Saturday, December 24, 2016

the holiday called christmas

I hope you have a lovely holiday season and get to spend it just the way you want it and not just in a way that's expected with a lot of musts and shoulds.

Needless to say mine isn't very happy as such, but I get by with the help of cat cuddles, books (and things can't be too bad when one actually manage to read instead of brooding), marathon watching of 'Location, Location, Location' and lots of cups of tea. 

The book heap above consists of 5 read (bottom) books and 5 currently reading (top). I would grade the read ones 2-4, perhaps I'll make a review one day. And I hope to finish the last 5 before December is over.

I'm also very grateful that the snow and ice have completely melted away. Hooray.

Hopefully I'll have the inspiration to blog a bit more before this awful year is over - I am so so looking forward to a fresh new year of inspiration, great work and happy days! - and I'd really like to write that/those post/s about Schwarzwald... But for now, have a lovely Christmas!

Now where's that saffron bun that's calling my name...

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

goodbye november 2016

As a stark contrast to wonderful October my November has been an uninspiring blah month. The stressful mess of substitute buses, the crazy snowfall, chaos in traffic, icy streets that were so limiting (because even if one works from home it's obviously a must to get out for walks and a bit of socializing regularly. 

But the tension with trying to navigate forward on icy streets, well that's not an option if it can be avoided), the fact that Yelp suddenly shut down its operations all over Europe (so no more Yelp Stockholm events only the options to continue writing reviews and upload photos), the mad outcome of the US election, more sad news regarding climate change and the point of no return. Brooding and mourning. It has certainly been a month for an abundance of that. Reading, watching movies, cuddling cats, drinking a gazillion cups of tea has been my blues remedy, but no inspiration for blogging. Obviously. (And the Schwarzwald thoughts post will be left for another month.)

Though putting together the #november2016 for Instagram I realise it has also held some really great days and stuff. Only overshadowed by all the blah.

So - I will never again complain about reasonably rainy days, because they wash away any icy streets and aren't difficult to navigate only liberating.

The #VeganVikings week with Yelp Stockholm, Oslo and Copenhagen (at least it ended with a bang) - it was lovely. Even if I couldn't take part as much as I would have liked due to those darn substitute buses. But a vegan dinner, a lunch, a breakfast and a wonderful rawfood fika, that was sweet too.

During that week, on its worst possible day - because my bus/train was 1,5 hours delayed and her train 3 hours delayed... - I rekindled with a friend I hadn't seen for 7 (!) years. It was via her and her then boyfriend (who was a childhood friend of M) I met M all those years ago. She and I studied law together back then. It was lovely to meet up again, hopefully our contact will be much regular than once every 7 year from now on... 

- On a side note I learnt that her then boyfriend and M's childhood friend also suddenly passed away in November. Even if we hadn't had any contact for many years and he didn't come to M's funeral it was sad to hear of another too early passing. And how odd that both M and he doing it so unexpectedly and only a few months apart. This year has held so much deaths of good people. And with every passing I hear of my own sorrow surface again.

On an especially blah day, when even more snow fell, I decided to make a snow angel in the garden. (Things that is possible to do when you don't have a dog that has hid pooptastic secrets under the snow.) And despite my hair looking scary gray (no of course it must be snow, of course) it was so much fun. Making snow angels it's impossible to be sad.

Then on the last Sunday of the month, first of Advent, the snow unfortunately began to fall again - hello nasty, icy streets - I went to a group seance with my mum. Simply because I'm open and curious. There are so much in this world we don't know about, things we can't explain. I'm all for having a healthy sceptical attitude, there are many charlatans out there, but I also believe it's important to have an open mind. 

You are completely anonymous and whatever message you get there is no possibility whatsoever the medium could have researched you beforehand. I'm deeply grateful I went. I got a personal message, even if it wasn't a greeting from a special person but more general it was so very accurate with details I've never told anyone. I should have taken notes perhaps, but I remember the most important things. And the one thing that made me tear up once I was out on the snowy streets of Stockholm again was the detail that there's a little bright, happy dog that accompanies me. That's such an endearing, comforting notion. Little Loaf with his liquorice nose.

