Weekend Coffee Share

Welcome to the Weekend Coffee Share! Can I get you a luxury cup of a dark French roast coffee? During the weekdays I rarely have coffee at home, I have my first cup at work. The coffee there is OK, but the coffee at home is a ‘die and go to heaven experience’, with carefully selected, organic coffee beans brewed to perfection in my French press. Or perhaps a delicious, green, organic ginseng/matcha tea is more to your likings? That is my favourite tea at the moment. There is regular black tea as well. How is your week?

We started this week with a lot of snow, we still have snow, but not as much as we had in the beginning of the week. The temperature have been playing some kind of yo-yo game. For the past couple of days it’s been way too warm and really windy. Before the week started I decided to ride my bike to work as many days as possible, 3.7miles one way. Monday and Tuesday, when we had tons of snow the bike lanes were in perfect shape. It was pure pleasure to ride to work. Riding my bike to work is my preferred way of transportation. I get a great workout, a big chunk of the way is uphill. I listen to uplifting music and start my bike riding days with high overall energy levels. On Wednesday it was warmer and the snow on the sides of the bike lanes had melted some and started to mess up the road, I decided to not ride my bike on Wednesday. On Thursday it was slightly colder, but not cold, around 25F. It was a tad but windy, but not too bad. I decided to take the bike. It was fine, a little icy on the way home, but totally doable. Yesterday (Friday) I woke up to the wind howling outside my window, as I was enjoying my breakfast it sounded like it settled a little, and I decided to take my bike…it was rather windy, and very icy. Less than a mile away from home my bike and I had a slight disagreement with a bumpy patch of ice, and we parted ways, my bike went to the right and I flew up in the air and went to the left. Somehow my ninja powers appeared out of nowhere and I landed on my feet. My bike and I agreed that she could have a day off. What is the weather like where you live?

I’m going to try to talk my daughter into going ice skating today. I know she has other plans, but I also know that she would benefit from at least doing it once before they start doing it at school next week. She haven’t been at all so far this year. She does enjoy it when she is there on the ice, but she absolutely hates putting her winter clothes on, and going to the ice rink (it’s only minutes away.) We’ll see. She also has some homework that we are going to tackle this weekend. I have some educational plans for this new semester to write, and some most interesting books for my new school to read (I am so excited about starting on Monday.) I am definitely going to the gym Saturday and Sunday. I was contemplating going to a yoga class tomorrow. It’s the thoughts of that damn pandemic messing around in the back of my head making me decide against it. I know they’ve taken measures to keep everyone safe during the yoga class, with extra cleaning, limiting the number of participants, and it’s very doable to keep distances in that big room, but still…I’ll wait a little longer. Would you like a refill on your beverage? 

Something fun I will do today, is to plant three spider plant cuttings that my little sister gifted me when we visited her over the holidays. I’ve been letting them grow strong roots in water until now, but I believe it’s time to plant them in soil. I have some beautiful terracotta pots that I am going to plant them in. These pots are small, to match the cuttings, but they are of the exact same model as the huge ones that I have my monstera plants in. I believe that is going to look fabulous. The plants are not going to be right next to each other, but the kitchen/living room is an open area, and you’ll be able to see all the flower pots at the same time, sitting at the kitchen table, and sitting in the couch in the living room. I’ll post some photos on Instagram later.

Walking home from work yesterday.

Thank you Natalie for hosting the Weekend Coffee Share. Tell me what’s going on in your neck of the woods. I’m going to try to visit everyone’s coffee share this weekend.

Love,

Maria  

Weekend Coffee Share

Welcome to the Weekend Coffee Share! Can I get you a cup of coffee? Tea? Or maybe some hot chocolate? 

Yesterday my kids and I enjoyed some hot chocolate during a break while playing in the snow. It was about 2F and hot chocolate was absolutely amazing!

How are you doing? I hope your holiday season was everything you wished for. I have to say this was the best Christmas break ever! It’s been such a wonderful mix of family, nature, relaxation, good food, exercise, and just everything I wished for. 

From my walk earlier today.

