Monthly Archives: October 2010

Exercising: NOT my cup of tea.

Ok, let’s be serious here. I started the 12 week fitness challenge on Monday, September 28… exactly four weeks ago. I’m one third of the way through, which is kind of crazy. In some ways, the time has gone really quickly. In just four weeks, I’ve already become way more fit and I can see the difference in my body. (I can see differences particularly well using the following method, which I plan on trademarking and selling with information products on TV: have a couple of drinks, take off your shirt, flex everything really hard, groan, and then squint as I look into the mirror. That works really well.) (And no, the changes haven’t made it to my lower half yet. That’s why I only take off my shirt.)

Here’s the problem: it’s been four weeks, and I am BORED with this. It’s great when I have Anna as a fitness buddy, but today our schedules didn’t line up and so I have spent most of my afternoon sitting on the couch in between doing loads of laundry. I don’t WANNA go to the gym. It’s COLD outside. I’m TIRED of this. And sports bras make my shoulders hurt.

Then I started looking up ways to motivate myself, and then I realized what a classic procrastinator move that is… looking up ways to motivate yourself to go the gym instead of just going. GAH. I would go now, now that I’ve worked myself up into a guilty frenzy, but I’m going to Malmö for the American Women’s Club meeting. So then I’ll have to go the gym when it’s even colder and darker out.

Waa waa waa. I feel very sorry for myself.

So what now? Does anyone out there have any great advice for staying excited and motivated for exercising. Keep in mind, my natural state most closely resembles a slug (albeit with exceptionally agile typewriting fingers).

Thoughts… encouragement… advice… guilt-tripping… All welcome now.

And it’s… GRANHOLM! for the Order of the Polar Star

Sweetness. Granholm is getting the Order of the Polar Star after all. And she will get the Insignia of First Commander, no less! I was reading up on the deep and growing friendship between Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm and HIS MAJESTY (I just love writing that… it’s like a tic. Sorry.) King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden (so much so that I have no problem remembering the Roman numerals in his name even though I have yet to memorize my Swedish phone number), but I could find only one blog talking about Granholm being honored by the King. The rest of the sources I found just talked about her trip to Sweden and what sort of things she would be doing during her time here.

So I asked the US Embassy in Sweden about it, via Twitter, and they confirmed that she would, in fact, be honored with membership in the Order of the Polar Star… TODAY! Sweeeeeet. They pointed me to an article about it on Granholm’s webpage: “King Carl XVI Gustaf to Recognize Granholm in Stockholm Thursday for Fostering Relations Between Michigan, Sweden.” So, uh… that’s pretty straightforward. I blame the lack of search engine optimization for its failure to appear on any of the first two pages of Google results. As the article reports, “His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf will present Granholm with the honor at the Royal Palace in Stockholm, the king’s official residence.  Among those scheduled to witness the ceremony will be U.S. Ambassador to Sweden Matthew Barzun, the governor’s parents Victor and Shirley Granholm, Swedish Consul General for Michigan Lennart Johansson, and Greg Main, President and CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.”

Might I take this moment to point out what an excellent job yours truly is doing to forge relations between Michigan and Sweden? I may not have brought in $1.8 billion in new investment to my home state, but I stand in strong support of all $1.8 billion not donated or fundraised by me. And I definitely contributed in my own small way to the strong surge of happiness experienced during five days in Grand Rapids, Michigan when I brought my Swede home for Christmas. That’s relationship-building, if I ever heard of it. So, Your Majesty, if you’re at a loss for who to pick next, no I do not mind taking a trip to Stockholm to receive the Insignia of First Commander of the Order of the Polar Star. Just so you know.

There you have it!

Governor of Michigan, Jennifer Granholm, First Commander of the Order of the Polar Star!

First Amendment Rights!!

Breaking News Bulletin

It is currently snowing in Lund. Uh, whaaaaaaaat??!

Now back to my main point. Do you know what’s in your Constitution?

