§159 Shabat, Klezmer, Peter Englund and Alice Tegnér

January 20, 2008

It’s shabat and I finally have some time to blog. Been waiting for that. During the week the though has struck me thousands of times that “this I need to remember, I’m gonna blog about it” – well, there’s no chance I’ll remember it all, but I’ll give it a shot.
I’ll start with my current situation, go on to describe my week, then my expectations for the future weeks, and finally I’ll see if any of the topics I had in my mind comes back to me. There! I’ve already decided the structure. Good thing I wrote it down before I forgot.

It’s 16:15. It’s Shabat. It’s calm. It’s relaxing. I’m blogging at the computer, Elisheva (my wife) is bottle feeding Talitha behind me.
Emunah is running around playing with her doll (extremely happy to have her back – it’s her favourite doll and we took it away from her this morning at 5:00 AM when she had woken us up for the zillionth time because she “wanted it to be morning”).
Efraim is sitting at the table. Grounded after running up to the computer trying to help me to type too many times. He says he wants to eat, but it’s another 15 minutes left. In the kitchen the pile of dishes is smaller than it was earlier because I was able to steal some time and deal with it during the day.
If I deal with it now, it’ll be exterminated before the kids go to sleep, but then there’ll be no blog today. I prefer to blog as I haven’t done so in a week.

This morning Elisheva was exhausted after Emunah’s nightly behaviour. It’s the third night in a row she does that. We decided Elisheva needs some time away from the children so she left to the congregation with Talitha only and I stayed home to play with the kids. First we made our own home congregation (Efraim had his toy guitar).
Then I gave them a lesson about the parting of the Red Sea (This weeks parasha) and gave them coloring pages with a dancing Miriam. Then we watched Bob the Builder and Thomas the Tank Engine on Youtube. After that I brought out their train toys and let them play while I started with the dishes.
When they were fed up with the train I put on some kletzmer music. They haven’t heard that type of music before, and also I got a chance to tell them about the language of Yiddish. I’ve taught them before about different languages. They speak Swedish and Hebrew and they know how to recognize English (we usually use English when we want to talk over their heads). I’ve also explained to them about different languages in the world.
After dancing to a few songs Efraim asked me to turn it off and to put on the Swedish children song tape. (It’s “Sjung med oss mamma” Where all the REAL songs are – written by Alice Tegnér, illustrated by Elsa Beskow and sung by Alice Babs).

Time to get the kids something to eat. Be right back.

Ok, they’re eating. I’ll start to collect the pile of toys spread around the house and organize them neatly in their toy shelves so they have something to throw around tomorrow also. By the time I’m finished it’s probably time to pyjamafy them and throw them into bed. I guess I’ll continue blog after that.

Ok, found some spare time. Toys in order and Efraim still eating. Emunah sitting on the potty. (It’s the wrong season to potty train her, but when she asks to, we let her. This summer she will be diaper free).

So… where were I? Right, then Elisheva came home, we ate, sat around, drank coffee, kids played more with the trains, I made some more dishes and then I started to blog. And we’re at present time, described in the beginning. Only now Talitha is sitting next to me smiling and “talking”. Elisheva has brought out her books and continues her studies. It’s about medevial feodalism and capitalism.

Ok, Emunah is calling…

I’m back. Not much production, but it’s still too exciting to sit there I think. Anyway, asking to sit there is a progress, and we’re taking it slowly. It’s 17:25 now, and the kids are both pyjamafied and tooth brushed, so we’re just waiting for the time to be 18:00 so they can go to sleep. They’re playing with Talitha now. Patting her on the head, shaking her rattle in front of her, etc. Elisheva is on the phone with her mother.

According to the above, I’m supposed to write about my week now. It’s been a bit hectic with two papers in statistics to hand in. But now it’s done. All the papers are done, and I can focus on studying for the tests. I will focus on the introduction to macro-economy at the moment, the test is on January 31st. Then the statistics is on February 11th. After that I’m free… well, actually, I’ll probably start my next courses that officially start in the beginning of March. I’ve already received the material for one of them by mail – Macro economy A. The other two – “Differential and integral mathematics” and “Economy of the industry”, is on their way.

