What's New at the Pålssons'


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

More notes from December 2011

All right, I got behind.... I've been way too busy with my Toastmasters club and other things.

Max made himself a pair of sweatpants in sewing class. :-)

Here's a picture of Max on the 31st, when we celebrated his birthday:

We've been taking care of a hamster, Jack, while his owners are in the US. This hamster won't come to us, and so we don't grab him. Therefore he's been in his cage for weeks. I feel sorry for him!

Christmas was relaxing – except for all the coughing that went on around here. Max got most of the things on his "wishmas list" - a new hi-hat and adjustable stool for his drum set, some floorball goalkeeper gloves, a Minecraft T-shirt and poster, some shirts, a PC game, and so on. Lucky kid! He seemed quite happy.

I got a blender, and I've been making good use of it. So far I've made soup, smoothies, and frappaccino. Also we've used it to crush ice (or, rather, to chop ice). It takes about two seconds to turn about 20 ice cubes into fine slivers. Woa!

Sunday, December 11

I'm going to try to get back in the habit of writing here sometimes....

I'm still enjoying with our hamster, Nuffe. I check just about every time I pass the area where we keep his cage, to see if he's awake. Often if he hears someone, he'll run to the side of his cage and start gnawing on the bars, which is his only way of telling us he wants to come out and play. We have been letting him run around. He comes back when we call him! It's so adorable.

In February I'll be going to Kuala Lumpur to give a presentation. My work will take only a few days, but then I'll be staying for an extra week to have a look around. I figured I might as well take advantage of the opportunity. I'm excited about the challenge of the presentation and also about visiting Malaysia for the first time.

Saturday, October 15

Last week the sixth graders at Max's school picked their third language to study. After a trial period where they got a sampling of French, German, and Spanish, they had to pick one of those three. Max really liked French (and we had such a wonderful time in Paris last year), but he felt that he might get more benefit from German, plus Bengt and I can help him with his German homework. So that's what he chose, and I was more excited about that than I expected to be. It is neat to share that language with him. He's already learned quite a few phrases, and we practice them just for fun. The other day when I left for work, Max called out, "Tschüüüüss! Ich liebe dich!"

Ok, and those joys of being Max's mom naturally need to be balanced with some good old misbehavior, right? Max has lost his screen privileges for a week due to really bad behavior at school, and I don't know who's looking forward to the end of this torture more – him or me. He's not complaining too much, but he certainly mopes around and wants suggestions for things to do. On the upside, he's plowed through 1 1/2 novels so far (in English) and has gotten more sleep. This afternoon I hope he'll go swimming at the sports complex with some friends.

I have so much going on with Toastmasters, for example a club contest this past Wednesday that I organized. It's difficult to get all my hours in at work, so I've been working late in the evenings to compensate. Then I come home and just want to sit in front of the TV to relax, but I don't want to rub Max's nose in his lack of TV privileges, so I read and go to be early instead.

Yesterday I finished a book that was much better than expected: Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson. Every sentence was sublimely crafted, and the story was infused with sly humor. I just loved it! Can hardly wait for Simonson's next book!

Newly discovered game (to replace Pathwords, which has been discontinued): Words for Friends, which is like online Scrabble. At any given time I have five or six games going via Facebook. Fun!

The weather has suddenly gotten much cooler. We get frost at night, and two mornings this week I had to scrape frost off the windshield before driving to work. Time to clean out the garage so I can actually park in there again....

Our hamster, Nuffe, is still going strong. He's even fatter than ever, though. It's so much fun to give him treats and watch him enjoy them. He's extremely tame now, and will usually run over to your hand as soon as you stick it in the cage, and climb on, hoping to be lifted out and petted or fed or played with. And he climbs all over Max if he lies down on the floor.

Sunday, October 2

I've been busier than usual lately, especially with my Toastmasters club. We've been revamping the agenda and holding extra meetings, which is very time consuming.

We also had the warmest September on record (up to about 20° C. or 68° F.),  and incredible good luck with rainfall during the work week and then sunshine on the weekends. Each weekend I keep thinking that it's the last beautiful, warmish day of the year, so I spend as much time as possible outside, and avoid sitting indoors at my computer. Even this weekend was absolutely gorgeous. Yesterday I was sitting out on our deck doing Sudoku puzzles in the sun. Unbelievable for this latitude!

