Wednesday, September 20, 2023

when august meets september 2023

 

On August 1st 2023 I finally cut my hair at a professional salon for the first time since 2017/18. As a welcome to new beginnings. (If you do it they will come.)

As easy as it is to cut your own hair with a hair type like mine it’s close to impossible, unless you do have eyes in the back of your head, the neck as crisp as you get it at a salon.

And I wanted a French bob looking as it should all around. I deliberated if I should go with really really short bangs, but decided to play it safe in that department for now. I may change it when I get the bangs touched up later.

I think the result looks quite pleasing, even if I 1,5 months later still haven’t mastered the perfect styling (no matter how many Insta reels I watch)… And I just can’t be bothered with lots of styling products and heat tools, plus my hair furiously acts like it wants depending on the weather.

Today I decided to do the Pink Pop colour refresher again. Looking forward to try it out with short-ish hair for the first time.

Post-haircut vegan fika, locally just as the hair salon. 

It’s just such a relief to not have to bother going into the city these days. The public transport (ie the Stockholm commuter trains, which is the only way for most of us who live in the outer suburbs to get to-from the city. We are dependant on them.) are a complete shambles these days. With the hired Chinese company MTR responsible for them working having acted like complete a-holes for this past year. Their contract has been denounced as they clearly haven’t lived up to their part of the deal, so it’s not a far fetched guess to believe they are now doing an even worse job for the rest of the duration.

Can’t help but remember how awful it felt to be isolated out here in the suburbs during the pandemic. Now I actually feel that every time I do need to travel within my own city and with the transports available, not to mention having to deal with a lot of people irl (ugh!) is a struggle and nuiscance. A change of scenery now and then is great, but remote work is bliss as far as I’m concerned, in combination with short commuting now and then.

It has been more than 1,5 months since I last wrote something in blog. And I can safely say that both good and bad things have happened, both a lot and  at the same time not very much. Life.

It’s really dispiriting, as usual, to see, read, hear about the very frequent natural disasters all over the globe, yet the effort from our politicians (and not least the appallingly incompetent Swedish right wing government…) to tackle the climate emergency remain practically zero. 

My natural mood has become anger. And I have VERY little patience with ignorant, stupid people. Which there are far to many of imho. Otherwise we obviously we wouldn’t have the embarrassing government we have in Sweden (and in countless of other countries all over the world of course. Everything is falling apart.)

I need to start meditating again. And begin with yoga. But for now I stick to reading a lot to rest my brain and stop dwelling on the hopelessness of the world. 

So grateful this very less than perfect summer of 2023 has at least brought my reading mojo back, which I first lost 20 (!) years ago with my long burnt out sick leave. It will probably not ever get back to those pre-years but at least I’m consuming books at a much higher rate than I have done for well, decades. Gratitude is a fine fine thing.

Other things that have brought me those precious little pockets of joy during the last summer month/first autumn month so far are illustrated with the random photos that follow:






















For long term readers my loathing of trousers/jeans is well known. I have not been able to find any that fits my body shape and my needs for eons. A very good thing that it’s so much easier to find fabulous dresses and skirts that meet those needs though!

But during these months I have actually found a pair of trousers that do fit quite well, a kind of trousers I have never ever even thought to contemplate, as I’m not a sporty animal. And I do like a bit of classy style with a twist, in my own way.

Enter Marimekko. If these track pants weren’t a Marimekko/Adidas collab the thought of even looking at them would never have entered my mind. I just don’t do these type of clothes. Period. (Not counting those times in my life when I actually did work out in gyms. In another life.)

Or so I thought. I decided to order a pair, turned out to be way larger than expected. (Which I suppose is nice for a change, not the other way round.) So I had to go down a size. The fit is lovely, and so is the style. Plus those zipper pockets, fab. So far I’ve only worn them to run errands on rainy days and for picking mushrooms in the woods. And I need to figure out how to style them (in a non-sporty way) in a way they (and I) deserve.

I’m actually contemplating getting another pair in a classic colour with no patterns. I love the flaired legs. They have always been ’my thing’ when it comes to pants.




