Saturday, July 31, 2021

farewell lost month of july 2021, welcome august of purposeful new beginnings


It’s with a big sigh of relief I’m saying goodbye and rip to July 2021. Apart from the second jab and being relieved I’m fully vaccinated at last (and trying to not think too much about the covid variants and other new viruses coming…), July has been pretty much all about surviving another day without proper sleep due to the global warming heatwave - yet, most people seem to still ignore, what planet are they living on?? 

And on that topic, what about ignorant, selfish idiots with too much money and not nearly enough compassion and common sense, billionaires that think the best thing to do with their money (that other people’s underpaid hard work has gained them) is to do space travels? 

The Seriously Stupid League of Men With Too Much Ego. Aka rich white men.

And every day now there are news, big and small, on nature’s revenge, atrocities caused by humans, not nearly enough kindness, compassion and common decency. It’s absolutely infuriating and heartbreaking. As if it wasn’t enough pre-pandemic - oh 2019, how little did we know! - the craziness is quite overwhelming and unbearable these days.

And yes, my first black garment in over 20 years has moved in. I think 2021 deserves it.

My original thought was that my wardrobe might need ONE black top to mix with my usual colourful skirts and cardis - when autumn and new work opportunities come, I sincerely hope and believe, can we all keep our fingers firmly crossed for that? - but somehow I think it’s a befitting dark memory in a bleak world of the month we’re just saying goodbye to.

It’s a Marimekko blouse I got second hand at Tradera. And I think it’s pretty much me in style at least, if not in colour. 

The very last thing I ordered in the month of July though, was a pair of extraordinary vegan, sustainable chunky sneakers made by Trash Planet.

Apart from planting 15 trees in Madagascar for every pair of sneakers sold they are also made of at least 50% recycled materials and waste products from the corn industry etc etc. The good stuff we need more of. Read more about the start-up’s story here:

I do love a good start-up story with visionary, compassionate and clever, creative people making things happen, with attention to details. The flexible trial-and-error mentality is fantastic and inspiring, something which big companies originally built around an unsustainable business idea can’t accomplish (unless they drastically change their business models and are willing to loose money for the greater good for us all…) - fast fashion and huge volumes can never be sustainable, no matter how much they try to greenwash things.

Now, let’s hope the shoes fit my discerning feet when they arrive. Otherwise I’ll have to return them in store after August 16 when  the trains start to work as usual again. I deeply do hope that will not be the case though. 

On the happy notes of July (even bleak times have those little glimmers of joy) are the fact that I now finally have two tiny tomatoes growing on the tomato plant I got from the thai food truck in May. The plant has grown a lot, but it obviously took a lot of time before it bore fruit. I hope this tiny pair will survive and be edible and gorgeous soon.

Next summer I will make more of an effort to grow different edible things in my garden again.

I have also finished quite a few books this hot month. The latest being another Maria Lang. As well as a biography about her, which I didn’t really like since it was rather poorly written. She wrote 43 + six books during her career between 1949 and 1990, and I have just finished the 1958 one.

Prior I re-read the ones up until 1966, but 1964 she also published a book of four short stories, 115 pages only. That one has proven to be ridiculously expensive to buy second hand (and it isn’t even signed or in top condition copies), so I ended up buying it in new print instead. For 1/4 of the second hand book price. 

Granted it is *somewhat* annoying I had to finish my full collection of her books like this. But there are better ways to spend that money than on one old book. The 42 other plus the biography consists of second hand books only of which 13 were found in my own bookshelf of course.

I’m also happy about all the good plantbased food I’ve eaten and cooked in July. One of them being the falafel burger with sweetpotato fries and salad from the above Årstiderna vegan, organic food box. When Blogger made things conciderably more technically complicated to publish photos in decent quality in blog, last year if my memory serves me right, it felt so uninspiring and timeconsuming to continue posting those organic, vegan, food inspiration blog posts. But I guess I should take the time, again…

Because, so much fantastic, green food, tips and tricks out there. Sustainably, cruelty free and fabulously tasty.