It was an emotional Sunday, but a very good one and it gave me more reason to really trust that everything will be alright, it really will. I will continue to work on my focus, my goals, but it is also high time for this worrying kind to enjoy herself more.

The last Sunday of November also held the purchase of a gorgeous dress. My intention was only to have a wee look at it in the Marimekko store - it's the same fantastic Pieni Pioni pattern as my coat, only in red, grey and white for a perfect winter dress - but when I tried it on it was simply to perfect to not get. Wonderful heavy viscose crepe fabric, brilliant cut. And pockets. As the coat was a symbolic birthday gift for myself, this dress is the same for Christmas. Bring on the good times.

The month was rounded off with a rare movie visit - 'Fantastic beasts and where to find them'. Loved it. A perfect simple way to end a month of much blah on a light note.

Goodbye November, you were a rough month but in hindsight a good teacher.
Hello December, please be bright, kind and awesome.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

world kindness day 2016

'In a world where you can be anything be kind.'

Given the state of the world never has this quote been more apt. Sadly. 

On this World Kindness Day let's spread some love, kindness and compassion. I'm sure you're not short if ideas yourself but I think this article has some neat ones

and never forget to give compliments

Let every day be Kindness Day! 💗💚💗

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

first snow 2016

Today I was going to blog about

a) the first snow that fell in Sweden/Stockholm a few days ago. And upload a sweet video of the overratedness of snow according to cats. 

But 1) the Blogger app oddly enough doesn't allow the uploading of videos from smartphones. 

And 2) today we experienced a crazy snow blizzard and traffic chaos followed (because as usual everyone but the traffic guys, whomever they are, know winters here still - despite global warming - mean snowfall) and the notion of hibernation seems awfully appealing.

The b) topic today was going to be about how love and intelligence trumps hate. And that despite all her flaws (and obviously not being the best option in an ideal world) how rather brilliant it is to wake up to a winter wonderland where there's finally a female president on the other side of the pond.

That didn't happen. And I am not surprised alas. Shocked and deeply saddened yes, surprised not really. A brutal wake-up call for us all. For the environment, for equality, for reason.

Ah, Weltschmerz.

So instead of those sweet topics I simply give you the army of kindness, compassion and cuteness in snow - because that truly trumps everything.

Keep on fighting the good, kind fight!


Monday, October 31, 2016

goodbye october 2016

Goodbye October, you have been overall gorgeous and awesome in many many ways. I'm ever so grateful for that after a very tough seven months, that you have given me much more highs than lows. My deepest wish is of course that will continue for the months, the years to come.

The hashtag #october2016 on Instagram is limited to nine photos only, which in no way is enough to show every highlight from my month that was, but at least it gives an idea.

So what has been my highlights of October? Here goes -

:: The new glasses from the Smarteyes Non-violence collection (have not had the opportunity to wear the new sunglasses becasue honestly we've only had about 8 hours of sun during October...).

:: The writer's talk at the local library with one of my favourite writers, Arne Dahl (Jan Arnald). He seems like such a very likeable guy. And I got to tell him how fantastic I think his language is. And he signed some of my books. (I only chose to take three of them with me, all 15 would have been a bit too much...)

:: The charity picking up yet more big, black plastic bags hence me cleansing more of my home and life of stuff. Oh the relief.

:: That I was able to invoice a reasonable amount of money. To be able to do that regularly would be heavenly.

:: A great evening about the health of our planet hosted by the Consumer Association Stockholm (Konsumentföreningen Stockholm) with speakers such as Tristram Stuart and Mattias Klum. The talks and their subject on sustainability made me both angry and hopeful. 

