Wednesday, September 30, 2009

International Translation Day

Today is celebrated by having the world's first ever virtual translators conference. I have been attending for an hour now, and I got to say I am impressed by the set up, hosted by, one of the premiere translators web sites on the Internet.

Just like a regular conference, but without the handshakings (hey, no chance of getting the flu, ha!).

I have met and chatted with colleges from around the world, attended informative workshops and browsed booths by major vendors. All in my pajamas. Cool!

Monday, September 28, 2009


I love to read, the only problem is that when I get a good book in my hands, I have to finish it right away. I just can't put a book down and wait until later.

So I really hesitated when I downloaded Dan Brown's new book, "The Lost Symbol" (you know, the "DaVinci Code"-guy). The book is over 1000 pages! It was good, definitly a read if you liked any of his other books.

Now I am off to the bank, then to pick Sarah up at school, then Publix for groceries, then to pick up Ken, and then to pick up my car which is having a window fixed today...



Florida is a bit backwards - the summer is NOT the time to grow anything edible, it is too hot and there are too many bugs. But I tried anyway, of course.

But now, when fall is here (well, it is still HOT, but in a few months it will be just warm, I hope). Time to plant!

This weekend I extended my herb family, so now I have regular basil, Thai basil, lemon grass, rosemary, oregano, cilantro, mint (for my new fave Mojitos!), dill, chives. Forgot the parsley, so will have to get that too.

Apparently some fire ants had decided to nest in one of my planters. These fire ants is not like Swedish "pissmyror". Fire ants are evil! After you get bit it feels like fire is burning for days, and you get puss filled little bumps. The venom they inject is apparently a substance related to black pepper, so that could explain the intense burning! I still have scars from months ago!

But apparently I must have developed some kind of allergy, because my left thumb (where I also got bit) is swelled up like a cartoon thumb and it feels all weird and numb. Not to forget the intense itching and other lovely sensations...

I tried antihistamines (double dose), antihistamine creams (normally works great for the bites), and also some cortisone cream. No relief. Freaking ants! I guess I will just have to be careful in the future, I usually get bitten every other month or so, they are everywhere around here.

Made the season's first apple pie, an Apple Crumble Pie, this weekend. With Swedish vanilla sauce, yum!

I better get to work now, have a large editing job to do.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Today we have a few small things to take care off. Ken is having a meeting with a client right now, and when he gets home we are first going to get his new glasses. His first ever with progressive lenses (bifocals)!

Then we have some shopping of different kinds to take care of, and hopefully a nice meal at the end somewhere too.

Other than that I am hoping for a lazy weekend around the house, perhaps a hike on Sunday with the dogs, but it is still HOT, hot, hot outside, so we will see.

I have some work to do, but I think I will save that for Monday.

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

House Guest

Positive outcome

Ken and I were pleasantly surprised at the conference yesterday. The speech therapist was great, she really listened to us and explained anything that was unclear. In attendance were also Sarah's teacher, Mrs S and a state legal representative, to explain our rights.

We got to see the evaluation they did on Sarah last semester, and there are very few areas that needed some improvement, and we agree she still have a hard time with those areas.

What really surprised me was the IQ test they had also done. This is conducted as a standard to see if a student's speech impediment is more deeply rooted or just a superficial issue. Sarah had scored in the upper 99 percentile, with a very high IQ. So she is bright, but just need a little help to realize the potential that she has.

We talked for over 1½ hours and they really apologized about the 20 page paperwork they had sent us. It is a standard "umbrella" statement used by the state, and it covers everything from slight problems to severe mental disabilities, so the term disabled is something they all cringe a bit at, since many parents apparently react to the wording in the document, just like I did. But it is a state document, and it is not in the budget right now to have individual documents for each type of issue, therefore everything is piled under the same label.

At least we don't have to worry about this being something that sticks with her. She will get speech therapy (along with 2 other kids in her class, so she doesn't have to feel singled out) twice a week, could be for a few months or a few years, whatever she needs.

All in all we were made VERY confident we have nothing to worry about. She starts her fist session today, and we will get continuous updates. When they feel she has reach the goal that we set for her, she will be dismissed from speech therapy and should have no problem in the future.

After the conference I feel so much better. I am pretty impressed by the free services they offer for students that might need something extra. If anything, the school system is very good in this country, and from people who have experience with having their kids in both Swedish and American schools, the US schools win, hands down.

My impression is that everyone here takes school very serious. Parent involvement is a must, and there are lots of demands early on for both kids and their parents. But this also means the kids LEARN. In Sweden it feels a little more like parents put a lot of the responsibility on the school. They drop their kids off and pick them up, show up to teacher parents conferences now and then, but that is it.

