It's a week now since I had to put my cat Dani to sleep. He had been eating poorly for some days and looked a bit unwell, so I called the vet and got a time the same afternoon. Already when the vet assistant put him on the scales I got a bad feeling, as he had lost 600 grams in weight in three weeks since the last visit to the vet, and when the vet checked him she found that he had lumps in his belly. An ultrasound showed that there were tumours among the intestines, and I had to make the decision to put him to sleep. It was hard, but I think it was the best for him, as he didn't want to eat and hardly drink anything. The vet and the assistants at the veterinary were great, I could sit with Dani as long as I wanted, and afterwards he was to be cremated and the ashes buried at a pet cemetery.
I will miss you Dani!
Dani (Kattkompaniets Mercury) January 13, 2003 - October 15, 2013
There is still three months left of 2013, but I have already begun to plan for 2014, as I hope that I will be in a new city and have a new job when 2014 arrives. Yesterday I sent applications for three different jobs as a medical secretary in Karlskrona in the south of Sweden, by the Baltic Sea. I've lived "landlocked" for thirteen years now and I've been missing the nearness of the sea more and more lately, as I've lived most of my life near the sea or a big lake, and I lived eleven years on the island of Gotland, where the hospital I worked at was situated next to the beach, and I could see out over the water every day at work, and the sunsets during the winter months were often very impressive with lots of colours and the ever-changing sea. Now I hope that it won't be too long before I live in a city by the sea, and can watch the sun go down (or up) over the water.
I've already begun to go through my stuff, I won't say that I'm packing, it's far too early for that, but going through all the things that I have accumulated during the years, so it's high time to get organised and to throw away or give away things that I don't need or are too old/well-used/saved "in case I might need them. I know that I'm a bit of a hoarder, not only when it comes to stitching stuff, but also to stationery, as I went through the items I have kept in my writing bureau and filled three boxes (about 25 x 35 x 30cm big) with paper, envelopes and cards. I have had several snail-mail pen pals during the years, but have unfortunately lost contact with most of them, and now it's usually only an exchange of Christmas cards, so all those lovely writing papers I have collected have been forgotten in the bureau. Maybe it's also time to start looking for new snail-mail pals so that my collection of stationery doesn't just collect dust.
I've also done a bit of stitching on the muguet heart, page 3 (the bottom part) is all done and I have only a handful of stitches left on page 2, so it's soon time to begin stitching the flower part of the heart. I also picked up my knitting needles, I found some fuzzy yarn for a scarf and as I'm knitting with size 8 needles, it won't take long to get the scarf done, perfect for the colder months ahead.
Had to take my oldest cat to the veterinarian today, as I had noticed that he had began climbing up instead of jumping when he wanted to get up somewhere, and he has also been more irritated lately with the two female cats I have. He haven't seem to be in pain but I wanted to have him checked, as he's the one of my cats that have had most problems health-wise, it's been either accidents or illness. He has had his fair share of visits to the vet, thankfully he's always been a very good patient, even when he doesn't like what's been done, he's never tried to bite or claw anyone.
He had a bad ear infection in December/January and had to have first ear drops and then two rounds of antibiotic tablets before his ears were fine again. Unfortunately he has suffered a permanent loss of hearing after the infection, he had a rupture of the eardrum on one side due to the infection, but he's lost hearing on both ears, and doesn't react on any sound.
He will be eleven years old in January, so he's not young anymore, and the vet found that he seems to be suffering from arthritis (or some other joint pain) in his hips. He was prescribed a medicine that's anti-inflammatory as well as pain reliever, and we will see if it will help him, and hopefully his temper with the other two will improve.
Stitching-wise I've been working on the muguet heart, I had to do some frogging after I had stitched about one third of the stitching on the bottom part of the heart, which is on a separate page, as I discovered that the centre markings on the top and bottom page were not correct, they were five or six stitches out of sync. Thankfully there was only 21 rows of stitching on the separate page, so it wasn't that much to frog, but still, it's always irritating to have to undo what you have done, and this time it wasn't entirely my fault, there was a fault in the pattern.
