Seems I've been too busy to even give you the family update last month, so here's to catch up.
Lara and Gloria can meanwhile climb up and down chairs quite well, which makes life easier for me, except that they often attempt to climb upwards from there. They can now reach the light switches, and last week they learned to open doors so it's difficult now to keep them in a room. Their favorite pastime is presently hitting me with empty plastic bottles, which seems to be infinitely entertaining. They also have developed the unfortunate habit of throwing their toys in direction of my laptop screen.
The girls have increased their vocabulary with various nouns and can identify images in their picture books. They still haven't learned a single verb, though Stefan insists "cookie" means "look."
Gloria is inseparable from her plush moose, Bo. She takes him everywhere and sleeps with him. Since I'd really like to wash it on occasion, I've now bought a second one and we're doing our best to avoid she sees both at once. (We also have to maneuver carefully around the Arlanda Duty Free shop, where there sits a whole pile of them.) Gloria has developed a bad case of motion sickness in which she'll be sick after ten minutes on the road. We now got some medication from our pediatrician that seems to help, so our mobility radius has expanded again. Lara meanwhile is squinting and we'll have to do something about this.
Right now, they're sitting behind me with their Swedish-English picture book. I am often amazed how well they understand what we say, especially because Stefan and I don't speak the same accent and we both mumble one way or the other. I guess it's because I judge their progress by my lack of progress in learning Swedish. Last week I took a taxi in Stockholm, and this was the first time I had a taxi driver who was actually Swedish. Ironically I noticed that because he spoke British English that was at least to my ears basically accent free. He didn't even try to address me in Swedish. When I asked him about it he said, well, there's so few people on the planet for whom Swedish is useful that they don't expect others to speak it. The Swedes are just so damned nice to immigrants.
We were lucky to get two daycare places starting in January. It's a half-day place, but this will be quite a change for all of us.
The organization of the PI conference on Experimental Search for Quantum Gravity is going very well, thanks to Astrid Eichhorn who has done a great job. We now have a schedule that should appear on the website within the next days. We'll probably have most of the talks recorded, so it's something for all of you. The organization of the November program on Perspectives of Fundamental Cosmology is running a little behind, but it seems everything is slowly falling into place there too.
Besides this, I have been trying to convince my colleagues at Nordita to engage more in public outreach, as I think we're behind in making use of the communication channels the online world has to offer. I'm happy to report that we did get some funding approved by the board last week. Part of this will go into a few videos, another part will go to a workshop for science writers - an idea that goes back to a discussion I had with George Musser earlier this year. I'll let you know how this goes, and I'm open to suggestions for what else we could do. I think I don't have to explain you my motivation for doing this - I'd be preaching to the choir. So let me instead say that it can be difficult to get scientists to make a time commitment to anything that's not research, so the biggest constraint on the matter is personnel.