Monthly Archives: January 2012

C’est normale!

My friends, The Bosnian Boys, use it as a mantra, c’est normale! They renovated my house and stayed in my life. The first time I heard this phrase was when the electricity was being done in the house, there were some weird cross-connections and when I asked he said; “C’est normale” and promptly fixed it.

C’est normale is just that; neither good nor bad…C’est normale. It is applicable to any situation and when this phrase passes your lips, it becomes true; c’est normale!

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YEAR OF THE DRAGON

The year of the dragon is upon us since the 23rd of January and it is taking its first breaths. The dragon is a masterful teacher, dragon enhances everything. You’re doing good? Dragon will give you brilliance. You’re not handling stuff? Dragon will bring you to your knees. Beware of your choices and decisions in the year of the dragon – whatever you bet, Dragon will “reward” you a hundred-fold. The Dragon may be extreme – but Dragon is always interesting.

Thank you Yao and Daniel – my Chinese family ❀

What are the odds?

On June 10 2010 I posted an article about Pentagon using aromatherapy to help ease combat stress. (Crying soldier) The picture I used was random and I chose it because itΒ  touched me deeply. A couple of days ago I received a comment with information about that picture: “The photo is from The Gulf War 1, Sgt. Ken Kozakiewicz, Bradley M-60 gunner. His friend, Spc. Andy Alaniz is in the body bag on the same helicopter.

What are the odds for this to happen?

This has actually happened once before when I chose a random pic because it spoke to me, and that was on the post massage and premature babies that I wrote August 24 2009. The lady who wrote me was part of the team in that hospital.

What are the odds for this to happen?

Thank You people for reading me and Thank You for these magical moments of connection!

Wine and turkish cigarettes in the cold

From years and years ago, in the time of free youth and know-it-all I remember heated discussions on philosophy, religion and other things that make the world tick. Dressed in black and passionate I was wildly moved by the meeting with others, the discussions – sometimes so heated – and the freedom of allowing my mind to wander along meandering, never before experienced trails. There were no limits and time was timeless…

(pic from my friend Christoph)

I thought I lost it; in the chaos of being mother, woman, wife, settler and just more or less grown up, it slid away and vanished. Hah! Nothing ever goes away.. I again spend evenings with other passionate heated individuals with a new take on life. They are boys and girls, men and women. They come from wherever with whatever history and we share our thoughts and liberate our minds… Life is beautiful although she sometimes plays tricks on us. And time is of no consequence at all.

Living the experiment…part 2

After 15 years in the Swedish forest I moved to Luxembourg. I found a nice house with a wonderful garden in a nice village with nice people. Life was great…And comfortable; streetlights, paved roads, water and plumbing all done, woopwoop! I was looking forward to a life more comfortable and easier than the years in the forest, but within a sustainable frame.Β  Trust me, it’s not as easy as it sounds. It takes thought and planning:

  • Shopping is done in stores – always. This means packaging galore and boy are people into packaging! So I make choices based on the packaging and of course the foodstuffs; no expensive crappy packaged and processed food.
  • Trash: Luxembourg is amazing in that you get little bins for recycling that then are collected at your house every 2 weeks – impressive! I started a compost where a lot of stuff goes, including the ashes from the stove. The bonus of the compost is that the moles have stopped killing off my plants and instead hang out in the compost which we now call the mole-feeder πŸ™‚ I ordered the smallest dustbin, 60 liters, which is collected once a week. Thanks to the mole-feeder and the brilliant recycling, this tiny dustbin is more than enough, even when my house is full.
  • Heating: Luxembourg is a lot less cold in winter than Sweden and already that simplifies a lot. I have electric heating in the house and during winter keeping the house warm would cost me a fortune, so I installed a wood-burning stove that heats more or less the whole house. It takes work and planning but it functions beautifully and I can keep my living-area wonderfully warm. I absolutely detest cold weather and refuse to go outside unnecessarily in winter, the wood-work forces me out every day for some good strength-training…Automatic health πŸ™‚
  • Water: There seems to be unlimited amounts of water all the time, the hot water is created in a boiler. It is so easy to just use, use, use…This is a bit trickier to keep check of, but I keep the usage down, no need to use everything just because it’s there. And the garden must survive the occasional dry spell in summer.

At the end of the day my bills are down, my house is warm, the moles are fed and my garden gives me berries and fruit in abundance…I love making jam πŸ™‚ I don’t grow my food as I used to in the forest because I am really enjoying the comfort of life here and growing food is a lot of work.

