Saturday, March 31, 2007

A blue day (WCB)

When you have high hopes and great expectations things have a tendency not to develop as planned and hoped for. My experience when it comes to cats and kittens is that the lower your expectations are the better the outcome will be...

And even if I've had my shares of both joy and sorrow when it comes to cats and kittens, I can't say I grow strong and care less for every time it happens.

And I did have great expectations for Greta's litter, it was going to be her last, I had so hoped for a little cream girl to keep. Well any colour would do, but since cream is yes, créme de la créme, I had my fingers crossed. The days went by, nothing happened... I decided I should get her checked out at the vet's - she was so adamant not to go and I felt more than a pang of guilt forcing her into the carrier...

They didn't notice anything obvious wrong with her at the vet's, the X-ray showed at least two kittens, her condition was good, the blood-tests were fine. She was so stressed out but still a brave girl and I just kept telling myself I did it for her sake...

The vet said the best thing was to go home and just let nature has its course. And if the labour didn't started we were to come back for an ultrasound. So after paying a hefty price for that consultation (it's not the first time I've realised that if you want to make the big bucks veterinarian is one of the occupations one might choose...) we went home to wait...

After a few hours she went into labour, it all happened very quickly and out came a little bluecream one, lifeless. She didn't much care for it and even though I tried to revive the little one, who looked perfectly fine, there just wasn't any signs of life. The first sorrow...

A little while later I realised there was actually a tiny little cream one between her hind legs. She had cared for it and it was all dry and clean and she looked quite proud. But it was just so small, this little cream one, boy or a girl, not ready for this world... The second sorrow.

So that's what became of my high hopes and great expectations - two tiny little creatures who didn't make it. Little Ulla and Ullrik/a. One in a cardboard-box of Anaïs Anaïs-perfume, the other in the Vivienne Westwood Boudoir-box. So completely sad, so tiny that they fit in a small perfume-cardboard box... Which I only kept for the neat purpose of wrapping future gifts in. Instead they became pixie-coffins. Who'll rest in my garden.

I do hope and think that these tiny kitten-souls will find a new harbour one day, until then they play happily on the green fields of Nangijala.

The third sorrow is that Greta is looking for the kittens, her kittens, she went through all that labour and didn't get anything from it. She's miaowing loudly and seeks my company and there's nothing I can do to really, really ease that pain...

And yes I do believe other animals than humans feel pain and sorrow, that they mourn, and it makes me feel even sadder that I can't explain why it happened, it's just nature, that I don't speak her words, that she can't verbalize her pain in my language.

It's been almost exactly one year since we had kittens in house. I had so much looked forward to that. Spring kittens roaming the house and eventually the garden. And instead there's only sorrow and pain. Such a blue day.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

From China with love

This is what a very nice M (that has a certain 007-feeling to it, huh?) brought me, from his business (or was it just that...) trip to China.

I must say, even though I'm very clear on what I do like and don't like, what I think is completely unnecessary, ugly, a waste of resources etc etc he still, after all this time, more than sometimes shows more than a slight dash of cluelessness *which is a very nice way to put it*... Well, I guess everyone can't have an eye for what to shop and not. Perhaps.

And you know that feeling that you really shouldn't be ungrateful, because it was just someone being kind... Even if that someone really ought to know better...

The only thing I put in an order on was the Guerlain KissKiss lipstick #523 - check! Quite lovely both in colour and package plus as usual it smells divine. Maybe this is The One Red lipstick that really will suit me...

Of course I had put in a big order for pearls and stones - I did get some rather nice stones, but in the more personal and small quantity-kind of way. Looks like most of them will be made into jewellery for me, myself and I and noone else. Alas no pearls.

Strange nuts, quite tasty coconut-coffee candy (even if I'm not certain I've got all my teeth intact after eating them...), Chinese tea (that can't go wrong, can it?) of unidentified sort, lipbalm with apple, a pashmina shawl in a lovely green colour (but allow me to be rather sceptical about its pashmina-quality... 70% pashmina and 30% silk, hm, I don't know about that...). Still, so far so good.

But now we have arrived at the point when the things bought just seems to slowly slipsliding downwards - why do I need a box of Hello Kitty with quite awful jellycandy? And a butt-ugly pig-torch in pink plastic? And even if I like SHEmagazine (incl lipgloss) I do not want to have another issue of horrible Glamour-magazine EVER (but I suspect that's something that my dear agent M does know)!! Especially NOT when it comes with a horrific pink summer bag exclusively designed for Glamour by H&M... And no, no, no I do not need a pink plastic wristwatch with catpaws...

Either the years of comrade-Pia-what-to-shop-and-not-indoctrination hasn't worked at all - that male gene is more insubordinate than one might suspect! - or perhaps agent M find great delight in buying these plastic-not-fantastic just for tease sake. I'm not sure which is worse...

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Wash & care

Here are five questions to ponder:

* Why do the washing and care instructions in most bras - and delicate underwear - state handwash or delicate washing - when there´s absolutely no way to get those type of close-to-the-body-worn things clean at such temperatures? It's completely disgusting!