The weather forecast for tonight says that the temperature could drop below zero Centigrade, and the cold is coming in from Russia. The weather has changed quickly this September, during the two first weeks the temperature was still summer warm during the days, and now it will be almost five degrees colder than normally during this time of the year. Hopefully the turn to colder weather will only be temporary, and that October will be mild and sunny.
Autumn is officially here, the Autumn Equinox was yesterday, and although we have had a sunny day today it's not very warm, so I decided it was time to make some soup for dinner to warm me up. As I like corn and knew that I have several cans in the pantry I went looking for a new recipe and found Chunky Corn Chowder on Allrecipes.com, with potatoes, carrots and corn. The recipe is vegan and made with soy milk, but I'm a vegetarian so I used ordinary milk instead. The soup was easy to make and didn't take that long to make and it tasted delicious, and I have saved the recipe and will make it again, perfect for chilly days.
I've been stitching on the muguet heart and have almost finished the right-hand part of the heart, and began stitching the bottom part that's on a separate page. There were markings for the centre on the pages and I assumed that the markings were correct, but when I had reached to the top of the bottom part I discovered that the markings had been out of sync by five or six stitches! I had to frog everything I had stitched when it came to the bottom part, maybe an hours worth of stitching :-( I'm just glad that it wasn't more.
I love perfumes (even if I'm not allowed to wear any at work), and I like to try on new ones. I'm a member of Fragrantica.com, and it's possible to make different searches there, for example for a specific note. I made a search for lavender and found several perfumes, but most of them not available here in Sweden. While looking I found some for me new fragrance companies, and ordered a few samples from Fragrances of Ireland and Molinard, and have received them now.
I haven't had time to try on all of the perfumes, but I love the Innisfree perfume from Fragrances of Ireland, there is lavender in it, and sandalwood and cedarwood in the base note, and I will buy it.
In the Molinard box there are five flower scents, lavender, rose, jasmine, violet and lily of the valley, and I also ordered an orange blossom soap.
As for stitching, I got more stash, this time from Sew and So in the U.K. I ordered a Vervaco kit, Majesty II, I've been wanting to stitch it for a long time and finally decided to buy it. I also bought a bookmark (with a cat of course), new scissors and a rotating Easy Clip frame (not in the photo).
I've continued to stitch on the Coeur de muguet, it's coming along fine, but I'm not sure I will have time to finish it before September 30, the day my mother was born. I have also found an old UFO, Who's watching whom? from Dimensions, and began stitching on it again. As you can see I have one of the models here at home ;-)
I'm on holidays now and I have to say that the weather have been exceptionally fine the last two weeks, it's been sunny and almost as warm as we usually have summertime during the days, people are still using their summer clothes and I'm still going bare-legged. Of course as soon as it gets dark in the evenings the temperature drops a bit and the mornings can be a bit chilly, but I do prefer the spring and autumn with the cooler weather to the heat of summer. The only drawback with having a late summer/early autumn holiday is that the evenings are not as light as they are in June and July, the sun sets already about 19,30 now instead of at 22,00 as it does around Midsummer.
I've been stitching on the Lily of the Valley heart the last week, I got the package from Madame La Fée, you can see the contents here (including my little helper):
And this is how much I've been able to stitch on it during this week:
I'm stitching the green part of the heart, it's five different shades of green and I find it quite easy and quick to stitch.
On Monday last week I received two of the Seasonal cat samplers (Spring and Autumn) and on Tuesday I got the Coeur de muguet, and I began stitching on the Autumn sampler immediately, hopefully I will be able to finish it before the winter is here (winter solstice this year is on December 21). The fabric is aida, which is not my favourite, I prefer linen, although I have to admit it's a bit easier/quicker to sew on aida. I've also began with the first stitches on the heart pattern, which is on linen. There was a small gift in the package from Madame la Fée, a tiny angel charm, perfect to add to the heart when it's finished.