During this 1,5 years of isolation and supporting local food establishments, that has mainly consisted of the thai food truck with fab vegan options and the long walk cafe, there has also been one visit to the brand new local McDonald’s for vegan burgers (in this time of corona, anything new is concidered exciting…) and a vegan pizza last month that wasn’t very good as it was drenched in dairyfree sheese… 

Last week however, we decided to try out the pizzas at another local long walk establishment. Turned out they too had vegan sheese (I’m still amazed about this, signs that there must be other local vegans around, I just haven’t met any…). This time I asked for just a small amount of that though. Which was a hit, even the owner agreed, and all the veggies on top were fresh not tinned, the dough crisp and nice. It was such a great and tasty surprise, yay! Return visit is obvious.

In July I also got a second hand Marimekko strawberry peaked cap - even if I loath peaked caps because I think they’re generally incredibly ugly and unflattering on anyone over the age of 10, little mum disagrees and use them happily during summers. 

And as it was Marimekko I thought I might enjoy it and we could share it. But alas, so not my style. Much more little mum’s. So she got it as a gift for her recent name day and was very happy about that. 

Oh, I’m doing more than alright with my previous happy strawberry things so I’m happy with making someone else happy. Long term blog readers may recall that lovely Marimekko strawberry (or Mansikka in Finnish, jordgubbe in Swedish) shirt I got many years ago, that alas shrunk in the washing machine. I had to sell it on, and I still miss it… 

After my initial delight over the fantastic second hand finds you could make at Tradera, I’ve mostly concentrated on trying to sell stuff as I wrote about on LinkedIn - from the intitial hooray this is fun, things have slowed down conciderably alas. But sometimes it does take time to find THE right buyer, so that’s alright, even if a tad bit disappointing.

Now I’m looking forward to list autumn and winter pieces I no longer have neither use nor love for.

Amidst all the nice or neutral buyers I have now also had the less than pleasant opportunity to deal with a couple of seriously disturbed buyers with zero reason for their mad behaviours. They got their money back and were inmediately blocked. One of the facts of live; you can never truly escape the crazy, nasty, energy draining people.

I did win the bid on this pair of Marimekko apple green cow pillow covers though. Another one of my all time favourite of their prints. I got a fabric bag and a couple of kitchen towels in that design when we were in Helsinki in 2012, and I wished I had other items too. Now I can sleep in the comfort of cows in green fields!

Just when I had written that Tradera-circulary economy post on LinkedIn, my computer needed an update. Then it shut down. And I’m afraid it has finally given up. Managed to get the hard-drive saved in 2019, and the computer still working since then. This time I do believe I need to get a new one. But I still do very much hope an pray to the Universe (like atheists do) that the hard-drive and its documents can be moved. And no, I don’t have everything saved in the cloud. Or on an external hard drive. Not even all the photos anymore.

Otherwise it will be a very new, clean slate to start on. Good, scary, sad? I don’t now. I do know it’s a cost I’d very much could do without though. But it is what it is.

The summer and its awful heatwave has also been heaven for mosquitos and flies, and hell to deal with. As there is no escaping, unless you keep the garden door close at all times. Which is simple not doable. Ugh ugh and ugh again, and a very unpleasant amount of mosquito bites, because apparently I’m very tasty.

When we did the weekly long walk to the suburb centre this Tuesday, we were totally surprised with the heavy rainfall on our way home. Much much needed after this month of draught and heat of course. And given the catastrophic floodings in Europe, the smaller floodings in walking tunnels and ditches that forced us to walk in the streets were wet peanuts by comparison of course.

Nevertheless, this is my wtf just happened face when I was completely drenched from shoes to under the rain poncho after walking home. It kind of rained from all sides, not only from above. 

Since then the temperatures have drastically changed to around +17C instead of around +30C, it’s easier to breath again. But I suspect it’ll take a long time until the body and mind will adjust and work more normally again. First the 1,5 years of stress and isolation of the pandemic, then the continued isolation caused by replacement buses and its lack of social distancing, and then the heat and continued climate angst. And all that worry and Weltschmerz. It’s certainly been a rough rough 2020-2021…

Hey July, you were overall pretty awful and dispiriting to be honest, but I am deeply grateful for my fully vaxxed and vegan cinnamon buns day. And the good food, the good books, the walks, the kitty cuddles and a few decent TV-series. 

Maybe your sole purpose were merely to slow things and the brain down in preparation for a full, exciting and purposeful after August 16th of new beginnings (and public transport that works as it should) and an autumn that truly feeds my soul?

In that case, thank you from the bottom of my grateful green heart.

Much welcome, August, can we now please please PLEASE get this wonderful, sustainable party started of changing the world into a better place in a way that makes my heart sing?!

