Sunday, January 14, 2018

where are we a year from now

stockholm, sweden, january 2018 -

At the end of whirlwind busy week I find that I'm not the least bit wiser in some part of my life and very much wiser in others. Every week some new insight, welcome or unwelcome, but all useful and part of the journey of growth called life.

As a friend simply put it, just go with the flow for while now, however difficult as it may be. So, hello flow.

I've never been the one to force things in life in general, but in hindsight I probably should have on some important occasions. When things really haven't worked anylonger I should have forced a decision. The gut said so, but I was a convenient coward. I have forgiven myself for that, because there's no way back only forward, though I would lie if I said glimmer of that thought doesn't make me sad now and then.

But then there are situations, like meringue or otherwise, where forcing is simply not on the table in anyway. Where the process is pretty much completely out of your hands. The (in)famous trust the process. But what I've come to realise lately, which I've curiously not have grasped until now, at least not the extent of it, is how much of a control freak I am in parts of life. Not in every part, thank goodness, that would be awful, so much anxiety. But still, more than I have ever admitted before. To be honest I think it has been growing ever since that day. The need to control.

Simply because when you suddenly find yourself to be 100% in charge and responsible for every little bit of your life, down to every penny, every cost, every grain of kitty litter, every crazy leaking roof business, carrying every organic carrot you put on the table home yourself, well, then you're forced to be on top of things as best you can.

No one else can help you with the decision making, from big to small. Sometimes that is, to be frank, a pretty sh-tty feeling, sometimes it's empowering. Yes, this ongoing process of rediscovering and reinventing myself is pretty hard, exhausting work.

Admit to having a little professional melt down at the end of the week. The last straw of lack of communication within what I used to call the Dream Team - yes, the jury of one is still out on whether to keep the denomination or not, the honeymoon months are over and I'm not at all sure what lies in the future or even in the now. It hurts to be marginalised. Jeez, whatever where they thinking. And let me tell you, I was this close to saying sayonara, guys, enough now.

I think I got my enraged and disappointed point through, as much as you can on Slack. Apologies accepted. And as nice as it may be that someone says "was trying to protect our best asset", action speaks louder than words. If I am to continue to be part of the team I also need to get first hand information, not just being misguidedly pampered with selected information, out of the loop. Because not having first hand information means you're left to your own devices of an overthinking and imaginative brain.

Not my idea of decent teamwork. Regular updates, first hand information, essential and basic things to keep me onboard and interested. And how darn hard can it be? I haven't had any problems doing that myself all through this project. I do expect the same fundamental decency from everyone else involved, when a team, when (seemingly) working towards the same goal. Simple really. At least in my world.

And the much needed talk? Well, I am not less confused than I was before. That so much talking can give you a distinct feeling of "so weiter ferne, so nah" is confounding. Really good in parts, but also the lack of "real", that illusive feeling, encompassed the experience for me.

Which also brought a much needed look at myself, my actions, non-actions, my wants, needs, the wall I sit upon alternately hide behind, I wish I could shout a bit more from it instead. Or let it fall. I hope I will get there some day. It is after all the year of living and acting more bravely.

In answer to the surprising question I got (that I admittedly waffled away, so much for real), which lent itself to the name of this post - but I have not set my more specific personal and professional goals for 2018 yet - I would summarize what I want for this year like this - love, passion, laughter, realness, personal growth, inspiring new clients and jobs, having made and continue making the world a better place with likeminded good people and financial stability. If I say it, they will come. Not too much to strive for, right? Right.

stockholm, sweden, january 2018 -

Friday, January 05, 2018

finding out more

vegan food at home, dec - jan 2017/18 -

I do believe I have entered a brand new year a little bit braver than I left 2017. I've dared a dash, I've said yes, I've said no, questioned status quo and embraced possibilities. Only a week in. Which doesn't mean I've stopped overthinking things, as my usual self naturally does.

Then suddenly the upcoming week also holds a very tangible situation to talk things through, finding out more, figuring the complex meringue status out. And as much as I do look forward to it, there is so much I want to know, I'm admittedly more emotionally afraid than I've been in a long time. For that I blame this intense past plus year, which has amongst all its lessons taught me I can not be in control of everything, not even my own reactions to every situation, every feeling.