Here they stress the importance about volunteering in school, being a big part of your kid's school life. Of course, it feels a bit tough with all the requirements already starting in Kindergarten, the amount of home work they get and so on. If the child does not have support from home, it could be easy to fall behind quickly.

But by being strict and not tolerating any disruptive behavior the kids who need the concentration get sit. I remember countless days when a few unruly kids in my class would disrupt everything, and the teachers were to weak to say or do anything...

Here school is serious business, and they seem to really take it upon them as their duty to ensure the kids get what they came there for, an education.

What are you other Swedish mom's living in the US thoughts on American schools?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Don't know what to think

Some of you might remember the story about Sarah and me talking Swedish to her. I really wanted her to speak Swedish and therefore I spoke Swedish to her when she was born.

When she was around 2 ½ (or was it younger, can't remember), she was evaluated and considered "speech delayed". They told me (in a way that made me feel very bad) that it was my fault for talking Swedish to her. I had read that it is normal with speech delays for bilingual children, but this lady was really pushy and made me feel like the only thing was to stop the Swedish if I wanted Sarah to learn to talk right. I was bullied, quite frankly.

So I did. Stupid, stupid stupid!!! I don't know what I was thinking, but they really had me thinking it was my fault she was having speech problems... They did not contact me for a looong time, but when they did I found out that the lady who had evaluated Sarah had been fired, she was never a qualified evaluator, in fact, she was a college student in training!!!

But now it was a bit too late, Sarah was NOT interested in learning Swedish anymore, so it felt a bit like I missed the boat on making her bilingual. This is one of my biggest regrets in life! I try my best to teach her and she is very interested in Sweden, but I think the only thing that would help at this point would be "immersion therapy": go to Sweden for an extended stay and really immerse her in the language. But that is not possible right now.

Then back in spring they asked if they could evaluate Sarah again, but this time it was through her school, and I made sure it was by a qualified speech therapist... They said she would be a candidate for speech therapy and that they would get back to me with a plan in a few days.

They never contacted me. Until this past Friday, 5 months after the evaluation! We have a meeting with them this afternoon, but both Ken and I feel she no longer need any speech therapy (if she ever needed any to start...). Over summer her speech have clearly improved, and the only thing I really hear her having trouble with are her Rs. I don't think anyone can expect a 6 year old to pronounce Rs perfectly!

So we will go to the meeting and see what they say. But a 5 month old evaluation is not much to use as a backbone. A lot have happened in her development in 5 months. She reads and writes really good, she is a whiz at math... I don't think we have anything to worry about.

The thing that gets me really upset is the paper work that came with the notice of the conference. If she would receive speech therapy she would be considered special ed and disabled. Disabled (handikappad)??? Who knows if this label then would stick with her throughout school and cause problems, not a chance I would want to take. Special ed (specialundervisning) is also considered a pretty serious thing here, which would definitely put her in a category I don't think she deserves to be in.

I am NOT ready to label my daughter HANDICAPPED just because she has a hard time pronouncing her Rs.. What do you guys think about this mess???

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Great Saturday

Yesterday we were just suppose to go and see a matinee and then go home, but Ken was in the mood for some more and we ended up having a great afternoon!

First we saw the movie "Cloudy with a chance of meatballs", which Sarah and I thought was a lot of fun, Ken not as much.

Then Ken took us shopping, he got himself a bunch of new shirts, got me a new purse (needed one with a zipper since stuff always falls out of my old one), and then to another store for some clothes for Sarah.

Then we went over to Siesta Key and had some really good fish at the Lobster Pot. After that we stopped at the beautiful Sarasota Bayfront Park, down by the Marina Jack. We had a great long walk in the park, and then we happily drove home, sweaty as can be (37 C hot in the park!).

Then we had a leisurely evening watching a movie that I have been wanting to see for a while. Great day!

Friday, September 18, 2009


is my mobile phone? I have looked everywhere, nada. I can't call it, because it is of course not charged any more...

Hopefully it is in my car, which Ken is driving today. I hope...


How come, after an entire day and evening with no fever, she wakes up with 39 C at 6 this morning? Well, another day at home for her...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Afternoon Update

Sarah is doing much better, no fever. I did 3 days worth of work in less than 1!

I have now been off Diet Coke and aspartame for what is it now... almost 2 weeks? No more weird headache, no scratchy throat. And ice tea with no sugar works just great as a caffeine pick me up!

