Friday, December 26, 2014

Many many changes part 2

A month ago I wrote that we were changing a number of things in our lives. We are still in this process but seem that we are slowly finding our feet in our new environment. Below are some of the projects that we needed to do in the last few weeks:

Moving out
We of course needed to pack everything to move from our apartment. Below are pictures of this event.

Bedroom almost almost packed

Securing all doors
Bedroom packed

Fixing and cleaning
Since we drilled holes in almost all walls in the apartment we needed to fix it. Here is a before and after picture.


Good enough to pass the inspection. We also spent one whole day cleaning the apartment - note that washing windows in the winter is not fun.

Moving in 
We had all our stuff moved by Allt i Transport. This company is excellent and we can highly recommend them. Loading took one hour, as did unloading. We had nothing damaged or lost. We did need a few days to unpack however.

Kitchen in disarray 

New bedroom

Living room

Loads of boxes

Making it habitable 
We had (and still have), lots of projects to make the house into a nice home. Here are some of the projects.
Reading the instructions of the house

Making curtains
Adding lamps and curtains to the kitchen
Hanging curtains in the bedroom
First meal in the our new house

Adding decorations

While we are changing everything in our lives we thought that we should add some animals for good measure. We decided on cats and they seem to be quite happy with us.
Donkie - the fluffy one

Kwagga in action

We also got a huge scratching post from Zheya which we assembled for them. If they are not on top of us they are usually on perched on it - thanks again Zheya.

More posts will follow on our projects, our cats and our house...


Thursday, November 27, 2014

Many many changes...

We are currently in the process of moving. This will be the first time that we live in a house and not in a apartment. This is one of the many changes that we are making at this stage of our lives. Our house is located 60 km from where live and thus a good way out of the city where we work.

I am currently also in the process of changing jobs and will soon be out of my current network and in a whole new environment. This is both exciting and scary but also not the first (and definitely not the last) time I will make this kind of change.

Soon we will also add some kind of pet to our lives. Since we have more space, we thought that it may be a good idea to try a higher order vertebrate rather than increasing the ant colonies (side-note: I am planning to keep some bees to continue the theme of social insect companion animals).

Getting used to having a car, again,  has also been interesting. It was very nice to use public transport and bicycles for the last 5 years, but living a bit more on the country does require access to a personal transportation device with more space than a bicycle basket.

All these changes are not as extensive, compared to moving to Sweden 5 years ago. There are however many similarities including how we feel. Again we are at the beginning of a new adventure and we will keep you updated on any exciting developments...


Monday, November 17, 2014

Weight loss via Nintendo

One year ago, just before Christmas, we bought a Nintendo Wii Fit U system. Over the preceding 4 years in Sweden we were able to afford more cheese than we could while living in South Africa. This had an effect on our weight. The problem was, of course, not only cheese but our general eating habits. We were not inactive and walked or cycled everywhere but was able to treat ourselves a bit more often.

We thus decided that we wanted to change our habits and an excellent way for us was using the Wii Fit U. It consists of a scale, a step counted and software that are on on the WiiU.
Wii Fit U digital scale

The best bit for us is probably the nice way that the data is presented. Each time you weigh a couple things are measured and stored. Additionally, the amount and type of exercise are recorded as well as the daily activity via the step-counter. Nice graphs are presented and this is probably the best motivation that helped for losing weight.
Weight loss over 11 months
Nice bar-chart from step-counter

I thus lost 10 kg and are a bit more flexible and fit that one year ago. Carina lost 7 kg and our percentage weight loss is quite similar. Another big change was our eating habits. Since getting the Wii, we try to think before just eating things with loads of calories (because we know exactly how many hours it would take to burn those calories again). 

We can recommend the Wii Fit U for anyone who want to lose a bit of weight and see the results displayed with interactive graphs.


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Nintendo handheld games.

I have always been a fan of Nintendo handheld games. I cannot remember at what age I got my first Game and Watch but recently it was reunited with the others that I obtained over the years.

Below are the games that I currently have and includes:
1. A Mickey and Donald - Game and Watch that my parent bought me many years ago
2. A Donkey Kong - Game and Watch
3. A Game Boy that I bought after saving for a long time
4. A Nintendo 3DS that Carina bought me a few years ago

All of these have provided me with many hours of fun :)


Sunday, November 2, 2014

Scarf Blanket

When you are moving you discover a number of things that are in deep storage. This happened last week when we found a bag of winter clothes that went AWOL for at least 2 years. The bag contained, among other things, a number of scarves that my mom lovingly knitted...
Scarf heap

My mom is an extremely prolific knitter. Over the last 5 years in Sweden we accumulated close to 20 scarves. This is not the only thing she makes. Her output includes gloves, hats, shawls, blankets etc. These items are distributed globally to me and Carina, my sibling and her spouse, friends and family, their tiny offspring and to kids in rural areas who probably are the most appreciative.

