Nytt sängöverkast av afrikanskt tyg – det här var det som behövdes i vårt sovrum!

Vi har haft ett sunkigt sängöverkast under alla år, ett gammalt begagnat som jag färgade grått, men som jag aldrig riktigt har gillat. Jag har letat efter ett sängöverkast som skulle passa till vårt hem och vår budget (dvs kosta så lite som möjligt). Till sist gav jag upp, för alla färdiga överkast var så himla dyra, så jag hittade i stället ett afrikanskt tyg på en loppis för en femma som jag sydde ihop med det gamla sängöverkastet.

Två hela långa längder med tyg för en femma! Det var ett fynd minsann, som passade för både plånboken och sovrummet.

Någon har släpat med sig hem den stora tygbunten från Nigeria tror jag det var, och sen ändå inte fått tyget att passa nånstans. Det var för att det skulle bo hos oss!

Jag använde det gamla sängöverkastet som foder, så nu har vi ett tjockt och härligt överkast som funkar både som skydd för sängen och som en mysig filt.

”I am the one who sews” Sometimes, när andan faller på – och jag tyckte det här att sy raka sömmar i en timme var supertråååååkigt! men nu är det klart och passar så himla bra hemma hos oss.

 

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Nu börjar det vara slut på trädgårdssäsongen

Vilken odlingssäsong vi har haft!

Träden dignar av äpplen, och bärbuskarna har gett oss många, många liter bär som nu finns i frysen och väntar på att bli till smoothies och annat i vinter.

Jordärtskocksblommorna äter kaninerna upp – de älskar både blommorna och bladen!

Grönkålen är snart färdigskördad för säsongen. Det här är bland det godaste som finns i trädgården tycker jag – riktigt färsk grönkål.

I växthuset förbereder alla växter sig för vintern. Citronträdet skall få komma in under en växtlampa i gästhuset.

Pelargonerna är på väg på vinterförvaring i källaren.

Nu när vi byggde om växthuset passade vi på att bygga en plats för vinrankor. Det blir första året som vi försöker övervintra en vinranka i växthuset, så vi får se hur det går!

Jag skördar basilika och gräslök och chili i mängder och torkar eller fryser in.

Nya växthuset har verkligen varit en oas för oss under sensommaren.

Med ett värmeaggregat kan man sitta länge här och mysa.

Vi hittade den här rottingstolen på en loppis för en femma! Skall hålla utkik efter fler såna nästa sommar, enkelt och praktiskt i växthuset när de går så lätt att flytta på.

Det har varit en härlig trädgårdssäsong i år!

 

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My battle to overcome a sleep disorder – 6 tips

I think I used to be able to sleep at night, sometimes, once upon a time. The first time I had trouble sleeping was while I was pregnant a little over 15 years ago, when I had undiagnosed preeclampsia symptoms that made it impossible for me to sleep more than an hour and a half at most. After the baby was born, I was able to sleep for about 3 hours at a time which felt like heaven back then, but there was a period when I still had sleep problems mainly because of the PTSD that I got as a result of the whole giving birth and almost dying-episode.

After that it was smooth sailing for a few years, despite having two small kids who didn’t always sleep through the night.

Then we got the kid with his own sleep disorder, and that’s when I first really understood what not sleeping at night meant.

Having one kid who sometimes woke up at night, or two who could sometimes cry several nights when they were sick – that was nothing compared to a child who at most slept for 30 minutes. All day and night long. 30 minutes almost to the clock, and then bing! wide awake. And if he managed to sleep, he had already developed a habit of making noises to himself to comfort himself (this is common in kids at orphanages, even really little kids like ours were). Either he was awake, saying nothing, which made me anxious, or he was awake and making noises, which also made me stay wide awake.

After about 5 years of this, we were simply so tired all of us, and my sleep was really taking a toll. We of course tried everything we could to ease his sleep (including signing up for a sleep study through a hospital – with no results). The first time he ever slept through the night was after sleeping in a tent together with his big sister and his dad. It was a red tent and the mood inside it was rather like being inside a womb, and I’ve later heard that they sometimes use tents like these when treating kids with adoption or foster care issues, but we sort of stumbled upon it by accident. After that we took baby steps together to make his sleep improve even more, and now at 11 he sleeps really well.

