Apr. 4th, 2017 11:12 pm
kareina: (Default)
This morning when we woke up we had a visitor in our yard, perched atop a log of the bird-feeding station was a Great Grey Owl (or Lappuggla in Swedish). Much to our surprise, it stayed there, mostly looking out over the field, but occasionally turning its head and looking at us/the house. When D. left for work, it turned to look at him as he walked by, and ruffled its feathers a bit when he started the car and drove off. When I left for work a bit later it again turned to look at me, but didn't seem the least bothered by my presence. Note that none of us chose to approach it! One of the little birds, a blue tit, on the other hand, did approach and was bold enough to eat from the bird feeder less than a meter under the owl. The little brown birds, however, didn't dare get that close.


This is the first owl I have ever seen in the wild, and I enjoyed its visit so much I left for work rather later than I normally do. My boss, who is also a neighbor, so understood when I showed him the photo, and will be keeping an eye out in case it visits their house.

After work I drove to the shop that sells car parts and has good customer service, but the sign on the door announced that they had had a fire, and during the renovation they were operating out of another building some kilometers away. So I drove to the other building, and bought the replacement headlight that ceased to function on the drive home this weekend (luckily, the drive home was in daylight, so no one outside of the car noticed--but we had the warning light on the dash that made us stop and look to see which light was out). I like the way it works in Sweden--go in to the store, tell them your license plate number, and the computer tells them the make, model, and year of the car, so they can sell you the correct part. No need to think or guess on my part.

Then I went home and spent some time reading in Swedish, while listening to the audio book, because it is good practice. As a result I didn't try to actually install the headlight until after D. was home from work, which was a good thing, as I couldn't figure out out to get the bulb out from behind everything, even though I had read the instructions (in Swedish) in the manual. But he knew what he was doing, and quickly got it changed for me. If we ever need to do it again, perhaps I will be able to do it myself after having watched him. I hope we don't.

This evening was gymnastics, which was once again So Much Fun! I love that class, but am still glad that I spent a year pretty seriously training before I tried it. Tonight the focus was on training for backflips, with many stations of varying difficulty levels. I stuck to the easy ones, as they were challenging enough. Then for the final strength training part she said that she had decided that we would focus on legs tonight. She meant it. Ow! Then, when we were done with that she asked if we wanted to do arms and shoulders, too. We said "yes". Ow! So much fun! Now I really need to get to yoga (I so need to stretch again!) and get some sleep--I have a student using the laser lab bright and early tomorrow morning.
kareina: (Default)
This weekend was Drachenwald Spring Crown. I drove down with three students, two of whom had class till 14:30, so we didn't actually get on the road till 15:00. This meant that we arrived at 21:00, just as court was about to start. There were two "party sleeping rooms"--rooms for people who are likely to be up late at night, and will want to sleep as late as their schedules will permit in the morning, but both were already quite full when we arrived, so instead of going with plan A (set up D&C's air mattress right next to my bed so that they had a place already when they finally arrived around midnight (since he had to work a full day Friday)) I wound up moving my friend H's bed a bit to the side and squeezing my bed between his and that of my minion in one of the rooms, and then moved a few other things to the side in the other to make room for D&C's bed in there. Not ideal, but better than sleeping in the room for people who want to go to bed and wake up early, since that is where small children with very loud morning voices sleep. (However, S, who drove down with D&C wound up moving to one of those "quiet" rooms anyway after sleeping in ours the first night, as the only place in our room that had room for her meant that others had to step over her to get to or from their own beds, and they did. Often.)

The site was lovely, with a balcony around the main hall, and both "party" sleeping rooms had doors opening on the balcony, which meant that I was able to set up my bed and get dressed, yet still pop out to the balcony often enough to see which very deserving people were getting awards. After I was all moved in I enjoyed the evening hanging out with people, and didn't get around to doing yoga till around 03:30 (which counts as 27:30 Friday night as far as my exercise log is concerned), yet still managed a full 35 minute session, since both H and T joined me, which made it much more fun to keep going.

Saturday I managed to get up at 08:30, which gave me time for breakfast before helping O into armour. There were 15 couples who had signed up to enter (which we must do at least a month before the event in this Kingdom), but two wound up having to drop out due to illness and injury, leaving 12 couples. Of this group there were 2 dukes, a count, three viscounts and a knight fighting, and my champion was not only the newest authorized fighter, he was the only fighter who didn't already have an AoA (the consorts included 5 countesses, a count, three viscountesses, and a pelican, and all of the others had at least an AoA).

They ran the tournament with first a single round-robin list, during which my champion managed one victory--a lovely shot to the fact of the Knight who went on to finals. After the first round robin list the top four fighters fought a best-two-of-three round robin list, after which the top two went on to the final round. I think that adds up to 20 bouts fought before one makes it to finals, so you can tell that stamina is valued here, and was really needed as all of the semi-final bouts were quite long.

The winner of the tourney managed to do so despite the handicap of not being used to fighting on loose gravel to provide traction despite the slush on the ground--a problem that didn't phase the Swedish entrants at all, since that is normal spring conditions here. (note that spring is MUCH further advanced down there--we still have thigh deep hard crusted snow left here, except for the little patch of bare grass right next to the side of the house where the sun's heat is reflected back, but there they had only a few cm of snow on the ground, all of which was kinda slushy in the warm (read "a couple of degrees above freezing") spring day.

After the tournament I had time for lunch before the Laurel's meeting, and then I finally got to check out merchant's row, where I managed to NOT buy more fabric from Medeltidsmode, even though so much of it is so lovely. I still haven't had time to sew the really beautiful fabric I got from them at Visby! I did however, pick up two small and one large wooden (on was birch bark) boxes that will be useful for keeping food in at camping events, from a "garage sale" merchant.

Then I did a performance of the poem I had entered in the Arts and Sciences competition (the link goes to the pdf of my documentation) to the people who happened to be hanging out in the vicinity of the A&S contest tables (it was this performance which was judged as part of my entry). After that I had time to change clothes into a dress (I had been wearing two layers of wool trousers and wool tunic and coat for the tourney, and when I came in just stripped down to linen tunic and one pair of trousers for a while) before court and evening feast. They had the thrones set up at one end of the hall, and high table at the other. Since I like to be able to hear court I claimed a corner of a table closest to the thrones, and a bunch of people I had never met claimed all the seats near me, which gave me a good excuse to visit with people I didn't know.

During court they called up all of the fighters in the tournament, and His Majesty first thanked them all, said good words of the entire tournament, then especially praised my champion and my minion, who were the two least experienced fighters in the list, yet two of the most enthusiastic. This made me quite proud of my household, but then his Royal Highness also stood up, and further echoed the praise for both of them, and gifted them with rings from his fingers, and I was even more pleased for them. During the same court my champion also received his award of arms, which further brought me joy.

I didn't eat any of the feast, of course, it being served well after my interest in food had turned off for the evening (I had brought some of my own food, to eat between the served breakfast and lunch, and between lunch and when I ceased to feel hungry), which left me free to wander the hall and visit with various friends, stopping occasionally back at my own seat to visit with the one's I hadn't known before. About mid-way through the feast the person running the A&S contest had me perform my poem again, and I got several compliments on it over the rest of the evening.

After the feast ended a bunch of us did dancing to live music, and much later in the evening (just after midnight), I changed back into tunic and trousers so that E and I could do some acroyoga. We were joined by a few others who wanted to give it a try. It was much fun. Then I did my normal yoga, and afterwards T. started massaging my calves for me, which caused me to start drifting off to sleep, so when she stopped I expressed my thanks and went to bed, at around 02:00.

Sunday I didn't get up till around 09:00, which still gave me plenty of time to enjoy breakfast, pack, visit with people, and still get off site at 11:30. This got me home at 17:30, which meant that I had time to make a quick pot of soup, eat some of it, and sill make it to our normal folk dance session only 15 minutes late. It felt great to move after six hours in the car (thanks to the students I needed only drive 1 of those hours myself, which meant good progress on my sewing (new underdress of that really nice white herringbone linen I bought during the Viking costume workshop we had in January) during the trip). However, I got tired and left about half an hour early, which meant only 1 hour of dancing for the day. As a result April's exercise log isn't looking as good as March's, yet (1.22 hrs/day so far this month , as compared to 2.07 hrs/day last), but with luck I will have both the time and energy to bring that total up before the month is over.

