Saturday, December 31, 2022

farewell 2022, welcome 2023!


Something old, something new, something second hand, something blue.

Leaving a (particularly rough) year behind and welcoming a new one with an open heart and mind, for joyous possibilities and sprinkles of magic, obviously calls for one of my favourite things - new crisp, clean sheets!

Today I got the best of help tackling that very impawtant task. At least according to Ztina aka the queen of fxxxing everything and the best snoopervisor ever (also according to her).

Chosing a matching pillow cover for the second pillow I’m surprised how much I enjoy the combination of charcoal-off white Unikko flowers in combination with the lovely Marimekko landscape motif most. New year, new beginnings… 

And the insight that subdued colours colours sometimes make the best companions.

And my official longstanding no-cats-in-the-bedroom-rule is a bit so-so these days. 

I am so very grateful that this awful, gruesome, draining year of 2022 is finally over. There have been #littlepocketsofjoy too but all and all it has personally been my most taxing year ever. With a whole bunch of lessons learnt. Though lessons I would much rather have never learnt. But I do hope they have made me wiser and more insightful.

And on a larger scale, the situation in the world is just horrific of course. So much evil and ignorance. Things  m u s t  improve now. And people need to stop being so mindbogglingly selfish, please grow up, understand that #everythingisconnected take responsability for your choices and adjust to what the planet needs us to do. 

Be compassionate, love more, much more. 

And make room for magic.❤️

I am so ready to welcome 2023 and its new beginnings, positive, purposeful change and joyous possibilities. 

Please be kind, 2023 - 

happy new year, planet citizens!!!

Saturday, December 24, 2022

merry everything and happy always 2022 ~


I hope your holidays are lovely, kind and plantbased. 

Wishing you a merry everything and a happy always (or rather as often so you still appreciate and cherish those happy times without complacency or taking it for granted).

I made this lovely vegan dessert - frozen dairyfree cheesecake with silken tofu, orange, ginger snaps and dark chocolate. I know I’ve said it a gazillion times, will share later, but this I definitely will. Promise.

This little blue-eyed light of mine turned 11 years old a couple of weeks ago, I miss her sister so much, the Prosit sister duo is no more, but I’m so grateful I still have Ztina in my life. ❤️

And little sister Ågot of course. 💙

Let there be light, be the light and share it. Happy Christmas or whatever way you chose to celebrate the winter holidays!

Thursday, December 01, 2022

thank you november, welcome december 2022

December first 2022. 

I can’t believe how quickly November swirled by. It has been a month of ups and downs, and everything in between. I’ve heard that’s called life. I think I’ll wrap the World Vegan Month (aka November) up with random photos, just like October, because my mind is still tired, messy, weary, grateful as well as anxious and eager so there’s not really room for structure currently. 

Here we go:

I’ve been to the city a few times. It’s been for decent reasons every time. But it is exhausting, the people, the expectations, the traffic, the hustle and bustle. People acting like everything is ’normal’ business as usual. And the post-covid (yes I know there’s no post about it but I mean the pre-vaccination pandemic panic) general bitchiness in the air.

And I have to admit, I don’t miss my city as much as I like to believe I do. The old haunts are neither familiar nor alluring anymore. It just feels stressful and like your suppose to put up a facade and play normal. While the world is crumbling down. And you’re deeply deeply ashamed of the new Swedish government. 

I’m lost for words how embarrassingly incompetent, uneducated, un-insightful and disgusting they are. And they’ve been voted in by half our population. That the rest of us who still have braincells left and actually care have to accomodate and accept that there are THIS much stupidity and ignorance around us is just… beyond crazy. It would be laughable if it wasn’t so scary. And infuriating.

There have been a fair amount of dairyfree hot chocolate consumed in this residence this cold, weather capricious month. Sometimes with whipped cream (Oatly’s whipping cream is THE best!) and cinnamon on top. It would be lovely to find those vegan mallows I discovered during the pandemic, but no such luck.

Since some time I’m also a proud member of Team Tofu. As in Swedish tofu-producer Yipin’s team of enthusiastic tofu lovers on Instagram. You can find us with hashtag #TeamTofu - it’s alas not a paid gig, but there is some tofu bribery involved now and then.

A few weeks ago I popped by a little meet-up with some of the other team members, we sampled the two latest tofu flavours: seaweed-dill and soysauce-ginger. It was nice. And there will be a plantbased Christmas party in a couple of weeks, I’m hoping to attend.