But I don’t.

I sort of stayed sleep disordered, because of a lot of factors. In reality if I had had a job, I would have been on sick leave a loooooong time ago, but because I am a stay at home parent, I don’t ever get sick leave.

There have been lots of issues in the last few years that have made me be on full alert all the time, until my body simply said enough. My sleep went bad, from falling asleep at night to waking up every night at 3 o’

clock, to finally not sleeping at all. I’ve twice gone through not sleeping for three nights, and it is definitely and experience. You sort of feel as if you’ve got a hangover, shaking and headache, but without having had any fun the night before. And you are definitely not as sharp as you think after not sleeping.

By now I’ve tried most things that there are to try to get my sleep back in order, and the next big thing I’m really looking forward is the Oura-ring that I pre-ordered in January (and still haven’t gotten, but fingers crossed it will be in the mail within the next few weeks).

The main thing that has wrecked my sleep is my stress levels, so I’m putting my focus on lowering them.

And finally, finally, it is starting to have results. I still can’t sleep without medication, but I’ve noticed that the quality of my sleep is slowly getting better.

Since my kids are now all three of them thriving, both in school and outside of it, I can now concentrate more on myself and on getting healthier. Unfortunately I can’t crochet or knit for longer periods of time (because of back problems), or enjoy photographing and mountain biking as much as I want (because of eye problems) or even sing (because of chronic laryngitis, that is slowly getting better), but I try to work my way around the obstacles and work with what I’ve got.

…and I’m only drinking chamomile or ginger tea now. No caffeine at all for me at the moment!

Here’s what I’ve done recently to lower stress further:

  1. Cleaned up Facebook

Turns out, a lot of what was stressing me out was my Facebook feed. I solved that problem by unfriending a lot of people that live close by, that mostly are also friends with Niklas, so if they have a reason to contact us, they can always contact him. I kept my international friends, but other than that about a hundred people were deleted from my account. For no other reason than that I wanted to clean up my feed.

I also unfollowed a lot of pages and groups. Many of them were anti-racism groups, but I can only stand a certain amount of those on any day now that I’m recovering, so they unfortunately had to go. I also unfollowed a lot of groups with a lot of negativity.

Nowadays my feed is mainly statuses from my writer friends, news from interesting sources and bunny videos. Which gives me energy, instead of taking from it.

I also have hardly any notifications on my phone, and since I stopped getting those I forget to use Instagram and a lot of things that unnecessarily took me out of the now. I mainly use it as a camera, for listening to audiobooks and for the mediation app Calm.

  1. Stopped listening to the radio

I wanted to stop listening to morning radio. There is a correlation between listening to bad news and feeling bad for many hours afterward. I kind of started with this after Trump was elected, but then it spread, and now we never listen to the radio at all (or watch TV for that matter). I still get important news, but now I control when I get it and how. I am much more relaxed if I read about idiotic things that politicians say, than when I actually listen to their own words from their own mouths.

  1. Exercise

In a form I can do, which is mainly walking. As a typical ENTJ, I love getting an adrenaline rush every now and then, but because of my eye problems I can’t go mountain biking at present, so I’m going for 5 km walks every day, and also do some Tai Chi at home when the mood strikes me

  1. Playing games

We have a fun D&D game going on with a couple of friends that give so much energy. We try to have game nights with those of our friends that are into games, but other than that I’ve recently after a break for 15 years (sort of coincides with having kids!) started playing Civilization again (Sid Meyer’s Civ 6). This time together with my teenage son, which is so much fun! You don’t know what competing is until you’ve seen two ENTJ:s play a strategic game! He is winning by a landslide right now, but I don’t care – it is so much fun, and so relaxing.

