What's New at the Pålssons'
Self-absorbed rambling, useless trivia and shameless bragging

September 2

Max had to give a verbal presentation in English this week. I gave him a few pointers (from Toastmasters), which he actually seemed to appreciate. He practiced a bunch of times in front of me.

He is growing fast. I measured him this morning and he's 168 cm (5'4") tall.

Tomorrow morning I fly to Helsingborg for the kick-off of a new project. Should be interesting.

August 27 – I'm 50!

Had a great birthday! I had decided not to have a party or open house, but Bernhard was here for a few days. The four of us had a nice dinner out at Edsbacka Bistro. The food was fabulous. Bengt baked me a cake (actually it was my third cake) which was the best. I got some great presents and lots of cards.

Max started school August 20 week. After a whole summer with nothing in particular to do, this was quite an adjustment. His schedule is all over the place. I think it's really lame how they start and end at different times every day and have 60- and 90-minute holes between classes. And they wonder why the kids get up to mischief....

This morning it was 5 degrees C (41 degrees F). Give me a break! It warmed up a bit later on, but still. It stinks that summer's over already.

I got my cataract surgery dates: October 1 and 3. I wish I didn't have to wait so long. Really looking forward to seeing better!

August 4

This week I learned that we (ReadSoft) won our court case against a certain company in Malaysia. The defendant appealed the verdict, but at least we won the first round. I'm so pleased for us, and proud at the part I was able to play. 

It's been Cat Central around here, with three cats coming by for meals. The newcomer, Gray Cat, is very interesting, with seven toes on each paw. This is a very "talkative" cat, and a big eater. The three cats aren't friends, but there have been no cat fights so far.

July 28 – Orange Cat

Meet Orange Cat. We've seen him around here off and on for the past six months or so. He seems content, and mildly curious, but very wary of people. We have given him cat food a few times. Sometimes he eats a little, sometimes not.

One time Orange Cat strayed into our house when the back door was open. Then he noticed people here, and he panicked and couldn't find his way out (so perhaps he's not too intelligent). Bengt opened the front door to let him out, and he shot out like a rocket.

A couple of weeks ago Bengt spent about half an hour out in the woods talking to Orange Cat and taking pictures of him. Bengt gets to pet him – always has. Max and I (the acknowledged cat lovers) still don't.

Last month I saw a sign at the grocery store – a picture of Orange Cat, labeled "MISSING!" I called the people and they were so happy. I called them again the next time Orange Cat showed up here. They came and looked and ... it wasn't their cat after all. The faces were identical, but not the other markings. Poor them! I know how it feels to be missing your cat.

July 26 – moving

For about a year I've been having recurring dreams that I (or we) have moved to a new house, which in reality I absolutely do not want to do. In these dreams I always dislike or am deeply uncomfortable with something related to the new house – the rooms, the neighborhood, the too-close proximity of nearby houses, etc. I find myself wondering, "What in the world was I thinking???" And then I go running to Bengt to get me out of the mess I've gotten us into, so we can go back to our old (current) house.

Last night was the most stressful dream yet. The new house was very large and cluttered, and I was struggling miserably with finding things in it, maintaining it, getting around in it (the kitchen was extremely narrow, for example), and dealing with various people who kept turning up there. And I remember thinking, "The worst thing about this situation is that this time it's not a dream, so Bengt can't get me out of it!"

And then I woke up.

In reflecting on these dreams, I've thought that maybe there was some part of me that wanted to move, and another part of me was warning me not to. But today I finally got on the web and read about dream interpretation. And I realized that I was interpreting these dreams too literally. Dreams about moving—which, it turns out, are very common—are usually about changes in lifestyle relating to personality, thoughts, and beliefs. AHA! (The light bulb clicks on.)

You may know I've been very active in Toastmasters, especially this past year. In addition to working on my public speaking skills (which was why I joined), I accepted a board position that unexpectedly put me very much in the spotlight. In this role I had to be much more outgoing and bold than I'm used to being. I learned a lot and got feedback that I did an really outstanding job (my term just ended). I congratulated myself for "becoming more of a leader" and felt like there should be a lot more of that in my future.

