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My family and I have been on a little vacation trip to Estonia. We thought it might be fun for the twins to travel on a big ferry and it turns out we were right. Though actually it took them a very long time to realize we were on a ship. It was only when we had left our cabin and were waiting to be allowed to disembark that the children saw the ocean through the big windows in a lounge area.

The trip was ok, if not quite as much fun as my sister and I had hoped.

We took a new type of train that we'd never travelled on before. They use the same tracks as the old state monopoly's trains but the actual trains are a lot nicer. We'll definitely travel by the same trains again. On the way out, the children were on their best behavior. Unfortunately, they weren't on the way back. Maybe they were tired.

We had to learn how to fold up (?) the buggy several times, which was a bit tricky. The first time was on the way to the ferry terminal, the second when we had to get it inside our cabin. But everything went fine and my sister got a little practice in, in case we'll need to do it again on other trips.The children loved the cabin and at least the playroom on the second ferry on the way back. The first one was too small and my son was a little scared of the slide.

The food, as on our previous trips to the Baltic states were delicious. Unfortunately, the beds (bunks?) in the cabin were really uncomfortable and I woke up several times a night because of back pain. On the way back, my mom let me have the least uncomfortable one, but it still hurt quite a lot.

The positives (other than what I've mentioned above):

On our way to a park where we'd be waiting until we could check into the hotel an Estonian man who didn't speak English offered my mom a seat on the bus.

In the park, an Estonian family who had been given three balloons for their three children gave away the one the baby had got. I think she was too young to appreciate it and my daughter really did. She watched as the two older children played with theirs and laughed out loud with delight. We still have that balloon but neither twin really cares about it now. They tire easily of everything.

On the ferry terminal, on the way back, a Swedish boy gave away two emoji toys to my twins. It was really cute the way this kid of about ten or so, kneeled in front of the buggy and handed over his toys. Very kind of him. His whole family seemed to enjoy seeing the twins so happy about their gifts.

When we got off the ferry, the bus we were going to travel on back to the city center didn't have room for our buggy, so we had to wait for the next one - but then the driver of one of the other buses from the same company offered us a ride out to an area of Stockholm where his passengers were going to get off, one where there are plenty of museums and other interesting sights to see. I only wish we could have stayed and visited a few museums, particuarly the Historic museum and the Medieval Museum.

On the bus back home, after we got off the train, a nice lady helped me get the buggy onto the bus and when were about to get off, a likewise nice kid of about eighteen cheerfully offered to help me get the buggy off the bus. We're not used to being treated that nicely so that was a really pleasant surprise.

The negatives:

A really unpleasant drunk woman complained about my children's messy eating. I suppose she doesn't have any children or grandchildren of her own. I got so angry I just picked up my daughter and carried her back to the cabin.

The internet connection was really bad pretty much everywhere. That's something new, because as I remember it from the last time I was in Estonia, there were plenty of wifi hotspots. We could barely use our phones at all.

The hotel was rather dull and uninspiring - an old Soviet style building with really depressing colors, at least in my opinion. The color scheme was beige and black. And the wall to wall carpet in the corridors smelled.

The food in the restaurant was good, but there was so little of it, it was practically like an hors d'oeuvre, not actual dinner.

While we were waiting in line to be allowed off the ferry, a rude man bumped into my sister with his huge backpack and almost pushed her over. She's usually very steady on her feet so that was really unpleasant

Some photos:

Tagetes

Pigeons

A real pigeon

More pigeons

Statue

Advertising thing

View from the hotel window

Signs

Magical Portal

crimsoncorundum: (Default)
Today, we went on a little shopping trip to a bigger town. Even though this little town/village has surprisingly many shops it's nice to be able to get away to somewhere a little bigger. We took the twins and went to the pastry shop/cafe in the former town hall. They now have one vegan item on the menu - a delicious rye bread sandwich with fresh vegetables. Later we also bought some vegan ice cream in a shop. Unfortunately I spilt a tiny flake of chocolate on my dress so there was a stain. I hope it will wash out.

The former Town Hall, that once used to be a hunting lodge. I didn't take this photo, it's from Wikipedia.

Town Hall

I took a few photos. It's an interesting town from the perspective of architecture, with lots of huge villas where I imagine doctors used to live (there's a hospital nearby). Outside a beautiful building that I wish was the town library, which we were looking for but didn't find, and it might have been at one point, I found this cute lion.

White lion


This is a close up of an ornament adorning the fence around the same building:

Decoration

I'm hoping my sister [personal profile] thegreenring will post about this outing too, with more photos.

crimsoncorundum: (Default)

Kindle

From Amazon's book page:

Lady of Devices: A steampunk adventure novel (Magnificent Devices, Book 1):

London, 1889. Victoria is Queen. Charles Darwin’s son is Prime Minister. And steam is the power that runs the world.

