Category Archives: Sweden

Sweden meets Terror with Love

Should I write about this horrible thing that happened in Stockholm this Friday?
A city I lived in for eight years and know very well. I have walked that street many times, I have been just inside that shop-window that the truck crashed into. One of my favourite cafés is on Drotninggatan where the truck drove.drottninggatan-jpg

I read today that one of the casualties was 11 years old. She walked that street every day from school to the subway.
The authorities were extremely meticulous when identifying the dead and injured so her parents didn’t know if she was just missing or if it was worse, until Sunday.

The Swedish people met terror with love.polis-nalle-jpg

I am immensely proud of my fellow swedes! Since the subway and busses stopped running and the city was closed, lots of people had to walk home. The hashtag #openstockholm was created where people invited the affected to their homes if they were stranded or felt unsafe, and others helped drive people home.

The Royal Family and the Prime Minister showed their respect with flowers at the site.

This Saturday people were leaving flowers for the people involved, and also to the police to honour their work.
Police Car With flowers

And today, Sunday, there was a huge manifestation of love, where thousands of people came to support each other and feel united.DRkkdMg7RyL1f7AAkP_TcePRXVM

I wonder if I am one of those people who freezes in the face of danger or takes action. I will never know until it happens, hopefully I will never know.

Swedes Meet Terror With LoveHaving Aspergers is hard in a situation like this. I have trouble shielding myself from these sad horrible feelings, and it is leaving me exhausted. I can’t watch a news show about it, feel sad and then move on. It sits with me and fester. Its doing no one any good.
But in the shadow of this terrible event I feel only love towards my fellow human beings, and grief for those affected.

 

I guess I had to write about it.


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Through Sweden, With Spring

Since I feel a bit like crap, but contented crap, if there is such a thing, after hosting a fabulous birthday party for 15 people I love very much, as an aspie and introvert, that is a bit draining and I have mostly been sleeping since, I will share some of the pictures I took (mostly from the car) on our recent trip to Stockholm. Even though you can just barely see the spring arriving, it’s still beautiful.

Lovely weather on the way home there. Obviously these are non edited pictures taken with an Iphone, but still. I love to live in a country where there are lots of open spaces, countryside, fields, lakes, animals and forests.

Driving through swedenThe winter is so hard, so dark and so depressing this far north, but that makes the coming of spring so much bigger and such a huge miracle! The first tussilago = coltsfoot flowers along the roadsides are truly a thing to marvel about, to take pictures of and carefully pick one or two, but leave most for others to see. And then spring sort of slowly explode, plant by plant. I have so many spring-flowering plants in my garden because of this, lilac, rhododendron, and daffodils to name a few, spring is my favourite season, f**k the hay feever!


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Vegan Chocolate Birthday Cake

Vegan Chocolate CakeI love baking, a bit to much, because someone has to eat it all. But since I became vegan I had to redo or find new recipes to fill in the gaps of old favourites.
I have a good vanilla sponge cake covered, but for my birthday, today when this is published 🙂 , I wanted chocolate! Yum!

The best base for my chocolate cake that I found was a “depression” or “crazy” cake, which I tweaked a bit to fit my needs.

Vegan Chocolate Cake

Its called a depression cake because it was invented by crafty housewives during the depression in the United States when there was no eggs, butter or milk, instead it uses vinegar and baking soda to make the batter rise.

Vegan Chocolate Birthday Cake

I aded a shot of espresso and a generous amount of vanilla.

Vegan Chocolate Birthday Cake

The frosting was tricky. I tried ganache, turns out I’m not that fond of ganache. I didn’t want a buttercream, or a chocolate buttercream. So I turned to an old favourite again and made it vegan.
Its the frosting for a Swedish classic cake called “kärleksmums” roughly translated, with the help from my Swedish vegan friends, Loveyums!

Vegan Chocolate Birthday Cake
Kärleksmums – Loveyums

Its a chocolate cake you make a big batch of in a pan, drizzle this lovely chocolate/coffee icing on, and then sprinkle it with shaved coconut. The icing is the best part.
Its served in squares with traditional strong Swedish coffee, if you can see through it, its not coffee.