Well, here's the thing: Leading people and being in the spotlight isn't just outside my comfort zone (still). It goes against my grain. I don't usually enjoy it. I don't want to do it long term. I'm not an extrovert. It has it rewards (don't get me wrong) but is exhausting for me on multiple levels.

I've been really struggling with this and pushing myself. The unanimous praise I received encouraged me, and I thought that if I continued to practice and develop my skills, I would become more comfortable in leadership roles.

That may be true. And those are good skills to have. However, none of this is going to make an extrovert or a natural leader out of me. I'm pretty sure this is what those dreams have been about.

There's no reason to push myself into leadership positions, when there are other people who enjoy them and are good at it (or can become good at it). Right? OMG, what a relief!

I'm going to try to be a good club president at my TM club this year, as I'm already committed. I'd like to help get the new club on its feet and learn new skills, etc. But then I'm going to step back and let others lead. I can support my club just by being an active member – just as one can be a credit to society by being a generous and responsible citizen. Not everyone needs to be a leader!

If you're wondering why in my dreams I would turn to Bengt to get me out of the unwanted situation, I think it's because Bengt accepts me for what I am. He's been supportive of my TM activities but never tried to get me to be more outgoing or more of a leader – never made me feel that there was anything wrong with needing solitude or being a "worker ant" instead of the queen. It makes perfect sense that Bengt would let me make these changes but then also help me retreat when I've misjudged what I need to do.

July 12, 2012

What a beautiful day. We had a few very brief sprinkles, but otherwise I spent ALL day outside reading and doing Sudoku puzzles. For me this is what vacation is all about – at least when it's not about travels to Alaska, Egypt, France, Hawaii, etc. J Max and a friend were at the skate park for hours, practicing tricks with their scooters. Bengt spent the day creating digital recordings of his favorite music, from what I can determine.

We had Anders and Anna-Brita here for about 10 days. It was a nice visit and we spent a lot of time outside. We celebrated Anna-Brita's birthday on the 9th. They left yesterday and I went to work for about six hours, just to check on things, water plants, etc. It was cloudy anyway.

Max loves his new phone. So much so that he's actually using an app I found him that will help him learn German vocabulary! And I've inherited Max's iPod 4 – yes.

July 4

Today we celebrated Max's 12½-year birthday today with cake and presents. First we had him open the large, soft present. He expected it to be this very cool (and expensive) Battlefield hoodie that he'd requested. It was a bathrobe, which prompted some consternation. J


Then he opened his second present, which we'd wrapped in a different box so he wouldn't guess what it was – an iPhone 4S. This was more than he'd dared hope for, and he was thrilled. (From our perspective, he had to have a new phone anyway, since his old one was literally falling apart. At least this way there's the possibility that I'll inherit a nice phone in a couple of years....)

Another thing we did was take him and five of his friends to play paintball. That was last week. Each kid paid their own entrance fee; we paid for a bunch of extra paintballs. We've done it once before. They have a blast and it takes about two hours.

July 3 – cataracts

I've been having difficulty with my vision for about 8 months. Today I finally went to the eye doctor and found out that I have cataracts. I understand I'm pretty young to have cataracts, but it's not unheard of. At least it is something that can be fixed by a simple operation.

However, there are many choices of what kind of intraocular lens (IOL) to insert, to replace the natural lens they remove. So now I'm spending a lot of time on the internet, reading about different IOLs and their risks and benefits. I've already decided to be very cautious in my choice, and minimize the risk. I'll probably have the operation in September.

June 24

Bengt and I just celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary. (Well, maybe celebrated is too strong of a word – we're not big on celebrating any holidays, birthdays, etc.) Still together through thick and thin!

We've having a decent summer so far. We're not going to travel anywhere but stay home the first two weeks in July. I hope the weather is decent. The weather so far this year has been somewhat disappointing. Bengt says I'm grouchy when it rains.

