I didn’t really know how I felt about these

pregnant belly photos.

Here is a sample.

What question does this come down to?

How much fun are you allowed to have with your pregnant belly?

What kind of messages are you going to put on your pregnant belly?

Does this art discriminate against women who don’t get as big and therefore don’t have as much canvas?

Should childbirth be more sacred than this?

When did we start flaunting over sequestering?

**

Actually, I do know how I feel.  I think they’re pretty awesome.  Also, this is probably the only time in my life that being pasty white will have an advantage.

I am now a bread master,

having baked 25 or so loafs since yesterday evening.  Perhaps I should clarify: I didn’t create anything difficult, I simply made a bunch of sweet breads. I’m not exactly sure why we call them breads because they taste like cake.  Maybe it makes us feel better when we’re stuffing them down our throats?  You know what I’m talking about.  Think way back to when you first, hesitantly, tried carrot or zucchini bread.  SWEET.  Right?  They do not taste like vegetables.

Anyways, these breads are really simple and yummy, so I’ve linked them here for you.  Check out the top reviewers for tweaking the recipes.

Cinnamon Bread

Orange Bread

Lemon Bread

Warning: I didn’t follow any of these recipes exactly.  The cinnamon bread I substituted some brown sugar for white (accidentally; don’t ask), and I melted the butter for the topping mix (I don’t recommend).  The orange bread I somehow managed to combine recipes in my head and added milk and vinegar (again, don’t ask).  The lemon bread I didn’t add the glaze and I used salted butter (so reduced the salt called for).  Basically, I screwed them all up, but they still came out well.  Very forgiving recipes.

Conclusion: Without a personality change, I will never become a good cook/baker.  I’m too spastic.  I start the dry ingredients and then decide to work on the wet ones halfway through.  Before finishing those I spot a bowl that I could clean now and save later labor.  And then I’m wiping a table or snacking on something.  I return to the dry ingredients and can’t remember which I’ve put in or if I’ve doubled them all.

Furthermore, I have no attention to detail.  I’m not a person who measures everything by making a smooth top with the back of a knife.  I just throw stuff in.

Future employers: this is only how I act in a kitchen.  The rest of the time, I’m incredibly organized, attentive to details, chronologically sound, and a terrific team player.

**

The highlight of my baking adventures was, of course, listening to Swedish radio during the Swedish Radio Witching hour: around 23.00 or midnight, the radio managers let their DJs get creative with the music.  (We reckon it’s for good behavior).  This means bizarre remixes and fun fun song choices.  Oh, and some Abba.

This morning I heard, in order, “It’s Raining Men” and “Knocking on Heaven’s Door.”  It’s all very confusing.  I would hate to be an alien anthropologist studying humans via Swedish radio.  Especially because half of their commercials are semi-full length songs: not jingles.  When you don’t know the language, this is very confusing, and at one point my sisters and I thought we were familiar with one of the bigger Swedish hits, only to discover it was some sort of phone commercial (SMS in the lyrics should have been a hit.  But really, I’m sure Rebecca Black or Kanye would use that as a lyric).

Here’s a song I heard this morning.  It’s special.

And here’s Josh Groban singing Kanye West’s tweets:

**

WordPress compiles a nice little list of data about my blog viewers.  Due to some rather thoughtless (or genius) wording on my part, “A neked man is bathing” was one of the search terms used to direct a consumer to my site.   Sorry about the letdown, madam (or sir).

**

FML Wednesday:

Today, I was so lonely, I tried to hold hands with plastic “horror hand” I bought for Halloween. FML

Today, I apologized to the cat for walking into the laundry room while he was using the litter box. FML

Today, I learned that the building I just moved into contains both a drummer and an opera singer. Both are very dedicated to their craft and practice frequently. FML

“I hope you had a good time at your seafood festival,”

came the text.  He was, of course, referring to the crayfish party that I managed to snap out of my antisocial funk long enough to attend.  Crayfish parties are a very Swedish celebration of life/the end of summer/alcohol.  They involve games, drinking, and decorations resembling Chinese new year’s lights.  Oh, and crayfish.  Which are like lobsters in their color, shape, and beady angry boiled alive eyes; but unlike lobsters in their size and willingness to provide accessible meat.

I’ve pulled some quotes from Wikipedia for you:

“It is culturally correct to suck the juice out of the crayfish before shelling it.”

“The alcohol consumption is often high, especially when compared to the amount of food actually eaten (crayfish shelling is tedious work).”

Due to my rather temperate drinking, I possibly missed the entire point of a crayfish party (getting plastered), but I still had a good time.

Here is a photo I took of my first little buddy.  I refrained from naming him because…well you know.

 

A naked man was bathing himself

in the lake along Djurgården today.  The nude sighting (my first in Stockholm – actually my first ever), recalled to my mind the olden days, where bathing often took place in lakes.  I only saw the back of him as he stood pouring buckets of water over himself, and I have to admit there is something to be said for no tan lines.

