Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Saturday, January 24, 2009
This is how it look, now that we´ve started to use our new bathroom. If feels great and even though it's a few details left to finish, the big work is completed. We added a bit less than 2 square meters to the bathroom but it feels much bigger! We´ve added an extra sink and a niche for the laundry machine.
We have floor heating (electricity) but it´s not on yet.
Our towel dryer, next to the bath tub, gives you a warm towel after the morning shower!
In the hallway, the new door to the master bedroom is almost finished. Later on the new wall will get new paint or wallpaper, just as well as our bedroom walls.
We have still to pay for this improvement, but it feels well worth it. We have absolutely improved the living in this house.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Ah, happy days! We have a new president! Georgie Bush looked like he just ate a lemon there on the podium, did he even smile once? And change is in the air! It is OK to be liberal, intellectual, practical, curious, scientific, pacific, caring, knowledgable and well-informed, again. Out with the old greedy, fakely patriotic, stupid, non-Googling president and administration. The new administration's website is already up, see whitehouse.gov (which has links to Youtube and a blog).
From Obama's inauguration peace (my bolds):
"For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus - and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace."
This is the biggest change in politics I have ever lived through, and it feels great! Bush is gone! And he mentioned non-believers and pacifists. I feel included in a way that is a totally new feeling.
Some other thoughts:
- Laura Bush had the mousiest colored jacket and skirt I have ever seen. Dirty white.
- CNN and C-SPAN both crashed on-line - didn't they expect 100 million viewers online?
- Aretha Franklin's hat looked like a giant sparkling moth.
- The republican Supreme Court judge said the presidential oath wrong. The liberal Supreme Court judge said the vice-presidential oath right.
- It looked cold to be out there in Washington DC. But happy cold.
- The best speech was the at the end of the benediction (see here, around 4:30 min). Black, brown, yellow, red, and white - we are all humans.
Monday, January 19, 2009
I am sitting at home on Martin Luther King Day, a holiday here in the US (but some, like PP, have to work anyway), and working on flowers from Colombia, putting firewood in the furnace, and helping the kids to study. Midterm exams are only 3 days away for them. AREA is learning about the great explorers, like Vasco da Gama, the first one that rounded the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa and reached India. Dias had already passed the Cape but turned back.
This is a map of how he sailed and this how it might have looked like. I would not want to sail on those ships. But seeing new land must have been exciting.
PS. EH - Spring is coming nearer, I saw the first starlings ('starar') of the year in our tree outside the kitchen. But now it snows again...
Life is better! If you want to see what is going on in Washington these last days, here is a great photo gallery.
Update - I found this Swedish Obama product too online, here (Epioles took the photo) . Pretty cool! Volvo-driving liberals is an expression here in the US, and this really shows it.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Sometimes it feels like I would rather hibernate over the winter, and I sort of did that today. Woke up this morning with the kids, content as they were playing with their toys, I sat down in the kitchen with a good book, Livstid (=lifetime) by Liza Marklund. Martin came down and we baked some ciabatta, namnam. While the dough was yeasing (do you actually say that?) I continued to read. Some food and other stuff has also been part of the day but the outdoor time was limited to a short period just because I had to install a new element (heater) in our shed to keep the temperature above zero in there. The old one was keeping the temperature at 17 degrees Celcius, no matter what I put the thermostate on. Not very cheap and not very climate friendly either.
It´s dark outside again, no sun was seen today, and as one of my sons said today, "I long for the summer". I can only agree. Now, snowfree as it is, and the ground frozen solid, it´s no fun, except on the lakes where the ice is thick and glorious. I did skate for 40 minutes yesterday, but it was a bit late and the sun disappered behind the woodline and it got cold.