  1. Romance books

Ever since I started writing Fantasy & Horror, I have really been struggling with reading books in genres I used to enjoy. My editor brain can’t shut up most of the time, unless the book is really compelling (like Map of Times by ) or if the book is in a completely different genre. Romance is the thing for me, I’ve noticed. I had lots of prejudices against the genre, but after having the Audible Romance Package for about ten months now, I have really found many authors there that I love. I love character driven stories, and I love knowing that most of the time there will be a happily ever after, if I’m listening to a book while I’m falling asleep or at night when I can’t sleep.

During the day, it’s horror and fantasy for me. But at night – romance all the way. I like finding a narrator with a soothing voice, and a story that hasn’t got too much bad things happening. I’ve found many regency novels that fit that description. And also romance stories that are really dark, that I have to listen to during the day when I’m out on one of my walks.

  1. Taking the time to write

Last year on the Writing Excuses cruise, I talked to both Sandra Tayler and Emma Newman about the hardships of being a mother and a writer. They were both so supportive, but it was still difficult to come home and try and take the time to write, because just as they both guessed – I feel selfish when I take the time to do something for myself. Writing is such as selfish hobby/occupation. You get to wallow in whatever it is you want to wallow in, to really explore all the depths of your mind and every little whim and fancy.

But this is what I need to do to feel better. Every time I’ve finished a first draft, I feel as if a weight has lifted, and I have really started to enjoy editing as well now that I give myself permission to focus on writing.

I also try to let myself be and not do anything important at all. If I want to spend a whole day listening to MBTI lectures and doing some Hama beads projects, then I try to let myself do that. But most of the time I try to fit in something a bit more objectively productive as well, like gardening for an hour.

 

That’s mainly it. Other than that, I try to limit what I have in my calendar. Preferably nothing in the mornings, because if I do, I almost know for certain that I won’t be able to sleep the previous night. Slowly, slowly, my stress levels are becoming lower. I’m not there yet, but I can almost see the light in the end of the tunnel now.

 

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MBTI in my family

When we started a family, we knew a lot about attachment and the way our own attachment would affect the process of having children. What we didn’t know was how hard it would be to work through all of our own attachment issues at the same time as trying to raise reasonably well attached kids who all had to deal with some form of trauma.

What I wish I had known then, is that I already had one tool that could help us – I had learned about the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and its way of looking at how people think. The thing was, I had no idea it was actually applicable to relationships and to parenting, but now looking back I wish it was a part of training adoptive parents or new parents in general, because it has given us so many.

The MBTI is not a perfect instrument, far from it, but it has some validity and above all the functions that Jung and Isabelle Myers posited seem to have validity and now there is even brain scans to back them up. And learning about the functions has been just the key that we needed to grow as a family! Now that we understand that two of us are feelers and the rest are thinkers, so many things fall into place. We also realized we have one introvert in the family. As an ISFJ he is the most extroverted of introvert, but the introversion definitely shows up as being inclined to conserve energy unlike the rest of us who are extroverts.

I’ve spent the last decade wishing I could understand how this particular kid thinks, and now I think I’ve got it. Turns out, he is sort of a introverted version of my mother and most of my relatives on that side, and that already gave me lots of clues to how to treat him. We give him much more responsibility now, let him decide this and that concerning relationships and traditions, and try to take in consideration that he is an introvert. Which is not easy! I really have no idea how much to let an introvert stay introverted for themselves, and how not to, especially as this kid has extroverted feeling so high in his stack that he needs to be around people most of the time, which the rest of us extroverts actually don’t that much. Both us ENTJ:s in the family (myself and our oldest son) are happy reading books for hours or doing things in quietude, but not our little ISFJ. He needs people around him in quite another way, which takes an effort from me to understand.

MBTI has also been helpful in understanding how the PTSD in our family works. I realized all of a sudden half a year ago that I had been telling myself the wrong probabilities. When I corrected that, most of my PTSD symptoms disappeared. I still have fears, but most of them have gone away. Being an ENTJ I couldn’t help seeing danger everywhere, the potential of catastrophe, but being an ENTJ I rely heavily on probabilities, so when I could change how I thought about potential catastrophes, I could change my response to those unlikely events. I’ve tried to apply this thinking to our younger ENTJ also, but so far it hasn’t really taken a hold. He is much more cautious than I was as a child, because of his Introverted intuition (Ni) pared with extrovert thinking (Te) that makes him see possibilities everywhere.