Poor kid

Yesterday when I picked Sarah up from school she said her stomach had started to hurt right before I picked her up. She never complain about being sick in any way, so when she says something like this it is usually something going on.

After we got home she said it was all in the area above her belly button and that it was getting worse. I got a little worried so I called and asked her doctor's nurse what she thought (great to be able to do that at no cost!). She said that since there is no other symptoms like fever and nausea it most likely is some type of indigestion, aka tummy upset.

We went up to the pharmacy and got some Pepto-Bismol after her recommendation (kind of like Novalucol or similar in Sweden). When we got home she refused to take it, being the picky eater she is. And might as well. I noticed she looked flush and decided to check her temperature again (I had checked it just 20 minutes earlier and she had no fever). Now it was really high!

So I called the nurse back, and the indigestion is now out. She told me to monitor her for 36 hours, since there is swine flu going around in Sarah's school. It is difficult to know how Sarah is feeling, since you can never tell on her when she is sick. So all I really have to go by is her temperature, which I will be keeping an eye on.

She has no real other symptoms now except being a bit tired and the fever, so we will see where it takes us. Poor thing!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Key Lime Pie

If there is one thing you should try during your visit in Florida, it is Key Lime Pie. This pie is made with a special type of limes called Key Limes (from the Florida Keys), a little tarter and usually smaller than regular limes. Many grocery stores in the US sell this juice on bottle, but since the pie taste so much better with freshly squeezed juice, you could use regular limes instead.

A few years ago I planted a key lime tree in our back yard, and it has grown a lot! Unfortunately the fruits (plenty of those) have always been small and dried up.

This year however, they are huge and oh so juicy! (Thanks to me watering the tree during the super dry spring months).

Last night I sent Ken and Sarah out to get me a bunch so I could make I pie.

It is very simple, just a graham crust and then 4 egg yolks, a small can of condensed, sweetened milk, half a cup of lime juice, and the zest from the limes you juiced, 12 minutes in the oven at 350 F, let cool and voila! Best served with some whipped cream... Mmmmm. Tart and not too sweet, perfect!

Monday, September 14, 2009


I have been waiting all morning for the confirmation of last night's cabin reservation, and finally they contacted me. Turns out someone else got it just before we sent in our reservation request...

So I had to start over... again. Very hard to find something that we both agree on. It has to have great mountain views, easy access to hiking trails, be pet friendly , have Internet access, a hot tub and be somewhat modern in looks.

After a lot of looking and searching a found a replacement, and it is booked, and confirmed. Done! And it was actually cheaper too. I am pretty OK with these views:

Now back to work after all this searching...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Cabin Holiday

Finally we found a cabin we both liked! It is in the Blue Ridge Mountains, off of the south end of the Appalachian Mountain Range.

There are hiking trails bordering the property, and some of the larges rivers in the area are within a few minutes walking distance.

3 stories, 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, all the modern amenities one could want, from game room and big flat screen TVs to wireless Internet and a huge hot tub outside.

Just check out this view:

Even if there is a 9 hour car drive up into the mountains (of so FUN with 2 dogs in the car... not), it is mainly the same road straight up, and we will leave early so we can stop along the way and relax. Should be a great Thanksgiving Holiday!


Yesterday I was super hungry ALL the time! I guess my body was trying to make up for something... I ended up making grilled spicy chicken wings with an oh-so-yummy avocado and sour cream dip sauce.

After X number of chicken wings I was still hungry! Weird. Normally I get full really fast...

Ken and Sarah worked on that school project and finished that up last night. They had also gotten a coconut, Sarah really wanted to drink the coconut milk/juice? straight out of it, and Ken had never tried it either, so they were all excited. It took Sarah one sip to realize it was not for her. Ken opened the coconut, took the coconut juice, the coconut meat, some bananas, ice cream and a little whiskey and whirled it all up in the blender to a super smoothie/milk shake for himself that he really enjoyed.

Today I am going to straighten the house up a bit. Funny, I do nothing for a few days and the entire place just goes to shits... Then I have some more work to do, but I did quite a lot of it yesterday, so it shouldn't be too bad at all.

Take care!

Saturday, September 12, 2009


Those anti vomiting pills seemed to work, I was able to eat some chicken soup late last night, and start drinking water. Still nauseated, but at least I kept it all down.

Today I feel really dizzy and tired, probably still dehydrated, but I woke up with a ferocious appetite and ate with no problem. Seems it is all over now, and I can just drink and rest up and I should be fine.

