kareina: (stitched)
Edited to add: it turns out that if I had created an account with the publisher there would have been a button to push to send the book direct to my kindle app. So, if I hadn't been too lazy to fill in the form, it wouldn't have been that difficult. Read several chapters last night. Worth the frustrations trying to get it.

I just tried to buy [livejournal.com profile] hrj's newest book. Or, rather, it has been paid for, I just can't read it. I decided that there would be some value in buying directly from her publisher. The publisher's web page says that if one buys the e-book in mobi format, and has it sent to an email address which is on one's "Send to Kindle email address" list then it should work. I followed the instructions on that web page to make certain the email address I used in my order is on that list. However, the book isn't showing up in my list of Kindle content on the web page, nor on my phone. I can open the email to which they sent the download link, but when I downloaded it to my phone, even though the email says it will be a "mobi" format ebook, the file name has an .prc extension, and when I try opening the file with Kindle or a pdf reader both tools say it is an unsupported file type. I have tried forwarding that file to the same email address, on the off chance that for Kindle to notice it it needs to be an attachment, not a link in the body of the message, but that didn't help either. I have no idea what I need to do to get Kindle's attention that the book has been purchased. I guess the next step is to try emailing the publisher and see if they can help.
kareina: (stitched)
Many years ago, while visiting [livejournal.com profile] corva, she took me back-pack shopping, and I found a wonderful Camelbak pack that was everything I was looking for. Small enough to be a good every-day take with me bag and to fit under the seat in front of me on an airplane when fully loaded, yet big enough to fit everything I wanted to have within easy reach while traveling, including my laptop computer (which is rather large as laptops go).

It had handy side pockets that I could reach (awkwardly) without taking off the pack, in which I kept little plastic boxes of food (never leave home without some food! a single serving of muesli, another of nuts, or dried fruit, or hais, etc.), and my wool leg and ankel warmers (one box and one set of warmers on each side. It had a large main compartment in which I kept a wool sweater for if I got cold, and at least one sewing or nålbinding project (usually one of each) in case I needed something to do with my hands, and more recently, also half a dozen kosh balls for juggling practice.

It had a slightly smaller front compartment which had a variety of small sub-pockets, and a nice flat internal zippered compartment just big enough to keep plane or train tickets and a passport. My hearing aid box fit perfectly in one of the sub pockets, my wallet fit in the depths of that compartment, I kept a pair of chopsticks, a pen, a needle case, toothbrush, toothpaste, etc. in there.

There was a little tiny pocket at the very top of the pack in which my old sunglasses case lived, back when I didn't need glasses and so didn't have expensive prescription sunglasses. That pocket also was large enough to keep my hand-lens (a geologist should never leave home without one), a handkerchief, a silk scarf to tie around my ears if they got cold, and even a washable flannel menstrual pad, because one never knows when one's cycle might start while one is away from home.

And, being a camelback, it also had a compartment with a plastic water bag that held three liters of water. Even when fully loaded with all of the above take-with-me-everywhere everyday stuff, there was still plenty of room in the pack to add other things at need and when traveling. The computer, change of clothes, a larger sewing project, books, whatever.

However, time passes, wear and tear happens. When I was in Australia in 2011 waiting for my visa to move to Sweden I had put the emergency food in plastic bags in the side pockets, rather than plastic boxes, to cut down on bulk/weight. Sadly, some mice were living in the house I was staying at, and they thought it was easier to chew through the fabric of the side pockets to get at the food, than to pull the bags out of the tops of the pockets (the pockets didn't fasten shut, but were made of stretchy fabric, and had elastic at the top, which made it easy to access while wearing the pack). Ever since those pockets have had ugly patches over those holes made from a heavy duty string kind of nålbinded over the holes, so that it would still stretch, but not leak from the holes.

More recently the zippers on the main compartment started to die--that slow way plastic zippers have, where if you zip past a certain point it starts to open up behind the zipper, but if one pulls the zipper back down to the bottom and zips up again but not past that point, then the teeth will probably hold. Eventually there were two such spots, one on each side, meaning that often the bag would open itself up, unless I were very careful how I zipped it.

In addition, the plastic water bag was getting really old and in bad shape, and kind of gross, and I started thinking of replacing it. I checked the local camping stores early last winter, on a day I had to be in town anyway, and they had nothing like this. All the camelback packs were tiny little sports bags for athletes who want to carry water, and perhaps one energy bar. There was nothing big enough to carry even a small nålbinding project, let alone anything else.

A couple of months ago I got frustrated enough with the steadily worsening condition of the pack to look on line. Sadly, there is nothing on the pack that mentions any sort of product name, just that the manufacturer is Camelbak. So I checked their web page anyway, and looked at photos of everything, and couldn't find anything even remotely like this wonderful pack, and I gave up.

Have I mentioned that I really hate shopping? In my experience shopping goes like this:

Me: I know exactly what I want, but where do I get it?
Store #s 1 to n: here are 100's of products that are totally unlike what you are looking for.
Me: but do you have object X with features Y & Z?
Store #s 1 to n: Look! We have object W with features P & Q, and object D with features F & G.
Me: But no one caries X with feature Y, even without feature Z? I give up!

It doesn't seem to matter if I look in real stores, or on line--I seem to be the only person on the planet who wants what I am looking for, and so stores don't carry it.

This week the worsening condition of the pack became frustrating enough that I checked the Camelback web page again, and saw three packs that *might* do, even though they didn't look nearly as nice as my poor dying pack. Clicking their "where to buy" button and selecting "Sweden" gave me a handful of Swedish merchants, one of whom not only carried one of those packs, but had it in a better colour (black) than the main Camelback web page had (a shade of blue a bit too pale and too turquoise to suit me).

It claimed to be a "perfect balance of cargo and hydration in a feature-rich design", and one of the photos showed some internal pockets. So I went ahead and ordered it, and it arrived today.

I can report that it is much smaller than my old, beloved, and really kind of dead pack. I managed to transfer over almost all of the stuff that had been in the old pack. But the new one is stuffed to the gills, and it won't be possible to add anything else, ever. Even though the current nålbinding project is a fairly small one. There are no handy large mesh side pockets--instead there are two tiny ones, one with a zipper, and one without. By transferering my nuts and hais from the square plastic boxes in which they had been stored into smaller plastic spice jars, they just fit in the side pocket with a zipper, and the little wool hat and gloves (that I think I forgot to mention from the little top compartment above) completely fills the other one. I was forced to put the plastic box of muesli in the main compartment, with the kosh balls, the sweater, and the nålbinding. The leg and wrist warmers and the wallet completely fill the smallest outer most compartment, and the middle compartment, which does have some internal pockets, but no wonderful zippered passport compartment, is full of the hearing aid box, comb, tootbrush, etc.

I am going to leave the stuff in there for now, and see how I go with such a small, and over-full pack. If it really doesn't work, I suppose I could try to replace the zippers on the old one, and try to find some new mesh fabric to replace those old dead side pockets. Or perhaps add mesh side pockets to this one. Or be cruel to my future self by not carrying things with me that I might need. Or something.
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 [livejournal.com 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 [livejournal.com 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 [livejournal.com 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 [livejournal.com 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: (BSE garnet)
When I first got off the plane in Prague the heat didn't feel *that* bad. Sure, the guy in front of my said something like "holy shit!" when it hit him, but since I had dressed for the expected heat and didn't add any layers during the flight my body was kind of cold when we landed, so I coped just fine with the walk from the plane to the bus, from the bus to the terminal, and from the terminal to the airport bus to the city center (Note: one does need Czech cash to buy tickets on the bus--go ahead and stop at the ATM on your way out of the building, or you will need to go back in for it.)

Sadly, in my pre-trip research I failed to think about the all important question "on which side of the city is the airport?". Therefore, I didn't realize when I sat down on the right hand side of the bus that it would be the sunny side for the whole way in. I took my spare shirt and held it between me and the window for the whole drive, but still, 35 C is brutal hot when sitting in a hot bus with nothing for shade save a light weight cotton shirt.

