Sunday, October 29, 2017

leaky roof but lucky me

a question of happiness, october 2017 - me myself and i a gazillion years ago
Little Pia, many many many years ago. Much loved, summer tanned and snazzy dressed.

The birthday, which I decided to this year acknowledge in the most unassuming way turned out to be just that. As well as a day of both highs and lows.

Pouring rain (just like last year). Season inauguration of fabulous happy coat II (just like last year). When I got home late afternoon prepared to have a cosy rest of the day in the sofa with some feelgood movies and plenty of vegan snacks I was greeted with a drip drip drip from one of the rooms. A room which I have grand plans for but which is still just a storage room for shoes and lots of stuff of all sorts.

The sight that met me was a leaky roof, wet things and mouldy shoes. Yes, shoes with mould. Fine fine shoes with mould. Needless to say a horrible sight from ceiling to floor. I managed to restore and save all shoes but one pair (only a cheap pair of trainers), but a few of them were basically new and will not look the same alas.

I contacted the insurance company the next day. Turned out my insurance lacks the cover for leaky roofs. Hooray. A friend's brother recommended a roofer so I'm hoping he can have a look as soon as possible and of course that it doesn't look too terrible, will be too costly. That there's at least some quick fix emergency way to mend the leak and that given the cold time of year any possible larger jobs can wait for spring season.

This was just what I needed. Not.

When things like this happens I feel fragile, get the sensation of free falling. And then I get angry at myself for those feelings, because after coming so far in this +1,5 year of course I will fix this problem too. Lived in this house for almost 16 years and been so lucky with not having to deal with any major building issues, it was bound to happen sooner or later. And everything will be alright.

After fretting about the poor roof for a while I got a notification for the sweetest surprise post on LinkedIn - "Happy birthday, Pia, you're a true star! We're so honoured to be working with you!" from my team, the Dream Team. And the other guy added "You're amazing and a joy to work with." Can I say again that I work with the best kind of people now? Yes I can.

And it got me thinking that what is a nasty, costly, leaky roof in the big scheme of things when you're fortunate enough to be working with this kind of people? Leaky roof, but lucky me.

Fingers crossed for a problem solving, productive and overall awesome week to come. A week when it's already time to say goodbye October, hello November. 

Monday, October 23, 2017

hello teamwork, you are kind to me

oh october, 2017 -

Exactly a year ago I had just returned back home from Schwarzwald and an amazing week of growth and insight, where I marvelled, laughed, cried and ate amazing vegan food. I still haven't written a proper post or two about it, but one of these days...

The trip I wanted to take for this year's birthday won't happen. And I'm thinking it's fine to save that for when I have something real to celebrate, some accomplishment, not just the fact that I've survived another year. So I've decided I will spend the day in solitude, acknowledging how far I've come this past 1+ year and mapping out where I want to be in a year from now. Go for a long walk, think and enjoy the amazing colours October offers. Anything but being social with anyone but myself.

Then suddenly forecast says it will be raining cats and dogs (sadly not literally) on Wednesday so now I'm thinking a plethora of vegan snacks and watching feelgood movies in the sofa, covered by cats, all day would be the way to go. Just being kind to myself and anything but birthday-ish.

Because I desperately need to be kind to myself right now. Partly because as much as I love what I'm working with these days, these past few months, I'm exhausted. I've realised that it has been such intense times. A lot of new people to relate too, new working tools, new clients, adjusting to demands and expectations, and in some cases not having enough background information, meetings, pitches, talks, lunches and networking. And being an intro/ambivert those things take a lot of energy, even when it's inspiring and great. Partly because home related issues.

Too much of the good things. Throw in some bad things and hello there exhaustion. Before the weekend I got some news about an upcoming job meeting which got my gut feeling alarm bells chiming loudly. To cut a long story short I'd much rather have a gastroscopy than attend that meeting, but since I'm the only one based in Sweden in the Dream Team, I didn't feel I could say no. I mean, I've grown so much this past 1+ year so of course I could do it, I'm a professional, I'm great, I'm competent, I'm convincing, I'm unlimited. Etc. Even if I also felt, to be honest, I/we were caught up in something that wasn't our issue to deal with.

Then we had a talk today, we the Dream Team, and the guy in England said he will fly over for the meeting "because Pia needs the support." And I was simply blown away by that kind offer or rather matter of fact statement. If I cried a bit out of gratitude and relief afterwards? Of course I did. Have I mentioned that I work with really good people now?