Recently Max saved up and purchased this new scooter to replace the cheap one that broke when he used it for tricks. Since then he's been practicing a lot. One evening last week, after riding his new scooter for 10 hours in two days, Max's arms were so sore that he complained (laughingly) that he could barely lift a chicken nugget to his mouth.

We got a new printer/scanner and it's great! You can actually scan pictures and documents without even reading the instructions. That's what I call user friendly. Too bad more products aren't like that.

My vision has deteriorated badly in the past year, and my optometrist guesses I might have cataracts. It's so bad that I'm uncomfortable driving in unfamiliar areas (like when we were in the US), because I can't read the signs. So I have an appointment with an ophthalmologist on July 3. I'm hoping it's cataracts, because that could be corrected fairly safely and easily. I'm not so fond of the alternatives.

I took our hamster outside today and let him run around in the grass. He seemed to like it. He found a tiny snail and immediately devoured it, shell and all. Ugh! Disgusting.

June 13 – "Competent Communicator"

I presented my tenth speech at a Toastmasters meeting this evening, finishing my Competent Communicator manual in just 17 months (ha ha). I also earned my Competent Leader award awhile back, so I guess that's not such a bad pace. I'm really dedicated to the two clubs I'm a member of and think more people should give TM a try, regardless of their skill level.

June 6 – shiny windows!

Our windows were screaming for a scrubbing but I was dreading the hours of backbreaking labor involved in washing all 21 of them inside and out (and many of them in between the two panes). I knew there had to be a better way. So I got on YouTube and found this video that shows how to wash windows like a professional. After watching this video three times, I bought the Ettore equipment they were advertising (why not?) on the Internet, and today (a holiday) I did all the windows, inside and out, in just a couple of hours. The windows look great and OMG it was so much easier than last time, when we did them with paper towels and a spray bottle! Using quality tools and following the instructions carefully makes it a lot faster and you get a great result.

I showed Max how to do it and tried to convince him that this would be a great way to earn some money this summer. He could put fliers in neighborhood mailboxes and go around washing windows at a per-window or hourly rate. But he wasn't interested. Doesn't need money that badly....

However, he has been mowing lawns – both our own and for the neighbor across the street who was injured in a fall and can't get around very well at the moment.

I've finally quit biting my fingernails, hopefully for good this time. I tried before and failed. What's different? My self-talk. Instead of thinking, "Biting is bad!" and beating myself up over this nasty habit, I used fake nails for a couple weeks and started telling myself, "It's great having longer, nice-looking fingernails!" That has made it a lot easier to keep them, even after I took off the false nails.

June 1 – brrr!

Today we had to turn the heat back on in our house – argh! We had a high of 7 degrees C. and it's getting colder.

May 26

Max is a big kid now! He is 162 cm (5' 4") tall and very solidly built.

He and I made a whirlwind trip to Chicago and Michigan last month. Since I was attending the STC (Society for Technical Communication) summit in Chicago (Rosemont), I decided to take Max out of school and bring him along to see his cousins for the first time in almost two years. We flew directly to Chicago, rented a car, and drove straight through to Saline. We also spent a few days in Kalamazoo before driving back to Chicago. Max flew back by himself for the first time. Everything went smoothly, and Bengt picked him up on this end.

As for me, I had a pretty miserable trip home. My nose was running like a faucet and I ran through my two packs of Kleenex within an hour or two. The temperature was too high and I was sitting next to a very warm person. Felt cramped and couldn't sleep. Ugh!

My first day home was ok, but then I got a migraine and didn't catch it with painkillers on time. Spent the whole day Friday curled up in bed – when I wasn't throwing up. Slept a lot, though. Today I'm starting to feel normal, though I woke up at 1 a.m. and didn't fall back to sleep. Sigh. I was at the grocery store when it opened this morning – first time!