But though I wouldn't call myself a controlfreak, nope not no nah, I don't relish the notion of losing my calm, my control - I've come so far, can I afford to loose myself? Or perhaps the most important questions is, can I afford not to?

Shall I simply trust that life has a much better way to sort things out the way they should be than my fearful soul could ever do by itself? I'm still redefining myself I suppose, and what my gut feeling knows I want and need, it scares my overthinking brain. My little, brave analyzing bestie, who I am so grateful for, but who sometimes need to simply let go but desperately refuses to. Old habits.

Needless to say I'm really looking forward to my oxytocin galore caturday. There are rumours of sun,  there will be cooking, eating, sleeping, music, cat cuddles and if weather permits, walking. And hopefully the overactive brain has decided to take a weekend break.

new glasses, january 2018

The week before the much needed upcoming caturday was spent with an optician visit, where I was told my vision had only had a slight change but that I showed signs of age related sight change. Hrmf, I beg to differ, I thought we had agreed that age is just a silly number? I did order a pair of new glasses (which are not the pink ones in the photo, believe it or not), but I was pretty miffed about that age related statement so even if my usual thing is to order two pairs I didn't. I can always change my mind within a month.

food stockholm, january 2018 -

I've had an ipromptu fika with my childhood friend, which was extra lovely since we hadn't seen eachother for many months. I rarely do impromptu things like this, I'm such a planner. It's good to know I'm able to change little behaviours like that, all is not lost. Despite what the optician said.

new bff, alice, chihuahua <3, january 2018

I've spent time with a new fluffy BFF named Alice. Not my dog, not likely to be, but such a wee darling. Spending time with animals are always good for the soul. And mindfulness naturally rules.

I've worked, put my foot down, written, talked, cooked and done an interview about a fantastic sustainability project in Stockholm, that will be turned into an article (in Swedish). The Plantagon has such an interesting background, from vision, to founders, to organisation, to innovative solutions and technology. Sometimes people can be brilliant. And actually see that we are all connected. Which is heartwarming, in a rather overall bleak, disconnected world void of compassion.

Now, how about some music to get into a good weekend mood?

This week I've diversified a bit from my Haevn crush - but I do recommend Lovelorn (another piece with a mean guitar riff) and this wisfully beautiful We are

- since I adored the Kygo version of Take on me which made me so happy, I've discovered more remix favourites. Which basically are much better than the originals, as far as my ears are concerned. My four favorites are -

Let her go - Passenger remix, I don't like the original version at all, grown ups singing with baby voices does not rock my boat, just gives me the creeps.

I see fire - Ed Sheeran remix, admittedly a bit embarrassing I hadn't heard this before. But then again I really don't like the Lord of the rings movies. Loved the books, the movies are just overrated. And therefore I hadn't really paid attention to the music. Until now obviously. Adore this version!

I see you - Billy Raffoul, now that is on the other hand a great voice!

Seinabo Sey's original version is beautiful in itself, but this one fits my current mood better.

And now, welcome dear weekend, I need you. Let me relax a weary, overthinking mind and prepare to roll into a great week with invigorated steps, enliven thoughts and an open mind.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

communication, communication, communication

kränku tea calendar, december 2017

Communication. Presence. Authenticity. Three keywords essential to any relationship, be it work, friendship, love.

Something I've come to realise even more during this year, and things I've missed so many times before in life without realising and being able to put my finger on the feeling.

You know, the scary stuff, the awkward questions people hesitate to ask, the answers they are afraid of. I've decided I'm going to enter 2018 less afraid of things, I'm going to dare more. And not apologize for how I feel. Or act. Not that I'm timourous as such now of course, but sometimes I get the whiff of that useless impostor syndrome or I just feel 'it's not my place to put my foot down and demand at this time' - realising later down the line that's just what I should have done.

And as I wrote in the pre-Christmas post, I had a serious lack of trust in The Project and would spend the weekend with a good think about how to proceed, in order to be true to myself, hopefully without letting anyone down. And so I did. Neither sleeping, reading or laughing but thinking. A lot.

On Boxing day everything poured out of me on three pages. Of which a tiny portion was this passage - "Applaud that you’re able to detach yourselves from the mess ---- . I’m however not as lucky, partly because that’s my personality (I engage strongly, I need things to be professional, less mollycoddling, more straight talk and visible progress)... That’s one reason why I need change to feel this project is still meaningful."