But to be really honest, I do believe everything we do now is too little too late to save our planet. Most humans want a change, but they don't want to make changes in their own lifestyle. And the politicians we have are just spineless cowards and opportunists without visions and power of action. The best we can do now is to be as good and kind as we can and enjoy life as much as possible while the planet still exists.

:: My Schwarzwald trip. A growth experience on so many levels. So so much to show and tell. And I will. In a post of its own, one day in November.

:: Birthday. The perfect day for inaugurating the Marimekko flowery happy coat. And I loved the Tove Jansson/Moomin exhibition at MillesgÄrden. Followed by a lovely late vegan breakfast/lunch/dinner at HÀlsocafét (The Health Cafe). And I bought a couple of raw food pastries that I enjoyed lots the day after.

:: The Yelp elite event making vegan freakshakes with Djurens RĂ€tt (Animal's Rights, the oldest animal rights association in Sweden which does a great job for animals. I've been a member since I was 7 years old.)

The event was a kick-off for the #VeganViking campaign in Stockholm, Oslo and Copenhagen that starts tomorrow on World Vegan Day and lasts for the first week of World Vegan Month. Use your Yelp-app to check in to different restaurants, cafe and shops in these cities to get great offers during November 1-6.

Alas this week will coincide with the same replacement buses for commuter trains calamity as this past summer so I won't be able to take part of as many things as I'd like. But I will go for one dinner, one fika and host a breakfast at least. Edit: I did have a lunch too and it was lovely.

:: Finishing the month off with a sweet afternoon tea with my mother and Stadsmissionen (The City Mission) - not vegan alas but at least all vegetarian. And very good value for money (sadly the only place that do offer that in Stockholm these days. Every other afternoon tea here is posh and expensive nowadays, such a pity.)

:: The cats. Always the cats. They brighten up every month, come rain or shine.

So thank you so much, October, for all your highlights and good people, good things, good food. 

Hello November, please be kind and brilliant.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

happy birthday to me 2016

Another year has passed. And it has indeed been a milestone one. Which, to be honest, few years are. But this one has certainly been a wake-up call on loud.

The sudden, heartbreaking passing of M. Sorrow, pain and on top of that financial, practical worries galore. Life turned upside down and a lot of insights on people's behaviour (both good and bad), that I'm actually capable of a lot of problem solving on my own. But also the realisation that melancholy has forever moved into my heart.

A long long summer of many thoughts. And now autumn, October, another birthday even. 

Last week's trip was brilliant, I've seen, done and eaten so much lovely things! Not least realised that travelling on your own can be a pretty neat thing. Of course the trip will get a post or more of its own (you who follow me on Instagram already know the highlights). But for now, apart from all the loveliness, I loath Deutsche Bahn and its, to say the least, inefficiency and I'm also very happy to be home with the darling furries.

Today is a glum day in Stockholm, no gorgeous birthday weather. But really, a perfect day to inaugurate my fabulous, flowery coat and visiting the new Tove Jansson (the multi-talented artist behind Moomin) exhibition at MillesgÄrden followed by a cosy fika with pastry. Looking forward to that!

And my wish, hope and plan for my new year is that it will be filled with love, kindness and many new, great clients for Prosit.

So, happiest of birthdays to me!

Sunday, October 09, 2016

hello october

It seems like 2-ish weeks is my new every-day-blogging. Not for a lack of things to write about, but rather no real energy to do it. But after a busy few weeks of working and socializing (each exhausting in their own ways, for an introvert) I feel it's about time to make a little recap of my October so far.

:: As glorious and warm as September was, just as dreary and chilly has October been. In fact it pretty much happened over night. I've been so used to being able to take the short walk to our waste bins in the evenings in shorts and clogs that I was absolutely shocked at how freezing it suddenly was on October 1st.

The trees are slowly turning red and the leafs are falling, but not as drastically as that chilly air came.