* Why do so many people yawn in public without holding a hand over their mouth? A nasty and rude habit, I don't want to know what you've eaten for breakfast or, in the worst case scenario, have the "pleasure" in having to deal with your bad breath.
* Why don't people care more about their feet? Having to stand yet another summer with those utterly repugnant cheese rind-feet far too many people like to show off in sandals is probably more than I can bear. I hope and pray for the ultimate Easter egg gift to be a foot-file and some nourishing foot-cream.

* Why is it so difficult to find nylonstockings with long enough legs if you're over 1.75 and don't wear size 36? I'm sick and tired of having to wear them half way down to my knees. And when the legs are long enough the nylons are too big = they get that nice wrinkly elephant-legs look. And if, by chance, you find the perfect nylons. Well, of course, they'll soon get out of stock and end up just a bittersweet memory.
* Why does the soap get bedsores in the soap dish?

Anybody got an intelligent answer or two?

PS I too want a fairy godmother and a vanilla chiffondress like Cinderella DS

Time to say goodbye

My friend's dog died last Friday.

He was such an adorable little Schnauzer, so very friendly, cuddly and with an extraordinary personality.

Even if he was nearly 12 years old he showed no obvious signs of old age, and it all happened very suddenly.

Rest in peace, little one.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Tulips and a lack of green fingers

tulpaner 020

are one of my favourite flowers. Perhaps because they seem so unaffected and fresh, simple but yet delicate. They come in so many magnificent shapes, colours and varieties and especially this time of the year I can't seem to get enough of them.

Tulips are considered to be a true spring flower in Sweden, especially around the time of Easter. Soon they'll blossom in my garden too, oh joy! And this year, this autumn I'll remember to put down a few new ones in the dirt myself. So far I've actually just thoroughly enjoyed what the previous owner with green fingers have left for us.

My fingers aren't very green I'm afraid. I have good intentions - and I do come from good green-fingered blood lines of gardeners and garden architects - but I don't seem to have developed that certain greenish fingerspitzgefühl and patience with all things great and beautiful in the garden.

But I do like to have them, and buy them, the flowers, the tulips. When it comes to tulips I like to keep things simple in all that abundance of colour and shape. So I prefer to buy them in orange, pink or purple. And when I'm really daring I mix them... But in the end I'm happy any way I can get them really. I'm not that picky. With tulips.

I also like to keep a vase with fresh tulips on my desk at work, when I can. They bring both splashes of colour, a touch of nature and a reason to take those necessary breaks and contemplate life and its course. Highly recommended!

Even tulips that start to wither are beautiful. And when the time comes to let them move on to greener pastures their petals are strangely wonderful when they lay there in the sink sighing that very last goodbye.

There are also two novels where the story revolves around tulips, that I really recommend. One of them being one of my all-time favourite books; - Powerbook by Jeanette Winterson

the other more of a nice past-time with an interesting story which tells of the tulip-madness in the 17th century Netherlands; Tulip fever by Deborah Moggach.

My four-legged family-members also enjoy a bit of a tulip now and then. As far as I know they don't share my predilection for non-edible literature though. No matter how many stories of tulips that might hide between the covers.

Monday, March 26, 2007

A new kind of discrimination

Can't help but finding this very new kind of discrimination hilarious;

a Stockholmian with excellent skills and recommendations can't get at job at a company in Skåne (the very south of Sweden) due to just that fact, that he comes from Stockholm and because of that obviously oozes too much confidence.

Apparently Stockholmians are concidered to be rather self-important in the province of Skåne. Even the words "Stockholm" and "Stockholmians" are concidered to be bad language in Skåne. Perhaps even something you say to frighten small children?

Believe me, this is news to me, I'd even go as far as to say it's earthshaking news, but in the province of Skåne they're said to take great pride in a timid attitude and a quiet personality.

I'm sorry, but now I'm doubled up with laughter! Since my experience of the Skåneians (a new word in the Practica Pia!) is quite the opposite - they take up a lot of space, talk very loudly in a nearly incomprehensive dialect and oozes a lot of self-importance.

Of course there are exceptions to my very personal rule, but still, generally speaking I tend to stick to my "prejudice" about Skåneians. It's a beautiful and lush province, I just wish those southerners could learn to speak proper Swedish...

But apart from that dialectal problem, well I wouldn't go as far as to discriminate someone when it comes to a job-interview, when he/she has excellent skills and recommendations just because he's from Skåne... And guess what, I'm even broad-minded enough to have both bought and sold cats to Skåne *see me ooze with pride and self-importance*

The union-representative won't take this matter any further, since Stockholmians aren't concidered to be an ethnic minority.

Even if I can't stop giggling about this - I'm even thinking it must be pre-April Fool's day-joke - perhaps it also got a more serious angle to it. If people are so overflowing with prejudice against people from different provinces inside one country, where basically the only difference is the dialect, then it's no surprise that other kind of prejudices blossom.

Me, I prefer the only thing to blossom right now being tulips.

sunshine and waffles

Today has been a day so sunny and warm that I can actually relate to the new daylight saving-time. The very first day of the year when we could enjoy lunch outside on the porch and having the door to the garden opened - immensely popular amongst the feline family-members!