On top of it all I handed in my final report for the class in Social emotional difficulties and special needs education today. It’s due on the 17th, but I was hoping to finish my report this weekend, so that I can focus on work next week, and have a little break from school until I start my new school on the 17th (Degree of Master of Science, Main Field of Study: Educational Work.) I’ve ordered all the books I will need for the first half of the semester, and they should arrive any day now. I have never studied anything on this advanced level, and I might be in over my head, time will tell, but for now I am super excited! I don’t know how well you know me, but I am very stubborn, and now I’ve decided to get this degree, and I will not give up easily. It’s just something that interests me, and that I really want to do.

Also from my walk earlier today. It snowed all morning.

Do you feel that you got the time off you needed during the holidays? Are you ready for 2022? Did you make any new year resolutions? I wrote a little about mine last week. What I didn’t tell you is that I also decided to join a local gym (I told you I was thinking about it a few weeks ago.) I not only joined the gym, I had a PT help me make up a training routine that fits me. This week I’ve been there three times, and I am planning on going tomorrow as well. I feel great! 

I decided to skip the gym completely today, and take a really long walk in the snow instead. I just love snow.

I also spent some time cleaning out my closet during my break. I have a routine of doing that at least twice a year, once in the winter, and once in the summer. I have a capsule closet, and I like having only what I actually use there, anything that I don’t use I donate to charity. This time I also donated some holiday items that I don’t feel a need to save. I’ve limited myself to only store one box of holiday decorations, and the tree in our storage unit. (I would never rent a storage unit, because I think it’s insanity to pay to store stuff that you don’t need, but there is a storage unit that comes with my apartment. We mainly use it for our bikes.) 

I know that it’s going to be a very busy spring, and I am so happy to start out feeling great, and on top of my game. Would you like a refill on your beverage? Thank you Natalie for hosting the Weekend Coffee Share, and thank you for sharing your initiative with the food bank in your community. You are an inspiration to all of us! 

Stay safe out there, and please tell me what’s going on in your neck of the woods. I’m going to try to visit everyone’s coffee share this weekend.

Love,

Maria  

Weekend Coffee Share – Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! This is the last Weekend Coffee Share this year! Natalie The Explorer are taking a well deserved break from hosting the Weekend Coffee Share for a couple weeks, but I figure if someone still wants to have nice warm cup you are more than welcome to my home. Can I get you some coffee? Or tea? 

How are you? What is the weather like in your neck of the woods? Did you have a white Christmas? I hope Christmas was absolutely wonderful! I can’t believe that we’ve came to the last day of this year already! Since this is the last time we have coffee (or tea,) together this year many would consider it proper to make some kind of summary of the year. 

I’m going to make mine short: I am grateful. 

I am grateful that everyone in my family have been reasonably healthy, (manifesting excellent health for next year!)

I am grateful for this precious time with my children.

I am grateful that we have a safe, healthy, and beautiful place to call home.

I am grateful for my friends.

I am grateful for my workplace, the children at work that I am blessed to have interesting conversations with every day, and my wonderful colleagues. 

I am grateful for all the amazing nature, and fresh air I’ve enjoyed 2021.

I am grateful for my bike.

I am grateful that I manage to live within my means every month. 

I am grateful for all the books I devoured this year, and the value they’ve added to my life.

I am grateful that I could experiment with balcony gardening 2021.

Least but not last, I am grateful for the little adventure my daughter and I just had.

Maria “Green Dreams” 2021
My daughter and I, on the train at the beginning of our adventure.

I’ve told you that I had a surprise adventure planned for my daughter, but I didn’t tell you what it was. It was a trip to Jämtland, the region I grew up in. (I was born here in Dalarna, where I live now, but I grew up in Jämtland. My mother moved there with me and my little sister, after divorcing my dad.) I wanted to keep the trip a surprise for several reasons, I had a trip planned for last Christmas, but the recommendations due to the pandemic made me cancel that trip. We haven’t had any lockdowns here in Sweden, but everyone is expected to follow the recommendations from our public health agency. I feared that something like last year might happen again, therefor I choose not to tell my daughter about this trip, to not disappoint her. I figured, if the trip was possible, who doesn’t like a fun surprise?