Yes, we have had snow. During a couple of days Nov 17-18 there was a crazy falling of snow flakes that left Stockholm in a chaos. I’m grateful I wasn’t forced to venture out because a lot of bus routes were cancelled and the trains didn’t work well at all. And this is Sweden, we’re the epitomy of snow covered winter months. 

Just because climate change and its emergency is upon us, and the weather and winters don’t behave the more predictable same anymore, that does not mean the basic societal structured shouldn’t be prepared for weather like this. The forecast did say heavy snow. But apparently it came as a surprise to the people in charge of snow/ice clearing yet again. *Rolling eyes*

Before it snowed it was a rather pleasing looking late autumn month. And there were plenty of use for my birthday gift, the Unikko raincoat (se previous post).

Yes, little mum’s apartment is up for sale now. Just a few months ago - when we were still in the middle of the chaos and witch hunt that robbed me of my cats for 6 long months, and there were no mental or practical room to seriously commit to working on the moving and selling… - the sale would have been easy peasy, and for a conciderably better price than now. 

And two years ago that price would have been the double. And noone would have guessed the household electrical prizes would go craycray. And but a few initiated, would have had an inkling there would be another mad war going on in the world with Russia invading Ukraine. 

In times when all hands on deck should focus on the climate emergency, the greediness of a few grubby humans force us to look at and handle other matters. The crazy crazy times we are living in.

So at this moment it’s just a waiting game for the right buyers to turn up and the stars align. One day at a time. And keeping the indoor temperature low, as to not mess with the energy crisis barons.

The sight of these two home again is such a sight for sore eyes and a weary mind though. Something to be grateful for every day, all the time. No matter how low the temperatures go and energy saving efforts take their toll.

The house is still a mess. Even though most moving boxes are emptied, and most bags too, there are still a lack of storage (a few furniture left in the apartment still) and not least stuff to pack, furniture too, and give to charity. Which isn’t nearly as easy to do as it used to be. The charities don’t pick up things unless you live in a very limited area, so you must have access to a car to do it yourself. Most of them also practise a pick-and-chose attitude, they don’t accept all furnitures anymore.

Partly that is probably caused by the fact that people give away rubbish stuff (and not least buy said rubbish stuff of poor quality) to charities, and let them sort that out. (And most likely pat themselves on the back for being such charitable, giving people while doing it.) So the rest of us who have decent things to give away, and the chsrities, are snuffed of the opportunity to do a good deed. 

All the good things that end up in landfills instead. So unnecessary. Heartbreaking.

Ztina has, as usual, been a self-appointed snoopervisor and helping with all paws in this moving mess.

And I have whipped together some decent meals. Here some meaty non-meat sandwiches for dinner. On sourdough. With tofu and grilled veggies etc.

On a day this week, when I basically felt grey from head to toe, and so angry over someone’s reckless and infuriating, selfish behaviour, at least I got my hands on a freshly baked sourdough loaf. Really good bread and the endless possibilites for great vegan sandwiches should never be frowned upon.

On the first day after the snow fell I bundled up to go check my mail box. To not go into the finer legal details, many residential areas in Sweden have been forced to accept that mail will no longer be delivered to our regular mailboxes outside the house, but to a shared mail box system in the area. It’s not very convenient, but as long as you’re not impaired (and you still get to use your usual mail box) it’s doable.

That day I discovered that one of the mail delivery company’s driver had left the general key to the mail boxes behind in the key hole. It was quite stressful to try and figure out how to get that sorted in the best way, so the key didn’t end up in the wrong hands. Frazzle head I.

I’m quite pleased with the second hand pieces I got my hands on around my birthday. Some unused, the others in excellent condition. All Marimekko. Except that little black (!) dress (that will go great with all the perky Snagtights and let them do the talking) they’re a bunch of colour happiness. And useful.

I did one thing in November I hadn’t done since before the pandemic. i visited a museum for a few hours (and before the entrance fee will be reinstated in January, courtesy Sweden’s new government…). I chose the National museum of Art, which had s massive interior renovation done over some years pre-pandemic, so it was a new and bit overwhelming experience for a culturally deprived (books and films are fantastic, but they can’t fill every cultural need) woman in the prime (well…) of her life.

Here’s me in a rather fabulous Adam & Eve mirror from the 1979ies.

What the image doesn’t show is that I got a sudden and intense cramp in my right calf when I stepped off the bus that morning. It was an experience I’d describe as minor hell-ish (and it didn’t go away completely until two days later), so I had to hobble around all day with a brave face. I totally blame the heavy lifting and stairs down-stairs up for days of moving. I’m so bad at stretching, and this was a painful and forceful reminder I need to get better at that.

