Tuesday, June 06, 2023

thank you may, welcome june 2023

June 6 is not just the sixth day of June in Sweden but also our National Day,  our Independence Day since it was this day in 1523 the union of Denmark was no more. And obviously today is even more special since it marks 500 years since.

As I have written before, there are many things, too many, that have gone completely awry with this country (like far too many countries all over the globe obviously). And it has gotten even worse with the current completely incompetent government of asshats we are cursed with. So yes, there is definitely a gazillion facts to be angry, appalled, gobsmacked, worried, sad and infuriated over. The world is crazy, and so are a lot of things in Sweden. However it’s a beautiful country, and it’s a decent democracy (which is more than you can say about far too few countries in 2023), so for that - happy National Day Sweden!

Also any excuse (as if you need one) to bake and make a vegan cream cake is a good thing, right? Right.

Used the same recipe for the sponge I always use, from the Swedish Vegan Baking Bible bake book, filling is raspberry jam and dairyfree custard (Oatly). Topping whipped oat cream, blueberries and white, vegan chocolate. It was good. But it’ll be even better tomorrow once it has had proper time to rest and set.

My original plan was to write another spring has sprung post but as Summer is now upon us - I’m deeply grateful for every day of not extremely hot weather, so far it has been +25C at the max. Even if it was exhausting it wasn’t unbearable. We do desperately need rain though. With this much sun nature is gasping for water and I fear there will be more forest fires to come here too.

So instead of a spring post here are just some random photos with texts from the world according to me from these past few months. Here goes:

You know about my love for pretty, colourful bed sheets by now. And even if I do prefer to buy my Marimekko beddings second hand I have been known to get the odd new duvet and pillow cover. I’m not perfect, despite the rumours of excellence, so yup, it happens. So even if I had planned to treat myself to the 💗❤️ pillow cover only, I couldn’t resist getting the duvet cover too. The design reminds me of fabrics, designs and colours from my childhood. I vaguely remember even having a very similar duvet cover back then. It’s just lovely. Crisp, high quality cotton, that will last forever.

- Oops, realised now I already wrote about the heart one in the last post… - 

The cows and calves bedding in the second photo I actually won in a second hand auction. I was absolutely adamant to win it as it’s one of my top 5 favourite Marimekko designs. I already had the apple green pillow covers and as pink and green is THE best colour combo ever it would be dreamy to get the matching pink bed set too.

It’s just wonderful. Such a perfectly happy piece to have.

Just admiring how pretty and perfect a vegan dough can be when the circumstances are right. It’s been a while since I last baked breads or buns now, despite my lovely lovely kitchen machine. But after the mishap with my mum completely misunderstand the temperature of the warm milk and butter, and be succumbing to getting a baking thermometer again, it has been smooth baking all the way, baby. Yay.

I currently can’t remember if I wrote about the bagels I baked a couple of months ago. But anyway, I did. And they turned out great, for being the first go after not having had the opportunity to bake some since 2017. I really want to make more of them. Soon. 

And the launch of plantbased Philadelphia cream cheese in Sweden happily coincided with my bagel baking. Yay! Not that there is much difference between the vegan Philadelphia cheese and Oatly’s cream cheese PĂ„ Mackan (not sure what it’s called in English) which been around for ages. But I think us Swedish vegans that haven’t been vegans since birth fondly remember how great Philadelphia cream cheese was and have missed it. 

Even if my days/years as Årstiderna organic vegan food box Instagram- ambassador came to an end last autumn, I still order some special fruit and veggies from the company now and then. This was the first time I bought their strawberries from a Spanish organic farm. It’s fascinating that the strawberry season starts so early on those latitudes compared to Sweden (which usually is just now in June, depending on the weather). The texture and flavour were also widely different to ours. They were much harder, and still sweet despite being somewhat green, in Sweden that would been they are far from ripe. They were great to eat as snacks, but I also used them in food, like topping on my favourite vegan silken tofu pancakes - if you haven’t made pancakes with silken tofu yet you must! Absolute perfection. 

- and in a hearty salad with smoked tofu. Such a fantastic flavour combo, smoked tofu and strawberries!

A house is not a home without cats, and every day I am so grateful my furry darlings are back with me, with us. I still don’t let them into my bedroom, but as little mum let them sleep in her bed in her apartment she has continued to let them do so here too. Especially Ågot loves it lots. So you might say Ågot is more her kitty now and Ztina remains my special sweetheart.