Not having the heat pump turned on since April I realised it suddenly became a must, when October arrived. Unfortunately it seems like it's singing on its last tune (13 years old) so I can only hope with fingers and toes crossed that it'll last at least this winter season too. Of course I have radiators, but using those would mean I'd bump up my electric bills with 50%. No really a good option obviously.

:: Last week I got an obligatory visit from the municipal water gauge man, they change our water meters every 10th year. As my water meter is located inside my small walk-in closet situated in my pink office I needed to tidy that up. A lot. Because as much as I loved doing up my office back in 2011 I've still used that closet as an out of sight out of mind area of stuff. Mainly fabrics and clothes I'm about to give to charity but still haven't sorted through. 

And when I opened the closet door and fully realised just how. much. stuff. I had there I had a *minor* panic attack. Desperately needed to get rid of it NOW. Today I've packed 9 big, black, plastic bags with textile and two paper bags with clothes. Tomorrow the charity will come and pick them up. Such a relief. It might not be as liberating as the feeling after they picked up the stuff in May, but close enough. I have a couple of rooms that, yes really rooms plural, need a good cleansing too. (Not to mention the garden shed, but I'll save that for spring.) So I'm thinking it would certainly be a good project for a chilly, autumnal week to sort that out and then finally paint one of those rooms that I've been meaning to do for so long now. Liberating for the soul too, to get rid of old stuff that basically just weighs me down and organise the things I still love and need. 

I'm not a hoarder, but apparently you can still accumulate a lot of stuff over the years that you neither need nor want anymore. But you still don't get around to sorting that out. So I'm deeply grateful for the really brilliant option of just calling your charity of choice and arrange for them to pick things up. (Even more so for us with no car obviously.)

:: It is now two weeks since I sent that email to M's brother and sister-in-law. It was cathartic to finally do so. I didn't need or expect a reply, this was just my way of telling them how upsetting and hurtful their behaviour has been, in order for me being able to move on with my (new) life properly. But still, I believe it's nothing less than crazy that people don't want to reply and explain themselves when they recieve such an email. Unless of course I was spot on in the way I've felt and thought.

So the only thing for me now is to completely put aside that part of my life. Not forgetting M and what we had together obviously, but I will no longer in any way have any contact with his relatives. As far as I'm concerned they don't exist for me anymore. It's sad that they decided to behave in this inconcievable, spiteful way, but I can't allow myself to continue feeling so much hurt over it. It's not something I can forgive, but I can accept how it is in order to move on. For my own wellbeing's sake.

:: Next week I'll be heading to Freiburg. Finally. I'll also pop up to Heidelberg to be guided around the pretty city by a sweet blog reader (*waves*). I do have travel fever. As well as being really excited about a change of scenery and new experiences. And I obsess over the planning, packing and details, because I want it to be just. right. I'm sure it will be, but I also feel that if I get all this planning beforehand just how I want it I'll be able to relax and enjoy the experience more once I get there. 

Hopefully I'll get to visit some interesting sustainability projects, walk a lot, ride tram a lot, enjoy fika and vegan food galore. I remember the Schwarzwald area to be really beautiful and lush with pretty architecture. It'll be a lovely getaway and growth experience!

:: Just in time for the trip two new bobbaloos reached the Scandinavian settlement - meet Fleur (she's a coneflower bob) and Li'l Nutter (he's an acorn bob, inspired by one of my favourite childhood stories 'Ocke, Nutta och Pillerill' by Elsa Beskow and of course my love for acorns). He'll definitely be one of the bobs who accompany me to Freiburg, but Fleur is of a more delicate nature thus she'll stay at home.

Since they arrived on Cinnamon Bun Day (the brilliant Swedish celebration of this bun Kanelbullens dag) they if course were treated to a bun or two. 