This week our British neighbors suddenly moved away. Just before they left, they brought over a bunch of stuff from their fridge rather than dumping it. One of those things was an almost full bottle of whipped cream. We never buy that, but now that Max has discovered it, he's been squirting that down his throat directly from the bottle! He can't get enough. I have to forcefully take it away from him after a few shots. What a weird kid.

Saturday, September 3

I played a terrible trick on Max yesterday: I had bought a gag "nail" that you put on your finger that looks like it goes through your finger. I put that on, and put raspberry jam on it to make it look bloody. Then I hammered something in the laundry room for a minute and then started yelling that I'd hurt myself. Bengt was in on it, so he came running. He called Max to come help. Max started dancing around, clearly grossed out. Bengt had him run and get paper towels. Then Bengt told him to yank the nail out. (Meanwhile, I was yelling, "Get it out! Get it out!") Max is like, "What?!? No! I'm not pulling that out!" I let him squirm for a few seconds and then started laughing. Max stormed off and slammed the door to the playroom. But he got over it quickly, and then he thought it was funny.

I also bought a knife with a "blade" that retracts when you stab it into something, so it looks like you are stabbing someone (or yourself). I was going to fool Max with that, but then I realized that seeing his mom stab his dad might traumatize him, even if he quickly discovered it was a joke. So I just got out the knife and showed it to him. I think he'll have fun fooling his friends with it.

Sunday, August 28

Had a nice birthday. Nothing special. Next year will be special.

Eileen: I got a monetary birthday present from Anna-Brita – wasn't that sweet?! I don't really care about presents, but I appreciate the thought. "It's the thought that counts."
Max: Well, can I have part of your present, then?

Bengt took this picture out behind our house one morning last week. I think it's beautiful. I just love where we live!

Max went on a trip with his class, so they could get to know each other. There were lots of activities. Max fished a lot, apparently. They were away for two nights. The most memorable thing that happened: One kid in Max's room got up in the middle of the night and peed in the closet in his sleep. Max was pretty surprised that someone could so something like that in their sleep, but I've heard of it before, and Max himself used to get up at night and almost pee in strange places. Max's sweatshirt got peed on.

Sunday, August 14

This weekend I put up a ceiling fan in our bedroom. Bengt got up in the attic for me and found the joist. I did the rest. Yay for me!

Wednesday, August 10

It's been cool and rainy here for a few days. I noticed a lot of brown leaves blowing around on the ground yesterday. It looks like summer is over already. Wah!

Max enjoyed a very lazy summer at home, with no parental supervision during the daytime.

Eileen: Max, you should stop eating your lunch in front of the TV. That's a bad habit.
Max: My whole life is a bad habit.

Monday, July 25

Max: Mom, do you ever reuse the pizza slicer if you find it laying on the counter?
Eileen: Well, yes, I suppose I do.
Max: Well, don't. Because I lick it.

Max (full of joy): Look Mom, I'm diggin' a hole!!
Eileen: Why?
Max: Because I'm a kid, diggin' a hole!

Check out this notice that Max taped to the laundry room door after he came home from floorball practice and dumped his sweaty clothes in there:

(It did occur to me that here is a kid who could learn how to start a load of laundry when the situation is this dire....)

Wednesday, July 20

We have been having a pleasant summer here at home.

And I have been feeling really lucky to have a responsible and dependable kid like Max. He is so honest and good natured. What more could we ask for? (Well, I guess we could ask for a reduction in screen time....)

Max's latest game is Tiny Tower, which he plays on his iPod. It's free, and people just love it—and I can see why! The creators are really creative. There is a Facebook-like thing for the "bitizens" of the tower. They call it BitBook! Some of the comments from the "bitizens" are pretty hilarious. Examples:

  • I believe that we are all born out of a little app icon. I know, sounds nuts....
  • What is the alligator policy in this building?
  • Everyone - I lost my contact! Look for a clear pixel on the floor!
  • I feel like someone is watching us.
  • How many bits would a bitizen byte if a bitizen could byte bits?

