Monday, 30 January 2023

Prayer Candles


Photos from Karlstad Cathedral, which I visited back in the summer.

I'm lighting "mental candles" today:

One for a close friend whom I had the privilege to know for nearly half a century (47+ years), but who passed away this weekend. (Also thinking of those she leaves behind - husband, sisters, friends...)

And one for another friend whom I've known as long; having cancer surgery today. 

Saturday, 28 January 2023

Old Habits Die Hard


For around two decades we've had a household waste sorting system in my town based on black vs white plastic bags: Black for food leftovers (used to produce bio-gas), and white for various smaller non-recyclable stuff (to be burned, producing energy used for district heating). The black vs white plastic bags have been thrown in the same bin and then optically sorted at their destination. (Besides this, we are also sorting newspapers, cardboard, plastic, glass and metal packaging stuff, to be taken to separate recycling bins.) 

Now they're changing the sorting system. They've been introducing the change gradually, starting with those who live in their own houses (i.e. have their own dustbins); but now the turn has come to also include us who live in apartment blocks. The main change is that we must now use only paper bags for food waste (+ paper towels); which are to be thrown in new separate bins outside.

Less use of plastic is of course good for the environment, and the whole thing may not sound too challenging. But when I received the new special holder for the paper bags this week, I realised that it would require some rearranging of the receptacles in the cupboard under my kitchen sink - which is where I sort everything until I can take it out to the bins.

For twenty years or so I've been used to throwing my food waste (black bag) in a small receptacle with a lid, hanging on the inside of the cupboard door; and residual waste (white bag) in a taller one on the cupboard floor. But the new paper bags for food waste need a special holder allowing air to circulate around it - and that is too big to be hung on the inside of the door. So I realised I'd have to shift things around.

I cleaned out the cupboard and reorganized yesterday: I placed the new holder for the paper bags on the floor (with a supply of empty bags right behind it); and prepared the smaller receptacle on the inside of the cupboard door to be used for residual waste instead.  

So far, so good. I was able to fit everything in.

However, I soon found that getting my brain to re-learn where to throw things is quite another matter! In spite of even having put a warning triangle on the lid of the receptacle hanging on the door, I still find myself automatically throwing banana peels or  emptying used tea-leaves in there... Movements so familiar that I obviously perform them without looking, or consciously thinking about what I'm doing!

I think (hope!) that I've been somewhat better at not throwing too much non-biodegradable kind of waste in the paper bag, though. Besides that bag itself hopefully still signalling "Hello! I'm new here!", I've also put an orange post-it note above it that should hopefully help me stop and think twice.

It's all made me ponder about how much our everyday routines are rooted in habits, though - like doing things in a certain order, keeping things in certain places etc. And living alone, those habits are not often challenged; except if we have guests staying, or visit other people in their homes (none of which happens all that frequently for me these days) - or some new thing or circumstance is otherwise introduced (or removed) that forces us to "rethink". 

Have you had to change any deeply rooted habits lately?

Friday, 27 January 2023

Back to Normal


View from bridge over the river towards city mall

Yesterday (Thursday) all the snow and ice was gone again. Still gray, but not raining. It had been a full week since my vertigo episode (without any more serious dizziness), and I decided it was time I tried a walk all the way into town, as I needed some things from the pharmacy. Still feeling a bit insecure (perhaps mentally more than physically now), I did take one of my walking poles along, in case I'd feel in need of "a third leg" at some point. 

On my shopping list for the pharmacy I had included non-prescription travel sickness pills, as in connection with my Vertigo post last week I got the advice that it might be good to have some of those at home in case it should happen again. Turned out that those pills were backordered at the pharmacy, though; apparently due to some nation-wide problem with delivery or production. I tried the other pharmacy in the city centre as well, but got the same answer there. Together with the responses I got on my post last week, this almost made me wonder if there is some world-wide vertigo pandemic going on that we've not been told about...! 

This morning, the weather had changed to sunny and frosty. Since it hadn't been raining the day before, not really icy, though; and today I've actually been out twice. Before lunch, I walked to my supermarket for some fresh fruit. There is also a pharmacy at the supermarket, so I also popped in there to check if they might still have some of those elusive pills... Turned out they did! Three packs left on the shelf, so I did not even have to feel guilty of snatching the very last one. ;)  Hopefully I won't even be needing them any time soon. But still feel a bit "safer" knowing that I have some if another attack should take me by surprise.

In the afternoon, I went out again. Took some stuff to the recycling bins, and then prolonged my walk a bit further as well. Beginning to feel "back to normal"...