:: As my iPhone - the replacement for the one that was stolen 3 years ago - has been acting up more and more I knew I would soon have to replace it. It only has/had 16GB memory too and with all my photos that's such an inconvenience. I'm not the least bit interested in getting the latest iPhone 7 nor the 6-model, because I think larger smartphones look daft and are less convenient size-wise. So I was happy when I noticed that there is indeed the SE-model which has the same optics and most features as the 6. I got my new one a couple of weeks ago, and while I'm not super-impressed with the camera - it's just too little difference from the 5-model, the real noticable difference was between 3 and 4 - it certainly runs a lot smoother so I'm very happy with it.

I don't use my DSLR nearly as much as I used to, but I'll still take it with me on the trip since I think a trip to a *new* (at least it was well before digital cameras was around when I last visited) destination is a perfect way to rekindle with it.

:: It's 5,5 years ago since I last got a pair of sunglasses for my very near-sighted eyes and while I can still wear them their glass isn't strong enough anymore and I do get headaches because of that. So I decided to get a new pair the other week. It would be nice if they're ready before my trip since it would be great to not have to deal with those headaches when the sun is shining. And since you always can get a second pair of glasses for half the price (all frames cost the same) I decided to get another regular pair too. Not that I really really needed them, but before the Non Violence-collection was discontinued I would have loved to get a pair of them, so I did. They're really cool and quite different from any other glasses I've ever had. Hopefully they'll look as good with the glasses inserted as near-sighted me thought when I tried the frames on...

:: And on the job-front? Well, I've been doing a reasonable amount of work for two old clients, sent the invoices last week and now I'll basically have a week of preparing for my trip. Enjoy the trip. Get back home, have a quiet birthday and then concentrate on future clients, jobs and collaborations. Now that I have my beautiful, flowery happy coat as a birthday gift to myself the only thing I can think of that I really would love to get for my birthday is great new clients, assignments and lovely (part time) job offers.

:: Oh, and I won a couple of tickets for the movie 'Miss Peregrine's home for peculiar children' both me and my mum loved the books so I'm treating her to the movie this week. Yes, I've really been so very fortunate in winning great things this past year (generous gift card in my favourite clothing store, the Schwarzwald trip, glasses, the annual consumption of mymuesli and now this). 

When life is rough in other aspects, and sometimes you're just not able to think 'happy thoughts to beat the blues', then it's nice to get little cheerful reminders like this that life isn't all about sadness and melancholy.

So far October, you've been pretty good. Please continue to be kind, uplifting and generous. Thanks so much in advance.

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, MillesgĂ„rden (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 clichĂš.

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!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

my perfect contemplation corner

Remember when I painted this Adirondack chair years ago? Since it's actually pretty comfy it has been residing indoors since. But when I changed things around a bit this spring - due to unexpected life events... - I put it out in the garden near the fragrant mock orange, which has since obviously been overgrown by the amazing clematis. Didn't realize it would become one of my favourite spots in the garden this summer, but it certainly has been!

Weather and time allowed it is the perfect place to enjoy breakfast, fika and contemplation. It's my thinking and life enjoying chair. Sitting there on a warm summer day, in the shade, mild breezes and the cats flocking around me for cuddles I know I'm so blessed and grateful for all the wonderful things I have in my life, have had, will have.

My clematis is bigger than yours! And the picture does not do it justice.

Hopefully there will be quite a few more moments of this and breakfasts al fresco still this season. But one thing's for sure, I will miss my perfect contemplating, gratitude corner lots when weather turns autumn.

How many cats can you spot here?

Do you have a perfect contemplation spot too?
Tell me all about it!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

what a work of a day

Today I had the second job interview booked a month ago - I'm glad to say that it was nothing at all like the blooper of last week. All good vibes and overall a very nice chat with a couple of really nice women basically. And no less professional just because it was nice and friendly.

I'll get an answer next week. What can be a negative for me is that even if the advert said half-time post there's also a possibility to work full-time until the end of the year, and I simply can't do that at one single workplace 9-5, 5 days per week. My mind. body and soul need a mix of people and solitude, places and assignments to be happy and productive. Of course I can slide a bit on the 50% - 100% scale but not a lot (if I'm not able to work from home regularly).

