Monday, May 31, 2021

thank you, darling buds of may, and welcome pretty june


May and early June is certainly the prettiest time of the year in Sweden. And May 2021 and nature did not disappoint in that aspect. It has been a beautiful lush time.

And an emotional rollercoaster. I’m exhausted. Despite all this green beauty I’m exhausted from stress, worry and disappointment. That can be true alongside the appreciation of beauty and pretty little moments.

I’m not sure where to begin, and as usual I struggle to keep things short, but let’s try that.

I was involved in a quite exciting job process, early this month, for a position that (on paper) looked pretty perfect. First interview went great, second interview not so much. It was just awkward and the quality of the digital interview (connection) was poor. I found the questions weird and irrelevant. Or maybe I wasn’t hip enough. Who knows, didn’t get it and my motto is onwards and upwards, I can’t spend time dwelling on setbacks like that. But disappointing outcome nevertheless.

The way I lost Pelle has also haunted me all month. It was so unnecessary and heartbreaking. As sweet as the six ladies left are, he was a very important piece of my kitty family puzzle. And I’m devastated we didn’t get to say a proper goodbye. Still a dark cloud above my head.

The Covid19 vaccination roll out in Sweden suddenly went quicker than expected. And I was in the age group that could book an appointment a couple of weeks ago in Stockholm. Yay! However, as it turned out, the places where you could get the shots are few and far apart, many of us without a car need to travel by public transport. Something which we’ve been deterred from doing all year. And masks aren’t mandatory.

When I asked the health center, where I’m listed, when they expect to start vaccinate us in Phase 4 who are not in a risk group I was very rudely met and told they will never do that. Everyone needs to get vaccinated at one of the designated vaccination centers. 

Which technically isn’t true. Some health centers do offer their listed patient the vaccination. But this is the center that never got back to me on those blood tests result I took in early April... so I guess they’re overall not very professional.

First I was devastated by the prospect of not being able to get vaccinated because there were no options within walking distance, and no, not everyone have access to a car. Then I decided to brave it and try to book a spot at a center in Stockholm, just at a commuter train station. 

Easier said than done, since the slots went very quickly. But suddenly one appeared, in the middle of the night, a noon appointment on a Sunday. Which should be a time with less people around.

I’ve been incredibly stressed all week about the train ride. 1 year and 3 months ago it was just a normal *everyday* thing. Now it feels like a hotbed of bugs and virus. Have dlrpt poorly all week.

But it went fine. Mask on, trying to keep away from people, even if social distancing is not a thing for Stockholmers apparently. 

I had looked forward to seeing a glimpse of Stockholm and normalcy again. But interesting enough I felt very little once there. Bought proper sourdough bread, got the shot, had a decent soy latte. And lunch at a cafe (very few people), bought peonies, returned home.

A proper adventure in the time of Corona.

Three weeks from now, when the nurse said the vaccine will offer protection from serious Covid, I’ll take a short train ride to a favourite cafe/bakery, get som vegan pastry, fika and bread to take home. Then go inte suburban hiding for the following three weeks before the second shot.

I was also impressed by the vaccination process, calm environment, no queues, quick and professional, tea, coffee and water available when you sit down for a 15 minutes rest afterwards. We are so incredibly priveleged. And I teared up thinking of the countries still being ravaged by the virus, where neither medical care nor vaccine is easy accessible. It’s truly heartbreaking. I feel spoilt. And Western world guilt.

My left arm turned sore last night and I’ve been tired and listless all day. No ticking of the list I had planned but having a very slow day.

Last week we had a couple of days with very intensive rain. On that first day I got a delivery with one of the Tradera finds I was very excited about, a preloved green raincoat from Marimekko. It turned out to be just as amazing as I had hoped. I’m glad I didn’t let those lousy product images deter me from buying it. 

That I did my research and found how the anorak looked like new. As I was the only one bidding for it, I guess I was the only one who could be bother doing the research. I’m so happy that I finally, after years of searching for a perfect raincoat, found one that met my standards and liking. It may not be red or pink, my first choices, but it’s green (in every sense) and from my favourite brand, Marimekko. And it has four (4!) pockets.