Tuesday, 24 January 2023

Flashback to January 2013

24 January 2023: The weather is back to grey and dull (a little bit of snow left on the ground still, but it has lost the "fresh" feeling from the other day). I'm feeling "okay", but still a bit tired - how much related to my vertigo attack last week or not, I'm not sure.

Yesterday (also grey) I took my "exercise" indoors with the vacuum cleaner. ;-) Today I did go out for a little while, but only like 20 minutes or so. And after that kind of dozed through the rest of the afternoon listening to the radio and an audio book...

Having no new photos to share, it occurred to me to look back in my archives and check what January was like 10 years ago - i.e. 2013. 

The weather not much different back then, it seems.

On one of my walks back then, I found this glove stuck on a bush. Still like that photo :)


January 6, 2013



Another day (Jan 6) I went for a walk around the 'bird sanctuary' lake, where they still had some rare birds living back then, including these black swans. (We don't have the black ones in the wild here.) They had to move all the exotic birds some years ago in connection with laying district heating pipes through the lake, though; and I don't think they've introduced any new ones yet. But migrating wild geese and swans etc still often visit, and gulls in the summer - and mallards in plenty all year round.


At home, optical fiber cables were installed in my building in January 2013, giving me faster internet. (Can hardly believe it's 10 years ago already?) The installation required some rearranging of furniture...

Nothing to do with the fiber optics - just a lamp I happened to see in a shop window somewhere! (Not tempted to buy it, but my camera found it fascinating...) I think it must have been on display in the window of a lamp shop in the city centre that has since been closed. I don't think there is any shop left in the city centre now that sells lamps any more (or at least not specializes in just lamps). 

We did get a bit of snow that year, too...

... as well as the occasional day of sun and blue skies...

Sunday, 22 January 2023

Clear Blue Sky


Can't recall having seen a sky this blue since... Well, maybe mid December or so! 

I've been taking things "slow" since my scary vertigo attack on Thursday morning (cf previous post); but I keep making progress. On Thursday I did not go out at all. On Friday I ventured out to the rubbish bins just outside + 5 min extra (with my walking poles as support). Saturday afternoon the streets and walk-ways were free of snow and ice, and I felt brave enough to try a slow walk to the recycling bins and back (20 min). (One pole for balance + one bag of light package stuff to get rid of.) 

Today, a thin layer of snow on the ground, sun shining, and properly frosty instead of slushy... So after lunch I decided to take my poles + the camera for a walk in the old cemetery a few minutes away (long-term followers have seen thousands of photos from there...). It's a good place to walk as it's away from traffic + has lots of criss-cross paths, making it easy to either cut the walk short or make it longer, according to how one feels along the way. Today I was thinking shorter but ended up wanting to stay out longer (40 min) as it felt really refreshing with the sun and blue sky and snow! (And with gravel paths beneath the thin layer of dry snow, not slippery.)

Nice to see my own shadow again (middle photo) - it's been in hiding for weeks and weeks!

Friday, 20 January 2023


At the beginning of this week, I kept my computer busy "by itself" for a couple of evenings, sending backups of thousands of photos to external drives; in preparation of freeing up some space on my laptop. Not all done with that project yet, for reasons that will become apparent below.

On Wednesday, while also having laundry day, I packed up the rest of my Christmas decorations to go down to my storage room. Or so I thought. When I got back up to the flat again after having got the last things down to the storage, my eyes fell on the top of the bookshelf in the hall... There seems to always be that one thing somewhere that I miss! ;-) (As this tree does not take up much space, it went into a cupboard where I keep vases and stuff, for now. Remains to be seen if I'll remember that next December!!)

So had quite a busy Wednesday afternoon, and was rather tired in the evening; but not abnormally so. Still also felt "normal" at first when I woke up around 4 a.m. in the night and needed the bathroom (I often do) - that is, until I sat up, and the world started spinning... I also noticed that I was sweating, but at the same time feeling cold. I managed to get to the bathroom, though; where I also checked my temperature. That, however, was normal, which served to calm me down a bit. I changed my pajama top, and changed to another pillow (thinking that I might have been lying in some weird position with my neck). Lying down again I felt okay, and after a while fell back to sleep. 

But next time I woke up, and sat up, the whole thing started over, and worse. I even had to throw up (although nothing really to throw up...). Skipped breakfast and just had a cup of tea with honey, plus a bite of a banana with my blood pressure pills. However, apart from the vertigo, my brain (and the rest of me) seemed to be working as it should... I also checked my blood pressure, which was okay as well (neither low nor too high). So started googling symptoms, and arrived at the self-diagnosis that it was probably "benign positional vertigo" (BPPV). (In layman terms, small particles/crystals getting into the wrong part of the inner ear and confusing the sense of balance. In Swedish it also goes by the name of crystal sickness.) I also recalled something similar happening to me some 30 years ago - but then I didn't wake up with it but had a sudden dizzy spell at work. I think I was off work for a day or two, but since then it never happened again - until now. 

