Tuesday, 27 September 2016


Besides feet and public transportation, my main means of transport is my bicycle.

I bought it when I started spending longer periods of time in Amsterdam (and had fallen off the man's gigantic spare bike a few times) AND we had figured out how to fit three bikes in the basement storage.

Everybody cycles in Amsterdam, in all of the Netherlands and that is just what I am used to from Scandinavia. There we also cycle in the winter snow - in the Netherlands they cycle all year round too but I would not call the weather here winter. Bah!

When my bike doesn't function well, my life does get quite complicated. Do I trust it? Can I take it on long trips? What else do I need to fix? When will the next flat tyre come?

Currently the problems are that the packaging straps are broken, front light doesn't work, the gears - all seven of them - are non-functional as the gearbox (is it a gear box on a bike?) is worn out and the whole thing wobbles in the back because the back wheel isn't completely round any more (probably happened in the bicycle rack at work.
I have fixed the brakes and the lock this year and it is a constant struggle to keep it going.

I went to the bicycle man to talk about the gear box and because of the model, it would cost almost half of what the bike is worth. Although I need my bike, I do not think it is worth putting another €100 on a bike bought for €225 five years ago. I think I will be riding without gears for a while!!
A replacement bike will cost me €300-400. Of course I can go and buy a new bike but in this town that would be quite a pointless thing. Bicycles here need to be made from high grade steel, weigh a ton and be designed so the driver sits up straight when cycling. No other bike will be strong enough to survive a few weeks being parked around town and only if you cycle like a flamingo do you have a chance to catch traffic in order not to kill yourself when cycling in Amsterdam.
But it is fun and if you ever come here, a rented bike is a must!

Anyway, I have done some bike work today. I took apart the "gear box" to see if the bike man was right. (I am not sure but since it is not being replaced and I can't fix it, it doesn't matter).

The front light is a cheap piece that is simple to replace as well as the straps for luggage. I will have to go and buy that tomorrow. I released the back wheel and re-set it, let the air out of the tyre and re-pumped it in an attempt to see if the back wobbling can be reined in. I'll take it for a spin down the large bridge tomorrow to see how it performs.
Yes, a bridge is the only hill I have access to in this country!

Monday, 26 September 2016


This was this years birthday cake for the man.

Life is busy and between everything to be done and neither one of us especially interested in cake
(to eat), I baked him a cauliflower, mash potato and cheese cake surrounded by buttered carrots.

With a candle. Because he is number one.

Saturday, 24 September 2016


I have blond hair.
Every year in the fall sales I buy a bottle (300 ml) of high-brand shampoo.
Then it is sold for half price and since I use it only occasionally, a bottle can last almost a year. (I buy really cheap shampoo for every day use.)

Last year, I made a mistake when buying the shampoo.
I managed to buy the conditioner instead.
It took me quite a while until I used it and noticed.
I was very annoyed with myself. I then had to go and buy the shampoo too.

The bottle of last year's shampoo has been used up. It was actually emptied quite a while ago and I have been looking forward to seeing my brand on sale. Finally it was sold for half price and I bought a new bottle of shampoo yesterday.

Or so I thought.
In the shower this morning I found out I have managed to make the same mistake again.
I have bought yet another bottle of conditioner.
And since I have opened and used it, I can not return it.

The man commented that considering they sold shampoo especially designed to be bought by blonds, they really should write clearer on the bottle.

Bang. Burn. Zinger.

I am going to go and buy a bottle of shampoo today.
Or I'll send the man.
I now have conditioner to last me at least six years. I do not use conditioner very often.

Friday, 23 September 2016


We never make our bed.
If people are coming over, we only straighten the pillows and stretch the covers.

We do not have a bed cover. We do not have ornamental pillows. We have no cuddly toys in bed - other than as a joke, I might put the man's stuffed fish-toy on my pillow when I leave for a few weeks.

We also sleep in the smallest room available in the house. The bed sits between three walls. We get into the bed on the short end. Changing the sheets is an acrobatic event. The benefit is that we do not need to heat the room in the night. It is also easy to quickly cool it when need be.

Sleeping in the smallest room also means the available space is used as much as possibly. Besides the bed, the room holds my wardrobe, two laundry baskets, the ironing board and a one shelf book case on one wall and a magnetic notice board for art exhibitions on the other.
No need for visitors to go in there. We do not hold a bedroom to make other people envious. It is purely a personal space.

The main reason for not making our bed however, is that we want to dry and air the bed during the day. Sometimes we open the window, especially now when we do not have to worry about the cat jumping out. Hopefully we minimize the breeding grounds for acari and other bed bugs by letting our bed breathe.

How much bedroom space do you have, if you have a separate bedroom at all?

Thursday, 22 September 2016


Fun fact:
The man have more siblings than I have living relatives, including fourth generation cousins.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016


I will say it and I will say it loudly. This is the rule for everybody. Agree with me or not, your neighbours, relatives and removal companies do.

If you are 45 and have everything you need, STOP ACCUMULATING STUFF.

If you are 65 you must start to CLEAR OUT YOUR STORAGE.

If you are 85 and have not yet done any of the above, you will be cursed on your funeral because you have left the tasks you could not handle yourself to people that may or may not have liked you in the beginning but when left to clear out your lives accumulated stuff, will NOT like you any more.
If you are 85 and holding on to your mothers discarded clothes since her death thirty years ago, you must must must ask for help. And most importantly, then allow people help you.

When dealing with your death we do not also want to deal with your unsolved problems and your junk. It does not add to your legacy of not having any problems. It only leaves us with the knowledge that the image we had about you as independent and on top of things was a false image. In reality you just stuffed you storage full of unresolved issues. In reality you could not handle most things.
In reality you were happy enough to add to the problems of others, just so that it would appear that you were perfect.

The simplified rule I now impose on everybody is:
One in One out at 45. Clear one box per month at 65. Stop paying for storage and put your car in your garage. Be sweet and kind at 85. At 98 you can do whatever you want if you have cleared your stuff.

Stop shopping at 45. Clear out storage at 65. Stay very very good friends with your family at 85.

Monday, 19 September 2016


I am currently spending my time in the land of the living, the dying and the demented.

While I deal with my own health issues (all is well, but still no answers), the rest of the family has decided to collectively fall to pieces.
While I handle work and school, I also project manage the practical lives of a number of people.

When one is put back up again, the other falls to pieces. The third decides to help and breaks the first. The fourth decides to come out with supportive health issues, sending everybody into frenzy of trying to deal with information that was revealed for the first time in forty years. The fifth is asked just to sit still but will not.

I pull my hair, while having a phlegmatic outburst internally. "- Could you just please just take care of yourself before you start trying to help somebody else? Please." It makes it so much easier for everybody else.

And if you need help, could you please say what you need help with instead of insisting all is well with you but your plants needs watering? While the real problem is that you are not eating properly?

Thankfully, while my minuscule family circle is dwindling, new relatives appear out of the wood work. Sane people. Helpful people. Cheerful people. Old as the independence of Finland but as stable and quiet. When I screwed up, they stepped in and helped me.

Just because they are related.