I just read this on another website, and I think it is really true:
By eminent American essayist & Kentucky farmer, Wendell Berry, from the chapter, "The Work of Local Culture," in the 1990 compilation, "What Are People For":
"As local community decays along with local economy, a vast amnesia settles over the countryside. As the exposed and disregarded soil departs with the rains, so local knowledge and local memory move away to the cities or are forgotten under the influence of homogenized salestalk, entertainment, and education. ...Nevertheles, local culture has a value, and part of its value is economic. For example, when a community loses its memory, its members no longer know one another...have never learned one another's stories... People who do not know each other's stories do not trust one another...do not help one another...."
So, know your neighbor and eat locally produced foods. I also think this is true for all places in the world, not just the US.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Monday, January 12, 2009
Friday, January 9, 2009
So how does it feel to be 15 years old? Fifteen years ago you were born in Sweden, in the middle of a wolfishly cold winter (- 20 degrees Celsius for weeks), and your toes were so small. Now they are a little bit bigger, and so are you! Your photos are great - this one for example!
I think I was about 15 when I had my first hamburger ever. I remember it distinctly. A friend and I had taken the train to Stockholm on a day the school was off, and we were just walking around window shopping. It was terribly cold, probably in February, and probably the first time I was in Stockholm without parents. We bought cheap lunch from a 'gatukök' near Slussen, a tiny fast food place that looks on a box in the middle of a square, and I ordered a hamburger ('hamburgare' in Swedish). Even if fast food, this was no McDonalds, which didn't exist in Sweden yet. Instead it was made to order, and I took one bite and it was SO GOOD. I felt really guilty, it was like a sin, ordering a hamburger... (other 'sins' was liking hot dogs and Coca-Cola). I remember thinking that it was supposed to be bad food and I wasn't sure I was going to tell my parents that night or my friends in the environmental group - and I don't remember if I did. I really don't know why hamburgers where considered so bad for you, especially since the many pizza places served much greasier and unhealthier food. Maybe it was bad because it was American? I really don't know, but it definitely had a reputation as food that was bad for you. Now it has all changed, of course. Flame-grilled burgers stuffed with blue cheese and arugula on top, anyone?
Thursday, January 8, 2009
We haven´t used it yet, but it´s nearly finished.
It still lack electricity and some mirrors and cupboards and paint. But most of it is ready for use and it feels luxurious. The pictures don´t give the best impression I´m afraid, I have no picture editing program in my computer right now. I had a computer breakdown and had to reinstall the op.system.
Example of tiles, 20 x 30 cm size. Flooring is also tiles. The towel dryer is connected to the heating system, so it also works like a radiator. We will also have a niche for a washing machine, to the left in the photo.
Hopefully I can take some more photos when it´s all done. In the hallway and our bedroom there is still work left to do, building new closets and putting up wallpaper and such. But we´ll get there! :-)
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Monday, January 5, 2009
A carbon monoxide alarm!
We had a scare at the house tonight. With only the kids at home and me and PP on the way from our work places, the furnace choked and spewed out rotten egg sulfur infested gases in the house with some carbon monoxide, which caused the alarm to go off. The kids called 911 (thanks!) and got out of the house, so when PP and I got home there were firetrucks, ambulance, and police here. Kids were safe, just some oxygen for one of them, and the house had to be aired out. No fire, thank god! The firemen were very confused by our dual wood/oil burner and also by the heat tank of course. After 40 min or so we could go back inside and then the kids and I went off to get Chinese take out for dinner. Nobody was in the mood to cook. Our oil company service guy showed up after 30 min, I guess when you mention fire trucks that they decide they need to be here. The whole oil burning part of the furnace was all full of soot, and it had clogged the exhaust pipe, but it is all cleaned out now. We are not sure why it happened, why the oil burner burned so bad and clogged it up. But thank god that 1) it didn't happen at night, 2) that someone called 911, and 3) that nothing caught on fire. And mainly - I am so happy we have carbon monoxide detectors. If not, the kids could have stayed in the house and get poisoned. So all of you, get carbon monoxide detectors now! Many thanks to our kids AREA and LA, and to the neighbors and local volunteer firemen and EMS too! Thank you, thank you.