Our next trip will be a lengthy vacation in Hawaii later this year. I've booked a cruise, a beach house on one island, a condo on another, and all our flights. To prepare further, I've been reading up on the history of Hawaii, reading fiction by Hawaiian authors, combing through travel guides – and watching Hawaii Five-O with Max. J It's all fun! It's exciting to read about other people's adventures on the islands to get ideas on what we might want to see, and it's interesting learning Hawaiian words and customs. For me, the preparation and anticipation are half the fun. I also enjoy putting together a scrapbook afterward, so we can enjoy the good memories over and over again in the years to come.

May 8 – my 15 minutes of fame

Last week I noticed that the respected national paper Dagens Nyheter was having a series on fear of public speaking. I fired off a quick email about how Toastmasters clubs can help with that. A couple hours later a reporter called me and asked whether he could interview me about it two hours later. Urp!

Well, I grabbed a Toastmasters colleague for support and we took the subway into Stockholm and met the reporter at a hotel, where for an hour I answered questions about Toastmasters and my TM experience. The next day a photographer visited me at work and took a bunch of pictures.

The result, which I'm calling my 15 minutes of fame, was more like the whole day today. I've been getting lots of emails and text messages, and people kept popping into my office all day. I didn't get much done. Here's the online version of the Dagens Nyheter article.

This was a pretty big spread in the paper edition. And, on the front page of the paper, right at the top (holy cow!), there was a picture of me with a teaser to the article.

Hope this boosts membership at Sweden's Toastmasters clubs. That's what I wanted.

Update: I heard that there were 13 guests at the Stockholm Toastmasters club the day after the article appeared. Several of them joined on the spot. I wasn't at that meeting, since I'm a member of two other TM clubs, but I'm gratified that the article reached people who can benefit from Toastmasters and that I was able to contribute to TM growing stronger in Sweden.

April 15

Yesterday we had a snowstorm. Today it was warm enough to sit outside in shorts doing Sudoku puzzles – but I had to shovel snow to make room for the lounge chair!

Max had the week after Easter off. He didn't do much but play with his friends and mess around on his computer. But over the weekend he was out of town with his floorball team playing in a tournament. They lost every game. Bummer!

On Friday morning Max called me at work. He was sitting at his computer and our printer suddenly shorted out. It wasn't even on! The printer was smoking, the fuse blew, and the ground fault protector was tripped. I talked Max through unplugging the printer and resetting the circuits. The printer was a HP Photosmart 8450 – pretty old, but still, it shouldn't have shorted out like that.

So Bengt and I spent much of the day today choosing a new printer (by researching the various makes and models online and discussing them). We decided on another HP, despite what happened. Those printers really hold up and have a lot of great features.

Let's see, what else? If you've been wondering why I don't write here very often anymore, it's because Max is so big now that he doesn't appreciate it when I write about the things he says and does. I've shifted a lot of my attention and energy from doting on Max and writing down every clever comment (geez) to improving my skills at work and with Toastmasters.

This week I gave speech number 9 in my Competent Communication manual. (Only one more to go!) It was supposed to be a persuasive speech. I debated for a long time what I was going to try to persuade my audience of. Finally I decided to have some fun with it and "persuade" everyone that they must have duct tape available at all times. I had a lot of fun scouring the Internet, learning about duct tape and collecting hilarious pictures of things people had fixed with duct tape – as well as taking pictures here at home, for example this one of Max's solution for holding up the sleeves of his sweatshirt while he washed my car. (It was his idea!)

So I presented my speech and it went quite well. I mean it wasn't perfect, but I'm definitely improving. I got some hearty laughs, and that was more gratifying than I expected. I don't think of myself as a funny person, so it was a bit of an eye opener. My mentor told me that humor worked well for me and I should try to use it more often. What do you know!

We've started a new Toastmasters club at ReadSoft (ReadSoft Toastmasters, RSTM), and I've put a lot of effort into creating a website and a Facebook page for the club, and chasing down enough members to get chartered. That's a lot of work, and in the meantime I'm still performing my role as Vice President of Education for Stockholm International Toastmasters (SITM) and trying to make my own progress as a speaker. So I've been a bit overtaxed. But it's only through June, so relief is in sight.