This is probably not that interesting to anyone who doesn’t have as close a relationship with the Constitution as I do, or anyone is who has tons and tons of respect for Christine O’Donnell. But for the rest of you…


This is actually probably one of the funniest videos I’ve ever seen. (Thank you, Gawker, font of all current events knowledge.) Not only did Christine O’Donnell not know that the separation of Church and State is in the First Amendment, she didn’t know it was in the  Constitution.  And when her Democratic opponent, Chris Coons, recited the First Amendment to her, she said, “That’s in the First Amendment??”

For extra Constitution-related laughs, she doesn’t know what’s in the 14th, 16th, or 17th Amendments, although I guess that’s pretty normal. It’s not everyone that was on a competitive Constitutional Law team in high school. (*cough* NERD ALERT.) Thanks to Gawker for the story and for the viewing guide: “The First Amendment discussion starts at 5:57 in the clip up top; the part about the 14th, 16th and 17th amendments starts around 3:00.”

For more informed political figures, please see “Jimmy McMillan, The Rent is 2 Damn High Party.” Also courtesy of Gawker. I’ve been watching videos of him for the last thirty minutes and it’s not getting old yet.

Jennifer Granholm and His Majesty Carl XVI Gustaf, BFFs 4 LYFE

I am on the hunt to track down a rumor that I first caught wind of on Twitter that Michigan Governor, Jennifer Granholm, is going to get some fancy pants environmental prize from HIS MAJESTY THE KING OF SWEDEN. Sidenote: I grew up in Michigan, so obviously this is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT and PERSONAL. Just so you know.


Lean on me when you're not strong and I'll be your friend. I'll help you carry on... For it won't be long 'til I'm gonna need somebody to lean on.

So, on October 6, Solander Science Park published a story called “Governor Granholm: Sweden and Piteå are our ideals.” Apparently, Granholm and HIS MAJESTY THE KING OF SWEDEN met at an alternative energy conference in Detroit. Apparently there is a plan to connect companies from Sweden with the research facilities and universities in Michigan in order to make Michigan (and I quote) “the North American epicenter of the alternative energy industry.” Sidenote: Solander Park is named after a Swedish botanist, and you can view a charming and hilarious promotional video about Mr. Solander and the town of Piteå.

Then I found the picture you see above on MLive (most well known for its contentious and often nasty public forums on high school sports in Michigan) and read that King Carl XVI Gustaf was, in fact, at Kettering University in Flint, where he celebrated the opening of an alternative energy facility. Marjory Raymer of the Flint Journal wrote, “Gustaf, wearing a conservative blue-and-gray suit, did not speak during the ceremony, but offered a polite wave to the 500 or so people attending.” EXCUSE ME, YOU DO NOT GET TO CALL HIM GUSTAF AND ALSO IT IS NOT HIS LAST NAME. Apparently the big question on everyone’s mind was whether the king had eaten a coney, “Flint’s contribution to American cuisine.” To which I can only say, what the hell is a coney? I’ve never even heard of that. Unless it’s like a Coney Island hotdog, which I thought came from New York’s Coney Island. The answer was no, by the way, and “during a private reception after the news conference… attendees dined on pickled herring, Swedish meatballs with lingonberry jam and light sandwiches.” The guy on the left of Granholm is Michael Wood, former United States Ambassador to Sweden, and the guy on the right of King Carl XVI Gustaf is Jonas Hafstron, Swedish Ambassador to the United States.

On October 18, the SAGA (Swedish American Green Alliance) blog reported that Granholm will “receive the insignia of the Commander First Class of the Royal Order of the Polar Star” from HIS MAJESTY THE KING OF SWEDEN. Sidenote: Does anyone else think it might have been a mistake to get rid of the monarchy when the U.S. started? Just sayin’.

On the 13th, the GOV Monitor: Public Sector News and Information published “Governor Ganholm [sic] Leads Investment Mission to France and Sweden.” Blah blah Paris blah blah blah oh here we go… Sweden. Woohoo! Actual information!

