onsdag 27 juni 2018

Bat fit - Loosing weight finally

Since I met Johan, I have gained weight slowly but steady. I adopted his lifestyle and it wasn't good for my health at all. Last year I weighed heavy 95 kg for my modest height. That is dangerously unhealty for a woman in my age with heart failure as a heredity.
Recovering from psychological health issues and working full time, plus studying half time prevented me from doing something about it.
What actually made me determined and get the motivation, was a stair with 400 steps I had to climb when visiting a mine last winter.
My heart raced and I felt the taste of blood in my mouth. I had to stop several times to take my breath and couples far more older than me, passed by and asked how I was. I felt lousy.
I bought a gym pass the next day.
I started with weigh lifting and inspired Johan to buy a gym pass as well. 
It's very uncomfortable to show you a selfie I dislike. My training clothes fits like a sausage casing, and I look swollen.
He also joined Weight watchers, wich we had done before, but failed. I resisted.
I got a smart watch, a Samsung 3s from Johan as a birthday gift
Can you read the number at the clock on the bottom middle. 79 beats per minute, that is the lowest heart rate I tracked. It was more often over 80 beats and that is a big sign of lack of health.
As we had a long snowy winter, I went cross country skiing a couple of times per week. We have amazing tracks in the neighbourhood..well forest. 

This is me, finally reached the top of the mountain with a fantastic view. I'm tired and have a full moon face. I snore heavily at night for obvious reasons.
When Johan started to loose weight, I joined Weight Watchers programme. It worked excellent this time. I beleive there are more than one reason it works. 
First of all, our mindset is set for change and determination to end this, we are encouraging to each other.
Second, I put in an IUS, to end my Niagara fall menstruations, migraine, mood swings and the feeling of being ill once in a month. This was a huge positive change for my physical and mental health.
Third, the new Weight Watchers system really works. I loose weight without much effort or being too hungry. I learn to combine foods so they don't add on my weight.

The result is that I lost 12 kg and have changed clothing size. I shop my closet, find old clothes that fits again. Maybe I'll post a new selfie later.
I can really recommend the new Weight Watcher system. Yes, it is expensive, but the money i once put on restaurants I can now save in the long run.

I had to write about my trip to Edinburgh in arrears, because I really wanted to tell you about it. I also wanted to write about something nice.
Right now, we are planning another great adventure, that I will write about later.

söndag 24 juni 2018

Schools out

I work as a science and chemistry teacher in High School. One thing that many don't know is that we teachers also have angst about grading. The end of term is very hectic, because national school rules says that teachers ought to help students as much as possible, to pass grades. Some students wake up only a few week left and starts to work. I have given encouraging chats, called students on their phone to get them to work, comforting crying students and giving hugs and pats on shoulders, but sadly, also negative responses.

My oldest son went out of High School last week. He studied house building at the same school I teach. He was a bit dismissive and avoiding the first year, it was tough. But it changed the last years. I teached many of his friends and he told me, he never heard anything negative about me as a teacher, on the contrary, only positive things. Maybe that changed his view of me.

Anyway, the graduation ritual is a serious thing in Sweden. It's almost like a second National Day. A week before, there is a ritual in putting on the Student cap (it's a Swedish thing). Falun has a local tradition, were you have to walk around the center block with one foot on the pavement and the other in the gutter. Then you jump on one foot towards a draining well, while mumbling a verse in latin. You throw a coin from the same year you were born in the well and gather around  the market square. After all this, you are allowed to put on the cap.
The day for the graduation is also special ritual for High School students. They receive their grades and maybe an award, having a dinner with their class teacher and then run out of school to their relatives.
I took my day off and welcomed Oskar out of school. We hold up a sign for him to find us in the crowd (its a tradition) and we hung silly gifts around his neck.

