors again

We are making a website for Dan's mom's business. I have learned so much about photoshop. Never I read anything about programs I use. I am strictly trial and error. Trial, error, bad temper, and frustration. But then it works and it's just great.

Today I learned to pick up a color somewhere in a photo and paint over unsightly things completely seamlessly. You can pick up the color of a wall and paint over shadows or coo-coo clocks or whatever. This can come in very handy. Here, for instance, is Linda's new haircut, by me.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

at the movies

This is an enjoyable movie.

Which, sadly, is more than
can be said for Idlewild.
It has its moments...
... but it also has an awful lot of

Friday, September 08, 2006

Lessing again

Just found this quote by Doris Lessing (who was born in 1919, and grew up in what is now Zimbabwe):

"I was brought up on the farm in the bush, which was the best thing that happened, it was just a wonderful childhood. One of my most formative experiences was listening to my mother playing Beethoven and Chopin on the piano and listening to the drums playing in the compound: two kinds of music playing together. And as a child I didn't see any reason why they shouldn't be played together, you had to be much older to understand that African drums and Chopin weren't really a part of the same phenomenon"
Doris Lessing

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

in line online

It has taken me 24 hours or so but I have
finally created a website for myself.
The opening page looks like this:

And I certainly wouldn't have believed
the amount of work that went into getting
those measly words together.

You can reach it at
It's my first attempt at html coding (but that's
a lie, the software does it all for you).

And also, as you can see, I am in an online loop

Monday, September 04, 2006

Vill du ha'at som i Sovjet eller?

Bill Clinton was talking about poverty on CNN on Sunday night - poverty in an international sense, and poverty as in good ol' American poverty.

Today (thanks Annaa) I came across a discussion in Sweden about the perceived need in that country to dismantle the welfare system, cut taxes, and people's ability (or not) to pay for all sorts of different services out of their own pockets once they have enjoyed those same tax cuts. (DN-artikel, in Swedish.)

This, the United States of America, is a country where not everybody has the right to sick leave. Where in an average workplace you may be asked to donate some of your total of ten vacation days to someone who needs medical treatment. I could make this a really long list of rights people do not have. The short version of that list is this: Surgery without paid sick leave. No legal maternity leave.

When I was growing up in Sweden the general question to ask Leftists was something along the lines of "Do you want it like in the Soviet Union then?" ("Vill du ha'at som i Sovjet eller?"). Now the question is different, and it needs to be asked of those on the Right: Do you really want it like in the United States?

Swedes really want to import the problems Bill Clinton was talking about? While at the same time doing away with a system the rest of the world envies? A system that actually works, in that it creates healthy, educated people? Makes absolutely no sense to me.

And don't get me started on the American eduational system, and the differences between public and private schools, rich and poor, wrong side of the tracks and right.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

''' ''''' '''' ''''''''' ''

One thing I have figured out is that Americans really like their super heroes. I was at a retreat earlier this year, and as an ice-breaker exercise everybody got to introduce their favorite super hero, complete with characteristic movements.

I so don't have a favorite super hero.

But I realized I had to come up with something, and do my part in breaking that ice. So I told them my favorite hero is Woodstock, and I did a little flapping of imaginary wings.

They did not think that was funny. They smiled politely because they were polite people. But they forced me to cash in a big chunk of my foreigner's discount right then and there.

I really like Woodstock, though. Once he got confused and flew into a tree. Snoopy said: "Being a bird, you'd think he'd know better." I just think that's funny.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

flower for gustav, 11

Grattis Gustav!

no, I won't tell my idea.

I have been translating today. And in the midst of doing that I had a seriously good idea. Hope it works out. It would involve a lot more translating, and it would be super great.

And oh my favorite acdc kept repeating this sentence when talking about New Orleans and the aftermath of Katrina: "Hope is not a plan". So... I will have to make it work then.

hold your thumbs for 'after'

This is a 'before' picture. It's an orchid there in the blue pot, given to me by a very nice student. I have had it at work for years, and no matter the amount of abuse it would provide flowers several times a year. I took it home with me the other day. Now we'll see.