Still have other, potentially heavy things, to deal with on my own. But just the fact that I don't have to deal with that gut feeling alarm bells meeting on my own is just such a relief. United front of competence, strengths that compliment each other and more voices of reason. Just what I wanted but didn't feel I could ask for.

And admittedly I don't like to ask for help. I'm no damsel in distress, without issues when it comes to showing weaknesses. Strong and independent, that's what I am, need to be. But I've come to realise that asking for help is also a sign of strength. That noone knows and can do everything (obviously) on their own all the time. And that our weaknesses is what make us human. And also strong.

But that sometimes strength comes in numbers. That is something I most certainly learnt through the grief recovery process. Not always easy to apply and accept in your daily life, when stress is involved and expectations are confusing though. So someone taking a very practical and sensible approach, when your gut feeling screams beware, is simply very welcomed.

And I wasn't even stressed that someone offered a kind helping hand, I won't even argue the environmental issue about flying, just being grateful that someone was able to read between the lines. I do believe my mind has evolved since I was so stressed out by a drive offer to the station four months ago.

Sometimes you just have to accept a kind offer. And it is after all what teamwork should be about, having eachother's backs. Next time it's my turn to offer help where help is needed, to read between the lines.

oh october, 2017 -

Sunday, October 15, 2017

the shining light

shoe per diem, october 2017 -

I'm afraid I've turned into one of those awful persons that is some kind of positivity beacon, in a sometimes very bleak world. But to be honest it can't be helped, because life right now feels pretty amazing. And as the recent quote "Take responsability for the energy you put out into the world", really stroke a cord in me I'm taking that quite literally.

And while I'm far from a Facebook fan (to but it very mildly, I'd rather use a four letter word here, but let's keep a civil tone) and basically use it for sharing articles about environmental issues, animal rights, feminism and equality plus cute animal videos and never anything really personal. Sharing personal stuff I mostly do face to face, texts or in emails. But guess what, as this past week has been even more of an emotional whirlwind than the one before that, not all without hurdles and stress but overall so awesome, I've posted several updates of unexpected things, conversation and random meetings that has touched me and made me go all warm and fuzzy.

Here goes - I apologize in advance because this might be quite sickly sweet to read, but I'm just amazed, happy and ever so grateful to experience this. Pure magic as far as I'm concerned. And if you who've said and done this happen to read this, thanks again. Gold. -

I've never had a great need of confirmation, a simple thank you as a sign of appreciation will usually do. Even if it's nice to get a little praise now and then. But to actually work with people that not only says thanks regularly but also, you're brilliant, such a star, magic lady, you're fantastic, you're in charge and so forth that's certainly different. And pretty darn lovely. It does make you work even harder to outperform yourself. Or just being yourself with extra oomf.

And it also is an eye opener, because I've come to realise that I've actually been professionally under stimulated for a very long time, with bursts of joy for various projects, but nothing like this. And that I've in parts settled to be happy enough and grateful for those bursts. While I in fact want it all, but haven't been able to find the right context, the right people.

But, lo and behold, I do believe I have now. And not that I want to overuse the word gratitude, but, well... It's nothing short than miraculous that we've clicked so incredibly well in such a short (and incredibly intense) time, compliment eachother so well. Working hard towards a common goal, a colourful (literally) environmental case of David vs Goliath. The raw energy in this teamwork is simply gold worth.

I'm thinking a lot about if you say or write things for the world to see and hear, what you want, and need, they will come (and it doesn't have to be a baseball court). Law of attraction. Things happen when they are meant to. Meetings too. Synchronicity is real. (But I still prefer the synonym serendipity.) And as I think I've touched upon before, most of us live too busy and stressed lives and aren't open enough to actually see how real this is.

And it's only through really devastating things we begin to see things and life for what it really is, can be, should be. And that's magic. We create our own magic, if we are open enough.

This by no means mean that life not will continue to be rough, full of bumps and heartaches, from here on now and then. That's just life. But if we know that magic, the truly good stuff and people, exist too, it's easier to cope and get through. When the going gets tough, the strong get growing.

Back to my amazing week, as I wrote in the last post I wasn't sure if a content project I accepted would be worth it financially vs time put in. I'm still not. But I'm surprised at how great it was to work with a finicky editor. My main flaw in the feedback was that I'm writing in too dry a style, not enough warmth and humour - clearly we're not talking about my blog here

But yes, I know, one of the articles was on such a dry and un-engaging topic, that little lawyer I jumped in and wrote for dear life. But overall, great and not least useful feedback. And as he said, things can be worse than writing in too dry a style, too many writers write in a sloppy, trivial way and obviously can't spell. And that's clearly so much worse than being a dry lawyer at heart.