He looked very smart in a flower shirt, red bowtie and costume.
After this, a carnival like tour around town take place. Every class has hired a truck and decorated it with branches and banners.
These banners have different messages written.
Top photo: "Get drunk, get handsome". "I rather be eaten by an animal than study science". It is common to mock the Science classes like this.
Bottom left: An hommage to a colleague of mine, named Åke, he teach math.
Bottom right: A cropped banner but it is the students from the Science programme that writes "To hate us Science nerds is your favourite thing, but we get the best grades".
Oskar has boarded the truck. The sign says "We are better than Di Caprio, we have 5 Oscars". It means that there are 5 guys in the class named Oscar. I tried to call for my Oskar, but three other boys, not mine, looked over the wall. I had to yell Mårten (his nickname) for him to respond. Johan had to climb up in the flatbed to help the students with the sound system. Suddenly the truck drove away with him and the students. Not every adult is welcome on board.
The truck drives around for one hour or so, then the students march through town, making noice, singing, and sprinkles champagne before a fancy car picks every student up to bring them home to a student reception and a party.

I got my vacation a couple of days ago. It lasts until mid August. 
Happy summer holidays.

fredag 22 juni 2018

Trip to Edinburgh day 3

Saturday March 4th 2017
I woke up with a swollen knee and feet. Well I could rest another day and we needed to use our time, so we took a walk over to old town and Royal Mile via Advocates Close...with all the stairs...
Our goal this day was shopping, so our feet turned towards a whiskey shop. It is very unusual for a Swedish person to go to a liqeur store and taste the products, because alcohol selling is restricted by our government. I bought a nice gin and Johan bought a couple of whiskeys.
After some more shopping we went for lunch at Patisserie Valerie, we got a huge plate each with lovely sandwiches, so no place for tarts left. 

We also booked a tour at Mary Kings Close, that is another underground tour. The City Chambers was built on top of old Edinburgh. They simply chopped off the up to 14 stairs houses and used them as foundation for a new large building. The maze like underground around Mary Kings Close gives you a picture of how daily life could be around the alleys in old times, sans odour. The poorest lived at the bottom stairs in the dirt were you also held cattle. Johan actually heard a mooing sound in one of the chambers. Mary Kings Close was visited by Most Haunted in one episode were you clearly can hear the mooing of a ghost cow.
I wear black clothes but the IR-camera changes my outfit to white.
The house in the photo above is built 1490 ca. This is how the houses around the Mary Kings Close looked like except higher. After 5 stairs built in stone, they usually continued another 4-10 stairs in wood and extra balconys that made them wider at the top. It happended that the badly engineered buildings collapsed.
After lots of walking shopping I was completely exhausted by afternoon. I could simply not walk anymore, so we spent our last night at the hotel. The name of the hotel is The Principal and is very pleasant, nice staff, good food and perfect service.
We arrived home with lots of gifts for the kids. Alfons had to try all the flavours of Bertie Botts beans. He actually ate 6 of them until he got too much of gag reflexes and had to stop. I didn't dare to taste one.

torsdag 21 juni 2018

Trip to Edinburgh day two

Ghosts and Harry Potter of Edinburgh - Friday March 3:rd 2017
Note the year. This was last years trip.
We wake up to a new bright shining day in Edinburgh. Our hotel room has a view over the backyard, it's actually nice. I'm fascinated over the draining and sewer pipes on the outside of the houses, this would never work were I live, with the freezing temperatures.
We eat a lovely breakfast at the hotel restaurant. I'm used with self service and not a waitress running for my eggs and soldiers (funny name)
Before noon, we walked towards the old town. North Bridge goes on top of the Waverly Rail station and gives you a nice view over the city.
Top photo: View over the old town. The pointy thing is the Hub, a cathedral turned to a exhibition/festival/tourist center- ish
Middle photo: View over Princes street. From the left: Scotts monument, fancy stores, St Andrews square and the Balmoral
Bottom photo: Calton hill. The obelis is the Political marture monument

The Waverly station is built on top of a lake were people once got their water, were they washed their clothes, they had witch trials (the floating test) and were all the dirt from the streets (including excrements) washed out. 