Yesterday I went shopping for new tea towels, or should I say old tea towels as I went to one of the charity shops looking for older tea towels made of linen as I like them much better than the new ones made of cotton. I have been using tea towels my mother had made when she got married, and they are/were more than 50 years old by now and have survived the everyday use and wear for that long, but now they are getting worn and I had to get new ones. I found half a dozen new/old linen towels that seems to be hardly used at all. I also bought a couple of lovely linen napkins, as well as a bowl and a jar in blue and white china.
In the evening I went to a concert, our county council celebrates its 150th year, and as a gift to all employees they arranged a concert (or rather six concerts as there are 12 000 employees) for free with Peter and Matilda, they are cousins and have both received the county's culture stipend. They are well-known in here in Östergötland and has also performed both in Sweden and abroad in musicals. The show was very good, they played covers, it was everything from Burt Bacharach, Dolly Parton, Simon & Garfunkel, The Eagles and Queen to Swedish artists as well as songs from musicals.
The sun is shining again and it looks as if it's going to be a lovely late summer day today, after a misty and wet late night/early morning. The only reason why I know that it was very misty (my guess is that the visibility was about 50-75 meters about 5 a.m.) is that one of my cats decided it was time for his breakfast, and dry kibbles was not on his menu this morning. While feeding him I looked out and noticed that it wasn't possible to see very far, and the roof window in the kitchen was covered with moisture. I went back to bed (I don't do mornings ;) ) and slept for a few more hours, and all three cats came to snuggle in bed with me after their early breakfast.
I got up at 9 a.m. and made me a breakfast from yesterdays shopping. I chopped some olives, both green and black, a couple of marinated garlic cloves, a piri piri that was used as a filling in one of the olives, a finely chopped de-seeded tomato and some cheese cut into small cubes (as the cheeses were semi-soft and not suitable for grating). I fried the olives, garlic and tomato in a frying pan, stirred in two eggs and the cheeses, seasoned with black pepper, and made it into something resembling scrambled eggs. The taste was very good, but it didn't look too much. I will make it again, but I won't stir the eggs into the olive/tomato mix next time, I will instead make an omelet and add the olive/tomato mix and cheese on top of the omelette, or make the scrambled eggs with cheese and serve the olive/tomato mix on the side.
Now it's time to get up after my after-breakfast rest and start doing housework, I've been working all summer and the house cleaning have been neglected. As usually I have divided my summer vacation into two parts, I had two weeks off before Midsummer and three weeks now in late August/early September. I hope the weather will continue to be fine these weeks, and that there will be time for mushroom hunting and walks in the forest. If not, well, I have also lots of indoor activities to spend time on, especially when I get all those cross stitch kits I've bought.
Today the weather is sunny and quite warm to be in the end of August and it's perfect for this weekend's City Festival with outdoor concerts and lots of other events (many of them for kids and teens) going on downtown. I checked the program but there wasn't anything I felt that I absolutely *had* to go and see, so I decided to skip the festival activities.
The International Street Market is also visiting our city this week (Wednesday - Saturday), they are selling mostly different foods from different countries, although there are some other stuff too. I went to the market today and I have to say I bought a bit too much food: cheeses from France and England, chutney and lemon curd from England, pastries from France, Italy and Austria and olives from Italy and Greece. There were also different dishes to try, but as I'm a vegetarian there were not much for me, the only things I saw was a Thai noodle dish and a potato dish, and of course sweet things such as crêpes and waffles.
I also bought two cubes of Savon de Marseille (soap) and a small bottle of lavender oil. I love the olive oil soap, it's mild and doesn't dry the skin, and it can also be used for laundry and in home-made detergents, here are a few tips: http://www.savon-de-marseille.ca/tips.html Lavender is one of my favourites when it comes to essential oils, and I find it very versatile. I use it in a diffuser, add to detergents, a few drops on the vacuum filter, in the dryer and so on.
I passed the Farmer's Market on my way home, but didn't buy anything today, as I was already loaded with bags. The Farmer's Market is open every Saturday until October 5th on the outer courtyard beside the castle, so I have time to get there and shop locally produced foods and flowers.