By the time we got to town and I met up with [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t my shirt was quite wet from sweat. We met inside the metro station, where, being under ground, the temperature is much nicer, and bought me a three-day pass for all the buses, trams, and metro lines. Then we took a tram out to the Birkenstock shop, where the proprietor spoke nearly no English. She had just enough to explain that replacing my sandals (which are in rather bad shape from years of use) was possible, but not in black (what I had on me). I managed to convince her that I wanted a wider pair than last time (I have been wearing Birkenstock, size 40, for many, many years, but last time I needed some was right after moving to Sweden, and there is no Birkenstock shop here, so I ordered a pair on line, and accidentally wound up with a slightly different model, a "narrow" pair, which mostly fit my feet, but also caused an unpleasant ridge to form on my little toe from crowding it up against its neighbors. The "normal" width I found today feels *much* better already--width matters, even in sandals. Sadly, by "not black" she meant "dark brown straps with bright blue rubber sole under the cork. I am so not going to lose these, nor mistake them for any other pair of Birks I have ever seen in Sweden. But comfort matters more than looks, so I will cope.

After a hint of sight seeing we came back to his apartment and have been hanging out. I baked a Swedish oven pancake for dinner, and [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t agreed that it is, in fact, as yummy to him as I expected it would be. Now I have left over pancake to take with me to class tomorrow and Sunday.

I will be sleeping in the guest-hammock. I hope that it cools down enough to make it possible to get a good night's rest before heading to the workshop.

a day off

Feb. 10th, 2015 10:55 pm
kareina: (me)
Since I wasn't signed up for any of today's short courses I took the day off. Started out by walking into town the senic way--keeping fairly high on the hill, passing Fitzroy Gardens and eventually wending my way into the city center, arriving just after 09:00, which was good since I wanted a few things from the shops.

My first shop was spice world--we don't have a spice store in Luleå, so have been just buying bottles at the normal grocery store, but have amassed way too many empty bottles (though we buy the spices in the paper/cardboard containers were possible, that is only a small subset of the ones we use), so I was wondering if perhaps I should pick up a few things to take back with me (and thus continue to procrastinate on looking for spices on line). Sadly, when I went in my backpack bumped into a display and knocked over a couple of bottles of sauce, which broke. I felt very bad about that (this is the first time that has ever happened to me), so I made a point of buying several different types of spices that I might not have otherwise purchased (including some Tasmanian saffron). Oddly, they said nothing to be about the accident (I did say "sorry" (right after I said "damn!")), but just cleaned up the mess, so I didn't mention it either.

My second stop was at the outlet for Beauty and the Bees. I have been using their baby lotion ever since I saw their booth at Salmanca Market, where they had a sign saying that their baby lotion was good for psoriasis. Back in those days my right knee itched constantly, and I often scratched it bloody (but, since psoriasis is skin growing faster than normal, the scratches normally healed in a day or two). So I bought a bottle and tried it, and sure enough, it helped keep it from feeling dry and itchy, and over the years of using it I have managed to learn not to scratch, and these days it is really rare that I scratch them bloody. The bottle I had brought with me when I moved from Tasmania to Italy was pretty low when I moved to Sweden, so sometime in about 2011 I wound up ordering one of their large bottles to be shipped to me there. That bottle is running low--I just transferred the last bit from the large bottle to a small one. That will likely last some months more, but I decided to just buy another large bottle while I am here, and save the cost of shipping. Good thing too, since the price has gone up since I bought the last one.

That turned out to be a fun stop--the woman working there was chatty, and we visited for a good thirty minutes before I moved on. From there I stopped into a health food store a bit down the way to buy a bit more tasty yeast, since I had brought only a tiny bit with me. Then I stopped into the high-end men's clothing store at which we had purchased a nice linen dress shirt for [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t years ago to see if they still carry them. Yes they do, the nice man at the counter said--two sorts: one more casual, the other with a stiff collar to wear with a tie. However, I couldn't purchase yet, since even though [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar had promised to put his measurements onto google calender for me, they weren't yet showing on my phone. So I asked the guy where the nearest wifi hotspot was, and he directed me there.

After re-syncing my phone's calender with google I determined that the measurements were still not there, so I sent him a message, and started walking out of town towards the home of my friend G. Of course, his reply, with the measurements, came after I had been walking just long enough to not want to turn back, so I just kept going, and resolved to try to get back to the store on another occasion. From the city center it takes just about 1.5 hours to get to G's house, if one goes up and over the Domain for part of the trip. (That was the hardest part of the walk--since there are no hills to speak of in Luleå I am not really in shape for hill climbing, but I enjoyed it, nonetheless).

I arrived at their place a bit before 12:00, and settled into a lovely lunch (cooked and served by G's partner D), while she and I caught up on several years of life, adventures, and projects in progress. She is always a delight to visit with, and she is wonderfully generous--she gifted me with a few small trinkets picked up while they have been traveling in Asia, but the best gift of all were the strings of garnet beads. That beautiful dress in progress just got more hours of work added to the to-do list, but it is going to be stunning when it is done! She gave me enough beads that we can bling up something for [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar too.

Our lunch date lasted till after 16:30, but then I decided I had better head home--her health hasn't been the best of late, so I wanted to let her rest and relax after the company. I walked about 35 minutes back towards town (without the detour over the hill this time), and then a car with to guys with European accents stopped and asked me the best way to the highway to Huonville. I tried to describe it, but clearly their English wasn't up for that much info that fast, so I offered to ride with them and navigate. I got them to and mostly through the city center, till there was only a "turn right, then left" left to worry about, then I hopped out and went back to that men's store, arriving right after they had locked the door for the day.

However, it was worth trying, so I knocked, and he answered, and I asked if he was interested in one last sale for the day. His first reply was "yes, but I already started the closing procedure", then suggested that if I wanted to do cash he could deal with the paperwork in the morning. I said that it would depend on how much cash, and told him what I wanted. He took me to the more formal linen shirts, with the stiff collars, and they cost $399. I said that I didn't have that much cash and would need to go to an ATM. Then he said he was willing to hit "cancel" on what he had been in the middle of, so I could pay with plastic, so I asked about the other linen shirt option. He wasn't certain where those were, so we walked around a bit, and then he found a couple of them on the sale shelf (not that I noticed at the time that it was). Those two were both size 2X, which is somewhat bigger than [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar needs. But we can take things in far easier than making a new shirt, and I liked the texture of this fabric better, and the price was nicer, so I decided to just grab one of them. It turned out that the sale price made it only $57, which really makes it worth the bother of taking it in later.

One final stop at the grocery store on the way home, and my day of errands and adventures was done, only 12 hours after leaving the room this morning. Tomorrow I will be in the conference all day, and meeting up with another friend in the evening.

impulse buy

Jun. 8th, 2014 11:04 pm
kareina: (me)
Early this afternoon [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar and I went out to purchase some supplies so that we can make a better hammer dulcimer stand than the improvised one we have been using that started life as the support for a portable table. We did, in fact, get those supplies. However, while we were out we also bought a bed.

We have been thinking of getting one for a while--we have gotten the moldy floor out of the downstairs room and re-painted it, so now it is set up ready to be a guest room, but it lacked a good bed. We still have the bed frame from the bed we have been sleeping on, but we moved the mattress to the floor months ago, rotated it 90 degrees, added an extension to the (new) foot end made of cheap foam. We have been enjoying having a larger bed to sleep on (and one where his feet don't hang over the edge. However, it felt weird to step on the foam end on my way into bed at night, since it was way squishier than the rest of the mattress. So it has been in the back of the mind that we should buy us a larger bed and put the old mattress back on its frame for the guest room downstairs.

However, beds aren't cheap, so while it sounded appealing, it also sounded expensive, and I have been thinking we would wait till we are certain that I have some sort of employment lined up (since my current contract ends at the end of this month). But while we were out we decided to stop by a bed store to see what prices were like, with no intention of buying anything today. Yah, right.

We left the store with one of those new high-tech foam mattresses that change their shape when you press on them, and then slowly revert to the original shape when you let go. If feels a bit weird, but totally comfortable to lay down on. And, because it is foam, even though it is about 30 cm thick, and king-sized (180 x 200 cm), we could fold it in half and carry it home in our car.