When I entered the museum it was sun and daylight, when I got out it was dark (the automatic night mode on the iPhone gen 12 is not what it should be, it’s never dark enough or depicting reality unless you manually correct it, so this is lighter than reality was) and the evening sky and city lights was lovely on the water, the Royal Palace and the Parliament building.

Advent first and fresh, crisp clean sheets were called for. I have Marimekko bed sets (most of them second hand) that match every season, but winter. But at least I have a polar bear pillow case, so that will do. And the Letto print is so eye pleasing and the cotton quality lovely so that will do too.

(Never mind the fact that I had to wash it 3 times with vinegar to get rid of that strong and nasty smell of either perfume or heavy scented fabric softener it reeked of, before I could use it. Who the f**k uses fabric softeners in this day and age?!?)

The book is my currently reading one, ’Conversations with friends’ by Sally Rooney. I, with everyone else, loved the TV-series, ’Normal people’, but this is the first book of hers I read. I like its flow and easy readability, but to me it lacks the oomph and depth I love in a really good book. I’m about 1/3 into it and I doubt I will absolutely rave about it when I’ve finished. It will be my 50th book read this year, and my Goodreads goal of books 2022 reached. I’m hoping to finish 55 books all in all though. So time to step up a bit extra this month.

This time of the year it’s time for the special Christmas edition of these beloved Swedish vegan foam candy, the skulls have gone into Santa mode and can be found in selected grocery stores. They are lovely. And very moreish. So despite the fact that I wish I’d bought more bags of them when I had a chance, it was probably a good thing I didn’t. Hope I’ll find some again before Christmas Eve though.

November also brought not one, but two, lunches with a friend I hadn’t met before the pandemic, since September 2019 even. Lovely to meet again and having a decent catch-up, albeit limited to a lunch setting.

The latest one was yesterday, and we went to a fairly new, vegan restaurant, co-owned by a vegan food blogger. To be honest my expectations were fairly low, but the experience was overall really lovely, the lunch buffet food great and the staff friendly. The only negative was the laughably poorly designed toilet.

The Plantbased Christmas Meetup with tofu et al will coincidently (syncronicity) be held at Chou Chou too, which bodes well me thinks.

Black and white. 

Snow glimpse from the garden after two days of heavy snowing.

The black dress (sold as second hand, but never used) I won at a Tradera auction in October. It’s a pleasing Marimekko design in cotton poplin, though I wasn’t expecting the modell to be straight, but A-line. With the very generous shape over arms and chest it looked to be an A-line model. Still pretty, but not perfect. It’s also shorter than I usually wear. Yes, it’s good to challenge yourself, but I might wear it with a skirt if I don’t feel particularly daring.

We treated ourselves, little mum and I, to a very nice plantbased fika/ brekkie at favourite Bageri ( = bakery) Passion last week, got some great sourdough bread and did some pre-Christmas grocery shopping. It was a good little day. One of the #LittlePocketsOfJoy days I’ve come to appreciate so very much in our turbulent world.

On the last shivering day of November I brought out the blingy Christmas cat reindeer sweater (the only garment from HM in my wardrobe, as I needless to say loath everything HM, the mecka of trashy fast fashion, stands for, but in Helsinki in 2015 this spoke to me for obvious reasons…), teamed it with the Palava linen Snowstorm skirt and El Naturalista red Gore Tex boots. Christmas season has begun! And I’m not really a Christmas-fan, but there you are; The perfect seasonal granny toddler outfit.

Part of the kitchen in the spruced up for viewings apartment of little mum’s.  Had things been different we would not have hired a home stylist for this - am I correct in understanding that the word and concept of home styling and home stylist are English words but a Swedish invention? Swenglish I suppose. 

I’ve always thought it was an American concept, it certainly feels very American. You know, glossing up reality and showing off the best features only and possibilities. But someone publishing a book about the americanization of the Swedish language recently claimed the concept in fact is Sweden born. The American/English concept is simply interior decorator. -

But the real estate agent really pushed us to get one, specifically this one and it seemed like a good idea since she would also be able to help with the moving and throwing at the big recycling station. That would be a very appreciated help. We were clear about the fact that we wouldn’t be able to pay before the apartment was sold, but that was okey, it could be sorted with the estate agent in the meantime.

Said and done, we hired her to do the job. 

And the moving and clearing up of the apartment were jobs well done. I can’t say I’m very impressed with the styling part though. She mostly used our furniture, things and threw in some random plastic flowers, rugs, pillows, towels and soaps.

She refused to take perfectly good things to the charity shops and instead threw them in the garbage at the recycling station. (So much for her claiming of being a great fan of second hand and reusing instead of buying new.)