Its always a good idea to line your cake pan with parchment paper.

I made two separate cakes and layered them with frosting in the middle. And I artistically chose to just ad coconut to the edges.

Vegan Chocolate Cake, with Coffee Frosting

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Time: 40 min
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Perfect for a birthday cake or when you just need that chocolate kick.


I made two of these cakes to get the double layer cake I made here, the frosting recipe was enough for the whole thing, but if you want a lot of frosting or be really sure you wont run out, make a double batch. Then it serves at least 15.

Chocolate Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups of flour
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp pure ground vanilla powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 shot of espresso plus water to make 1 cup
  • 5 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar

Directions

  1. Set oven to 350F or 175C.
  2. Butter and line you baking pan with parchment paper.
  3. Whisk the cake ingredients together, sift the flower if you feel like it, and spread/pour the batter in an about 28 cm baking pan.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  5. Let cool before frosting and decorating.

Coffee Frosting

  • 60 g vegan butter
  • 5 tbsp strong coffee, start with four, and ad the fifth if needed
  • 6 dl confectioners sugar, adjust to get the consistency you want
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp pure ground vanilla powder

Decoration

  • shredded coconut

Directions

  1. Melt vegan butter.
  2. Mix with the rest of the frosting ingredients.
  3. Spread between the layers, if you are doing layers, and on the cooled cake.
  4. Decorate with shaved coconut in any way you want, let your creativity loose!


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The 100 Days Project

100daysproject1I am all exited, I am going to take part in the 100 days project, now what is this you ask. Its described as “A wonderfully simple, and deceptively challenging project.
If you sign up to take part in the project, you agree to these two simple rules:

  1. You will repeat a simple creative task every day for the duration.
  2. You will record each days effort.

It’s that simple, and that difficult!
Choose one creative ‘exercise’, and then repeat it every day for 100 days.
Record each daily effort and see what evolves in the work and in the self over time.”
You can read more on 100 days project website here, and you sign up here.

This year it starts on the 22 of May and ends 100 days later on the 29th of August, so there is time to think about what to do and plan it out to make things run smoothly. Apparently not even 50% of the participants finish, I can understand that, 100 days is a very very long time. But I can see, in the projects of those who finish that they have reached something, something new that wasn’t there before. I want to try!
I have aded a countdown to the left, that for now counts down to the start and later will count the 100 days.

But
I’m not sure if I am a:
100 days blogger,
100 days jeweller,
100 days photographer,
100 days painter/doodler or sketcher

I think I’m going back to what I love and is actually educated as, a contemporary jeweller. And if I have until May 22, I’ll have time to set up my jewellers bench and get some supplies. If there is going to be a chance that I will last the 100 days it has to be “quick and dirty” jewellery, with lots of materials on hand.

One contemporary jewellery piece a day.

I also need some sort of unpredictable daily inspiration delivery, a word, a picture or something similar that I can base the days work on. And I don’t want to be able to know anything beforehand, then I will start dwelling and thinking about it when I should sleep, and it will take up all my time.

Something like:

  • The 8th word in the first column in a certain web newspaper
  • A word of the day mail service
  • Words my family tear out of a local newspaper and put in a box for me to draw each day
  • 100 objects found in a flea-market
  • An inspiring word a day from my readers
  • A word from a randomly chosen page in a really thick book

Any suggestions on this?

blur-old-antique-book

Since I’m going to record this project here on my blog, Im not sure If I will be able to write as normal at the same time, the blog might be totally over run by the project. Or maybe it will do me good to blog as usual as well. We will have to see. Hopefully you will like the content. I am at least very exited to be working artistically again, I even dreamed about it last night. 🙂 I have missed it so much and I think this will be a way for me to kickstart my artistic work in the butt.

It would be wonderful to have an exhibition of some sort when/if the 100 days are over. That will also be a great incentive to actually finish. The base of the 100 days project is in New Zealand so I can’t really be apart of that, except virtually. But I was thinking about renting a space for a weekend or so either in Gothenburg, Alingsås or Tollered, and if there are any one else close to me who is participating also, maybe we can exhibit together! That would be so much fun!

pexels-photo-2

Here are some great inspiration from the 2016 100 days:

Kerryn did 100 Mini Creatures:

100 Vessels:

100 Abstractions drawn from objects:

Joni Murphy’s 100 imagined worlds:

And here is New Zealand graphic designer Emma Rogan, that started the 100 Days Project after reading about a class called ‘100 Days of Design’ – run by Michael Bierut at Yale School of Visual Arts, on TedTalks


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The Car as a Safe Place (New Car!)