The architecture is very gothic. Most of the houses are actually from the 19-th century and newer, but the style gives you a feeling of even older times. The Royal Mile is the wide street running through the old town, from the castle to Holyrood palace. From the main street, small windy alleys are stretched between the houses. The names are often ended with wynd or close.
Brodies Close remind me a lot of Knockturnal alley. It is dark, from a ventilation hole misty fumes blows. When we passed later at night, the alley was completely black and creepy.

As the Royal Mile is placed on a hill, allmost all the closes have stairs. You can climb up to 100 meters, so even if the close looks short on the map, it is actually twice as long and steep. So I wouldn't recommend this town for people with mobility problems. I also highly recommend you to put on decent shoes. I regret my choice of shoes. Here I stand in Advocates close, catching breath. 

A small backyard at Lady Stairs close, were you can find Writers museum.
We didn't visit the Castle, we went there only to look at the view.
The tower on the bottom photo shows George Heriots School. A school for well suited children. It is said that the school was an inspiration for J.K Rowlings Hogwarts. We walked past later and looked through the fence and saw young people dressed in military uniforms (combat-style) doing some excersises and marching.
Victoria street is said to be the inspiration for Diagon alley. A vareity of different and colourful shops in rows along the street. The Context sells different kinds of knick knacks and Harry Potter stuff. A liqeur store were you can buy spirits on the tap and a toy and joke store wich reminds a lot of Zonkos or Weasleys Wizard Weezes. There were also an antique store that was said to be the origin of Borgin and Burkes, but the store behind dusty windows were closed for the moment.

Victoria street, ends in Grass market were you can find pubs in rows, one reminded me of the Leaky Cauldron.

While we were at the right side of town doing search for Harry Potter, we had to visit Greyfriars church yard. The oldest graves are as old as the 16th century. It is beautiful and peaceful (by day) with ornate head stones and mausoelums. But lack of space made the care takers move the stones, so you can't be sure were the people rests. There were also a few mortsafes left. Mortsafes are cages in cast iron that were placed over newly buried, that needed protection from bodysnatchers or Ressurectionists as they called themselves. We also found Tom Riddles tombstone and a McGonagall. The Greyfriars is supposed to be very haunted.

As I said, Edinburgh is very hilly and the town is built in layers. Bridges were built for easier transportation and lower levels of these bridges became habitats for the "lower" citizens.
At George IV bridge we foud The Elephant House, were some of the Harry Potter books were written. We had som afternoon tea. I can't recommend you that place, because it was crammed with lousy but expensive food, flies and grubby. Take the door to the left instead.
Tired of all the walking, we took a pint of beer in a moldy pub at the same block. We waited a couple of hours for our ghost tour to begin.

With a coffe in our hands (with a misspelled Scottish interpretation of my name),  we catched up with our tour guide by Trons Kirk. There are a few ghost tours, we chosed the Edinburgh underground Ghost Tour. It wasn't under ground very much, only a visit in one of the vaults under South bridge. As I said, the Vaults were used by the poor as apartments and for shady buisnesses like smuggling, robbery and brothels. The Vaults were hidden and forgotten until they were found again in the 80-s. The tales says that the mass murderers Burkes and Hare had their hideouts here (recognize a name here?).

The tour passed through Greyfriars and Greyfriars Bobby, the only pet buried within the walls of the grave yard. 

onsdag 6 juni 2018

Back on track and looking back on last years trip

Hey hey!! More than a year ago, since I posted something here.
There have been lots and lots of things going on, a lot of travelling and fun, some bad things, but mostly work. When you finally find a job you like, it can absorb you completely and you become your profession completely. I never had a job that I enjoyd so much as being a teacher. I love working with teenagers. Well enough said about that.

In my last post I told you about a trip that we were going to do. I wrote a travel diary during the trip and I thougt I would post it here as well. I hope that I can give you some travelling inspiration.

