Wednesday, March 30, 2016

the sorrow one week later

Thank you so so much for the kind comments, emails, suggestions, cards, texts and comfort in response to all the sadness and sorrow I feel after my life partner's unexpected death a week ago. I will do my best to get in touch with you all when some time has passed and I'm not engulfed in practicalities.

A good friend said the other day that sorrow is striped. And that is such a simple and yet mindblowing description of all these feelings that keep on coming and going, from the inside out and outside in.

Since we didn't share address or lived 100% under the same roof (because that's how we both wanted it) I'm well aware that my legal status is zero (and no we didn't have a written agreement or a will) and that his elderly parents will inherit everything. I do hope I'll be able to get some of the things I've given him, things he bought on our trips, photos and other memories. Other than that I now have very little hope this will be a fair and decent aftermath.

Because even though we spent nearly 27 years together - which is a scary thing to admit since that makes me feel quite quite old, but there you have it. He was 9 years my senior and we met in 1989 through a friend I studied law with - I'm clearly the one person who knows knew (past tense, how long will it be before past tense comes naturally?) him best (he certainly didn't share a lot with his parents or brother/sister-in-law, that much is so very clear when we talk about him and our life together...), spent the most time and talk with him during these years, I am apparently not regarded important enough to be on top in the list of mourners in the obituary.

Instead his parents saw it appropriate that they should be mentioned first - for a grown man in a long-term relationship - followed by the brother and sister-in-law (whom we spent time with about twice a year) and me last. My status is clearly that of a dog. Or possibly a grandchild.

When I got home from the 2,5 hours long, grueling meeting at the undertaker yesterday I was devastated. I don't think an obituary as such is a very important thing, but if they wanted to have one that was of course fine. And if so, just as natural was that the long-term partner should be mentioned first. Instead they diminished me and our years together into a parenthesis.

I talked with my brother-in-law and his wife about my feelings and they understood, however M's parents refuse to change the order, they adamantly see it fit they should be first - no matter how disrespectful that is to not least to their son - so now I'm second instead. One step up from dog status.

In no way am I trying to diminish their sorrow and loss, it must be horrific to lose a child, even if he's long since a grown-up with his own life (and it was his father who found M dead). But the way they act as if I'm some peripheral female M spent time with now and then, perhaps during weekends and the odd holiday, over all these years, that really puts things in perspective. And put some extra hurt into the striped pain.

I have decided I will now put my own obituary in the newspaper in a week or two. And frame it as I like. And as M would have enjoyed.

To make matters worse, the parents and brother thought it was appropriate to after the open funeral service only invite the immediate family (to which they count aunts, uncles and cousins who he/we've perhaps met once or twice a year throughout our time together) to the memorial after. But what about our friends and his friends (of which I haven't met everyone, we both have/had friends the other one didn't know a lot about)? And his collegues? Why should those people he spend much more time with than his relatives be seen as people less deserving of being invited to the memorial, less mourning?

If I could I would much rather not attend the funeral but hold a separate and private one to which I invited the people I know mattered in his/our life. That's of course not feasible, but still I like the notion of it.

The funeral ceremony (civil of course) will be held on April 20. The day in between what would have been his birthday and my mother's birthday. Not ideal at all, but there it is.

We had planned most of the funeral already before the above took place, I'm sure it will be beautiful. But the meeting with the officiant is still left. After all this happened I will not attend the meeting with the rest of the family next week, but instead meet with him on my own. Ideally before they do.

Who knew that these last couple of weeks would be so full of situations where I had to be true to myself and stand up for that? And him.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

the final goodbye

Today we said our final goodbye to my life partner M (or Mats which was his full name). He suddenly, unexpectedly and sadly passed away the other day.

There will be an autopsy since the circumstances are unclear and the funeral will be at a later date. 

Feeling numb. It's absolutely ungraspable. It wasn't him under the blanket, on the table, yet it was.

I love Easter weekend, my favourite holiday, this year it won't be loved. There's only loss and sorrow.