Wednesday BNC (Before New Car):

We are getting a new car! I am so exited, I am so exited! “Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow, you’re only a day a waaaaaaay!” does it show?

Our current lovely car is a teeny tiny Toyota Aygo, that has been a great car for us and that I have felt very safe and at home in. We got it eight (wow is it really so long ago) years ago when we were living in Bredäng, a suburb of Stockholm.
It is a fantastic little city car. Not so much a forest car though.
It is blue and the thing is that it has absolutely no extras, it has negative extras, it is practically bare. Which is a good thing, because that means that a really nice, though small, car, had a comparatively low price, low weigh = good mileage, and is quite big on the inside (since there isn’t anything else in there).
Seriously it does not even have a glove box, it has a glove “shelf”. 🙂

aygo2

Don’t misunderstand me, I really love this car. It quickly became a safe place outside my home, and has made it possible for me to go places that I could not before. We could not have found our house and the one before without it, and we could not have lived a bit remote, like we want to.
It has made going shopping so easy, except for the getting the stuff we bought actually inside the car and home, but its surprising how good you get at gauging what can fit and “tetrising” things inside it. We have brought home a sizeable coffee table, a small desk, five rhododendron plants and know the exact length from the dashboard to the trunk door, for cutting pieces of wood at the lumber yard. Actually the things that has stopped us from getting things in there most often, is the size of the door openings.

This has been a great car, and it has not given us any trouble what so ever during these eight years, until a few weeks ago when the exhaust pipe got loose and rattly, which apparently is quite common and was easily fixed. We have called it little snail, the new car will be called Monster (Monstret), why will become evident very soon.

Thursday ANC (After New Car):

This morning we got up horribly early and got a ride from my parents to the car dealer, and after a lot of door openings, button pushing and paper signing we drove home in our brand new, literally its a 2017, red Skoda Yeti. Yeti = a Monster. 🙂

The new Skoda Yeti in red.

I love the aesthetics of this car, I like a high car and we were also thinking about a few other models with a similar profile. The Toyota Aygo is actually a quite high car too, despite its tinyness, and that was one thing that attracted me to it, also that we could actually afford it at the time. 😉

skoda-yeti-monte-carlo-available-with-12-tsi-and-110-hp-20-tdi_6

To change it up we went with red, and it is a lovely true red. Skoda calls it a mini SUV and it is comparatively huge and filled with extra things.
This one does not have a glove “shelf” it has a glove compartment that chills your drink! It has little storage places everywhere, as the picture below shows, all the orange are storage.  And it came with (excepting all the normal car stuff) a first aid kit, a reflective vest and an umbrella!

We have at least double the trunk space now and you can fold down or completely remove the back seats if you need to move something really huge. Also you can actually sit in the back seats, the ones in the Aygo were more for decoration. It has comfortable seats and it isolates the sounds of the road a bit better.

On huge difference though, we are leasing this car.
We know nothing about cars, and we really don’t want to know anything about cars, more than the parts that deal with driving the thing and simple maintenance. We don’t want to figure out what its worth later on when we need to sell it, or what that blinking red light wants us to do!
Now we don’t have to bother with any of that stuff, if there is anything wrong we just call a number, we know exactly what we have to pay and they do all the service and tire changing and red blinking light fixings.

yeti-mc-design-01

I feel really good about this car, it suits us here in the forest. We can rent a trailer and get firewood from my parents place. It can make it up the hills even when it is dirt roads or snowy in the winter. I think I will feel that “second home” feeling in this one too. Especially since we can bring more stuff and go on longer and more comfortable drives. I am hoping to take some small trips around beautiful Sweden this summer, which is a bit of a big deal for me as an aspie who needs her home base.


