The shape of my pumpkin and some curved “scars” on it inspired an abstract design.

Sweden has adopted Halloween with enthusiasm, but some parts are more popular than others. Trick-or-treating is very widespread; carving jack-o-lanterns not so much. The kids and I really enjoy it though, so we do it every year.

The supermarket has “Halloween pumpkins” but the choice this year was unusually narrow, and we had to make do with weird pumpkins. Mine was oval; Ingrid’s had a hole in it.

Every year I’m somewhat surprised that the kids come through the carving process without cutting themselves or anything else (apart from the pumpkin).

The weather turned warmer again, and it’s still kind of light – or at least not fully dark – both in the morning and afternoon, so it’s still a pleasure to cycle to work.

The showers and changing rooms at work are always clean and tidy. Which is a very good thing, because there are no shelves or benches in there, and I always end up piling at least some of my stuff on the floor.

Pre-Halloween face painting – Adrian wanted to be Frankenstein’s monster.

The sun is all hidden behind buildings by the time we go home. Only the tops of the trees still get some.

There is something about bright red that makes it not come out right in photos. This is a perfectly normal piece of red fabric that I bought for Ingrid’s Halloween costume, but no matter how I expose it, it looks fake.

(Borrowed from Saturday.)

As if I did not have enough on my plate yet, I’ve volunteered to act as “kitchen mentor” for Spånga scout group.

The scout group arranges camps and hikes every year, some of them quite large-scale. I know from my own experience that managing the kitchen for one of those camps is a major undertaking. That task would be easier if each kitchen manager could build upon the experience gained from previous years, but for some reason that kind of learning hasn’t really been happening. So I’ve started working to get this process organized and streamlined. Browsing through existing documents, organizing and updating and collating and adding.

It’s not all about documentation though. Together with a few other “supporting members” of the scout group, I spent Saturday morning inventorying the camp kitchen equipment, counting pots and pans, matching them up with their lids, and then re-packing it all like a jigsaw puzzle. Or maybe more like the traffic block puzzle, the one with oblong blocks you can slide back and forth, that block each other and block the exit.

Ingrid at her desk.

Irmelin is a trio of female singers, who mostly (or maybe only?) sing Swedish folk songs.

Black Sea Hotel is a trio of female singers, who mostly (or maybe only?) sing Bulgarian folk songs.

Today’s concert with both of them was wonderful.

Irmelin’s pure, sonorous voices sounded beautiful in this small and intimate venue. There isn’t much that beats the joy of listening to melodious unaccompanied human voices, singing simple songs that speak to the deepest part of me. I do not listen to that kind of music analytically, with my intellect. I listen with my body and soul. The wordless dances and wedding marches are especially hypnotizing.

The Swedish singing tradition is clear and natural. Bells and trickling water and tinkling icicles come to mind. Bulgarian singing has a very different sound. There is something sharp and nasal about it, which to my ears is verging on the unpleasant. This kind of music I can observe rather experience.

To my untrained ear, the rhythms and tones of Bulgarian folk songs seem very far from mainstream Western music. I wonder if it is possible at all to transcribe it using standard musical notation, and then perform it based on that transcription, and come anywhere near the original – or if it can only be truly passed down as a living, oral tradition.

Each act ended with all six singers performing a song together. Together, they sounded like what I imagine magic (of the fantasy book kind) might sound like. It swirls and billows, and then there is some tiny part that goes off on its own for a little while and then joins the main swell again.