Enjoy Not Knowing

Just another American living in Sweden


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book of august: othello

This summer I read many a book. 90% of them were children’s books under 20 pages long, so in my spare time it was great to sit down to a slightly more intellectual book. Othello is one of the classics, though I was never assigned to read it in school. Part of me is sad about this because I’ve missed out on class discussions and a teacher’s interpretations of the work. Yet, the more realistic part of me isn’t disappointed because I probably wouldn’t have read it then anyways.


If you haven’t read Othello, do. The plot is enjoyably dramatic, even if you already know the gist of it – it’s worth a full read through. Plus you get to experience what I assume to be one of the earliest uses of the word “holla” as well as the wonderful expression “light of brain”. Every part of me is excited to use that figure of speach as much as possible. I have absolutely no idea why “light of brain” has fallen out of use, as I personally have daily use for it. 

Enjoy fair readers!

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france 

Only you have to say it in French…”Fraaance”. Also feel free to be a little snooty about it, but that’s optional.

Balcony views

Balcony views

In October Evelina and I travelled to Paris. My cousin has been living there for about a year with her husband and daughter and now their new-born son. Though his arrival was after our visit. Evelina and  had a great time visiting with them and catching up. The last time I had seen my cousins daughter she was only three months old, so it was quite different to get to play with her as an almost three-year old in the parks of Paris and bounce up and down on a seesaw beside the Notre Dame.

Notre Dame

Notre Dame

Seine

Evelina and I loved Paris. As they say the city is for lovers.

Eiffel Tower in the sunshine

Eiffel Tower in the sunshine

Walking around Paris

After we got home I took the opportunity to work on number 15 on my 30 before 30 list. I made a map matte.

Here’s the example picture I found on Pintrest:

Pintrest

And here’s my crack at it:

my frame

I just loved the idea of using a map as a matte! I got in almost everything in the matte that we did/went to. We stayed by the Eifel Tower, visited the Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay, as well as strolled along the Seine eating baguettes in the sunshine.

Louvre

Paris is for lovers

Paris is for lovers

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the vasa museum

On my list of things to do in Sweden I list visiting the Vasa Museum. This is because it is one of the coolest museums I have been to. It takes a turn from your normal museum scene (pictures/painting/art on display, or multiple exhibits spanning years of history). The Vasa Museum has chosen its focus, that focus being the 17th century ship the Vasa.

Vasa vertical

The Vasa was a war ship that could hold 64 cannons and 300 soldiers. The ship was ordered to be built by king Gustav II Adolf, who was very concerned with status symbols. The Vasa took almost two years to build by head engineer Henrik Hybertsson.

The Vasa then sank in  1628 on her maiden voyage, after only sailing 1300 meters. Not surprising as the engineers knew it could not sail because of instability. However if the ship were to be built today it is likely the captain would be held responsible for the accident as Söfring Hansson should have sailed with the cannon doors shut to protect against an already unstable boat from sinking. 30 men, women and children died aboard the Vasa, and 15 sets of remains were found upon the ships surfacing. At the museum there is a section called “Face to Face” where you can learn about these people aboard the great war ship.

The boat was carved elaborately and painted beautifully. Color and paint experts have examined the wreckage to determine the probable colors used for this section, as seen in the drawing above.

The boat was carved elaborately and painted beautifully. Color and paint experts have examined the wreckage to determine the probable colors used for this section, as seen in the drawing above.

The ship spent three centuries under water before the Swedish marine technician Anders Franzén found it and began a campaign to retrieve the ship from its watery grave. Once surfaced in 1961 took almost 30 years to prepare and restore the ship and build the museum that the Vasa is standing in today. All new wood & restorations are done in untreated wood, so that a clear difference is seen between new wood and the 400 year old shipwreck wood.

The Vasa horizontal

I have never been to such a singularly focused museum. The ship is impressive enough in and of itself that the history behind it and extra details presented makes the museum a must visit in Stockholm city. Extra points if you sing the Pirates of the Caribbean theme for your entire visit.

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happy easter!

In 2012 I explained Easter in Sweden. Swedes are an ambitious lot who celebrate Easter on the Saturday before Easter Sunday. This means we had our day of celebration yesterday. Just as it was in 2012 Easter was full of good food, good company, and lots of candy.

At pre-school we made some Easter crafts on Thursday. Seeing as we’re closed Good Friday, and even the Monday after Easter. Actually, tomorrow is called annandag påsk, or Easter Monday. Apparently this Monday is celebrated as a national holiday in many places, according to Wikipedia:

Easter Monday Map

So, the pre-school is also closed on Monday. But, back to the point. Last Thursday we made these at pre-school:

Pintrest idea

The lovely Pintrest is at it again, with fun craft ideas. The children had a blast. I think our bunnies look much better than the example picture, don’t you?

Bunnies

I hope your Easter is full of Easter bunnies and candy!

