Shame in the Grocery Store

Lily and I went to the Stora Coop (Big Co-op) last weekend for a stock-up. Saw this in the store. I have many conflicted feels about it.

This is the American section. Next to the Asian and Eastern European food sections. This might have been the store’s entire stock of partially hydrogenated soybean oil.

Risk 2 Driving Training

As Jen mentioned, I am working towards getting a Swedish drivers license. I might go into a weird amount of detail on this post because Jen’s dad is a drivers ed instructor and will enjoy reading this …

The process basically consists of 4 parts. Part 1 is called Risk 1, and it is a classroom training on all the terrible things that happen on the road with a car. I was scheduled for a Risk 1 class, but work got in the way. Part 2 is a classroom plus in-the-car training on a closed course. I completed this earlier in the week and will talk about it here. Part 3 is a written exam. Part 4 is a driving exam.

So, Risk 2. I was scheduled into a timeslot at the driving site, and it turns out I was in a group of 4. Me and 3 Swedish teens who were getting their licenses for the first time. Before I get into the experience, I have to share this bit. The instructor realised that I do not speak Swedish, and said “ok, today is in swenglish!” (the sort of hybrid of the two that is often spoken). The whole session, the teens all spoke Swedish to the instructor and each other. The instructor spoke English to me.

Here’s how it worked. A short classroom session where the plan for the day was explained. Then, we went to a large room that had a bunch of simulators in it. One was a sled with car seats on it. You buckled in and then slid down a ramp to an abrupt stop at the bottom. It was pretty uncomfortable, but only hit at about 7kph. Then there was a whole car on a rotation contraption. All 4 of us got in, buckled up, and then the car was rotated 90deg to the side. So, one side of the car is lying on the doors, and the other 2 are sagging in the seatbelts. Then the car goes 180deg upside down, and it is NOT fun to hang upside down in a seatbelt! Then you keep going to the other side, and then finally back upright. Made me very sure that I did not want to roll a car! There were a number of other physical demonstrations to make you really feel the impact of an accident.

After the simulation room, we went out on the course. All the cars were Nissan Leafs. We had a number of experiences in the car driving around in low grip situations. The low grip was made by the concrete being painted with a smooth epoxy, and then basically constantly wetted with water to make it really slippery. Here are some pics of the course. These are all I got as the instructor chastised me every time my phone was out.

There were some interesting features of the course. There were yellow rubber posts that the instructor could pop up out of the ground that you had to avoid (to simulate an accident). Another trick they did (and did not tell you about until afterwards) is that they had 2 cars with winter tires in the front and summer tires in the back, and 2 cars with the set up reversed. And you went fast around the slippery corner in both. One you spun out like crazy (I did a full 180) – the winter tires in the front. The other you just understeered like crazy. There were braking distance drills at different speeds. Interesting stuff.

It took a long time to safely get thru all the drills for all 4 of us, including car swaps. And then we headed back into the classroom for debrief and the last thing was to pair up and do a little thought exercise. I looked at my teen partner, and started to stammer about speaking Swedish and she just started speaking perfectly good English. Turns out, all the teens spoke English just fine. Jerks. 😉

I have been driving for over 35 years, but I learned some new things on this outing. I cannot believe that the US does not have this level of training. Esp. in places like Minnesota where it is frequently bad driving conditions. This was a super good session, and gives new drivers practical, controlled experience on what to do and how to handle a car. And super-concrete experiences of why it matters to slow down and not take too much risk.

Kings Park

Spent the day in Malmö while Bryant took his driving hazards test. He’ll post about that interesting experience sometime!

Cloudy but warm, 53 degrees. A nice day to roam around, but the kids stayed home to clean their rooms

Malmö castle as it used to be…

And how it is today, with restorations

“Diana” sculpture (meant to look magical by moonlight) Some trees remain in Kungsparken from 1872 when it became the first public park in Malmö

Man and Pegasus (there is a copy in Iowa, too!)

Birds have been on the move lately. Saw a flock of about 10 trumpeter swans flying in a V formation. So cool to watch the swans land on ice!

These gray herons seem to have a nest near the windmill and they were staying close by.

And here are the old and new libraries just across from the park.

IKEA Digital Days

Pre-covid, Bryant’s big event would have been at an exciting international location. Instead he got to travel to a studio in Malmö where his game show style presentation was broad cast live to 5,000 people via the internet!

His segment was well- received, and he enjoyed his 15 minutes of fame. Plus he was able to see some other people irl for a change.

Here is an edited down excerpt from some of the sessions:

Luckily I’m an introvert or I would have been jealous. But it is too bad that we didn’t get to go somewhere fabulous…the last two years were Amsterdam and Shanghai! Instead I went on my usual walk, although this time I found a sunny spot to listen to a piano recital outside the University amphitheater.

Snow

About 2 inches fell this week, and though some melted, enough remained to change the scenery and provide sledding opportunities. Our kids weren’t interested, but lots of neighbor kids made the most of a small hill near the bike path.