At 17, Claire Trevelyan, daughter of Viscount St. Ives, was expected to do nothing more than pour an elegant cup of tea, sew a fine seam, and catch a rich husband. Unfortunately, Claire’s talents lie not in the ballroom, but in the chemistry lab, where things have a regrettable habit of blowing up. When her father gambles the estate on the combustion engine and loses, Claire finds herself down and out on the mean streets of London. But being a young woman of resources and intellect, she turns fortune on its head. It’s not long before a new leader rises in the underworld, known only as the Lady of Devices.

When she meets Andrew Malvern, a member of the Royal Society of Engineers, she realizes her talents may encompass more than the invention of explosive devices. They may help her realize her dreams and his . . . but sometimes the closest friendships can trigger the greatest betrayals . . .

I just finished reading this free e-book, and I must say I was positively surprised. Since I bought my Kindle Touch I have downloaded and started reading so many free books and most of them weren't good enough to finish. This turned out to be among the few that was well worth reading to the end. My main complaint is that the story is a little too short and seems to end sort of in the middle - not quite - there is a resolution of sorts - but it comes rather quickly and feels a bit sudden. Normally, I wouldn't buy the next book when the author leaves the reader hanging, but in this case, I might make an exception. As I mentioned above, there is a sort of ending, even if it's too sudden for my taste.

Claire is a likeable character. As the book progresses we get to know more likable characters, mainly young women. There are of course a few men - one sympathetic and another less so. Time will tell how they will develop. When the story begins Claire belongs to the upper class and is miserable that her mother won't consider letting her go to university. She is passionate about engineering and loves to drive a steam driven car, even though it's not considered 'ladylike'. Soon her circumstances change dramatically. Being a resourceful young woman, she handles her situation well and manages to save herself.

If this sounds like your kind of thing, visit Amazon as soon as you can. The book is still available for free if you hurry.

crimsoncorundum: (Default)

My sister recently got this book for her birthday, and since she hasn't felt up to reading for a while (she's burned out, among other things) she let me borrow it.

Now that I've read it, I must say that I really liked it. It made me really keen on going to a fancon (but things are really different here in Sweden and even though there are fancons here, lack of communications out here where I live, makes it more or less impossible for me to go anywhere fun). Cosplay is out of the question after having my twins.
crimsoncorundum: (Default)
Today, we caught some intruders snooping around our yard, and our neighbors', taking photos with a long lens. They'd parked their car in our yard and had picked some flowers but didn't treat them like they cared.

My sister went outside and confronted them. The woman claimed that it was 'so beautiful' here. (Which it isn't, not particularly). She also said that they'd been here yesterday and since didn't see any car, they assumed no one was at home. Like that's an excuse to trespass. We don't have a car, so there's never a car. What's a bit unnerving is that we never noticed them yesterday. I just happened to be looking out the window and caught sight of the woman on the dirt path outside.

I really don't like living here. Hopefully, we'll be able to move soon. It's not a good place to live for more than one reason.
crimsoncorundum: (Default)
In Sweden Father's Day is in November, but since it is Father's Day in many other countries I thought I'd post about the men in my family anyway.

First of all I'd like to mention my dad. He and I are very much alike in personality. I can almost hear his voice inside my head whenever something happens. I know what he would have said about whatever it is. I've posted about this before, but I'd still like to mention the many things my dad helped me with.

He always drove me anywhere I needed to go, all without complaining. He'd bring a book and read while he waited. They say my dad was born on a Sunday with a 'victory hood' meaning part of the umbilical sac, which apparently means luck. I'm not sure if any of this is true, since I have found plenty of circumstantial evidence that the woman I thought of as my grandmother (aka the wicked witch of the east) actually wasn't his real mother. Be that as it may, my dad was very lucky in his life. Once he was going to drive me to the railway station (I laugh about it now, since that short walk wouldn't have been any problem), but I had got ready too late and missed the train. I was still sleepy and told dad that we could just go back home and I'd go back to bed, but he wouldn't let me. He drove me to the next railway station on the line (a five minute drive). I told him it would be too late, since the trains are a lot fast than cars. We'll wait, he told me. And sure enough, a minute or so later the train did arrive and I got on it in time.

Secondly, he always helped me with my maths homework and he did it very well, even though he always said he wasn't any good as a teacher and much preferred to be a principal/head master. Others have tried and never managed it very well. It gave me a better grade than I would have if left to my own devices.

A third example is the time when I'd decided to stay at home instead of enduring a 'sports day' with my class. Since it was my form mistress/home room teacher who was responsible for that particular day, she called in the afternoon to check on why I didn't come. My dad had been at work and he'd left before I was up so he had no idea about what I'd done, but when I walked into the hallway, there he was, on the phone with my teacher telling her how sick I'd been. LOL. That's something I'll never forget.

Now I'd like to mention my (maternal) grandfather. He was a very honest and decent man. Very serious and reliable, but he also had a sense of humor and he was very good at appeasing angry family members. Maybe because he was one of the youngest in a family of seven children? He was a grocer and I know he was very respected both in his profession and in private.

