Friday, December 31, 2021

cheers to a joyous, kind and progressive new 2022


My plan was to write something decent that would sum up my little world within our shared world of 2021. But as I’m honestly rather tired already at 5 pm I don’t have the energy for it before the clock strikes a new year. 

I’m having a hair pak and a superfood facial mask on. Taking a hot shower, and then going to bed early. With clean, crisp sheets of course, as a new year should be welcomed, and a good book. I’ve always had a goal of going to bed well before midnight on New Year’s Eve, but never been tired enough for it to happen. 

Alas I suspect there are still plenty of idiots (wankers) with fireworks adamant to doing their dirty deeds around midnight, so not sure I will be able to sleep right through it even if I wanted to.

My deepest wishes for the shiny new year is a peaceful, kind, prosperous, insightful, healthy, healing 2022 with more palpable solutions that nasty problems piling up. That people stop being so darn selfish and finally connecting the dots and acknowledge their own responsabilities. We are in this together and there is no escaping that. Period.

And for myself I’m of course wishing to finally click with my tribe and my purpose. As it’s about high time that I land my dream job (whatever that might turn out to be), Universe, I’m not to proud to beg, so that’s what I’m doing right here and now. Reveal yourself, m’kay?!

Change is an opportunity for growth and I’m so prepared to embrace that change. I’m just drained from worries, fixing all sorts of truly weird, and at times costly, problems appearing when you least expect it. I want/need a flow and The Zone. It’s been far too long now. I’m also so tired of climate angst and Weltschmerz. The frustration is just… And almost two years now stuck in a small world, with very little new, inspiring insights and intelligent conversations, that hasn’t really helped things. Hey, momentum, come back and play, stay, please!

Wishing all the good, kind, decent people a really happy and fine new year, with progress and change - you are very welcome, 2022! Cheers!

Thursday, December 23, 2021

may your christmas 2021 be green, kind and joyous


December has been a whirlwind of ups and downs for me. The good, the bad and pretty much everything in between. But more of that in my end of the month and welcoming the shiny new year next week, m’kay?

So this will be simly be a post of the small happy things around Christmas this year. We’ve definitely skipped the unsustainable consumerism gift giving this year (again). 

And honestly, all I want for Christmas is my new dream job. To finally find my purpose and feed my soul again. Simple (duh) as that really. It’s about high time now, Universe! WITH BOLD UPPERCASE LETTERS.

But that aside, here are a few things that have brought me sprinkles of joy recently -

1. Buying myself 5 pairs of gorgeous, longlasting, perky tights from The wonderful Snagtights (remember the awesome chubrubs from last summer?). I love how durable and comfy they are 

(compared to the classic nylons with built in obsolence, that basically rips just by touching, that noone really seem to question or challenge… Even after all these decades) 

with legs that are actually properly long without being stretched to the limit and the waist that is very high. 

To tell the truth, my very first pair (got one only to try the size and quality) got a hole in the left toe after a few uses only. Which needless to say was very disappointing. I got in touch with their customer service and I find them really kind, understanding and accomodating. And I’ll get a replacement pair. I think it may have been a case of the thread on toe seam that hadn’t been properly tied to, not a hole due to bad quality of the material.

Have saved the opening of these package bonbons until Christmas Eve (which, unlike Christmas Day, is proper Christmas…) , so there’ll be some sense of delightful parcel opening anyway. Even if I am my own Santa.

2. These vegan,  palmoilfree tea lights with cups of recycled plastic and the Nordic Swan label Svanenmärkt, is a rare treat to find. I burn a lot of candles this time of the year and these are one of the best around. 

As a vegan I stay away from animal fat (stearin) candles of course, but the fossil fuel (parrafin) based ones are obviously not a great solution either. Nor obviously palmoil derived ones. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. So candles like these, that tick all the good boxes, makes me happy.

4. Got this preloved Marimekko shirt (navy blue-white) at Tradera for an absolute steal of a price last weekend. The measures would fit well so I was looking forward to its arrival, and after some postal service (PostNord, I’m looking at you again…), it arrived this afternoon in my mail box. 

Alas it turned out not to fit ideally over my hips. But as disappointing as that was, it now will make for a perfect gift for little mum instead. 

Alongside a full sized Gudrun Sjödén bottle of perfume I got in a goodie bag some years ago, which I’ve never used since it’s not a solid scent that says ’here comes Pia!’ (Once upon a time I worked with people who identified perfumes at department stores as ’this smells like Pia’. Horrific workplace culture, bullying and bosses from hell. But also some really kind and fun colleagues.) It’s a nice, light scent though, just not very me.

