Saturday, February 25, 2006

And so it begins...

How long since has Alito has been appointed? South Dakota see it's chance and is passing a law to ban abortions.

"I think the stars are aligned," said House Speaker Matthew Michels, a Republican. "Simply put, now is the time."

I'm so sad and disappointed I don't what else to say.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Really? This tired?

I've heard for years how hard it was to be a working mother and how tired new parents are. But, is this for real? Is it ever going to end? I thought when she slept through the night it would get better. It's really not.

This morning she woke up at 4 am, and none of us could get back to sleep before we had to get up at 5:30. During breakfast, she poked me in the eye and it really hurt (no, really). So now I'm at work, having trouble keeping my injured eye open.

Luckily, this is my last day at work before a two week vacation. Whew-hoo! Not only do I get to spend lots of time with Emma (and Lars), I'll get to nap. It's so sad that I'm more excited about taking naps than going to Copenhagen this week-end to see Depeche Mode. Well, not really. Since it's an Emma-less overnight trip, I'll get to sleep in on Sunday! Yay!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Gender Roles

Apparently immigrant men in Denmark are encroaching on "traditional" women's vocations. What I find amusing is the fact that Danes believe they are not sexist. Maybe you don't find it as much in Copenhagen, but in the boys' club that is LEGO, it is rampant. I often feel like I have two great big strikes against me in this company--I'm American and I'm a woman. I don't know which irks me more.

Okay, rant about work... The company language of LEGO is supposedly English. However, all the signage in the office is in Danish. I lost a bunch of money in the vending machine the other day because I couldn't read how to use it (vending machine should be easy, right?!). I had quite a hard time changing my outgoing voice mail message because all the prompts are in Danish. Any email I get from HR is in Danish. I am constantly asking people in meetings to please speak English... I know I've been here a long time but I've been trying to learn Danish since before I left NYC and I still can't understand a meeting if it's in Danish. Grr.

Back to the article:

"The untraditional career choice could give bonuses in the form of career advancement. Men in women-dominated professions experience an elevator effect. Managers believe they should be transported through the system."

Does that strike anyone else as wrong?!

Monday, February 20, 2006

Why THOSE cartoon were published

An interesting article from Jyllands-Posten, the Danish newspaper that published the cartoons that started all this hub-bub. It's written by the editor who commissioned the satirical drawings.

"Has Jyllands-Posten insulted and disrespected Islam? It certainly didn't intend to. But what does respect mean? When I visit a mosque, I show my respect by taking off my shoes. I follow the customs, just as I do in a church, synagogue or other holy place. But if a believer demands that I, as a nonbeliever, observe his taboos in the public domain, he is not asking for my respect, but for my submission. And that is incompatible with a secular democracy."

Friday, February 17, 2006

Winter Colds

This past week-end, Emma had a bad cold. She was coughing so hard she threw up. I freaked out. I took her to a week-end clinic to make sure she wasn't dying... what do I know? If I was coughing so hard I was throwing up, I would be convinced I was dying.

Lars was in Germany and I would have been all alone when this happened if my friend Kelli hadn't come by. She remained calm in the face of my freak out ("Oh no, oh no, what DO I DO?!") and made the clinic appointment for me in Danish. I'm sure they would have understood my panicked English, but it was nice to have someone to help (Kelli is an American also living in Kolding but she can actually converse in Danish, unlike me). has a good article on treating colds. Thank god for Infants' Tylenol, it was the only way either one of us got any sleep. She's much better now, but has a lingering cough which will probably stick around until May.

D'oh! LEGO NEWS goes here

This is what happens when "Blog this" falls into the wrong hands. I posted this on Babyitis by mistake.

Good news for the Kaae family and LEGO. The company announced its earnings this week and it looks like this LEGO dependent household will be just fine this year.

You know, it does feel like LEGO is getting back on track after a couple of hard years. Some pretty big organizational changes were announced yesterday which (for a real change) could be... good.

Maybe this blog won't have as much bitching about work as I thought it might (fingers crossed). Wow, what a weird feeling... is this what they call "optimism"?

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Bad Dane

Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen has been cast as the baddie in the new James Bond flick. He's refered to as a "heart-throb" in the the Copenhagen Post article. Heart-throb? Really? I mean, I'm a fan of Danish men (okay, well one Danish man in particular) but, really? Granted he looks kinda hunky in this picture... but this is the actor I refer to as "Mr. Fish Mouth". Personally I just can't get behind "heart-throb".

After watching him in some painful Dogma movies, such as Elsker dig for evigt (a real, "slit my wrists now" movie) I'm sure he'll be a great villian.

A cup of coffee and a Rose of the Prophet Mohammad, please

Now this is the way to protest! I think it's very effective, considering the only thing most people know about Denmark is Danish pastries. Wait, maybe that's not even true, given the amount of people who asked me if I was learning Dutch...Danish, Dutch, same dif, right?