I should have spoken more clearly earlier on, or perhaps I thought I did. Maybe I shouted "wolf" so repeatedly that noone listened anymore. I'm still not sure about the understanding of everything I mentioned actually. It was A LOT of text to swallow and concider (current situation, issues, my personal viewpoints, solutions/suggestions). Which I personally think is important to avoid misunderstandings as much as possible, short and sweet has its times, long explanations have theirs. Clear communication, communication, communication. I'm not interested in playing guessing games, in neither parts of my life. Or being the one constantly pointing out real problems, with no mandate to fixing them myself. I don't want to be Ms Grump-a-much.

But I know changes are underway now. Changes which will most likely hold less talk, more action. Well overdue but a pretty darn good way to kick start a shiny new year.

Let's leave this situation for now. And talk a bit about a new client I'll start working with in January - where there has also been a bit of communication issues, but nothing nearly as grave as the passion project above, more of the oddly entertaining kind - who said when I mentioned my hourly fee "which also depends on the length and width of project" that "let's not argue this, it's important that you're content and motivated, let's start and see how we work together and take things from there". And I can safely say that's just the matter of fact, healthy approach I do wish more work related situations could be dealt with.

Needless to say I'm very motivated. Not only from a financial aspect of course, it's a very interesting client and it'll be great fun to learn more about their business, the objective, the people and helping them with their social media presence. And the first new client on a new year is always special, setting the tone of the rest of the year one might say.

I've also put in a lot of hours in the coaching project already. In fact I might have accidently found a job, not a traineeship, for one of my participants (a clever hardware development engineer) already. Fingers crossed for her interview in a week. And it warms the heart when someone says "Thank you Pia, you are jette snääääälllll" (werry kiiiiinddddd). The warm and fuzzy feeling.

the catwoman dog whisperer, december 2017

Which was also the feeling I got when I did a stand in as dog sitter last night. I'm adding "Catwoman with serious dog whisperer skills" to my CV. My heart is melting by all that cute overload. Yes, the felines are darling but I miss having a special dog too.

where the heart is, haevn, december 2017

As I've written a fair amount about music that makes my heart sing lately, I'll end this post by doing so again. Yes, I'm absolutely smittened by Dutch band Haevn - "Where the Heart Is" still being the ultimate favourite of course - have listened to them all weekend on repeat, on Spotify, on the computer, on the iPhone, on YouTube and best of all on TV. I mean, whatever did we do before Apple TV and wide screen TVs - its like having a decent concert experience in your own living room without having to deal with people and their noise. Pause and get another cup of tea. Repeat. Pure brilliance.

As you can see the cats are mesmerized by the tunes too. (Of course it has nothing to do with the birds flying over the screen in the video.)

I adore this cover of "Fastlane" too, the voice, the energy, the music, the fun they seem to have and not least that fabulous guitar riff (that makes me seriously thinking about picking up my guitar again all these years later). Overall they're not only wonderful on original tunes, but also on various covers like Adele's "Hello" (which happens to have meant a lot to me this past year, brought me to many tears).

And please listen to this version of A-ha's "Take on me" with Kygo. It makes me happy. Loved the song in my teens - and haven't we all had a crush on Morten? - it has aged well. And so have the band members. Yet another proof that age is just a silly number. And a mindset. 

Which happens to be another thing I'm taking with me into the new year, agelessness and a firm belief it's much more important to live, laugh and love life than worry about a silly number that's basically only visible on your identity card and (fugly) passport. It doesn't say a thing about who you really are. In fact I think I'm gonna cancel birthdays from here on.

Happy New 2018 - 
may it bring an abundance of 
prosperity, love, laughter and kindness.

Friday, December 22, 2017

where the heart is

my 2017 music accoding to spotify (not sure how accurate really, but pet shop boys still going strong) 💗

Luckily I've been busy with other work this past week, but I haven't really been able to cast off the frustration, anger and calm down from the time out situation, for various reasons. And things on that front have most certainly not had a positive development during the week that was. Not the least bit surprised about that am I.

When you really don't like how this make you feel or act, when you start to question and resent decent people you're grateful for and fond of but who you feel don't listen to what you're saying anymore.