With age, and a decent portion of wisdom, I find that more often than not gift-giving is much more joyous than gift-recieving. Unless it’s the new dream job of course. But for that I have worked hard to prove myself for many years…

I also find that it’s easier and more satisfying to simply buy your own gifts, as I now what I need/want, than to get them from others. Unless it’s something really personal, handmade or insightful of course.

This year Christmas the house will also be the strangely empty and quiet with two lovebugs only left. I haven’t shared my home with merely two cats since 1990, and it feels somewhat surreal. After the unexpected loss of beloved Zigne in October, the two oldest ones, Prunella almost 17, and Qlara 16,5 years old, passed away peacefully at home, surrounded by love and family, within a few days of eachother.

They travelled into this house a few months apart, and they travelled out together. There’s a comforting symmetry in that I feel. And they also had a good long, healthy, happy life, so it hasn’t been as painful to deal with as the crazy ordeal with Pelle in April and that last month with Zigne.

Left are this little blue-eyed light of mine, Ztina, who turned 10 last week, and her baby sister Ågot, who will be 10 in April. A grumpy and much loved pair.

Especially Ågot is very playful and I believe she’d love to have a kitten to play with, or/and a little cat friendly dog. They both adored Malte, so I think it would be amazing if 2022 would bring that new energy and zest into this home. Maybe there are a couple of adoptees looking for a warm, welcoming home out there? I would love to get a British Shorthair kitten, there is nothing quite like them, but I no longer believe in the breeding of animals, as long as there are more than plenty of, in this case, homeless cats and kittens out there in need of a forever home. 

Now go ahead and have yourselves the bestest, kindest, warmest and loveliest Christmas time as you can, with great cruelty-free food and drink, merry company and plenty of laughters!


Wednesday, December 01, 2021

when november says hello to december 2021


Just as quickly as October swooshed by, has November followed. And to my surprise and delight the very last week was such a great one, in different unexpected but deeply appreciated ways. And that will be all I have to say about that for now. Currently I’m simply doing the trusting the process, and the gut, and that the Universe has my back things. And some extra please, please, please with cherry on top. 

So in bidding farewell to November, I do it with gratitude and an easier, lighter mind. While the  temperatures have distinctly dropped below zero, and in my little cold house we bundle and cuddle up as best we can, but inside there is a little fluttering warm and fussy feeling in this chest of mine. I’ve missed that for so long, and given the pandemic year and all the turmoil it has caused I kind of lost sight of how it feels. Which is just sad.

I wouldn’t expect it to be a constant feeling, but it would be utterly lovely if it could be a state within easy reach and its regular visits and stays would be welcomed with open and much appreciative arms.

And now for some random things from November that made me happy.

I had the opportunity to recently visit a neighbourhood I worked in a few years back. My favourite part of the city, which used to be just quaint and picturesque (parts still are), but has in big parts become a fugly, unfriendly looking part of Stockholm with zero green areas, add a couple of monstrous skyscrapers, catering to cars and traffic, not healthy, happy people. That makes me sad. But as long as I’m not forced to live there… 

Something that did make me happy in these hoods was the pretty fact that another fantastic piece by Jaume Plensa is visiting until March 2022. Love his art! Maybe you remember when I showed the exhibition with his pieces at Djurgården a few years back? (Can’t be bothered to link to that post when I write on the phone, which I basically always do these days, so click the search a you will find more photos with his amazing art in a Stockholm setting.)

Do you remember how utterly disappointing I was when I missed out on an amazing Marimekko vintage blouse on the Swedish second hand site Tradera (like eBay, owned by eBay these days) in April/May? The experience prompted me to learn how to finally sell my own pre-loved pieces and figure out the tactics and secrets to win auctions. And I’m pleased to say that the process of buting-selling has been more fun and rewarding than disappointing since then.

Not counting essential under-garments, I have only bought two new garments, and those strawberry sneakers, in 2021. And then four second hand ones, of which one was a denim shirt that turned out to be very ill-fitting but worked very well on Little Mum so that was all good anyway. I’m proud of myself for curbing my wardrobe wants. Which seldom are needs of course.

But back to the story of the fabulous blouse. 