We have been reluctant to let them out in the garden again though, which feels sad, but with the craziness that followed upon the loss of Pelle and his escaping from the garden and getting sick, the 20 years of non-escaping happy cats in the garden have been erased by the past 1,5 year witch-hunt from Swedish authorities. Something which I will never forget or forgive. It is just unacceptable behaviour from an authority.

Ztina has been out in the garden a couple of times, only interesting in eating grass (and throw up indoors) not climbing the tree, so that feels more doable. However there seem to be more ticks this year, I’ve removed two of those nasty ones from her and she even got somewhat sick from one of them, but luckily recovered to herself after a few days of mostly sleeping. It doesn’t feel good to risk things when she also sleeps in my mum’s be though. Even if we’re both vaccinated against TBE there’s still Borrelia to concider…

And it’s not as if they’re very unhappy about not having free access to the garden when I’m home, as they used to, they seem to have adjusted well to slightly different routines. And surely having free access to sleep in a hooman’s bed must be concidered a luxuary upgrade? 

This year two of my photos were chosen for the municipality’s environmental calender every household gets for free. Cherry blossoms for April and the church/cemetery with lilacs for May. The winners don’t get any prizes like we used too, but apart from a couple of years they were such ridiculously ill chosen prizes that I do think it’s wiser with no prizes but the sheer honour of it anyway.

- Ah well, mentioned this in my last post too… -

It’s getting late and it’s now time to read a few pages before I sleep. As I’ve already uploaded a bunch of photos to this post it seems easier to continue to write on this tomorrow instead of starting a new post. Or maybe I’ll change my mind overnight and move the photos below and start a new one.

Let’s sleep on it, m’kay?

The UPDATED during June 7 post continues below:

After having co-habited with little mum for several months now, I can safely say that I was deluded when I thought it was going to be pretty smooth sailing. She’s a lovely human, kind and caring. And this felt like the right and loving way to help a parent that has always been there for me over the years. But neither she nor I fully understood how stressful this move would be, for her in some ways, for me in others. The adjustment period is still very much ongoing. 

And I didn’t grasp just how much her eye sight has deteriorated, how limited she is when it comes to household chores. And how much more work that means for me, and how much energy I must try to muster to get things done, while trying to make her feel at home and comfortable. Yes, it’s nice to have human interaction in the house again, but it has also meant most of my limited energy goes into making this work (including a lot of interactions on her behalf with infuriating square authorities) and my own life and plans have been put on hold. Call me naĂŻve, but I really did not expect this cohabitation with an elderly mum, which I love dearly and have had so much fun with over the years, would be so all-consuming. But there you are.

There are still a lot boxes, bags, rearranging of rooms and wardrobes that needs doing. Stuff that needs to be hauled to the recycling station, left to charity and sold to make room so we can get things done. Which is a problem that urgently needs solving, but with no access to a car (or a driver’s license) or a large helpful friend circle or a ton of money to just pay someone to do it, that is so very much easier said than done.

For now I have settled into acceptance mode, this is how life is currently, it will change for the better and be lighter again. Life has felt heavy and a struggle for so many years now (despite appearance I suppose), surely it is about high time things ease up and less urgent problem solving actions are needed? The Universe has my back and all that.

Having this little (queen of fxxxing everything) one regularly demanding her space and attention is definitely soul soothing. Sharing your home with someone like this is most certainly something I am deeply grateful for amidst all the chaos that is life.

Something I have also enjoyed during these past few months is cooking for two, and exploring new (accidently) vegan recipes. Like this amazing harira soup. Tomato based dishes have never been a favourite of mine, the acidity is just off-putting, but this recipe (from a TV-chef) sounded so good, flavourful and despite a fair amount of ingredients also easy peasy to make. And just wow, how lovely and satisfying it turned out to be. Strong and deep flavours, not spicy but comforting and flavoursome. Highly recommend you try it, I’m guessing it’s easy to find the recipe by googling.

And here is more than a glimpse of the yarn project I gave myself some months ago. A fantastic fluffy strawberry sweater. I knew I needed a creative project that challenged me, with a bonus therapeutical aspect and a sense of accomplishment in the end. I was totally smittened by this sweater when I first saw it on Instagram and for obvious reasons it called my name. 

However, as a vegan I have stopped buying not only new produced leather but also wool and silk, so deciding on buying wool yarn wasn’t exactly straight forward. I read up on the yarn design company and their values, them only getting their yarn from small family businesses in South America that treat their animals with care and respect. And decided to go for it. The wool itself is at least more sustainable than any new acrylic yarn, of which there arent’t as far as I know, anything similar to this fluffy wool needed to create this design anyway.

The pattern turned out to be more complicated - definitely not for beginners! And I have knitted a lot over the years, but it was eons ago I knitted a complicated pattern - and honestly not very well written, so I have had to solve and grasp things along the way. I’m still not happy about the ugly, large ’holes’ that get created along the way when you switch between the colours (I see it on other people’s creations with the same pattern too) but steaming the project made it look quite fancy. Kind of magic actually.

Despite the kinks I have learnt a lot knitting this sweater. My goal was to have it fully finished by May last, when I realised I wouldn’t be able to have it done by April last. That alas did not happen. 

First I realised the length of the sweater in the actual pattern was just riduculously short. Clearly not meant for not-flatchested women. So I had to continue knitting it conciderably longer. Which took a lot more of the pink yarn I had. 

Then when I had almost finished one arm (which is knitted attached to the sweater and not knitted separately) I realised I was most likely running out of pink yarn. It isn’t as easy as just ordering a new ball of yarn or going to a shop and buy it. The yarn is from Norway and that means a lengthy mail process (despite being neighbouring countries) and extra customs charges since Norway isn’t an EU-country. Plus the yarn will not be of the same colour bath/lot.

I have plenty of yellow, red and green yarn left though. So I’m think of a decent way of using up that instead. The elastic knitting that finish the arm is not done yet, I stopped and begun with arm two instead and hope hope hope there will be enough pink yarn to at least finish 3 x 3 rows of strawberries at least.

The problem with knitting the arms attached to the sweater this time of the year is also that it gets so hot and sticky to knit. I’m aiming on June last now, but that really depends on the rising summer temperatures.

I’m sure it will feel like a great accomplishment whenever it gets completely finished though.

I tried to make a Bellini from the bottle of bubbly we got from the real estate broker after little mum’s apartment got sold -

that the loans and taxes took so much of the profit plus that the profit was very low anyway due to the Swedish housing market crisis and steep energy prices is just very… disappointing, as we had hoped to restore the savings account after the covid years. Had we been able to sell the apartment a year, even half a year earlier, it would have made a world of difference. It wasn’t meant to be. Which obviously both infuriates and hurts. As there were so many parameters completely out of our control that influenced the process. -

but I couldn’t find any peach puree, so I used apricot juice instead. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t really good either. The bubbly itself was surprisingly nice though.

The food in the pan is my first go at Mapo tofu - sans the sichuan peppar as that has been impossible to find here. And that was probably good as I’m not a fan of very spicy hot food anyway. The dish was good, but not super exciting, as far as I’m concerned. I just crave plenty of fresh veggies in my food, and this had none.

I had my annual optician appointment a couple of weeks ago, to check my eyes and see if anything had changed. As I suspected it had not, but it’s good to get it done anyway. One of the glasses I got last year had also developed a strangely scratched surface, definitely not my fault as I’ve always taken great care of my glasses, so I needed that seen to. 

Despite the fact that this is clearly a problem with sub par quality glass I will have to pay for them being fixed. But as I get to keep the faulty scratched pair and get a new pair I suppose it’s somewhat reasonable. EDIT: no I didn’t get to keep the faulty pair… There are a lot of new really nice frames in the shop too, thinking a bit about getting just one new pair, if the price is right. I’ll pick up my new replacement pair on Friday and have a browse around.

The reason for me having my first single use paper cup of iced soy latte (oh the shame and nuisance) was that I desperately needed a pee and the optician doesn’t offer a toilet for customers (rolling my eyes), so I had to pop by the next door cafe, had misplaced my keepcup at home (found now) and thought I’d at least get a plastic cup (easier to recycle at least) and instead I got this. Ah well, the coffee was good at least.

My wonderful lilacs hedge has been extraordinary delightful this year, even if the beautiful season gets shorter and shorter. 

Managed to pick three small bouquets of lilies of the valley this season, it was such a joy to have their scent around for a few days at least. Same as with the lilacs though, such a fleeting time before they are gone.