Expensive? Yup (a cost a bit more than 1.5 nyckleharpas), but because we bought the display model today, rather than waiting, he did sell it to us for way less than the list price (which was more than 2.5 nyckleharpas). I am looking forward to sleeping on it, and finding out if the fairly recent thing I have had where my back hurts a bit if I sleep for more than 7 hours is still an issue on the new type of mattress. I am guessing that it will no longer be a problem (and one could say I just bet a fairly hefty chunk of cash on it). And we have the guest room ready for houseguests next weekend for the Spelmanstämman event, which is a bonus.
kareina: (stitched)
Around 01:30 in the morning on Friday I got ready for bed, took off clothes, crawled into bed, looked out our bedroom window, which faces westward, and saw the Northern Lights! This is the first time I have ever seen them from a window in our house (and we have seen in them in our yard only once before, last winter). I woke up [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar with my exclamation of delight, and he woke up enough to put on his glasses and look out the window, but not enough to join me in getting dressed and heading outside to see them properly. Poor boy (and all of the rest of you who weren't here), he missed out on a truly beautiful display.

I walked out onto our field and stood there on what is left of the icy white crust that used to be snow, casting shadows from the moon light and watched the lights dance in a wide band that filled the sky from a bit south of directly over my head to as far north as I could see, and stretching from the eastern to western horizons. It was stunning and magical, and I am certain I slept better (once I finally went back in, after their brilliance had faded to only thin wispy cloud-like hints at what had been) for having stayed up to watch them.

Saturday morning we decided to head into town. I wanted to buy some embroidery floss that goes with the tablet woven trim I am sewing to my new Viking style coat/kaftan, I wanted a zipper for the corset/like man-muscle thing we are making to change the shape of my curves for a Viking themed Lajv we will be playing in this summer--I will be playing a man's role, so want to look a bit less feminine in my tunic and trousers, and we have been needing more hand-soap, and the type we use isn't for sale in the grocery stores--one needs to go to an actual drug store. That added up to enough things to make it worth heading to town.

We decided to stop first at the second hand store to see if we could get lucky on the embroidery floss and zipper there. No luck on the floss--we did pick up some cotton embroidery floss there which will be fine for other projects, but they didn't happen to have any in wool. However, they had lots of zippers, so we picked up a handful, cheap. We also bought a large copper (tin lined) round box big enough to put in all of a left over cake without cutting it, a 6-volume leather bound hard cover set of 1001 nights (in Swedish, of course), a tiny hard cover book of the Book of Kells (in English), an extra embroidery hoop, a nice little bone awl suitable for making lacing holes, and some large bits of foam, all for not much money.

Then we went to the yarn shop, but it was closed because the owner was off at a sales convention. So we went to the other shop in town which carries yarn, and it turns out to always be closed Saturdays. So we checked the fabric. They don't carry embroidery floss.

So we gave up on that quest item, bought the soap at the drug store, and decided to go to the tip shop. There we found a large wooden clamp that was too cool to leave behind. I couldn't figure out how to describe it, so I asked google, and after several tries I found one of that sort for sale on line, they look like this (assuming the link lasts for any length of time). I also found a couple of blue glass mixing bowls that I couldn't live without. The larger of the two is bigger than my previous favourite glass mixing bowl, and has a nicer (deeper) shape, and the smaller one is just enough smaller than that previous favourite glass mixing bowl as to be perfect for mixing up small amounts of things (like one batch of home made noodles). I am very happy with the new bowls, they are a pleasure to use, and the beautiful dark blue colour is a huge bonus.

I am certain there was more I was going to write when I sat down, but I have used up my time--I need to get ready to head to Swedish Folk Dancing. Hope everyone else had a good weekend.
kareina: (stitched)
Due to time and budget constraints I have not been as active at the Kingdom (or even Principality) level as I would like to be since moving to Nordmark, since we mostly only attend things within a three hour drive, and only do far away events once or twice a year. As a result I am long since out of the habit of planning to attend Kingdom level events, and thus it wasn't till well after the beds for 12th Night had sold out that I made the connection that I needed to be at a geology conference in Lund the only four days after 12th Night, which was being held only an one hour drive from Lund. Add to the equation that [livejournal.com profile] linda_linsefors parents live in Lund, and a plan was formed.

The three of us took the night train from Luleå on the evening of 1 January. This one departs Luleå at 20:00 and arrives in Stockholm at 09:20 the following morning. We then had a two hour wait to catch the "fast train" from there further south to Lund, where we arrived at 15:30, which is actually faster than we could have gotten there if we had just drove from Luleå, especially given that I need to stop and stretch often on road trips these days. Yes, Sweden is a long country!

Her parents picked us up from the train station and brought us back to their place for a yummy dinner and pleasant conversation. The next morning they took us out hiking, and in the evening we met up with some of her friends from school in town--we went to a restaurant for an early (by everyone else's standards, and quite a reasonable time by mine) dinner, and then we sat there and chatted for a couple of hours thereafter before biking back to her parent's house. The following morning was Saturday, so we got up early, put on costumes, and drove the hour out to the site.

Those of you who are in the West and some of the other Kingdoms are used to 12th Night at hotels in the middle of cities. I don't know if this is typical for Drachenwald 12th Night, but this site is a small collection of cabins in the forest in the country side (it is where Double Wars is held every year in May). Those people who were staying on site (which was most people there, I think) mostly had shared rooms with four bunk beds to a room. The main building has a kitchen and two modest sized halls. When we arrived on site one of those halls was already set up for court, but we had an hour or so to relax and get hugs from a few people before it was time to be seated.

I really enjoyed the courts at this event--it was a lovely mix of touching and heartwarming, pageantry and formality, and silly/funny moments. In between the courts I had a chance to catch up with people I haven't seen since Double Wars last May and meet some new interesting people and also admire the pretty things in the Arts and Sciences display. That evening at feast we sat with [livejournal.com profile] aryanhwy and her family, and I am so glad that we did--it was the most fun I have had at a feast ever. We normally just sit somewhere random, with no idea who will be seated next to us, and as a result we may or may not converse with the people who wind up there. But this time we all planned to sit together from the first, and the conversation was always entertaining. I so hope we can attend more events together in the future.

Yesterday we had a nice fika with some of [livejournal.com profile] linda_linsefors's family. I managed to converse with her grandfather in Swedish. I suspect that I could have used English with him, but he seemed to appreciate that I was using Swedish, and he was kind enough to speak slowly enough that I could understand him. Today we will meet her sister, and this evening [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar flies back to Luleå. The next day she flies back from France, and my conference starts bright and early Wednesday morning.

There was one merchant at 12th Night, but they didn't have anything I needed. However, it looks like I will score at the conference. There is a geologist living in Trondheim whom I first met at an SCA music and dance event in Stockholm back in 2009 who does a fair bit of Viking reenactment stuff and does tablet weaving for sale. She emailed me yesterday to see if I would be at the conference, since she is going, and I replied to let her know I was already here, and then asked if she has any tablet weaving in stock. She does, and is willing to bring it with her, yay!
kareina: (stitched)
The concept of "shopping" really consists of three components. #1 is Buying. This is when you know what it is you want, and where to get it. You go there (either in person or on line), you choose the thing(s) you want, you pay for it, you take it home. You and the merchant are both happy. #2 is Research. You know what you want, but you have no idea who sells it, or if it is even available. Therefore you need to guess and try a variety of locations, either in the real world, or on line, in hopes that someone carries what you want. #3 is Browsing. This is when you aren't looking for any specific item, but just want to know what is available for sale, so you wader around, either in a real store, or on line, and have a look.

People who do #3 for pleasure find #2 easier.

Sadly, it doesn't often happen that I have time/energy to do #3. Once in a great while we will stop in at a second hand store to see if there is anything interesting, and, when we do, we nearly always find something useful, and, often, we wind up buying it. However, far more often, it is #2 that I need to do--I know what I want, but I don't know where to get it. Sometimes this is easy. My university no longer has its own bookstore, but instead students order their textbooks on line. When I took my intro to Swedish course when I first moved here the teacher gave me the name of the text book I needed, I asked Google, and in a few days the book arrived in the mail. More often this is a painful process fraught with frustration. I know that manufactures have, at some point in the past, made for mass-market sale socks made of 100% cotton, in solid black color, that are ankle length. I know this, because I am wearing some right now. However, all of mine have worn holes through the heel that have become large enough to make them uncomfortable, and I am now wearing out the three pairs that [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjarhad that also met this description.