Most likely because they have enough on their own plates, in their own lives, to really care for your views and feelings. And in the end we can't rely on the support of others, we have to rely on ourselves for the support. To make the decisions that are best for our own wellbeing.

When your sleep is affected and you start crying for seemingly no reason at all. When you wish you could be professionally detached, but your soul is feeling suffocated and a little bit crushed by it all. Over-worked, under-appreciated, so incredibly tired.

And when you know you're the happiest, work your best when you can be your quirky, passionate self, to be trusted and free to do what needs to be done. Where structure, freedom and sprinkles of spontaneity play together. And you still have different, clear areas of responsabilities, not constantly feel you're stepping on eachother's toes. When all this overwhelms you, change needs to happen.

To be quite honest, as things have developed, I don't really see myself playing an important role in this particular project anymore. It's dispiriting, and fills me with sadness, since it has been such fun, so much shared energy, fantastic teamwork. But I just don't get it anymore. And when nobody's really listening, taking decisions I play no part in, but that still affects me. And the project, the objective, which leads to the inconsistency of TOV. The, frankly, blatant lack of regular and clear communication. Well, I think it's high time to have a serious think if this is the right route for me.

I don't want to let anyone down, including myself. And I'm really confused as to what is the right thing to do here to stay true to myself.

"At the end of the day I want to be able to say I contributed more than I criticized" - and I'm not sure I can say that in this case anymore. Or at least it'll be a lot of mulling over, planning and talking things through to get back there. And I do want to re-connect with my spark again.

I'll have a good long thought over the Christmas weekend, what I want, what needs to change and which direction I need to move on in. Because as far as I can see, what I know, at this time, this seems a futile situation. Hopefully I'll get some good nights sleep too, that would be lovely. Obviously I'm not great at trusting the process right now. Perhaps the logging out and sleeping my way through the weekend can rectify that. I need to read more, and laugh more. And watch 'Love Actually' for the umpteenth time.

That said, let's talk music. Music that soothes the soul, as music does.

I got the above compilation from Spotify the other week, let's just say my musical habits here doesn't really reflect my late autumn listening. My favourite tunes are quite different from the five mentioned here. As are the favourite artists. But I love that my old, longtime favourites Pet Shop Boys are still number one.

My favourite genre is apparently New Wave Pop, I didn't even know there is such a thing.

So what is my current music crush? Well, just as the blog post title says, the number one is "Where the heart is", by Haevn. It's just pure love for me now. The lyrics are so beautiful, speak to my soul, in the most profound way. And this live video is unpretentious loveliness.

"High above the tallest trees
Courage will come your way
It's the need that burns the trust that shines
When you climb out of the shade

Your high awakes the things you wanna be
Where the air is thin and sweeps you off your feet"

Overall I adore their simple videos, as far from 1980ies style you can get. I'm not sure if it's me who've picked my current most listened to list or Spotify's clever algorithms, but here goes -

Finding out more - Haevn
Fuel to fire - Agnes Obel
Frail love - Cloves
You there - Aquilo
Every little thing she does is magic - Sleeping at last
Where's my love - SYML
All we do - Oh Wonder
Oblivion - Bastille
Need it - Half Moon Run

And the irony that they are all basically seamlessly intertwined with eachother isn't lost on me.

Now and then I dance still, but I allow myself to be in this mood now. This is life too. It's the time of the year, with dark days, long nights, many thoughts. I'm looking forward to positive change, lighter days, a new and amazing, love and happiness filled year. And, to quote "Where the heart is" - Take the leap of my life, falling to the stars.

May your Christmas weekend be kind, warm and relaxing.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

hello time out, i need you

kränku tea calendar, 2017

These past few days I've experienced stress symptoms I've not known or heard of before. And as they are pretty scary, but as I've understood not uncommon and luckily harmless, I still see them as a warning sign to take a step back.

I will stick my neck out a bit and say it doesn't fill me with joy to put in a lot of hours of hard work above and beyond, where you're basically taken for granted, don't get the least bit of positive feedback from client. Or engagement, trust and much needed mandate. I don't even have the energy to be angry and frustrated anymore. I'm just tired. Jaded.

No matter how much I appreciate my Dream Team and all the amazing things they are, have done and do, the fun we've had (and hopefully will continue to have) I also feel there's only as much that can be done, since the project situation seems endlessly complicated in layers upon layers. I'm open to major changes for the better, but I'm also realist enough to see that most likely will not happen.