Next up on the list of heartwarming, little things that happened during the week that was;

I was waiting for the train at the station when a stranger walked up to me (an older gentleman) and said "I just want to say that not many people measure up to you." It was so incredibly touching. I guess it was because of my always colourful outfit. But whatever reason, such a darling thing to do! Shared on Facebook, and I have to say, the concurring compliments keep coming. People  can be so sweet. Love and kindness is in the air.

Dare to compliment. It doesn't cost a thing, but a bit of courage. And it can make someone's day.

And then by the end of the week it was time for the first big meeting with client in the above mentioned passion  project. I was both looking forward to and dreading it a bit, because of hurdles regarding trust. I expected some tough talks on said issue, things that needed to change and future strategy. 

But you know what, it was a brilliant day. Powerful, inspiring, productive and fun. With some people I hadn't met before - remote work only - yet it felt like the most natural thing to finally meet. And I was told by the client that I go by the nick name 'Magic Pia' - I mean, seriously, how lovely is that?! And who knew that something I was part of 13 years ago, another tough time in my life, would cross roads with this work today...

It's a great artisan eco-paint company, truly amazing, high quality product and why story. They deserve every success and the world desperately need their products. I'm just blessed to be working with them, and not least our fantastic little marketing team of three. Fun bit is that the CEO was so inspired by the bobbaloos and Sonny Angels that most always appear when food appears before me, that he wanted them in their product pictures too. Clearly he's a man of impeccable taste. So perhaps that will be a new trend from here on.

Then on Friday evening I got a text from the sales director - who's a really fabulous woman with some unexpected features I learnt about when we drove to lunch, features that made us click even more - saying "I'm completely in love with all your pictures on Instagram! Oh you are so great, have an awesome weekend! Hugs" - you can see how it's not a mystery that I'm feeling all warm and fuzzy after this week, right? That special feeling is all around. And I'm simply incredibly grateful (sorry) happy about it all. 

I think the grief recovery process started a really serious shift in thinking for me. Opened up channels I was only vaguely aware of before that. I will not say the G-word again, but really...

Dearest October, do continue to be this amazing,
I love you something extra special for it this year.

Friday, October 13, 2017

vegan cinnamon buns

vegan cinnamon buns, october 2017 (kanelbullens dag)

Delivering on my promise to share the recipe for the fabulous vegan cinnamon buns I baked for Kanelbullens Dag (Cinnamon Bun Day).

The recipe says it'll make for 40 buns, but I only got 25 and they weren't even that big. But really good just the same.

Plantbased kanelbullar

50 g fresh yeast
5 dl oat milk
150 g dairy free butter, room temperature
0,5 tsp salt
1 dl casting sugar
2 tsp grounded cinnamon (can be omitted, but why go there?)
~ 14 dl wheat flour


0,5 - 1 dl icing sugar (found that 0,5 was perfect if you're like me, not too fond of very sweet buns)
2-3 tbsp grounded cinnamon
100 g dairy free butter

pearl sugar or almond/hazelnuts (chopped)

Melt the butter and milk in a pot to 37C. Crumble the yeast into the food processor bowl (or a big bowl if you plan on doing by hand) and pour some of the milk/butter to stir to dissolve the yeast. Add the rest of the liquid, cardamom, sugar and salt. Add almost all of the flour (you'll need some for the baking) and work it until dough is smooth and lovely.

Let the dough rise under a baking cloth in room temperature for about 30 minutes.

Then knead the dough a bit on a floured baking table. Roll the dough with a rolling pin so it is about 1 cm thick and rectangular-ish (you can also cut the dough in two pieces, might be easier to work if you don't have a big table).

Mix the ingredients for the filling and spread it over the rolled dough. Fold the dough into three layers (length wise). Then cut about 15 long shreds of dough (or 30ish if you have used up all the dough and not half). Spin and swirl the shreds (not my forte, but I kind of got how it should be done in the end) and tie them into a bun. Put them on baking sheets on baking paper.

Put the oven temperature on 225 - 250C.

Let the buns rise under a baking cloth for 30 minutes. Brush the buns with water and sprinkle pearl sugar (and/or chopped almond or hazelnuts if you prefer that).

Bake them in the middle of oven for 5-8 minutes.

Best enjoyed freshly baked. But will freeze well too.