Phew! I would really hate to have to go the ER for that, my goal for this year is to have as little to do with doctors as possible!

Now I am going t work until about 2 PM, then Ken comes home and we are going to shop for supplies for that big school project Sarah has and that is due on Monday.

I think I will buy some really yummy food to, to make up for yesterday. So glad this is over!

All though the night we had a huge thunder storm park over us, and it is still pounding is with lots of rain. It was so bad the windows were rattling, really powerful storm. This morning it was cozy staying in bed listening to the rain, it was so forceful it sounded like a powerful waterfall.

Hope you are all having a great Saturday!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Blaaah 2

I just talked to my doctor, who wants me to go to the ER so I can get an IN with fluids. It is pretty bad, I am so dehydrated (thanks to no colon). My head is hurting, but I am just so weak, just like if I just had surgery.

I have been trying to drink lots of water, and I also got some Resorb, a re-hydration solution from Sweden that helps replenish the potassium and salts you have lost.

But as soon I have finished drinking, it comes right back up. Sarah is so fascinated by vomiting, she is really studying me and wants to see everything, and then she squeals and runs away, she is too funny! :-).

I got some anti vomiting medication, so I am hoping that will work so I can rehydrate on my own, otherwise it will be the ER tomorrow, my doctor will call and check up on me. I really have no energy for the ER, so I am hoping I can resolve this on my own. I know however, that it can be very difficult due to the J-pouch... Sigh...

Hopefully it will all be over tomorrow!


Last night we ended up ordering in from The Outback instead (Australian BBQ). It was great!

I had some grilled chicken and shrimp, and I thought one of the shrimp kind of tasted weird, but it was already eaten by then...

I have been up half the night being sick! Sure, it could be a stomach virus, but I put my money on food poisoning... The problem is that with no colon, you get dehydrated super fast and cannot make up for it as easily, since water uptake normally takes place in the colon.

I am so dizzy and weak, and still feeling sick. Ken had to leave extra early, so he could not take Sarah to school, and since I am in no condition to drive, I had to call her in sick. Sucks.

So I hope I will cycle through this crap fast and that I can dehydrate on my own.

Hey, at least I lost 5 lbs over night (mostly water weight I am sure, so not so good...)

Sure hope you guys are having a better start of the weekend! :-)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Surgery: Done

Nice that have that over with. It sure was not a pleasant experience, and I think I will just take the afternoon off and relax a bit. Ken has promised Thai take out for dinner, sounds good to me.

I am trying to pick the place we will spend the Thanksgiving Holiday at. Since Sarah is off 5 days we decided it was time to finally get up into the mountains and rent a cabin for the Holiday.

Cozy fireplace (it could be snow up there by then!), hot tub outside, huge deck overlooking a bustling river, and trees dressed in FALL colors as long as the eye can reach!!!

We decided on the Blue Ridge area in Georgia. It is by far the closest mountain range at just 9 hours to drive from here.

The cabins in this area are fully equipped with all kinds of fun stuff, from fire wood for the open fire place, to board games and DVDs to watch on the TV. Add luxury sheets and rocking chairs and swings on the porch with pet friendliness, and you have a mountain getaway perfect for us!

We will bring the Thanksgiving feat with us and drive up the day before Thanksgiving, since Sarah is off that they too. 4 nights should be perfect. Oh how much I miss fall! I am really looking forward to some hikes in the crisp, chilly fall weather with the trees ablaze in bold colors! Now I just have to buy a jacket, I haven't owned one since 1996...!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Work day

Last night the joint pain had spread down to my wrist, and I swear that if I didn't know better I would have said my wrist was broken, it HURT!!! I couldn't fall asleep, I just couldn't find a spot for my arm that would not put any pressure on it. Finally I fell asleep with my right arm over my head, not exactly ideal...

Today it feels a bit better, but I can't turn the wrist. Should be interesting considering all the work I have to do today!

Other than that nothing going on here... :-) Have a great day!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Labor Day weekend

I actually spent most of the Labor Day weekend (Monday was a Holiday here in the US, so 3 days off!) catching up on a few TV series, plowing through a couple of seasons.

Yesterday Sarah and I went to IKEA and we had a really good time, spent too much money as always!

I have also been watching some of the new Wallander movies that are out on DVD now. I saw Hämnden way back in spring, and this weekend I saw the next three movies: Skulden, Kuriren and Tjuven. The fourth should be out on September 16. I love seeing Sweden and just feasting on the scenery, Skåne is beautiful!

Today I really have a lot of work to do, but I have decided to make this a cleaning day instead. Seems like there is a mess anywhere I turn in this house! So I will try to fix that, and then I can work much better when it is tidy again. Tomorrow I will only get half a work day, since Sarah gets off school at 1:15 PM, and on Thursday it is surgery time at 11 AM, so I am not sure how much work I will get done...

The neighbor is really sick with a bad cold (not swine flu at least), and she was coughing all over me last week before she knew she was sick, so I sure hope she didn't get me sick. Right now I am having bad joint pain in my ribs, so it is hard to notice anything else that is wrong... Oddly enough only on my right side!

As you might have read before, I am a big Diet Coke fan. Mostly because I don't drink coffee and that has been my caffeine kick. But I think I have developed some kind of aspartame sensitivity, I don't know. For a few months now I have been having weird headaches that feel "chemical" (hard to describe), and I have been very itchy in the back of my throat, even had some bumps there. There is not anything else I am taking or eating I could think of, I haven't even taken any medication, not even regular Tylenol (Alvedon) for the past few months.

Also, after I started thinking about the aspartame perhaps being the cause, I started to pay attention to when I drank Diet Coke and how I felt. There seem to be a connection there. Within 10 minutes of drinking I definitely get some throat issues, and today I woke up with no headache, and I only had 1 Diet Coke over the weekend, compared to at least 3 a day.

So I am going to stop. I t is not like Diet Coke is anything but bad for me anyway. I love unsweetened ice tea, so I will just have to drink that instead.

And water! I have to drink all the time so I don't get dehydrated now when I don't have a colon (the colon takes up most of the water for our body). Since our tap water taste really bad (nothing wrong with it, just too much chlorine and a bit of Florida sulfur), I have resorted to bottled water. Also because of the convenience, I can take it with me anywhere.

I tried different types of filters for the tap water before, but I did not like the taste, but Ken recently got a new filter system for the office, and they seemed to like it there, so I decided to try it and brought home some of the water. Even after sitting for a few days in a bottle it tasted good! So I have decided to get the same system. I will save almost $5 a week by not having to bring home all that water, not to mention how great it will be for the environment! I am going to get a few aluminum bottles so I can still have the portability of the bottled water. Aluminum is suppose to be great. So we will see.

Maybe I can kick the Diet Coke and the bottled water habit all at once!

If there now was only a miracle that could cure my addiction to chocolate...

Friday, September 4, 2009

Late night adventures

I am a light sleeper.

That might be good if there is an emergency, since I can go from sleeping to fully awake in a snap.

Sometimes it is not so desirable. Like last night: I woke up at 12:30 AM because I heard something.

I can't just go back to sleep, I need to do a round around the house to make sure everyone is OK. I don't need to turn the lights on, the soft glow of a few night lights is enough to lead the way, though I can't see that many details without my glasses.

I go to the living room to check on Bob. He is snoring away on a chair.

I got to Sarah's room. She is snoozing just fine up there in her new bed.

I head back to the master bedroom and my waiting bed. Hey, wait a minute. That computer bag is in the middle of the walkway. I better move that so Sarah doesn't stumble over it if (when) she gets into our bed later in the morning...

There, that is better.

I now walk towards the bedroom, through the now safe spot where the computer bag was.

Was that a crunch? Why is my foot feeling... wet?!

It takes a split second for my now VERY awake brain to puzzle together the sensory clues: I have stepped on a cockroach!!! I look down, and even in the dim lights of the night, with no glasses (yes, it is THAT big), I see the disgusting critter, running in a circle, since half its body is now squashed under my foot.

I hastily waken the husband, who by the horrified look on my face knows better than to complain, leaving him with instructions on how to dispose the scene of the incident and the body...

I myself go into the bathroom for a late night foot bath. A very lengthy and thorough foot bath...

... Hope you all slept well! :-)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

THE Christmas present of the year?

I like to start my Christmas shopping early and kind of spread the cost and job of actually shopping out a bit.

Last week I pre-ordered and paid for two toys that Sarah really want for Christmas. I just had a feeling they might be really popular and I did not want to end up in the situation when I could not find or afford the must have toy of the year.

So I pre-ordered these things called ZhuZhu Pets Hamsters, essentially they are animatronic lifelike hamsters.

Yesterday they officially were for sale.

Oh boy am I glad I did think ahead! Today the toys I ordered for $24.99 and $29.99 respectively are $129.98 and $300!!! Crazy! One is this set and another this set, at

Phew. Good thinking, no I don't have to explain that Santa is in a recession and can't bring her these critters... If I could only be a psychic like this every year, that would be great!