While I was googling and thinking, the worst nausea also seemed to have given way, so I decided there was no need for an "emergency" call. I also found some exercises (head movements) to try, and some tips on what to eat when feeling nauseous (little pieces of crunchy fruit and vegetables, crackers/bread, thin chicken broth - and drinking plenty of water). Practiced that throughout the day and felt better; even if still a bit wobbly. I kept my phone with me in a fanny pack all day in case I should lose my balance and fall (I didn't, though). I also recalled that I had a folding cane I bought some years ago when I had trouble with a knee, so got that out to for support. In the afternoon I slept for a while (lying down), and thankfully had no new vomiting attacks when I rose again. 

I also slept okay in the night and had no more severe vertigo attacks neither when I woke up in the night, nor in the morning. Today, a light headache but not really "dizzy" like the day before. I had a delivery of groceries coming in the morning around 10 a.m. (ordered earlier in the week), and managed to take care of that (including some bending and lifting). I've felt no need of the cane indoors today - just taking things slowly, and thinking about my movements. 

I even went outside to the rubbish bins + a 5 min walk around the next building, with my outdoors walking poles for support. (The weather the last couple of days has been "slushy" rather than icy, with a mix of rain and wet snow). In my entrance/stairwell they're still in the process of painting the walls and railings etc, so I've been using the lift rather than the stairs. (I was in luck about that... The lift was "out of order" for maintenance on Tuesday, when I did not need it; and back in working order on Wednesday, when I did need it!) 

On the whole I feel lucky - and thankful for the internet! Without the possibility to search for info online, I'm sure I'd have felt a lot more panic-stricken. 

Of course if the symptoms recur I may still have to consult health care. On the other hand, they may not! (I'll be taking things slow for a while, hoping for the best.,,)

Monday, 16 January 2023

High Water

 Still raining, even if with short breaks in between showers now and then.

Yesterday, I went down to another part of the river to check the water levels there. As you can see in these photos, quite a few of the trees "along" the river are now "in" the water...

Today, one could almost see the sun breaking through the clouds for  a while, so I decided to walk "downtown" for a couple of errands.

Not flooded - but not much space between the water surface and that footbridge...

The lowest of the stone steps is under water. (The ducks probably don't mind, though!)

I also spotted a lonely swan in the park, and zoomed it in across the water.

First, I visited my favourite tea shop to stock up on some favourite tea blends.

Second, I visited the book shop to stock up on erasable ink refills for my crossword pens. 

I did not go into any clothes shops, but I did a bit of "window shopping" :) Seems like purple/lilac/magenta is on the rise again... (Suits me fine, as I already have items of those kinds of hues in my wardrobe!)

I also popped in to check out a new shop in the city mall - called "Normal" - which I'd only read about and seen ads for on TV. (Just googled, and I see it's a Danish-owned retail chain.) They turned out to sell mostly make-up and hygiene products and things like that (and claim to be cheap). I doubt I'll be a frequent customer, as I only use fragrance-free products, which I usually buy at the pharmacies... On this my first visit I bought some tissues, though (cheap, and on my shopping list anyway). 

... and I also bought this little box of breath mints, mainly because I noted that it was metal (so can be reused to put other things/pills in), plus had the shop's logo on it ("Normal" plus the silly cartoon guy from their ads), so that I'd be able to take a photo of that instead of trying to take photos in the shop... (Silly reason - but it was also cheap, and nothing wrong with the mints.)

In the park, they were taking down the "light art" that was exhibited there during the winter. (I never got to see it in proper darkness but I've shown daytime photos of it before.) 

On my way back home it started raining again. I had a foldable umbrella in my backpack, and didn't get too soaked. On the whole it was good to get out on a little "town adventure" again - for the first time this side of New Year ;-)

Saturday, 14 January 2023

It rained and it rained and it rained


It keeps raining here. I went for a wet umbrella-and-backpack walk to the supermarket for a few items today, and stopped on the bridge across the river to take these photos with my mobile. The water level in the river is so high now that the parking lot right next to it on the left is at risk of being flooded. (I've seen that happen before.) 

Usually there is also a dam on the left below the bridge, and a waterfall from the edge of that down to the river on the right... but just now the water level is so high that you can hardly see that.

 I got back home safely without needing to use my umbrella as a boat, though! ;-)

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