In Sweden, the Governor will meet with Maud Olofsson, Minister of Enterprise and Energy, to discuss collaborations between Michigan and Sweden in renewable energy, clean technology and advanced materials sectors. She will also meet with executives of Swedish Biogas International, which currently has operations in Flint; and executives of URV, parent company of URV USA, a company that will produce next generation castings for wind turbine hubs in Michigan. [Editorial sidenote: Who taught you people how to use semicolons? First you get the name of the governor wrong in the title of your article and then you attempt a semicolon? For heaven's sake.]

Granholm will also tour Hammarby Sjostad, an industrial part of Stockholm that has been transformed into an eco-friendly district known for its innovative recycling programs.

It sounds like an interesting trip to Sweden… but what about the prize? What about seeing BFF HIS MAJESTY THE KING?

Her previous missions to Austria, Belgium, Germany, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Italy and Sweden have resulted in 48 companies announcing over $1.8 billion in new investment in Michigan and 20,699 (9,244 direct) jobs created and retained.

Ok, that’s cool. I think this whole Insignia of the Noble Order of the Great Polar Bear in the Sky thing was just a big mix up.  The Order of the Polar Star does actually exist (as do the Order of the Sword and the Order of the Seraphim) and honors foreign nationals for making significant contributions to Sweden.  Granholm does not seem to have gotten one, though. Too bad!

Badge and star of the Order of the North Star

omg mah HAIR! it is so DIFFERENT!

My hair... before. (with the wonderful Adam Troldahl)

For years now, I’ve had long, curly dirty-blond hair. Last Thursday, all that came to an end. (DUM DUM DUM.) I cut my hair short and dyed it brown.

The finished product... a new me!

Correction: Larsson & Lange cut my hair. Big time. It was a cultural experience.

Larsson & Lange is a really swanky salon that from what I understand is really well-known in Sweden for being into hair art and hair fashion. Besides doing the normal stuff—you know, cutting, dying, perming, etc.—they have hair fashion shows and educational sessions for other hair stylists throughout the area. Here is an example of one of the fashion shows they took part in:

Tylosand Hair Show, 2010

Pretty sweet, right? You can see a whole slideshow of the show here. Because all the text is in Swedish, I can’t really tell whether all the hairstyles were done by Larsson & Lange or just some of them.

Larsson & Lange’s fall 2009 aesthetic

I got my hair cut at the Östertull location in Malmö, which is an absolutely beautiful salon. It’s really close to the train station, which was convenient for me since I was coming in from Lund. Larsson & Lange uses Redken and Pureology products primarily, but the Östertull salon is also a Shu Uemura salon, so they use Shu Uemura products as well. (I had never heard of Shu Uemura before… shows you how much I know about this stuff.)

Larsson & Lange started in Malmö in 1991, and since then they’ve expanded to eight locations throughout Skåne, the southernmost region of Sweden where I live. They are now in Malmö, Helsingborg, Halmstad, Lund, and Ängelholm. In 2008, they won a Global Salon Business Award on the basis of their originality, risk-taking, team philosophy, and customer service, among other things.

So how did I get a free haircut from this ridiculously awesome salon?

Hair modeling, baby. My friend Cecile and I were walking along this giant street after a successful day of exploring Malmö and were talking about how we both wanted hair cuts but we also didn’t want to spend a lot of money or have our hair really messed up. AS FATE WOULD HAVE IT, we passed a salon ON THAT VERY STREET that was advertising for hair models! Woohooo!!! So we went in and talked to a guy and got only slightly intimidated by his extreme trendiness and then we debated going to the “hair audition” for the next two weeks and then we psyched ourselves up to do it and then we got put on the list to be (DUM DUM DUM) hair models.

To be honest, it sounds a lot fancier than it is. Real hair models do lots of fancy things, I’m pretty sure, but I didn’t have to do a show or get very dressed up or be an extraordinarily thin or good-looking person, which is good, because I’m not. All I had to do was show up on time, dressed in black, and be willing to let them do whatever they wanted to my hair. They told me ahead of time that they would be cutting a substantial amount off and that they would definitely be dying it. The only request I made was that I asked them not to dye it purple or green or something like that, and I think that because they could tell that I’m not a cutting-edge fashion sort of person at all they agreed. Plus I told them that I had never dyed my hair before, and they almost fell over with shock.

