Sunday, September 30, 2007

Sweet September

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It's only these past few years that I've really, as a grown up, come to appreciate the autumn and what it brings in amazing colours, crisp air, promises of new beginnings, yet without the musts and shoulds of summer. Cosy clothes, loads of cuppas and candlelight - pretty much all the c's one need!

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When I was a child I did appreciate autumn for being the beginning of a new, exciting school year after a long summer holidays. New books, new lessons, maybe a new subject, new teachers, meet up with old friends, yes then autumn was much appreciated in my world. And of course, the silver lining of any autumnal raincloud, my birthday.

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The older - but wiser...? - I got, the less I enjoyed autumn. Dark, cold, wet, pretty much completely depressing, birthday or no birthday. Oh how I wanted summer, or at least a decent, freezing, heaps of snow winter! Autumn was just a case of grin and bear. There where actually, I admit, even post-vacation weeping going on from time to time, all because of that awful, horrible, can't stand it autumn. Blind and oblivious to anything other than the overwhelming I-want-to-hibernate-feeling.

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But then, some years ago, I actually became aware of how very beautiful autumn really is, the season with the most amazing colour scheme, it's something utterly enchanting and bewitching with nature's last effort of creating beauty verge on decay.

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And how on earth, and sky and stars, could I be so completely blind to the fact that autumn is so very my time of the year, when the little hibernating me inside of me wake up and see the world with new eyes and perhaps a tiny bit of new wisdom, after months of good, renewing sleep? It must be that youthful abandon, and with age comes, if not amazing beauty, at least amazing insightfullness - and the wit to put it into words.

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So now the time has come to kind of, sort of, perhaps, maybe, possibly, celebrate the fact that summer as we know it - and love it! - has finally reached its end. For this year. Today has been the last day of sweet September, which this year has been a simply glorious month weatherwise. Tomorrow is the first day of October, of my month indeed. And I kind of, sort of, possibly, maybe, hope that it will prove to be just as amazing, seriously giddy and completely wonderful, just as it should be.

Welcome, October -

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Saturday, September 29, 2007

WCB #121 - Modern Living

What I want and what the cats want isn't always the same - as a general rule I like to have it my way, and they have to accept that. Kind of, sort of, pretty often. But then there are those times when I just can't get around the fact that they probably know what's best, even if I want it in a very different way.

I like very strict rules of which rowhouse belongs to whom, which baby is to be fed by which mother - and not a very extended family of ten cats in one rowhouse (i e box). Yes, there are only two grown ups of these ten, and three small ones - three very bouncy small ones... - and five tiny ones. But really, one mother in each house, with her own babies, is how it should be, and if they want to play - then do that in the yard, not a lot of dashing in and out of the neighbouring house.
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And the five tiny ones need their regular food, and regular sleep, and no they're not semi-toys for slightly bigger cousins. Ok, plush pillows, fine, if you promise to lie still and just sleep, no biting, no scratching, no wrestling, no pinching, deal? This was you three weeks ago, you wouldn't have appreciated a lot of pushing around and disturbed sleep then, would you?
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I did make your living quarters look nice, with fresh sheets, is it too much to ask that you try and keep it looking at least slightly presentable? Do you have to make such a mess immediately, I mean, you could at least make the joint bed, couldn't you? Yes you do look adorable, very much so, oh yes you do, but pretty please, go and play outside instead.

This quite unacceptable behaviour is giving me grey hairs, the utter disregard of houserules amongst the rowhouses. And really, the mothers aren't exactly helping. They just sit there purring away, lying there content and happy with life, with a whole lot of babies in a common pile. The lack of discipline, the obvious lack of moral concept is just appalling. Is there possibly such a thing as a union representative for human inhabitants in a cat's household that could give me some practical, hands on advice in this situation?

This week's WCB is hosted by boo_licious at masak-masak

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Two Islands and a Bit More

In the middle of Stockholm there are two smallish, green islands situated, they both have a long history and have been used for various purposes for centuries. They're also both part of the Nationalstadsparken project, to preserve nature and culture for future generations.
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The larger island is reached by foot, and car or bus, walking passed Grand Hotel, then passed the National museum, then over a lovely old bridge with gilded royal crowns - and then you've reached the island of Skeppsholmen (skepps = ship's, holmen = the islet).

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On that island there are quite a few museums, such as Moderna Museet - the museum of modern art -, Östasiatiska - the Eastasian museum, somehow I still vividly remember ages ago, a friend and I who stood in a queue that began right before the bridge over to Skeppsholmen, in the freezing winter, well below minus 20 degrees C, just to catch the exhibition of the world famous Chinese Terracotta Army... It took hours before we even reached the museum entrance... - Arkitekturmuseum - the architectural museum - and the Royal University College of Fine Arts - Konsthögskolan.
Once upon a time one of my favourite cafés, Format, was also to be found in one of the houses at Skeppsholmen. But that was a long time ago, alas... The island has also hosted different kinds of concerts and events on a regular basis for many years. Including the annual Stockholm Jazzfestival. The summer outdoor concerts are really something special...
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The whole island is really jampacked with wonderful looking, old buildings in different sizes and styles. I have no idea what even half of them house, neither then nor now, but they sure play their part in making the whole island a delightful, and relaxing, place to walk. Nowadays. Skeppsholmen also has a been used for military purposes once upon a time.
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You can also get to Skeppsholmen by taking the lovely ferryline Djurgårdsfärjan, from the landing right below Slussen - Old Town. A very short trip that will give you some amazing views over Stockholm and its inlet. I like taking that ferry whenever I can, it brings back sweet childhood memories as well as giving a bit of a purgative feel if you stand outside on deck.
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The smaller island, Kastellholmen (kastell = citadel), is reached by foot from Skeppsholmen. Lovely houses - some private homes - and the red brick citadel on top. Climb up there and you've got an amazing view of the city. Of Djurgården, Vasamuseet, amusement park Gröna Lund and so on.
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At Kastellholmen there's also another lovely looking red brick building, which is an old iceskating pavilion from the late 1800. A house that for some odd, and unknown reason, gives me the most unpleasant jitters... The place is now being renovated into conference facilities.

And yes, if you feel like having coffee or something more substantial, there are several different cafés and restaurant on Skeppsholmen. Perhaps the most renowned one is the museum restaurant at Moderna. Even if these works, art, in front of the museum really is enough to make anyone lose their appetite...
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This time though, we opted for the lovely café Atrium - which can be booked for private functions -, situated in the Nationalmuseum. Where I had this delightful surprise of an amazing macroni cake, it may look like a tiny almost nothing but oh my, was it special... Quite the perfect round off to a perfect Indian summer day, I'd say.
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If you'd like to know more about Skeppsholmen and Kastellholmen, only in Swedish, you'll find it here

Itty Bitty Pretty Ones

It hasn't exactly been an all happy, carefree little family, the latest addition to the Luddkolt's breeding. Mummy Tyra hasn't been her usual self, which probably had something to do with a late placenta, but with a lot of TLC, and perhaps the medication plays a part, I think we're back on the right track. Touch wood.

The wee ones have been remarkably content during these days of worry - I haven't, I'm the fussy kind... - and now they're gaining weight as they should again. The little black-born-12-hours-later-than-the-rest-one is still smaller, but spunky. The colourpoint one is a real squeaker, it's absolutely incredible how much sound, noise, can come out of such a tiny creature!

One of the red twins really doesn't like me, he has been hissing at me ever since he became a dry, fluffy mini kitten. How strange, despite all that kissing och fondling he still hisses, such an ungrateful little twerp. And for that I think I have the perfect name for him. Redhead, fighting for independence and against sovereignity from outsiders, the name beginning with a W... Anyone wanting to have a guess?

Yes, careful gender research have now showed that all five are *probably* boys, despite of what I wrote earlier. And no, despite of what evil tongues might say, I'm not all-that-usually-wrong when it comes to determining the gender of kittens. Actually. Just because it has happened once or twice, and I'm in distinguished company, doesn't mean it's an exception to the rule that I get it right. Really. But just in case, there might just possibly perhaps be a state of gender confusion here, I'll ponder a bit more about the benaming of these itty-bitty pretty ones.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Kitchen Concoctions

Some of the concoctions that have been going on in my kitchen as lately, while overseeing the kittens. As usual with a varied end- and tasteresult, but at least those dishes less than great tastewise made rather pretty pictures.