Monday, March 21, 2016

the nose buddy

Remember the, to say the least, awkward shape of nose buddies? It took me over three years to get one because of that. Now I finally did since I thought I'd try the thing to see if my annoying rhinorrea will improve - this time 7 months and counting... - before I possibly succumb to see a nasal doctor. I e my doctor Feist.

Used it three times so far and I have to say I find it really really uncomfortable. My nose feels sore and my throat feels painful like I've involuntary gulped a mouthful of water. Sure it passes and the nose/head feels a bit clearer afterwards. But unless I see a significant improvement after using it for a week the Nose Buddy won't be a longterm buddy of mine.

Do you practise the neti?
If so do you find it useful?
And how long did it take 
until you saw the benefits?

Sunday, March 20, 2016

be true to yourself

Today I did two things I'm really proud over, I stayed true to myself despite it being rather uncomfortable to do due to social expectations.

And from now on I'll be clear from the beginning about my values, that they are so much more than just 'is there any good vegetarian/vegan options for food?' when there are workrelated or personal social functions or possible work collaborations/assignments. 

I will not use those easy excuses, such as illness, otherwise engaged or working - unless they're actually true of course - but simply tell it like it is:

I need to stay true to my values regarding vegetarian/vegan food, animal friendly, organic, sustainable products and lifestyle.

And if I fear that will be difficult to abide by throughout I will not do it or attend.

So today I did this:

A) I decided to back down from the planning of recent creative collaborations involving yarn and travelling. There were a few other snags there too - sometimes I do get really excited about ideas and inspiring people and try to look past those hitches, because perhaps I'm overanalyzing etc. And I can partly forget those important values (shame on me) because the idea is so awesome in itself. But then I get some time to think properly about it, the values, the snags and the details... - but the quite possible matter of my values being partly trampled on, or not deemed as important, was THE main reason.

Perhaps some smaller projects and collaborations will come of this in the future instead, not just this big and awesome one.

B) I said thank you but no thank you to an Easter lunch with M's relatives and calmly gave my reason as: I avoid social gatherings where meat will me consumed in one way or other. I feel better for doing so and my presence will not add anything to that gathering. I'll be happy to meet you for fika at a later time instead.

I'm sure it came as a surprise to the receiver of the email, but those are my values and I'm frankly sick and tired of loosing my appetite and crying inside looking at dead animals on other people's plates. As well as their inexplicable need to constantly talk about steaks (made from animal babies) and eating flesh. 

It would not hurt either those people's health or palate to eat a sustainable, plantbased meal for once. Quite quite the opposite in fact.

What made matters worse in this case - but also got me to this point of enough now! - was that the restaurant we were to meet at was on a farm were they (disgustingly) prided themselves of 'we sell meat from animals we raise on our farm' and 'the restaurant is closed for the weekend due to hunting'. Seriously neither of these animals have asked to be killed, butchered and served on a plate. Pain is pain is pain. Possibly more so for trusting animals you've raised on a small farm and then betray by sending them to the slaughterhouse.

I've never really had to deal with my own close family (I turned both my mum and dad vegetarian at a young age), relatives or my non-vegetarian friends questioning my vegetarian lifestyle, for that I'm grateful. But despite that I've just felt that if I accept an invite to dinner or such I will have to face the disgusting things the others put on their plates, as long as I'm not forced to eat it. These last couple of years I've had a really hard time doing that. And for that reason I have in fact declined some social gatherings blaming illness or work.

From now on I will not shy away from being true to myself. And I don't care if some of those people think I'm rude (really...), weird or anti-social. I feel liberated! And hopefully my frankness will be an eye-opener for some.

And it's worth remembering that it was quite a long time since the issue of eating animal flesh and babies where *only* an animal rights issue, it's way past that now, the planet is dying largely because of animal farming. And it's absolutely crazy that so many people don't care more about their health, stuffing their bodies with other beings' dead bodies. Inconceivably so.