A few hours on that heavy rain day of green anorak arrival my roof began to leak again. Now dripping from the ceiling in the living room this time. I have just lived in hope (and fear) that it wouldn’t happen again like in 2018, before I got the money to being able to pay for a full new roofing.

But apparently now is the time for another patch and repair. I got the number for a local carpenter I really hope will have the time and will to be able to help. And that he won’t cost an arm and a leg. Please keep all your internetz fingers crossed for that.

I’m having a few online meetings for small and limited (but interesting) gigs, lined up. But I’m still simultaneously searching for that dream job that makes my heart sing. Haven’t finished the Career Stories Method book yet, have been too stressed to concentrate on making the most of its resources. But I will, once I hopefully have been able to cut the anxiety levels a bit.

Little mum stumbled and feel pretty badly, over a speed bump outside my house. For no real reason at all, but suddenly she laid there with a bleeding face. People stopped to help, I wasn’t able to get her up myself, and we got her home those few metres to my front door. She looked awful, but luckily she managed to hurt nothing more seriously than her nose and getting extensive bruises in her face.

And as luck would have it she had an annual check-up at the doctor the following morning, and they sent her along to the hospital’s emergency room for a proper check-up with x-rays. She had a small broken bone in her nose, but otherwise everything looked alright. That too has been adding to the stress of lately of course.

In the little bright side, I’ve been selling quite a few pieces of clothing on Tradera in May too. Slow start but it has definitely been picking up. A rather slow way of cleansing the wardrobes, but nevertheless, a cleansing. And it’s nice to know the pieces will fill a purpose in someone else’s wardrobe and bring joy to a new wearer. 

I’m also happy to say that I am now the owner of every Maria Lang book published, but for the one and only short stories collection. Some have been real bargains, some more expensive. And then there’s always the shipping fees, when you can’t find several books at the same seller those fees add to the cost in a seriously annoying way, but there you are in the time of corona, with no access to thrift stores or second hand bookshops.

My stressed, anxious, sad and bewildered May brain have probably missed something tell-worthy from the month that was, but I think this will suffice for now. 

Perhaps June will be a month of more short posts and more photos?

Thank you, beautiful May, your emotional rollercoaster monthhas been a tear inducing eye opener and lesson learner. 

Welcome, June, can you please please just be kind, soothing and joyous, I desperately need that. Pretty please with mouth watering delicious vegan cream pastry on top? 



Saturday, May 01, 2021

welcome may, farewell april 2021

The last week’s unexpected and devastating loss of Pelle aside (not that that itself will ever be a thing to look aside or past of course), I think April was a rather good month overall.

One year and one month living with a pandemic later. In a terribly restricted small world, without new impressions and real life interaction with old and new people. And with that the feeling of a constantly shrinking, shrivelling brain due to that lack of growth and possibilities. That too aside. April was good.

Little Mum got her second Covid shot. 

Phase 4, of which I and most of us not in risk groups belong to, were suppose to get the opportunity in mid May. Definitely too good to be true I thought, and right I was, it won’t be happening until September as things look now. 

So anticipating another lost summer alas, confined to the limits of these suburbs just like last year. Walking, reading, weekly vegan thai take away, vegan fika once a week, library visits and grocery shopping, waiting ad finitum and repeat. 

The weather has been your typical capricious April weather - rather cold and windy, but quite a lot of sun. Snow occasionally, and hail, a bit of rain but yes mostly sun but crispy air. 

May/June is when nature in Sweden truly wakes up and usually show its green, lush and benevolent face. I’m looking forward to visiting the cherry blossom trees soon, that were planted here last year. Crocuses, scillas, Easter lilies have been and left, now is the time of pussyfoot, wood anemones, hepatica and cowslips.

April 2021 was also the month I discovered the satisfaction of doing great second hand bargains via Tradera (the Swedish ebay of sorts). I’m not sure I wrote about an amazing Marimekko vintage blouse I missed out on there in March? Because I was an amateur bidder and underestimated the competition. But no more. I’m a pretty fab pro bidder now, and I’ve won 90% of the bidding done. Strategy is everything.

