31 May 2007
It was a bright and sunny - and calm! - morning, and I had San Francisco at my feet. So what do I do? I walk a few blocks down from where we're staying, to the Irish the Kezar pub, to watch the Champions league final on television. Of course I do...
The pub could probably house at least a 100 people, and there were at least 200 there. Felt like more... A handful of Italians (and the referee!) and then all Brits and Irish. And 1 Norwegian. What can I say? I was home. So we played a great first half , a more untidy second half, and we lost. The Italians in the pub were ecstatic at the end, but weren't killed, so I guess you could say there was a friendly atmosphere...
Some scouser bought me a beer, must have noticed how the 50º C (122º F) in the room also got to me. As well as the singing and shouting. Yes, I sang and shouted, songs I hadn't known I knew -- and of course, our anthem. And I will get a tattoo like that one. Hubby says I can, if he can have one too. Our families will probably disallow us, but...
When I left the pub two Americans walked out just before me. "That was fun!" one said, as if he'd been to the circus. I guess he just had...
But we'll rise again, of course, both at home and in Europe. You'll never walk alone!
30 May 2007
Our audio tour started here. With your selection of language on the headphones, you were walked around the entire place, listening to stories about prisoners, films, wardens etc. It was brilliantly made and together with the slideshow at the pier it gave a lot of detail to the Alcatraz history.
Oh no, Clint Eastwood's gone!
But did you all know this? After the prison was closed (think it was 1963), the island was "hijacked" by native Americans - of many tribes - who felt it only appropriate that the first place you meet on the West coast was Indian land. Besides, the island had no water, electricity or sewers, pretty much like the reservations they were being sent to at that time.
They were all thrown out. But returned, a few years later, and occupied it (pardon my memory, but I think) for 15 months - which made the President issue an official apology for the genocide on native Americans, and instating a law giving them the right to be their own people and not having to be Americans... So - a historic victory on Alcatraz! With all I read about the different tribes in my time - I really had no idea...
Sister and nieces in Cole Valley
Grateful Dead's house, at Ashbury and Waller
... some other beautiful houses!
29 May 2007
Anyway. Imagine 11 hour plane ride alone. Even before you board you're kind of bored, right? Then, the cruel facts. I can't not share this with you. And I swear, I'm not lying, not even exaggerating. And yes, I made it home alright. Well, I made it home! Here's how it went...
I check in at the assigned desk. I find my gate, and wait. I observe the other passengers. (I also observe that the people at the gate - and later in the plane, the pursers etc. - are the same ones that were at the check-in desks. Air France short-staffed?)
* A long-haired, tanned guy, in shorts and a leather Crocodile Dundee-hat, twenty-something, is sleeping heavily, snoring, with his arms around a bag evidently full of boomerangs and surf gear. I'm guessing he's on his way back to Europe from Australia... When the plane's about to close its doors he comes rushing in so he obviously wakes up at some point.
* The cute gay couple, probably French, holding hands while they're waiting. I'm wondering if maybe they were in the Castro this morning, as I had been?
* The repulsive 50-something guy, with dyed black (BLACK, PITCH black) hair - not too much of it, though, so he'd sort of combed it forward from his neck... And tight-fitting black trousers and shirt. Oh, and the unavoidable gold chain around his neck. I thought to myself it would be just my luck to end up next to him. Oh, had I just...
Finally, the gates open and we all rush in to our seats. Even though I checked in ridiculously early I'd forgotten to ask for a special seat, so was - of course - put in the middle of three. A Frenchman - completely normal looking (to begin with) comes to sit by the window. He's no sooner seated than he starts picking his nose. Digging, rather, with an incredibly long index finger. And whatever he found, he put his glasses on to examine more closely. Then put another finger into the other nostril. I quickly turned from him...
... to the guy sitting by the aisle. A huge big Frenchman (not actually fat, just huge! His hands were the size of small planets). And that smell...? Ok, I thought, he just sat down, probably couldn't help himself, broke a little wind... Uh-oh, again? And again?? I turned my head away, but couldn't bring myself to face the guy by the window, so stared straight ahead. I swear - my neighbour kept it up for the entire 10 hours!