Since they exist (or have), I thought it should be easy to find more. However, it is not! The last time I found any for sale was at an outdoor market in Australia, which I went to with [livejournal.com profile] vikingrose in July of 2011. The merchant there sold them in packs of 10, and, since I had international flights to get home again, I bought only one bag. Now I wish I had bought 50 bags. Every clothing store I have entered since that time carries socks that meet some, but not all of those criteria, and I am not willing to compromise on any of these points. I have, on a number of occasions since then, tried to find such socks on line, but, again, no one seems to be willing to sell me what I want. If I didn't mind 15% synthetic fiber there are lots of options. If I wanted socks that go half way up my calf, I would be fine. If I wanted them in white, or some other colour combination, I would be good. But I haven't been able to find exactly what I want, and I am not interested in anything else.

I had a suggestion from [livejournal.com profile] aelfgyfu that I just make my own, but, damn it, I haven't got time to work on the many projects in progress I have already--I haven't time to make socks, too. and, given how easily the heels wear out when one runs around the house wearing socks without shoes (which I do, and will not stop doing), I would have to spend all of my creative time trying to finish the next pair before last pair died, and then I would never have a new SCA costume...

all I want to do here is #1--I want to give someone money so that I can have happy, sock covered, feet again. If anyone is inspired to do #2 for me, and provide me with contact details for someone who will really sell me the 100% cotton black ankle socks, feel free. However, please do not (as someone did on FB) give me the link to web pages which come up on a search for those key words and expect me to look through their many choices--in my experience such web pages don't, actually, carry what I want, but they make it difficult to quickly determine this fact, so lots of time is wasted.

Edited to add: Thanks to the kindness of [livejournal.com profile] aelfgyfu I now have several links to socks that look like they will work. I have already emailed one of the merchants to ask about shipping to Sweden, and will follow through on the others later, but now I should do some work...
kareina: (Default)
Thursday (4 Aug) we loaded up the car, and were most pleased to discover that the pile of things we felt important to take with us for the Visby Medieval Week not only fit in the car (or, in the case of the pavilion poles and frame for the rope bed, on the roof), but there was enough room to spare that we had a gap in the center through which one can see using the interior rear-view mirror. We got on the road by mid-day, and made it a very relaxed journey south. I did all of the driving (which is good because I will need to get a local driver's licence once my personal number and resident card arrive, and it had been long enough since I had access to a car my driving was more than a bit tense at the start of the trip, but very relaxed at the end of it), and we took frequent breaks for things like yoga, climbing a mountain (really!), walks, touring a castle and some ruins of an older one, just enjoying one another's company, and naps.

This relaxed approach got us to the Ferry Terminal around 18:00 or 19:00 on Friday, and our Ferry wasn't scheduled to depart till 03:00 on Saturday, so we relaxed some more, played a game, and had another nap till time to depart. That ferry arrives in Gotland at 08:00 on Saturday, which (probably not coincidentally) is when the gate at the SCA camp there opened for the day, so we went straight there, signed in, set up the pavilion and moved in. That day we didn't leave camp, other than a walk to the nearest grocery store (~20 minutes away) to get some fresh fruit & veg to put into our ice chest for lunches (the food plan for the camp, which we had bought into, was only for breakfast and dinner). We spent the early evening getting to know folk camped next door, who also enjoy Medieval music and dance, and didn't stay up all that late due to not getting a whole lot of sleep on the trip down.

Sunday was the big Market day in a park just inside the town walls of Visby, so we walked into town (about 40 minutes to the closest gate in the walls) and spent the day there*, arriving back in camp just on time for dinner That evening we went back into town to watch a sampler concert--all of the major performers who were to perform during the week had enough time each to do one or two songs or other form of entertainment. It was much fun!

Monday we got a ride from our neighbours into town for dancing in the park--there were at least 75 dancers present--both SCA folk (I knew one of the teachers from SCA dance events) and other people in costume, and the general public, again getting home just on time for dinner. We then spent the evening hanging out with people in the camp.

Tuesday we stayed in camp during the day because it was an SCA open camp day, where tourists were welcome to come in and see what we do and ask questions. We gave many pavilion tours to people. In general he did the talking, since most folk spoke Swedish, and I was pleased to learn that when I *know* the subject (e.g. my own pavilion and the rope bed and how they were made) I can mostly follow spoken Swedish, even though I can't yet follow most conversations. After that ended we did a second trip to the grocery store, which let SCA folk turn in warm little blue bricks for ice chests and get frozen ones in return), and spent the evening in our own tent, which was warm and dry compared to outside (but no where near as warm as it will be when we get the door closing attachments finally put on (I never needed them in California, where it is so hot I never closed the doors, preferring to encourage any breeze I could get) and the inner walls we want to add, having seen another tent that uses them). He started playing the violin as I did my evening yoga, which drew a musician friend of ours in, and they spent the evening playing tunes together on various instruments while I did enough finger loop braiding to make straps to hold the new hat onto the head.

Wednesday we returned to the day time dancing, followed by the market, where we got a few more things we had been tempted by on Sunday, again returning to camp on time for dinner, followed by the SCA court for the Principality and local Barony, after which we hurried into town to see the fire show by TriX (there seem to be lots of youtube videos of them if anyone is curious).

Thursday we went to a singing session at the library (open to the public--I counted at least 65 people there) which was much fun. I know I was the only non-Swedish speaker there by the fact that for some of the songs everyone but me laughed at some lines. I commented as much to an SCA friend, and he said that the funny bits were all about sex, to which I replied "no wonder I didn't understand--I am learning Swedish by reading children's books, I don't know those words yet". When that ended we went outside and discovered that there was a lone violin player playing Swedish folk dance music for a few dancers in the park, so we joined them, and [livejournal.com profile] archinonlive and I got many compliments on our dancing (I love having a partner who is so good he makes me look good, too). A couple of the people who complimented us on it are from the next town, so we told them about the beginning class we will be teaching in September, and they sound very interested. After a bit [livejournal.com profile] archinonlive took over playing, and I danced with the other musician instead. He is also a very good dancer, and the evening was a joy.

Friday we broke camp and loaded the car in the morning, then went to an advanced Medieval dance class during the day, followed by one last trip to the market, followed by dinner and then a feast in the SCA camp. I took a nap in the SCA crash tent from 22:30 to 01:30, while he stayed at the party, and then I got up and we went to the Ferry Terminal to begin our journey home.

Saturday the ferry reached the mainland around 06:30, and we arrived at his brother's house in Uppsala around 08:30, where we enjoyed breakfast and visiting with his family, then took a nap, and then started the long drive home. Had I been willing/able to drive straight through it would have taken 10 more hours, but I require breaks for yoga and naps, so instead we got home at 06:00 on Sunday. we took a nap, then spent the day relaxing and putting away a tiny fraction of the stuff. We also returned to their Highnesses the things we drove back for them (flying meant they didn't have room in their luggage).


*Items that followed us home from the market )
Now for yoga and bed--I am tired after re-reading all that!
kareina: (Default)
The past week was one wherein [livejournal.com profile] archinonlive had to work late most days. By "late" I mean that he got home between 20:00 and 01:00 each evening, but still had to be out the door to head to work between 04:00 and 08:00 each morning (some days he was working at sites 2 to 4 hour drive away, which adds a fair few hours to his work day). As a result we didn't get as much time together as we would have liked, so it was a delight to have the weekend come round and get to spend time together.

Friday evening we went out and bought some wall mounted shelf supports and then mounted them in the dining part of the kitchen so that we now have a place to put the sewing and art supplies, we hung my hanging pot rack, and then after filling the shelves and racks we curled up on the couch and I worked on a sewing project while we watched a movie, Race to Witch Mountain. When I was a small child I really loved the Escape to Witch Mountain movie, and I also really enjoy Zena Henderson's People books, which I think inspired the movie, so I was curious to see what was different in this remake. My, what a compare and contrast opportunity for people interested in popular culture. It amused me to see that the place names were the same (and the Winnebago), but pretty much everything else had been changed.