After an hefty delay the cafe at the nearby beach/lakeside opened in April. Owned by the same guys that had that lovely cafe in the old Villa Skoga at our suburb center which opened during the pandemic and soon became a much needed waterhole. And they had pretty decent vegan options, plus that vegan sticky chocolate cake to die for. The best I’ve ever had actually. Anyway, they closed down at the end of last year, and switched location to this beach cafe instead. Unfortunately the cafe is only opened Sat-Sundays, I guess it will change for the summer, so you can’t have a walk in the forest and a fika on a Thursday if you like alas. The vegan options are very very few, in fact I think this chocolate ball was the only thing available when we had our first visit a couple of weeks ago. Hopefully they’ll get better. Next time I’ll asked for a grilled sandwich, which the other place made a great version of, and see what will happen.

As you can see the outdoor seating’s view is wonderful. At least when the beach isn’t filled with people. The building itself is such an unfortunate eye sore though. Horrible lack of any pleasing, inviting architecture and material, just a block of brutal red concrete with zero attachment to the surrounding nature.

Up at one of the cliffs at the lake they built a very nice resting/view spot. It was around when loaf dog extraordinaire was still alive so I guess it must have been built about 15ish years ago. It has been subjected to various forms of vandalism, including the here visible sprayed tags, and restored. It’s a very nice, calming place when void of people. And I suppose great if you want to sunbathe by the lake but not at the beach.

And yup, I’m still enjoying the vegan sustainable Icebugs Eli sneakers I got a year ago. I thought of getting another pair in yellow this year, but instead I opted for another type of sustainable, vegan sneakers, the collaboration between Adidas and Marimekko offered what I wanted. The best running shoes/sneakers I’ve ever had (which I obviously never actually run in, walking is my thing) are the pink Adidas ones visible further below in this post. I think they’re about 10 years old now, still good to walk in but slightly tired. I’ve been meaning to get a new similar pair and when I recently spotted these and thorougly enjoyed the colours I got them. Vegan and partly made from recycled plastic. 

Unfortunately the size 40 2/3 were conciderably smaller than the 40,5 pair I already have. So I had to return them and get the size 41 1/3, which seems crazy as my size usually is 40,5 and 41 leaves extra room which is nice for summer and socks etc. I hate returning orders, it’s so very unsustainable, it’s a rare thing for me as I only order things I’m 99,5% certain will fit. I guess this was a case of the 0,5% left. I’m happy to say the fit is great so they’re a keeper. We will have many great walks together I’m sure. And the name Supernova seems like a perfect sign of fresh new beginnings.

This creative sustainable solution for a garden wall I spotted on a recent walk in the neighbourhood. It’s probably not a new and unique idea, but great looking just the same, don’t you think?

Just a few years ago the late spring/early summer season were longer, and different flowers, plants, shrubs and trees grew in a predictable chronological order. And the blooming was slow and enjoyable. To each its own time. Now the growth is early and pretty much everything at the same time. The blooming period is short and intensive and then it’s over before you even had time to fully grasp and enjoy the beauty.

Even the honeysuckle is over and done with already, and we are only a few days into June… It’s just really saddening.

My latest batch of MOO postcards, this time I went mostly with vegan food, flowers and well, just pretty colourful things. Even if I don’t order or send nearly as much postcards as I once did, it makes me happy to see that the quality of MOO products is just as reliable, or rather better, than it was in 2007 when I first ordered them. And so is their customer service.

The view in the evening from the bedroom window, when the lilacs were still in bloom. It’s like a little Scandinavian jungle of garden bliss. And the scent seeping in through the air vent…

I give you happy lily of the valley picker and the old pink Adidas, that just happen to match the stripey dress. What a coincidence, eh.

And here is the ultimate proof that your cat does love you truly. If the wee in the cat litter forms a heart that’s a proper sign. Surely it must be so.

First really lovely vegan banana-chocolate scones - they go well with either plantbased Philadelphia cheese or a dollop of raspberry jam and whipped oat cream.

Second tempeh and peanut sauce with organic brown rice. Tasted absolutely anazing. I’ve always found it difficult to get tempeh at home tasting as great as it does prepared at a restaurant, but this dish did. Just lovely it was.

With a height difference of ca 20 cm it’s darn hard to get a reasonable selfie, but here we are. Literally little mum and I.

Thank you May, you were overall quite enjoyable and also very pretty.

Hello there June, let’s make you a blooming brilliant month. đŸ©·

Be kind, be safe, be your best self ~

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