At the end of summer I always try and ’use up’ all my summery dresses one last time before I put them in the washing machine and then hibernation in the wardrobe until spring. It’s still unseasonably warm on these latitudes, but I think this day will be concidered my last day of summer dresses 2023.

Photo taken at the new local lakeside beach cafe, which has been a nice spot to take a walk to now and then during the summer. I hope it’ll remain open during weekends all through autumn too.






















Ordered tea from one of my favourite tea shops in Stockholm, Sibyllans Kaffe- & Tehandel, for the first time in August. It was such a lovely surprise to open the (free home delivery) box as it contained delightful freebies. Like the package of British shortbread that happened to (accidently) be vegan. And very tasty at that. 

The teas, some old, some new, some gifts, some for me/us were all reliably lovely too.






















This year my darling summer hedgehogs amounted to 5 at the most (as far as I could spy), and for a few weeks there was mum with three little ones. Then the first tiny baby appeared by him/herself and then followed by two siblings. Some unknown person had marked them a bit with paint 💜💙❤️ on their back so they were easy to distinguish. After a while the red one disappeared and later also the blue one. Purple left a couple of weeks ago. I hope they all moved to new hoods, gardens with better (is that even possible though, hmf) food or gone into hibernation.

I’m ever so grateful they found their way to the Hedgehog DropInn for yet another summer. Such amazing, adorable creatures they are.


I’m leaving this post for now, and will return to finish it tomorrow. So to be continued… 

In August I took a train trip to visit one of my oldest friends (we studied law together, she went on to work as a lawyer ever since our studies, whilst my life developed in another way. She was such a gem when I fought to keep my kitties from the evil of Swedish authorities last year. Absolutely invaluable. ❤️

As she has her life and work in smaller town Eskilstuna we haven’t seen a lot of eachother these days. This summer we thought it was about high time we did, and when I booked my train ticket I was absolutely certain the last time we met was in August 2019, pre-pandemic. Interesting enough the #tbt photos said it was the exact same day, August 16, we met back then as this year. It also turned out it was in 2017 not 2019. Absolutely crazy… 

As I rarely travel by long distance train these days it was quite an adventure and treat for me to do so. From the booking, to the different types of trains, how effective everything was when I travelled there in the morning, but quite the delays on my way home in the evening. 

I changed train once, which gave me the opportunity to pick up a soylatte in my keep cup and enjoy for the 30 minutes left on a train. Simple little things like that brings me a lot of joy. 

I’m also in love with this pleated skirt I got from Marimekko this summer. It’s so effortless and stylish. And not to mention it has a magnificent swishing whenever there’s a breeze. đŸ©”đŸ’™

I most certainly picked the perfect late summer day for the trip. The weather was absolutely amazing. And it was such a treat to meet up again after all this time, hadn’t met her adorable papillon trio before and we went for long walks both with and without these tykes. Clocked well over 20000 steps that day, I usually don’t count steps, but I most certainly don’t do +20000 very often. And it felt surprisingly effortless.







It was definitely one of my best days so far this year, good talks, good walks, good vegan food, cute animals and train travelling in a summery Sweden. She had even baked a fantastic vegan red currant pie, with her own garden berries, I would love to make it myself but it’s ridiculously difficult to find red currants, when you don’t have your own.

Once upon a time we used to attend cat shows together, with vastly different shorthair cat breeds. She was also a breeder. Now she only has one Cornish Rex girl left, sweet and fun with people but apparently scary for the dogs.

Aren’t these little amigurumi copies of her papillons adorable? I’m seriously contemplating ordering a couple of Ztina and Ågot copies myself. Even if I used to amigurumi crochet myself, they weren’t nearly as creative and detail oriented as this. And I’m not really interested in learning that kind of art myself.



A rare capture of Z and Å washing eachother. I used to have cats that loved sleeping, cuddling and keeping eachother clean. These two aren’t really interested in that. At least not anymore. I’m thinking that they, just like me, are so used to have a group of friends/family to share home with, when that situation drastically changed when the rest of the lovely gang passed away with old age and/or illness these past few years their respective habits and needs changed too. Like mine have.

There are definitely pros of having only two kitties, but I was so used to have a little gang of quirky individuals and different personalities plus kittens for so many years it also feels weird that life isn’t like that anymore. I miss them a lot.