And do let me know how your fabulous cinnamon buns turned out!

vegan cinnamon buns, october 2017 (kanelbullens dag)

Sunday, October 08, 2017

this is what i'm made of

the future professional life - book release with hammer & hanborg, sthlm music house, sweden, oct 5, 2017

The week that was, the first of October, my birthday month, has certainly been an emotional rollercoaster - not at all as the devastating one of 2016, I'm needless to say grateful for - but partly from work related stress and anger because of unrealistic expectations and demands from client. But at least I wasn't alone in feeling this. Hopefully we can clear this up, set up a decent structure and move on to (more) greatness this week.

To partly stress mixed with excitement from new project finally starting. Which also got me thinking about how much extra time one generally has to put in to learning new project tools. Project tools and procedures that some seem to think is the most natural thing in the world that *everyone* knows already. It isn't. And even if they're easy enough to learn they initially also take a lot of extra time to get the hang of. A more or less steep learning curve. I've done it before, I will do it again. But to be honest, a lot of the time the technology is really time consuming, not necessarily time saving and efficient, even if that's what we like to think it is. Smart yes, time saving, well...

I'm also thinking that when the technology and (less than well thought through) routines take so much time, that really doesn't bode well from a financial point of view. The budget and compensation level aren't realistic anymore. I'm pretty fab at working fast without losing quality, but sometimes there's only as much as you can do when it comes to that. Partly because of technology, part because of human behaviour out of your control.

And working my way through texts and technology I get this distinct feeling of much ado about nothing. I'm my own worst critic so I really really REALLY look through everything a gazillion times before I hit the submit button. Pretty sure I will still have to do some rework of these initial texts. And since it's not a passion project I'm also pretty sure I don't see it as a long term thing for me, unless I'm able to really work down the time spent on each task it's just not worth it. But still, always grateful for the opportunity to diversify my skills and work.

I also know that in the long run it's good for your development with a bit (or more) resistance. But I believe that resistance and obstacles to work with is much more rewarding if it's a passion project, wouldn't you agree? So I also see this as a good lesson in what I really should spend my time with, work with, and what I shouldn't.

This upcoming week I'll also start another little gig that makes me really happy. I'm going to be food inspirer on Instagram for the great vegan food box from the all organic company Årstiderna (The Seasons). I've found myself in the same ol' rut when it comes to cooking lately, very uninspired in general so I've ended up eating oat porridge for dinner more often than not. It's going to be such fun to be inspired AND inspire others to green, sustainable, healthy, animal friendly and not least very tasty cooking! I tried their vegan food box this past spring and it was lovely, especially one of the dishes was incredibly tasty and easy to make - beetroot quinoa. (I'll share the recipe soon.) You can find the account on Instagram at @veganskamatkassen - hopefully I'll see and inspire you there soon!

I'm constantly fascinated how seemingly vastly different things, happenings and not least people end up being connected in the strangest of ways these days. Or maybe this past year has been one great big eye opener. I've always said I believe in serendipity (or syncronicity, but that's not nearly as lovely a word) and magic and when the time is right things start to make sense. Perhaps this is the amazing time for it now. I keep trusting the process.

In 2013 I also wrote about being in a happy place, everything didn't work out as planned back then. And to be honest I don't think I was this at peace then with my life and how things are, in parts have turned out to be through things out of my control. The soul searching, the hard work, the aha moments this past year, especially these past six months have been exceptional. And the fine fine people I've met in all this, what can I say but wow, an abundance of gratitude for that.

Now, what about the pin above? Ever since I read about the amazing title in 2014, I think it was, it has been my dream job title. Not that I really would like to be employed as it, but if it could be a gig, a project, now that would be quite quite awesome. However I don't believe that true happiness and content at work necessarily come from having a sea of pom pom balls in the office, having a table tennis room, funky design or even free food. Neither do I believe it stems from open-plan offices (quite the opposite, my dear!) or forced team activities, scheduled fika breaks working from an unrealistic notion that everyone is created as an extrovert clone.

I believe that the secret (which shouldn't be a secret these days really) to a happy work environment is to actually see the difference in personalities and needs - and please do get rid of those ridiculous open-plan offices! - to create a happy and productive co-existence for introverts, ambiverts and extroverts where everyone respect the respective needs on a daily basis. We are all responsible for the work place culture, yet so many don't seem to get that. That's where I think the Chief Happiness Officer would do a great job.

the future professional life - book release with hammer & hanborg, sthlm music house, sweden, oct 5, 2017

I'm also willing to take on the role as CLO simultaneously, Chief Listening Officer. I firmly believe the world needs more of those. Too many people tend to talk too much, very few listen. And look where that has gotten us, in so much unsustainable, void of compassion trouble.

All the awesome work title pins I got at a brilliant little book release on the future of the professional life, where I also got to meet the robot Ariel and other neat people.