At least the colder weather has made the paths less muddy!

Kulturen

This open-air museum (the White House) in the heart of historic Lund is a collection of Swedish architecture from all eras. Some structures remain on their original sites while others were relocated and restored using authentic materials and techniques. The project began in 1882 at a time when the City was modernizing sewers etc, and so includes artifacts uncovered, dating from the Middle Ages. The indoor/ outdoor living museum now exhibits Swedish culture up to 1930.

While the indoor exhibits are closed, the grounds are open, so an area which is normally crowded with tourists is now easily accessible! I’ve been taking full advantage of the opportunity to walk there most days. The first building, known as Locus Peccatorum, was the site of an infamous murder.

Each building has an exhibit related to its time and place in history, such as the printing museum. The Deanery is one of the most interesting, with its medieval elements and historic moments that are attached to the place. It reminds me of visiting the Columbus house in Spain and seeing the actual furnishings used by his family. I’m really looking forward to the Elsa Beskow exhibit.

Exploring Kulturen has been a nice distraction while we wait for things to reopen. Hilary’s grade starts back to in-person next week. Covid rates locally fell by 40% over the last 2 weeks and Sweden tightened up borders, hoping to stop the UK strain. Waiting for Spring!

Ice on the streets (and in my heart)

With temperatures hovering just around freezing, and rain overnight, we skipped this morning’s walk. By the time I headed out on errands (pain meds and new toothbrush to assist Lily with her braces, poor kid), the sun was out and most ice had melted. Before sun up we heard lawn-mower-like sounds and assumed the city was de-icing streets. I think it was the machines that put down this nifty pattern of ice melt. I walked 2 miles and didn’t notice more than a couple of slippery patches. They were very thorough.

Lily walked to school because of the ice but it appears she would’ve been fine biking.

The pond ice must have melted in the rain yesterday and it wasn’t quite cold enough to refreeze. The swans seemed happy!

And some roses just won’t admit it’s winter!

This might be the last visit from Little Robin Redbreast because the condo association says we shouldn’t feed the birds anymore. We don’t think it’s worth the energy to pursue the matter, but it pisses me off.

I’m feeling quite anti- Sweden lately. They also moved forward with a plan to require Swedish language testing for citizenship. And this is under center left leadership. I hope they take note of what happens when fascist bullies go unchecked. It’s a slippery slope!

Winter

35 degrees today but with quite a strong wind at Lomma. It must have been pretty cold for the kite surfers!

In spite of the clouds, we could see the Turning Torso in Malmö pretty clearly and even a bit of the Oresund bridge. There were several ships visible as well.

Bryant will likely add some of his photos. It was so cold that I didn’t have my phone out for long! We walked out on the pier where we had an excellent view of the kite surfing. I was amazed at their speed and how high they could soar above the water.

I think we had some effects from Filomena. Mostly rain and some flakes that didn’t accumulate, unlike the unusual snow in Spain! Here are Laura and Marina, making the most of being stuck in Portillo due to dangerous roads.

And the swans at Stadsparken make channels through the ice. The sound is interesting, especially as they swim away at the beginning of the second video.https://www.minnesotanoice.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/img_6236.mov

https://www.minnesotanoice.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/img_6241.mov

Dinner and the castle grounds

After a few anxious minutes waiting outside, not quite sure if we were in the right place, we great doors opened and we were treated to warm glögg, live music and a self guided tour of the mansion. It featured a room built to accommodate a very large painting the owners had commissioned, which ended up being too big for their home in Gothenburg.

Then we were seated in the dining room and the traditional julbord buffet was served at our table as a covid precaution. I’m sure we tasted more dishes than we would have in a buffet- I wouldn’t have tried much herring. I liked the creamy horseradish version ok, but the smoked salmon was by far the best of that course!

We liked the lingonberry parfait best, but the the kids were tired and didn’t want us to take the option of a stroll around the grounds before dessert, so we were too full to properly appreciate dessert.

The next day we walked around the estate, which was filled with amazing naturalistic landscaping that felt natural but featured convenient hardscape. Benches, steps, statues and interesting rock formations led us to the best vistas and sheltered nooks. It was windy and muddy in the off season but wildly beautiful.

The bird migration station, where we saw swans and a few herons from a distance.

Some random stuff

Jen has been doing a great job keeping up here, so I am not posing so much, but I have some fun pics on my phone that I thought I would share a bit.

Yes, tire shops are basically the same everywhere.
The same skills serve for milking cows and putting condiments on your hotdog (or “grillkorv”)
In case you were wondering where Minnesotan’s get it …
Apparently, Snickers were in season …
This faerie-tale forest is just a short trip from the house. Super cool and eerie place.
Look at this ceiling that we were snooping on!

OK, that is enough for now. I will try to remember to post more random stuff to offset Jen’s carefully crafted posts!