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Breastfeeding Tips

I had this idea that since breastfeeding is what nature intended that it would be easy. It. Really. Isn't. The first 2-3 weeks hurt like a motherf*cker. I was completely miserable, dealing with thrush, mastitis (twice) and bleeding nipples. But at about 3 weeks or so, everything clicked into place (although I did have another bout of mastitis later) and was great. No making formula, no carrying bottles, it's the best thing for your baby and the bonding that happens during breastfeeding is simply amazing.

I just weaned Emma completely about 3-4 weeks ago, only because I'd like to have another baby. At 40 that ain't gonna happen while I'm nursing, even if I was down to only one time a day. But I still miss it, much more than she does I think.

Here are some tips for nursing. I especially agree with the Lansinoh and the Boppy, both of which I had to import from the U.S. I've heard other places that starting with Lansinoh at the end of you pregnancy can help prevent some of the soreness. I'll be trying anything and everything next time...

Friday, February 10, 2006

Oops! Sorry Guy2K!

Yikes! The dangers of using "blogthis" at work the day after your 9 month old baby was up 4 times during the night... I mistakenly posted this to Guy2k, which is a much more serious and eloquent blog, where this post certainly didn't belong. (Because, as I mentioned, ChezLeah is all about ME)

I wish I could have written my opinion about the Danish Mohammed cartoons as eloquently as Jeff Jacoby did on

The only thing I disagree with is the statement that Christians don't act like Muslims... Fundamentalist Christians are just as dangerous as these radical Muslims and scare me just as much.

I know my original blog on this topic made me sound like a Republican... or worse. No, I haven't gone over to the dark side. As an immigrant in Denmark, I am subject to the same conservative (and frustrating) policies as everyone else--policies Guy2k refers to in his comment to my post, and which I'm sure I will rant about on this blog in the months to come. I know I am in a better position than most immigrants here because I was relocated by work (not only work, LEGO, the nation's darling company) and now I'm married to a Dane and I have produced a new citizen for both countries.

I don't think every Muslim has a bomb strapped to their chest. It's just that I was unprepared for the constant barrage of violent images in the media here and what it would do to my fragile post 9/11 psyche.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Much ado about nothing

I am so angry and outraged about the reaction to these Danish cartoons. It's hard to write anything coherent about protests and violence that they have sparked. Having been in Brooklyn during 9/11, it's hard to be rational about the possibility of terrorism in Denmark, which given the response could be just a matter of time.

It seems to me that the Muslim community wants to terrorize the citizens of the world so any government that values personal freedom will become as oppressive as those in the middle east. What's next? Threatening violence if western women don't adopt veils because not wearing them "offends" Muslims? Hearing violent threats because of a tasteless cartoon greatly offends me... what should I do about it? Start attacking an embassy?

What I want to know is how to do live side by side with people you're afraid of? There's quite a Muslim population living in Kolding right now. How do I stop being scared of that man on the bus? How do I be friendly, nice and non judgmental--the person I want to be-- when all I see and hear is unwarranted violence?

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Love IS a drug

I love (ha!) this story on According to this article, when you hold, nurse or rock your baby both you and the baby get a rush of dopamine. "Incidentally, dopamine is the same compound that 'rewards' users of heroin or cocaine. In a very real sense, addicts who get hooked on drugs are simply chasing the feeling that flows between a mother and her baby."

I guess it explains the sensation I've had of just swimming in love when I'm holding Emma. I gush to my childless friends that I just didn't know--I couldn't have known what it would be like to have a baby. I recently had a coworker remark that I've embraced motherhood in a way that was inconceivable when I was a tough, single 30-something career woman in NYC Mmm, was I that much a stereotype? Am I now? Who cares! I'm drowning in love hormones and I like it!

Monday, February 06, 2006

Taking back ChezLeah

Okay, I've set up to focus on my (beautiful) daughter. You can also get there by going to So that is where you will find all the latest pictures and updates on her development and general news about the Kolding branch of the Kaae family. is going back to it's roots, which is me... and my rants and raves on my adopted country, Denmark. Of course there will be the occasional rant about spam, cell phones and the general rudeness of people. I'm sure some U.S. politics will creep in once in awhile (Alito? What are you thinking people?!) and maybe a post or two about work that could concievable get me fired. In short, whatever is on my mind these days.

Thursday, February 02, 2006


I haven't blogged lately because I've been more tired than I've ever been in my life. I've heard the plight of working parents for years but I never KNEW. Work is so busy (and surprisingly interesting), Emma is cutting new teeth (hence, not sleeping) and I am tired, crabby, overeating and about to fall asleep at my desk.