It took me a long burn-out syndrome sick-leave to really grasp that. There's no turning back from that fact, not even my need for financial stability, since I know I wouldn't be true to myself then. And that's so important in all aspects of life. So hopefully they aren't in desperate need for a full-time person on the advertised half-time post. Because it was that that called my name so beautifully. And it seems like quite a golden opportunity to use both my background as a lawyer and my current copywriter/social media nerd occupation. Fingers firmly crossed.

- It was also a bit of an everyday adventure to take the commuter train to the very end station (two stations from my stop) of the northern commuter train line. I rarely go there by train since it's one station passed the county border and the already rather expensive travel card price is actually the double. Of course you can pay with a single ticket and add that to your regular monthly travel card, but that's not viable doing twice every day if you work there. So if you commute over the county border regularly you actually have to pay a ridiculous sum of money for your travel card. And it's the same thing if you travel to the furthest southern station. Which is basically crazy since it's a commuter train that serves the Stockholm area, it's part of the Stockholm public transportation system and not everyone can live in the city or the nearby suburbs. End of general rant. -

I then got a call from the place I worked at full-time in May, asking if I could possibly do some extra work for them more or less regularly - since the two communicators I worked with then had given their notice and there's now only one left. I'd be very happy to. I know the organisation, I know their work and website (which I helped to migrate back then). And I'll be able to work from home with the odd office meeting here and there, since they already know I'm reliable. Best. Thing. Ever.

The slightly funny thing though is that I suspect the communication manager did a bit of sleuthing, especially after I had the perfect opportunity to ask if she would be one of my referees for the part-time job, being very curious about if I was only interested in part-time and not full-time by any chance. But no, again, I really need to carve out a work-life balance that makes me happy and fulfilled.

Then spent a portion of the day chasing after the purchase order for my latest social media management gig in order to be able to invoice - I'm very grateful that hasn't been a big thing, not getting paid in time by clients. So far. Fingers crossed. Which I understand is quite a bit of a hassle for many freelancers. - I then got it this evening so now it's up to me to fill in that invoicing correctly. I wish I could simply send my own usual invoice, but I guess some agencies have a lot of freelancers and different departments that need to interpret those, so okey then.

- Seriously though, all these on- and offline documents and forms that need to be filled in all the time, jeez. I wonder how much time we spend doing that in general.

I've also applied for another couple of good long-term gigs a few hours per week. I hope both of them get in touch of course, but I can settle for one if I must. Oh it would be just wonderful to be able to set up a schedule for 6 months - a year with a different blend of regular gigs and work. Which at the same time leaves room for other projects and interesting collabs. Dream scenario.

So at the moment there's a whole lot of finger crossing going on. You are so very welcome to join me.

PS. The sweet horse sculpture in the picture? It's a piece of wood art in the reception area at the place I had my interview today called called 'Resting horses'. I enjoyed it a lot. DS.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

five months later

After the first month I haven't really thought about the date 23 as such, but yesterday evening it hit me. And when I woke up this morning even more. Five months. Really.

It's still a long, winding road to go. But some days are really good, great even, others not so much. I'm very much looking forward to the days of sadness, melancholy, anger and worry are trumped by the ones without.

But it was a very warm and generous day with blue skies today. And this late summer evening brought a starry night. Which I think is rather amazing given that even if I live in a rural suburb it has a lot of street lights and spots that often spoil those beautiful starry evenings. 

I also had a very good meeting today, which went much better than the blooper of the other day. Which hopefully will lead to a great experience on a non-profit-making-the-world-a-better-place level. A chance to inspire change and learn lots about sustainability. Another piece in the jigsaw puzzle that I want my life to be.

So even if it was a rather emotional day it was also a day of possibilities and new beginnings. A day of tears but also a day of sunshine and blue skies.

Death. And life.