"We are the living graves of murdered beasts, 
slaughtered to satisfy our appetites" 
- George Bernard Shaw

Saturday, March 19, 2016

vernissage - perspektiv europa

Today was the day of the much anticipated photo exhibition Viewpoint Europe (Perspektiv Europa).

And here are a few glimpses of it before we opened up to visitors.

And these are my positive as well as negative experiences from it:

+ The arranging and setting up with a friend I've never worked with before was really effortless, effective and reliable with great communication, our areas of responsabilities easy to define (basically we did the things we're good at and didn't step om eachothers toes. Well, except for me making comments about chips as unhealthy snacks and nearly starting a Chips-gate then...). 

+ The set up and ambiance of the venue (a photo studio) lovely. My friend's father's help with hanging the frames invaluable, it would have taken at least double the time had he not been there.

+ Really happy with the visitors that did turn up, including my childhood bestie which I hadn't met for nearly 20 years actually. And all the nice chats we had.

+ The food truck got the perfect spot to park at just outside our entrance. And she sold out well before our vernissage closed.

- The gazillion people invited that couldn't be bothered to either not replying to the invite at all or accepting saying they'd come but then not have the decency to get in touch explaining they couldn't make it. Seriously, why do so many people have such bad social manners?

- Surprised and disappointed really, that the amount of visitors wasn't nearly as many as expected. We'd done marketing seemingly everywhere, both personal invites, on websites and in relevant social channels etc. 

- I suspect Sunday would've been a better day than a Saturday for it. I also think that for the exhibition to have a proper impact you need to have it up for 2-4 weeks at least. One day like this is just too limiting.

Would I do it again? Quite possibly. But not in the same way or at the same venue (despite all its pros for photographic art). Loved the experience though. And it's such a great feeling to see your photos come to life in prints and frames and not only as a flat image on a screen.

And if there was a prize for the most glammy of vernissage visitors, our friend Sarah would most likely have won it.

Friday, March 18, 2016

tulips galore

Tomorrow I'll take this gorgeous bunch of tulips to our vernissage. To bring some extra colour and snazziness to the venue. 

It felt quite luxurious to buy so many tulips at once. To keep that luxuary feel I wish I had a vase big enough to harbour them all after the exhibition and not only smaller ones.

Friendly snoopervision by Sigrid - who probably wish she could nibble them all.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

witch on the wall

I will most certainly have more control over my broom next Thursday. No mishappens, Brocken here I come! 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

the bearded dancing guy

Remember these men on a train station bench - you're quite forgiven if you don't - I snapped in secret years ago?

Today I had another fun cute experience at the same suburban station - it's heavily rebuilt and still under construction now though - when I spotted this redhead bearded man in builder's outfit dancing his way down the platform. With big earpieces and hairstyle á la Little My he looked like the ultimate cool dude.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

dear human, i lovez you

Pretty much any brooding matter or sadness suddenly seems somehow insignificant when someone does this.

She's such a treat to have in my life. And she does great cleaning too.

Monday, March 14, 2016

go organic bananas

Love this display of organic bananas I spotted in the supermarket the other day. Fun, colourful and important.

Did you know that bananas alongside grapes and coffee are the top three most important food products to buy organic? Their non-organic siblings have a devastatingly bad impact both on the environment and on health.

Go bananas, go organic!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

a serious case of camera envy

To be honest I'm rarely fascinated by people's cameras or gadgets. Yes I have a dream camera, which I hope to be able to buy one day. 

But I also know that no matter how fancy schmancy your camera is that most certainly is not a guarantee you'll take fantastic pictures with it, if you're not gifted in the art of photography. 

While on the other hand a great photographer can create magic with a mediocre camera.

Today I got a serious case of camera envy though. My photo exhibition friend showed me his new Leica Q. And it's gorgeous. Plus of course it's a joy to use and the pictures turn out just lovely even in poor light. 

I would most likely never spend that much on a camera, as photography per se isn't my livelihood. But still, a very coveted camera it is.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

ekorrens ekologiska cute organic chocolate

Spotted this gorgeous chocolate at the food store recently. Had no intention to buy (honestly) but since they'd jampacked the shelf I couldn't get it to fit with its chocolate family. Naturally I had to buy it, right? Right.

