Saturday, September 24, 2016

september highlights

Hello there. 

It has been over two weeks since I blogged. (The reason is not that the blogoversary celebrations where heavy. Really.) And it certainly isn't for a lack of matters to blog about. I've written lots of posts in my head these past few weeks. None of which obviously haven't made it to online status. And now I'm not really sure where to begin.

So, this won't be structured. This will be deeply emotional, this will be light-hearted and possibly frivolous, this will be about sorrow and happiness. In other words, this will be a bit of a long post.

:: First of all - I didn't get the part-time job I had hoped for. They said they'd settled for someone with slightly more experience of the tasks, but they thought I was great too. At least they took the time to call me up and tell me that. Which is a rare rare thing these days alas... Apparently they never got in touch with any of the referees either so the person they hired must have been oustanding in their fields.

But you know what? The more I thought about the job, the more trapped I felt. Sure it was within easy access from home by train - but it would also mean crossing the county border thus forcing me to pay 100% more for the monthly train card. Sure it was a brilliant half-time job - but instead of me working 2,5 days per week they wanted me to work half-days every day. Which is just crazy since that would mean I had to waste 1,5 hours commuting every day and not really being able to do my best for neither them nor running my business with focus for the rest of the time. And having to comply with that schedule for one year - scary and limiting. Also, the salary level crossing the county borders (even if really, it is a suburb of Stockholm still) means lower payment. Which would obviously mean quite low given half-time plus that mad train ticket as well as the stress of having to deal with working in an office environment every darn day for a year.

So all and all, in hindsight I feel this was for the best. Now I'm all open to exciting stuff instead, that suits my lifestyle and what I want from life. To be honest, I was more upset with the fulltime marketing and community manager job that never happened - because if it had been as great as it sounded on paper and felt after the first interview, it would have been something new and exciting to deal with.

So I'm all good about this. In fact I'm proud of how great I am at this resilience thing. And I'm looking forward to more work and clients that suit my needs and wants better. Welcome, welcome.

:: The Indian summer weather has been pretty glorious for most of the days, sure the evenings and early mornings for most days have become distinctively chillier. But the average temperature has been around +15C degrees, some days even more. From a global warming perspective this scares me a lot. But in the here and now I try to enjoy the surprising warmth and generous sunny days, the vitamin D.

:: Since September 1st I've been consulting per hour for my May client. Which is pretty good, it may not be creatively exciting tasks as such, but I know the organisation and what they want, the people are really nice and I have been able to invoice a decent amount since then. I've calculated that if I could do this regularly - and obviously it doesn't have to be for this client only - for 3 days/week I would almost meet my monthly goal in what I want as a salary. And it's enough that I pop by their office on the odd occasion to talk things through. Perfect.

:: It is now six months since M passed away. For me to move on to the next stage in the sorrow process (whatever that may be, I'm not sure myself) I realise I have to tell the people that have hurt me the most during his passing, his relatives, just how I feel and have felt about their behaviour. 

So I wrote draft a couple of weeks ago - only finally writing it was a relief - and have returned to it, rewritten and thought about it since. I will email it this week. I just want to tell my side of the story, I don't expect or want any explanations or discussions. They have clearly decided to delete my importance from M's life, something I will never be able to forget, obviously its incredibly hurtful for a lot of reasons. Perhaps I will be able to forgive some day, but not now. But just sending this email is catharctic and important for me. Not doing so would seriously belittle both myself and M, and our years together.

:: I've been meaning to write about that organic. muesli I 'discovered' at the Yelp event in May, but I've never gotten around to it. But since I won an annual consumption worth of it last week on Instagram, I might as well write a few words right now.

It's a lovely, German brand called MyMuesli - which encapsulate a lot of things I love: organic, colourful, healthy, vegetarian and vegan (when the products don't contain honey or dairy products like chocolate) with a dash of humour. When you sample the mueslis in store there's always oat milk or soygurt available too.