Ztina, August 2023, 11,5 years young. Little blue eyed heart of mine.

Ågot, August 2023, 11 years young. Littlest one, still just a baby.













Amongst all the little joyous things I try to focus at, this dental emergency suddenly happened. To cut a much longer story short - I think I mentioned it when I visit my new dentist in August 2021, but I’m not sure it’s very important in the here and now đŸ€·đŸ»‍♀️

What happened these past few months was that one of my tooth, which was already in bad shape due to a faulty semi-root canal started to crumble. The tooth was pretty loose but it wasn’t really aching. I got an emergency appointment and wanted to have an annual check up at the same time. The day before the whole rest of the tooth (or so I thought) came out by itself. So it felt pretty okay prior to the appointment. Turned out it wasn’t nearly as easy a fix that I had thought. 

Basically spent two long hours in the dentist chair, the very thorough check up was surprisingly painful and so was the fact that I had to get a lot of anesthetic shots prior to the removal of what was still left of the tooth.

And in the end the dentist wasn’t able to remove the final bit of the tooth root as it crumbled during her work, so she wanted to give me a referral to a dental surgery to have that done. All the caries was removed and cleaned, but there was still an infection left behind the root so she thought it was best  to have it all properly removed. Felt reasonable to me at the time. I also got a very strong penicillin prescription to beat the infection.

Finally got a time this week for that surgery (which I am really scared to have done, I won’t lie) to be done on the last day of October. Then I got the information about how much that would cost - the equivalent to 700 GBP. Which isn’t something I neither willing nor able to pay. 

It’s absolutely crazy that your teeth and dental work isn’t something that is part of the general Swedish healthcare. And that’s why dental care has become a pressing rich - poor issue in Sweden, even more so in these generally stressful financial times most of us experience one way or other. Societal wellfare structures in Sweden, we have taken for granted for as long as I can remember, are crumbling faster than ever.

Obviously it doesn’t really matter if you’re taking good care of your teeth and have a healthy dental routine, sh*t happens anyway.

So now I need to go back to the drawing board with this. Ie talk it through with my dentist, is that surgery really super important to do when the infection is gone (I actually feel rather different after that antibiotics prescription, maybe that infection in my gum/mouth I didn’t know I had, had caused me issues for a much longer time than imagined?). 

That thorough checkup showed a couple of small cavities, which I also like to get done. Much more so than a surgery I don’t know is absolutely necessary.

Fingers firmly crossed for a positive solution regarding this, please, internetz!

I recently rediscovered my lucky tooth from blackapple (Etsy) so I’m hoping for its quote to be true ’Whenever a lucky tooth you find, good luck won’t be far behind”.
























I’ve also had great fun bidding on great second hand things (some used but in good condition some with tags still attached) signed Marimekko. All useful and at the same time such a nice way to collect different little classic design pieces in lovable patterns and colours.

Three perky pillow covers, a Helsinki Pride scarf, a black-white tea towel plus four cushion covers for my sofa cushions - had my eyes set on five but I totally forget the time for the last auction so I missed out. Wasn’t meant to be, I’m sure something else fun will turn up and make its way to me in a not to far future…













Plantbased cooking obviously brings lot of joy and very satisfied tummies. I promised more recipes to come, but I haven’t been able to really focus on that for a long time now, sorry about that. Hopefully that will change again.

But here are some favourite dishes I keep returning to regularly. Above is the taco pie with vegan mince, paprika, tomato, corn, onion, garlic, dairyfree cooking fraiche with chili-paprika flavour. It. is. so. very. good.

I may be a team tofu member for the Swedish brand Yipin, but it sadly isn’t a paid position just a fun thing with a few perks now and then. It’s a great tofu brand though and it has allowed me to try out new ways to prepare tofu and try out recipes. Tofu is such a fantastic, natural, additive free protein source, so I try to use it in my cooking as much as possible. And try to buy as many packages as I can when they are on special price. As they freeze very well (not silken tofu though) it’s easy to save and use them during a longer period too.

Moo shu tofu is such a simple, delicious, and slightly addictive dish.

And when I finally found the sichauan pepper the Mapo tofu was totally elevated!