Conclusion: Even if I was stinking rich and could get everything I wanted in the amounts I wanted it, I would still live this way. What might have started out as an economical solution or necessity has turned into a life-style of respect for the Earth and all the gifts she showers us with. Everything has a price even if we don’t notice it and we need to remember that.

Another noteworthy point is that sustainable living is automatically healthy and even if it takes some work and planning, it is still both easier and cheaper than going to the gym or trying to stay on a diet. You can only win.

Living the experiment…part 1

Going back to sustainability: When child nr 2 came we decided to live in the forest where I had a tiny cottage with 2 rooms and a kitchen. The cottage had no plumbing, very little electricity and, of course, no running water. We are talking an original Swedish cottage (torp) more or less unchanged since it was built in 1680. Swedish winters are horrendously cold and life quickly turned into a survival area for us. Slowly we renovated the cottage, one room at a time, and within the first 3 years we got water, plumbing and a bathroom! The point is that we could see where everything went; the plumbing was laid down under the field for the horses, visible from the kitchen window. Whatever went down the drain and out would stay within our “living surface”. Our water came from a well, dug behind the house and every day we could check the level of water to make sure it didn’t dry up…It never did, amazing well. πŸ™‚

The point here is that when starting out with no modernities in such a pure space of nature, you become extremely aware of the sustainability of your living; washing-powder and liquids go down the drain and flow slowly beneath the green grasses where the horses graze and suddenly it really matters what you allow into that flow. Taking water becomes an issue as well; if the levels drops you have to ration the water to make it last. Heating; big issue. Electricity was installed in our house – state of the art, we could actually keep a lamp lit while having a fridge! We even had a tiny boiler that would hold 30 liters; just enough to bathe 2 children in the sink, once the dishes were done and more water had been heated in the boiler. πŸ™‚ Electricity is expensive so we used wood to heat the house, a wood-burning stove is brilliant in the kitchen, filling 2 purposes at once and a tiny house is bliss to heat during the long cold winter. Getting firewood is hard work but we had plenty of forest.

The children used diapers of cloth to save both money and space in the dust-bin. Getting rid of garbage is costly and you don’t know where it goes. Everything that could go on the compost went there and the dogs and cats would eat the rest. Packaging was not a big problem since weΒ  got most of our foodstuffs and milk from the farmers around.

We weren’t looking to be sustainable, it was never a thought or an issue, it just automatically happened. Both me and Hubby were from the city where everything is taken for granted; there are unlimited amounts of water – even hot water – all the time, you can flush most anything down the toilet and the trashcan is a hole in the wall containing a chute that will transport your trash to “somewhere in the basement”, never to be seen or heard from again. In the forest this all changed; nothing is automatic and whatever you do (or don’t) it’s going to stare you in the face all the time.

Lesson learned: Sustainability is about re-using everything and thinking twice all the time. From how you heat your house and get rid of your garbage to how you shop, cook and maintain your stuff. sustainability takes time and work. To be honest, at the time it was also about economy; it’s hard for an entire family to live on one small salary and I really wanted to be with the children full time. I baked our bread, collected fruits, berries, herbs and mushrooms from the forest and the garden…I am a mean jam-maker! I sewed our stuff for the house and some of the children’s clothes.

Now my life has changed a lot and in the next post I will tell you about how this works. Stay tuned folks!

RESTRICTING REGULATIONS and oranges

How far can regulations reach, where is reasonable? There are bodies to regulate more or less anything in the name of safety. For your safety, Folks. What starts out as a good idea in order to regulate toxic substances seem to have accelerated into the idea that everything is toxic.

Just to give you an idea; limonene, found in citrus-fruits, has been judged a skin irritant by a “body”. Now here is reality:

  • The hazardous substance occurs when limonene oxidizes (the aging process), oxidized limonene is an irritant.
  • Limonene is found in a majority of house-hold products and is considered safe. There are no restrictions.
  • Limonene is found in many food-stuffs and drinks, including babyfoods, it’s an excellent taste enhancer.
  • Every time you handle a citrus-fruit – and especially when you peel it – you get rather large amounts of limonene on your skin.

All these facts aside, “people” are afraid of limonene πŸ™‚ and it has been branded a skin-hazard not to be used. So if this is the case, why are we allowed to eat oranges?