I'll of course continue to do everything I've signed up for, because that's the only right and professional thing to do, for the time set. But I'm putting my firm foot down now and setting my limits. I'm still not a serf. None of us are.

What started as a passion project, that gave a lot of energy and fun has turned into something energy draining. An uphill struggle of Sisyphean proportions. Like wading in treacle. I've lost my sparkle. Not in general, never, but for this.

It's just not productive to work with seemingly grown up people who can't treat others with decency, trust, respect and at least a moderate amount of appreciation.

Also. It isn't really nice to find yourself in a situation that brings about too much grump, anger, frustration and annoyance. It's just utterly tiresome. Stressful and unproductive. Thank goodness for the "grounded in happiness" personality. Still, when you loose your much enjoyed, loved mojo and feeling of such fun within a certain situation, it's so darn difficult to get it back knowing it would take so much change from other people than yourself. And you can only be responsible for your own change.

My reaction has been building up during the autumn, the only reason it hasn't reached its boiling point until now is the team. But now it has and there's no point denying it. It has been an amazing journey. Learnt so much, had such fun. I will still put in my hours, but unless something drastically positive happens I will not see this as a part of a longterm puzzle for goodness. Just a job I signed up for, nothing more, nothing less. And my passion belongs somewhere else.

I have no idea how this will unfold in the weeks to come, it's Christmas and New Year's, which most always is another excuse to not take responsability for anything but the holidays. And I say that without the least bit of Grinch, just establish a fact of December life.

My coming weeks will be revolving around other clients and jobs that don't fill me with this much frustration and stress reactions (and sadness because of all the obvious awesomeness, perfection, action that could, should happen here but doesn't because of the above reasons).

And while I'm in the process of analyzing myself, my feelings and reactions, putting my (happy shoes clad) feet down, setting boundaries this has also made me scrutinize how and what I want the pink vegan meringue situation to evolve into. Yes, I trust my instinct, yes I trust the process, I know it's right despite the oddness of it all. But this week has been even more confusing. And the first step will not be mine, it will be welcome, necessary, but not mine. Just so you know. I will leave it up to you to figure that one out. I'm sure you can. To talk, listen, ironing things out a bit. Life is precious. And much shorter than we think.

Or we could just back down to neutral gear. Keep it short and unsweetened. There's always that option. To be honest, I'm not even sure this delightful, unexpected, pink, vegan meringue situation give me energy anymore. Oh, I don't know. Feeling a bit lost, free falling. I just wish life, this, could be less complicated and more straight forward. What's meant to be will be. Life has a special talent for sorting these things out.

Today was also the Lucia Day in Sweden. In a winter wonderland. With icy streets. The only celebration I did was having the above cup of tea calendar love tea and a sweet breakfast with a friend. I haven't even baked this year's first batch of lussebullar (insert a face in utter shock). And I also had a really nice lunch with a LinkedIn-contact, who happens to live in my suburb.

And while I waited for her outside the restaurant today I noticed a little ol' lady with a walker coming my way. Suddenly I realised she had stopped in front of me. Thought she was having a rest or wanted to ask something so I smiled at her. And she said the sweetest thing "I just want to say that you are so cute. One gets happy by looking at you. Yes really cute." (I wore my fabulous happy coat number 1.) Oh thank you so much, how sweet of you to say so! True story. Apparently I appeal to the old folks of my suburb, remember the older gentlemen who complimented me in another sweet, unexpected way a couple of months ago. With all the things above going on, I needed this. The unexpected sweetness from a random stranger.

It's a funny thing, that when you get complimented by senior citizens on the looks, outfits, exterior features it's endearing and appreciated. It makes me happy, in an uncomplicated way. But if it is by people closer to my own age, if it isn't a very casual 'great dress, cute blouse, fab shoes' I so prefer to be complimented for my accomplishments, values and quirky intellect. Even if it's an incomprehensibly intellectual one.

From stress reactions, grump galore to the sweetness of unexpected compliments. Getting things written down, thoughts sorted, in blog public, is always liberatingly cathartic.