Adore the package design and the chocolate is darn tasty too. From Ekorrens ekologiska (The Squirrel's organic), same brand as the peace & love candy. Unfortunately not vegan (it would be lovely if the could make the milk chocolate from plantbased dairy of course), but otherwise organic, vegan, fairtrade and climate compensated ingredients. Mild chocolate flavoured with almond and sea salt, it makes for a really nice treat.

Friday, March 11, 2016

the winning dress

Behold the dress I got for the nifty giftcard I won in the Instagram contest last autumn.

Ideally I wanted a linen or organic cotton dress and not viscose, since I find that fabric creases too easy. But the model was too cute, perfect granny style AND with pockets! The pattern (and fabric of course) is very similar to the green kimono one, but denim blue.

I'm sure we'll have lots of fun together, blue dress and I.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

the best thing i've ever found at clas ohlson

It's now almost 3 years and 1 month since we were forced to say forever goodbye to Little Loaf.

So whenever I spot a Norfolk terrier - which is a rare rare thing since it isn't a common breed in Sweden - I have to have a long look and if in any way possible say 'hi'.

When we bought the frames the other day and were on our way to the check out I suddenly saw this little fella. Squee! We both kind of froze and stood staring quietly. I think we rather scared the owner, perhaps we were potential dognappers?

I explained that our Norfolk had passed away and this fella - who turned out to be a girl - looked so much like him. She was such a darling! A bit more hesitant in greeting strangers and not an as exuberant people lover as Malte, but still that look and the constantly wagging tail, the notion that it is indeed impossible to pose for a photo when there's promise of a good sniff and cuddle.

I was so taken with the meet cute I actually forgot to ask her name and age. But she will forever be remembered as 'the best thing ever found at Clas Ohlson'. CO being a notoriously known day care center for men ie a reasonably priced shop for household items, hardware and technical gadgets etc. 

It's a shop boring beyond words really, BUT they also offer good frames, pink water kettles and unexpected meet cutes with blurry photo objects.

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

colourful creative collaborations

Who knew that years after I bought wonderful, colourful yarn from this person we would become LinkedIn contacts and soon after meet up for lovely and immensely thought-provoking creative fikas? 

Today we had our second meeting (over breakfast) and jeez, what an amazing idea for a wonderful, creative, developing all over amazing business collaboration we came up with!

Yes, I know, I've had glimpses of other collaborations I had such high hopes for before, which for one - which I really need to address in another post, it's been 1,5 years now and I think it's time to air that experience that still baffles me - or other reason never turned out as well as expected or intended.

But this one feels brilliant. I actually think it might have something to do about that we talk a lot about colours (!), business ethics and that we actually bring a lot of different creative strengths and experiences to the collaboration.

I have no doubt it'll take a lot of hard work the following months. But it's so much awesomeness involved, you just wouldn't believe. The idea itself is simple enough, but it's how you can elaborate and personalize it that's totally totally groovy. I would say that keywords such as culture, crafts, networking and inspiration are at the heart of this. Fingers crossed the collaboration will be launched this summer.

Social media. Yarn. Thank you.

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

women's day 2016

The perfect answer to ignorant questions about feminism. 

There is sadly still a long way, but this day is for all the brave women who make amazing things to create a better world for us all! And yes feminism is important for everyone, damaging structures and gender traps are bad for women and men alike. We are all people, beings alongside other species on this one planet. Let's never ever forget that.

Monday, March 07, 2016

let the framing begin!

The work with next week's fabulastic photo exhibition is well in progress. Today I returned the first frames I got last week as it turned out I had gotten the idea of framing without passe-partouts all wrong. I'm so relieved I realised the amateur mistake reasonably early on (yes, you can stop laughing now). And I'm even more pleased with how gorgeous the photos look with passe-partouts and simple black frames!