Looking at the heap of scarves I felt a bit sorry that most were deemed to go back into storage. I rarely wear a scarf while Carina have a few favorites picked out. While packing them away I noticed that they are much softer than any of the blankets we own and I got an idea to make a blanket from them.

I thus went to a shop where a flock of technicolored sheep exploded. On closer inspection I found that alpacas were also involved and can therefore recommend this shop (YlloTyll) to anyone who need to purchase any wool or related products. In the shop, I found the gender bias extremely skewed (especially for a country claiming high levels of equality). The people where however extremely helpful and after explaining what I wanted to do I got a few balls of wool and other wool manipulation tools.

Back home I set to work to assemble the blanket from the 13 chosen scarves:
13 Scarves pre-assembly

First four assembled

One pane completed

Second pane completed
Finished scarf blanket

I have tested the blanket a few times and it is extremely difficult to get out from under it to face the world. I would thus deem the project successful. It is by far the softest and best blanket we ever owned - thanks Mom.


Saturday, October 25, 2014

New T-Rex Tinysaur

A while ago I wrote a blog on building small model dinosaurs (read it here) with a time lapse video (see it here). After this post I have been in contact with Herbert Hoover, the creator of these lovely miniature models. He recently send me a prototype for a more accurate T-Rex model which I have built  (called the True-Rex). Below are images of this model and comparisons with the earlier version.

Click here to purchase some of these lovely models!

The model comes in the same packaging as all the others. It is immediately clear that new T-Rex is slightly larger than earlier model and has a lot more details.
New model on right
Old model - assembled - looking intently at un-assembled new model

The new model has a lot of changes that incorporated suggestions and comments from Steven Bellettini from "The Geek Group" where he helps create more accurate images of dinosaurs (see his comments on the old T-Rex model here).

 More detail in the slightly larger head of the new model
Direct comparisson. New model more accurate an much more detail.

The new model's spine is quite straight which means that it looks like it is in the act of moving. This makes it seem more imposing and has a sense of activity. Together this makes the old model look a bit more docile as if waiting for its food to be placed at its feet in a plastic bowl.

Once difficulty is that the new model thus need a bit more persuasion to stand upright since it has only two contacts with the floor. After a bit of adjusting I got mine to stand on its own, ready to pounce on the mammoth in my collection (I am aware that there are some serious issues with merging time periods here).

Two models almost standing on their own.
Have a look at EverythingTiny to see all the models available. Browsing on this site is highly recommended!!

I will definitely spend some time in the future to increase my collection of miniaturized skeletal remains of ancient animals.


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Start packing

In preparation to move we assembled all 61 Lego characters we own to be packed. Here is a photo of them:

More on or moving progress may follow...


p.s. Everything is Awesome 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Our first house

At some stage during the last few months we decided to move to the country side. We cannot recall the exact time we decided or even all the reasons for making this decision but we had the idea of buying a house in Sweden for a long time. Finally this has happened and we will soon be responsible to maintain a whole house. Below are some pictures of the house. 

View of house from across the river Tämnarån.
Main entrance to house
Smithy build in the 1700's
Inside of Smithy with some origanal tools

Young apple and plum trees in garden

A taste of the inside - Kitchen
A jordkällare - used to keep food and at constant low temperature throughout the year (quite old) 

Jordkällare inside -huge and high enough to stand upright
The house has a ground based heat exchange system which I think is quite nice. I think we will appreciate this since we will be moving in December which is not the warmest time in Sweden.

The street name is Fors - which means "rapids". These you can find 50m upstream on the river Tämnarån where the bridge from the main road connects to our access road. 

We are located 4km south from the center of the town called Tierp. Tierp is 60km North of Uppsala and we can commute in under 40 minutes with the train (Tierp advert here). 

We will post more on our adventure at Fors and living in the countryside.


p.s. I passed the requirements to be allowed to drive in Sweden and at least we will now be able to get to our house - as soon as we obtain some vehicle. 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Summer holidays

As autumn started and trees are showing their first red leaves, I want to look back at a wonderful summer vacation with some special visitors from SA. My mother and father came to visit us here in Uppsala during the summer vacation and we had a busy two weeks of touristing. We enjoyed having them here with us and we hope that we were able to give them a memorable and exciting trip. Below are some pictures of our endeavors...