Recently I was giving Nuffe (Max's hamster) treats in the kitchen. That little dude is so cute, and I enjoy spoiling him. I was petting and talking to the hamster while Max eavesdropped in the hall. Finally he stepped into the kitchen and commented with a dry humor similar to Bengt's: "You know he can't answer you, don't you, Mom?" I cracked up.

March 2

I'm home now, and glad to be back in a country with a more moderate climate. I'm pretty sure I will enjoy the rest of the winter! That extreme heat & humidity really took it out of me. I've never experienced anything like it. And the smells and colorful chaos were incredible. The whole thing was a wonderful experience in many ways, and I have learned that Asia is not for me. I know there are lots of places in Asia, and this was my first time, but I never really felt any "pull" to go to that part of the world, and this just confirms it. Too chaotic and foreign for me!

Had a decent flight back, after immigrations chaos in Bangkok. They force transfer passengers to go through Customs & Immigration to get into the country, then turn right around and go through passport control and security to leave again. I spent my entire layover (three hours) waiting in lines. Really insane. There were about six immigrations officials to check the passports of thousands of people. And I can tell you that those people didn't stand nicely in line like Swedes do!

I was in Business Class from Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok, and then "Premium Economy" (big seats, extra leg room) on the 11-hour flight from Bangkok to Stockholm. I actually got a reasonable night's sleep on that plane and felt decent on arrival. That's really making me consider booking something other than Economy on our flights to and from Hawaii – at least for the nighttime legs of those trips.

Bengt picked me up at the airport at 6:30 a.m. Bless him! Still haven't seen Max – it's 11 a.m. and he's still sleeping. That's what a week of vacation ("winter break") will do to a growing boy....

I've made a few of my pictures available here.

And check out this squirrel that I photographed in our backyard today. Isn't s/he cute?

February 29

It seems like the word "chicken" comes up in all sorts of contexts here. There was that chicken pageant going global (see below), and all kinds of talk about the "chicken balls" (with rice) that are the rage here – even discussed in the paper, like "You must go to Malacca and try these scrumptious chicken balls!" Another article in the newspaper today said that a man was arrested for harassing a woman by giving her gifts, among them three live chickens. It seems like just about every Malaysian dish has chicken in it. Etc. Chicken everywhere!

But today came the icing on the cake: A French woman and I (we met at the hotel breakfast buffet) were having a private tour of the local rainforest, and our guide started telling us about "jungle chickens"! I kid you not – JUNGLE CHICKENS! I love these Malaysians and their chickens. Even the way they say it is hilarious (with a kind of Indian lilt, but staccato, as if the word did not contain an "e").

Maybe you had to be there.

February 28

Trial ended yesterday. Hard to say how it went. The attorneys have to submit their next-final batch of documents on March 19, so they asked me to quick write down all my comments & objections while they were fresh in my mind. Did that last night. Now I am tired of this case.

Slept in this morning (till 8:00) and had a good breakfast before going out sightseeing all day. And let me tell you, it was hot as hell here. Oh. My. God. Crazy hot. I was soaked with sweat numerous times. Got back to the hotel around 7 p.m. and collapsed on the bed. Then took a cool shower. Had yogurt and some crackers for dinner. (I haven't eaten dinner since I arrived here—I just never seem to have an appetite, whether it's the heat, or the time change, or what have you.)

Before I left Sweden, I had read in my Kuala Lumpur guide book about a really great (honest, price worthy, old) goldsmith in Chinatown. Today I went there to get my wedding band enlarged. It took one hour and cost 220 kronor, including the extra gold that was required! And I sat there and had a drink of ice water and a nice chat with one of the clerks while the work was being done. And the ring looks perfect and fits perfectly. YAY!

More sight-seeing tomorrow.

February 26

Today I read the New Straits Times (KL paper) from cover to cover. That was a cultural experience in itself! I saw a newspaper article with a title that included "Live Long and Prosper." That made me feel right at home.