As far as I know they only have stores in Germany, Switzerland, UK, Netherlands and Sweden (Stockholm), possibly you can order online in the rest of Europe too. You can either mix your own unique muesli (which makes for endless variations) or chose one of their regular lovelies. Because yes, lovely they are. Most of the mueslis I've tried has been great (with a couple of exceptions), but my favourites so far is the Paleo Coconut, Mango, Berry and the brand new one as seen in the happy winning picture above - StockholmMuesli. Lovely design of one of my favourite views of Stockholm and a crunchy, fruity granola-like muesli. Only available in Stockholm or the Swedish webstore obviously (like four other limited editions for Sweden).

I'm such a happy, happy winner! Obviously.

This makes my third awesome win in an Instagram competition in a year. I'm thinking I should add this special knack to my CV.

:: The trip to Freiburg is now booked! One might think booking through a travel agent would make things so much smoother, right? Well it has not. Because even if I'm pretty flexible about dates, it has been quite tricky to get a room at a conveniently located central hotel that accept vouchers. But now I have one - and since I definitely prefered that over a more expensive hotel, for various reasons, I also get to fly with a bit of luxury added - as well as the plane- and train tickets (from Frankfurt to Freiburg, looking forward to travel by train in Germany!). It's weird that it's more expensive to travel solo than in pair, so the 4 days for 2 did not extend into at least a week for 1, but 5 days and 4 nights. Which I suppose is rather perfect for a solo trip as this.

So the week before my birthday I'll head south and enjoy some lovely, lovely days exploring a green city on my own. And before I had even booked the trip I did get that new suitcase I contemplated, it's darling and in bright, apple green. Ready to be filled my many, new and fabulous memories.

:: Early March I saw this stunner of a coat from Marimekko online. All flowery in orange, yellow and white on a black background. It wasn't obvious what kind of material it was made of, but I saved the photo on my mobile and have had a crush on that coat ever since. 

When it finally turned up in the Autumn collection last month it turned out to be a padded coat devoid of animal matter, which made me want it even more. Rather pricey, but not nearly as prices as some of their other coats or clothes. I thought I might at least try it on in store to see if it was something I should continue to dream of or not. It was gorgeous. The upper sleeves were too tight for me, but the rest was just as stunning as in that initial picture.

I've thought a lot about this coat. In fact, as ridiculous as it may seem, it has become symbolic in many ways. Apart from its gorgeousness - the print is a revival from 1970 called Pieni Pioni - it's vegan (I'm not shucking out my old wool clothes or leather shoes, but at least I can make better choices from now on) and completely different both in fabric and style from anything else I have in my wardrobe. It's another kind of happy coat than the Marimekko one from 3 years ago, for another type of weather.

I decided it would be one of those new, positive memories, from a year that turned my life upside down in sad sad way, and what would be better than give it to myself as an early birthday gift? From deciding on that to it arriving at my door, less than 48 hours.

And you know what, it fits so well! Just as the above mentioned happy coat #1, even if the model is very different. And given it'll be a great autumn/winter coat for many years it's a reasonable price really. Welcome fabulous happy coat #2!

There, happiness, sorrow, frivolity and emotions - two weeks of my life turned into one blog post of highlights.

Thursday, September 08, 2016

the 11th years blogoversary

Today its apparently 11 years since I started blogging. And how my voice, and my life, has changed since that first, tentative post. How much I have grown.

Of course this year has been completely overshadowed by the death of my life partner M, and my energy levels for blogging isn't what they used to be. But when I do blog I tend to want to write a lot instead. So who cares if it's pretty irregular posting these days, after all the only constant in life, and blogging, is that it changes all the time. The posting, the reading and not least the commenting.

That said, I spent this glorious Indian summer blogoversary day visiting a lovely art and design exhibition at one of my favourite museums in Stockholm, Millesgården (blogged in 2007). The Austrian designer/architect Josef Frank's amazing, famous fabrics for posh Stockholm design store Svenskt Tenn (Swedish Pewter) was on display and it was just such a wonderful, inspiring atmosphere. 

Being able to saunter from the Frank exhibition to the delightful, permanent sculpture garden and home of Swedish sculptor Carl Milles and back was both soul soothing, inspirational and not least energising.

I have a gazillion photos in the iPhone, but only a small handfull have been edited so for now, some highlights only.

Finished the day off with a rather late organic, vegan lunch (at 4.30 pm, living dangerously) and a dito icecream (passionfruit sorbet).

