On this day...
5 years ago: Siblings
10 years ago: Itchy detergent

Packed ice on the unsanded paths of convenience, muddy ground in between. But the ground itself has mostly thawed now. It was different a few days ago, when the ground was still frozen hard and the snow melt water had nowhere to escape – there were deep, icy puddles everywhere.

The temperature outside is well above zero, and the snow that got dumped on Stockholm just last week is all nearly gone. It was so warm today that I brought out my spring shoes and coat. Which is crazy, considering it’s the middle of February.

I’m often disappointed by how little March feels like spring, even though it’s “marketed” as the first month of spring. At best it is “almost not winter”. This year even February isn’t proper winter.

I’ve forgotten what song he was dancing to when I took the photos. But YMCA is one of his absolute favourites.

Bi-weekly board game night at tretton37. We played two interesting games tonight, one of which I enjoyed so much that I’ve already ordered a copy for us at home, and another one to have at the office.

We’re a core group of maybe five people who are almost always there, and a bunch of others who sometimes come. I wouldn’t describe the core group as hard core gamers but we take the games reasonably seriously: we listen and pay attention when the rules are presented, and we’re focused during the game itself. Not to the exclusion of talking and having fun, though!

The occasional hangarounds on the other hand are mostly there for the social aspect of things, and for them the game is just the thing that brings us together. Which is a perfectly valid approach to board games – but it requires a different choice of games. We can’t spend 15 minutes going through the rules because their eyes will glaze over. And we can’t spend two or three hours on a single game. So I’m always on the lookout for games that aren’t pure party games but that are easy to get into, and are suitable for a larger group of players with mixed experience levels. (So many games are for two to four players only.)

I’m also on the lookout for new games for the family. Actually the two overlap quite a lot, because the best family games are also casual, social, fun games with uncomplicated rules, that are playable by people of different experience levels. The only thing that really differs is the number of players.

Today’s top hit was Dream On. Great fun! After playing a few rounds we realized we hadn’t read the rules; I took a quick glance at them and I think it will be even more fun if we actually follow the rules.

(The photo is not of Dream On but of Gloom, another storytelling game.)

Adrian playing Fortnite.

The kids have been going skating regularly both with school and with their scout groups.

In a matter of hours, the new stove looked less than new. Fingerprints and smudges and drops of cooking oil. They weren’t quite as noticeable on the old stovetop.

A lava bottle experiment from a library book. Water with food colouring at the bottom, cooking oil on top of it, and then an effervescent tablet to make it bubble and erupt.

I love our office dog. He does more for my well-being at work than many of my colleagues.

I like scratching him, and he likes being scratched. He’s a small one, so for the best scritches, I lift him up. He usually likes that and often climbs onwards onto my desk. Which kind of works but is a bit awkward because he cannot easily get up or down on his own.

Hence: the dog podium. A pouffe? An ottoman? A kind of padded low seat, in any case, that I moved from our guest area/lounge to where I sit. The dog got my point immediately.

We realized that we don’t actually need to wait for the new kitchen before we buy a new stove. All we needed was the new kitchen design, which gave us the measurements. The best design we came up with was built around the same sized stove as we have today – reducing it to the standard 60 cm wouldn’t give us any benefits.

The best thing with the new stove is that it is not broken, haha. The oven door can be opened and closed without special grips and secret handshakes, and it won’t fall off. As a side benefit we also get a much larger oven. Interestingly, ovens in 70 cm stoves are no larger than ovens in 60 cm stoves – one oven size fits all.

The really modern/trendy approach would have been to buy a separate oven and a stovetop, and the latter would be induction based rather than ceramic. Stoves are gradually going out of fashion. But the induction stovetops all have touch controls rather than knobs you can turn, and for me that is a non-starter. Touch controls don’t work well with my fingers. Our tumble dryer has them and I often have to press three or four times before my touch is registered. We had horrible microwave ovens at work that required sliding to set the time and I hated them with a passion. I found them totally unusable. Imagine doing that every time I am cooking, with spills and hot pans nearby. Nope. Plus the whole induction thing seems somewhat hit and miss. I read enough reports about high-pitched whining noises, rings turning themselves off unpredictably, cases where turning on the largest ring reduces power on all the others, etc, to put me off the idea completely. This relatively old-fashioned but stable and solid solution is good enough for me.

The workmen installing the new stove noted that our kitchen slants, and the two countertops to the left and right of the stove are not of equal height. Now the new stove is level on an absolute scale but not relative to anything else in the house.