I bought most of the frames I need today too, since I'll need larger frames than I first had counted with I may have to scale down the number of photos for the exhibition though. So I'll begin with these frames and possibly buy more next week.

I've also realised how expensive frames are. Not to mention the passe-partouts that needed special cutting. I would have been better off simply ordering new copies in another size. But I also love how much I'm learning by all the little mistakes. Practice makes perfect.

And who knew it was the framing that would be so tricky and time-consuming, not all the other little bits?

I'm also really happy to announce that as things look now we will be joined by one of Stockholm's best foodtrucks for a few hours! The truck serves organic and vegan food and hopefully the collaboration will have a great synergy effect on both of our businesses - more visitors for us and more guests for her.

Sunday, March 06, 2016

vegan gingerbread cheesecake

Some months ago I saw this seemingly delicious recipe for a vegan gingerbread cheesecake in issue 6/15 of Magasinet Vego. I swiftly bought the ingredients but I haven't really had the baking mojo since. Plus there was a tiny fawlty detail in the recipe that said you should put the oven on x degrees but not a word about baking the crust. So I kept putting the baking, or non-baking, off until I could get my lazy self to actually ask for the correct recipe. Ie when the due date of said ingredients fast approached.

As usual I can't make the recipe fully vegan since there isn't any palm-oil free non-dairy butter available in Sweden - which is crazy - so I use my trusted friend butter oil instead.

So the crust has a bit of butter in it, the rest is proudly plantbased. And yes awesome! Granted, it tastes a bit Christmassy and possibly not really seasonally appropriate, but who cares, right?

Gingerbread cheesecake

12 servings

200 g ginger snaps (palmoil free, I use these excellent ones from Göteborgskex)
100 g butter/oil or palmoil-free non-dairy butter

Cheesecake filling
400 g non-dairy creamcheese (no palmoil, I use the great Original Sheese from Bute Island Food)
1 dl caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp dry ginger
1 ml clove
2 dl non-dairy whipped cream (I use Alpro)

raspberries or lingonberries

Crush the gingerbreads into fine crums in a blender. Add the butter/oil. Spread it in a 20 cm cake tin with removable bottom. Put aside.

Whip the cream until firm and fluffy.

In another bowl you mix the rest of the filling ingredients. Then ad that mix to the whipped cream and blend slowly and properly. Pour the filling into the cake tin and let it rest in the freezer for some hours or over-night.

Take it out of the freezer about 30 minutes before serving. And add the decoration of choice then.

Snoopervisors not impressed. But your two-legged guests will be!

Saturday, March 05, 2016

please give us ad-free options, instagram

I suppose that one should be grateful that Instagram has been blissfully ad-free until this year. But now it's simply overflowing with the nuisance that is unwanted ads. And really, animal flesh ads and leather goods is even less appreciated. Talk about completely wrong target group. Jeez.

I think it's absolutely crazy that Instagram, like Twitter and other social medias, doesn't offer its users (who for a fact has built the whole community and growth) an ad-free option. I am most certainly not the only one who'd be happy to pay for an ad-free pro-account.

As it is now, quite a lot of fun is taken out of Instagram with every 3-5 photo being an ad. Seriously, Instagram, give us ad-free options NOW!

Friday, March 04, 2016

the nine last smoothies

I've now reached the end of my 30 different smoothies for 30 days journey. And while it has been a delicious 30 days (well, at least the breakfast) it has alas done absolutely nothing to improve my energy levels or facial complexion. 

For that I think you need to change your diet and life more radically. Still, when you always have the fridge and freezer full of fruit and veggies anyway it's a great, tasty way to use them. And a lovely smoothie always add a touch of luxuary to the breakfast or lunch.

Welcome to the ingredients lists of my last/latest 9 smoothies:

Pale yellow above - organic (always!) banana, pineapple, oatmilk, agave, turmeric, cardamom.

Pale green - avocado, broccoli, kale, kiwi, agave, oatmilk.

Deep red - strawberry, raspberry, red- and blackcurrant, agave, oatmilk.