Must not forget to mention I baked some great vegan cinnamon buns for Cinnamon Bun Day on October 4 - that will also be a recipe I'm going to share soon. I know I'm not sharing as many recipes as I once used to, the reason is not only the lack of inspiration I mentioned above, it just somehow seems a bit trivial when there's so much other amazing stuff going on in my mind and outside right now. But the world do need more easy and tasty plantbased food so I promise I'll share some delicious recipes this week.

I had also set out to write something about the infamous Impostor syndrome in this post. Because it's crazy how no matter obvious competence you have and evidently skilled you are as well as comfortable and confident in your self esteem, the ugly notion of being a fake pops up its head now and then. If you came to my home you would not believe I'm such a perfectionist as I am in work, far from. I'm a bit Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde in that aspect. I find that both liberating and rather annoying. But still, a clean home is a sign of a wasted life, it's one of my favourite quotes for a reason.

But pops its useless head up it does sometimes, that syndrome, even more so recently when people I don't know so well yet, or people I didn't know thought so many amazing things about me, say truly great things about me, even recommend me without hesitation. So again, wow, gratitude. And I don't say this with any fake (slightly pun intended) modesty, I really feel blessed and grateful for this. And I'm getting better at ignoring that pestering syndrome, which obviously has nothing to do with a lack of self esteem. Funny how things are, and how the brain works. But of course, I should know that by now, and it doesn't have to involve the offer of a ride.

"I Got that sunshine in my pocket, got that good soul in my feet" -

bring on week two, sweet October of mine, I'm so ready for your greatness!

Sunday, October 01, 2017

what's your theme song?

October. Already. Where did September go? My birthday month is here. Which this year holds a birthday I'm far from comfortable with. But age is just a number, I know. And the older, and wiser, I get the more comfortable I am with myself, my quirks and fabulastic features. 

And if astrology is anything to go by the next +1 year will be a wild, fun and amazing ride for us Scorpios - and whether you believe in that or not I'm most certainly in a place in my life, after all the sorrow, hard work, introspection and growth I've been through this last 1,5 years, where I'm more open and receptive for amazing things to happen than ever. Bring it on, Universe!

I've never been interested in fitting in - to be honest, aren't we all born to stand out in some way or the other? - and even less so with age. Right now I'm only interested in the finding (keeping) my kind of people mission and making a positive difference for the planet. Which is more important than ever, for us all. And with that does come a very firm statement of who cares about fitting in, it's so much more important to be the best You you can be, find meaning and a purpose, to leave the planet a better place than it was when you entered it. Simple, and difficult sometimes, as that.

Which brings me to the next part of this post, the sentiment I touched on in the last you are unlimited post - "Take responsability for the energy you put out in the world".

I stumbled over this conversation between Marie Forleo and the fantastic Brené Brown - whose TED talk/s I'm sure you've already listened to - and was blown away. 

Because despite being a word-person to the bone even I sometimes have trouble putting my feelings into words. This talk however puts a lot of the way I think, feel, live into beautiful, inspiring words. It made me laugh and cry. A friend said she felt a strong affirmation of herself and her life from listening to it. And yes, I agree wholeheartedly.

It's a 36 minutes video you really should listen to, you will be a better human being for it. And then start having those meaningful conversations!

I've just ordered the book "Braving the Wilderness" too, really looking forward to delve into it and explore new dimensions.

Which brings me to the last part of this post, the theme song. You who, like me, watched and loved Ally McBeal know what I'm talking about. That special tune that lifts you, make you feel strong, capable, brave, confident and irresistable. What's your theme song that lift and urge you on?

Mine has been Proud for some years now, it just encapsulate so much of what I want to be and do. It fills me with a strong sense of all the above feelings, every time. (Also the Cape Town video is lovely.)

I dance to it a lot - albeit the dancing under the stars days are most likely over for this year alas - but my absolute favourite dance tune right now is without a doubt Can't stop this feeling (similar to Happy some years ago). It just makes it impossible to sit still, I dance until I'm breathless and like nobody's watching. But for, as always, bewildered cats.

And that sums things up for me and my life right now, things and actions to be proud of is a work in progress but I can't stop this feeling of wonder, gratitude and happiness in general. It's such a lovely lovely lovely feeling to be in.

I keep trusting the process.

PS October 1st is also World Vegetarian Day and the start of World Vegetarian Month, that's most certainly something I'm proud of having been for over 30 years. Even more proud of being 99% vegan for these last couple of years of course. Naturally aiming for 100%. DS
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