That's pretty much the men in my family that I know and have met in person. Sure, there are mom's cousin's two sons, but I don't know them very well. They're nice and we have a bit in common, but I couldn't tell you very much more about them.

Despite never having met them, I'd still like to mention my mom's two grandfathers and my paternal grandfather.

I'll start with the latter. Unfortunately, I don't know very much about him, other than what my dad has told me. He was a business man and he was quite successful at that. I also believe he was honest in his business. My dad was in awe of him, but I can tell from the photos of the two of them together, that they loved each other.

My mother's maternal grandfather seems to have been a rather modern man for his time. In a different time, he might have been a vegetarian. He was kind and loving towards his children and loyal to his wife, even though I believe they weren't very well suited to each other. He was also quite handsome in some of the photos and he had a sense of humor. I've been told he joked a lot. He was a builder and there are still two very nice houses that he built, standing in his home town (in Sweden - he did try to emigrate to America, but his wife refused to go).

My mother's paternal grandfather was a grocer, just like his son. I've been told (not by my mother, who never met him, or even his youngest son, my grandfather, who was far too young when he lost his father) that he was a happy, cheerful man who loved his family and tried to enjoy life to the full. He loved to buy christmas presents for his children and would lead the 'long dance' around all the rooms in the house, on Christmas Eve.

Finally, even though he's not a man yet, I'd like to mention my son, who I think will grow up to be a very good dad. He's the only living male in our family today. He's talented and charming and the most wonderful son anyone could hope to have.
crimsoncorundum: (Default)
My children were invited to the local library for a bit of book info, and to receive a book each. All children of a certain age living in this area had been invited to a little meeting in the library. Not many came. It was nice and I'm not sorry we came, but we did have to stay for a very long time for a very short 'show'. I was also annoyed by one of the locals. My children are quite outgoing and they were also the oldest children present. When my daughter, as she likes to do, walked over to this woman and her much younger daughter, and 'borrowed' a few of that little girls' things, her mother was clearly offended, not amused at all. What did she expect? My daughter is 16 months old. Both twins enjoyed playing in the library's children's room and used all the 'facilities' to the max. By that I mean that they pulled out piles of books and let them fall to the floor. :)

Here is my son considering which books to throw on the floor:

library

crimsoncorundum: (Default)
Today it's Mother's Day in Sweden, and since I have a mother and I am a mother, I thought I'd write a post about that. I'd also like to mention my dad, who is no longer with us, and my grandfather who left us even earlier, but I think I'll save that for Father's Day even if it makes me sad thinking about all those who are no longer with us.

So, today I'd like to remember and thank all the wonderful women in my family who are mostly no longer with us. Some were mothers, some wanted to be but weren't.

Thank you aunt G, who was such a wonderful aunt and who had a fascinating and varied life, despite claims to the contrary. Thank you great-aunts S, M, M, A and the two E:s, for being such kind and thoughtful aunts. I'd also like to mention 'aunt' E (another E) who I never got to meet, but who according to my mom was a really funny, cheerful and inspiring woman, despite a very difficult life.
Then there's my maternal grandmother S, who I resemble a lot. I can still hear your voice in my head and I know what you would have thought or said about all kinds of things in every day life.

Also, my mom who is still alive and well and living with us. You were a wonderful mom when my sister and I were children. We've all had a difficult life and you may be a touch grumpy and harsh these days, but I can understand why.

I'd also like to thank my sister G who is not a mother yet, but hopefully will be soon. You're my best friend and my role model. I admire you so much. This family would be nothing without you.

Finally, I'd also like to thank my children P and S for letting me be their mom. You've made all the difference in the world.

Thank you, all of you wonderful women in my family, including my mother's grandmothers and everyone who came before them, and also, thank you, my unknown paternal grandmother who gave us our dad, even though we know nothing else about you. I love you all.
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Yesterday, my sister and went shopping for groceries. It was relatively hot, things worked out fine and I was more or less content with the little outing. However, lately I've begun to whine a lot about having put on so much weight - rather unexplainedly, I think. It's occurred to me that it might be a side effect of my medication against high blood pressure, that I got from being pregnant. I'm not sure about that, but it might be an explanation. In any case, I'm pretty unhappy about looking the way I look. For instance, I've had to put away most of my clothes and had to try and get new ones (not quite successfully, at least yet). Anyway, to cut to the chase, I decided to take a photo of my shadow, or at least part of it because it seems to be better looking than I am.



I've also started using my new handbag. It's pretty big and not my usual style (I'm not really a handbag person, to be honest). I've just been thinking I should develop my Moomin Mama traits. :) I'm going to be carrying around more stuff, that maybe my children will need (other than the contents of of the changing bag). What do you think? Is it too big for me? I thought it would be difficult to carry it, without a shoulder strap, but it wasn't.



Silly trivial stuff, I know. Just ignore this post if you think it's boring.



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