Chocolate - banana, apple, chili, raw cacao, oatmilk.

Red - raspberry, apple, pomegranate, oatmilk.

Bright green - banana, spinach, kiwi, passionfruit, oatmilk. 

Bright yellow - mango, banana, orange, passionfruit, agave, turmeric.

Purple - blueberries (lots!), spinach, dates, oatmilk.

And the very last one, Pale pink - banana, raspberry, ginger, oatmilk. Cheers!

Previous smoothies ingredients-lists for 30 days:

Thursday, March 03, 2016

farewell tooth

Today was what hopefully will be the very last dentist visit for this year (touch wood). And it was quite unpleasant since it was all about tooth-drawing. It was surprisingly unpainful as such, but when the anaesthesia drifted off - which was administered with a supersized syringe most probably suitable as a horse tranquilizer - the jaw was really painful and tender for some hours. And I had myself a little pity party since I couldn't even have a cup of tea for some hours.

It feels better now. And I have eaten without much trouble. I'm still surprised at how little, if at all, pain I feel in the the part where the tooth was drawn. But the jaw where the syringe was used is quite sore, and I'd imagined that it will continue to be for days still.

I feel sad that a tooth is now lost forever, time and a lot of filling on top of eachother can do that. But I'm grateful it isn't a visible tooth and I will most likely not replace it with a super-costly fake tooth. It hasn't been of much use for some years now and I've been able to work around it, I can't see why I wouldn't be able to continue doing so. My denist gave me two other (costly resp super-costly) options - in some months when the new dental situation has adjusted itself - but assured me that one can live perfectly well without the tooth.

Fingers crossed the next time I visit the dentist will be for a check-up next year.

PS The adorable monochrome mogwai art I spotted in the subway on my way home, it perfectly illustrated my mood du jour. DS

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

eating out: fru marias bak

On the way to pick up the photos for the grand exhibition on March 19 - if in Stockholm I hope you pop by! - on the other side of town we pass this lovely cafe, Fru Marias Bak. The name of the bakery/cafe is a sweet pun in Swedish: a) it's situated near the street Fru Marias väg (road), b) Fru Marias Bak = Mrs Maria's Baking or Mrs Maria's Bottom. And the proprietor is indeed named Maria. And I'm happy to say as guests we definitely see more of her baking than her bottom.

As the bakery/cafe is situated a bit off from my point of living view it's sadly not a cafe I visit often, but I'm sure the people in its residential area, mainly villas, appreciate its offerings very much. But when I've had the opportunity to visit lately I've loved it the more. Apart from great fika and bread they offer sandwiches and easy lunches every day. 

One day we thoroughly enjoyed this carrot and ginger soup. Which was so much fresher than any carrot-ginger soup I've had before. They've always been creamy and rich (by coconut milk I presume) and a bit too much for my liking. While this soup seemed to be a blend of carrot, fresh ginger and vegetable stock only and therefore much fresher. I will definitely recreate it at home!

They bake their bread of organic flour only and from the plain breads I've ate my favourite is the baguette. And the vanilla buns are great too. The above hazelnut rolls were a bit on he dry side though.

The interior is very cute, light and colourful with a mitch match of thrifted furniture and an open kitchen.

Cauliflower resp artichoke soups. Very nice, but my favourite is still teh carrot-ginger one...

Followed by tea and cake, I don't like Swiss rolls at all but my mum loved the raspberry butter cream. Myself I adored the moist carrot cake.

Last but not least they make a mean semla. Not for everyone I suppose, because it's made from a quite heavy sourdough and is very filling. But the almond paste is lovely - even if obviously not as great as my own... - and the cardamom flavour perfect. Rather similar to the once upon a time Stockholm Super Semla actually.

Looking forward to my next photo pick up/cafe visit!

Svartlösavägen 77,
Älvsjö (Stockholm suburb)
Mon-Tor 7am - 5pm
Fri 8am - 7 pm
Sat 8 am - 4pm
Sun 9am - 4pm
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