We had to change trains one time at the beginning of our journey, only one hour from home, in the city of Gävle. We had one hour to spend as we please while waiting for our final train, that took us all the way to Östersund. We decided to check out this incredible building and the cafe inside of it.

Our current recommendations from the public health agency of Sweden due to the pandemic are; to stay at home if you have any symptoms/get tested, keep your distance to people in public places, get vaccinated (of course,) wash your hands often and use hand sanitizer. Some indoor events demands a Covid Pass showing proof of vaccination, that is a new thing and not so common yet, I’ve only seen a couple places asking for that. In general most people are very respectful towards others, they make sure to keep an acceptable distance, and we live an almost normal life. 

The most climate friendly way to travel in Sweden, not counting walking, or riding your bike, is taking the train. Our trains runs on 100% renewable energy, primarily from water power, and partly from wind power. That said, we took the train to Jämtland. I’ve always enjoyed taking the train, being able to enjoy the landscape and relax before arriving at your destination. I have hundreds of found memories from childhood-adulthood taking the train to relatives, to friends, to the mountains, to explore new places, to school, to work etc. It’s a wonderful way to wind down, and start your vacation with peace of mind. The seats are comfortable and the food on the trains are delicious. I tried a new vegan pasta dish at the train restaurant this time, and it was one of the best pasta dishes I’ve ever had. My daughter enjoyed her pancakes very much. There is Wifi on most trains. Our journey took about five hours, and my daughter did not have a chance to get bored, we looked at the landscape, visited the restaurant, and she watched a movie. I never had the opportunity to bring out the deck of cards I packed, the books, or the drawing material. It was her first longer train trip, and I purposely choose to take a train during daytime, for her to see more of Sweden. The night trains are wonderful as well, you can choose your comfort level on those, there are budget tickets where you have a regular seat (just like the day trains,) luxury private rooms with comfortable beds and first class breakfast served in the morning, and everything in between. They also have a movie theatre on those trains. In my early 20’s I lived in Gothenburg and had a yearly ski pass in Åre (Jämtland) every year, getting on the night train Friday night after work, went snowboarding Saturday and Sunday, taking the night train back to Gothenburg on Sunday evening, going straight to work Monday morning. I did this at least 2-3 weekends/month during the winter. When you are under 26 the train tickets are really cheap. If you are over 26 it costs a little more, but if you plan ahead it is not bad at all, the prices are cheaper the earlier you book your tickets. 

Östersund harbour, a frozen lake Storsjön, with Frösö slalombacke/ski slope in the background.

The most important things with our trip this time was to spend time with my little sister, and give my daughter some wonderful experiences of Sweden. There was in particular one place I wanted to take her to, where my mom used to take me as child. Jamtli (the name of the place,) deserves its very own post. When we arrived in Östersund, the major city of Jämtland, where I went to school, my sister met us at the train station and we walked to Badhusparken. It’s a beautiful park next to lake Storsjön, one of Swedens largest lakes. It was 5F/-15C and after a while we decided to enjoy a hot meal at 2inspire – Ecocaféet, a nearby restaurant. The food and the atmosphere there is amazing. My sister is a regular at this place, and I would be too, if I lived in Östersund. 

The main shopping street in Östersund.

My little sister gave me a thoughtful gift during our visit, a beautiful reading journal. You can’t tell by looking at the photos, but the book cover is wrapped in a fabric with a very special texture. I can’t wait to fill the pages of this journal with the books that are going to enrich my life in 2022. Since this is becoming a rather long post, I am going to make another post about the rest of our trip within the next couple days. 

Last year I promised myself to think about our planet when I make choices, big and small; when it comes to what kind of energy sources I choose, how I travel, what I eat, and my shopping habits in 2021. I am happy with the way I honoured that promise, and it is a way of life I am committed to continue living every day. That will be my renewed New Year’s Resolution 2022. Are you going to make any New Year’s Resolutions? If you need some ideas there’s some good ones here.

Happy Green Dreams New Year!

Love,

Maria  

New Year=New Haircut