Today I managed to get to work this morning (I took the trike in, which means less time accumulated for the exercise than if I walked, but it also meant I got home sooner), and then went home and took a nap. After my nap I read for a bit, and fell asleep again. I must have needed it. Eventually I managed to get up and do the unpacking that I hadn't done last night due to going to dance, and then caught up on finances and other computer stuff. However, I should soon put down the computer and do yoga.

Oh, I realized that when I posted last weekend's event summary from the airport on my way home I forgot to change my log in to the DW account, so it posted only to LJ. Therefore I will copy-paste that here, and those of you who are still reading on LJ can skip the rest of this post as you have already seen it.

the post from the weekend before Crown )
kareina: (Default)
At the SCA event this weekend I spent the first part of the event wearing a tunic and my new Tjorsberg trousers, with the really comfortable sheepskin feet, but as it came time for the evening feast I decided to change into a dress. Remember how some weeks back I said that I had needed to change out the underarm gores in my 12th century underdress so that the sleeves would fit over my larger arm muscles? Well, this time, when I put on the dress I noticed that the fabric was kind of straining over my lats. (Which explains why I found it so difficult to put on. Yes, it has always been difficult to wriggle into this dress, but I barely managed getting the narrow part of the waist over my shoulders at all this time.) Yet, it was still reasonably comfortable, providing the same really good breast support it always has, so I put on the overdress and enjoyed the evening.

However, late in the evening I managed to move my arms and flex my shoulder muscles in such a way that I heard a ripping sound, followed by several other ripping sounds. We looked, but saw no damage to the over dress (which laces up the sides, so better handles the larger muscles), so suspected that it was the underdress. Sure enough, when I finally took it off that evening I saw several rips in the part of the dress that falls between the shoulder blades--a long one pretty much dead center, and a few smaller ones parallel to it between the mid point and my left shoulder blade. Sigh. Luckily, none of them extended low enough to compromise the breast support the dress provides, since that mostly comes from the fact that the dress diameter just under the bust is exactly the same as the circumference of my ribs at that point, and that point is all ribs--it is just under the newly bulging lats.

Therefore today after work I cut out a diamond-shaped hole from the back of the dress and sewed in a diamond shaped replacement, cut on the bias, so it is a bit stretchier, though the same size (after finishing the seams) as the shredded part which I removed. Then I opened up the seam between my back and the underarm gore from the bottom of my lats to where the underarm gore hits the sleeve, and added an insert there. I used the original square underarm gores for this--sewing one straight side to the bottom edge of the underarm gore, one straight side from that point along the body rectangle to the point at the bottom of my lats, and then sewed along the hypotenuse of the triangular gap to let third the edge of the new gore curve to fill the space. Then I trimmed off all of the square that wasn't needed and finished the seam. This adds about 2 cm at the widest point, which takes the strain off of the fabric over my back. With luck I won't grow so much more in the way of muscle bulk, even though I have every intention of continuing to train and get stronger. But the new underdress in progress will be cut a bit loose over the shoulders, just in case.

Other than damaging the dress (which was fun when it happened), the event was a good one. I did much crafts, got to visit with many delightful people, did some dancing, some singing, and even took a short walk. I should have brought my fur hood and muff though. I hadn't expected to go outside, but I did try to watch the fighting, both the torchlight tourney Friday night (where my poor champion took a cup shot :-( and the day time tourney on Saturday. I didn't stay out long for either of them--while the weekend weather was generally warm and sunny, there was also an icy breeze, which I wouldn't have noticed if I had brought the fur.

It must have been sunny and warm at home over the weekend, too, since the bike path between here and uni has pretty much had all of the snow and ice melted away from it since last I took it. Only places which are shady still have some ice. I noticed when dropping O. off at home after the event that the part of the path I can see from the road was clear, so I opted to take my trike in this morning, and was pleased that my 45 minute walk was thus shortened into a 26 minute pedal. (good thing, too, since the above mentioned repairs to the dress took nearly 4 hours!)

My apprentice was supposed to do her analysis of the Roman coins today, but we are nearly out of the Argon gas needed for the ICP-MS, so instead we just set up the experiment, polished the coins, and took photos of them under the laser camera--it will automatically stitch together as many as 7 x 7 photos (which measures about 4 mm wide and 3 mm tall), and it took six sets of 7 x 7 photos to get the entire coin cross section photographed. But it makes sense to get good photos of "before" we fire on it with the laser.

So the plan is (assuming that the gas arrives on time) to run her analyses as the demo experiment on Wednesday during our lab demo day. Hopefully my colleagues will be ok with this.
kareina: (Default)
It has been a busy couple of weeks, with not really any time to post, let's see, where did I leave off...

Umefolk, which we attended a week ago, was ever so much fun. I spent most of the weekend dancing, which was really good for my exercise log. On that Sunday, since we were already in Umeå, we joined some friends for a filming session to be used as an advertizment for the Nordanil larp I have occasionally participated as a Viking warrior chief (with awesome beard). This meant for a lovely contrast in packing. For the folk music festival I had a small cloth grocery bag with clothes for the whole weekend. For the 1-2 hour film session I had a largish duffel bag full of Viking clothing, all of which I wore at once. Ok, so we were filming outside, in the snow, on a nice, cold, winter day, so I needed that much clothes.

The following week C. was down south cleaning out the apartment she used to have in Göteberg, which she had been sub-letting for the year since she moved in with us. While she was gone D. and I put our energies into finishing up the pantry project that he has been working on for some months. I am quite happy with the result:

pantry photo

It isn't as large as the pantry I grew up with (which I still miss), nor even the one I had in Tasmania, but it is way better than what we had, and we do have the over-flow pantry downstairs.

This week will be quite busy with work, Tuesday, as always this year, is my beloved AMT gymnastics class, and on Thursday I will be missing the Frostheim meeting so that I can go to a course with O. so that he can practice drive with me in the car. Then he can do the driving when we head to the SCA event in Skellefteå a week later.
kareina: (house)
Today has been an all-around wonderful day.

I got up at 05:30 and started washing the sheets from my bed and took the mattresses off of it and vacuumed under it. Then I had breakfast, mixed up and kneaded some bread dough, and then my acroyoga partner, E. came over (in a borrowed car) and picked me up to head to the extra session of the Avancerad Motorisk Träning at Luleå Gymnastics starting at 08:00. So much fun!!!

There were about eight of us today, which meant that we got more turns at every station (normally we are at least twice that many). Today for the first time we got to try a thing I have seen the kids do on Tuesday evenings while we are busy with other things. They have a large mushroom-shaped object (kind of like an over-sized foot stool) that the real gymnasts set their hands on, lift their body out to the side and swing it around, pausing just barely long enough to lift a hand out of the way of their own body, and then put it back on time to take the weight before their body swings around to the other side and they need to move the other hand. The kids practice this with their feet in a bucket hanging from a rope from the ceiling. It has looked fun. Today we tried it. Yes, with feet in the bucket. It is fun, but damn, it is also difficult. I couldn't manage it without dropping my hips to the mushroom when my body was pointed forwards.

On the other hand, I am now managing to hold a handstand a tiny bit longer before needing to drop into a roll, or put my feet back down, and I can now do the cart-wheels not only with my hands landing on the same line as I had been standing on, but I can (sometimes) do them between the two large foam blocks without hitting my feet against the foam, which means that I am actually getting my feet over my head.

I was home by 10:00, by which time D & C had finished breakfast and started on taking apart their bed, so I immediately joined them in the great re-arranging project. We took apart the downstairs bed frame, and her bed frame which has been in the upstairs bedroom, then we switched which bed is in which room (which required making a new wooden stand to put against the wall between the headboard of my bed and the wall, next to the wall mounted heater, to keep the bed sufficiently offset from the heater as to not cause problems).

