Sunday, 20 March 2011

Tricks of the mind

It's amazing how easily your mind can start to play tricks on you when you're in the house alone at night. I use 'alone' in its loosest possible term as I'm not counting the 3 sleeping children and 2 cats, none of whom would be much use in a fight (unless there's a martial art which involves screaming very loud and very high that I haven't heard of; they'd be very good at that. The children, not the cats that is.); but I am technically the only responsible adult in the house.
I sent my eldest daughter down to the shop to get some milk this afternoon, and what I didn't realise until about five hours later was that she'd left the back door open. Not wide open, just not shut properly, and that's all my brain needed to go into paranoid mode.
[Just to explain - the back door is actually at the front of the house, but leads into the basement, which is why I didn't notice it until I went downstairs to do some washing.]
So I had a quick look round down there, mostly to make sure the cats hadn't escaped, and they hadn't so I carried on with what I was doing. About 10 minutes later I started thinking about how I'd been up on the top floor bathing the girls, and anybody could've come in without me noticing. The little rational corner of my brain told me I was being stupid. After all, we live in a pretty safe area; the house is a long way back from the road so it's not like anyone would be able to notice that the door was a teeny bit open when they were walking past, and presumably they would've shut the door properly behind them so it would look less suspicious.
Unfortunately the rational corner of my brain is but a whisper against the strident shouting of the irrational paranoid corner of my brain, who's also a bit of a smartarse and can come up with a rebuttal argument for any point you can make. Admittedly, this usually consists of  'ah, but you never know', but that can be surprisingly effective. It worked against the first two rational arguments, and then we went into double bluff for the third - would they have closed the door? Or would they have left it exactly as they found it, just in case it had been left that way intentionally in the first place and thus shutting it would have been more suspicious rather than less.
Naturally I gave into my irrational brain and went downstairs to perform a thorough check of every nook and cranny, just to be sure that no sneaky double bluffing burglar/rapist/murderer/werewolf was hiding down there. 3 circuits of the playroom, bathroom and utility room later, I'd just about convinced myself that all was well. It's still possible that I'll barricade the door downstairs just in case a very thin burglar/rapist/murderer/werewolf managed to hide behind the oil tank (the only place I didn't look, because the gap is so small only my 5 year old and the cats can fit through it), but hopefully rational me will win on this occasion.
I do suspect that this paranoid part is something that comes along with being a parent and having responsibility for small people. I distinctly remember in the years pre-children when I really did live on my own, once waking up in the middle of the night because I thought I heard a noise downstairs. I was so tired that the only thought that went through my mind that time was, "Well if there is someone down there, they can take what they like, just as long as they don't disturb me," after which I promptly went back to sleep. I really wish my brain still worked like that.
As it doesn't any more, I'm promoting my mental wellbeing on this occasion by watching a real life crime documentary before I go to bed.
Don't have nightmares.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

A-Z of blips

For reasons completely and utterly unknown, it seemed like a really good idea last week to see if I could blip a song I liked by a band beginning with each letter of the alphabet. So 2 and a half weeks later I finally made it to the end and in case you missed any, here they all are with an accompanying Spotify playlist. Enjoy!

A: Aqualung - Strange and Beautiful
B: Blur - Coffee & TV
C: Cure - Lovecats
D: Dinosaur Jr. - Start Choppin'
E: Electrasy - Morning Afterglow
F: Faith No More - Epic
G: Guns 'n' Roses - Patience
H: Hardline - In The Hands Of Time (and also accidentally House of Pain - Jump Around)
I: INXS - Elegantly Wasted
J: Jane's Addiction - Been Caught Stealing
K: K's Choice - Virgin State Of Mind
L: Lit - Miserable
M: Metallica - Enter Sandman
N: Nickelback - Burn It To The Ground
O: Offspring - Self Esteem
P: Primal Scream - Rocks
Q: Queens of The Stone Age - Feel Good Hit Of The Summer
R: Radiohead - Paranoid Android
S: Sultans of Ping - Where's Me Jumper?
T: Terrorvision - Oblivion
U: U2 - Beautiful Day
V: Velvet Underground - Venus In Furs
W: Whale - Hobo Humpin' Slobo Babe
X: XTC - Making Plans For Nigel
Y: Yello - The Race
Z: ZZ Top - Gimme All Your Lovin'

And for the Swedish amongst you and in the pursuit of completeness (although I couldn't find them on Spotify)
Å: Åke Hasselgård - My Melancholy Baby
Ä: Änglagård - Kung Bore
Ö: Örjan Englund - Kärringar ska veta hut

Monday, 12 April 2010

A return... of sorts

Sometimes my capacity for sheer laziness shocks and appalls me.

When I stopped doing #oneaday last month, I didn't actually intend to take a break from posting for quite this long. In fact, I've been surprised at how much I've missed blogging; there have been so many occasions when I've been doing something else, and mentally started writing a post in my head, but without the motivation that came from doing #oneaday, they never made it from my head to my fingers.