Yesterday was the Swedish waffle day (Våffeldagen), which is an annual event on March 25th, Lady Day (Jungfru Maria bebådelsedag/Vårfrudagen). A day which means nothing to me in the more religious sense. And the funny thing is that perhaps the eating of waffles that day is sort of a mistake from the start, that the word Vårfru (= our lady/spring lady) has become Våffel = våffla. So the lady has become something that we serve on a plate and enjoy eating instead.

We didn't have any waffles yesterday, but for lunch today, in the sun, on the porch. With whipped cream (icecream is equally good), blueberry jam and apple/ginger jam. And tea.
The tea in this particular case deserves a few lines. I don't need to go into the fact that I'm a tea-aholic, again, but even if I buy and get a lot of tea in different shapes and brands I also tend to stick to my favourites and sometimes forget about the rest... The tins are always nice to have anyway, especially if they're bought on a nice holiday. And this was. But quite a few years ago, and the last day of consumtion was actually...09/2002...

The tea-leaf-tin from Reid's Palace, Madeira (afternoon tea) that had its last date in 2005 was tasteless and was thrown away. The tea from Gorreana, Azores (orange pekoe) that was far from last date, had the same problem and went into the bin also.

But apparently third is a charm, or perhaps it's that certain kind of German quality once again, and this Earl Grey tea from the amazing department store KaDeWe in Berlin (where I really recommend you visit the Le Buffet restaurant at the top of the store, both fun and tasty) was absolutely fine, even nearly 5 years after its last date...!

PS No kittens as yet. Apparently I've been more off than usual counting the days... DS

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Daylight saving

Yes today is the day when the daylight saving time begins and we set our time one hour forward. In my humble - yes I can be that at times too - opinion it's a bit premature to be putting that time forward already. It still feels pretty much like winter in the air, even if the sun actually shines today *hurrah!*

No kittens so far, not even the slightest sign, I'm totally exhausted and longing for bed... My bed, the best of all beds!
When I was still able to think some sort of logic thought - before my head turned all cottonwool - I did manage to get some pictures taken with those new colourful paper backgrounds I bought the other day.
I think the light/sun was a bit too bright, but some of them turned out quite nice. A bit of an Easter-feeling to it, perhaps? Or maybe just a sunny spring-day? The day of daylight saving.
And when that daylight will turn to dusk I'll be snoozing
quite content in bed, my bed, the best of all beds and perhaps dreaming of this Knut, the cute Knut, cutest of all polarbears named Knut. I think the peoples engagement and the international concern about this little white, furry fellow gives us all hope in a world full of so much danger and sadness!

Food summary during kitten watch

This is now the time for kitten watch to commence - in the back of my head I do know that I might be some days off when counting down to 66 days, since they had their rendez-vous over some days, but still, better safe than sorry. So far no actual sign that the whole process has begun, apart from the fact that I think Greta's belly has "dropped" a bit.


She has had her kitten-box (a k a one of the large transportation-boxes, that I stupidly didn't realise was perfect for these occasions until a couple of litters back) ready for a week now, and likes to snuggle up in it, seems calm and content. This is suppose to be her last litter, her fifth one. Unfortunately her latest one ended in a Caesarian only due to the fact that the very last kitten got totally stuck half way out and there was absolutely no way for anyone to wriggle it out. So my poor, good girl had to have it removed my Caesarian... And with one C it's unfortunately more than common that there'll be another...

But I do want to keep fingers crossed everything goes well and fine, she's been such a good girl during her other births... And now I just bide my time until my role as a kitten-midwife begins.

And biding that time I might as well keep my fingers sort of crossed in the way of writing (no that's not strained at all) - and sum up this past week as a foodie; one day I survived on left-overs, one day my tummy acted up (again...) and I didn't have much to eat at all, one day it was

070320 013
Creamy pasta (made of leftovers from that fresh lasagne a few days earlier) with halloumi, mushrooms & paprika

Really tasty, quick and simple to make and it'll definately be made again!

060817 008
One day I had a big lunch with veggie portobello burger at Texas Burger, then it was just tea sandwiches at home.

On Friday I had hoped for one of my favourite dishes, quorn-banana casserole. But it turned out that all the quorn-packages in Pia's freezer was with minced quorn and not the bits... So I then tried out a new kind of spicy minced quorn sauce with spaghetti. It looked really boring and I didn't find it very appealing to eat either, hence no picture.

As for Saturday dinner, I was inspired by a pie-recipe from Arla, but I changed it to a veggie pie with some "secret" ingredients. Carrots, leek and cheese was some of the ingredients in this

070324 006
Sunny pie, which turned out really well!

And then the dessert for the week was sort of inspired by the worldfamous Swedish dessert Gino (invented at the restaurant PA& Co).

070324 004
I made it with bananas, raspberries, sprinkled some gingerbread-crusts on top, cinnamon and cardamom, grated with both white and darkest chocolate. Served with whipped cream, in which one can mix a liqueur of choice (I opted for Azorian Mulher de Capote pineapple liqueur). Quite tasty, simple and fresh.

This was my week as a foodie. I'm guessing the upcoming week won't be as exciting foodwise...

Saturday, March 24, 2007

The world according to... copycats & karma

Isn't it peachy, the way some people just don't seem to have any imagination at all and gladly rip off names, titles and ideas everywhere... Yes even personal presentations - excuse me while I throw up...