We took a break around noon for lunch (I made myself a quick pizza using canned artichoke hearts, thawed spinach and kale, tomato paste and spices on some of that bread dough) after both beds were apart, the pieces of the upstairs one moved to the living room, and the frame of the downstairs one moved to the upstairs bedroom, and then finished up the rest after lunch.

Once the beds had moved she moved her clothes from the upstairs closet to the new wardrobes in the downstairs bedroom (that they assembled last weekend while I was in Uppsala) and I was able to move my SCA, Folk dance and Larp costumes from the one small closet in the office into the two small closets she had been using in the upstairs bedroom, which means that my costumes are no longer all scrunched together, which makes me happy. I then emptied her decorative stuff from the corner cabinet in the upstairs bedroom and filled it with some of my pretty boxes and baskets of sewing stuff, which had been filling up too much space on the project shelves in the office, and moved my stuffed animals from the bookcase in the downstairs bedroom to the upstairs bedroom.

This means that the bed I like to sleep in (and which doesn't hurt my back) is back in "my" bedroom, with "my" mountains on the wall, and "my" bookshelves full of much loved paperback books. It is so very nice to be back up stairs again. It has been kinda weird sleeping all winter in the downstairs room, which had been just a storage area and guest room, and, since (other than the aforementioned stuffed animals) none of the stuff stored in that room was mine, never felt like home. But now I will be sleeping in the room I love, decorated the way I want it, and I will, once again, be able to wake up in the morning and look out the window at the trees and see what sort of day it is. (I love living somewhere that I never need to close the curtains in my bedroom, as none of the neighbours can see the window from their properties.)

I managed to get the upstairs room put completely back together before it was time to head to town to watch a documentary called "Klimatsmarta jag", made by one of C's friends. It is about the "Be Change" project Luleå is doing. The seem to have done some sort of course for about 25 people, educating them on ways they can have a lower personal carbon footprint. Two of the participants were filmed for the documentary. They had their personal carbon footprint measured before and after the course, and, of course, both made substantial improvements. I am pleased to report that, even though there were no subtitles, I was still able to understand most of what was said in the film, so my Swedish really has gotten better. (However, I woulds still rather read than listen.)

After the film we went across the street to where the city has built a cute little Ice ... not quite castle, with several Ice Slides. Two little ones off the left side, and one big one out front from the highest tower. Even though I was wearing a skirt (over wool tights), I happily joined them on the slide. Besides, my wool coat is plenty long enough to slide upon. Much fun! I have been wishing all winter that we had managed to get the stones waiting to go into the earth cellar off of the field so I could have a sledding hill at the house (the Shire hot tub is in the way of the one area that doesn't have large stones), but going down the ice slide reminds me that really, this summer's highest priority really does need to be finishing the earth cellar (thus raising the hill in front of the house) and clearing those rocks so that next year I can have a proper sledding hill (and it had so better snow enough to enjoy it).

Now I am kinda tired so I should do yoga and get to bed. Tomorrow is another early day, since I will be picking up V. from the train station at 06:30 and taking him back to the apartment he shares with O and S. We will then hang out there (possibly nap) until time to head to fighter practice at 10:00. In the evening I hope I will make it to folk dance--we haven't been in several weeks, and I miss it.

(note: the subject line is meant seriously, I truly love to move house, but I seem to have gotten out of the habit, but re-arranging the furniture satisfies that itch nicely)
kareina: (Default)
(Originally posted to LiveJournal on 12 February 2017 @ 10:37 pm via the phone app--I forgot to switch to my DW account that day, so it didn't show up here and cross post to there, so I am posting it here now, and will tell it not to cross post this time.)

I flew south on Friday morning and took the train from the Stockholm-Arlanda airport to Uppsala central station, where I was met by M. and we walked back to the apartment into which M, H, and K moved only one week ago.
After eating a quick lunch (yay, leftovers!) dropping my backpack at the apartment we went back out to the museum at the university that I had visited a couple of years back when in town for a conference. I found it more fun this time as I had a friend to share it with, but, of course, the highlight of this museum, as with last time, is the display of the items from the Vendal age boat grave, including the lovely gold and garnet sword hilt. (The kisses shared in that room were another highlight, but not actually related to the museum.

After the museum we stopped by the store and picked up some real butter and kale and went back to the apartment, where I cooked the kale with sunflower seeds, made dhal of lentils from their pantry and a batch of naan.

By that time K & H were home, so they joined us for dinner, after which we watched an episode of a show in which some people were moving into a farm in the UK to spend a year living ad they did in Eadwardian times. Since I was feeling linda sleepy by then I did my yoga during the last half of the show, and we went to sleep not too long thereafter.

Saturday morning M, K and I played a cooperative card game in which the goal is to make the best fireworks display ever, but one can't see one's own cards, only those of the other players. We take turns either giving the other players hints about the cards they hold, or trying to play an appropriate card based on the hints we receive. This turned out to be both very fun and a little stressful as one wished to give the most useful hints possible, yet it is easy to get confused and forget the facts that one has already learned about one's cards.

After the game M and I went out to Gammal Uppsala, where there is a museum by some old burial mounds and an old stone church. That was a lovely excursion, with a highlight of a nice garnet and gold broach, followed by a Belgian waffle with cream and jam at the restaurant (note to self: next time order it without powered sugar on it (I would have if I had known they would do something so unreasonable to the otherwise yummy food)).

That evening I made more naan to go with the leftover dhal and kale (no surprise that we had eaten all of the nann the day before). After dinner H and K went to the home of one of H's old friends and I did my workout followed by yoga, while M caught up with a computer game. Then it was time to snuggle up to sleep.

This morning M did some laundry while I borrowed M's computer to skype into the Frostheim annual meeting, where I agreed to run Norrskensfesten again (and managed to get the sleeves attached to my new nice herringbone linen underdress). Then a quick lunch and K, M, and I went out for a walk to enjoy the pretty day. We also stopped by the store and I bought them a new Turkish yoghurt to replace the container I had used up making naan and K bought some things to make a lasagna for dinner.

Before dinner we four played another board game I hadn't seen before. This one involved us each getting one of the seven wonders of the Ancient world (I got Stonehenge) and trying to build up the best civilization from cards that are available in a variety of types. I was usually the slowest each round to decide what to do as I had to take time to find out what each card type does. However, despite coming in last place I still really enjoyed the game.

Then we had a bit of time to cuddle up on the couch and watch the first half of a cartoon about the Book of Kells before M walked me back to the train station to head to the airport.

Now the flight has landed so I can turn on internet and post this before heading home.
kareina: (Default)
I managed to finish the apron and pocket I started a week ago (links to the folk costume I was inspired by in the older post):


32 hours of hand sewing, and perhaps one hour of using the treadle sewing machine, which we final got around to fixing (the leather band that drives the machine had broken back in 2014, and it took some years to get around to acquiring more leather in an appropriate weight/size, and then a few more weeks to get around to attaching it). I only used the machine for the first pass of attaching the trim around the edges of the apron, and the waist band to the top, but that hour (give or take) probably saved me quite a few hours of hand sewing.

In other news, my exercise log for the year is looking pretty good, since not only have I managed a workout each day & longer than normal yoga sessions, today I started the day by going skiing in the forest by our house (it has finally snowed a bit of light fluffy snow to cover the ice formed by melting over last weekend), then this evening I went for a two hour walk L., who is up visiting from Umeå. Originally she had planed to come over here and hang out, but yesterday C. got sick, and we now probably know the answer to the question "was it food poisoning or virus which made D. so ill on Friday?" Therefore we decided that rather than coming inside where one is mostly recovered and the other only just starting to recover, we could just as easily talk and walk at the same time.

However, such a long walk means that I did only the prep for making the filled bread pockets that I want to take with us when we head south for a friend's wedding on the weekend, I will actually bake them tomorrow. I think they will be yummy--the bread dough contains wheat, oats, barley, and rye flours, and the filling is a mix of walnuts, chickpeas, sunflower seeds, almonds, pumpkin seeds, and egg (ground together in the food processor with spices) mixed with grated zucchini, carrot, plus broccoli, and spinach, silverbeet, and kale that I had steamed before running through the food processor. Since I ran out of time to shape and bake them tonight I did mix a couple of spoons of the filling with some cous cous for dinner, and enjoyed that.
kareina: (me)
Mom took us kids to Alaska for a two week vacation, and we never left. Well, eventually, but not for a long time.