About my expectations for future weeks – I already mentioned my tests. Besides that I’ve actually given myself an evening off from studies this evening. I need to focus on our private issues. I haven’t looked through our bills and credit card charges for months. And by January 31st I have tons of things to do. Efraim and Emunah need to be registered for kinder garten for the next year 5769, we need to apply to enlength Elisheva’s visa (when it’s approved we can finally apply for a citizenship). I need to apply for a scholarship for the study year of 5769 and also we need to apply for reduced municipitality taxes. Lots of headache.

Time to throw the kids in bed. I’ll be back

It’s 18:30. Kids in bed since 18:00 (Not asleep yet, though… they’re still talking with each other in there). The pasta is on the stove, the wife is making a salad, and Talitha’s bottles have been washed and are now being sterilized on the stove together with the pasta (no, I’m not using the same pan).

One of the things I wanted to bring up is Peter Englund! I have lately started to follow his blog more frequently (link on my blog roll – in Swedish) and send in comments once in a while.
To have something to read on the bus I lately started to re-read his book “Tystnadens historia” (“History of Silence”) (2004). It’s a collection of essays with focus on the “small history”. The background and history of all the small things we take for granted. Like the history of the screw, the tooth brush, the glasses, the shop window, etc.

I will continue to write about this later. The pasta is ready and it’s time to eat it with the salad Elisheva made and a cold chicken leg (leftover from yesterday’s shabat meal). Quality time with the wife. We’ll see a couple of episodes from “Friends”.

It’s 20:40. After the quality time my parents called from Sweden and we talked for an hour. Now I really need to wrap this blog post up so I can finish the dishes and start to go through all bills and applications and other annoying stuff.

Now Efraim woke up. He has fever poor little guy. 38.5 degrees Celsius. We gave him some ibuprofen, hope it will help.

About Peter Englund. The History of Silence is incredible. It really made me look at the things around me differently. It’s not only knowing the background of the things, but also of the thoughts of today. From where the ideas and values of today are taken. And not only the historic background, but the process, the ideas, the inventions, the technology… everything that has led us to where we are today. One really gets the feeling of the impossibility of living in the present, since we are so totally dependent on the past. Right now Im reading the essay about the history of the shop window which I think must be my favourite. It’s about how the entire commercial consumerism we see around us today started. This whole idea of today – manufacturers creating solutions for non-existing problems, and then use the commercials in order to persuade people that they have those problems. Of course the solution can never be a true solution. Because then the consumer would cease to consume! Highly recommended for those who speak Swedish. I don’t know if it has been translated.
The story of how I bought the first book of his and started to discover him as an author is a story on itself, and we’ll take that some other day. One more note – I just learned that during June 2007 he and Fredrik Lindström made a serie of TV programs on national Swedish television about the Swedish mentality. If there were only a way to get hold of those programs. Sooo interesting.

And now Elisheva is kicking me away from here, because she needs the computer for study reasons which have higher priority than blogging. I’m still quite happy, I was able to write a pretty long blog today. It only took me… 5 hours!

Bye for now, and don’t forget to change the world!

(Added – couldn’t edit it until she has finished so it’s published after midnight. Oh, well…)



  1. Vad synd att vi inte spelade in Fredrik Lindströms program, det var jättebra. Men det kanske kommer ut på dvd så småningom.
    Hälsa barnen!

  2. Its nice to have a peek into your life. 🙂

  3. B”H

    Haha, gillar verkligen sättet du bloggar på. Väldigt rolig läsning. Keep it up, jag kommer att följa med hökögon framöver 🙂

  4. Jag berättade ju om det programmet och länkade medan det visades. Du borde lyssna mer på din brüder

  5. Lyssna inte på mamma, Fredrik Lindströms program var verkligen skit. Det mesta han gjorde var att ta globala utvecklingar i samhället och få dem att låta specifikt svenska. Pekar på små deteljer utan att ta det stora perspektivet liksom, ytterst irriterande och totalt populärvetenskapligt, du skulle hatat det.
    Kram //syster

  6. Kolla följande länk: där fins några klipp ur programmen (hittas via svt.se, program, världens modärnaste land)

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