Since they're obviously quite busy copying and writing down things, it would be nice if they could also write down some credits where credit is due...

On the one hand the world is full of the ideas, more or less the same, buzzing around in the stratosphere, taking a dive and planting themselves here and there.

On the other hand the world is also too full of copycats. Sometimes there just is far too much of a coincidence to be true. Oh I wish these sorry excuses for a cat could just evaporate - or at least chose another line of work or occupation, preferably six feet under...

I do try and give credit where credit is due, and if I don't, I apologize profusely! I suppose it's down to one's own conscience in the end. Conscience, also something that copycat's don't seem to have an abundance of.

If I could I would pee on them and their things (the dog-boy-tactics), instead I set my hope to karma!

PS I know where I got my blog's name from, and why my personal presentation is what it is, do you...?? DS

WCB - The fascination with bread-baskets

I do like a nice bread-basket to serve my bread, buns and cookies in. With a cute little cloth. However I'm not the only one who likes bread-baskets in this household. Sometimes really hairy buns jumps in and settle down. So beware, the picture that follows are not for the feeble hearted...

"Yes I do fit, I do, I do, I do! And even if I don't like to show my eyes to the camera I have to have a close one on you" - the father-to-be S*Javeliner's Pelle Svensson

Donald Dunvegan
This cookie is pretty cute, nearly cute enough to eat? EC S*Luddkolt's Donald Dunvegan as a tiny kitten

Greta Groombridge
The mum-to-be in her younger days, EC S*Luddkolt's Greta Groombridge

0703010 005
It's THE place to snuggle up in, S*Luddkolt's Qlara Quarter has found a new compact-living-quarter

So, yes in this family we do like our baskets, especially those who are meant to serve bread!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Pick me up-wednesday

    This is how my gloomy day turned into a rather nice pick me up-day:
    * The walks was pretty powerful (to the station incl "the hell-hill" plus in the woods with little dog)

* I didn't have to pay for the train-ticket on my way into town (if I hadn't been so tired when coming home I could have used the public transportion for free all day, but Mister Bus-driver wants to use his tools and I wanted to use his bus...)

* I found a really cute basic magenta-coloured Odd Molly cardigan with a bit of a discount. (But I also tried on an equally cute grey embroidered one. And when I look at the website I find even more "must-haves"... So perhaps I've been very good and perhaps someone would like to put some goodies in an Easter egg...?)

* I also found a really lovely short, red trenchcoat, which I'm really happy about! But I'm not going to share the brand since I fear my reputation will be quite blemished if doing so... Do I have to mention I'm not a fan of high-street stores...?

* We managed to just beat the lunch-crowds for tables at Texas Burger and thoroughly enjoyed our veggie portobello burgers.

* I found some fun, colourful papers which I'm going to use for variation in pictures. I hope for good outdoor light tomorrow, so I can try them out...

* The latte from Coffee cup was, as usual, a much enjoyed friend on the train back home.

* Arriving home I've written several applications, letters and e-mails. There's only a week now until a new kind of reality strikes again... I'd lie if I said I didn't dread that a bit... Fingers crossed for a suitable solution!!

* Now I'll fill the washing-machine, and then enjoy tea with semla (this now makes the 6th this year I think, it's now a fact, I've eaten more semlor than the average Swede...) and a movie - Just like heaven - I think I deserve a bit of cuddling up in the sofa!

Gloomy wednesday

Today's weather really makes me want to do like this --->
Cats do lead by example and make the most, or the least, with the day or what they've got. Just let the world go by and enjoying every minute of their own life, if they have a life that can be enjoyed that is. But let's not go there...
I'm not going to cuddle up in the sofa though, I'm going for a walk (with more or less power to it), run some errands in town and then write some papers that needs to be written, while I do the laundry.
And also while I envy the cats ability to have no worries and feeling content with life.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Rock the waves

It's not completely decided - who knows what might happened... - but still, in general terms, sometimes you get offers you can't refuse. Or perhaps shouldn't refuse, for various reasons. Though like most things, decisions are better made after some discussions, thoughts and a good night's sleep...

And isn't it silly, the first reaction is something like "wow, someone wants me for this!" accompanied by "but is it something I want?" - and then the little doubt-gnome whispers in your ear. And that occupational injury called too much, way too much, analyzing appears.

A bit of analyzing is good, but tend to be a bit too much too often, rather a rule than an exception in my case. Both when it comes to private matters as well as the occupational ones.

In my line of work that analyzing skill is quite a good thing, but still it tends to get too much everywhere and all the time. The one thing is that I actually used to be even more analyzing than I am now...

Talked things through with a friend, who's always excellent to discuss things with. One of my oldest and dearest friends - if one thinks these things are interesting we're both Scorpios. But still on one hand we're completely different on the other so very alike. I guess that's one of the reasons discussions with her almost always are interesting and put things in perspective. Or at least makes me think a lot and well, a n a l y z i n g the problem again, a bit more.

Another, perhaps more calming, way to think things through is doing that while knitting. That really soothes the soul and makes thoughts float more freely and in the end, hopefully, also clears them. A bit like sleeping while awake.