Today I worked "half-night", from 5 p.m. until 1.30 a.m., and on my way home in the middle of the night I noticed that it was a Full Moon, and this August Moon it's not only the Full Sturgeon Moon/the Full Red Moon/the Green Corn Moon/the Grain Moon, but it's also a Full Blue Moon, the third Full Moon in a season. The night sky was almost clear and the moon was up high and spread its light, a lovely sight to see. It was a little bit chilly to cycle home this late, even if it's still summer warm during the days, the nights are beginning to get chilly, and you can feel that autumn is on its way.
I wonder if it was the Full Moon's fault that I had a shopping spree yesterday and bought some new cross stitch stash, as I do have enough stash in the cupboard for a long time of stitching. I bought all four of Janlynn's Seasonal Cat Samplers, I've been planning to sew something seasonal for some time and when I found the cat samplers I knew that I wanted to do them. I haven't decided which one to start with, the Autumn or the Winter Cat Sampler, as I also bought Coeur de Muguet (Heart Lily of the Valley) by Madame La Fée, which is what I will begin stitching as soon as I get it. It's something I've been thinking of stitching since my mother passed away in May 2008. There was a vase with a bouquet of lilies-of-the-valley on a table in her flat when I arrived there while she was at the hospital. She died just a few past midnight on the Sunday that was Mother's Day in Sweden. I decided then and there that I would stitch something with lilies-of-the-valley as a memory of her, but it's first now I feel that I'm ready to do that. I found the heart pattern already shortly after my mother's death in a French cross stitch shop and I liked it, but I also searched for other motives with lilies-of-the-valley, there are a few patterns I also liked, but I've finally decided that the Coeur de Muguet is the one I want to stitch.
2013 seems to be a year of abdications, first it was a pope, Benedict XVI, who resign the papacy on February 28, two months later it was a queen, Beatrix of the Netherlands, on April 30, and two months after that an emir, Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani of Qatar, on June 25, and finally today on July 3, a king, Albert II of Belgium, informed that he will abdicate on July 21, and we are only halfway through the year.
In 1848, the king of France, the king of Bavaria and the emperor of Austria had to abdicate after revolutions in their countries, and in 1918, after the end of the first World War several European monarchs lost their crowns, the emperor Wilhelm II of Germany and the emperor-king Karl I & IV of Austria-Hungary the best known of them, as the Russian tsar Nikolai II had abdicated in 1917. All those abdications were results of conflicts, and those monarchs were forced to leave their thrones, while the abdications this year happens because the monarchs wish to step down.
I went shopping Thursday for a new tablet, my old e-book reader/tablet have given up, so I decided it was time to get a new one. I already have an e-book reader but as it's not possible to use it for surfing the web, and as I want to be able to do that as well as reading books and magazines on it (as well as all the other things one can do with a tablet today) I bought a 9,4'' tablet, the screen large enough for reading PDFs and magazines. It's not from one of the major brands, but as far as I can judge it's a good one and suits my needs.
I also bought some books, as well as joined a reading circle in one of our local bookstores. The membership is for 12 months and during that year you can read up to 52 new books, and as most of the new books for the year 2013/2014 won't arrive to the bookshops until September, I can use the summer months to read books that were in the reading circle last year, as well as all the new ones too. The first book I choose was "Torka aldrig tårar utan handskar: 1. Kärleken" (Never dry tears without gloves: 1. Love) by Jonas Gardell. It's a novel about the beginnings of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Sweden, the gay community and how people with HIV/AIDS were treated by the society and health care system during the first years.
I also bought two other books by Jonas Gardell, they are non-fiction, "Om Gud" and "Om Jesus" (About God and About Jesus), a biography about the five daughters of king Gustav Vasa of Sweden, and a book by Torkel Klingberg, "Den översvämmade hjärnan" (The Overflowing Brain) a book about the brain and the working memory in our modern society. The author is a cognitive neuroscientist and as I have studied cognitive science it will be interesting to read that book.
Most books I buy today are non-fiction, when it comes to fiction I mostly buy e-books instead, as they don't need any storage in the physical world, just a few kB on a hard disk drive.