We had been living in Texas for about three years, and during that time our dad retired from the military, then, after some time also living in Texas, where we got to see him every weekend, he moved to Alaska and started working as a laborer on the Pipeline. A couple of years later mom decided that it was time to take us kids north for a visit, as she had never been to Alaska and always wanted to go. I remember being told at the time that children flying alone had to pay full price, but if accompanied by a parent they got half price. If so then it makes even more sense that we all three went.

Our first stop was in the Fairbanks area, where dad's youngest brother, Lenny, his wife, and their three children were living. Dad picked us up at the airport and we went to his brother's place, where we stayed for some days. Those cousins were all three younger than Beth (who was 6 at the time, and I was 9), but all were old enough to enjoy playing with, and we enjoyed the stay there. They had a vegetable garden, and the carrots and raspberries were ripe, and I remember delighting in eating them straight from the plant. I had never had the chance to do that before. They also kept goats. I will never forget my first, unexpected, taste of goat's milk. After being tucked into bed that first night I was thirsty, and for some reason asked for a cup of milk instead of a glass of water. Mom brought me one, but it was very strangely sweet. I don't think I finished it. In addition to having fun at their house we also went to the tourist attraction Alaska Land, which was full of historical stuff and people in gold rush era costumes, and to Santa Claus House in North Pole.

After we left the Fairbanks area we took the drive south, through some truly beautiful mountains, (I especially loved Rainbow Mountain), with a stop at Paxson Lodge (which seems to have closed a few years ago) to the home of Unlce Joe, another of my dad's brothers, at mile 151 of the Richardson Highway, about three miles north of Sourdough Lodge, (which burned down some years ago). Uncle Joe's cabin was a picture-perfect old style log cabin, in the forest on the shores of a pretty lake, with an outhouse, a proper cashe (like this one), and a few more outbuildings. We stayed there a day or two, and Beth and I had ever so much fun playing in the woods and reading Joe's book on rocks and minerals (this was the start of the path that led to my becoming a geologist).

Then we went one mile further down the road to the home of uncle Bubzy (yet another of Dad's brothers) and aunt Ciel. They lived in a house that was a little bit bigger than Joe's cabin, which is a good thing, as they had five sons. Steve and Ray are two and three years older than I, Karl is between Beth and I in age, and Jon and Joe are one and two years younger than Beth. Arriving at this cabin was like coming home. Their lake was even prettier than Joe's to my eye, and this house was full of toys and people to play with. All of the boys were delightful, but Jon earned a special place in my heart that very first night. The boy's room was a very small room, just big enough to hold two sets of bunk-beds set at right angles too one another, and a trundle bed under one of the sets of bunks. That first night we stayed there I got to sleep in the trundle bed, mostly slid under the bunk above, but pulled a little bit out so I could breath. Jon had the bunk above me, with his head on the opposite end to mine, and I remember holding his hand and smiling at one another till we fell asleep, still holding hands.

The next day mom, aunt Ciel, and aunt Josie (dad's sister who lived nearby at the time) took off on a road trip to Anchorage, leaving us kids with our dads. We kids had a fabulous time together while our moms were away and the time flew by till they returned a couple of days later, and mom announced "I got a job, we are moving". Much to my delight, she decided to leave us with our cousins while she returned to Texas, sold the house, sold the car, bought a pick up truck, filled it with what it would hold and sold the rest at a garage sale, then drove it north. By the time she returned for us, a week or so later, I had been completely assimilated--my cousin's house felt like my home, and I didn't want to leave. However, mom insisted, and we did, in fact, move to Anchorage, a four hour drive to the south. I am glad that we did, because Anchorage had one thing that Bubzy's cabin lacked: Mountains! But it was sad to leave the boys behind.

Luckily, Mom remained good friends with Ciel and Bubz, so we made it up to their cabin several times a year, sometimes just for a weekend, sometimes for longer periods, and, until I found the SCA, it was always my first choice of a place to go if we had time and budget for a road trip. Even after I found the SCA I still got back up there at every opportunity. The nicest display of northern lights I have ever seen I saw standing in the middle of their lake one winter night, when I had gone out to use the outhouse, and stayed out to appreciate the show.

Before Donnan and I moved to Arizona by way of the SCA-20 year Anniversary event in Texas, I insisted that we take the detour up the Richardson highway to visit my cousins before doubling back to the highway going to Canada and then south. I haven't made it back to Alaska since 2009, when I didn't get to visit the cabin again, but I did get to see all five boys and their various wives and children. Years may elapse between each visit, but the connection is still there. Lately I have been chatting with Jon fairly often on line, and am trying to convince him that he wants to visit Sweden. I don't know if I will manage, but the conversations sure have been bringing up the old memories. It surprised me when I did the math and realize just how long it has been since we did that "vacation" back in 1976...
kareina: (stitched)
I think she was just cleaning out her closet...

Some time back my mother mentioned that she had put a package in the mail for me it hopes that it would arrive by my birthday, and to let her know when it got here. It still hadn't arrive by Friday before my birthday, but on Monday there was a letter in my box saying I could pick the package up at the local post office (which is a counter and back room within the local grocery store). I had also forgotten my glasses case at work, and we needed a couple of things from store, so that evening I took the car and drove in, picked up the spare glasses, got some groceries, and found out that the fine print on the letter, which I hadn't actually read, said that I could pick up the package on Wednesday at the earliest, it was in Sweden, but hadn't gotten this far north yet.

Tuesday morning was our Lucia performance, followed by a dermatologist appointment. Back in May, when things were a bit stressful (because in addition to work and many personal projects, I was also busy with tasks for running our Medieval Days event at Hägnan this summer, and O. was dealing with yet more deaths in his family) some odd red spots appeared on my waist. When they were joined shortly thereafter by a bunch of friends I booked an appointment at the local health clinic, and when I told the doc there that I didn't know what they were, but I was certain they weren't psoriasis, as I have had that on my knee since high school, and these are very different, he said that psoriasis can take different forms, and it was the easiest guess as to the problem, so he gave me some sort of corticosteroid creme and sent me on my way. I was skeptical, but dutifully tired if for some weeks, during which it got a bit worse, so I quit using the medicine, contacted the dermatologist's office to get on the waiting list, and continued with my busy life. They said their earliest possible appointment was in December, and I said I would take it.

Luckily, those spots have been clearing up on their own--some have faded, and none of them are red and angry looking anymore. Even so, there were enough of them left that the dermatologist was able to identify it as "Lichen ruber planus" in about 30 seconds. She assured me that it isn't contagious and said that it should continue going away on its own. Then, since I had mentioned the Medieval Days at Hägnan as a factor in stress when the spots appeared, we spent the rest of the appointment talking about her niece, [ profile] liadethornegge, whom she correctly guessed I would know, and looking at her flicker album of SCA events. I love living in a small world.

After the appointment I decided I was sleepy, and went home for a nap instead of going to work. I really needed that day off. Could have used another, since I didn't really accomplish much at work on Wednesday, either, and wound up going home after only about half the time I should have been there. But then I remembered the package, so, being curious, off I went to the store. Luckily, the package wasn't heavy, and was small enough to fit into the cloth grocery bag I had with me, so it was easy to carry home.

I was, of course, starving when I got home, so I took time to eat before opening the box. It contained a large blue/black cotton scarf covered in silver skulls, an old leather bracelet with her name (Norma) on it (the note said that it was proof that she used to be skinny, and, indeed, the bracelet fits my tiny wrist, so if it fit her she would have had to have been pretty small), another bracelet made of a bunch of pennies glued together (that I remember from childhood), a little green puff ball toy with a single eye (was it always a cyclops, or had it suffered a tragic accident over the years), a couple of boxes of Q-tips (I still had one left from her last visit--the brands they sell here aren't as soft, but I think I have enough now to last for years), a couple of jars of Carmex (I used to blend it 50-50 with something else as a lotion for the psoriasis on my knee, until I moved to Australia, and found the lotion I have been using on it ever since), a button/pin with a photo of her mother's parents, a couple of antique wooden curtain rod ends, and perhaps a few other odds and ends that I am not remembering just now. I think she must have had fun packing the box, and her closet must be much cleaner now.