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Another version of spelt bread, with rye, once again with my favourite herb rosemary though. Comes with cat approval!
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Kind of bran muffins, with spelt cereal, bananas and walnuts. Not really satisfied with the flavour, might have something to do with the fact that I changed the amount of sugar involved. Extremely filling, definitely not something for dessert or a quick coffeebreak.
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Very simple, very tasty vegetarian hot green thaicurry.
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Spicy bean and lentil salad, so very nice, with layered flavours and just look at those colours!
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A sort of risotto made of wheat berries, saffron and chili. Nice, but nothing spectacular - apart from the colour - wheat berries can definitely be used in better ways...
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Simple sauce with carrots and sugarsnaps
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Creamy, spicy potato and chard soup, very nice, but not really as nice as my favourite soup with potato and leek, the one I make myself and never ever get tired of...
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Another classic in my kitchen repertoire, the frozen nutty mocca cake. Simple, obviously freeze well, yes, a winner anytime!
If you'd like a recipe of anything above, please let me know.

One of Those Days

Those days, when there are just too many things on one's mind, inspiration runs dry and there's a lack of words *believe it or not* to describe that certain feeling, one can always stop and smell the flowers, sit tight and wait for a day with clear blue skies when inspiration once again show its friendly face...

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

And Some More Books...

The Price of Water in Finistère / Priset vatten i Finistère by Bodil Malmsten - I'm very ashamed to admit this is the very first novel of this lovely Swedish author I've actually read. What can I say to make this book justice, it's so beautifully written, like floating poetry. Far from a tame kind of poetry, this is verse with an edge, with justified social criticism that make the eyes fill with tears. This is life, this is love, this is prosaic, this is poetry in motion. And I will so read her other works now. And how beautiful isn't this title, of one of her books; Hör bara hur ditt hjärta bultar i mig / Listen, how your heart is beating in me

I must also add that Malmsten is one but few writers that can actually handle the blogosphere - countless are the writers that really sucks, for lack of a better word, at writing a blog. Well, all of them aren't very skilled writers to begin with, but that's another story... - only in Swedish

Oranges are not the only fruit by Jeanette Winterson - Winterson is one of my favourite authors ever since I sort of stumbled over Powerbook years ago. The way she floats between reality and dreams, truth and fiction, it's simply amazing. It's sensual, it's passionate, always imagination stirring. Truly wonderful, this kind of writing certainly makes me turn more than slightly green, so to write...

Somehow I didn't find her book Lighthousekeeping all that good, but I sort of suspect that might have had something to do with my mood at that time rather than the story and the way it's written. However this one, oranges, I loved. I know it was published the first time over 20 years ago - and then I was most definitely far too young to have been able to appreciate it the way I did now - but I don't think it has been available in Sweden, again, until recently. Partly autobiographical, partly beautiful fairytale, partly dryly very humorous, partly completely sad. And entirely exquisitely written.

The Right Attitude To Rain by Alexander McCall Smith - I know, I rave about this Sunday Philosophy-series, I adore them, in their seemingly uncomplicated simplicity there are layers and layers of witty intelligence, thoughtfulness not to mention brims with charm - and Scotland, oh Scotland!

I just discovered there'll be a fourth book in the series, The Careful Use of Compliments, oh the bliss! Yes, it was kind of sad to say goodbye to the caring sleuth Isabel Dalhousie in this third book I thought. Even though the ending was well told. In fact so well told I did the one thing I never ever *honestly* do when opening a book, read the last few pages first...

Shame on me, but I just had to with this one, and what I found was so surprising I had to begin reading it immediately. Loved the book - I know I have overused this poor worn, lovely word a bit in writing these Piaic book reviews, but in lack for a better, more just word since all these books have given me immense pleasure reading... - the only itsy bitsy thing that was annoying was ms Dalhousie rather grandiloquent way of expressing her feelings towards her longtime friend, now, at last, younger lover. Slightly too matronly, to put it mildly... However, the series is just stupendously well worth reading all in all!

Monday, September 24, 2007

An Awfully Big Adventure

Three weeks have rushed by, and today that big day was celebrated with a photosession - let's say, there weren't all happy faces shown over that big adventure. However the event took place under careful supervision of the cat council, and no kittens were harmed in taking of these pictures.
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Happy in Pink

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Hardly no surprise that I truly do love colours, make me all happy, giddy, excited. The endless possibilities of colour- and pattern combinations is very much a most enjoyable and inspirational pleasure knot. I suppose it's no stun that even if I do love basically all colours, there's a certain colour I hold extra dear in my heart... pink.

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Such a colour spectrum, so versatile, so sweet, so lurid, so alluring, so... so... lovely in every imaginable way! And if I can't have pink, I want the rest of the red colour scale. Though I do enjoy the green scale too, and the blueish, and...

So when I do find something pink to add to my garden, or just put in an indoor flowerpot or vase, not to mention something to wear, I go all drolly with delight.

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Add an O, skip an L, and there you have me when I can actually both feast my eyes as well as my palate on something pink. Which most often has a raspberry touch to it. And isn't it just amazing when you can actually mix and match all the pink joys of nature, like in this coconut and raspberry parfait cake with those delicate pinkish white flowers. Oh the happiness, the rapture, the bliss!

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Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Gentle Cradle Snatchers

The way the two mothers Sigrid and Tyra - halfsisters - interact with eachothers kittens is so very sweet. And the kittens - about three weeks apart - seem quite happy with the arrangement of moving from box to box, or perhaps from rowhouse to rowhouse, a new mum moving in to their house, sometimes even sharing one small rowhouse all of them together.

The soon to be three weeks old ones, Viktor, Vilgot & Viola, have also figured out how to get out of one house and into the other, when they feel the milkbar has run out of interesting choices on offer.

W-kittens then, they were four, and during the night they became five, when they were joined by a little black boy. Pure luck I was still awake when it happened, there's a lot to be said for that good ol' gut feeling... He seems so tiny compared to the others, who are already wrestling fiercely over the best seats in the milkbar, I hope he's a tiny fighter and make sure he gets what he needs. Will have to keep an extra eye on that one.

To begin with I was pretty sure the redspotted (dotty) one was a boy, one of the redtabby twins a girl, the other a boy and the colourpoint one - which hasn't begun developing his point colour as yet. It's nearly 15 years since I last had a colourpoint kitten in a litter, and then it was Persians, and I don't remember how long it took until the points (face, ears, paws, tail) began to develop colour. I'm fairly sure it'll be red or cream, though maybe blue or lilac, considering the very light nuance of the whitish body. Very exciting indeed! - a boy too.

To begin with yes, now I'm thinking that probably all the red ones are girls instead. Sigh, some kittens are so very easy to gender, other simply are not. And once you've become uncertain they somehow tend to end up female... So two boys and three girls, or perhaps three boys and two girls. Their names hence will remain a secret for yet some time. But the pictures I give you below!

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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Pitches in Denmark, part II

And the Saturday treat for non-cat interested readers - though how someone can actually lack being fascinated and allured by cats is completely beyond every comprehension, reason and sense of course... - will be the second and finishing part of this summer's little trip to Denmark.

It'll revolve mainly around castles and churches, since there are a whole lot of beautiful ones to be found in Denmark too. And I'll mostly let the pictures speak for themselves.
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I have no idea what they call that particular architectural style Danish, and sometimes Scanian, churches are built in. It reminds me of the Cape Dutch style though, and I find it very appealing. Look at that gorgeous bright yellow church, lovely!
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Gavnö castle and garden is situated near the town of Naestved on South Sealand. The area is vast and the garden is quite lovely with a plentiful of different flowers and shrubs, mainly roses and tulips. I did buy a huge bag with tulip bulbs at Gavnö, which are about to hit the ground any day now. Hopefully there'll be something new and exciting peeking up in my flowerbeds next spring.
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The estate has some very friendly goats and kidlings, who are extremely interested in gobbling down clothes... And a butterfly house, which was nice, but in my opinion far from as nice as the one we have in Hagaparken in Stockholm...
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Frederiksborgs castle, a magnificent renaissance castle in Hilleröd is nowadays a national history museum. But even if you aren't interested in visiting the museum the castle and its garden are so well worth a visit, absolutely splendid. The first time we visited it was very early in the morning, misty and almost desolate. Eerie and completely captivating. The latter any day, any time, all year around I'd imagine.
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