Sunday, March 31, 2013

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Spoon on Demand

The company cafeteria has a new vendor, and they've made a few changes.  I encountered this one last week.  Flatware dispensers!

Press the lever and get a fork (or two.)  Much more sanitary than the digging through the usual bin.  We'll see if they keep it stocked well enough - generally, there are plenty of spoons and knives, but the forks run out faster.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Not the Most Obvious Shopping Choices

I had a spare hour on my last night  in Scandinavia before I was to meet my friend for dinner, and I strolled the streets of the friendly capital city. I had to put up the hood of my winter coat, because the snow was falling so hard. A novelty for this California girl!

In one particular shop, I saw a bikini of the national flag.  Not entirely odd, although it might be a bit seasonally early given all the snow.

Much stranger was what was next to it. A pile of American flag bikinis.  And what looks like Oakland Raiders football bikinis.  Huh?

And elsewhere, I saw American flag leggings.

And American flag shirts.

To top it all off, I Heart Justin Bieber shirts and hats. He is Canadian, so I suppose there's some variety there.

It's certainly not an anti-American country, but they're not sycophant fans.  USA as a design element?

Monday, March 25, 2013

Beach Bound

We ordered new beach towels in preparation for our summer outings.  Why yes, that is a pirate octopus crew for Buster!  And for Q-ster, scuba-diving lobsters!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Games, New and Old

After months of disuse, the boys pulled out every last matchbox car and ran two full days of races, pair by pair.  Then they organized them by color, with the red end of the spectrum continuing off the edge of the photo.

We also had a game night playing Settlers of Cataan, Junior Edition, a birthday gift for Q-ster from my sister. We had a good time!  The boys enjoyed it so much that I didn't mind doing resource management on my night off.

Side note - the "gold" resource looks just like corn muffins, so in combination with the "molasses" resource, I got kind of hungry.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

International Food Exchange

I brought a block of Velveeta overseas to some of our expat friends (you never quite know what you'll miss when you're away from home, apparently. Did you know that this form of "cheese product" doesn't even need to be refrigerated?  I bought it at a Walmart, which made me feel doubly American that day.) and she gave me an adorable mini egg-crate of Scandinavian easter egg treats.

The boys opened them up.  Each hollow chocolate egg was filled with a light chocolate foam - sweet, but not overly so, very tasty.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Lego Miserables

Les Miserables in brick form. Cosette and Jean Valjean on the left.

Javert, a soldier and horse, taking on the barricade.

Enjolras and and the students at the barricade, waving their iconic red flag.

One Day More!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Another Minor Travel Triumph

Again, at the Frankfurt airport over the weekend.  I found a power outlet!  See it?  It's right there.

I think I found the only power outlet at the Frankfurt airport not in a luxury lounge. Camouflaged!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Goethe - Decor and Household Goods

As mentioned yesterday, I had an unexpected block of time in Frankfurt, and with no handy nap pod available, I decided to seize the moment and take the train into the city.

I walked for a little while and ended up at the Goethe Haus and Museum. He was born in 1749 to a prominent family in Frankfurt.

I really know shockingly little about his works of literature, but I now know plenty about his parents' taste in wallpaper and home furnishings.

The ironwork railings had his parents' initials woven into them.  It was difficult to get a clear shot, but they were visible to close inspection.

These massive cabinets held the family linens - a show of great wealth.

The linen press, which could smooth twelve sheets at a time. 

The pyramid piano, which was an elegant instrument designed to take less space in a room.  (Nothing was said about the quality of the sound.)

 And best of all, the library!  This is where Goethe's father used his personal library of 1200 books (in the 1700s!) to educate his son and daughter.

It was a nice cultural break to an otherwise airport-y day.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

More Time in Aiports

In the last few years, I've made twenty-two trips passing through the Frankfurt airport without incident.

On the attempted twenty-third trip, I was re-routed through Munich due the snow, and on the actual twenty-third trip, I ended up with an extra seven hours delay.

I could have used the Munich nap pod, that's for sure.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

At the Ol' 7-11

 Courtesy of the 7-11 down the street from my Scandinavian hotel.

You would think that "appelsin" looks enough like "apple" to be an apple, but not.  "Eple" is apple.

Appelsin is orange, the fruit.  The color orange has another word. Apparently, the "sin" part is in relation to Sino/China, since oranges were first cultivated in China. Apples from China.