In October it re-appeared on Tradera, the buyer who snatched it up before my eyes in spring apparently has a wardrobe cleansing strategy every season -

which I don’t get, as I’m having a love story with the clothes I’ve carefully chosen, worn and cared for over the years. I wouldn’t dream of parting from them as long as they fit and are in good condition. I may not wear some of them every year, or even for a few years, but it’s just like thrifting and discovering new gems in your own wardrobe a few years later. Without having to pay anything for them. What can be better than that?!

My mind evolves, and my soul grows, but my style and wardrobe remains. -

and OBVIOUSLY I had to win the auction this time.

I’m well beyond pleased to say I did. And as I’m a Tradera-pro these days I even managed to snap it up for 50% less than she got it for when I lost it. Yay I!

It’s absolutely lovely, quirky, clown-ish and very me. 

I did a snoop to find out which collection/year it was from, had expected early 90ies or something like that. But turned out it was much later S/S 2013. Which coincidently was the same Marimekko collection I bought one of my favourite summer dresses from, a very colourful, striped sundress in a simple model. So now these two can have a good proper chat in the wardrobe about their life experiences when they’re both washed and dried next time.

I think this was such a serendipitous thing. And a true testimony of that old saying ”when things are meant to happen they do”. I just had to wait six months until that second hand blouse that screamed my name loudly, was all mine forever. Maybe it even was a little case of trusting the process?

When the year started I sat my reading goal on Goodreads slightly lower than last year, as I didn’t quite reach the goal of 55 (you may recall what a special meaning that number has for me…) in 2020. 

But this year I’ve surpassed it already (despite losing my reading mojo for a few weeks when Zigne passed away). And I finished this one as book number 55 a while back. ”The Thursday Murder Club” by Richard Osman. Loved it. And am very much looking forward to reading the sequel. If the rumours about the actors playing the characters in the upcoming movie adaption are true, I’m really looking forward to watching that too.

2021 has been a good reading year for me, a fair share of 5 stars this year. And 4 stars. A few 2 stars, but most of the time I can’t be bothered to waste my time reading them to the end. I did my best, but nah. Still concider them ticked of my reading goal list though. Life is just too short spending too much time reading bad books when there are so many good ones to click with.

Do you remember the bakery, Bageri Passion in Sundbyberg (a few train stops from me), that bakes the best vegan semla in Stockholm (in line with the Stockholm super semla that once was)? And their first vegan Saturday in 2019? I think they pandemic cancelled the planned one last year, but last Saturday they made an even better one - EVERYTHING in the bakery was vegan. Which is just pure luxuary and bliss.

Went there for breakfast/fika with little mum and it was needless to say fabulous. And I did bought a fair share of goodies with me home, most ended up in the freezer obviously. There’s a limit to the amount of sugar and whipped cream you can devour over a weekend. Even if it’s vegan and no sentient beings have died for the pastries.

Unfortunately mum then managed to drop some of the box and bags on the bus. Which made a total mess of some of the goodies, mainly the saffron semlas and the princess cake. They were still very tasty though. So was the chocolate mousse and passionfruit pastry and the sticky chocolate cake. The lemon tart with non-existing meringue after the drop, was way too tart though. It needed the meringue to compliment the lemon.

The bread is a saffron levain (prefer their regular levain, but it was a nice touch) plus beetroot and yellowroot rolls, lovely both. I’m going to have a few especially fine breakfasts up until Christmas in the company of those.

Today I had them with freshly made hummus. It was excellent. And a lovely way to welcome December me thinks.

Another way to welcome December in style is of course to open the tea advent calender. This year I wanted to try something new, or at least something I hadn’t had for a long time. Had my mind set on a few others, even toyed with the idea to order from lovely German TeeGschwendner again. But ended up with English Tea Shop’s all organic calendar. It’s pretty, with a decent price and it’s years since I drank any of them. Alas it turned out to be only 12 and not 24 different flavours in the calendar, which was a bit disappointing. But hopefully they’re all very good and I’ll end up being much pleased I get a second cup with every flavour.

I see a saffron bun coming up with the Day 1 tea cup this evening. Festive season and all.

Not sure I wrote about the Netflix - Apple TV debacle I had a while back? But shortish (Pia-style) story is I have never really felt the need (urge) to get Netflix, even if I know there are some great series on offer which I promptly have bookmarked on imdb over the years.

I’ve had a couple of other subscriptions for other streaming channels these past couple of years instead. And there have been a few great series I’ve enjoyed. But not as frequent and many that I’ve felt it worth paying a monthly fee for in the long run.