It's almost mid-April but it looks like it will take time before spring will arrive here, as when I ended work this morning I was met by snowflakes and cold winds, it felt more like early March instead of April. There are still some patches of snow left, where the sun doesn't reach it during the day, and as the temperature still gets below 0 degrees Centigrade many nights, it looks like it will take one or two more weeks until all the snow is gone. The winter of 2009/2010 we had a lot of snow here, more than 70 cm, and it took time for the snow to melt away, I remember seeing the last patch of snow on May first, on the north side of a building, but this winter we haven't had that much snow but it still lingers as both March and April have been unusually cold this year.
I'm tired of snow and cold weather by now, and just hope that spring will come soon with warm and sunny days, with flowers, green leaves and green grass.
I just read in the paper that the Villa Muramaris outside Visby on the island of Gotland have burned down, in a possible arson. The house was a listed building in Sweden for its cultural and historical value, it was built in 1915-1917 as a summer home by Johnny and Ellen Roosval, he a professor in art history, she a painter, sculptor and musician. The house was built in an Italian style surrounded by a baroque garden. One of the main features in the house was an open fireplace in lime stone, made by Ellen Roosval, I hope it have survived the fire, as well as some of the sculptures in the art collection also survived. The present owner hopes to be able to rebuild the house.
I visited the house and garden several times while I lived in Visby, the house was lovely, situated near the sea and surrounded by a formal garden with statues made by Ellen Roosval. Near Muramaris is another artists' home, Brucebo, built around 1906 by the Canadian painter William Blair Bruce and his Swedish wife, the sculptor Carolina Benedicks-Bruce. Muramaris borders to the nature reserve Brucebo, with its protected bird sanctuary Skansudd.
- or should I say eating, as the sandwich I made was more of a meal than a snack. I often work night shifts, which means that I'm used to eating in the middle of the night, and also often do that when I'm at home too. When I got hungry tonight I decided to recreate a sandwich I've eaten in a coffee shop, made with avocado, mozzarella cheese and sun-dried tomatoes. It's very tasty and it wasn't difficult to make.
I used a small baguette, sliced the bread in half but not entirely in two pieces, as it's easier to eat if only open on one side. Then I sprinkled a little bit of olive oil on the bread and put on some lettuce. Then I took a mozzarella cheese and sliced it, as well as a halved and peeled avocado and added to the sandwich, as well as some sun-dried cherry tomatoes in oil. At last I sprinkled on a little of my favourite herbal seasoned salt from Krusmyntagården. Well worth to make again.
I love the herbal seasonings from Krusmyntagården on the island of Gotland, I lived in Visby for eleven years, and even if it's almost thirteen years since I moved away from there, I still buy the herbal seasonings from Krusmyntagården and teas from Kränku whenever I can. Some of the teas from Kränku is available in tea shops where I live, but thankfully both have their own web-shop too.
Now it's 2013 and I hope for a happy and prosperous year for all. For me the beginning of a new year is a bit exciting, as it's something of a blank page in a journal, we don't know what will fill the pages, we might have our guesses and hopes, but we can't see the full picture until the year, and journal, have reached its end and we can recollect the events and see whether our guesses and hopes were fulfilled or not.
Some of my hopes for 2013 is that my cats stays healthy, especially my bengal boy, as he has had far too many visits to the veterinarian in both 2011 and 2012, last new year he had a tooth infection, this new year he has an ear infection and is on antibiotics. Thankfully my two female cats have stayed healthy and I hope they continue being so.
I also hope to find more time to do crafts, knitting, cross stitch, sew and other things. There are so many things I want to do, but I haven't found the peace to sit down and do anything the last couple of years. Now I plan to schedule time for doing crafts, as I know it will help me to calm down and get more energy, something I know I need.
Other things I want to find more time to do is reading, I love to read, but as with doing crafts I've been too restless to sit down with a book and read in peace (well, as much peace I can find with three cats interested in everything I do). I want to read both books for pleasure and books to learn new things.
I also want to try more of all the food recipes I've collected, I like cooking and trying new recipes but it's been the same as with other interests I have, I haven't taken the time and made an effort to schedule time for trying new things, instead I've cooked the same easy-made dishes again and again.
Well, that's a few of my hopes for 2013, a year from now I will know how much of them have been fulfilled.