Our ENFP also has her own way of dealing with trauma, and now that we know her personality type we can also deal with her emotions much better. She needs almost constant stimulation and is easily distracted when she is spiraling into negative emotion, and usually I can do that without engaging any of my own emotions (a perk/disadvantage of being ENTJ). It is harder for Niklas, our resident ESTP, who has the same EP-being in the moment not wanting routine-issues as his daughter. Usually when one of them blows up, one of us ENTJ:s step in and try to calm down the situation.

There is a lot of overlap between the personalities of our family, but the biggest gap is between us E:s and our ISFJ. All the rest of us are okay with plans changing in the last minute (our EP:s even crave that, and us ENTJ:s have Extrovert Sensing (Se) as a tertiary function and can function really well in sudden changes), but he really wants routine and everything to go just as planned. I sometimes feel bad for our tradition loving, relationship loving little extraverted feeler, who has been dropped into this Thinker family! 🙂

But then I think back to my own childhood, growing up surrounded by Extraverted Feelers (Fe)  who had no understanding for my way of thinking. It was a struggle sometimes, especially since I could feel their wishes for me to conform (something I’m very ill suited to do – my personality is more of a trail blazer), but now looking back I can see that I learned a lot from that. I’ve learned systems for handling feelers of all kinds, and try to sort of pass for a normal woman for at least a few minutes (my idiosyncratic way of thinking tends to pop out sooner or later, I’ve got the brain of a dude…!), and right now I am so grateful for that because without it, I have no idea how I could ever understand my youngest child.

There are perks to growing up with people with your sort of personality. You can have an ease of understanding  that you can’t with others. But you can also enhance each other’s weak spots, because we all have weak spots and they tend to follow certain patterns. Extroverts tend to skip their introverted functions and vice versa, and if you grow up with a parent of your own personality who does that, the chances are high that you too do that. And that is not helpful for anyone.

It is rough growing up surrounded by personalities that are far removed from your own, but it can also be a boon. I hope that our little ISFJ will grow up to be a person who isn’t that afraid of change or of changing traditions, and of objective impersonal arguments that often aren’t the sort of arguments that an extroverted feeler is attuned to. And I hope our TJ son will grow up understanding feelers as well as I did, or even better, because he is growing up with two different kinds of them. At the very least, I am grateful for having this opportunity for growth, which has been greatly enhanced by typing our family and understanding what we have in common and accepting our differences.

 

P.S. It can take a lot to type yourself and your family! I have the advantage of being a psychologist and have read up extensively on the subject, which is why I can say with certainty what types we all are. Otherwise psychologists tend to use the MBTI in addition to interviews and/or live observations. The instrument itself is usually not enough to give a definite analysis of a person’s thought patterns.

 

 

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Home for now-reboot – this is just so much fun!

We had such a fun time with Jo & co a couple of years ago, when she came to take pictures of our house for her book Home for Now. And now that book is getting a reboot. It’s being re-released due to its huge success, but this time with a new name – Insta-style for Your Living Space.

I hope the ”new” book gets many new readers that will enjoy all the DIY:s Jo has collected in it, including many, many ideas from our house…!

 

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Det behövs mer ljus såhär års!

Vi gör vårt bästa för att ha det mysigt i höstmörkret. Har lånat ett gäng färggranna lyktor som hänger i växthuset. 

Fick den här rostiga skönheten på köpet.

Till stora lyktor behövs stora ljus så slipper man byta ut ljusen hela tiden. Jag gjorde egna ljus i pringlesburkar av gamla ljusstumpar och stearin. Kostade nästan noll och de blev jättefina!