Monday, July 12, 2021

fully vaxxed with vegan cinnamon buns ✅


Finally got my second Covid-shot yesterday. 

And now I will just continue to live my life in a way that doesn’t cause new pandemics. 

It’s not as if I’ll get back to the life that used to be normal, with the vaccination. But I might be able to breath a bit easier, and go on the odd outing without having minor stress attacks. 

As people continue to be careless, selfish and ignore social distance on public transports and such, it is not something I relish at the idea of being able to do again. And at the most 5% are wearing face masks. 

The two times I’ve travelled with public transport to the city (for my shots) I wore the disposible, medical graded masks. Yesterday it was pretty horrible since my glasses steamed up , I couldn’t see, and it was actually somewhat difficult to breath. 

Next time I’ll use the pretty and well-made non-disposible fabric ones someone kind and talented gifted me a while back. With people rubbing up against you like they still do for reasons unknown these days, I’m really not comfortable at all NOT wearing a mask during those circumstances.

The vaccination does not give you 100% safety and who knows about all the variants coming or the next pandemic (because humans obviously still haven’t learned how devastating their addiction to animal meat and dairy is for us all. Why is it so difficult to connect the obvious dots and act compassionately?), so better safe than sorry after 1,5 years of struggling to adjust to totally new circumstances.

This is how the commuter train (pendeltåg) looks like when you have to use the replacement buses until August 16. For the umpteenth year. Before 9am on a Sunday morning it was calm (we were only 3 people on the bus then). It wasn’t as people free on my way home around 12.30 though. But at least I didn’t have to rub close shoulders with anyone.

First thing I did when I got into the city was buying a soy latte. Then I walked to pick up the 10 vegan cinnamon buns I had pre-ordered. And had a much needed visit to their toilet. Phew. Then a little rest before I walked a few hundred yards to the church used as vaccination center. The queue outside was longer this time, but highly effective and friendly. 

Afterwards I walked to the Asian store that sells excellent Sweden made (just outside Stockholm city) tofu and bought some packages. Then continued to the subway, got me another coffee to go (oat latte this time) and headed down to the platform. 7 stations to get to the bus station for the replacement bus. With only 1 stop before the end/train station that is mine. There I had to wait 15 minutes for my connecting bus home. Got off one stop prior to my home stop, to get a celebratory vegan thai lunch take away with little mum.

After this year of seclusion and a small, restricted world, every little thing out of the ordinary gets to be a big deal, and somewhat overwhelming. Both the good and the bad. 

It was lovely as usual. But I am so looking forward to having lunch in the city in a not too distant future now. Variety is the spice of life.

The plantbased cinnamon buns were just as amazing as I remembered them. 2 eaten, 8 in the freezer. First seasonal episode of ’Midsomer Murders’ tomorrow (which is, as you know by now, how summer in Sweden always get a kick start. Bit late this year though…), so I’ll have one with a nice rooibos cuppa then too. 

*Everyone* seem to be celebrating their completed vaccination in champagne and meeting lots of people. No champagne for me, and as much as I’d love to meetup for fika with people I miss, I do prefer my cinnamon buns, coffee to go and the prospect of a delicious homemade tofu dinner asap. I’m easy to please that way. 

Despite two large cups of coffee and copious amount of water drunk yesterday, I had the longest uninterrupted sleep I’ve had since the pandemic started, last night. Slept like a log (or Ztina) for 9,5 hours. No dreams I can remember. And no side effects but for a sore, stiff upper left arm (better than a stiff upper lip).

All that stress and worry taking its much needed toll, despite all that coffee. Impressive and surprising me thinks.

I meditated for 45ish minutes when I woke up this morning, and then I actually fell asleep for another 3 hours. 

It has been a slow, restful, and another hot summer day today. And amidst this persistent heatwave it’s not really enjoyable to lay on the sun (shade) bed until after 5pmish. But then it’s really very lovely. To lay there reading, thinking, listening to music is truly one, if not THE best, relaxing time to spend a summer day in the world according to Pia. As things are in this new pandemic world.

But oh how much I look forward to new beginnings with this important box ✅ now, a fresh, exciting start that feeds my soul and offers sustainability adventures and growth. So many new moons, fullmoons, dreams and hard work, hey Universe, isn’t it about high time the stars align for me too now? 

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