So that's what I'm going to do, with that lovely yarn in the picture. Handmade from the wool-scratch and handdyed as well, in South Africa. I just love these blue-green nuances! I've come to realise that I'm actually a rather blue-green person (when looking in my closet) - and I who have always thought I was a pink-red one. At least those are my favourite colours - so why am I so drawn to these sky and sea-colours? I'm not a sea-person, in fact I'm not keen on the sea, sailing and swimming at all!!

Yes, I am fascinated about it, but with more than a hint of horror. Who knows what dwells deep down there, in the cold, cold water and beyond the waves... So I do prefer to stay on dry land and I'm happy being a taking-long-showers-and-drinking-lots-of-water-person. Well, maybe the time has come to rock the waves? Of course in a very figurative way.

The Tuesday Philosophy Club

Ah, it isn't Sunday - as in the title of Alexander McCall Smith's little friendly gem of a book about the Edinburgh-based sleuth Isabel Dalhousie. A book, a novelist, I highly recommend for easy reading and yet all his books are full of clever and wise words! - but one can philosophize on a Tuesday (I should have said Monday, but I see now that the clock has passed over midnight here in Sweden) too.

And that's what I'm going to do. About this and that. And about movies that at first glance seem rather mediocre and mainstreem, but when you ponder a bit over them (philosophize!) you realise they actually rise above that mainstream, at least in certain moments, in certain lines.
Such a movie was the one I saw today, "The Shadows of the Sun" aka "The Shadow dancer". Some of the words and thoughts, ideas and moments, even if perhaps not very original, I really treasure. Yes it really struck a chord in me - I wouldn't give it more than a 3+ on a 1-5 scale moviewise, but in moments it was brilliant.
Yes, to find ones own path, that's something I've thought a lot about these past years. At first quite involuntary, then it was just painful, but little by little I came to realise it was perhaps possibly a good thing. Yes, a good thing that I got that painful and involuntary chance to really work on and, oh yes, philosophize over it.
I'm now definately a better person, a rather changed person. Both stronger and weaker, more in touch with myself - and the world around me. Ah, it seems like I'm overflowing with wisdom, maybe I do, at the best of times anyway. Right now the "only" problem is what to actually do with all this found wisdom? I know what I want, but to really be brave and go for it and not let any "musts" hold me back - that's easier philosophized than done!

Monday, March 19, 2007

An experience for life - Robben Island

Some of the things I've begun collecting these past few years, both mentally and very literally (when possible) are quotations and wise words. Sometimes the wisest things can be said by very few words.

When one sadly never cease to be amazed and horrified by the cruelty of the humankind and its predisposition towards doing harm - one can also find hope in all those wise word and quotations, ancient as well as more recent. And of course all the good deeds that are being done all over the world.

I've recently had an experience that was one of the most horrific as well as one of the most amazing ones I've so far had in my entire life - the visit to Robben Island. Such a place of unbeliveable cruelty and yet such a place of hope and humankind's will to overcome hardship and ability to do good, even at the lowest point in life.

Sydafrika feb 2007 586

That experience was so unbelievably powerful and emotional, I cried my heart out then. And I still do when thinking about it. It's ok in private, it doesn't feel quite as ok when I talk to friends and acquaintances about it. Most of them just don't understand that rather overwhelming feeling of sadness. Mixed with the feeling of hope. Yet again mixed with anger, because what became of all those great ideas and hopes for a better South Africa after abolishing apartheid? And is reconciliation - the buzz-word in ZA - a reality or just a dream? Is it even possible?

A food for that thought, and every other thought along the way to making the world a better place for everyone, is one of my favourite quotes. From one of humankind's great men:

"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way in which its animals are treated"

Sunday, March 18, 2007

My week as a foodie

Since M is away on a business-trip to China for a week (do I have to mention I hope for some time for bead-shopping on his behalf?) I thought I might entertain myself with a week of experimenting in the kitchen.

I'm not all that interested in cooking or baking, I'm more into eating the stuff when its cooked or baked instead. But sometimes I do have my bright moments in the kitchen and yes it is fun - if you're able to avoid thinking about all the washing up afterwards... - to experiment and try out new things.

I also like the idea of knowing exactly what it is I'm putting in my mouth. Simple, clean products with lots of flavours, that's my melody!

Today I made a vegetarian lasagna from a recipe by Tina - a well-known Swedish TV-chef. Not a favorite chef of mine, perhaps due to the fact that she cooks way to much meat and talks in a dialect that's hardly my favourite. The only reason for me to buy her cookbooks was that they were sold for a price that can only be describe as silly low at our local Konsum recently.

070318 009

I thought this recipe sounded nice, with all those vegetables and a simple cheese sauce. But it turned out to be quite a disappointment, the oven-baked peppers were a waste of time, since their flavour just couldn't compete with the rest of the veggies (eggplant, tomatoes, garlic, zucchini, shallot). The recipe called for 1,5 packets of fresh lasagne - the reality called for less than 0,5... The spices were a bit boring and the whole dish was just bland and beige. I would have wanted some "edge" to it, some heat and punch.

Maybe I'll try it again, skip the peppers, try other spices. On the other hand I do have an old recipe, actually one from Weight-Watchers, for veggie lasagne, that's really simple and full of flavour. So why bother with a rather overworked recipe when one can keep it simple and more flavorous?

070317 009

The food for Friday was a rather simple, tasty warm pasta-sallad with soya-balls, feta, carrots and cherry-tomatoes. Own invention, and quite a nice one if I might say so myself.

The food for Saturday (no pic) was another simple macaronisallad with carrots (there's no dish that can't be improved with carrots!), chili-feta, soya-sausages and cherry-tomatoes.

For tomorrow I'm thinking soup or maybe one of my favourite dishes - experimental-free day - quorn-banana-curry casserole... Or perhaps leftovers, even if I invite a happy dinner-guest (spelling m-o-t-h-e-r) the fridge is starting to fill up...

Saturday, March 17, 2007

WCB - Kitten delight

Lacking kittens myself (at the moment, but a shortage that hopefully soon *touch wood* will be mended) this weekend's catblogging will be about being a "paternal grandparent" instead.

Actually I don't consider myself being the mummy of my cats, rather some sort of co-habitant and food-provider, litter-box-cleaner who demands a cuddle now and then...

But when it comes to owning the proud (well...) cat-father or being the breeder of a cat-mummy (and by that I don't mean the ones you can find in ancient Egyptian tombs...) I think it's kind of fun to call oneself the grandmama.

And so, that's what I am, when it comes to these siblings of eight! Aren't they just adorable?! All of them british shorthairs of course.

070303 032 cajun
Cajun, BRI n22 longhair boy

070303 041 chai
Chai, BRI ns24 longhair boy

Criollo, BRI ns24 boy

070303 014 capris
Capris, the little guy in the litter with face full of gruel, BRI ns

070303 002 cayenne
Cayenne, BRI f24 girl

070303 024 cacao
Cacao, BRI f22 girl

070303 028 chili
Chili, BRI f24 girrrl - look at that face!

070303 046 caramel
Caramel, BRI fs24 - the smallest of them all but oh so cute!

And even if the father seems to be in the blue about his achievement I'm a really proud grandmama at least! And, well, hopefully then, these darlings above will have halfsiblings at home here with me in some weeks or so. And I'll make sure the father-to-be does take his responsibility and take a part in raising them then. After all this is a household that takes great pride in its equality! Even if the litter-box-cleaner/food-provider might disagree...

Paralyzing cookies

The more things I ought to do the more paralyzed I get, occasionally. I also tend to do quite the opposite of being busy, lazying around or doing something that really don't need to be done. Like baking.

But on the other hand it's better to bake yourself and be sure on what the ingredients are, than to buy the cakes, cookies and bread. And besides, it's rather rewarding to be able to treat guests with homemade goodies rather than the boring, bought stuff from the local supermarket.

So last night - when I should have been doing some "must"thing... - I baked my new cookie-favourite (one that I totally dissed the first time, too buttery, too sugary...); sunflowerseed cookies


I got the recipe from The Cookbook Café cookbook "Två systrars söta" (Two sisters sweet). Can't say I'm too keen on the food they serve at the café (I used to eatlunch there now and then when I worked in the neighbourhood. We didn't go for the food though, but the ambience). The cookbook I bought mainly for the gorgeous pictures.

Oh how I love a good picture!! And the overwhelming reason for me to buy cookbooks aren't the recipes but the pictures. Which I can drool over and savour for hours, the pictures that is. The food and recipes that comes with, are hardly ever of the same interest. Even if I now and then try a recipe here and a recipe there. Like sunflowerseed cookies. Which are so simple, and tasty. But be warned, not for people who like to see - and eat - a neat and tidy cookie.

Yesterday I actually did - like the cookbook says - a triplebatch (yes they do freeze well) and I chuckled for myself when I crouched on the kitchen floor trying to be sort of effective and bake the batches all at once - the kitchen table being full of pearls and the kitchen counters being full of... well, other things. What can I say, I'm not really the tidy, everything-in-neat-order-housewife-kind... Never have been, never will be. But I do just fine anyway!

I had the opportunity to sample a cookie or two just in time for the Swedish prizewinning flick on TV "Masjävlar" (I know it's been translated something like "Dalecarlians", when it really should be "Bloody Dalecarlians". It's not a flattering move-title, but it says a lot...). The move which accompanied the sampling was so-so. Rather entertaining at the moment, but it left me with a big "so what? What was the point of it all?"-feeling. Like so many, too many, movies tend to do... But the cookie-sampling got an A+!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Hemma hos Julia

Hemma hos Julia (translates Home at Julia's) is a cafe/cheese-making factory in Stockholm. The story about Julia began at home (where else?) in Julia's bathtub, where the couple behind the cafe/factory began making cheese.

The café itself opened back in 1996. A cosy and friendly place with divine cheesecakes, great bread, sallads and lighter food. One of my favourite cafés back then. With the favorite cheesecake being blueberry. The place being almost always crowded. You could even buy the cheese in selected supermarkets. They had their own cookbook for sale.

But after some years something happened, I'm not exactly sure what or even when, the cheese was still great but the bread was stale, the food uninspired, the crowd was anywhere but at Julia's. Such a pity!

I don't visit Julia often anymore, now and then I pop in and hope for the food to be back in shape, like in the good ol' days... Yesterday I was in the neighbourhood, somewhat, and met up with Anne (who'd never been there before *surprise*) to go and see Julia.

070314 010

Still a nice place, though anything but crowded during the lunch-hours. Quite a lot of interesting dishes to choose from. I opted for spinach lasagne. Way to salty for me. And quite a bit of that microwave-feeling about it.

070314 012

But yes, yes, yes, the Dajm cheesecake was as good as ever - and someone whispered in my ear that the blueberry one very tasty too - I deserved a nice dessert with my latte! A pity though, that the exposure of food in the counter was somewhat shabby and uninspired. One hot tip there - please keep plastic sheeting as far away from the food as possible!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Love is in the hair

Hairdressers must be one of the most inventive occupational group when it comes to naming their salons, don't you think? At least those who don't name them "Hair Salon"...

Love is in the hair is actually a salon in the suburbs of Stockholm, I have no idea how good hairdressers they are, but the name of the salon is kind of cool!

And today I've had a bit of love in my hair too, which is now sort of chestnutbrown-reddish. It had turned a bit too light in the holiday-sun and I felt like going red, again. And having a bit of a cut too - I wonder when it'll have the chance of growing longer again...

The haircare-products and their little friend to the right I didn't get today, but still they give good love to the hair. From the Australian brand Kusco-Murphy I've only tried a bit of the styling beach-hair before, with a gorgeous scent of cocoa-nut. Though I'm not sure what I think of the styling effect... But with a 50% off and a recommendation from a friend, I just had to try this freshener spray (for those days you really don't want to bother with the hair-washing...).

And I was on a look-out for an eyeliner, and 50% off selected colours from Nars, well home with me came Mame (grey with a hint of lavender). I have only tried it very briefly and found it a bit too pale for me, but hey, with a bit more effort and time perhaps it'll be just fine.

If you hadn't noticed yet, I'm a sucker for haircare-, skincare- and perfumes. And now and then, once in a while other beauty-products i e make-up. I try to keep the investment in the latter category kind of restricted, since I tend to "forget" using it... But the other essential categories, well, let's just say the bathroom cupboards, shelves, baskets are pretty full of them...

One thing with cutting the hair short is that you don't use as much conditioner as before. I'm not really sure if that's a good thing or not... I still like to try new ones, even if I have found the ultimate one years ago (Paul Mitchell The Detangler). Since you're not very prone to knots in a short hair, you're not that dependent on a d e t a n g l e r like before either.

And I do have a few bottles I have to use up. Use up before I was to invest in a brand new bottle - I had my eyes set on a really good one with olive-oil I tried in the African sun from Kiehl's - and I was going to be tough on myself. No new investment before all the old bottles had been used up! But...

Well, glancing into a hairdresser's (not the name-inventive one) I saw an offer I just simply couldn't refuse - buy a PM Detangler for only 170 SEK and get a bottle of PM Awapuhi shampoo (the champagne of shampoos!) for free!

So all my bottles in line for using has got a few new friends. I'm happy to say they don't seem to care that the crowded shelves and baskets have become a bit more crowded. They just stand there waiting really patiently to smell the (h)air and do good. Waiting for their turn to give a lotta love in the hair!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Safari photos

Sydafrika feb 2007 158
This is our lovely lodgings at Schotia. Complete and utter love at first sight!
Sydafrika feb 2007 201
Elephants at waterhole, Addo national park
Sydafrika feb 2007 170
Did you know that the English name "ostriches" derives from the fact that when seeing those enormous eggs produced by ostriches the Englishmen exclaimed "Oh what an ass-stretcher" i e o-strich? If not, you know now. Amazing facts you do learn in Africa, huh?
Sydafrika feb 2007 173
Grumpy, old rhino at Schotia.
Sydafrika feb 2007 279
Giraffes at Schotia. Beautiful and strange animals. I'm just so grateful I don't have their tick-problems...
Sydafrika 2007 160
Your friendly, neighbourhood crocodiles.
Sydafrika feb 2007 082
Memory is good, but short - some unidentified breed of antilopes at Schotia, with very special antlers.
Sydafrika feb 2007 271
Your average friendly faced lionesses. Difficult to grasp the fact that they're lethal, don't you think?
Sydafrika 2007 167
Not an uncommon sight at Schotia game reserve, zebras (and other animals) on the runway. Guess what, you land at your own risk...
Sydafrika feb 2007 087
All creatures, great and small - porcupine family at Schotia.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Smooth operator - Kusmi tea

Following a tip I got at Matlust iFokus (Swedish food-community, siblings with "my" Katter iFokus) about a special, luxuary tea called Kusmi. Originally from Russia in the 1800es and now the company is based in London.

At that particular time the Kusmi tea company didn't have a website and as far as I could find the nearest place to pick up one of those lovely tins of tea was in Copenhagen.

But now, at last, the tea can be found at some retailers in Sweden too. Conveniently enough one is situated near my friend Anne. And then I actually got a tin of Bouquet Flowers no 108 from her the other day *thank you so much*

She herself said the hype was a bit of "the emperor's new clothes" - but I'm happy to announce it's actually one of the best teas I've ever tasted! A very dark green verging on black tea with natural essences of bergamot, citrus and flowers, very mild and smooth in taste.

Of course I drink it with milk and the taste layerings are unbelievably good. I actually brew it for 5-6 minutes and it seems to be the perfect time for the flavours to evolve and yet not a hint of tannin. Amazing!

Not an everyday- and morning tea I suppose, since it has to brewed and enjoyed with devotion, but most certainly the perfect gift for a tea-lover! It doesn't hurt that it comes in those cutes tin-boxes either.

Find your own favourite at the Kusmi tea website

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Safari, part III

Since Eurovision Song Contest is as far away as my cup of tea can possibly be - and M is occupying the sofa, the TV and the stereo "there's no shortcuts to the right sound" with that boring stuff - I thought I'd might *finally* come to an end with my safari-experience at Schotia and Addo.

So. Even if the encounter with the lions at Schotia was the best of the best of it all - apart from our little hut - we did see a lot of other animals there too. I'm a bit baffled about that Big Five-hype, I just think it's amazing and fantastic to be able to see almost any live and wild animal in its natural habitat... So no, I don't miss the fact that we didn't see a leopard in Africa, thus "only" the Big Four.

I don't even remember the names of all the wild animals we did see, apart from the rhino (only one, a sad, old one which left a pretty lonely and depressing impression...), there were lots of speedy ostriches, some crocodiles, blue monkeys (the ones that were really keen on making a lot of nice on our hut's roof during the night and early hours in the morning. Unfortunately too shy to pose for a photo at the veranda), zebras, giraffes, porcupines, different kind of antilopes... Oh yes and some extremly fast and dito shy surricates - I really love the expressions and poses of those "cats" and that's something I do miss we didn't get to take pictures of...

And at Addo we did get to see lots and lots of elephants really close. Did you know that elephants have a thing for citrus? Or at least the elephants at Addo, which have some sort of really addictive problem with citrus. They can sense the scent of citrus from far away and won't take no for an answer - so every bit of citrus is forbidden at Addo.

I think it was a wonderful experience, with very enthusiastic rangers. And you even got to do some interesting exercises - no I don't mean trying to escape from the lions jaws *she had a dream and it was Africa...* - but using muscles you didn't know you had while trying to stay aboard on top of the landrovers.

The only negative thing about it all was the food served at the lapa. Pretty boring and tasteless stuff, especially for vegetarians... Delicious small bread-things though and a fruitsallad at breakfast who was heavenly.

The picture uploading doesn't seem to work at Blogger at the moment - pictures will come later. Or for the extremly-can't-wait-interested one, follow the Flickr Badge to the right--->

Friday, March 09, 2007

My day as a soap

I actually forgot that I also celebrated my international womanhood yesterday as a soap. Perhaps even the world's largest soap?

I did it once, and then I did it twice yesterday. Mistook the travelsize bottle of bath & shower milk for body lotion. A bit sticky, but still the skin felt soft and moist. And nicely perfumed.
Since I had gotten away with it once I thought I might as well do it a second time. Perhaps it was one of the reason the job inteview went so fast, my soapy apparition?

Today though I was myself again, using up that silly little travelsize bottle in the shower *mmm* and my ordinary Kiehl's creme de la creme afterwards. And then I was off to have a massage. Which was, as usual, rather well-deserved and nice.
Perhaps not as nice that it would have been if it had been the tutor instead of the pupil who had massaged me... Trying to not get completely carried away I must say that that brief imposition of hands was the work of a true handy man!

On my way home I picked up a couple of desserts from Xoko - which by the way finally has a website of its own. Even if it isn't a very fun one who really lacks that extra in ways of pictures... The desserts I chose this time was one Nobel Prize 2006 dessert - of which I can't seem to find a description, but it looks nice! - and one "some sort of apple variation".
Which most probably will be fought over after dinner, in front of the TV when "Kill Bill, vol 2" is on tonight. I'm still a bit baffled by the fact that that bloodthirsty lawyer in vol 1 shared my mobilephone ringtone. I wonder if that might have some mysterious hidden meaning about it?

March 8th, International Women's Day

This special day, that once was declared by the American socialist party in the beginning of the 1900, is now celebrated globally as a day dedicated to political and human rights and social awareness of the struggles of women worldwide.

An important day indeed, a day one might wish would be celebrated each day... As well as the animal- and human rights day...

My own women's day was spent in a slightly less political and social awareness manner. I went on a job interview, which hopefully will lead to something pretty soon.

And after a looong walk all over town (since I'm just too cheap to pay for that darn bus-ticket for such a "short" ride) met a friend for coffee at Tully's (whose coffee I did appreciate so much more years ago when this Seattle-based coffeeshop-chain first opened in Stockholm. Now I don't think it's nearly as good as i once was, unfortunately... But since THE place for seriously fun people-spotting is in a windowseat at Tully's I visit there now and then anyway),

did some utterly nice beautyproduct-shopping (more about that later)

and then home for a really nice romantic movie "The Lake house" (me like, me like a lot!).

And the whole day I was basically, of course, very proud of being a modern, caring, socially aware and really great woman!

If you want to know more about the International Women's Day, go to Wikipedia

How did YOU spent the International Women's Day?

And, for sure, roses for every socially aware, human- and animal right's struggling woman AND man all over the world!!!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...