The two invoices (one for the home styling and rent of her stuff for six weeks during the viewing period, one for the clearing and moving) came before the apartment went up for sale, to be paid within two weeks.

Apparently she was very selective in hearing and with the truth. Since then she refuses to admit we ever even discussed the payment when the apartment is sold-agreement. 

She also posts before - after photos of the apartment on Instagram and claims my mum gave her permission, when we in fact were both very clear we did not want that. Fine, publish your styling when the place is clean and emptied of personality, to take photos of the mess and personal belongings during the move is just showing a total lack of respect for the customer’s privacy and is a violation of integrity.

The estate agent agreed to pay the home styling until the apartment is sold, but not the rest. ’That was never discussed’. Seriously. It’s really difficult to believe the four of us actually sat at the kitchen table in my mum’s apartment and talked moving details. What is it with this selected hearing. Were we really that unclear?

After trying to reason with the more than slightly unhinged home stylist via several emails, I’ve been forced to empty a very important savings account (since I absolutely hate to ask people if I can borrow money) to pay her since she doesn’t acknowledge the agreement (and no, I was a bad bad lawyer and didn’t insist on a written agreement). 

She billed us for 29 hours, which in itself sounds a bit much, we only filled a small van three times with the stuff that was moved from the apartment to the house, and then the recycling runs, but I suppose with the driving back and forth from her home it can indeed amount to that many hours, so I didn’t question that when the invoice arrived. I/we were very grateful for that help. Even if she did break two sculptures of mine when recklessly dumped moving boxes in my hallway. (Which I never pointed out because I felt it was foolish of me to not have moved them to another spot…).

Her latest claims were she gave us a lot of extra help and didn’t even charge us for all the hours she had put in, rent of cars (what cars, she said they were the company’s cars?) and petrol. 

Myself I would never ever tell a sob story like this to a client to try and paint a better image of myself, and I would definitely write a more detailed invoice if I wanted to charge more and fully explain all the work I had put in and the hours that amounted to. It would be hard to argue with that. 

All and all her behaviour is not very professional, there’s so much nonsense, and I find it difficult to believe she has been in business with what she’s doing for very long, as she claims. (She’s around my age.) It has been a truly surreal experience.

Obviously I could never recommend her. The selective hearing, the blatant lying and lack of professionalism prevent that.

But there you are, it has been… an interesting period.

Needless to say I’ve always made sure to pay my bills in time. But this was such a blatant case of this was not what we agreed on and gross miscommunication I had to speak up. That it led to blatant lying and baffling unprofessionalism is just… nasty and ridiculous.

And I admit that the solution of we will pay when we have sold isn’t ideal, I like to settle my bills asap, but we’re not living in ideal times so we were upfront with that from the start. And she was still eager enough to get the job. And I was stupid enough to not get that in writing.

I/we are of course grateful for all the help that eased our burden of figuring out every piece of the moving puzzle, but there are obviously parts that just didn’t work in a decent way. And that has really caused unnecessary stress and anger. But it is what it is, she has been paid for all her services now. 

And once again I find myself having to firmly believe that the Universe Has My Back, and trying to Trust The Process.

I can’t even explain how truly, deeply, madly I’m looking forward to this apartment-sale going through, the papers signed, every little bit of moving left, clearing, cleaning done and we finally being able to relax and start saving money again. You know, ticking those little not so minor boxes. And have some peace of mind and energy back.

Oh and that illusive purposeful source of regular income called a meaningful job found and sealed as mine. Might as well add that to the equation while I’m at it. Feels like the Holy Grail would be easier to find than to reach the goal of this quest of mine. Yes, this is still crazy.

Let’s tick that box too, please do, Universe. 💚

And behold above, the heavy weight of all that snow in the garden literally broke my ornamental tree. It will be missed, it’s still there, just diminished, but I doubt it’ll be as impressive covered in clematis or its own white flowers in spring or orangeiness in autumn. Even if it’s impossible to assess all the damage since the lawn is still somewhat snow covered despite the rainy days, I’m nourishing a little hope it new look might possibly mostly be due to the magnitude of the clematis I never had the opportunity to vut down properly last spring. Fingers crossed.

The interior and vegan lunch buffet at Chou Chou the other day. I even booked a table for two as I thought it might be a bit of a rush around lunch. It obviously wasn’t. But given the food quality it could have been.

Every winter for as long as I can remember the once upon a time state owned pharmacy sold different food related Christmas goods, like mustard and honey in special jars. Ever since the big de-regulation in Sweden let lose all sorts of privately owned pharmacies - and no, things have not gotten better for the citizens in Sweden when privatization happened, the opposite is a well documented fact - they all offer a lot of Christmas food items, apart from mustard and honey there is now also tea (yay!), coffee and yes jams and even chocolate and candy. Oh the times we are living in. 