Titles of other articles I saw:

  • Chicken pageant to go global
  • Shoe-throwing imam to give statement to police today.
  • Ghana coach accuses players of 'witchcraft'
  • PKR leader caught for khalwat.
    (Excerpt: "… was caught for khalwat (close proximity) at a hotel in Balok here early yesterday…. The man and his partner, believed to be another man's wife, were caught in the room at 3am by an enforcement team…")
  • Ulama say NRD move unfair to children.
    (This article discusses the objections of religious scholars to the National Registration Department's ruling to put the words "no information" instead of the father's name in birth certificates of babies born fewer than six months from the parents' date of marriage – even if the husband claims the child as his own. In Malaysia the children are then denied the right to their father's name, lineage and inheritance. While "the practice was aimed at curbing people from committing pre-marital sex" – that's what it said in the paper! – innocent children are being denied their rights and are being shamed. Wow. At least religious leaders – Ulama – are objecting!)

February 25 (Saturday)

Today a fellow witness took me in his car to his hometown, Malacca. We did sightseeing all day and it was very interesting. It is such an old place, with lots of history, and I've never seen any place like this in my life. (Of course not, since I've never been to Asia at all.) The smells—both good and bad—were overwhelming. I tried several local foods, including a dessert made of shaved ice (like a snow cone) with these green worm-shaped jelly things sprinkled on it and red kidney beans, with coconut milk poured over it. How does that sound? It was actually quite refreshing in the heat. (It is hot as heck here!!)

In Malacca we managed to catch the end of stage two of Le Tour de Langkawi Malaysia. It was exciting to see all those cyclists come through at like 60 km per hour.

There are all kinds of people – Chinese, Koreans, Malays, Indians, Europeans….. There are many, many new kinds of food to try, and the fresh fruit is fantastic. Then I come back to the hotel and have a dip in the outdoor pool. The pool area is quite nice, though a bit noisy, with heavy traffic and honking cars just six floor below. But the actual pool area is nice and there's hardly anyone there.

The English that they speak here (when they speak English, which most of them can) is pretty funny. It's called "Manglish". For example, they say things like, "We are going back to the hotel, isn't it?" The "isn't it?" is like "right? Isn't that the case?" Then they have this word that they throw in everywhere: They say "lah", and it means lots of different things, but it can add extra emphasis to what you're saying, like "definitely". So for example I saw a Nike T-shirt with this print on it: "Just Do It lah!" I don't know whether it's hilarious or charming, but I like it. One of our attorneys uses this word "lah" all the time, even in court.

Ok, I gotta go wash some of my clothes in the sink. They get stinky fast in this heat.

February 23

Today I gave my presentation to the court at 9:30. Everyone said it was great, and I have to agree – it was my best "performance" ever, thanks to all the feedback I had from my Toastmasters friends and my colleagues.

Then came the cross-examination. The defendant's lawyer tore me apart. She grilled me for about 2 hours and I thought I answered ok. But then afterwards our attorneys were like "Why did you say that!?" and told me all the things I'd said wrong. Ugh. Well, I just didn't know how lawyers worked and how tricky they can be. I think I can truthfully claim that I was not "prepared" for the cross-examination. I had no idea what it would be like.

So, I gave great evidence with my presentation, but then I did some damage in the cross-examination. I was very upset when I realized it. But we repaired some (most? difficult to tell) during the "re-examination".

Switched hotels today. I felt a bit out of my element at the fancy Le Meridien, and I saw no reason to continue paying that much, now that Jan has gone home.

February 22

Incredible day at court today. What an experience! They put Jan on the stand, and we all (our side) expected it to take 30-60 minutes. Then it would be my turn. Well, the other side asked him countless questions, basically grilling him the entire day—I mean literally from the time court was in session until court adjourned at 5 p.m. This whole time, KK (head of our Kuala Lumpur office) and I were banished to the stuffy, skuzzy little "witnesses' room" because we were not allowed to hear Jan's testimony – don't ask me why. The A/C was minimal and I was on pins and needles believing that my turn would come at any moment but not knowing exactly when. I was kind of freaking out there for awhile, but KK talked me down.