About a year ago they changed something technical with the television system/airing in Sweden, I think it was from analogue to digital something (not my forte obviously). Which meant you had either to buy a new TV if yours was older than 2009 (as mine is but still working well). Or buy a digital box and plug in to the existing TV, to get the usual channels. 

Little mum ended up buying a new TV, as her’s was ancient. And lo and behold I managed to get it installed and running. Something which I’m still equally baffled by and proud of. 

With her new TV came, for some odd reason, also a digital box. So as I’m not the least bit interested in being forced to buy a new TV if I want to watch the ordinary, basic channels, I’ve made do with the Apple TV and the channels available on Play. Which are only a mere few. But I find it quite liberating to watch much less TV. 

Still, I thought I should try to install that digital box mum had zero use of. Which turned out to be pretty much impossible as my TV and the router plug in where you have to also plug in the digital box are situated on the opposite sides of my living room. Only a very long extension cord across the floor would made that installation and solution possible. Ugh no. 

So when I saw a recommendation of the Danish ’Kastanjemannen’ (The Chestnut Man) akin to Danish ’Førbrydelsen’ (which is one of my favourite TV-series ever.) I thought I might give Netflix a try.

Turned out to be much easier said than done. Because for some reason neither login nor Airplay worked with Netflix, only other streaming services. So instead of enjoying ’Kastanjemannen’ on a big flatscreen I had to watch it on the iPhone (the Airplay not working information I only got after I had paid the subscription…). It’s s great series, but having to watch it on a miniscule screen took a lot of enjoyment out of it. And surely it can’t be good for the eyes?

Hence I googled possible solutions to the issue, and found that if nothing else work ’return to factory settings on the Apple TV’. Which honestly didn’t sound very appealing, so it took a while before I finally tried that. 

And, hooray, that did the trick! Finally. Unfortunately I lost the Airplay connection with another free streaming services when I solved the Netflix issue. But I can’t be bothered with that. Instead I’m totally making the most of my newbie to Netflix status. Chilling with the cats, who looovez me as their human warm water bottle in the sofa.

It’s strange how a mere four of them left are able to take up much more space in the sofa than when they were more of them…

Some series I had on my watch-list have been disappointing. But some have been brilliant. I mentioned ’Afterlife’ in my last post, but then I absolutely loved ’Midnight Mass’ - the only truly scary monsters are humans and their religions - and ’Bridgerton’ is such a delightful, colourful feast for the eyes and mind. Including one of my favourite castles, Castle Howard in Yorkshire, playing a big part. 

Also the movie ’The Story of Fire Saga’, the Eurovision Song Contest parody is absolutely hilarious. Some surprising actors, and good music plus beautiful sceneries from both Iceland and darling Edinburgh. 

Have just finished ’The Haunting of Hill House’ too. So scary, so sad, so good. (But anyone with a slight case of statue phobia would not move into such a house with all those menacing statues…). Need to watch some kind, lovely and fun shows now, because my mind can’t cope with too much horror. Neither made up nor real life. But then I’m up for watching ’The Haunting of Bly Manor’ too. Director/writer Mike Flanagan really does a great job with his series. Even if I find it somewhat… annoying perhaps  that he keeps using most of the same actors in every project. It just a bit  weird to see them jump in and out of vastly different characters.

Just before I took this photo of the Observatory in Stockholm the other morning, I was approached by two girls with cameras. They explained that they were out on assignment from their photography school, to take portraits of strangers on the streets with analogue camera. 

I could see what they were going with this… But as much as I hate having my photo taken, I also decided a few years back pre-pandemic, that the next time it happens (as it regularly does for people not dressing drab, boring, black and beige on the streets of Stockholm…) I would say yes. Because they should at least capture one colourful person with their camera that day. And it’s not as I ever have to see myself looking awkward on a big blown-up ad anywhere or in an exhibition (non-consentual).

So they took their photos. And I felt awkward, but I suppose I did a good deed while doing so. Something like this, add a pink Little My beanie an matching mittens plus my Keepcup with soylatte.

So November, you were pretty great all things concidered. Especially your last week, just when my mind and soul needed it the most. Thank you, November, I’m deeply grateful. 

Hello there, December, can you be ever so kind, cooperative and overall fabulastic and continue on the positive path of change and progress? Dare I say thank you in advance, if so here it it is, with humble  joy and gratitude.

The spectacular Taurus fullmoon eclipse on November 19, 2021, as seen from my garden. A time of major transformation. We can do this, December!

Aron Wright - Before the song is over

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