Trust me, you will never regret having tofu carbonara-ish for dinner.

Below is a sweet gesture which I got from my neighbours that recently painted their house, and doing so they needed access to part of my plot to paint a wall. Our atrium houses are constructed in a rather trucky and inconvenient way as every house is in one way or other attached to the six closest houses.

So when they had painters and carpenters here during two weeks I had to open and lock my security gate early every morning-late afternoon. It wasn’t really a huge deal, but I missed sleeping a bit longer in the mornings.

I deeply appreciate this gesture though, apart from pretty flowers and a colourful kitty card, garden inspired napkins the bag also contained vegan goodies, lemon curd and two chocolate bars I hadn’t tried before. The Karl Fazer oat choco turned out to be truly amazing.

The fun thing is that we are not friend-friend neighbours we only exchange a few friendly words when we meet, but they told be they enjoy my Instagram feed a lot and obviously they totally nailed what I enjoy and my values through that. It’s very heart warming as far as I’m concerned.























A couple of weeks ago it was finally time for the twice a year all vegan day at my favourite bakery/cafe Bageri Passion. I usually opt for a breakfast/fika on site as well as but breads and pastries to take home. This time I only bought delicious stuff home. And less than I used to because a) prices have increased conciderably and b) even if the stuff is delicious the cream pastries etc can’t be put in the freezer thus you need to consume everything during that weekend. 

And honestly it is (surprisingly) hard to enjoy stuffing yourself with a lot of sugar and cream (even if it’s cruelty free and not nearly as unhealthy as pastries with cow’s milk, butter and eggs.)

I prefer to be there when the bakery opens at 8 am on the Saturday in question, because the event is increasingly popular and the queue starts early. I arrived at 7.50 and there were already 10-15 before me in line.

When I got up that early (and I am SO not a morning person) and arrived at my bus stop the fog was very heavy. A strange mix of beautiful and eerie, a a nice unusual experience.

The best things from my haul this time?

The rolls were all great (missed my favourite beetroot though), the three buns absolutely amazing. As was the classic Swedish princess cream cake. Unfortunately they gave me the wrong version of the Budapest cream cake, not the classic with meringue, hazelnuts and raspberries that I asked for. But the not so good coconut/passion fruit version. Which I didn’t discovered until I got home (sad face).


A while back I went on my first ever mushroom picking walk with a neighbourhood woman (possible future business partner) whose vastly more knowledgeable om foraging than I.

We were highly unsuccessful as far as mushrooms are concerned, the mosquitos were nasty, and I was really ancious about ticks. But it was a lovely sunny day in the forrest and we had a really inspiring chat, so I still concider it a very good outing.

























This autumn/winter I am also taking a course in UX-writing/design at 25% pace. It’s quite good and a real eye-opener in unexpected ways. 

Last Sunday we went to the cinema at our ’community hall’ located in the same building as the municipality/library, which showed ’Book Club: The Next Chapter’. I hadn’t even heard of the first chapter, but I thought we’d enjoy this feelgood with reliably great senior female actors. 

It was a pleasant movie but I can’t help but feeling rather horrified by Jane Fonda’s obvious addiction to plastic surgery. It was impossible to look past. And that affluent lifestyle, jetting off to Europe at a whim, expensive fashion shopping and posh food establishment, basically highlighting everything that have caused the climate emergency. It is difficult to look past that in this time and age. I can’t just enjoy things like I did, without delving deeper into what I see, hear, experience. Life is just way past that point.





















And here I am, not nearly as light gray irl, the top photo from behind is more correct in colour, but the iPhone portrait mode isn’t perfect as far as colours are concerned so… I took this straight away after I got home from the hairdresser, I didn’t expect the cut to look this fluffy but I suppose I’m  used to ’scrunch’ my hair and isn’t really the sleek looking type, neither in hair quality nor in personality. No matter what I feel inspired by, the result always end up fluffy Pia, hair short, hair longer.

(This was also the last photo of me without a gap where the fourth tooth to the fronit in upper right jaw…)

Hey Universe, hey September I’m ever so open to positive change and new adventures now, I really hope you are ready with that too?! Grateful, thanks, bye for now. đŸ©·

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