Hello, time out, much needed, we will get along swell, I'm sure. Tea and candles galore.

kränku tea calendar, 2017

Friday, December 08, 2017

the midnight falafel and other stories

fabulastic original drawing by jessica ritar, finally mine, december 2017

The downside of not blogging as much anymore is that you have an awful lot to write about once you do. So I thought I'd start with the above original drawing that I'd coveted for some time and which is now finally mine. I've always loved the quote "I'm incomprehensibly intellectual", had it for years on my travel card protective sleeve, which makes me smile whenever I use it. When I saw this drawing on Instagram a few months ago I knew it was meant to be.

The hair, the glasses, the slightly raised eyebrows, the not wanting to be in the picture, simply me. When it came on sale last week I went for it. Made by talented Jessica Johansson, @jessicaritar on Instagram, you can get both original drawings and prints (with a feminist vibe) in her shop plus she makes special orders. I'll get a frame soon and put it in pink office.

the tribe (fantastic dig sculptures by christina rosén), stockholm, sweden, december 2017
My spirit animal, much fiercer than she looks.

And continue to be incomprehensibly intellectual. Seeing connections where very few seem to understand. The oddball seemingly living in a parallell world not really getting people and the way they behave. Hello Weltschmerz. Some days more than others. And now and then you find people you vibe with, they get you and you get them. Then everything is alright in this world, that can be both beautiful and magical.

falafel at midnight, årstiderna organic food box, december 2017

Talking about odd balls, say hello to my first ever homemade from scratch falafels! My midnight falafels. Because being a vegan food ambassador this time of the Swedish year means you have to get cooking at very odd hours in order to be able to take pictures in the few hours of daylight you hopefully get. Thus at midnight the other day I cooked these so I could take pictures in the morning before I left for meetings. I think they turned out really well for a first time. Not really sure I will ever make the again though, I find the deep frying to be scary stuff, rapeseed oil is good for you, but the actual frying in a big pot with oil, creepy. And despite the kitchen fan the whole house reeked with the frying for a few days afterwards. But it was a great new experience, the process to make your very own falafels.

stockholm, sweden, december 2017 - christmas lights

Almost 2 years ago I signed up for a mentor/friendship programme for people new to Sweden, via Kompis Sverige. Never heard anything from them, I had important wishes about vegetarianism and non religiousness. I guess that sadly can be a tricky thing to match. However, now it has happened! I got a call a few weeks ago, and met my new friend via the programme this week. She's a vegetarian teacher from China. We talked about food, culture, philosophy, books, sustainability, you know, all awesome topics. Next time she wanted to see where I lived as child, so we'll take a walk around the now very hipster parts of Hornstull, Sodermalm ~

my keyboard is currently all wonky, I blame a certain cat for sitting on it when I turned my back. Be as that may, despite having looked through the internetz for a solution the Swedish letters and some symbols remain lost. Such a nuisance, that I will have to look into for real of course. I miss the precious dots over A, A, O. ~

which was nothing hipster whatsoever back then. Looking forward to learn about a culture so very different from ours, talk more about philosophy, books, life and plantbased food. And show the gems of Stockholm.

food stockholm, december 2017 -

Next week I'll rekindle with the career coach for international talents assignment ~ with a slightly changed client, which for some reason gave me new business cards, and spelled my name correctly without asking, life's little miracles ~ it will be good to do something hands on that can give great results for individuals and society within a reasonably short amount of time.

the tribe (fantastic dig sculptures by christina rosén), stockholm, sweden, december 2017

I think I've showed these quirky, adorable dog characters in blog before, but now in another context. When I stopped to take a picture of them the other day I realised that they remind me a lot of my team, in the most hilariously endearing way of course. Unfortunately I didn't find anyone who symbolized me so aptly.

the tribe (fantastic dog sculptures by christina rosén), stockholm, sweden, december 2017

But when I walked past the shop again later in the week I saw the above little sad, pensive dog though, which I immediately saw as my spirit animal. By her side was this grinning character. And that's me too, both sad and happy, brooding and proudly content. Passion and fierceness hidden behind a calm, innocent exterior.