Of course, Max's first love is Minecraft. Lots of my colleagues play that game, too. Max has set up his own Minecraft server. I guess that's good experience.

Many of you know that Max has been begging for PC games with shooting in them, and Bengt and I have refused to buy them. We really object to pretending to shoot people for entertainment. However, we have nothing against the guns themselves, so a couple of weeks ago the three of us went to a shooting range so that Max could get the experience of handling real guns. With the assistance of two professionals, all three of us learned about gun safety and practiced shooting different types of guns.

The first time we booked our experience, we got stuck in a terrible traffic jam and didn't make it. We would have been like two hours late, so after calling them we turned around and went home. Our destination was intended as a surprise for Max, so he didn't even know where we were headed—and then it didn't work out. But we told him at that point, and got a new booking for four days later. Looking forward to an exciting experience is part of the fun, don't you think?

Anyway, Max was thrilled to shoot real guns. I don't think it lessened his desire to play violent video games, but at least he got to try the real thing.

Another thing Max did was organize a group of friends to play paintball. The age limit at this place was 12, but Max is the only one of his friends who is still 11, so they made an exception. They all had a blast. It was pretty expensive for me, though. Each boy paid his own entrance fee, but I'd agreed to pay for the extra paintballs, and they went through 2000! Next time (and Max assures me there will be a next time) they'll each have to chip in for the paintballs.

Max is growing like crazy (and eating like crazy). We measured him the other day—he's now 5' 1" tall (155 cm).


We've been enjoying our new deck so much this summer. I go out every day after work, and read the paper and have something to drink.

We love our new deck!

Blueberry bushes on the right. We have four of them.

Wednesday, July 13

We had a nice week of vacation last week, with Anders and Anna-Brita both here (except when Anders went out on a boat excursion with a friend). Bengt went back to work on Monday, but I'm on my second week of vacation. We are having pretty nice weather, so Anna-Brita and I spend a lot of time sitting on the deck, mostly reading or doing crossword/Sudoku puzzles. I like to get up and move around, so I do work in the yard or the house for a couple of hours a day, or do errands like grocery shopping. Our blueberries are just coming in, and they are delicious!

One of the things I love about summer is sleeping with the window open. Unfortunately the sun goes up around 4 a.m., and the birds start chirping. I usually sleep through that, but Bengt (the lightest sleeper I've ever known) doesn't. If it's warm I like to have a fan blowing in the room. The noise bothers Bengt, though he likes the moving air. He went out and bought an extra quiet fan, but I think it still bothers him. He hasn't been sleeping very well. I wish he would try earplugs, but I know they're uncomfortable if you wear them a whole night (at least that's what I've found). Even the softest ones get painful towards morning. When Anna-Brita goes home on Monday, I think Bengt may spend a few nights in the guest room to catch up on his sleep.

Max is enjoying having nothing to do. He stays up late (with the rest of us), sleeps in (even longer than me and Anna-Brita) and then spends much of the day on his computer or watching TV. I remind him to go outside and get some exercise, which he does without much complaint—though he asks, "How long do I have to stay out?"

Max started drum lessons in March. There's a break over the summer, but he plans to continue in the fall, so yesterday I bought Max a used set of drums. We set them up in the playroom (after moving the hamster to the hall that goes down to the garage). The drums are astonishingly loud! And guess what—Max plays them often. J He wears earmuffs to protect his hearing, which I appreciate. Even he thinks they're too loud.

Our hamster, Nuffe, is doing well. I don't think he's lost any weight since we got him. When you hold him in your hand, he's a perfectly round ball of fur! But he seems more agile and is more tame than when we first got him. That's rewarding! He's cute, and I find myself looking into the hall occasionally to see if he's awake, so I can get him out and pet him for a few minutes.

I got a Kindle in April. I've really enjoyed it, but last weekend it got ruined during a pillow fight in our bedroom. Not sure what did it – falling on the floor or having a big glass of water spill on it. Bummer! But I'm buying another one—which I will take better care of.




2011 July - Dec

2011 Jan - June

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