Trip to Edinburgh Wednesday March 1st 2017
We started our journey with a train ride to Arlanda, the airport outside Stockholm. We had booked a room at one of the fancy hotels at the airport. Hotel Clarion was modern and very fresh. It was creepy-modern, you know, with glossy surfaces, sharp edges, artsy fartsy wannabe, stiff smiling staff and perfumed air in the lobby. I think places like that are creepy anyway, not welcoming at all.

Thursday March 2nd 2017
Godness gracious how nervous I was to board the plane. My last rides with aircrafts wasn't pleasant at all. It wasn't helping that the toilets at the gate, reeked with vomits and bad stomachs. Once up in the air, the calm laid my worries to rest. Before landing, the plane took a huge turn over the Highlands and the stewardess sang the farewell waltz to us, thus the landing ended with applauses, just like a charter tour in the old times.

My thoughts when we flew over Scotland is that it's not many trees. The Highlands seems to be mountains and dry grass. The rest of Scotland is buildings and farm land. Hardly any forests to be seen. I guess I'm a spoilt Swede when it comes to forests and wildlife.

Our hotel was fancier than I imagined. We were greeted by a door man with whom we had our first real chat in english. It was extremely hard to understand what he said. It sounded like "Dumble goobly wobly mumble". We nodded and said yes, no, thank you, hopefully at the right places and after a while understood that our room wasn't available yet so he put away our luggage in a locked room and gave us the tip to have lunch in the hotel restaurant. We refused politely and said that we would take a stroll around town to have a look. We had the same ideas about hotel restaurants, they are usually not very high quality.

We took a walk around the neighbourhood but didn't find anyplace to eat except a restaurant nearby the hotel. We took a burger and a bear at the pub section. It was pleasant and very good food. When receiving the reciept, we discovered that we had gone to the hotel restaurant anyway. Apparently the hotel owned the café, the pub, and the restaurant in the connecting building. It was hard to hear what the pub staff said, like the door man, felt stupid to think that we thought that we actually speak almost fluid. But actually, most people in Edinburgh speak understandable english even the native ones. Edinburgh is a city with lots of people from other countries.

The direction of the evening stroll was Calton Hill. This town is brim filled with monuments, statues, plaquettes over God knows who and what. Lots of important blokes and saints and architects (because he designed a building, lets make him a monument!!).
 The Scott monument is very impressive in Victorian Gothic style (swoon). I first thought, oh a monument for the Scottish people..or maybe a king. But it was the writher sir Walter Scott that was acclaimed with this fancy landmark. The view over the old town (auld reekie) is wonderful.
Me and Johan at the bottom of The Scott monument.

We passed a faboulous building at the walk. The Balmoral hotel. I wish we had the time to have afternoon tea at our trip, but we didn't.

We stumbled on a graveyard walking towards Calton Hill and we needed to take a closer look at it.

Old Calton burial was established 1718 and were in use until the late 19th century. Many famous and eminent people are buried here. Of course, beside the mausoleums, there are monuments here over philosofers, brave soldiers and martyrs. 

Behind a thick wall is a fancy building called the Governor House. It belonged to the prison that once laid here, upon a cliff, for all the citicens to view and fear.
Calton Hill is a recommendation, if you like to take walks and look at the view.

The top view is a photo of the more modern part of the town with the harbour. The bottom photo is a view over Holyrood park and palace.
Calton Hill has never been a place with buildings but a place for walks and recreation. The filosofer David Hume founded a training track here, first in the world, they say. Claiming excersize as healthy.
The photo below shows two war monument, over the war against Napoleon. Do you know another town with more monument than this one?

The Greece inspired monument above, yeah yeah, another one. Is built for the Scottish philosofer Dugal Stewart, who also were a professor at the university.
Below to the left: The bottom of the Nelson monument in beautiful neogothic style, I wonder if someone lives there or if it is a workplace, nice place anyway.
Below to the right: We could see the people sitting in meetings at great tables in the Schottish Government, we imagined them having meeting about exiting Great Brittain. We were probably right.

  The dusk is setting and it's time to leave. I later read that it was a gay park and that people had been harrassed after dark. By the leaving light, the mist arrives and it gets suddenly freezing cold.