Sjokolade. If you try to pronounce that, you can see the word resemblance.  The "j" has a 'yuh' sound, which gets you pretty close to Chocolate.

So Sjokolade Appelsin = Chocolate Orange.  Mmmmm.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Ruffles, the Fabric Antidote to Nunchucks

At the garment district remnant store, there are such fabulous things. Embroidered chiffon for $15/yard.

Velvety patterns for $4/yard.

and this, a whole bolt of pink ruffled tulle, which caught by eye as it sat on the aisle for $6/yard.  I couldn't resist buying two yards to make a few simple skirts for daughters of friends.

I finished packing my suitcase ten minutes before I had to leave for the airport, so I decided to go for it - I didn't even measure or pin - I threw a piece of the tulle into the machine, sewed a channel for a waistband, serged up the ends, and stuffed it into a small bag.

I found my tiny childhood Hello Kitty sewing kit with miniature scissors, and put together an elastic waistband on the flight over.  The passenger across the aisle was a bit surprised when I pulled the tulle out of my briefcase and it expanded across my tray table.  A couple of quick stitches, and voila!  A ruffled skirt!

It wasn't exactly high quality work, but hopefully my friend's daughter will like the finery, and it was fun to sew something that doesn't involve weapons. :)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

These Should Be Available Everywhere

A pair of nap pods at the Munich airport.


Is that awesome or what?  Just swipe your credit card, enter, and roll down the shade. There's a desk with power outlet for quiet work time and a bed for napping.

Monday, March 11, 2013


Occasionally, the micro dude will not have his blankie or octopus with him, so he'll take possession of the nearest soft item.  In this case, my fleece-clad arm.  I have been snuggled.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Les Miz Redux, Now with Lego Chima

Q-ster in his full Les Miserables Enjolras outfit!

I scored a black vest at a teenybopper store and covered it with red fabric.  The gold braid would have cost a fortune, except that I found some for $2/yard at the garment district remnants store that Costume Conspirator and I used to frequent. The sash was just a few dollars at Target - I think it's meant to be USA-patriotic, but it works pretty well for France too.

It would not be complete without a red flag to wave, of course.

I asked Buster if he wanted me to make anything for him, and he asked for a Laval outfit - a lion character from Lego Chima. He rarely wants costume pieces, so I was happy to oblige.

The lion logo came out pretty well.  I think I can make that design into a cake, if he's still into Laval when his birthday rolls around.

Friday, March 08, 2013

All Life in 3D

A couple of weeks ago, our TV finally gave up the ghost, just a few minutes prior to Family Movie Night. We ended up watching Wall-E, snuggled around an iPad.  SwingDaddy and I laughed over how the screen size probably wasn't all that different from an early television, and not surprisingly, the boys didn't really mind.  They are a mobile generation, of course.

A week later, we sat down to a new TV from the modern age and watched a few short pieces - an action scene from Avatar, the lantern scene from Tangled, and so forth.  Wow, 3D!

SwingDaddy did some careful research when purchasing the 3D glasses.  They come in two categories- the "Mommy/Daddy" version and the less expensive ones that will be subject to rougher handling and a lot of fingerprints. They're working out great, so far.

We even took our first 3D home video on the ski trip, which was fun to watch at home.  Everyone says that The Life of Pi (Hooray, Ang Lee, two-time Oscar winner for best director!) made amazing strides in 3D, so perhaps we'll have to arrange a viewing night.

The title refers to a post that I read from a blogger who had taken her children to a 3D movie.  As they left the theater, the youngest child was heard to remark wistfully, "I wish ALL of life was in 3D like the movie."

Thursday, March 07, 2013

The Red and the Black

The boys have been nuts about Les Miserables for the last few weeks.  We've watched pieces of the concert videos on YouTube, skipping over songs like Lovely Ladies.  I started with Little People, and they were enamored with the little boy Gavroche at first, but they progressed quickly to liking the student songs the best - Red and Black, and Do You Hear The People Sing.

Enjolras is always so dashing, both music and costume.  Q-ster has asked me to make him a red and gold vest, so I'll need to look into some materials.

In the mean time, we noted that Enjolras wears a black vest for his earlier scenes, and fortunately, we still have the Han Solo vest handy.

The little dude has his poses down already.