Friday, April 28, 2006

Fashion Fantasy no 3

Dear Marc, sometimes I picture myself as a travelling literary lady. I'm wearing grayish tweeds and perhaps a green scarf and my shoes are a priceless combination of grace and comfort. My glasses are pretty but sensible, my hands perfectly manicured to hold my precious ink pen, always at the ready.

My laptop is lacking the babyfood smearings of reality. My agenda is filled with interesting meetings. I travel to fascinating destinations to meet with the best minds of other countries. My biggest problem is what to wear to award shows. Not that it's a problem in my dreams, I just pick gowns from my extensive collection of amazing evening wear.

This is where fantasy and reality collide. I am travelling to NYC and Washington DC next week. I'm travelling together with my talented friend Bea, who's there to pick up an award for her book "The man who went to the far side of the moon" which I helped translate.

We don't know what to wear to the awards show. What would you suggest for this translator and her brilliant friend? Can I find it in your NY store?


Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Stiffs and torsos

Dear Marc, we're up north, trying to catch the best of winter before it's too late. But with snow melting everywhere, birds singing and the mountain creeks filling up with new fresh water, it's hard to pretend it's winter.

The lodge has a certain "Shining" quality. I don't know if it's all the black and white pictures from the old days or if it's the end-of-the-season feeling of a place soon to be abandoned. All work and no play make us go insane. There are also lots of stuffed animals, the kind that were once alive.

There's a bear in the lobby, forever hanging out with a stiff lynx. The lynx is missing his nose which makes it look sad and appalling at the same time. I think the nose fell of post-taxidermic treatment, but one can't be to sure.

Speaking of missing body parts, Vanja told our friend Clara about her dolls.

"I have two dolls. One is just an ordinary doll. But the other one is missing her legs. And arms. And she has no head. Actually, this doll is just a back and belly."

Vanja never lies. She does have a torso doll. That's what kids get to play with at my house. Dressing the doll is a challenge. Forget about putting shoes on. You might think the torso doll is creative merchandise from "Autopsy" or "CSI", a way of reaching out to a new generation of potential viewers. But it's not. It's just the cruel result of time taking it's toll on my old friend Rosemary. Vanja started playing with her and her limbs just fell off, one by one.

Age. I does strange things to all of us. What has it done to you? Is your nose intact?

I hope so


A day in pictures

Dear Marc, why would you care about the life of a Swedish mom? You wouldn't, but let's pretend you did. Then you might want to see what it's like when Tuesday dinner is served.
You might share the surprise of finding a bald child playing with a jar of hair goo.

You would also be a bit jealous of seeing two children get to make their own pizza at a road side joint.

The pizza guy was very helpful.

Monitoring the baking process is essential.

More exciting than TV. Flat screen pizza ovens.

The pizza was small, but perfect. Much like the bakers.

Proud pizza makers eat late.


Friday, April 21, 2006

There’s an ant in fantastic, too.

Dear Marc, today I found an ant on me as I left the subway. It must have piggybacked on me all the way from the suburbs. For a second I considered turning back, repeating the half hour commute to return the ant to it’s natural surroundings. But I had important business meetings to attend, and by then, the ant was already strolling on the subway bench, hellbent on a journey it would never forget.

How does it work with ants? They can stroll away for quite a distance, but at what distance are they beyond reach of the anthill’s reception? Would my ant start walking in the correct direction? Probably not.

It was so sad, how this ant was now a lost cause, who would starve to death alone, in a subway environment that must seem like Thunderdome compared to the leaves back home.

It was not much different than the unfortunate fate of Laika the space dog. Especially when considering that we’re all in space, all the time. Can’t seem to get away from it.

Tomorrow we’re heading for the mountains. I’ll be the one under 50 wearing mintgreen ski gear, courtesy of my mom. Am too cheap to invest in attractive ski clothes as we’re approaching May. Maybe later this winter. Have any hints on what to wear beyond your wonderful thermal underwear?

I prefer cross country skiing. Will try not to bring ants to the Northern part of the country.
Did you ever bring an insect from NYC to Paris? How did it make you feel? Friendly or evil?

There are ants everywhere. Hiding in the Idiot Savants, toiling among the servants, sharing the pleasure of your company as assistants.

Have a lovely Friday. Pleasant greetings


Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Dry hands and small steaks

Dear Marc, how are you?

I'm fine. We finally moved into our new house. I love it so much, I face the forest each morning for breakfast. I love the view, I say. I can't get enough of it. Anders sits in front of me, looking at me. He repeats my words, in a teasing way. But I love him for the effort.

Winter is still here, though we're approaching May. My hands are so dry, it's silly. This morning, I sat down on the edge of the bed to tenderly stroke the skin of my loved one's face. He was almost sleeping, just coming out of the world of dreams.

"What's that, gravel?" he asked.

Still haven't cooked in the new house. Actually have not cooked since February, when we left the apartment. In India, we ate out. Back home, dad cooked.

He cooked Easter dinner for us yesterday as well. I walked into the kitchen at mom and dad's place, only to find dad seated on the floor, next to the oven. A lovely aroma filled the air, and not a sound was heard except for the appetizing noise of potatoes roasting, a mute sound of steam evaporating from their rosemary covered skins. The oven door was open and dad was lovingly watching a lambsteak he was preparing. It was as if his love cooked the meat. It turned out perfect.

That's why I'll never be a great cook. You'll never find me on the floor with my entire focus on a steak.