Today I made up for how little work I accomplished Tuesday and Wednesday, and didn't get home till 17:00. Luckily, we had planned to do pizza for dinner, and my past self was kind enough to leave a bread sponge on the counter, so I put the pizza stones into the oven, turned it on, started kneading bread dough, and by 17:54 I was enjoying home made pizza with artichoke heart, broccoli, spinach and kale. Yum! And half of that pizza is left to enjoy tomorrow. [ profile] lord_kjar and C, of course, put quite a few more ingredients onto theirs that I wouldn't eat (e.g. mussels, mushrooms, store bought meat balls, cheese that melts), but each type of pizza left overs got packed into a different type container so we won't get them confused tomorrow.

Tomorrow I have planned housework, finally washing the tablecloths from Norrskensfesten (before we need them for Frostheims Jullegille on Sunday), and running errands, with Phire practice and "mys" in the evening. Saturday I will do a massage trade with a friend, and on Sunday we drive south for [ profile] lord_kjar's niece's baptism, and then return north again to attend the above mentioned Jul potluck.
kareina: (house)
Today we went out to the Jul Marknad på Hägnan (Christmas market at Hägnan). It was a lovely day for it, crisp, clear, and -15 C. We have had some snow recently (not much, but enough to turn things white) and the couple of warm (+ 2 C) days we had last week didn't melt much of the snow, and with the drop in temps the trees are nice and white, so it was really pretty.

We only stopped at one of the booths to purchase anything. The Cheese booth from Vuollerim at which a friend of ours was working (as she does every year). We stopped by her first, bought a handful of their fresh cheeses for home, a packet of their skabramost for the house, and a bunch more packets for C.'s friends and family down south who haven't had a chance to try this cheese yet (since it is only produced at the Arctic Circle). Then we did a walk around the rest of the market and kidnapped our friend from her booth to head across the street to the gillestuga for some waffles with jam and whipped cream before she returned to duty and we three went home.

I enjoyed the chance to wear my nice fur-lined hood and muff I made for SCA events in another setting where the warmth is welcome.

After coming home we had time to eat, do yoga, and check in on line, but in another 15 minutes we will head to town and watch a movie. This might be the second I have seen this year in a theater.
kareina: (stitched)
We have had enough snow that I am finally willing to call it "winter", and so very grateful I am, after a couple of years of no snow till late November or early December. However, I watch the forecast and see that it is supposed to go back up above freezing, and I worry if it will be another of those winters where the temps oscillate back and forth over freezing so that what snow we have melts and refreezes into a thin crust. This strikes me as a much better thing to worry about than politics, though not any easier to solve.

Work has been going well, I had my annual meeting to discuss how I am doing with the job, and thus what amount my annual wage will be, and the review went well. Not only do I love my job, but my colleagues are happy with me and the work I am doing. We have several grant proposals out or in the works that could result in my getting more hours, so that is all good.

Norrskensfesten is next weekend, and I am pretty much on top of what needs doing (though I should have emailed the event schedule by now, so had better do that this weekend). We are at 99 registered just now, and I am good with that. I think it will be a really fun event.

I am currently reading a book in English, despite my "no fiction in English" rule. I had been checking Katherine Kurtz's web page fairly regularly, to see if she had written the final Childe Morgan book, but each time I did there was still no word. Then I forgot to check for a while, and didn't look again till this week. The book is done, and was published in 2014. Oops. I guess "a while" is longer than I thought. However, life has been so busy I have been reading it in small doses, rather than all at once like I used to do. I love having so many hobbies, but my 20-something self wouldn't believe it. However, I hope I can get it done this week, because then I will break that rule again by reading [ profile] hrj's new book, which is poised to come out, and, since she is good about promoting her book in places I see (like here), I know about it, and will get it straight away. I wonder why none of Katherine's fans bothered to mention it on the email list. Just because no one has posted there in ages is no reason not to mention the book there.

Tonight, after Phire practice we had a fun excursion. Those of us who are new to the group since the last time they had one of these were blindfolded and led from the practice site to the snowy banks of the lake (which isn't quite frozen solid enough to trust it to hold a large group of us, yet), and they welcomed us to the group with a small ceremony, including a dubbing with a fire sword. Then we got to play with the burning toys. Fun. Afterwards we retired to the nearby home of one of the members for pizza and socializing. We played a game wherein we each, in turn told a fact about ourselves which we thought made us unique in the group. Those whose facts were, in fact, unique, got to do another round. I think I could have done quite a few more rounds before I ran out of ways in which I am unique. I was the only one present with three passports, who has lived in 8 different countries (and 6 US states), who has never been drunk, who can remember the moon landing (ok, that was cheating, I was the only one present who was alive then). I was also the only one present with a PhD, but I didn't bother to use that one. However, unlike some of the others, I have never built an electric guitar from scratch (nor any other instrument), I have never crawled under the barb wire to get into a relocation camp, I have no odd growths of bone sticking out from my shoulders where one would expect smooth collarbones, never lived on an Indian Reservation, nor in India. It was an interesting and fun game. Made slightly more challenging as we spoke Swedish most of the evening.
kareina: (stitched)
My day started earlier than I had been hoping for, when I woke at 03:00 because that annoying pain between the shoulder blades that seems to only come while sleeping had returned (I had an issue with this back in 2014, but the exercises the physical therapist gave me cleared it up--it has started up again in recent weeks, so I have started trying to remember to do those exercises again). Therefore I got up and did some stuff for Norrskensfest (31 people registered, and still nearly two months to go before the event) and checked email before returning to bed at 06:00 for two more hours sleep.

The second time I got up I went in to the office, where I spent a busy productive day that kept me amused till it was time to head to Phire practice. Before practice I was feeling a bit tired, and considered just heading home, but my acroyoga partner, E., had sent me links to this video of a routine, and to this one, both of which looked both fun, and within reach of our current skill level, so we had to try them. I can report that we are NOT as graceful as the people in the two films. However, with a bit of help from our spotters we did manage both routines, for certain, generous definitions of the word "manage". We are both looking forward to playing more with these on Friday. We also had a couple of new girls, one of whom is so tiny that she doesn't even weight 50 kg (I am about 56), so I got to be the base for a change, which is a good thing to practice so as to make me a better flyer. Then I did my yoga for the day as E. went to practice juggling for a bit.

After Phire it was time for Choir, where we sang only high energy songs. The choir is up to about 20 members, which is really nice after a couple of slow years, and by the end of the evening I was so full of energy that I kept singing as I cycled home (well, not when I passed people going the other direction). That energy lasted long enough to make draft of a poster calling for yet more people to join choir if they wish to be part of this year's Lucia performance, read a bit of FB, and now post this. But it is now after 23:00, so I had better wrap this up and head to sleep. Though a bit more yoga might be wise, first.
kareina: (stitched)
Since we had no electricity in camp, but it is useful to have a working phone, my routine at Visby was to get up in the morning and walk the 5 minutes over to the school gym where we were able to shower, put my phone and bluetooth thingie that pipes my phone into my hearing aids charging, swap out the plastic bottle full of ice from the freezer, and put one of the plastic bottles full of ice water from our cooler into the freezer, then do my workout (the summer program my personal trainer gave me was about 20 minutes long), followed by my yoga for the day (I normally do that before bed, but not that week), then a shower, by which time things had charged enough to return to camp and enjoy the day.

Sunday (7 Aug) was a shopping day for me )

Monday (8 Aug) was the beginner's fighter tournament )

Tuesday (9 Aug) was the Principality Coronet Tournament )

The next few days kind of blur together. )

The drive home included three adventures )

then there were a couple of days to recover )
kareina: (stitched)
Tomorrow morning I start driving south to attend the Medieval Week in Visby. The SCA camp won't have electricity, so I will mostly leave my phone in flight mode while there to conserve battery (so that I can keep using the phone app for my food log etc.). So don't be surprised if you don't hear from me between now and my return on 17 August.