Saturday was a full on day. We spent the morning shopping, and came home with yarn for nålbinding projects, another shelf to add to the sewing shelves, some kitchen toys, including a delightful castle cake pan, and groceries. Having found the pan it was then necessary to bake a pound cake (you know the sort--one pound each of butter, sugar, eggs, and flour--very, very tasty!). castle cake

We also made a fruit salad, a green salad (grated carrots, sliced cucumbers, tomato, spinach) and a loaf of castle bread (which we forgot to photograph). Then, since we now have room in the kitchen again because the sewing stuff is on shelves, we celebrated by doing some casting.

I now have 13 snowflake buttons to put onto my jedi-inspired robes we made me some weeks back. Alas, my attempt at using his camera resulted in only one sort of usable photo (note tiny bit of casting sand still on this one), but I think the buttons are cute anyway. button, with some casting sand thereon

We managed to get most of the seams finished on the robes, and half of the buttons attached, but then it was after midnight so we did yoga and went to sleep. Today is fighter practice, folk music, and folk dancing. Wednesday we leave town for the long train ride to southern Sweden for a gaming convention.
kareina: (Default)
As often happens when I've been out of town and had no internet access I didn't manage to accomplish much in the way of uni work on Sunday or Monday, but instead played catch-up on correspondence. Therefore I was quite pleased to have a huge burst of motivation on Tuesday and make some good progress on work (the major task at hand has been getting data from the literature into a spreadsheet so as to be able to make graphs comparing other people's rocks with my experiments).

Today I continued with that project, but didn't work as many hours due to a trip into town. The water reservoir of my Camelbak pack developed a leak in it on the weekend and it was necessary to replace it. Therefore I caught the metro into town and went to walk across the castle grounds to a sporting goods store. However, there was some sort of holiday market going on at the castle grounds, so I decided to have a look--some of the markets I've seen here have a booth of dried fruit, and I'm out. Alas, I never found dried fruit--there was plenty of sausage etc. (no thanks!), baked goods, candy, etc., but no dried fruit in the part of the market I saw. I did stop at a boot that was deep-frying yeast-dough. They were pulling them out of the oil and rolling them in sugar. Not having a sweet tooth, but having enough Italian to manage, I asked for mine "senza zucchero". It still had a hint of sweetness as it had been set down on the paper next to where they were doing the sugar rolling, but that hint was pleasant, not overwhelming like it would have been if I'd gotten the standard sort. I rather enjoyed it--not as nice as fresh baked bread, of course, but it was nice and hot and pleasant to eat while walking in a light rain. However, I think I'm good for my fried food quota for months now.

The market was very challenging to walk through. A fairly high percentage of the crowd were carrying umbrellas, general held with the pointy bits right at eye level, and generally packed right up against several other umbrellas, making it hard to work one's way through the crowd. I prefer to walk about 10 times faster than the common speed for Italians in a market, so I was soon frustrated and made my escape to the empty parkland beyond. Enjoyed a nice stroll there before braving the market once again on my way to the store. (no luck on the fruit quest on the second try, either, though I confess to having given up sooner and making a break for the open road way after only a short stroll through the crowd the second time).

When I reached the sporting goods store I nearly turned right around and fled--it was also packed (though, fortunately, no one was carrying umbrellas inside!) and the heat was on full blast. It was necessary to remove my coat the second I entered the building, and my leg warmers had to come off soon thereafter. I wandered around a bit and the closest thing I could find to a water reservoir were some hard metal water bottles next to some backpacks. Therefore I decided to enlist some help, found an employee and asked (in Italian) if he speaks English. He said he did a little, so I attempted to explain what I wanted (it would have helped if I hadn't thrown away the leaky one--then I could have just shown him). He then brought me to another employee, who had much better English. Of course the other employee is new to the store, so while he understood what I wanted, he didn't know if/where they had it, and it was necessary to find a third employee to actually be taken to the correct well-hidden corner where they were located.

They ones they had were cheap and made of very thin plastic and lack many of the features I liked in the last one I had, but they are so much better than not having one at all, and it should last me till I can get somewhere that carries sturdier versions.

After my shopping adventure I returned to work and managed to accomplish a fair bit more. I've got tomorrow to finish up this task, and Friday I'll be on the microprobe all day. Then I've got just till the end of the month to process the new data, combine it with the old, and get a paper written...
kareina: (Default)
Yesterday was a very productive work day, and the evening was fun baking cookies, cooking yummy food for today's lunch, working on a sewing project, and just hanging out with my mother.

Today I was kind of low energy and tired, so after making something resembling progress on work in the morning I decided to do something different and mom and I went shopping. Yes, you read that correctly. The two people in the family who go out of their way to avoid shopping went shopping. I took her to a toy store to look for gifts for my nieces, and we picked up a beautiful blue cashmere sweater for me. Yes, I already had one, but the one I had is the kind that opens up, and the one we bought is v-necked and closed front. So will be nice for job interview(s).

I've printed my boarding pass for this weekend's Finland adventure with mom--we fly in the morning. It will be interesting to meet family I've not met before. Mom's grandfather was the eldest of 10 children, and he moved to the US. Our contact in Finland is descended from his youngest brother, who stayed behind. Cousin Kimmo is the same generation as mom, but is younger than I, thanks to the age difference of those brothers.

I've also got my tickets for my trip to Scotland the week after mom returns to the US. I will buy a new computer while there--I am desperate for a new one--this one crashed, again, while I was trying to post this. I am so over the constant computer problems. The next one had better turn on faster than this one--it takes way, way to long to re-start every time this one has issues.
kareina: (Default)
Yesterday was a very productive work day, and the evening was fun baking cookies, cooking yummy food for today's lunch, working on a sewing project, and just hanging out with my mother.

Today I was kind of low energy and tired, so after making something resembling progress on work in the morning I decided to do something different and mom and I went shopping. Yes, you read that correctly. The two people in the family who go out of their way to avoid shopping went shopping. I took her to a toy store to look for gifts for my nieces, and we picked up a beautiful blue cashmere sweater for me. Yes, I already had one, but the one I had is the kind that opens up, and the one we bought is v-necked and closed front. So will be nice for job interview(s).

I've printed my boarding pass for this weekend's Finland adventure with mom--we fly in the morning. It will be interesting to meet family I've not met before. Mom's grandfather was the eldest of 10 children, and he moved to the US. Our contact in Finland is descended from his youngest brother, who stayed behind. Cousin Kimmo is the same generation as mom, but is younger than I, thanks to the age difference of those brothers.

I've also got my tickets for my trip to Scotland the week after mom returns to the US. I will buy a new computer while there--I am desperate for a new one--this one crashed, again, while I was trying to post this. I am so over the constant computer problems. The next one had better turn on faster than this one--it takes way, way to long to re-start every time this one has issues.
kareina: (me)
My flight to Budapest for the IMA conference was scheduled for 07:00 on Saturday morning. This means leaving my house at 04:00 to walk to the train station to catch the bus to the airport on time. Since I had a fair bit to accomplish before flying, I decided to just stay up all night, thinking "I can sleep on the plane".

Well, I did manage to sleep on the bus, but the Alps were visible for the flight, so I didn't sleep in favor of looking out the window. I got to my dorm room around 11:00 on Saturday, and spent the rest of the day alternating short naps with useful tasks like buying some food and the all-important uni work.

Since my Thursday/Friday microprobe session had discovered an important phase in one of the samples I'd inherited from a predecessor (a decade before me) it was needful to process all of that new data in record time and revise my poster for the conference this week accordingly. I managed about half of that on Saturday, and did the rest on Sunday morning. Once it was together I brought my computer over to the conference venue (no internet in our rooms, which may be part of why I managed to get the work done so quickly--no distractions other than taking naps as needed) to e-mail my new, improved, poster to the guy organizing the on-site printing. I finished that just on time to attend the opening ceremonies for the conference, and went from there into the Pest city center to meet a couchsurfing friend who had stayed with me when he and a friend visited Milan back in November.