So I settled in and started reviewing my presentation. I practiced it about five times in that little room. I also went through this additional very long and detailed document that the defendant had just submitted. GAH! I had to pick out all the parts that were incorrect or misleading, so that our lawyers can cross-examine the author on each point.

So I worked all day, without a desk and without Internet connection. But it was ok. But then I didn't get to testify. All day in that little room for nothing.

But I'm next on the agenda, so I get to be first tomorrow at 9:15 a.m. Our attorneys guess that I may be on the stand all day tomorrow. Or it could be just the whole morning. Impossible to know. Hopefully I will not be telling you that I was a bumbling idiot on the stand.

Then I will also be in court on Friday and possibly Monday, as well, just to hear how this plays out and (more importantly) to feed our attorneys relevant product-related facts & objections based on what goes on. KK is unfamiliar with the products in question, but good for moral support and advice.

Today I learned that in the Malaysian court you address a female judge as "My Lady". When she enters or leaves the room, a bailiff pulls out her chair for her, and you stand and bow. If you leave the courtroom while the judge is still in the room, you face the judge and bow before leaving the room. And you dress very conservatively!

Hot and humid here. No wind.

February 21

We spent all day at the attorneys' office today, going over our statements and planning and rehearsing what to say and how to respond to cross-examination. The attorneys are well-versed and well prepared. It's nice that they are women and good communicators. They were very good at coaching and preparing me today. I am nervous but not overly anxious about my upcoming presentation.

I learned that the reason Lars H (our Swedish lawyer) is not here is our recent acquisition, which has caused him a LOT of paperwork. He is really busy from that. But it's ok. I feel in good hands with these lawyers.

It's hot and humid here. But the food is very interesting. I have tried several dishes already that I never heard of before (from a buffet at lunch today). Also some fruits that were a mystery to me. Learning a lot. Enjoying myself in spite of the stress of the case. Really glad I'm scheduled to stay on longer, after the trial.

February 20

Travelled to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (via Bangkok) today. Thai Airways is quite nice!

For some reason our contact in Malaysia had failed to book a room at the Hilton for me. (Staying there only because our MD is staying there.) And when I got there it was full! So I went next door to Le Meridien and got a nice room.

January 8

This conversation struck me as funny today:

Max: Papa, remember that music writing program that I installed?
Bengt: Yeah....
Max: Well, it's more complicated than I thought.
Bengt: Max, you can't just download a program off the internet and expect to write a hit song.

Yesterday Max saw a picture of a—shall we say—flamboyant acquaintance of mine. His reaction, "Oh my God, seriously??" Ha! I hope this means he won't be bringing home any bimbo girlfriends when the time comes...

January 7, 2012

Just booked our Hawaiian cruise! I can't put the dates here, but I can tell you that I'm excited!

Also found out that in addition to my trip to Kuala Lumpur in February, I'll also be going to Berlin for a kick-off. Four trips abroad this year – that may be a record.

We still haven't gotten more than a light dusting of snow, and it's very warm for this time of year (not much below freezing). What a strange winter!

Upgraded my computer to Windows 7 about a month ago. Remind me not to change operating systems ever again. What a pain in the ass!

Also, my email hasn't been working lately. Emails from our provider to recipients with addresses @att.net, @sbcglobal.net, and others are blocked. It's been really frustrating trying to get this problem solved.

Got new glasses a couple of months ago – with progressive lenses, as usual. Except my presbyopia (you know, that old age thing) is getting worse, so my field of vision is becoming too narrow with these progressive lenses. I think next time I'll go for regular glasses. (I already have separate reading glasses.) Or actual bifocals. Ugh.

We sold Max's bunk bed on an auction site and bought him a new bed. This one is a little wider than a single bed, and it is adjustable. Nice, huh? Max will like it, and I think it will be convenient to have a bed like that in the house. When someone has a really bad head cold, it can be nice to sleep with our head raised. Next time someone sprains an ankle, it will be a relief to sleep with our feet up. (Max can sleep in the guest room if someone else needs his bed. He sometimes does, anyway.)




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