Most things have been in great, or brand new even, condition. The only thing I wasn’t impressed by was a buy from the second hand resale site Sellpy (I have no idea why they sell via Tradera since they have their own site, but they’re doing a swell job blocking small, private sellers. The quality, of well-known brands, isn’t very good, often dirty and overpriced. So once bought from them, never again).

I’m only looking at Marimekko stuff and Maria Lang books (building my collection after re-discovering her books in my bookshelf last summer, remember?) basically. Oh, and I got a heap of old/new miniature cake tins the other day, been meaning to have a go of those recipes from Veganska bakboken. But no such tins in this house, until soon now, hooray. 

My selling on Tradera hasn’t gone so well, so far though. I firmly believe you can make a bargain without paying offensively low prices. Thus I’m not setting my starting prices super-low, for high quality clothes and shoes in outstanding condition. My username is piaktw on Tradera, go have a look if you find something. Sizes M-XL and shoes size 39-41.

I have sold several Marimekko pieces in a Facebook-group instead. Because we are all aware of the high second hand standard of the brand and its value, so it’s fairly easy to sell there and there are often queues of eager buyers. Unlike many Facebook-groups it has a good and positive ambiance overall.

I’m absolutely chuffed about my finds, they totally deserve a happy bonanza post of their own, to come.

Amongst all the fiction read I’ve also begun working with this book - The Career Stories Method by Kerri Twigg. I follow her on LinkedIn and I think she’s inspiring and have some great insights on finding your dream job. 

As things haven’t exactly gone smoothly on my quest so far - and I really don’t understand why - I’m thinking I need to look for and package myself and the value I bring in a new and improved way. I think this book is a good start. Chapter 1 was full of hallelujah moments. Loved it. Got stuck in chapter 4. It didn’t flow as easily for me, so I’m taking my time there.

As I’ve mentioned I’ve been working with an old client in April. And the current needs will be ongoing until June, as things look now. 

I’m also involved in other processes, which I keep my fingers firmly crossed for. 

And I’m thinking of taking some new courses, not sure in exactly what yet. But it’s good to find ways to stretch and expand the brain in these limiting times.

Not only Ågot, Prunella and Pelle had their birthdays in April, but little mum too. We went for coffee and cake at the cafe in the morning, then I cooked and baked a vegan raspberry pear cake, and gifted her some nice things. I do believe she enjoyed the extensive Pelle cuddle the most though. 

This is apparently what a cat in very poor condition and badly cared for look (she wrote sarcastically).

I attended the annual sustainability forum at my alma mater, Stockholm university. This year digital of course. It was pretty good, but for the sound disappearing during the afternoon sessions. Though of course nothing like the real deal amidst real life people in Aula Magna at the university. Hopefully next year.

The day after I lost Pelle, I went grocery shopping and picked up a parcel I was pretty excited about, at least prior to the Pelle-ordeal. When I got home I put the delicious leftover chili on the stove and sat down in the sun in the garden with the furries.

Lost in thoughts I forgot about the pot on the stove, so when I decided to go back in I felt a smell that made me think the neighbours had heated up the barbecue... The kitchen was full of sticky smoke. Luckily no fire, and the smoke/fire alarms didn’t go off until I had begun airing out the smoke and smell (it’s still quite distinctly around though, especially in the kitchen).

The cats didn’t care a bit, they basically just yawned and went back to sleep. Myself I had a sore throat from the coughing and sticky smoke the rest of the day. Obviously I totally ruined my only big pot and that big stirring spoon (whatever was I thinking letting a plastic spoon remain in the pot...). But I’m so grateful nothing much much worse happened. 

I have never done anything this stupid. It’s quite embarassing. I blame a rough year, mind shrivelling and not least the unexpected loss of darling Pelle, the day before.

Oh, and I just remembered I wrote about this smoky incident already, in the previous post about the loss. Well, there’s a proof of the mind shrivelling life in the time of corona, for ya’.

Thank you April, you’ve been full of lessons and growth, small miracles and tiny sparkling moments of happiness and hope. Your pink moon, the supermoon, was just amazing. I am so sorry and sad you saw fit to end your time with a devastating loss of a precious furry family member. 

Hello, beautiful May, please bring positive change, true momentum and new sparkling beginnings to treasure. You are very much welcome.

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