Sunday, June 30, 2013

An interesting article on Lyme disease in this week's New Yorker. As I've written here before, both Sooz and I have been exposed to Borrelia, although neither of us have any symptoms at all.

The article covers both the medical and political issues about the spread of Lyme in the US. It's excellent, and worth a read.

Monday, June 24, 2013

It's my birthday!

Since my birthday is right around the midsummer holiday, I usually post about it each year. My 50th birthday was a huge milestone, this one is less so. But it's still my birthday and it's my blog so I get to write about it!

I have recently found out that I share a birthday not only with Gerrit Rietveld, but Micah Richards, Mick Fleetwood, and Brigitte Mohnhaupt as well. As Sooz says, that explains a lot.

Friday, June 21, 2013


Today is both midsummer's eve and the first day of summer, the longest day of the year. Sunrise on Aspö is at 3:32 AM, with sunset at 10:00 PM.

We have historically been there for the holiday (as it coincides with my birthday), but since moving to Texas, we decided to visit later in the summer to give us a break from the southern heat.

There will still be lots of daylight when we're there in July. Our first weekend will have a sunrise of 3:55 AM and a sunset of 9:45 PM.

I found a great website that gives the amount of daylight anywhere in the world just by clicking on a map and typing in the date. It's kept me amused for far too long!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Rural Design in Scotland

I found another cool design website, Rural Design, based on the Isle of Skye. Much of their design has a lot in common with what we're trying to do with our little house in Aspö.

My favourite is the "Hen House", which is a lot like our own place in its color and shape. I highly recommend checking out these links!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Outdoor lamps

Sooz and I each have one thing we obsess about a bit out on Aspö. For her, it's bedding. I swear she has enough sheets, comforters, duvets, blankets, etc. for 20 beds. And she's always talking about buying more.

In return, my thing is lighting. I have installed enough light fixtures, wires, bulbs, remote controls, etc., to run a disco. I admit it. And I'm about to do one more.

When Göran wired the house all those years ago, he added a few very cheap and simple globe lights to the outside of the house. I always wanted to replace them with something nicer and more square, but I haven't found what I wanted until now.

Sooz found a lamp at a lighting store near Marcia and Rutger's for the guest house. While we were there, I found a bunch of lamps by Norlys, a Norwegian company which I liked a lot, although I didn't see the exact thing I wanted.

Perusing their catalog online, however, came up with the prefect thing: the Bern. In galvanized steel, it's just what I was looking for. A bit of internet shopping found it online at a good price, so Marcia is ordering one on my behalf.

It should install easily, so keep an eye out for that project this summer. I have one more light idea in the kitchen, for which I've bought an extra-long drill bit! Hmm...

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Another royal wedding

This one slipped right under my radar. Princess Madeleine, the younger sister of Princess Victoria, was married yesterday in Stockholm, the second Royal wedding in three years.

It is not nearly as big a deal as Victoria's wedding in 2010. Madeleine isn't as popular in Sweden; she was known as a bit of a party girl, and moving to New York and marrying a American hedge fund manager isn't helping matters.

However, a Swedish friend who watched the wedding said it was a grand affair and the couple seemed very happy. The weather was great, and there's nothing in the world better than a sunny June day in Stockholm!

UPDATE: Margaret wrote in to say "the 'party girl' image is perpetuated by the media and that and no one minds at all about her living in the States or marrying a foreigner. Her mother, after all, is not Swedish". Thanks, Marg; I am always happy to publish corrections.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

House colors

I've posted a lot about the issue of the black splotches on the front of our house and our desire to deal with them.

We know now that we don't have mold or fungus, but instead it seems the spots are just iron oxide from the jarn vitrol we applied. It looks like a lot of it can be brushed off, which we'll work on this summer.

But we're still thinking about painting, and thanks to a friend with photoshop skills, I've been able to simulate what the house might look like from the test patches we painted last year.

I rather like the middle grey myself; Sooz likes it lighter. Comments from our readership on this issue would be most appreciated!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Grattis på födelsedagen, Ollie!

My furry boy turns 10 today. Ollie has had an eventful journey from his puppyhood in Aberystwyth, to London, France, Belgium, Holland, and the island of Aspö, to the suburbs of Texas. According to the internet, he is about 56 in human years, which puts his age neatly between me and Sooz.

He has slowed down a bit, which is natural I suppose. Given his big surgery 4½ years ago, I'm thrilled he's still with us today at all, a happy, handsome, and charming dog we all love very much.

The happy birthday song in Sweden is called "Ja må du leva", which translates to "may you live a hundred years". It's a song that even I can sing fairly well. I'll spare you my rendition, but here's a link with a bit more info (and an example) of the well-known Swedish birthday song.

Today, Ollie and I are going to chill out (as best we can in the Texas heat) and I think we'll share a bit of Welsh lamb for dinner tonight.