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a surprise

I posted about my 5 planned Pintrest do it yourself items a little while back. But waited on the fifth item, as I wanted it to be a surprise. It was a surprise for Evelina, for Valentine’s Day. As that has come and gone I’d like to share with you now just what that surprise was.

A hand-made card.

Valentine's Day card

I calculated out how many days Evelina and I have been together, and then gathered my supplies.

  • card & envelope
  • patterned paper
  • x-acto knife
  • cutting board
  • glue
  • pen & pencil
  • printed copy of what is to be on the card

supplies

I saw the idea on Pintrest, but there you could buy personal cards – I think it was probably off Etsy.

Pintrest card

But I wanted an even more personal touch,  I wanted it to be hand-made – by me. First, I printed out what I wanted the card to say, in the appropriate font and size. Using a ball point pen I then placed the printout over the patterned paper and traced over the edges of each letter. Be sure to push down hard with the ball point pen. The point is to indent the patterned paper well enough to see the lines once the print out is removed.

DIY - ball point pen

Then, use the x-acto knife to cut out all the letters along the aforementioned indents. Carefully plan spacing, and glue the letters on.

cut & plan

There you have it!

Final card

If you’re going to use the same front message as I did, be sure to double-check your math. Turns our I did not, and I was off by a few hundred days. Oops. My math error was made especially clear when Evelina gave me my gift, a small book whose first page included the number of days we had been together. Once again mathematics foils my plans.

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do it yourself

I’ve talked about Pintrest before, and I’ll likely talk about Pintrest again. On my 30 before 30 list I came up with number fifteen, doing five things from Pintrest, and doing them successfully. Now at the time I didn’t limit myself to just do it yourself items, I was thinking I might bake something, cook a nice meal, or maybe even make this awesome winter sangria I found. But the more I scroll through Pintrest, the more DIY stuff I tag. So I’m going to pick five of these saved pins, and get ’em done!

This October I actually wrote about two such activities. I made a glass, and a work out tank. Both were very successful, in my eyes, and I would do it again. If I had any more Corona bottles, or needed any more workout tanks, that is.

IMG_4703IMG_4708

 

However, that is currently not the case, so it would appear that it is time to move on.

I have now found the other three DIY items I want to complete. One such item will have to remain a secret. It is in the works, but mustn’t yet be revealed as it is going to be given as a gift in the coming weeks. Keep posted to find out what it is, and how well it was received. (We’re assuming very well.)

I can, however, let two of the cats out of the bag. Here’s what I’m hoping to create:

  1. A framed photo from a vacation, where the mat is a map of the city/area from that vacation. I have a few maps/photos in mind. I just hope I can find a suitable combination of the two.

    Picture curtosy of Pintrest

    Picture courtesy of Pintrest

  2. A family birthday board. Hopefully I’ll be able to create this with enough finesse that Evelina will allow it to be hung in the apartment. (Fingers crossed.)
    Picture also curtosy of Pintrest

    Picture also courtesy of Pintrest

     

     

Now you know a bit about what’s in store, and in the mean time I’ll be collecting my materials.

 

 

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a resolutions update: follow up plan

Let’s get this post off and running by first calling attention to the fact that I have yet to share my 2015 New Year’s resolutions. Now that we’ve called attention to it, I’ll get back to that in a minute.

As I left you after my resolutions update in November, I was focusing on making a lasagna that Evelina likes as much as I do, and finishing my painting. I did make a lasagna. I did not paint a lasagna, or anything else for that matter.

First, let me tell you about the lasagna. Step one involved getting Evelina’s favorite meat sauce recipe. Ground beef, crushed tomatoes, yellow onion, salt & pepper. Not complex. I soaked my lasagna noodles in warm water with oil while making my sauce. I carefully layered sauce, noodle, sauce, noodle, sauce, noodle. Finishing with noodles on the top was strategic, as I coated the top layer with cheese. This top layer is then easily removed, because of Evelina’s distaste of cheese. Popped that bad boy in the oven, and waited for the complements.

Latest lasagna

The best I got, was that it wasn’t as bad as the last one. (Y’all remember my pastelon?) Thanks babe. I was then informed that Evelina’s mother’s meat sauce recipe is not in fact her favorite recipe. So the quest continues. I have one final plan, the plan to top all lasagna plans. Garfield would be impressed.

On to the painting:

painting?

This is the current state of my painting. So, yeah, painting is a generous term for this. But this leads me nicely into my New Year’s resolutions for this year. I’ll be continuing my tradition of carrying over my as-of-yet incomplete resolutions on to the upcoming year. Here you have them:

  1. Do a hand stand push up
  2. Paint a painting
  3. Find a lasagna recipe Evelina enjoys as much as I do
  4. Do 5 things off Pintrest successfully
  5. Watch One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Seven Samurai

If you noticed that my “run a marathon” resolution was not carried over, kudos to you. It is still a long-term goal of mine, but in an attempt to be more realistic, I am not including it as a goal for 2015. Maybe 2017, 17 always has been my favorite number.

With one month of 2015 already behind us I’ll have to be sure to be particularly effective this year.

See you out there.

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