He and I wandered around the city center a bit, looking at interesting buildings and stopping to eat reasonably priced crepes (I had a really yummy spinach-sauce filled one, he opted for the layered stack smothered with chocolate sauce) before we crossed the bridge to the Buda side of the river and climbed the "Castle" hill. They were having a Folk Festival on the "Castle" grounds this weekend, so we enjoyed wandering around looking at booths, listening to folk music, and eating kürtős kalács. As a snack food I pronounced the one I had as too sweet. I ordered the "nut" version, but the sugar-nut mix in which it was rolled, still hot from the coals, was much higher in sugar than in nuts. If I see them again, I'll ask for it plain!

I hadn't really planned on doing any shopping while in town, and when I converted cash at the airport I changed only €50.00, thinking that would be plenty for food for the week. And, indeed, based on what I've spent on *food* so far, that estimate was probably correct. However, there were temptations at the Folk Festival. My first purchase of the day was a large ball of hand-spun wool yarn (maroon colour) for 360.00Ft. Now, that might sound like a lot, but when I gave the woman my €50.00 at the airport, she gave me back 12,190.00Ft. I knew that paying €1.48 that much hand-spun wool was a good deal, so I went for it.

Quite a bit later I was admiring some lovely mugs in the perfect shade of blue, with pretty Celtic triangle spiral decorations that were very tempting, but I don't need mugs--I never use them, since I drink my water out of either a water bottle with a drinking top, or my CamelBack pack. If she'd had bowls in that style, I'd have gotten one. However, I then noticed that she had butter dishes! I love this sort of dish--they keep the butter fresh outside of the fridge, which means that it is easily spreadable. The ones have had before didn't have those two holes in them, which mean that it is important to put only a little water in the bottom of the dish, or the air can't escape when you put the lid into the base. This sort means that you can fill the water deep enough to actually be in contact with the butter, which, on a hot day, will be a very good thing for keeping the butter cold enough not to melt. From there I then checked a variety of wood merchants till I found one selling butter knives, so that I could start using the dish this week, rather than waiting till I get home. (the dish was 3,000, and the knife 250, which means I'm out just over 13 euros for the pair).

At that point I was down to about 1,700Ft. in my wallet, and thinking I should be done spending money. And then I saw the potter with the black wares. After drooling on the various size and shaped pitchers he had (I've been wanting one for feasts for ages), the cheapest of which was 2,000Ft. I wandered off, intending to go home without one, since I didn't have the cash on me. I got perhaps 100 meters before I decided to go ask at the info booth for a cash machine. Sure enough, there was one on site, so I went back and got this one:

black pitcher

Alas, the potter spoke no English, and I found his booth after my friend had had to depart to meet someone else, so I have no idea of what style this is. It looks historical to me, but I have no idea what century or culture, if any, apply. If any of you happen to recognize this style and can tell me anything about it, I would appreciate it.

I was also tempted by a cute pair of pointy-toed leather shoes that would have been fine for SCA events, but when I got cash I didn't get enough to cover shoes, too, and decided that I didn't *need* them. Particularly as I plan to seek out the Birkenstock shop later this week to replace my close-toed Birks, since I managed to lose one in the Dublin airport on my way home from Ireland. I didn't notice that it had come unhooked from the outside of my pack until after I'd gone through the "no return" doors, so couldn't go back and look for it. While the security guy said he looked, I don't think he was as careful about the search as I would have been.

Alas, by the time I got home from Sunday's lectures it was too late to get into the conference building to check my mail.

This morning I went to lectures on the History of Geology, and plan to attend the session on pretty minerals this evening. Right now is the poster session, and I should probably wander around that soon.

(edited to add: follow the butter dish link above to all of the photos on facebook from my trip so far, if you like that sort of thing)
kareina: (me)
My flight to Budapest for the IMA conference was scheduled for 07:00 on Saturday morning. This means leaving my house at 04:00 to walk to the train station to catch the bus to the airport on time. Since I had a fair bit to accomplish before flying, I decided to just stay up all night, thinking "I can sleep on the plane".

Well, I did manage to sleep on the bus, but the Alps were visible for the flight, so I didn't sleep in favor of looking out the window. I got to my dorm room around 11:00 on Saturday, and spent the rest of the day alternating short naps with useful tasks like buying some food and the all-important uni work.

Since my Thursday/Friday microprobe session had discovered an important phase in one of the samples I'd inherited from a predecessor (a decade before me) it was needful to process all of that new data in record time and revise my poster for the conference this week accordingly. I managed about half of that on Saturday, and did the rest on Sunday morning. Once it was together I brought my computer over to the conference venue (no internet in our rooms, which may be part of why I managed to get the work done so quickly--no distractions other than taking naps as needed) to e-mail my new, improved, poster to the guy organizing the on-site printing. I finished that just on time to attend the opening ceremonies for the conference, and went from there into the Pest city center to meet a couchsurfing friend who had stayed with me when he and a friend visited Milan back in November.

He and I wandered around the city center a bit, looking at interesting buildings and stopping to eat reasonably priced crepes (I had a really yummy spinach-sauce filled one, he opted for the layered stack smothered with chocolate sauce) before we crossed the bridge to the Buda side of the river and climbed the "Castle" hill. They were having a Folk Festival on the "Castle" grounds this weekend, so we enjoyed wandering around looking at booths, listening to folk music, and eating kürtős kalács. As a snack food I pronounced the one I had as too sweet. I ordered the "nut" version, but the sugar-nut mix in which it was rolled, still hot from the coals, was much higher in sugar than in nuts. If I see them again, I'll ask for it plain!

I hadn't really planned on doing any shopping while in town, and when I converted cash at the airport I changed only €50.00, thinking that would be plenty for food for the week. And, indeed, based on what I've spent on *food* so far, that estimate was probably correct. However, there were temptations at the Folk Festival. My first purchase of the day was a large ball of hand-spun wool yarn (maroon colour) for 360.00Ft. Now, that might sound like a lot, but when I gave the woman my €50.00 at the airport, she gave me back 12,190.00Ft. I knew that paying €1.48 that much hand-spun wool was a good deal, so I went for it.

Quite a bit later I was admiring some lovely mugs in the perfect shade of blue, with pretty Celtic triangle spiral decorations that were very tempting, but I don't need mugs--I never use them, since I drink my water out of either a water bottle with a drinking top, or my CamelBack pack. If she'd had bowls in that style, I'd have gotten one. However, I then noticed that she had butter dishes! I love this sort of dish--they keep the butter fresh outside of the fridge, which means that it is easily spreadable. The ones have had before didn't have those two holes in them, which mean that it is important to put only a little water in the bottom of the dish, or the air can't escape when you put the lid into the base. This sort means that you can fill the water deep enough to actually be in contact with the butter, which, on a hot day, will be a very good thing for keeping the butter cold enough not to melt. From there I then checked a variety of wood merchants till I found one selling butter knives, so that I could start using the dish this week, rather than waiting till I get home. (the dish was 3,000, and the knife 250, which means I'm out just over 13 euros for the pair).

At that point I was down to about 1,700Ft. in my wallet, and thinking I should be done spending money. And then I saw the potter with the black wares. After drooling on the various size and shaped pitchers he had (I've been wanting one for feasts for ages), the cheapest of which was 2,000Ft. I wandered off, intending to go home without one, since I didn't have the cash on me. I got perhaps 100 meters before I decided to go ask at the info booth for a cash machine. Sure enough, there was one on site, so I went back and got this one:

black pitcher

Alas, the potter spoke no English, and I found his booth after my friend had had to depart to meet someone else, so I have no idea of what style this is. It looks historical to me, but I have no idea what century or culture, if any, apply. If any of you happen to recognize this style and can tell me anything about it, I would appreciate it.