I really enjoyed being part of the #oneaday group, and through it have added some lovely people to my twitter-stream. Unfortunately I still don't have the desire to take the challenge back up and place myself under the pressure of 7 day a week entries. What I need is a little bit of motivation to do more without taking all the fun out of it. As of next week, my youngest child will be at daycare for 15 hours a week over 3 days, so my intention is to write something on each of those days. It may not necessarily be on here, but there will be writing of some sort happening.

Fingers crossed I can get over my natural inclination towards indolence and the novelty of having time to myself again after all these years. Otherwise it's just going to be 15 hours of surfing the net, twittering, playing games and drinking coffee.

Actually, that sounds rather good....

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Taking a break

Yesterday was my first miss of oneaday after a 50 day run. I'm pretty pleased (and very surprised) at getting so far, but think that it's time to take a break for a week or so. It started out as fun, and a challenge, but has recently descended into being a chore and I have enough daily chores as it is. Not that I've quite run out of things to write about, but my enthusiasm for writing about anything at all has disappeared and that doesn't make for interesting reading. I don't want to give up altogether, and hopefully I'll feel a little better about things in a week or so and can pick up the gauntlet again.

We'll see.

But thanks to everybody who has made the time to read my frequently inane ramblings - I don't think I would have even got this far otherwise.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Not quite what I intended

My original plan for today's #oneaday was to write about a tv programme called 'Simon och Tomas: Design' that is usually shown on Monday evenings. But we turned the tv over to the right channel at the right time, only to be confronted by something called 'Stjärnkockerna' (which I think is sort of a cross between Celebrity Masterchef and that cookery show that Anton du Beke presented, whatever it was called) instead which was something of a disappointment.

We discovered Simon and Tomas not long after we arrived here, and it was the first piece of non-UK or US TV that we really watched. They are a pair of interior designers (similar-ish to Colin and Justin) but Simon is English and only speaks English (and swears a lot in English) most of the time, and of course Tomas is Swedish and speaks - well, Swedish. The bilingual conversations that they have fascinate me, as well as making it easier to keep up with what's being said in Swedish, and they're also quite amusing. And that's without mentioning their two little dogs, or 'the boys' as they call them who go everywhere too and generally cause chaos.

Anyway, as they weren't on this evening, I can't write about them. As you were.

(Sveriges Fulaste Hem -> Sweden's Ugliest Home)

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Ice hockey or UFC?

Last night one of Mr.B's colleagues took us to an ice hockey match at the local stadium. Happily we also had use of one of the corporate boxes, so were able to watch in some comfort and with a free cup of coffee.

It wasn't the first ice hockey match I'd ever been to (I went once in the US a few years ago) but to be honest, most of what I know comes entirely from playing EA Hockey on the Megadrive. And the main thing I remember from playing that is that it's ok to fight members of the opposing team. Which is what happened last night. (Not me, the players).

There was a particularly nasty shove by the opposition of one of the home team which left him injured, but for some reason went unpunished. A couple of minutes later someone decided to punish the culprit himself by taking a swing at him and was promptly sent to sit in the corner for 10 minutes to think about what he had done. However the home team's blood was well and truly on the boil by then and it wasn't long before another fight broke out but on a much larger scale than before. I couldn't help but be bewildered at the sight of two men having a full on brawl (helmets and gloves off) whilst 4 match officials just kind of stood and looked on. Apparently that was because they were trying to stop everyone else from joining in - although there were still a couple of other scuffles. The fight went on for at least 5 minutes and the spectators were starting to get a little restless. Eventually the referees put a stop to it and then proceeded to spend even longer deciding on who was going to get punished and by how much. They read a big long list of names and penalties out after that, but it didn't mean an awful lot to me.

Interestingly, the chants that were used wouldn't have been out of place at any English football match. The away supporters were very vocal (and there were quite a few of them considering the distance they had to travel to get there), but I was quite disappointed in the lack of home supporters. To my knowledge, our team are currently near the bottom of the table where they have been languishing over the last few years, and the supporters have got a little frustrated and started to give up on them. Which is a shame as it's times like that when you need your supporters the most. But then, they did play pretty badly so I can kind of understand why. The supporters were also at their most vocal when cheering on the fight which was quite depressing.

Final score: Södertälje SK 2 - Skellefteå AIK 7 (One SSK goal was scored in the first 2 minutes, and one in the last 2. The rest of the time they were mostly fighting and falling over.)

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Dinner for one

Too tired to do my ice hockey report justice so that will have to keep till tomorrow. We went back to Mr.B's colleague's house for dinner afterwards, and had a really lovely evening with him and his family. Good food, good wine and good company - what more could anyone ask? 

They introduced us to this fantastic sketch that is a staple fixture on Swedish tv on New Year's Eve (and lots of other places too according to wikipedia). Despite the fact that it stars an English actor, I'd never heard of it before. It's a beautiful and clever piece of vintage comedy and worth 10 minutes of your time: