No more stress, please

Women sitting on rocks in Stockholm Archipelago

I’m not really sure what this blog post will turn out like, but I figured I’ll just give it a go anyway. Sometimes, when an idea or main topic doesn’t strike me immediately, I get a little frustrated. It’s like a mini writer’s block settles in, and my mind starts to go in circles in an attempt to come up with the best and most interesting blog post ever. Now that can get a little stressful and take away from the fun, so I’m leaving those thoughts behind me right now. We’re having an unusually slow Sunday morning today, Mike and I (this post has taken me some time to write, so this very part was typed down last weekend). We ran a 50k race yesterday and are feeling a little achy here and there, and are enjoying just taking it easy for a bit. We both had oatmeal when we woke up, and Mike has since then transitioned to doing some school work (he’s taking Swedish and a photo editing class this semester, all online). I’ve been folding laundry and taking care of our plant “babies” (aka seedlings and teenage seedlings), moving some of them outside to get them used to the great outdoors. You know, a morning of this and that.

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Garden Plan 2019

It’s taken us a little too long to get this post in order, but better late than never, right? While some of us started the gardening season in January-February, most are after all just about coming out of winter hibernation and only beginning to think about what to grow this year, so we hope this piece will come in handy and be enjoyable for all of you, novices and professionals (well, maybe not) alike. We’re beyond excited for this second season of vegetable gardening – both because we know the endless joy it’ll bring and the wonderful food it’ll serve up, but also because we’re eager to practice the lessons we learned last year and streamline our little operation as much as we can. Even though we’ve only been at this for one teeny tiny year, it’s fun to notice how much we have in fact picked up and feel comfortable doing (and not doing) this time around.

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Fear of Cancer, Climate Change and Inadequacy – How I’m Learning to Overcome and Let Go

Do you ever experience fear and feel scared? I do. In fact, I think I’ve spent more time with fear than any other emotion throughout my life. But it’s a complex concept, fear. Personally, I’ve been both carefree and adventurous, gone bungy jumping, sky diving and traveling all over the world without so much as a hint of a safety minded approach. But making a phone call to someone unknown – be it a new hair dresser, the tax agency or the local supermarket – and I start sweating. Over the years, it’s become quite clear what categories of life situations freak me out and the ones that don’t. Recently, however, I’ve experienced a sudden and quite overwhelming change in my emotional life. Up until about 6 months ago, I’ve been very whatever as far as any physical issues or problems of mine. I’ve only been to the doctor a handful of times in my life (and those times were all following horse related accidents) and haven’t spent many seconds worrying about my physical health. And then my mom got breast cancer, almost exactly 1.5 years ago.

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Our Food Philosophy

A tale of vegetarianism, plant-based eating, never saying no to dessert and sticking with seasonal produce

A while back, I wrote my inaugural food-themed blog post (A few thoughts on food and nutrition) and I loved putting it together. As an athlete with high energy demands as well as a woman recovered from years and years of disordered eating, the topic of food is close to my heart. But. It’s not close to my heart in an obsessive, over-controlling kind of way, anymore. It’s not close to my heart in a my-life-circles-around-what-I-eat kind of way. Food is my fuel. Food is satisfying. Food can heal you, warm you, create memories with you. Food is great. But boy, have we made it complicated. Diets left, right and center. New “superfoods” every week. It’s exhausting, just keeping up with it all. Those were some of the thoughts and themes I chose to write about in that first post. In this one, however, I’d like to share how we actually eat, Mike and I. What our food philosophy is, in other words, and how we ended up eating the way we do today. Now, does one really need to have a “food philosophy”? Of course not. In a way, one could argue sharing something like this is feeding into that food is complicated circus. But our thoughts aren’t so much about grams of sugar, detoxes and eating clean as they are about appreciating the resources we have on hand, treating this planet with great care and making sure our own bodies get enough fuel to take us wherever we want to be taken. Food is precious, yet human kind is treating it as… well, something not so precious, unfortunately.

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Guide to Building Your Own Garden Boxes

Okay, everyone, it’s finally here – our quick and easy guide to building your own garden boxes 🙂 Mike has put together the very comprehensive plans, with all the necessary parts and measurements, and also created a pdf for downloading, for convenience (you’ll find the link right below here). The instructions are pretty straightforward so there’s no need for a lengthy how-to either – a few short steps and you’ll be done (well, that depends on how many you choose to build…).

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Costs of living and shifting down

The very first thing Mike and I did after we had decided that we were going to move from New York to Sweden and take one year “off” from “normal life” was sit down and draw up a budget for… well, for everything. We listed categories such as monthly costs (inevitable, after all), ski trips (we knew we wanted to go on many of those), renovation of the house we were going to buy and move to, setting up a garden, unexpected expenses, savings we always want to have as backup etc. And then we put a certain amount for each category (the monthly costs-category was multiplied by 12), added them all up and voilà – that was the sum we’d need to pull off the move and the year off. We added up our current funds at the time and calculated how much was left to save up. And then we got to work.

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Intentions for 2019

I might have mentioned at some point that I’m a daydreamer extraordinaire – and always have been. I can still remember this one recurring daydream I used to have as a little girl, that would pop into my head the times I walked home from school in the rain. Holding my umbrella, I envisioned how there would be a button to press on the umbrella handle, and how – once I pushed the button – the umbrella would shoot up in the air, and underneath it, there would be a giant sort of ‘net sack’, full of pillows and blankets, where I could sit and be cozy, all the while I’d be flying through the air. And thanks to the umbrella, I wouldn’t even get wet! My point isn’t so much that I drifted off into imaginary worlds as a child, because most of us did, but that daydreaming has been a big thing for me my whole life. And more importantly, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to treat my daydreams as my number one place for my visions – no longer a place of childish fantasies, I have my daydreams be what I want to become, reach, accomplish, do, witness, make come true and all of that. I find infinite strength in allowing my mind to paint the picture of, for example, scoring a book deal one day. Or winning a big race. Or becoming completely self-sustaining. I have (finally) left flying net sacks behind and moved on to their perfectly possible yet (somewhat) far-fetched goals that fill me with endless motivation, inspiration, drive and eagerness to work hard. Not hard as in all-consuming, stress-filled work, but work… my way. Our way. And how does this relate to what I want my/our 2019 to hold, you might wonder? Well, because my daydreams are what I want, essentially – so the answer is right in there.

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A Garden Year in Review

When I set out to write this post, my outline looked something like this: ok Sophia, just summarize what we did, how it went and what we have in mind for next year. Well, that didn’t quite work out. Turns out I could type up a whole novel on growing kale alone (it’s unclear who would want to read it – think of this more as an indication of my garden enthusiasm), so it’s taken a good portion of self-control (and – ehm – Mike telling me to stop) to get this post ready for publishing. I might have to write a little series instead, because there are just so many things I want to share! Above all, I think, I want to spread the word on exactly how small of a space you can have and still get a decent harvest. On how gratifying and self-fulfilling growing your own food can be. On how easy (some) vegetables are to get going. And how much good you’ll do for this world if you dare sticking your fingers into some dirt and watch the magic happen. This recap will take you from us setting up the garden in August 2017 and planting our first seeds in April 2018 all the way to harvesting snow-covered kale for dinner just this past evening. 2018 has been the best year of my life, in many ways – and in all honesty, I have a little group of plants to thank for a lot of it. And I know Mike agrees with me, even though he thought I turned into a crazy plant lady for a few months there. I hope you’re curled up on the couch, enjoying some precious days off work or school, with a tea cup or piece of chocolate within an arm’s reach. Happy reading!

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Eight Edible Christmas Gifts

As wonderful as I think Christmas is (and – ehm – as good of a gift giver I think I am), it does come with an awful lot of pressure. Pressure to have a big, loving family. Pressure to eat glorious looking and social media-worthy food. Pressure to be happy, in love, dressed in red. And to give the perfect gifts. Unique ones to those who already have everything. What everyone else plays with to your little nieces and nephews. Expensive ones to those you want to impress upon or show some extra love (or so we think). It’s certainly a tough time to stay true to your anti-consumerism philosophy, if you have one of those (hint: I do). It’s also a tough time for the environment and this planet, as we’re tapping into already non-existing reserves as if there – truly – is no tomorrow. But I love Christmas. I can’t help it. I love it with all my heart and can’t pretend otherwise. I love traditions, I love the typical spices and flavors, I love winter, I love family gatherings, I love watching bad Christmas movies, I love Christmas music. And I love giving gifts. So what to do? Are there mindful and meaningful ways to enjoy something as wonderful as this time of year without wrecking havoc somewhere else? Yes! Of course there is! I was thinking we could try to look into the whole gift giving thing today – an area where many of us feel forced to over-spend, where we buy things no one will ever use and where hefty price tag often trumps wholehearted giving.

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I Am an Adult Child of Divorce

When I was 24 years old, my parents separated. I was an adult, perfectly capable of taking care of myself – I had traveled the world, lived by myself for several years, created my own life – yet it completely destroyed me. I felt as if I couldn’t breathe, as if life was over, as if everything had been a lie. I didn’t want to live as a part of this new family scene, to be honest. And I felt ashamed. Deeply, painfully, excruciatingly ashamed. See, all throughout my childhood, our family had always seemed the steady one. The family where there was lots of time spent together, where there was no drama, where we laughed plenty. You know. It was… all good. My parents always held hands when they went for walks. They never fought, or even raised their voices. We traveled together. Played cards together. Dealt with life together. Our little group of four (I have an older brother) was always my rock, my point of safety. And I thought of it very highly. But ever since I was a little girl, I’d been scared to death my parents would one day divorce. I had them promise me that would never happen every single night for years when they tucked me in at night. I asked them if they loved each other often, I asked them to tell me exactly how much. I couldn’t stand the idea of them even disagreeing about the smallest thing. Due to the disconnect between what I lived (a safe, solid family life) and what I was afraid of (that it would all come tumbling down), it’s hard to understand why my fear was so pronounced at such an early age. Until my parents actually did divorce, I didn’t suffer any traumatic separations. I have – thankfully – never lost a loved one or been left by someone I cared for. And, as I’ve already touched upon, my parents’ behavior never indicated to me that something was seriously messed up. Yet, I was terrified. Over the years, I’ve come to realize that I must have been picking up on subtle signals and maybe even subconscious actions and reactions without reflecting upon it myself. All 5-year-old me felt was a deep, endless fear that I would end up as one of those kids with divorced parents. From as early as I can remember, that was my absolute nightmare. I can still, at the age of 31, feel the fear I felt then. That I would be one of those kids. The kids with a troubled family situation. The kids who had to keep track of mom-week and dad-week. The kids who were sent to school without a properly packed backpack because one parent thought the other one would take care of that snack, that change of clothes, that signed note, that homework. I feared being forgotten about. Left to fend for myself. And what others would think.

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