Monday, May 31, 2010

You can call me ManBoy
Or another thing about Swedish Music...

The lilacs that blanket my front walkway are in bloom. They are pretty, but their real glory is in how they fill the air with an indescribable sweet fragrance. And since that is an unbloggable experience (at least until Apple invents the iSmell), I shall instead return to the topic of pop music.

When I see the previous post title 'Swedish Music' I am reminded that the Melodifestival deserved a blog post, but never got one. Sweden goes crazy for a few weeks watching the song contest that made ABBA famous. Facebook posts, television, newspapers and even preschools conversations were all dedicated to this national song contest that determines which Swede will go on to the Eurovision song contest.

The song that won was sweet. The singer Anna was a bit plain, and she reminded me of Jewel. But the contest had fascinating contestants like tall hot swedish blondes with wind blown hair and accordions and baton twirling europop stars , singing in ways we would make fun of in the states.

The whole idea of a song contest is quaint. Times have changed- now we have American Idol- but in Florida I would have an inner chuckle every time my Swede would reverently mention a song as the winner of The Eurovision song contest. I had never heard of any of them. It seemed so, European, and in a weird Nena's '99 Luft Balloons' kinda way and not a hip Run Lola Run Franka Potente sorta way. (Must add: I want to be Franka Potente when I grow up. Besides being beautiful and cool, my job would be to make action movies with Matt Damon). Those singers are not Swedish by the way, they are both German, but you know, they are all heard in the USA. The Eurovision contest does not make it to the USA.

It was fascinating to watch the passion the Melodifestival brought to Sweden. Even the preschoolers at Swedegirls schools were discussing it, and just the other day her neighborhood friend asked if she had gone to any performances. She occasionally mopes that she did not. Already at 5 she has her first case of keeping up with the Jones, or the Funkqvuists, or whatever....

The trickle down Melodifestival hit that stuck with our family cracks me up. The song Swedegirl was singing after school? The one SwedeDaddy and I happened to catch on TV?

It makes me think of Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore everytime.

If I wrote for Saturday Night Live, you would see a skit with Ashton Kutcher singing this, in his undies ala Tom Cruise in Risky Business, with the 'Sprockets'-y back up dancers like in the video doing the wave and acting out 'halo on my head', and he would get that inexplicable gush of water, ala Flashdance, dumped on his head at the end. And of course, there would be the fake lightening, too.

As for me, you can call me ManBoy. I don't care, I'll show you how to love.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Swedish Music

I really like this blog SwedesPlease about Swedish Music.

I always find something fun there like these songs 'Aeroboy' by Brotherhood of Broken Hearts and Bear Pilot 'The Bravest Year'.

I feel more connected to this country when I know what is being done here creatively.

And speaking of the swedish music scene, my 17 year old punk rock drummer niece and her band Va!!?? just spent a weekend at a 5 start hotel participating in music clinics with bands from around Sweden after winning a regional music competition by Musik Direkt. I am so proud, these girls rock! My niece and her best friend decided to teach themselves instruments and form a band when they were 11, and have been playing together ever since.

This is their recording 'Du är inte min Hitler'/'You are not my Hitler' from last year.
In June they will be playing for their third year at Mossagård Festivalen in Veberöd, an eco- music festival held at an organic farm.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Did I mention the Rhubarb is Ready?
Had to cut flowers twice now!

Cherry Valley in Bloom
This cherry valley is a short walk away. When the trees bloom, they rain white petals on their many admirers that come from afar to see them. I suspected today they were in their full glory, so I proded, cajoled, and ultimately pushed both girls in the stroller up the hill on our walk to go see them, luring them with a promise of more water play.

The Cherry Blossoms
The Valley
Cherry Valley Picnic
Field and Stream
The Catch of the Day- Frogs
He soon got a friend
Trying out the Boots I remembered we had for SwedeBaby, a bit big but they did the trick.
And cute!
Pretty Stream
When the sun comes out in Sweden, you can not imagine it was ever gone.
Iridescent Bug, blue and shiny, and a super quick runner!
The Sounds of the Valley
It was hot today, the kind of hot that stays on your face after you get home. The heat that makes me feel like jumping in a swimming pool, or the nice warm Gulf of Mexico back home in Florida. I am pretty sure if I feel this heat, my inner thermostat has changed since my Florida days! How would I ever live there again now I know that the outdoors can be mild and pleasant in summer!!! And while the sun comes out hot and bright in the day, we still reach for long sleeves and night, and know there is no warm swimming until we defect to Italy later in the summer. It was enough to get me playing Italian Children's music when we got back, and dream of swimming in the Mediterranean in August.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

School Family Picnic
Just like last year, we gathered with the other families from SwedeGirl's Waldorf-Steiner School at this lovely valley for a picnic.
We go for a potluck picnic but the real draw for the children is the pond
I forgot to take pictures to show you the food. The fastest going items were hazelnut-nettles croquets, and mini pizzas. I feasted on fresh greens and radishes, and all kinds of quinoa and grain salads. One of the great things about going to a Waldorf school is the picnics have yummy gourmet homemade hippy food! And the desserts....the buffet of sweets was enough to get the kids way from the pond for a moment.
The weather was damp, but the children of Sweden all have rain suits and galoshes, or wellies as the brits call them, which are so novel to me! I have never had a pair in my life, still! The kids were prepared to romp in wet grass and splash at the pond's edge.
They were hunting for Salamaders
Very Successfully, too

The Family
Little copy cat SwedeBaby wanted in on the action, of course!
SwedeGirl, the fisherman
SwedeDaddy found a blood Sucking Leech
And some big currant snails
Heading Home
Stopping to Say Hi to the Baby Lambs
The sheep mamas were protecting the babies, so I never a got a good photo of the sweet little lambs, but the girls got a good look.

A Scanian Tulip Garden
We visited a neighboring village last week, and stopped to admire this really incredible tulip garden. There were tulips of every color in a blanket across the whole front yard, with paths winding through.
The woman who owned the home, the gardener, noticed us and invited us in to look around.
So many colors!
In the summer her garden is full of peonies, she invited us back to see it then too.
These tulips were over 20 years old.
These were SwedeGirl's favorite, pink of course!
What an incredible labor of love.
She fertilizes with bone meal and cow manure fresh from the farmer, and shops discount bulb sales whenever she can!
She has been recognized ofr her talents, and was featured in a Swedish garden magazine
In the back yard, she showed us this Scanian Coffee corner. It is traditional construction for southern Sweden, where it gets very windy (and there are lots of rocks!). A border of stone in a circle, to protect from wind and hold the heat of the sun to create radiant warmth.
So pretty and clever.
She puts a cheap fatty piece of meat up in this old lantern to feed predator birds in the winter. There was a huge beautiful bird when we were in the village, twice as big or beautiful as any hawk I have ever seen around here before. It was so big and regal it made us wonder if it was a condor or eagle or something! I am not sure what it was, but we think this was one of the fellows she feeds.
The stone wall of the coffee corner is hollow and is a root cellar.
I love root cellars, I so want to build one here.
This amazing curly Q wood is called worm Hazel. She got three and a half kilos of hazel nuts from this tree last year. It flowers yellow very early, and looks best in winter when the shape of the branches are most clearly visible. I bet it looks so cool in front of a white snowy background.
The twists of the branches