Here is a jar of saffron-orange marmelade and a box cinnamon-orange-vanilla rooibos tea. The marmelade is alright, but the tea smells amazing and has a deep Christmassy spicy flavour, love it!

Before the snow plough came our neighbourhood looked like this for two days. If you in any way had any mobility issues you could not leave your house. With the rain, then freezing, then thawing, it was scary icy very uneven streets.

The view from the bus stop after I picked up a dryckeaned winter coat the other day. In view is one of the facade of a shopping mall in the posh parts of the city, I basically haven’t been there for years and years. And the entrance of what used to be a posh and popular night-club in the 80ies. (Maybe it still is? I have no clue, never frequent it back then and it’s not like I’m the least bit interested in night-clubs and the Stockholm nigh-life these days.)

I obviously couldn’t resist colour arranging all the pretty Snagtights in the rainbow order pre-washing them, to get rid off any excess colour. I toyed eith the idea to also using them in rainbow order. I didn’t. So far I’ve only used a couple of them. And as the LBD hasn’t been inaugurated yet I’m still waiting for the right occasions to use the brighter colours.

The little paper goodie bag we got to take home after the Team Tofu (obviously) food sampling. I do have a practical shopping bag with the same print, I’m using regularly and proudly.

And here is my favourite, one and only blingy Christmas sweater. It is bittersweet to wear it, because it is here but the obvious poster girl for it, darling Zigne is no longer. And that sucks so very much. 

The weird animal sculpture I walked past the other day. It has a friend on the other side of the street. I have no idea what they’re suppose to depict or evoke but I think they’re pretty perky and fun plus a nice vintrast to the dreary and serious buildings.

As an early and only Christmas gift to myself I got a new warm winter happy coat. It’s padded, made of recycled polyester, machine washable and in the same Marimekko pattern Pieni Pioni as my beloved Happy Coat II from 2016. As that one doesn’t fit quite like it did pre-pandemic (most of my clothes actually do, but there are a few exceptions) - but I have no intention of selling it but waiting for it to grow bigger (or maybe it’s more realistic that I get a bit thinner) - I needed a happy looking replacement winter coat. 

It’s fantastic. Ideally I would want it tad longer, I guess I’m just not skinny enough to make that happen, but it’s warm and lovely just the same. Dnow came, it was inaugurated. Snow rained away, it got to rest. 

I don’t miss having snow though, because it does equal dubbed boots only and rising energy bills. It’s cold enough indoors as it is. The very early pitch black evenings are no fun at all, but at least there are candles. And cats. And tea. 

Below the first lunch I had with the haven’t seen since 2019-friend. It was at another vegan city establishment I hadn’t been to before. It was good in flavour, texture and ingredients but a way too small portion to be filling and satisfying. If order a lunch meal that isn’t very cheap, I expect it to be filling even if they call it a salad. There are plenty of salads that are super nourishing and satisfying. To be openly rude and patronizing with your guests on social media when they point the flaws out is just bad business.

The unsatisfying plantbased Waldorf salad with smoked tofu (which they totally forgot to add until I pointed that out) was served at KafĂ© Plattan. I’m sure it’s a decent place if you want something small like a sandwich, snack or pastry, I would not recommend it for anyone who expect a proper lunch.

Advent first came early this year, we lit the first candle, put up my Lucia procession electrical candlestick, had some Christmas tea and I changed my bed linen. And that was that.

Today was the first day of the tea advent calendar (this year from Swedish Te-centralen snd its web-shop). It was sadly a very disappointing Korean green tea experience. Like a cup of lukewarm water with s hint of grass. I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s black tea with chocolate-chili flavour. And all the other days with flavoured rooibos or black teas. They do create and sell some top-notch teas and I have a few firm favourites I return to.

After this unexpectedly long post with high- and lowlights of my November  2022, I just want to thank you November - despite the unexpected lowlights as well as the equally unexpected adjustments one has to make when you decide to share your home and house with someone you love and whose habits and quirks you think you know very well. It will take time to smooth/er sailing, it does not happen in a week, or a month - you have been an overall very decent month. many little pockets of joy, thank you very much.

Hello there, December, I do hope you will bring lots of unexpected joys snd less of trials and tribulations. The year 2022 has brought more than enough of that already. Let’s end the year on a high with sparkles, glitter and joyful dreamy surprises only, December deary! Cheers to that!

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