If you are going to be there, you can find me in the Styringheim camp--my pavilion is the one with blue lions and seahorses painted on it.

Today all I need to do is bake a bit more road food (yum--Norwegian Buttermilk Flatbread), pack up a few last minute things, and try to remember to exercise a bit more, since the summer program my personal trainer gave me is "easy"*.

*by "easy", I mean that today I only needed to do three different types of things:

* three sets of 10 "wall walks" (hands on floor, facing the wall, walk your hands across the floor and your feet up the wall till you are in a handstand,

*4 sets of sideways walking on my hands, with my back against the wall for support (each set 20 feet of distance, which means four times back and forth across the one stretch of wall we have clear enough to do this),

*plus five sets of 10 kick ups into a handstand against the wall.

However, I confess that for both of the types of walking on my hands I needed to take mid-set breaks as well as between set breaks. At least kicking up into a handstand ten times in a row is doable without resting.
kareina: (BSE garnet)
Today our Division at work is heading off to the Gällivare area, where we will tour the old Nautenen mine and look at the geology all afternoon. This evening we will stay at a hotel, and tomorrow morning will be spent in a meeting before returning to Luleå.

Needless to say, I won't be accomplishing any work stuff today, but in theory the trip is good for team building. And I am making progress on my book as we drive (three hour bus ride, of which two hours have elapsed thus far).
kareina: (BSE garnet)
When I woke up this morning I had that vague feeling in the back of the throat that says "take it easy, or you might get sick". While pedaling to work it occurred to me that rather than staying at work till my 13:00 appointment with my personal trainer, I could just grab my computer, head home, get a nap, and then drive to the meeting, which would make it easier to bring home the kettleballs he promised to bring me.

change of plans #1, I actually sat down and worked for a couple of hours before heading home (but I did bring the computer with me when I did go).

change of plans #2, instead of taking a nap after I got home I loaded the recycling into the car to take to the recycle station across the street from the gym when I head back, changed the water filter, washed a load of laundry, cleaned the toilet, washed up the dishes he'd left in the sink, and read for a half an hour.

So the revised plan became "drop of the recycling after the meeting, bring home the kettleballs, spray paint them black (instead of the horrid shade of pink that size comes in) and take a nap before the Frostheim meeting, getting up on time to do the vacuuming I should have done earlier.

change of plans #3, he brought only one kettle ball to sell me--he will sell me the other later, when I get far enough into the program to actually be able to handle one in each hand.

change of plans #4, I stopped at the grocery store after getting rid of the recycling, where I bought some creme fraiche and some kvarg (a cross between cheese and yoghurt) and also bought some spinach and silverbeet seeds.

change of plans #5, I used the dairy products to make a variant of some vanilla bars a friend fed us at nyckleharpa on Monday. The version she made had 4 dl of powdered sugar + 4T of vanilla sugar in the crust/topping (which is otherwise 10 dl flour, 500 g butter & 1 T baking powder), plus another 3 dl powdered sugar + 1 T vanilla sugar in the filling (which is otherwise 4 eggs, 5 dl creme fraiche and 2 dl kvarg). Since I don't have a sweet tooth, I decided to try it without any of the powdered sugar, but only the vanilla sugar. That made it sweet enough for me, but, now I want to experiment with it as a savory dish--no sugar at all, but add some vegetables to it--something moist enough to cut down on the crumbliness of the crust (which is probably not so crumbly if one uses all of the sugar of the original, since sugar tends to stick to itself).

change of plans #6, when I got on line to post to Frostheim that I was baking and hoped that people would come over and help me eat it my friend V. sent a message saying that he had passed the exam he was worried about, and that he wouldn't be able to make it to Frostheim. So I offered to bring him some of the bars to celebrate, and he said I should come on over. So, instead of napping or vacuuming, when the bars were out of the oven I hopped back on my trike and brought him some.

change of plans #7, when I arrived at his place he wasn't home; neither was he answering his phone. So I climbed over his balcony railing, set the plastic box with the vanilla bars on his table next to his balcony door, and sent him a text message saying it was there, and not to forget it when he leaves this evening for the theater group tour adventure they are about to take, and put my helmet back on and went to unlock my trike for the trip home.

change of plans #8, at which point, of course, he arrived back home, so I took off the helmet again, and went in to chat a bit. During which time he offered me the bag of potatoes that he had bought weeks ago, but forgot that he had, so they are starting to grow roots in hopes of finding dirt out there somewhere. So I called [ profile] lord_kjar and asked if we want to try planting some potatoes this year, since these clearly want to grow. He said "why not?", so I went back home, thinking that I still had time for that vacuuming, at least, before the meeting was due to start.

change of plans #9, instead of vacuuming, I curled up on the couch with yet more food (I have been eating way more than usual lately, but my weight is holding fairly stable, at a nice low number, so other than rolling my eyes a the total in my food log, I am not doing too much about it, since the increased amount of exercise is probably directly related to the change in habit) and a book, knowing I had about a half an hour before anyone was expected to arrive at 18:00, and none of them would care if I vacuumed or not.

change of plans #10, [ profile] lord_kjar got home from work a short time later, and I kept reading while he grabbed some food for himself, but then I fell asleep on the couch, only to be woken up at 18:15 by my phone buzzing with a text message from my apprentice, saying she has a fever and wouldn't be coming over.

change of plans #11, no one else showed up, either, so I chatted with [ profile] lord_kjar a short bit, and we decided that we should start work on the creating a home for the spinach and silverbeet seeds I had bought. I checked the shed, and we still had two folding pallet frame things we could use to contain the dirt, and there was an old tarp out there, so we set the frames in front of the house, between the walkway and the office window, lined the bottom of one of them with a corner of the tarp, and took the wheel barrow down to the far side of the field, where we dug up some manure from the hill of manure we gathered the first two summers we lived here (the previous owners had horses--year one we gathered up what had been left on the field, and year two we finally mucked out the shed that the horses had for shelter and added that mix of straw and manure to the pile, which made it a hill slightly taller than I am) and brought it to the frame. Then we dug up some ordinary soil from the corner of the field, and added it to the frame. Then he went into the house to take a nap and I broke up the clumps of dirt etc. and mixed it all together. Then I fetched another half wheelbarrow each of more manure and more dirt and mixed that in, too. Now the first frame is full and ready for seeds. The new plan is to fill the second frame in the morning and then the seeds can be planted in both. If all goes well I will have plenty of silverbeet and spinach to supplement the nettles that the yard is already producing on its own with no effort on our part.
kareina: (stitched)
I am just back from the Norsken Gaming Con in Skellefteå. This was a spur of the moment trip on my part. I vaguely recall some of my SCA friends in the shire of Rengaarda (not quite two hours south of here) mentioning in a FB group weeks ago that they were planing on doing an SCA display at that event, but at the time I just saw the name "Norsken", and didn't notice what it was, and didn't have the energy to look it up, and kinda forgot. More recently O. said that he was thinking of heading down for it, but I still didn't really pay much attention to what it was or why he wanted to go (other than knowing that one factor was that he would get to spend time with P., his girlfriend there).

Wednesday evening was Frostheim social night, the first one that [ profile] lord_kjar has managed to attend all this calendar year (he gets home from work about the time to go, and lately he would rather stay home and have time to relax after work and get some dinner, than rush right out the door). But this week he has just finished carving a bow for archery out of an ash-wood broomstick handel, and he wanted to make the string. Twining a bow string is a perfect sort of hand-work to take to the meeting, so he joined us. Sadly, none of the students made it this week, so there were only four of us in attendance for most of the evening, and O. arrived late in the evening, but just on time to get a quick lesson from my senior apprentice on the tablet weaving project that she helped him thread on cards last week, and for which she has worked the first few repeats of the project and written up a "recipe" for him.

After the meeting he followed us home, and he and I wound up talking till 02:00 before going to sleep (but never mentioned the Norsken con during all of that time). I got up early the next morning, Thursday, which was a holiday in Sweden, and did my "day 3" workout from my personal trainer before breakfast. It felt good to do it, since I was rather low energy much of the last week, and didn't manage to do the program workouts every day, and on one day I did start it, but quit after only a few minutes and went home for a nap instead.

After the workout and a shower I went back downstairs and asked O. what his play for the day was, and he replied that he wanted to catch the bus down to Skellefteå in about an hour to attend Norsken. He wound up not catching that bus, but started working on his Viking trousers in progress instead, thinking that perhaps the 13:00 bus would be better. When it was nearly 13:00 we decided that instead of his taking the bus, I would go with him, and we would take my new car. However, that car hasn't had its tires changed yet (and we haven't been driving it as a result). Since C. was coming home this weekend I couldn't just take the blue car, since that would leave [ profile] lord_kjar nothing to drive to pick her up from the train station on Friday.

Therefore the boys changed from winter to summer tires on Styx (the car's licence plate number starts out with the letter STX, so the name for the car was kind of obvious), even though the plan is to take the car in for service on Monday morning and purchase new summer tires for it, since the old ones are getting very worn down, and, as they noticed when they changed them, one of them has obviously had a puncture repaired by injection of (something rubbery) at some point. That took long enough for me to pack SCA costumes and other things for the weekend, and we finally hit the road at 16:00.

This got us to the event a bit before 18:00, which is when the open to the public part of the con ends, but we still spent about an hour and a half on site checking it out and visiting with friends of mine from the SCA, larp, and gaming circles, and friends of his from the SCA (same folk as above) and theater and other university friends. Then we headed over to P.'s place, where our friend A. and her two kids were also staying. They were in the middle of baking some bread for when we arrived, and I happily ate some of the rolls hot out of the oven, despite the fact that it was later in the day than I am normally hungry.

We chatted for a while, but we were all kind of tired, and I went to bed at 21:00 that night, and the others weren't up much later. We returned to the con about 10:00 the next morning, after enjoying a leisurely breakfast. The event turned out to be much fun--we got to talk up our Medieval Days at Hägnan event to many people, including a geologist from the Swedish Geological Survey who worked on the "better geology" mod for Minecraft. He had a booth where people could test the mod, and he also had a bunch of rocks and some label cards with Minecraft photos of rocks that people could match. Even though the labels were written in Swedish I managed to match 100% of the rocks and names on my first try (though it is lucky that "pimpsten" was the only Swedish rock name he had on the list that I hadn't seen before, so I could get that one by the process of elimination). I have him convinced to ask his boss if the Geological Survey can do a "mining through the ages" display at our Medieval Days event. I hope the boss says yes.

We did fighting demos both days (O. participated, wearing my armour), and I was the MC one of the days. I don't know if it works to past a link to a video on FB in here the same way one would do any other url link, but if it does, here is the film one of our members did of that first demo.

Other event highlights include R2D2 running around on his own (never mind the other StarWars guy following him while holding a remote-control sort of contraption), meeting the lovely British gentleman who played BobbaFet (or however one would spell that), borrowing a huge (~2 meter long cos-play sword for use as a straight edge to mark the quilting lines on my gambeson in progress, seeing Tinkerbell adjusting the scarf on one of those green aliens with the pair of large snake like things growing out of the back of her head (what are they called, and where have I seen them? I know I have seen them often over the years, which kinda points to either star wars or star trek)--both the alien's skin and Tinkerbell's tunic were the exact same shade of green. It was also lovely to see so many friends I haven't seen in a long time and to meet new people.

However, attending that event meant that I haven't had time to do the computer-related Hägnan tasks I had intended to do on Thursday-Saturday. Therefore O. and I have decided not to attend fighter practice tomorrow morning, which gives him time to complete the last of the paperwork that he needs to do before handing over the economy for Phire to the person who is taking over that job, and I will be able to start the Hägnan computer tasks that got bumped on account of the trip. In theory, I will not have any problems continuing with progress on that stuff over the next few weeks, now that I finally have access to, and know the existence of, the email address for the event.
kareina: (house)
After C. moved in with us this spring we occasionally started noting times when it might have been handy to have a second car. Nothing that wasn't easy to work around, like her dropping me at the University for the SCA meeting on her way to dance class, but one could see how it could make a difference in the future. Neither of them hesitated when the spur-of-the-moment trip to Finland came up and I took O. over to see his grandmother, whose health had taken a turn for the worse, but on that occasion it was only the fact that Monday's nyckleharpa night had been canceled that made it not an inconvenience for them that we didn't get back from that trip till later than nyckleharpa night would have started.

After that trip [ profile] lord_kjar made it clear that while I am welcome to head to Visby for Medieval Week this year, he didn't want me to take our car--ten days with no car at home is more than he cared to work around, and he started suggesting that, perhaps, it might be time to get a second car. To my mind, the only kind of second car worth buying is one large enough to take pavilion and everything to SCA camping events, but I didn't really think we could afford one, so I didn't even look when he first suggested it.

But then we looked into the cost of a rental vehicle for getting to Visby. It turns out that one can rent a mini-van for a week for (don't quote me on this number, I am very bad at remembering numbers) something like 4000 SEK. However, one would need to spend a good bit more than that for the 10 or so days the trip takes if one wants to spend the full week at Visby. That total scared me a bit, and I started thinking it might be smarter to just buy something.

At first I daydreamed about a cargo van. Something with a huge amount of carrying capacity, and a bench seat that sits three people. But I didn't think one would be easily found, so I didn't look. Finally, this weekend, I decided to check blocket to see what was available. Much to my surprise, there was a white cargo van of exactly that description available, for only 24000 SEK. So I asked [ profile] lord_kjar to have a look at the ad, and while he was looking, he noticed a smaller, more delicate blue van-like object that has seven seats, five of which are removable, for only 20000 SEK. Both were about the same age, with similar number of kilometers driven.

But the more we discussed it, the more the smaller one sounded like the better option. It still holds WAY more stuff than the car we already had, but it would be easier to handel, and more versatile, since for winter events, when we don't need the pavilion, we could take passengers with us, and still have room for a reasonable amount of stuff. Little extras like cruise control also added into the mix.

So I gave them a call, and agreed to go look at it today at 14:00. If I didn't like it then there would be no need for [ profile] lord_kjar to get involved at all. However, after I looked at it and determined that, yes, I can pack what I need for a camping event in it, and having driven it, and determined that, yes, I am reasonably comfortable driving it, it was time to get him involved. Therefore, when he got off of work we went back over, and he gave it a test drive, pushing its limits much more than I would have done, and decided that it was in good enough shape to last for at least four or five trips as far as Visby. If he is right then buying this is a good bit cheaper than renting a car for those trips. So we decided to buy it.

Then came the part that I love about living in the future, and living in Sweden. To do the sale itself, the owner picked up his phone, opened the web page for transport styrelsen, used his phone to scan the box code on the top of his copy of the title, entered in his personal number, driver's licence number and expiration date, and pressed "next". Then I entered my personal number, driver's licence number and expiration date, and pressed "next". Then it showed us that the car would be transferred to my name, and we pressed "ok", and the car was mine. I will get a new title in the mail soon.

Then it was time to do the payment. We checked, and one can't just "Swish" the money from our phone to theirs, since that is limited to 3000 SEK at a time. So instead [ profile] lord_kjar logged into the bank's phone app and we entered in the other guys's bank account number (by a lucky coincidence he uses the same bank, which made this a one-number to type transaction) to do the transfer. However, then the bank said that 20000 SEK was over the daily transfer limit. So instead he transferred 10000 to that number, and I pulled out my phone and transferred 10000 from the exact same account, and it worked. So now we have a second car, for the cost of two nyckelharpas.

new car

We won't discuss the fact that now we will need to pay for insurance, that registration comes due soon, it needs new windshield wipers, and it is about due for a regular service.
kareina: (me)
A whole lot of days have slipped by during which I thought "no time/energy to post something today, tomorrow is soon enough". Oops. I still don't have the energy, but I made a bit of time by leaving Swedish folk dance early tonight due to being tired, so I will try to say something about what I have been up to, if for no other reason than to let mom know I am still alive.