Sen har vi också såna här ljusstakar för värmeljus. Stöpte dem tillsammans med min mamma och min dotter. Vi hällde betong i chipsburkar och tryckte i barnmatsburkar, och dekorerade en del med små svarta stenar.  

De stora blockljusen brinner jättelänge. Nån dag måste jag ta och skriva ner hur länge!  Jag gillar att göra ljusen randiga på det här sättet.

Mysigt värre! Och med nya växthuset som håller tätt och ett värmeelement så har vi nästan ännu lite sommar kvar på kvällarna – lyxigt!

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Light a candle

The nights here in Finland are getting darker and darker. I’m combating the dark by lots and lots of homemade candles.

Candles are an essential part of Danish hygge, and essential for

  • bringing a sensible light into the house after dark (blue light from screens and some light fixtures is not good for your circadian rhythm)
  • the house all of a sudden looking much more clean! You don’t notice the mess when your eyes are drawn to a lighted candle

So there you go – my very cheap and simple tip for both feeling better and having a cleaner home…! (at least temporarily)

 

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Finncon 2018

This summer Finncon was in nearby Åbo, and we happened to have a day off so we took the opportunity to visit the con and meet two of the guests of honor.

Lauren Beukes had come all the way from South Africa and she held an amazing talk about how we are the stories we tell. You can listen to some of it in her TedTalk – it is definitely worth a listen! She talked a lot about growing up in apartheid South Africa, and about getting to write the stories of the disenfranchised.

We also met with Maria Turtschaninoff and got her to sign her brand new book. It was such a treat! (I reviewed the book in Swedish yesterday)

 

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Breven från Maresi – finlandssvensk fantasy

Vi var på Finncon i somras och träffade Maria Turtschaninoff och köpte hennes nyaste bok – ”Breven från Maresi”. Boken kom ut i augusti och det är alltid något speciellt med böcker som man får tag på innan de ens kommer ut i bokhandeln (!). Och signerade! Och kan ge åt en av författarens största fans som present till på köpet!

Nu har jag äntligen haft tid att själv läsa igenom boken och det var en skön och avkopplande läsning. Turtschaninoffs stil i böckerna från hennes fantasyvärld påminner mej om läsupplevelser som jag hade som liten när jag besökte Ursula K. LeGuins övärld, speciellt boken om gravkamrarna i Atuan. Det är nåt med stämningen, den detaljerade worldbuildingen och det ålderdomliga språket som ger en unik fantasyupplevelse. Old school fantasy med en finlandssvensk twist.

I den här boken är Maresi en ung kvinna som beger sig hem efter många år som lärling på en klosterö. Hon tampas med upplevelserna av att vända tillbaka när alla andra har funnits på samma ställe i många år – en upplevelse som jag kände igen mej i. Hon lever naturnära i en natur som känns finlandssvensk med midsommarfirande och barrskogar och riter och ritualer och skolgång som känns som nånting som om det inte har funnits i vår gemensamma historia, så kunde det ha funnits i den. En alternativ fantasivärld att leva i för en stund.

Men nu vet jag att världen är så mycket större än Sáru, eller än hela Rovas, och min plats har grott igen utan att någon märkt det.

Maresi försöker hitta sin plats i livet och vi får följa med henne via brev som hon skriver till sina vänner kvar på klosterön. Det är ett vackert språk som förmedlar stämningar via alla detaljer – via dofter, via ordval, via sinnesstämningar. Turtschaninoff har lyckats uppfinna ett eget fantasyvokabulär med namn och ålderdomliga ord och manérer som passar till hennes historieskildring. Det är inte så mycket action, men man får besöka en främmande värld som också innehåller magi (precis som Övärlden) och man får sin verklighetsflykt för en stund. En bra inkörsport till fantasy för finlandssvenska ungdomar tycker jag.

…det enda tråkiga var sista brevet som hoppar framåt tidsmässigt lite väl mycket för mig, som vill veta mer om Maresis äventyr, men vem vet – kanske vi kan få en bok till om den åldrande Maresi också, om vi ber riktigt snällt?! Det skulle vara urcoolt med en sista bok om Maresi som gammal!

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