If they weren't so expensive, which I think is quite right given all the work and talent that obviously have gone into making them (sculptor's name is Christina Rosen), I'd possibly buy them all. But also if I had that kind of money lying around I'd much rather get a shelter dog or two to love and care for. Plus my home isn't really that kind of stylish home that would make the perfect backdrop for these larger than life sculptures. So I settle for them making me very happy whenever I pass the gallery windows. And I got a few postcards of them. Also they have some limited lithographies of the characterful dogs, within a less daunting price range. And you should support local artists, in anyway you can.

vegan dinner and moctails, surfers stockholm, sweden,  december 2017 -

Apart from meetings and work I also had the pleasure to meet up with a friend via Twitter ~ Instagram ~ LinkedIn (social media, such a great source for meeting really good, interesting people, whom you can officially stalk to get to know) for vegan dinner at a restaurant I hadn't visited yet but had been on my Yelp~list for ages, Surfers. Nothing to do with surfing (except the interior) but food from the Sichuan province of China. A lot of spices and flavours. And delightful coctails and moctails too. I'm a lunch, brunch, fika kind of gal, not drinks and dinner, but when I on the odd occasion meet for dinner it's really lovely.

vegan dinner and moctails, surfers stockholm, sweden,  december 2017 -

I was going to write a few words on music, marketing, work, photography, Stockholm and Christmas time of the year too. But I do believe I've reached my self~appointed blogpost quota. There's always a next time for that.

I will however touch briefly on the pink vegan meringue~situation, which continues to obfuscate as well as delight me, and honestly, frustrate. If it was possible to just sit down and talk this through, find out more, I'm certain it would make complete and perfect sense. But as things would have it, it's factually impossible. Currently. Well, I said it was complicated in all sorts of ways, didn't I? And it's kind of typically me to find myself in a situation like this, not that I've experienced anything like it before, not at all. It's just the oddness, serendipitiousness, complicatedness of it that seems very me somehow. In the meantime I'm having many fascinating, illuminating conversations about the status with myself over a cup of tea in the company of cats. As one incomprehensibly intellectual naturally does.

Friday, December 01, 2017

hello december

kränku tea calendar 2017 - 40 years jubilee
Kränku tea advent calendar of 2017 - whatever did you do all through December before you found this brilliance?

Feels like pretty much every month this year calls for a "gosh, really gosh, where did the month go??". December first is no exception. I mean, only a few shivering weeks left of this year, how did that happened? How is it even physically possible?

After 2016 being one of my life's worst years, 2017 turned out to have been one of my best. Not without struggles, roadbumps and backlashes, since life isn't meant to be that way. But all and all, a year full of amazing insights and personal growth, great jobs, fantastic people - my tribe! - conversations, laughters. If last year was more about tears than laughter, taking a day at a time, surviving, this year has been more about laughter than tears. Momentum and moving forward. Pieces of the puzzle falling in to place in seemingly serendipitous ways. The best kind of way.

And there's still one lovely month left, if you can see past the glaring consumerism, people's silly self-imposed stress, gluttony and food waste of December, it's a pretty cosy month. When you can light lots of candles, listen to Christmassy music, drink copious amounts of tea and the odd glühwein, eat vegan lussebullar - just realised I haven't posted the vegan recipe of them yet, but it's very similar to this old one, just omit the quark, dairy and egg and use oat milk instead - and just be.

Admittedly the lack of daylight and sun these past few weeks - with global warming there's less snow and with that darker days - with it getting dark at 1 pm already (I kid you not) have turned me into a semi-zombie state. And it's pretty awful. There's only as much as vitamin D supplements and an overall healthy lifestyle can do to beat that. I basically fall asleep in the sofa in front of the TV every evening, completely tied down by a gazillion cats who think I'm the best human heater in the whole wide world. And I'm so darn cold all the time, because even if it's not very low winter temperatures these days (around +/-0 C) there's some crazy clammy nastiness indoors that not even the heat pump can completely beat. I bundle up like the Michelin man and try keeping busy. Dancing helps too.

On the topic of music I've been listening a lot to Cock Robin lately. Had forgot how much I adored them in my late teens. Looking at the videos is quite embarrassing, incomprehensible and daft like videos from the 80-90ies were. Were they even cool back then? And then there's the fashion, the hair styles. Oh dear. But the tunes have aged well I think. The singer's voice is still amazing, the sense of melancholy and sense of urgency is irresistable (even if he looks like he's going to wet his pants any minute. Watch this video for proof of that.) But as a thumb rule, you should never ever watch videos from the 80ies because they always completely destroy the magic of the music.