I was also tempted by a cute pair of pointy-toed leather shoes that would have been fine for SCA events, but when I got cash I didn't get enough to cover shoes, too, and decided that I didn't *need* them. Particularly as I plan to seek out the Birkenstock shop later this week to replace my close-toed Birks, since I managed to lose one in the Dublin airport on my way home from Ireland. I didn't notice that it had come unhooked from the outside of my pack until after I'd gone through the "no return" doors, so couldn't go back and look for it. While the security guy said he looked, I don't think he was as careful about the search as I would have been.

Alas, by the time I got home from Sunday's lectures it was too late to get into the conference building to check my mail.

This morning I went to lectures on the History of Geology, and plan to attend the session on pretty minerals this evening. Right now is the poster session, and I should probably wander around that soon.

(edited to add: follow the butter dish link above to all of the photos on facebook from my trip so far, if you like that sort of thing)
kareina: (me)
Tuesday’s good news was that my latest experiment was a success  )

Wednesday was a long day— starting with expensive lessons )

The second train was uneventful—it is a slower travelling regional train, and as such the tickets don’t have dates or times printed on them at all—you buy the ticket when you want, and then take the train at whatever day/time suits you—so long as you are going to and from the station marked, it is all good. However, these trains don’t have electricity, so instead of doing uni work I spent the 1.5 hours working on a nålbinding project instead.

Once I arrived in Siena click here to see links to the path I took and the path I meant to take, and the story behind it all )

My meeting itself was very nice. story of whom I met and what I saw )But despite the many e-mails exchanged over the years, we hadn’t yet met in person, which is why I did this trip.

Why didn’t I go sooner? Well, when I first arrived in Italy I was out of cash, so couldn’t afford to go. Then I was travelling lots and didn’t seem to have time for extra trips. Eventually I realized that my travel schedule wasn’t going to slow down, and if I wanted to go meet her, I’d better just do it.
Some of the highlights of the visit, besides simply visiting with these people in person (and very much enjoying their company) include seeing their Antartic Museum, their TEM, and their machine for doing Raman spectroscopy.

The explained to me that the pretty building housing the Dipartimento di Scienze Della Terra was built ~200 years ago to house the school of Anatomy, which is why there is a tunnel connecting the building with the cemetery at the end of the block—to make it easy for the students to obtain their research materials.

After a delightful afternoon more missadventures )

The good news is that since I had to purchase that new ticket, I made a point of asking the ticket guy for the next possible train. Therefore, instead of taking the 19:18 to Firenze followed by the 21:14 to Milano (with 16 minutes at the station during which to change trains), which was scheduled to arrive in Milano at 00:05, I wound up taking the 18:18 to Firenze and the 21:00 to Milano (which got me to Milano at 22:45, so I had time to walk home (30 minutes), do yoga, and get ready for bed before the train I thought I’d be taking arrived in town.

but while in Frienze I bought some yummy cookies )—not something I can say about most store-bought cookies.)

Thursday I slept in to 8:30 (hey, compared to Wednesday, that was sleeping in!) and didn’t do much beyond Uni work, searching Couchsurfing for places to stay in Norway next week, going to a grocery store, and catching up on reading e-mail, LJ, Facebook, and blogs (since I hadn’t been on line at all on Wednesday, that took a while).

Today I’ve accomplished more uni work, more couchsearches, and typing up this week’s adventures. next week I go to Norway )

Once I return from that trip I’ll need to download the next experiment right away, since I’ve got more microprobe time booked for that week, and the following week [livejournal.com profile] aelfgyfu arrives and we set out in a rental car for Drachenwald Coronation.

No, I am not certain it ever does slow down, really…

(I had thought to upload photos tonight, but it has gotten to be too late, so that part will have to wait.)
kareina: (me)
Tuesday’s good news was that my latest experiment was a success  )

Wednesday was a long day— starting with expensive lessons )

The second train was uneventful—it is a slower travelling regional train, and as such the tickets don’t have dates or times printed on them at all—you buy the ticket when you want, and then take the train at whatever day/time suits you—so long as you are going to and from the station marked, it is all good. However, these trains don’t have electricity, so instead of doing uni work I spent the 1.5 hours working on a nålbinding project instead.

Once I arrived in Siena click here to see links to the path I took and the path I meant to take, and the story behind it all )

My meeting itself was very nice. story of whom I met and what I saw )But despite the many e-mails exchanged over the years, we hadn’t yet met in person, which is why I did this trip.

Why didn’t I go sooner? Well, when I first arrived in Italy I was out of cash, so couldn’t afford to go. Then I was travelling lots and didn’t seem to have time for extra trips. Eventually I realized that my travel schedule wasn’t going to slow down, and if I wanted to go meet her, I’d better just do it.
Some of the highlights of the visit, besides simply visiting with these people in person (and very much enjoying their company) include seeing their Antartic Museum, their TEM, and their machine for doing Raman spectroscopy.

The explained to me that the pretty building housing the Dipartimento di Scienze Della Terra was built ~200 years ago to house the school of Anatomy, which is why there is a tunnel connecting the building with the cemetery at the end of the block—to make it easy for the students to obtain their research materials.

After a delightful afternoon more missadventures )

The good news is that since I had to purchase that new ticket, I made a point of asking the ticket guy for the next possible train. Therefore, instead of taking the 19:18 to Firenze followed by the 21:14 to Milano (with 16 minutes at the station during which to change trains), which was scheduled to arrive in Milano at 00:05, I wound up taking the 18:18 to Firenze and the 21:00 to Milano (which got me to Milano at 22:45, so I had time to walk home (30 minutes), do yoga, and get ready for bed before the train I thought I’d be taking arrived in town.

but while in Frienze I bought some yummy cookies )—not something I can say about most store-bought cookies.)

Thursday I slept in to 8:30 (hey, compared to Wednesday, that was sleeping in!) and didn’t do much beyond Uni work, searching Couchsurfing for places to stay in Norway next week, going to a grocery store, and catching up on reading e-mail, LJ, Facebook, and blogs (since I hadn’t been on line at all on Wednesday, that took a while).

Today I’ve accomplished more uni work, more couchsearches, and typing up this week’s adventures. next week I go to Norway )

Once I return from that trip I’ll need to download the next experiment right away, since I’ve got more microprobe time booked for that week, and the following week [livejournal.com profile] aelfgyfu arrives and we set out in a rental car for Drachenwald Coronation.

No, I am not certain it ever does slow down, really…

(I had thought to upload photos tonight, but it has gotten to be too late, so that part will have to wait.)
kareina: (me)
I am now back in Milan after six fun, but busy, days in Zürich. [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t and I arrived on Sunday afternoon, and wandered around town a bit after checking into the hotel and scouted out the classroom for the writing workshop I was attending to ensure arriving on time in the morning.

Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday the course ran from 9:00 to 17:45, with breaks for lunch and coffee at regular intervals. Wednesday was a writing day--where we took the information we'd gotten on the first two days and did new, improved, abstracts and a couple of other assignments before getting feedback on them on Thursday. It was a fun class, and I learned a fair bit. There were 10 of us in the class. We are all part of the c2c research group. The others are all PhD students, I'm the only c2c post-doc who took advantage of this opportunity this time. This was my first chance to meet most of these people, since we come from all over. One is at the Uni in Zürich (and so he got lots of extra duties with set up and printing things for us), one came down from Trondheim, Norway, a couple were over from France. One guy is from Ireland, but I'm not certain if that is where he's studying. I don't recall where the others are from.

We will all be attending the meeting in Norway in June, so it will be nice to already know this many people before that trip. We spent a good part of the time reading and revising abstracts on our current research, so I know have a good idea of what each of us is studying, so this class was not only useful in terms of providing a number of useful tools for writing papers, it also was fablous in getting to know my classmates and what they study.

The focus of the course was in using the techniques of the scientific method for planning an entire project, from the initial project idea, through submitting a proposal for funding through to publishing paper(s) on the results. For me the single most useful "trick" she shared for organizing the paper itself was what she calls the "zoom" exercise. Just as a camera can zoom in to various levels of detail, so we may look at our projects with different levels of detail. The assignment has us first writing *one* sentance each for the following sections/questions:

Introduction (why did I start?)
Materials and Methods (what did I do?)
Results (what did I find?)
Discussion (what does it mean?)

The form included a box for each section wherein we can put things which we wanted to include, but simply don't fit in a single sentence.