Day 1, Arrival and rest 
Room ready for guests of honor
We did not take many photos the first day, but one thing that amazed Mamma from day 1 was the beautiful flowers and the number of bicycles

Day 2, Uppsala town, Cathedral, City hall 
Our first outing - Bus ride through the whole of Uppsala
Mamma and Pappa dwarfed by the Domkyrka (Cathedral)
Inside the cathedral
Marie and Maria - Wax statue of Maria in the Cathedral

View from Stadshuset (City Hall)
The two Uppsala landmarks (castle and cathedral) from Stadshuset
Many bicyles at the station
Going for a early evening stroll next to Fyrisån (Fyris river)
Lanes of trees next to Fyrisån
Enjoying the view from Kungsängsbron (bridge over the Fyris river)
Discussing the interesting statues at the train station

Day 3, First Stockholm visit, Stockholm boat trip, Gamlastan (old town Stockholm)
On the train to Stockholm
Waiting for the Tunnelbana (Metro) in Stockholm

"Stockholm under the bridges" sightseeing with the Riksdag (parliament) in the background 
On the sightseeing boat
Lunch (and desert) in the park after the sightseeing
Visiting the Vasa museet

Day 4,  Old Uppsala - church, mounds, museum and Odinsborg restaurent
At Gamla Uppsala (old Uppsala) with the two (new) Uppsala landmarks on the horizon
Grave mounds at Old Uppsala
At Old Uppsala Cathedral
Enjoying the sun at Disagård (open air farm museum next to Gamla Uppsala Cathedral)
Enjoying lunch at Odinsborg restaurant
Visiting Gamla Uppsala Museum to learn about Vikings
We had quite a few tubs of these

Day 5, Stockholm - Archipelago tour and visit to Gamla Stan in Stockholm
Back to Stockholm for another boat trip
Waiting for the start of the archipelago boat tour
Enjoying the "vibe" in the glamorous Strandvagen in Stockholm
Kicking off the archipelago tour with a pear cider
In front of parliament in Stockholm
On our way to Gamlastan (Old town) of Stockholm
Mamma in front of Stockholm Stadhuset (city hall), where the annual Nobel Prize dinner is held. The rule for this occasion is that every Nobel prize winner should sit next to a member of the Swedish Royal family

Day 6, Uppsala - walk in forest, buffet lunch at Skarholmen, Uppsala castle and Botanical garden
A walk in the forest at Hågadalen

Buffet lunch at Skarholmen
Looking out over the Botanical Gardens from Uppsala Castle
The canons that the king pointed at the Cathedral as a warning to the archbishop
Uppsala Castle

Day 7, Uppsala - visit to IKEA and lunch at the station restaurent
A visit to Sweden would not be complete without a visit to IKEA
Very much at home in IKEA

The old station in Uppsala - now a restaurant
Lunch at the station restaurent

Day 8, Stockholm again - Skansen open air museum
Another train trip to Stockholm
Catching the tram to Djurgården (translates to animal farm). The green oasis island of Stockholm
Visiting Skansen open air museum on Djurgården
Taking the funicular in Skansen
View over Stockholm from Skansen
A soldiers cottage
Taking a well deserved break
Old town and man in time period costume
Window shopping in Skansen old town
Lunch and a well deserved rest
Dinner - a very traditional Swedish dish - Falukorv (the famous sausage from Falun)

Day 9, Uppsala, quiet day in town, sunset cruise on Lake Mälaren
Enjoying some cherries next to the river Fyris that runs through Uppsala town
Another boat trip - this time in Uppsala. Sunset cruise on the M/S Linnea. Cruising up the Fyris River into Lake Mälaren for an awesome sunset accompanied by a typical Swedish Räkor buffet (shrimp buffet)

Returning to a dusky Uppsala (around 11 pm in the night)

Day 10, Uppsala - boat trip to visit Skokloster castle on Lake Mälaren
An early morning for another boat trip on Lake Mälaren - this time to Skokloster castle
Nice day at the beach on Lake Mälaren
Approaching Skokloster Castle

Having a rushed lunch at Skokloster before running to catch the return boat
The dash for the boat. Pappa won by far
Cruising back to Uppsala through a number of drawbridges

Day 11, Uppsala, last day in town

Day 12, Goodbyes on Arlanda airport

No photos :(

Thank you Pappa and Mamma for a wonderful time and a "lekker kuier". Hope to see you here again very soon :)