The weeks have been a busy round of work, working out, choir, Phire practice, and Frostheim social nights. Last weekend was spent at home accomplishing stuff, and this weekend [ profile] lord_kjar, C., and I attended a Middle Eastern Dance workshop, which was quite fun. Friday night was a Persian dance class, and Saturday morning was an Oriental dance class. The teacher had come up from Stockholm for the weekend, and was really good, and delightful personality, too. Saturday afternoon there were more dance classes, but they were aimed at advanced dancers, and [ profile] lord_kjar decided not to attend them because this weekend was his first attempt at any Middle Eastern dance (though he took to the steps in the Persian dance like a fish to water, since it is on a three-count, as is much of Swedish folk dance, so he could trust his feet to do what they were meant to do and focus on the arm movements), and I opted to stay home and help O. finish up his new gorget.

We needed to make that his very first piece of armour, since he as a very short but thick neck, and so neither my gorget nor [ profile] clovis_t's old gorget (that came with his old helmet when I picked them up from Australia last year) fits O. at all. The rest of my armour works well enough for him for now.

This morning he and I went to fighter training, and I was delighted to see that there were six of us there--I think that after a lull in training Frostheim may actually get a group of fighters going again. I only did slow work and practice against the pell, in part because it has been four years since I have been in armour at all, and in part because I want a new gambeson before I do--we opened up the armpits on my old one to fit O. to get him working armour as fast as possible, and there is no way I am going to borrow it back now that it is open (he doesn't care if he gets hit there--silly fighter). I also brought along my jungle gym and did my workout for the day, just because.

This week at work the Russian scientist I posted about not too long back will be visiting the uni, so that should be interesting. I will try to remember to post about that, even if things are as busy as they have been. Now I had better type up my Chatelaine's report, do yoga, and get to bed so I can enjoy work tomorrow.
kareina: (fresh baked rolls)
On Saturday evening I got a message from O., who was at a dinner party with old friends from the student theater group he used to be active with, saying that he had just heard that his grandmother's health had taken a turn for the worse, and his dad was quite worried about it. He commented that he felt the need to head over to Finland to visit his grandmother and see for himself how she was doing. I, of course, (after checking with [ profile] lord_kjar that it would be ok to take the car) asked he he wanted company for the trip. He replied that he would be very grateful for the company, and the possibility to drive (otherwise the trip entails a bus to Haparanda, cross the river/international border on foot to Tornio, another bus to Oulu, then train to Kajaani, a journey that eats two days of travel because, of course, the various buses and trains don't have compatible schedules, but by car google thinks one can do the trip from my place in 5 hr, 21 minutes).

Since he was at a party with fiends he hasn't seen in quite a while he decided that it would be good to start the trip on Sunday morning, stay there overnight, and return Monday evening. This worked for me, since Monday was a holiday so I didn't need to be to work till today. When asked he thought we should plan to be on the road by 10:00 at the latest, so that we would have the time to get there before the nursing home his grandmother has been living at for the past eight years was closed for the day. I (and [ profile] lord_kjar) had planned to visit M., a friend who is moving away on Sunday sometime between 10:00 and 16:00. Since this would be no longer possible, I sent M. a message letting him know that my plans had changed (and why), and if he were up late I could drop by that evening, once I had finished packing, since I had to go to that neighbourhood to pick O. up anyway. He said that he would be up, and I should head over.

I made time before heading out to bake a loaf of reiska to take along on the trip, since it is a nice dense bread that travels well, and I arrived at M's place around 23:30, and we had very nice visit till 0:49, when O. was home from the party and had his bag packed and was ready to go. It turns out that the reason M. is leaving is that he got a job in Ireland and is moving to Dublin. I am very excited for him, it sounds like a great adventure.

After I picked up O. he commented that given the one hour time change between Sweden and Finland, perhaps we should aim to be on the road at 09:00 instead of 10:00. This sounded reasonable to me. However, we then stayed up talking a couple of house, and so got to see the clocks jump an hour from 02:00 to 03:00, and we didn't actually go to sleep till nearly 05:00.

However, I still managed to get up on time to do my morning situps (but not my more serious workout) and pack the food bag and we actually started driving at 09:09. Since O. doesn't have a driver's licence his job was to keep me awake while I drove, which he did very well, and we enjoyed conversation the whole way there, quite forgetting to ever turn on music. We arrived at our destination at 16:46, which sounds like a lot longer than google's estimate above, but given the change in time zones, was actually quite reasonable since we stopped several times for pee breaks and petrol.

We went first to the nursing home to see his grandmother, who seems to be doing a little better than his cousin had reported at the start of the weekend, and after O's dad called and she recognized his voice, she became current enough in this time zone to recognize O., but she didn't have the energy for a long visit.

Then we went to his grandfather's apartment, which has been sitting empty for a couple of years, since his grandfather also spent a couple of years in a nursing home before dying last December, but O. and his parents (who live in southern Sweden) stay there every time they come visit, since it is in easy walking distance from the nursing home. I was really tired by that point, so I took an hour nap while he looked though the mail that has accumulated at the apartment since December and filled his dad in on more details of the current situation. Then we drove 45 minutes out to the home of his dad's cousin.

What a beautiful home they have--it used to be their summer house--a small log cabin on a lake in the hills to the north of Kajaain, that they have expanded to a full size house, and have been living in these last 8 years or so. This cousin speaks some English, and his daughter and her very tall partner, who were visiting for the holiday weekend, are fluent in English, so the conversation was a mix of both Finish and English. I was surprised at how often I caught a word in Finnish that I know, given how very few words I do know, but I guess the ones I know (including the numbers) are kind of basic and likely to come up in any given conversation.

They have a small friendly dog, who really wanted to help me with my yoga, and the 1 year old grandson (who is as tall as a typical two year old) came over to poke me in my nuppa (belly button) when I did my head-stand and my shirt fell just enough to expose it. He must have liked it, because when I was done with yoga he came back over, and tried to lift up my shirt so he could see my belly button again, causing his grandfather to say that the men in that family are not shy.

We had a really nice visit with them, and returned to the apartment in town around midnight, but didn't actually get to sleep till after 03:30 (I really enjoy O's company, but I don't tend to get much sleep when he is around).

Monday morning we slept in a bit (if one can count seven hours as "sleeping in") and visited his grandmother again, but she was pretty deeply asleep--she did squeeze his hand back when he held hers, but couldn't wake up enough to actually talk, so we didn't stay long, but he did make time to chat with the nurses on duty about her condition (of course I couldn't follow any of that part of the conversation, since my handful of Finnish words aren't useful when discussing medical conditions).

From there we went to the nearby home of another of his dad's cousins for lunch. This cousin speaks no English at all, so O. needed to translate for us to communicate. They fed us a yummy pie for desert, so I asked for the recipe, and I look forward to giving it a try:


125 g voita
1,25 dl sokeria
1 muna
3 dl vehnäjauho
1 tl leivinjauho

1 pak rahkaa
1 dl vispikermaa
2-3 rkl sokeria
1 tl vaniljasokeria
3 munaa

--Vaahdota voi ja sokeri. Lisää muna ja jauhot
-- Levitä piirakka vuokaan
--pohjalla rahkatäytettä ensin" "sitten persikat ja loput täytteestä

180 C 35-40 min

Which means (more or less, I think):

Peach pie

125 g butter
1.25 dl sugar
1 egg
3 dl wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

1 pkg curd cheese
1 dl whipping cream
2-3 tbsp sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs

--cream together the butter and sugar, add the egg and flour
--spread crust into the pie dish
--mix filling and put half into the crust first, then the peaches and the rest of the filling

180 C, 35-40 mins

We left their place at 16:03 and got home at 21:46, which looks like less than six hours of driving (and good conversation), but given that hour time change at the border, means that, with stops, it was nearly seven hours.

Needless to say, it wasn't a good weekend for exercise, but it was great for good company, and O.'s dad was really glad that he was able to make the trip on such short notice and report on grandmother's condition.

Now I need to see if I can manage to focus on work today--it being Tuesday I am on campus till time for Phire practice (and annual general meeting) followed by choir, so even though I made time to type this when I ought to be working, there is still time to accomplish a fair bit, in theory.


kareina: (Default)

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