Two new stations were built this summer for the commuter train system, one at Stockholm City and one at Odenplan.

The one at Odenplan replaces Karlberg which is the station I used to commute to, so I pass it on my way to and from work (whenever I’m not cycling). It’s got fancy barriers along the platforms, with doors that open to match the train doors.

The other new station, Stockholm City, I haven’t passed through more than once or twice. I rarely have business in central Stockholm. But today I went shopping. (A shop selling outdoor clothing and equipment had a massive sale.)

My overwhelming impression is of spaciousness and light. And escalators. Many, many, many long escalators.

During my summer vacation, I picked up crosswords as a new pastime. After all the pressure at work in June, I needed/wanted something that occupied my brain but at the same time wasn’t useful or productive in any way. It mustn’t feel like work.

I quite like the crosswords that Dagens Nyheter publish during the weekend.

They grade their puzzles on a four-step scale. By now, after weeks of practice, I can mostly finish level three crosswords on my own, only using a thesaurus or a crossword helper site for the last few weird words. The level four puzzles are super hard, and I wouldn’t get anywhere with those using just my own brain – I use every tool I can find, short of asking someone else to solve the clues for me. (Which you can actually do – I discovered there are forums on the Internet where you can ask for help with specific crossword clues.) And still it takes me several days to finish one, off and on, if I succeed at all.

Now I’m back at work. This week, two of the remaining 5 developers joined me in quitting (and two more are clearly heading towards the exit door as well). So the work we are now focusing on is transferring our knowledge about everything to the team in India who will be taking over after us, which means lots of meetings and lots of documentation. This is incredibly boring and I’m finding it hard to remain motivated. In the afternoon, having already spent hours on writing documents, I’m just sitting there, yawning.

To keep awake, I have actually started doing crosswords during work hours. Five minutes here and there, when I feel that I just cannot concentrate on yet another bullet list, makes a difference.

This was our bill for rubbish collection during the last quarter of 2015. Stockholm Vatten collected 19 kg of mixed rubbish and 53 kg of food waste that will be composted or turned into biogas. Mixed rubbish is charged at 1,20 kr/kg and food waste is free of charge. Hardly any general rubbish, in other words, but quite a lot of food waste.

The reason is recycling. Since we got serious about recycling in 2014, we have drastically reduced the amount of actual rubbish we produce. A rubbish bin stands in the corner in the kitchen, but we almost never empty it. It gets emptied bi-weekly by our cleaner, and that is enough. It just does not get full in between, and since it contains little to no food waste, it doesn’t smell either.

Recycling our rubbish has made me more aware of rubbish and what we throw away. The amount of plastic packaging that comes into this house keeps astonishing me. We go through silly amounts of plastic bags, plastic jars and bottles and boxes, plastic clamshell packaging etc. And that doesn’t even include plastic shopping bags, because I use reusable textile bags instead.


Pleased to have “upgraded” from 32 kg to 40 in kettlebell deadlift.

I was too tired to attend my workout session today and I miss it. I’ve only been doing it for two months (less, really, because of the Christmas break) and already it’s a habit and I’m hooked.

It took me a few tries to find a session that really works for me. What I found is cirkelfys – “functional circuit training” with a focus on strength and technique but also a fair amount of balance, flexibility, general fitness etc. The exercises include everything from pushups and burpees to deadlifts and kettlebell swings. I like the high intensity, the variety, and the fact that I pick my own weights and set my own pace.

It’s been years since I last did any kind of sports, apart from everyday exercise such as cycling and walking (not to forget shoveling snow!). I’m neither in great shape nor particularly out of shape. So I’m neither the strongest nor the weakest in the group. Which doesn’t say much because of course the group is self-selecting; the most out-of-shape people don’t go to the gym at all, and the ones in best shape do more intensive workouts.

But the group workout does give me a picture of my relative strengths and weaknesses. I notice which exercises I do with more or less ease than the people next to me. Many of the exercises use weights, and there’s a set of weights laid out for us to choose from. By now I know where to go straight for the lowest weight (because there is no chance that I’d manage to do the exercise properly with a heavier one) and where to aim higher.

I’ve got muscles for walking around and carrying things, but not for lifting, and especially not for lifting anything above my head. I have strong legs and a strong core, but puny arms and shoulders. Sit-ups and burpees and squats: bring them on! But I really with struggle pushups, barbell row and barbell clean.

After preschool Adrian often needs a snack so he can make it all the way to dinner without a meltdown. One of his favourite snacks is gurksnittar: cucumber sandwiches made with flatbread that is buttered, folded around cucumber slices and then cut into smaller slices or triangles. Sometimes we do the same sandwiches with apple instead of cucumber. Adrian, being the food sceptic that he is, doesn’t put anything else on his sandwiches, ever.

We had an OK cherry harvest this year but zero apples. Well, maybe there were two or three apples on the tree but nothing worth picking or eating.

Right across the street from the apple tree, the neighbours have a plum tree. This year they had a fabulous harvest. And they were doing nothing with it! They ate some but the rest was just falling on the ground and rotting.

We could not stand by idly and let that happen! We picked some for a large plum cake, and then picked some more to make plum wine, and finally when my mum heard that there were plums to be had we picked half a bucket for her as well. (With the neighbours’ invitation of course.) Now we have lots of plum cake in the freezer and two demijohns of plum wine bubbling like crazy in the laundry room.

Plum wine is a new one for us, but Eric has made apple wine several times. I’m not a wine drinker; in fact I rarely touch any alcohol at all unless it’s in a cake. But our apple wine, especially the 2013 vintage, is awesome: rich, strong and sweet. I hope the plum wine turns out equally well.