After doing that we repeat it, but this time first choose a target audience, write down who it is, then write *three* sentences for each section (with room for notes about what won't fit). If you'd like additional practice, choose a different target audience, and write three sentences for each section for the new audience, and see how different they are. Finally repeat it one last time (this time setting the target audience = the readers of the journal to which you'd like to submit the paper), but this time, instead of sentences, you get five bullet points you can include under each section. There is your outline.

Another *really* useful tool is the domino trick I wrote about in my other blog a couple of days ago.) (Our teacher is *very* fond of metaphors--one of our assignments was to come up with a metaphor to explain our research (or one aspect therof) to non-scientists.)

After the class ended on Thursday [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t and caught a tram to one of the outlying parts of the city, where we met a delightful lady we'd met through couchsurfing. We had a very nice evening visiting with her and meeting some of her friends. This morning she had to leave for work bright and early, so we took the tram back into the city center (which I quite like, by the way--it is clean and pretty, the old buildings are in good repair and quite elegant, the people seem friendly, and I was very happy to wander around town during breaks and time off all week). We had thought to go to the museum, which is directly across the street from the train station, but we were out of cash and they wouldn't take my bank card (the tram costs 4 Swiss Francs each way!).

So we left our luggage at the museum and wandered off in search of an ATM. Before we found one we found a clothing shop with some reasonably cute clothes in natural fibres, and after trying on a number of items I wound up with a pair of black linen trousers and a blue shirt. By then we had little more than an hour before our train was due at the station, so we went back to the museum, picked up our luggage and returned to the mall under the train tracks (we'd thought to hang out in the lovely park along the river by the museum, but it had started raining). The logic had been that it wouldn't be worth spending 18 Swiss Francs for only an hour in the museum. It would have been *much* cheaper if we had. In addition the first stop we also found me a couple of t-shirts in a flattering cut--one in a beautiful shade of navy blue (of course!), and the other in a nice shade of purple (because they didn't have black in my size in that style and my wardrobe is kind of lacking in anything other than dark blue and black now that the couple of maroon items I own are wearing out). At yet another store we bought me a couple of pairs of cotton leggings. All of these clothing purchases was in addition to a nice very light-weight black cotton-silk top I bought earlier in the week because "summer is coming, and it is going to be hot".

Yes, I know, me, shopping? Yes, miracles do happen, sometimes. I shouldn't have to do that again for years...

All in all I really like Zürich. Yes, it is expensive, but it is also pretty. The university has a great feel to it, and the geology department has a truly amazing museum which just anyone can wander in to. If any of you ever get to Zürich, you need to check it out--not only do they have really, really nice display on gems, minerals, and rocks, they have some lovely models of various mountains in the Alps, including their geology, they've got a huge globe with a projector inside of it which plays a video of plate tectonics in action--it is cool to watch the continents break apart and re-form in different configurations in three dimensions. They've also got an earthquake simulation room (by appointment only) which is quite fun.

After a week spent in a town where cars don't use their horns and buildings are clean and shiny it was a bit of a shock to return to the sounds and sights of Milan. I love my job, and find many things to enjoy about being here, but I keep traveling places I'd like even better...
kareina: (me)
I am now back in Milan after six fun, but busy, days in Zürich. [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t and I arrived on Sunday afternoon, and wandered around town a bit after checking into the hotel and scouted out the classroom for the writing workshop I was attending to ensure arriving on time in the morning.

Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday the course ran from 9:00 to 17:45, with breaks for lunch and coffee at regular intervals. Wednesday was a writing day--where we took the information we'd gotten on the first two days and did new, improved, abstracts and a couple of other assignments before getting feedback on them on Thursday. It was a fun class, and I learned a fair bit. There were 10 of us in the class. We are all part of the c2c research group. The others are all PhD students, I'm the only c2c post-doc who took advantage of this opportunity this time. This was my first chance to meet most of these people, since we come from all over. One is at the Uni in Zürich (and so he got lots of extra duties with set up and printing things for us), one came down from Trondheim, Norway, a couple were over from France. One guy is from Ireland, but I'm not certain if that is where he's studying. I don't recall where the others are from.

We will all be attending the meeting in Norway in June, so it will be nice to already know this many people before that trip. We spent a good part of the time reading and revising abstracts on our current research, so I know have a good idea of what each of us is studying, so this class was not only useful in terms of providing a number of useful tools for writing papers, it also was fablous in getting to know my classmates and what they study.

The focus of the course was in using the techniques of the scientific method for planning an entire project, from the initial project idea, through submitting a proposal for funding through to publishing paper(s) on the results. For me the single most useful "trick" she shared for organizing the paper itself was what she calls the "zoom" exercise. Just as a camera can zoom in to various levels of detail, so we may look at our projects with different levels of detail. The assignment has us first writing *one* sentance each for the following sections/questions:

Introduction (why did I start?)
Materials and Methods (what did I do?)
Results (what did I find?)
Discussion (what does it mean?)

The form included a box for each section wherein we can put things which we wanted to include, but simply don't fit in a single sentence.

After doing that we repeat it, but this time first choose a target audience, write down who it is, then write *three* sentences for each section (with room for notes about what won't fit). If you'd like additional practice, choose a different target audience, and write three sentences for each section for the new audience, and see how different they are. Finally repeat it one last time (this time setting the target audience = the readers of the journal to which you'd like to submit the paper), but this time, instead of sentences, you get five bullet points you can include under each section. There is your outline.

Another *really* useful tool is the domino trick I wrote about in my other blog a couple of days ago.) (Our teacher is *very* fond of metaphors--one of our assignments was to come up with a metaphor to explain our research (or one aspect therof) to non-scientists.)

After the class ended on Thursday [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t and caught a tram to one of the outlying parts of the city, where we met a delightful lady we'd met through couchsurfing. We had a very nice evening visiting with her and meeting some of her friends. This morning she had to leave for work bright and early, so we took the tram back into the city center (which I quite like, by the way--it is clean and pretty, the old buildings are in good repair and quite elegant, the people seem friendly, and I was very happy to wander around town during breaks and time off all week). We had thought to go to the museum, which is directly across the street from the train station, but we were out of cash and they wouldn't take my bank card (the tram costs 4 Swiss Francs each way!).

So we left our luggage at the museum and wandered off in search of an ATM. Before we found one we found a clothing shop with some reasonably cute clothes in natural fibres, and after trying on a number of items I wound up with a pair of black linen trousers and a blue shirt. By then we had little more than an hour before our train was due at the station, so we went back to the museum, picked up our luggage and returned to the mall under the train tracks (we'd thought to hang out in the lovely park along the river by the museum, but it had started raining). The logic had been that it wouldn't be worth spending 18 Swiss Francs for only an hour in the museum. It would have been *much* cheaper if we had. In addition the first stop we also found me a couple of t-shirts in a flattering cut--one in a beautiful shade of navy blue (of course!), and the other in a nice shade of purple (because they didn't have black in my size in that style and my wardrobe is kind of lacking in anything other than dark blue and black now that the couple of maroon items I own are wearing out). At yet another store we bought me a couple of pairs of cotton leggings. All of these clothing purchases was in addition to a nice very light-weight black cotton-silk top I bought earlier in the week because "summer is coming, and it is going to be hot".

Yes, I know, me, shopping? Yes, miracles do happen, sometimes. I shouldn't have to do that again for years...

All in all I really like Zürich. Yes, it is expensive, but it is also pretty. The university has a great feel to it, and the geology department has a truly amazing museum which just anyone can wander in to. If any of you ever get to Zürich, you need to check it out--not only do they have really, really nice display on gems, minerals, and rocks, they have some lovely models of various mountains in the Alps, including their geology, they've got a huge globe with a projector inside of it which plays a video of plate tectonics in action--it is cool to watch the continents break apart and re-form in different configurations in three dimensions. They've also got an earthquake simulation room (by appointment only) which is quite fun.

After a week spent in a town where cars don't use their horns and buildings are clean and shiny it was a bit of a shock to return to the sounds and sights of Milan. I love my job, and find many things to enjoy about being here, but I keep traveling places I'd like even better...

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