Naturally this sighting occurred as I was taking a two and three year old for a walk.  Ree didn’t notice, but Benny stared until I dragged him forward and pointed out a duck.  In a three year old’s mind, fascination with ducks ≥ fascination with naked bodies.

I have come to the conclusion that two year olds are the most adorable creatures in the world because otherwise we would abandon them to their tantrums.

And here’s another stalker photo I am fond of.

This morning I was rejected by a boy at a bus stop.

(overexposed stalker photo I took of a couple in Vasastan park)

Or man I should say.  Young man.  Guy.  I recently had a (brief) exchange about the “boy/guy/man” label with my 20 something cousin who assured me that we still refer to them as “guys” until we become properly old.  This seems reasonable enough, as ‘boy’ sounds terribly young and ‘man’ sounds terribly…well, mature.  Not old, but definitely not these foppish dandies in their 20’s and 30’s who are hanging on to their shreds of childhood.  George Clooney is a man.  Zack Efron is a guy.  Justin Bieber is a boy.  Well that makes classification a lot easier.

It always trips me up when I read an article about a “man” or “woman” who is 19 or 20.  If you are younger than me, you do not get one of those labels.  (An even superior classification system.)

Right.  But as I was saying, I was rejected by said fellow at said location.  I was wearing eyeliner, a colorful belt, and green skinny trousers with my patched hippy purse containing trusty Canon 60D.  If that outfit doesn’t stave off rejection, I don’t know what will.  Our conversation went a little something like this:

Me: “I’m doing a project about being young in Stockholm.  Would you mind if I took your photo?”

Boy/Guy/Man: “Oh, no.  You can’t.”

Me: “OK.”

Boy/Guy/Man: “I don’t look very good today.”

Yep.  And I thought (shamefully) What a girly excuse.  Men generally don’t have good/bad appearance days.  See list:

Reasons why men don’t have good/bad appearance days

– They don’t wear makeup.

– They (usually) have short hair and don’t have to deal with styling/controlling, etc.

– Dirt makes them look manlier and sexier *

– So does getting lazy about shaving (five o’clock shadow?  yes, please)

– They don’t have to shave/bleach/etc. legs, arms, etc.

– They don’t have to worry about matching clothing to shoes to purses to scarves to socks to nose rings to hair ties…

*sometimes.  please do not interpret this as BO=sexy

 

 

This guy looked like he had showered, slept, and eaten.  So when he said he didn’t look good today, he either meant:

1) He is never attractive enough to be used in a photo project

2) He is the oh so common Swedish Metro Male who is about as high maintenance as a Valley Girl

3) He is a spy

4) He hates my face

And as this scenario is a comprehensive look into how I handle rejection, you can understand why job hunting is so difficult for me right now.

“They like to explore what they’ve got down there,”

Penny said, laughingly apologetic.

“Ah…right,” I responded in my best ‘boys will be boys’ tone.

Penny is the mother of Teddy and Tim, Swedish-American boys age three and four, who do indeed enjoy poking, flicking, tugging, and generally exposing their boy parts.  My placement with them is possibly a divine intervention at my prudeness/prudity (why isn’t there a nounization of that word?), which I find wholly uncalled for.  Everyone loves a prude.  What a terrific website name – everyonelovesaprude.com – and it’s open for the taking.  Go.  (Prude.com disappointingly leads to a page covered in ads for Russian women and interracial dating.  Sacred is nothing. ?)

But back to my little cherubs.  Teddy is beautiful, as three year olds should be, with liquid hazel eyes engulfing half his face, a tiny upturned nose and perfect little chin. His round head is covered with a mop of dark brown hair that straggles on and off his forehead.  Tim is properly Nordic looking with blond hair, blue eyes, and a chinadoll complexion.  He enjoys long walks on the beach and…

“Shebooooon,” Teddy whines his interpretation of my name when he needs me.  “I have pee-pee.”

This caught my attention.  Pee pee has the ambiguous pleasure of being a reference to both the instrument and output of his nether regions, meaning the correct response to his announcement was either “Yes you do, now put it away,” or “We must go to the toilet!”

Naturally he had wet himself.  But only a little – he had had the foresight to save some for the toilet.  Upon which he sat, holding his Pee Pee (for balance I assume) and then waving his hand in front of the stream.

“It has pee!” He shouted, holding his hand up.

“Yes.  Let’s wash it with soap and water, OK?”

“OK.”  He’s really quite a compliant child.

**

And yes, I spent four years and tens of thousands of dollars for a university degree, only to end up as a babysitting tutor.  But there are perks.  I get to watch cartoons, eat McDonalds, and pretend to be a crocodile.  Also, when was the last time your work buddy made you a Lego flying house?  Or asked you penetrating questions about the origin of your gender?  (“Why are you a girl?  But why?”)