After the initial meeting, I started getting really nervous and kept thinking about how much I loved my long hair, but fortunately I had enough time to get over my butterflies and get excited for the big day. By the time I got there, I was just like, “Go for it!”

The coolest part about this hair modeling thing (besides the finished product) was that the stylists were totally engaged with my hair. There were two of them there, and each one of them had a model to work on. Together, they looked at my face structure and compared it to a couple of fashion spreads they had chosen as their inspiration. They asked me how it behaved at different lengths and looked at the shape of my neck. They held color cards with sample dyes against my skin to see how it would look on me. Then they would collaborate with each other throughout the process, checking to see what the other one thought as the new hair style took shape. I have never seen such an intensive creative process for a haircut, but it was obvious that because they would be showing their work to other stylists later, they wanted it to be the best possible hair cut to represent their aesthetic vision and skills.

The kind of funny thing about hair modeling was that the sort of luxury elements about getting your haircut (the scalp massage, the soothing music, the stylist asking you what you want) went right out the window. Which is cool, but it was definitely different than what I’m used to. The stylists were playing rap music and chatting with each other. I loved my hair cut and told the stylist so… she was glad and all, but she didn’t really care. It’s all good! But it was a pretty funny experience.

All in all, I had a great time. Cutting and dying my hair took 2.5 hours from start to finish, then I had to have it styled, and then I waited around for the rest of the hair models to have their hair done and for the show to start. Larsson & Lange was having some sort of in-service training session for all their stylists, so the two women who had done all of our hair called us up on stage in groups to show the other stylists what they had done and talk about how they had done it. It was really intimidating to be sitting up on stage looking out at these sea of super-fashionable Swedes… so many shades of hipster. After the presentation was done, they all swarmed the stage with their iPhones out to take pictures, and millions of them touched my hair and my head. Fortunately, I like being petted. Cecile was also there, and she compared it to being petted like a cat. Not bad!

The Östertull Salon (Larsson & Lange/Shu Uemura)

Here are some pictures of the Östertull salon that I went to. I found these photos at “Below The Clouds,” one of Sweden’s biggest blogs about architecture and design.

Clients get their hair cut and dyed behind the barrier of white poles. Clients still waiting peer through the poles and evaluate their options with help from an enormous selection of magazines.
Doors to the bathrooms, staff lounge, shampooing room, and educational center are all hidden in the walls of this hallway.

I’m going to write more about Shu Uemura, because apparently he’s amazing and this blog post is already 2000 times too long. HAIR! HAIR! OMG, HAIR!!!

My neck and I are getting reacquainted.

One of our super-trendy hairstylists behind me (Magdalena) and me… just a little excited about the hair.

Mary Svensson, the top stylist who cut my hair! Thanks for making me look so great!

The coolest thing, I think, was that I ended up with a really great haircut that I would have never asked for or imagined for myself. By letting someone else take control, I ended up with something a lot more exciting than what I had before, even though I liked that, too. Adventures are good! And in the end, it’s just hair.

well HELLO again. and ongoing battles with THE WORM

It’s been quite a blogging hiatus around here. Don’t worry! I have an excuse. THE DREADED WORM. (For more information, please see “Technical Updates from the Front Line” or “Kate Wiseman’s Midas Touch.” True stories, one and all.) Anyway, the most recent calamity was that while I was waiting in the airport to go to Vienna, I opened my laptop to work on an article I was writing for Gender Across Borders, a global feminist blog, and my computer stared back at me blankly. Very blankly. Like, no background picture blankly. And then I tried to open my article, and the article wasn’t there, and then I started looking for more things, and then I realized that NOTHING WAS THERE. Then I tried my go-to technological solution, which is to restart the computer several times while staring intensely at it. Then I tried to let it “rest” for the weekend. No luck. Bottom line, for some reason that is still unexplained, my computer has photos and documents from two weeks in July 2010 as well as all the programs I’ve installed, but nothing else.