And a lot of walking in between. Nothing spectacular, just really lovely in an unpretentious, colourful and soul soothing way. The perfect, little celebration of the milestone that is the 11th blogoversary, if you ask me.

Happy blogoversary, dear blog readers, 

I'm so grateful that some of you have stuck around for a long time, reading my rants, about my ups and downs, letting me pour my heart out and along the way I've hopefully given you some laughters and inspiration in return - so, why not treat yourself to some cake and celebrate a bit too!

Thursday, September 01, 2016

goodbye august, hello september

garden, sweden, august 2016 -

It has been quite the summer, both incredibly slow and very happening. It is now officially autumn in Sweden. September is upon us. Wistful and exciting at the same time.

The weather was glorious and warm today with mild breezes and glimpses of sun. A lovely start on the season of new beginnings. And I hope there'll be plenty of opportunities for breakfast in my special corner of the garden still.

August has been an overall great month, and the things that didn't go my way have at least been great lessons learnt.

On the very last day of August I had a lovely meetup with a friend that I met once upon at time at one of those networking walk and talk sessions - she has been very supportive after M's passing and also on a professional level. In general we just click a lot when it comes to how we look at work vs living, freedom vs security. We meet up about once a month or every other month and spend hours talking over coffee or lunch. Uplifting, inspirational, affirming and overall fabulous in all its simplicity.

In the evening the local women's shelter showed the movie "Suffragette" at the town hall. Great movie, infuriating, moving and inspirational. We've come a long way when it comes to gender equality but there is still a long way to go.

And needless to say it is disheartening that in this day and age, the 21st century, there are still countries, cultures, religions and men that oppress women and human rights in the worst of ways.

I haven't heard back from the interview I went to last week yet, unfortunately - and you know the feeling that the more days that pass the more uncertain you get about those great vibes... - so please, keep those fingers crossed still.

But today, on the first day of September I had a good meeting with that May client and we've decided on a casual long-term arrangement with me working as a consultant per hour when they have extra communication and web work that needs doing and I have the time. I can work from home but am welcome to sit in their office if I want/need to. Neat indeed.

Apparently they haven't gotten in touch with either of my referees yet regarding the job above, so who knows when the that feedback will come really, despite them telling me at the interview that it would be this week. Usually I wouldn't obsess so much over this, employment process can be a long-ish winding story, but since the one year temp job would start on September 12 there's not much room to play with... Plus, at this moment in time I would really love to get those work puzzle pieces in place...

Be as that may, somehow those pieces will fall perfectly in place this autumn I'm sure. One way or another. If one door closes, others open. And that's a fact not only a clichè.

I'm also quite excited that I will now be able to finally plan for the Schwarzwald trip I won last November. I've decided to travel solo, which hopefully will mean I can stay longer than those 4 days for 2 persons. And the solo-bit will certainly be an adventure all on its own. Whenever I've travelled solo up until now it has either been within Sweden or to visit friends abroad.

I've always been both curious and impressed by those people who seem to enjoy travelling solo, because despite my (social) introvert personality and loving to spend time in my own company I definitely prefer to share travel and food experiences, plus it generally feels more secure to be two when in a foreign country. But I'm also aware that I have been relying too much on M in certain parts of my life, thus I may make a bigger deal of this than it really is. This trip will simply be a fantastic opportunity for growth and inspiration. And healing. Not least have I bookmarked lots of vegan restaurants on Yelp, that they apparently have a plethora of in Freiburg. How great is that?!

I'm contemplating the perfect time for the trip, given the travel agency can book everything with my instructions, I will probably go late September or possibly late October on my birthday. Although admittedly, the notion of dining solo in Freiburg on my birthday doesn't really fill me with joy. It may be a step too far for a solo travel adventure.

Since my old suitcase is a bit too large, rather worn and torn, so I'm also looking for a great new one. A new suitcase for collecting new memories. It must be colourful (green or pink obviously), practical, sturdy and reasonably priced. After reading reviews I think I know which one it'll be, but these days it seems awfully tricky to find irl shops with the full range of colours in whatever thing you are looking for. Online shopping in all its convinience, sometimes it is preferable to be able to see, touch and try before buying. Especially something as symbolic, in this case, as a new suitcase.

Goodbye August, you were pretty awesome,
hello September, I'm quite excited to meet you!
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