I finally had a haircut today.

It might not look like there’s much of a difference. That was Eric’s reaction at least. Short hair, shorter hair… But the difference is in the details. I no longer have to tuck outgrown hair behind my ears, and my neckline is clean.


Ingrid and I went shopping for scout gear and for clothes. Somehow she has managed to lose her waterproofs and outgrow all sorts of things. How nice it is to be adult and not have to buy clothes or shoes only because you outgrew the (perfectly functional and not even worn-out) previous ones.

I amused myself with my camera and the fitting room mirrors while Ingrid was trying on clothes.


I am attempting to reboot some of my habits and practices.

I’m back from a very, very relaxing four-day hike. Four days of solitude, simplicity, exercise and nature did wonders to my well-being. But as soon as I was approaching civilization, I could feel my stress levels going up again.

Schedules. Deadlines. Obligations.

Crowds. Noise.

The mountains weren’t always silent – the wind could be quite loud – but they were quiet in a way that most modern life never is. I could hear myself think. Or not think. Then I got on the train back, and around me there were all these people. Talking all the time. Couldn’t they just all shut up, I found myself thinking. I hadn’t realized until that moment just how much good four days of silence had done me.

Unfortunately I cannot see how I could make my life much quieter than it is. People at work need to be able to talk to me, after all, and so does my family. One thing I can do is be more disciplined about regularly getting silent time. I need to schedule solo hikes at least once a month or so. My need of being out in nature has been clear to me for some while, but I hadn’t quite understood how much difference being alone makes. Family hikes are fun in their own way, but they don’t recharge my batteries the same way at all.

I also need to do something about the stress I feel from a boxed-in, deadline-driven, context-switching rush to keep up with my daily obligations – while trying to find time to get everything else done in the gaps between them. The kids need shoes and clothes and scout equipment, and they deserve birthday parties and gifts, and we have a kitchen that has been half-finished for seven years now, and my cardigans have holes at the elbows but I have no time to look for new ones, and my umbrella is broken, and I haven’t had a haircut since June, and there’s just no end.

Today I had an hour alone at home and I used it to get all those musts down on paper. The immense length of the list is more tangible now, but at least I know it is no longer than it is. I can let go of trying to remember them all and focus on doing something about them.

With musts filling so much of my waking hours, there are only little bits and pieces left for wants. There are wants – such as reading for example, and blogging – that I can mostly satisfy in half an hour here and half an hour there. But the bigger wants, such as those solo hikes, or intentionally practicing photography, just cannot be squeezed into such small spaces. I need to figure out a way to block out time for them, regardless of the effect that will have on that list of musts.

I am also rebooting my daily posting here. I never caught up after the breaks in posting during summer, and I am almost three weeks behind. Instead of constantly struggling to catch up and never getting there, I am starting over today. There, I’m all caught up! And maybe I’ll manage to fill in the gap later.


The Tranebergsbron bridge is the highest point but not the high point of my bike commute. Today, with my muscles sore and tired after the first week of biking and the first week of gym workouts, and with a strong headwind, it feels steeper than usual.

When I cycle, I gauge “opposition” in number of gears. I have cycled my daily route so many times now that I know what gear I normally use in various places. When I’m having to work harder than usual, for whatever reason, I notice it because I need to use a different gear than usual. (My bike only has eight gears so it’s not too much to remember.)

Back on the bike after six weeks of vacation and not cycling: one to two gears’ difference.
Today’s headwind: between one-half and one gear.


Time to go home after a week of hiking in Zillertal.

Zillertal was a great place for family hiking, and Mayrhofen was a great place to stay.

On our way to the airport I was already thinking that if I could retire today, this could be a good place for it.

There are endless options for hiking, of all levels of difficulty, all of them very scenic. Many are easily accessible by bus. The paths are well maintained and clearly marked. Everything is super clean; there is no garbage anywhere.

The town of Mayrhofen likewise is clean, tidy, pretty and friendly. The entire town looks like this photo: flowers and blindingly white walls everywhere. I keep wondering whether the guesthouse owners get fined if they don’t plant flowers on their balconies.

The lack of vegetarian food was the only noticeable minus here.

The flip side of this convenience is that it lacks adventure, I guess. You won’t come here and go home a changed person, or see the world with new eyes. But that has never been what hiking is about for me.


During the warm days of summer, we keep the glass doors towards the deck and garden open all day long, and well into the evening, too.

The garden is clearly outdoors, and the living room is clearly indoors, but the deck in between is neither, a no man’s land that melds the indoors and the outdoors into one.

In the evenings they separate again. The later it gets, the darker and cooler it is outside, and the less we cross that threshold. The doors no longer feel like the doors they are during the day, but more like a giant window or balcony. We do not go out; we let the outside leak in. The chilly evening air, the light breeze. The song of the blackbirds. The smell of everything green.


Out in the garden, digging, late in the evening. It’s not true sunset yet – the sun stays low, skimming the horizon, for quite a while.


I now cycle to work three days a week. I learned my lesson – that the shortest route is not necessarily the best one – and now cycling is a pleasure again. The weather is great for cycling, warm and dry. It’s hot during the day but the mornings are cool enough. The cycle paths are mostly straight, wide and uncrowded. And edged with trees – as I note with joy almost daily – so I arrive at work (and home) sweaty but rested.

Scientific studies have shown that just seeing trees is good for people’s health, and I feel this every day.


Speaking of cake lasting for weeks… we still have cherry cake in the freezer from last summer. We just don’t eat much sugary stuff, despite my loving photos of chocolate pralines and writing about dessert.

The kids’ sugar intake and other potential addictions are most easily regulated by simple, somewhat fuzzy rules. I myself chafe at rules. So when the family is away, I celebrate by breaking rules.

I eat lunch late, when I am truly hungry, rather than at an hour that suits everybody’s schedule. I read a magazine while eating. And I have a piece of cake afterwards.

(Meanwhile I still miss having a proper camera, and the way the small one never makes things look the way I want is seriously annoying me.)


Adrian’s homework for this week was to write a couple of sentences about what games his parents played during break time at school.

I recall playing hopscotch. And kummikeks or elastics, which I loved but wasn’t good at. And Human knot, and chanting and clapping games. Other than that, I cannot remember any.

I also remember spending a lot of break time on the sidelines. I wasn’t quite bullied, but a few of the girls in our class decided early on that I was not to be a part of the group, and that was that. Sometimes, as an act of charity, I was let in from the cold for a while.

Seeing Ingrid and Adrian at school now, the difference is immense. The teachers here/now have a very strong and conscious focus on encouraging decent behaviour and teaching children to be nice to others. They have much closer contact with the children, a relationship of mutual trust and caring. Kids can actually talk to teachers as fellow humans, even friends, whereas in my days we were subordinates. I don’t think any teachers cared about the social aspects of children’s time at school, as long there was no actual physical fighting going on.