This of course plunged me into deep depression as I mourned the loss of photos from high school to present, not the least of which were the hundreds of photos I’ve taken since my move to Sweden that I wanted to blog about.

Anyway. I’M BACK ON THE WAGON. Just so you know.


In German and Swedish, you can use the word “aktueller” on websites and in newspapers to sort of describe “current events” or “what’s going on.” We don’t really have a catch-all word like that in English, but I like it. So…

WHAT’S BEEN GOING ON. (You can expect blog posts on all or most of these subjects in the near future.)

  • Last night, I got my hair cut. Like, majorly cut. And I had my hair dyed for the first time. I look like a new person. SWEET.
  • I made American-style cinnamon buns in honor of the start of cinnamon bun season in Sweden, which is celebrated nationally on October 4 with “National Cinnamon Bun Day.” God, I love Sweden.
  • I got not one but TWO jobs as an English tutor. One is for this really great family—American mom, Swedish dad—and the other is with a company called “Study Buddy.” I’m still waiting for the paperwork to go through with Study Buddy (I have to register with the police department since I’ll be working with children), but I start next Wednesday with the private family. It might not be much, but it’s something!
  • My fitness challenge is still going strong. There are days when I definitely don’t do that much, but I do something athletic almost every day. I’m not sure if I’m reaching six days a week every week, but if not, it’s five days a week. I can already feel the difference, too. I sort of wish that I had set the bar a little lower because I’m sore really often and it would be nice to let my muscles really rest, but on those days I do an easier yoga or just take a bike ride. I’ve gotta keep the challenge going!
  • I bought my tickets to go home for Christmas. USA, here I come!

That’s enough, right? GAWD.

Recent Publications and Articles

In the meantime, Part Two of my essay on Vienna came out, which is extremely exciting. You can follow the links in the sidebar on the right to read Parts One and Two, or you can access them through the links below:

10 Things to Know About the Viennese (And Why You Should Visit Vienna Anyway), Part One

10 Things to Know About the Viennese (And Why You Should Visit Vienna Anyway), Part Two

WOOHOO! Then I also published the aforementioned article in Gender Across Borders, where I will continue to publish articles as a Junior Editor over the next three months.

“Visions for Peace and Beyond are untenable without women: shortcomings of the Clinton Global Initiative’s special session”

Basically, I talk about how the Clinton Global Initiative had this special session on “Peace and Beyond in the Middle East,” but they didn’t include any women on the panel and they didn’t discuss the role of women in promoting “peace and beyond.” And I think that’s dumb, for a variety of reasons. Anyway, if you’re interested in reading an analysis that has more nuanced analysis than “that’s dumb,” read the article. Otherwise, just take my word for it. Women are important in society at every level. Politicians and diplomats who ignore the role of women in building peaceful, stable societies will fail. For realz.

So that’s about it. Here’s a photo of my new hair! Courtesy of Larsson och Lange in Malmö.

I know I look all artsy fartsy and stuff, but I really like this picture because you can see my curly, curly hair. My friend Cecile took the photo for me.

I think my grandma may have had the same haircut in the 60′s. I like it.


I’m going on a trip this weekend…


(Or something like that)

I’m so excited. I’m so excited. I’m so excited. Undoubtedly there will be many stories to tell come Tuesday, when I’ll be back and blogging.

Adam and Elaine

I set these two up for roommate love. You can read about it (and see an amazingly clear flow chart that I created in Paint) in “A victory for liberal arts colleges and an increasingly globalized world.”


Recently, I’ve been eating like crazy. I don’t know what’s going on, but I’m blaming it on the fitness challenge, which is going pretty well, so far. I guess it could be hormones… well, who knows. Anyway, here’s a little taste of Vienna:

Behold, the power of kääääääääse.

The many faces of knödel

Speck Knödel


Nougat Knödel

For more information re: Viennese Cuisine, please see “The Käsekrainer Experience.”

So until Tuesday… happy weekend!

- Kate