Mom's the same way. She'll spend time in the kitchen. But she'll be reading, eating or bending spoons. She's pulling into a Uri Geller phase. Dad tells her anyone can bend spoons.
"I'll be impressed when you can bend a knife!" He urged her the other day.

That whole night, mom sat with a knife in her lap, but the stubborn knife remained straight. Straight as a knife.

I asked mom if she didn't feel the house was empty after we left, but she did not even pretend to miss us.

"It's not exactly empty!" She replied, meaning that our stuff was still scattered all over the place.

"But mom, come on, it's a little empty without us, non?"

"Actually it's a relief."

I can understand her. If guests start to smell after three days, imagine how we must have stunk after almost a month in the basement.

Busy day ahead. Two meetings, then important shopping to do:

Buy hand lotion.

Also must purchase bookshelves, tv and small, cupboardsized chef to cook for us.

What are you buying today?

Consumer greetings from your

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Wicked witch of the Easter

Dear Marc, how are you? Did any påskkärring come knocking on your door today? No? But today is the day!
This is the day all Swedish kids dress up like witches do. See how stylish the shabby chic look looks on the young. A little crochet goes a long way. Vertical stripes are the new horizontal stripes. And don't forget the kettle, replacing the handbag as this year's must carry-along.

It's our equivalent of your trick or treating.
I remember doing the house rounds as a witch back in my childhood. A poor neighbour opened her door to us four little witches, only to sadly announce that she was out of candy.

I've always been soft at heart. Even at the tender age of 8, I couldn't stand the sad look on her face. I wanted to console her. I offered the only consolation I could think of:

"That's ok! We don't need candy. Money will do just as fine."

She shut the door in our faces. I didn't understand why until many years later.

Witch you well, kiss and tell

Monday, April 10, 2006

Notes from underground

Dear Marc, what a horrible Monday. We're all sick and we're living in my parent's basement. You can't tell from the outside that we live here. But the coughs and feverish breathing may give us away.

It's like when I went to see a friend of mine who had just delivered her 3rd child. The whole family had moved to a new house because they were now a big family. The new mom showed me around the newly renovated house. It was perfect. Immaculate. They were just putting the last finishing touches on the spotless, modern, child friendly kitchen.

I was impressed. Then she took me down to the basement, a grim little hole of a place with concrete floor, a rough table and a microwave.

"Of course, this is where we've been eating for the past 3 months" she said, offering an insight into the family's Anne Frankian days of hiding, not from Nazis, but from renovation.

For three months, dinner planning had all been about what tastes ok straight from a can or from the microwave.

We're not quite there yet, but almost. My dinner tonight consisted of one small yogurt, one slice of cheese, 3 crackers and an apple. My mousy appearance has obvious origins - eat like a mouse, look like a mouse.

Must finish article about Madonna. Having trouble focusing. Can't stop wondering what happened to America's champion grocery bagger who was set to guest Letterman the night Madonna didn't leave the stage. Back in '94. Did he or she ever get a 2nd chance? You know how much some of us dream about a Letterman chance.

What did you have for dinner tonight?


ps. That top picture is not from our home. I just put it there for inspiration. I think it looks so cosy, just like how I imagine the dwelling of Jerry the mouse. Or is Tom the mouse? The mouse of Tom & Jerry.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Spring coat of arms

Dear Marc, did you ever design a coat of arms? I would love to have one. When I lay awake at night, I compose coats of arms for famous people.

Right now, I'm writing an article on Madonna and am trying to come up with a good coat of arms for her. I think perhaps it will be a Lion, a baby, 22 volumes of the Zohar, a pen and a mic all balancing on top of a cone shaped bra. Could you solve this with a clever design?

I can't stop this coat of arms thing. Like so many other things, it's my dad's fault. He's been studying the 11 volumes of "Swedish noble families" with the same vigour and stamina that Madonna studies the Kabbalah. Along the way, he has shared stories of terrible fates and ridiculous names. The other day he told me about the noble family Codstar.

Codstar. When there are family names like Natt och Dag - Night and Day. Isn't that the most beautiful name you ever heard? Not to pick on Jacobs, but Night and Day! You are the one!

My dad is not of noble origins. Our history is filled with starving, freezing farmers, fishers and shoe makers. He doesn't look up to nobility. But he can't stop reading those books. And what a joy that is to all of us.

There are stories about people who get stuck with bullets in their limbs heroic widows and unfortunate proposals. My favorite in the latter category involves a young man who was so happy to receive a positive reply to his popped question that he sat up on his horse, backwards by mistake, making a fool of himself and losing the respect of his fiance and fellow men.

Must finish the article. Am wishing for a private coat of arms for myself. Please arrange a pretty picture of a laptop, walking shoes, stroller, chocolate and tea.

big love

Monday, April 03, 2006

Ebony and Ivory

Dear Marc, how often do you see salt and pepper in perfect harmony?
Side by side on my table, why can't we?

It all makes me think of that other classic "A salt with a deadly pepa".
Let today be a tribute to the women behind the lyrics of "Shoop".

Shoop shoop ba-doop
Shoop ba-doop
Shoop ba-doop ba-doop ba-doop
Shoop ba-doop
Shoop ba-doop
Shoop ba-doop ba-doop ba-doop

big love

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Couch potato

Dear Marc, we went to IKEA today in search of a good couch or two. Didn't find what we were looking for so we started browsing the web instead. Came across this couch that we find no use for in our home, but somebody must buy it! It's got more character than most people I know!