Three rows in front of me was the one cute gay guy. His partner nowhere to be seen, but - lo and behold - he appeared something like ten rows further up. They asked the pursers (who were extreeeeeeeeeeemely helpful, for some reason**...) to be relocated, but of the 4 people sitting next to them - noone would switch. So instead of sleeping in eachother's arms, or at least having someone to talk to, they ended up like me, bored to death and staring straight ahead for ten hours.
Oh yes, at least we had favourable winds (the plane, that is! Not me...) and the plane ride only took 10 hours instead of 11. I met up with the black-clad, bejewelled weird-haired 50-year-old by the free drinks table, he seemed totally ok. Just my luck...
Thanks to Rufus, I survived, though - his latest album is absolute genius!
** I've travelled by some airlines, and I've seen gay pursers before. Air France has got to have the most extreme, though - I was utterly taken aback by the fact they actually managed to poor coffee with those wrists!
22 May 2007
17 May 2007
Update: I've just finished ironing those shirts. It's now 1:14 AM, 17th of May. Hoorah! And there will be much rejoicing - from me - in exactly 11 hours and 46 minutes, when it will all be over at our school... Now, I will of course enjoy watching the quads' first parade, and helping Jakob sneak out of his 4th (he hates it). I'll also meet everybody I know in this place within a 2 square mile area and 1 hour to catch up with them all.
Now, I read today that Rufus will be touring Europe while I'm in San Francisco. So much for the daydream... BUT ---- I've got tickets for his concert in Gothenburg on July 1st! I'm so excited I've been grinning like mad even through all the ironing! Finally, I get to see him... (Incidentally, we saw Robbie Williams in Gothenburg July 1st last year, is this becoming a tradition? I can live with that...)
12 May 2007
From the filming of the ballet class
Afterwards, they went off to film Thomas, Mathias and Filip's football practice, while I went back to get Jakob and his best friend (who's with us most days after school). And they continued to film Jakob's training while I brought the other one's home.
Later, when everyone'd returned, and the kids were in their pyjamases, they were interviewed about "life, the universe and everything" - and more specifically, what life was like in a big family like ours.
The kids being interviewed downstairs - the sound man (by the wall) had an excellent sense of humour, and the kids loved him :) After spending the last few hours with them, the kids weren't really nervous about the interview either. And when everyone was in bed, they interviewed us about the same things.
The programme will be sent sometime this autumn. We'll be on for something like 6 minutes - so a few hours of shooting, 2 visits to us and calling the parent of every child on ballet and football (about 60) - quite a lot of work for so little! The whole programme is about half an hour, and is about children and stress. Apart from us, there'll be a sociologist talking about this, and a feature from the States (where else...) about personal coaches for kids, to make sure they'll end up super stars. Or something...
Anyway, it was a fun experience! Everything was so professional and well-planned and all, I'm impressed with the production team :) And we'll be able to see the programme when it's put together - to see if we approve. When it's finally aired, we'll let you know!
09 May 2007
I was about 10, old enough to know about common decency but obviously not such a fan... I was with my mum, visiting one of her friends. Deep in the couch, reading a magazine while they were chatting. Now, this friend is perfectly adorable, warmer and more friendly than most. Yet this day what I was about to notice more about her than this, was her body shape.
She's big. She was, then, huge. I'd never really thought it over. But without looking up from my magazine, I said "this really really fat woman is dancing ballet!" - then immediately realized this woman wasn't even as fat as our friend. I quickly thought I'd add "but she's dancing ballet!", but didn't think it would make things better. I thought about adding "but she's at least ... kilos!", but I was sure our friend would weigh more. My mum gave me a look that kept me silent, and eventually (after what felt like months!!), they started chatting again. I felt numb. I felt like I weighed a ton, only - sadly - the floor didn't open for me.
Later, my mum said that our friend probably took it as a compliment, that I didn't think of her as fat. I appreciated the consolation efforts, mum, I'm still not sure, though, I just hope she's not still thinking about it the way I do...