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How To Sleep

Do you know, because I certainly don’t?
(Well I do now, but that’s the whole point of the post so, shhhh!)

It is about three in the morning and I know I’m out of my melatonin sleeping pills so I don’t really want to go to bed until I’m really tired. So what better time to address this thing called sleeping.

I have never been a good sleeper, I’m a great napper though, probably because I’m so bad at sleeping at night. That’s my story, not the other way around, and I’m sticking to it!
No, seriously I have a hard time falling asleep and just as hard a time waking up, if it’s not in the middle of the night, then I’ll wake up just fine!
Also, I work best on a late timetable and need about 9-10 hours of sleep so about 2 at night to 10-12 in the late morning is quite good, that is if I have the melatonin pills, which I don’t…
It’s just bad planning on my part, I just have to go get them at the pharmacy.
I used to look forward to my extremely painful periods, because I got to take kodein and sleep for about three nights, a month! Pathetic.

night-television-tv-theme-machines

A few years ago this not sleeping very well thing accelerated to insomnia, and there was about six months where I was totally out of it, not sleeping at night and walking around like a zombie and taking micro naps all day.
After a while you lose the ability to do anything useful and you actually start becoming a bit dangerous, like with knives, driving and things like that. And I’m wobbly at the best of times, so there was a lot of stumbling and falling over.
When you were little you fell all the time and you mostly stood up and continued what you were doing, maybe after a cuddle from a parent, but now that you are an adult there is a certain hight to the falls, it hurts and you have to act all adult and stuff. 😦

Well anyway, I had my aspergers diagnosis and I was seeing a doctor regularly so she just said, ok we have to make sure you sleep before we do anything else! Such a great decision!
We tried sleeping pills that makes you just “fall asleep” and wear of quite quickly, which works great for a lot of people who has trouble turning off their thoughts at night. But for me it just ment that I woke up again two hours later… just as not sleepy as usual.
Then we tried a more advanced sleeping pill that makes you really sleep all night, but that made me even more groggy and hard to wake up in the morning, no good.
Then finally, we tried melatonin, our brain’s own sleeping hormone, and it’s just totally fantastic! The reason we tried the other ones first is that this is not covered by the standard Swedish healthcare discount that everyone gets when they reach a certain amount per year, so its comparatively expensive. But oh, so worth it! I had never slept so good before. It takes about an hour to kick in, so I take it, do my before bed routine, brush my teeth and watch a little YouTube in bed, then I can just snuggle down, turn on an audiobook and actually fall asleep! This is totally a miracle for me, I had never experienced this before!

pexels-photo-2 copy

So, I said I “had” never slept so good before, I still had the very nasty habit of waking up with a full-blown panic attack now and then. So horrible, because you totally miss the starting signs of an attack, where you can try to calm yourself out of it. When you wake up with it full on, you sort of just have to ride it out, and it takes a while for me to recognise that it is a panic attack and not the end of the world. Every time.
Luckily I have my husband that sleepily sits beside me and says “breathe, it will pass, breathe”. 🙂

So, then the, now new, (I hade moved) doctor and I had to deal with this problem.
I now take Lyrica, the active ingredient is pregabalin and is used for general anxiety problems and epilepsy! well, it works, and a low dose of a sedative, stesolid which is a benzodiazepine such as Valium.

Now, this is as good as I have ever slept! And as a bonus I have about 90% fewer panic attacks. I still live with general anxiety disorder and I still do have panic attacks, but I also have medication that actually helps! And I hate taking medication, so I am a very good patient when it comes to not getting addicted and asking for a higher and higher dose.

medications-money-cure-tablets-50997

As for the waking up part, I still struggle with that, and I have tried some crazy alarm clocks, but I seem to outsmart or ignore them all.
I did try an ADD medicine for a while, and that was an extremely low dose of something similar to amphetamine (no point in hiding that), the pharmacy people had to go get it in the locked cabinet, and that worked, but at night when it was out of my system I got horribly depressed. And I decided I’d live with the sluggishness and be happy that I could finally sleep.

Ok, im going to try to sleep now… I still have my sedative, so I wont be anxious.
I hope you like the new theme!

Goodnight.

full-moon-moon-night-sky-53153


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