Monday, August 22, 2016

trust the gut

wenngarn castle and dammstugan vedugn, august 2016 -

You know the feeling when you fit bang on perfect for a postion on paper, when the first interview goes really really well and you get all psyched up looking forward to the next one? And it goes all terribly wrong, because you really really don't speak the same language? In fact it may be doubtful you even live on the same planet. 

Yup. That just happened to me.

Remember the interview for (what seemed like a great job) I had booked for the week before last? It went very well, the recruitment company was really nice and the meeting was lovely. Last week it was time for the meeting at the actual startup company, which I obviously looked forward to lots.

But it turned out to be a very awkward meeting. In fact one of the weirdest ones I've ever been to. To put all those impressions into short: we really really didn't speak the same language. At all. And with blasé stonefaces they looked at me like I as was a UFO. My immediate gut feeling said NO, to be honest I actually felt like standing up and say 'hey guys, this doesn't feel right, thanks but I'm gonna leave now'. And that's certainly a rare feeling for me. Had a great feedback talk with the recrutitment company today and I was glad to hear that the feeling was mutual. Trust the gut. So I'm grateful I never had to deal with an offer given my gut feeling.

The recrutiment company were also surprised at how very differently they resp the company's CEO had perceived me - happy and inspirational vs shy and bad at selling myself. The shy thing I have no idea about, the bad at selling myself, well that could definitely have been the above mentioned feeling of simply cutting the meeting short and say 'bye'. And to be quite frank, mr CEO and the other guy at the meeting (whose role I still haven't really figured out), you were certainly not good at selling your company with passion and enthusiasm either. Good luck to the one that fits and gets the job, I'm really curious whom that would be.

All and all, a great position (marketing and community manager) I'd absolutely jump with joy at in a startup company showing the right chemistry, where people actually seem happy and truly engaged in what they're doing and where we click - but this was not it for me, or them, alas.

I'm also baffled that many companies don't realise that an interview situation isn't only a case of them scrutinizing a presumptive new employee, but most certainly they will have to impress that person too. It's a two-way interview not a one-way. And if you as a company fail at that from the start, its very likely you'll not get to see the best from the interviewee.

Now I'm very glad that I have a new contact at a great recruitment company, which seem to care a lot about both the candidate and the presumptive new employer. I'm also very grateful to the person who recommended me for the job. It's been a very interesting 2 weeks journey, of course I had hoped for much more given how awesome the month of August begun and how high hopes I had, but still a neat experience. For the gut and me.

So now I'm recharging for the first booked interview on Thursday instead. Where we'll hopefully click in a much better way. It certainly isn't as cool a job, where I would be able to put my own stamp on the role as much, in what could have been an exciting startup environment, but it does have other fine advantages. I will trust my gut.

Monday, August 15, 2016

stockholm august cavalcade

Making the most of the first week of commuter trains back on track (pun intended) for me meant three Stockholm outings (a mix of business and pleasure), another outing and then I was, as an introvert, peopled out. But also very happy of the things I experienced, big and small, the people I met, the things I ate, during the week.

I have to say that after two laboursome, stressful months of substitute buses it was simply luxurious to be able to ride the train again. Funny how something reasonable (like the public transport working) one take for granted suddenly is a luxuary. And very very much appreciated.

Though after the first week of August the weather has alas been very fickle, with some quite chilly days for summer. Which makes me sad. August was always such a lovely, but wistful, late summer month of mild, beautiful evenings. These past few years it hasn't been sadly. Hello global warming in Scandinavia.

But even if it's been a few chilly days it's still very much summer, you just have to put a cardigan on. So what's up with all these weird people actually wearing high boots, quilted jackets and mittens (yes really!)? The very same people that complain about the cold, long Swedish winters obviously don't grasp the idea of enjoying the summer fully. Mindboggling. And just because your summer holidays are over doesn't mean you have to start wearing autumnal clothes. Embrace the natural vitamin D, folks.

That said, here are some highlights of the the city that's my home from the week that was - enjoy ~

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