On this day...
5 years ago: Thirty-four months
10 years ago: Empty office

It’s summer and school’s out, but for Adrian it won’t really feel like summer until Eric and I also start our summer vacations. He goes to fritids for two weeks (this past week and the coming one) but would much rather be at home with us. Especially since summer care is not offered at his own school but a neighbouring one. It’s the same staff as usual, and some of his best friends are there, but that doesn’t matter much when the place is just wrong.

It’s summer and Adrian got his summer haircut. He has never been fond of washing or combing his hair, but he wanted to keep his hair for warmth during the cold season. Now that the weather is warm, all of the hair came off.

Pokemons and Minecraft are still Adrian’s favourite hobbies. Every other Friday the kids can take a toy with them to school, and Adrian’s chosen toy is almost always his Pokemon album. Then he and his friends sort and organize and compare and trade the Pokemon cards all afternoon.

His “Pokemon Go phone” gets a lot of use. He is quite diligent about playing daily to keep up his “streaks”, and he puts a fair bit of work into practising his throws. We often go out for evening walks together.

While Pokemon Go is something that he does together with myself or Eric, Minecraft is the bond between him and Ingrid. Ingrid finds new mod packs and servers, and Adrian enthusiastically follows along. After some initial technical difficulties we figured out how to make multi-player mode work, with Adrian on my computer and Ingrid on her own, and now they play together nearly every day.

When I tell him to get off the computer, Kalle Anka is his go-to way of just making time pass. Legos and Plus Plus are back in play again as well.

One Sunday in June, the Swedish Botanical Society hold a “day of wild flowers”, when they organize nature walks with a botanical theme. I like plants, and I like knowing the names of plants, so this year I joined one of these walks. The leader of that particular walk was knowledgeable but not particularly inspiring, so I came home with a bunch of new plant names but no real desire to do this again next year.

Afterwards I hung around a while and photographed some of the plants we saw and named. We started and ended our walk next to a dry, sunny road embankment, and that’s where we had the best light, hence my choice of plants to photograph. Blueweed, burdock, and welted thistle.

The blueweeds were full of bees and bumblebees, but those were strikingly difficult to catch in photos, because they stopped so very briefly at each flower.

The black-leaved elder (‘Black Beauty’) is flowering in pink. The blossoms are brightest when they just open, and then fade towards a softer, creamy pink.

School’s out and it’s summer. Ingrid is too old for any kind of school-provided care, so she stays at home on her own for two weeks, until Eric and I go on vacation. She is struggling a little with filling her days.

Luckily a friend of hers told her about a dance and theatre themed day camp, so that’s helping. It fits her perfectly, as dance and theatre are her two favourite (group) activities. I’m looking forward to seeing the show they put on. It’s a short camp/course, four days only, so we’ll be seeing the results on Tuesday already.

She’s also spending some time each day trying to earn money. Her allowance doesn’t go as far as she wants, especially since it’s essentially halved until the end of the year as she pays off her new gaming computer. She wants money for souvenirs from our upcoming vacation trips, and for ComicCon in September. She is also talking about saving up enough to join the World Scout Jamboree in South Korea in 2023, which is rumoured to cost 39 000 – yes, thirty-nine thousand – Swedish kronor.

To make more money she is cooking dinners, taking out the recycling, etc etc. She found an app (called Gimi) to keep track of the chores as well as the money she earns by doing them, and though there is no gamification in it, the bare fact that she can see progress on the screen helps give her that extra push.

Meanwhile she still likes drawing and reading and gaming. Hunger Games remains by far her favourite book/movie. There’s probably general hanging out on the internet going on as well, Snapchat and other such things that kids nowadays do, but since she does that in her own room and likes having the door closed, I don’t really know.

Other facts: this summer’s wardrobe is made up shorts and t-shirts only. No dresses, and no tank tops since Ingrid doesn’t like to have her shoulders bare.

The aquilegias didn’t like this place any better than the Slope (a.k.a. The Slope Previously Known As The Slope Of Weeds). Almost all have disappeared. The white bleeding hearts likewise; I planted a white one here and now I cannot even find it. The Polygonatum and Brunneras and Lamiums are hanging on but far from thriving.

Lady’s mantle is in great shape; so are the new Bergenias that I bought last year. And the Galium is spreading like a weed. It’s hemmed in by the house and the steel edging that separates the flowerbed from the lawn, otherwise I’d worry about it taking over the whole garden.

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.

Adrian with his fresh summer haircut. Catching Pokemons of course.

This is what most of our lawn looks like. Dry and dead. The parts I didn’t mow are doing somewhat better, but I do hope we get rain soon.

Ingrid on her scooter.

End of school. The children in Adrian’s class sang, got a diploma and a small gift from the teacher, then there was more singing out in the schoolyard. Afterwards we went for our traditional end-of-school conveyor belt sushi lunch at Zan in Kista.