As it is December I thought I'd make a little summary of how many of the personal and professional goals I did reach this year. On the personal, merely two, but at least the best two. The skin condition and the new recipe every week. The skin condition, which is not back to normal but still so much better. Stress and worry are most probably a big reason behind it all, and with working a lot with that this year it has at least improved conciderably. Also I believe all that sun bathing past summer played a part of improvement. Plus possibly the recent addition of the Dermalogica Ultracalming serum to my skin regime.

And the try new recipes, well I have the vegan food ambassador gig to thank for that of course. Who knew such a thing would appear late in the year and help me with a personal goal? And the three personal goals I haven't ticked, they have been replaced with other things instead. The grief recovery process trumps everything, it has been worth its weight in many chests of gold.

As far as professional goals are concerned I'm happy to report that I've ticked them all. I may not "commute to work every day", but some days I "commute" so much more instead.

Looking forward to setting meaningful goals for next year. It will be fun. Especially when you see great results from previous year.

Last but not least, when someone you haven't known for a long time seems to know you a little bit better than you know yourself. And by that also pushes you outside your comfort zone. How do you react? Of course there isn't one easy for all answer to that. As it falls in the category of pink vegan meringues - which I've come to think of as an analogy for how much humans complicate things - my reaction now is a whirlwind of emotions, bewilderment being one of them. I don't know how it even is possible, as I don't concider myself an open book. Surely not, not even if you read this blog. Nah, obviously I'm an enigma wrapped in a mystery caught in a riddle.

Yet the fact that someone has managed to decipher me, challenge me, unlock things that have apparently been dormant, it does make perfect sense. It has after all been a year of constant revelations. And as one of my best decisions of 2017 has been to trust the process, I'm doing that in this case too. It's not easy to stop being my impatient self, but it is quite liberating. And as I did make a promise to myself last year, one that I'm not about to break, something I have only told one person, it's easier to be patient, intuitive, curious and a dash pious.

It is after all my Latin derived name. Not a name in accord with my personality, but that makes it just a little more... entertaining and easier to emotionally deal with meringue-wise. Which is more... interesting than being boring. Since it's equally important to be both serious and fun, to grow, but I refuse to be boring. Both on the personal and professional arena.

Welcome, dear December, please be as awesome and amazing as you possibly can be.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

start a fire

stockholm, sweden, november 2017 -

Rounded off a great, inspiring and (as an intro/ambivert) exhausting week with a cinema visit. Something I rarely do anymore, partly because to be honest I think movies are best watched in the comfort of your own sofa. Where you can pause, drink as much tea as you want, have pee breaks and not having to deal with uncomfortable chairs and people. Partly because there are very few new movies I find interesting enough must watchs for a hefty movie ticket price.

That said, I really enjoyed this movie. Despite not being a fan of the musical genre one of my favourite movies are 'Singing in the Rain' and 'La La Land' is the modern version of it. Granted I was a bit distracted by my own thought processes in the beginning of the movie but was soon immersed in the magic of colours (oh the dresses!), music, humour, dreams, love, life and drama. Emma Stone was simply brilliant, a well deserving Oscar winner obviously. The 'I Ran' scene is one of my favourites, her facial expression says it all, sweet revenge.

The melancholy of the 'City of Stars' tune is beautiful. And when I heard 'Start a Fire' with John Legend it was difficult to not jump up and dance. Promptly new favourite to living room dance to (in void of starry summer skies). I dare you to sit still.

Despite the ending being of the very wistful kind I'm not sure it would have been an overall better movie had it had a happy overly sweet Hollywoood ending. That said though, I believe that people whose paths cross that much are meant to be together. Yes, I know it's only a movie, but these things happen in real life too. It actually happened to my parents. I love that story. And one might say I'm the living proof and fruit of serendipity - perhaps that's why it's my favourite English word?

The upcoming week promises to be even more hectic. I'm not complaining. I adore and am deeply grateful for how so many things seem to fall into place this year, especially this autumn. But now and then my brain would appreciate a bit of slowness to adjust and accept. Then again I know that some weeks are conciderably slower than others and then I'm impatient and a bit peeved.

I've also become one of those daft people who look forward to the weekend. Ever since I started my own business I've felt like pretty much every day is like a weekend because I own my days. But this past year I've come to relish my weekends, or specifically my caturdays. For brain rest and oxytocin galore. Because as a general rule, no calls or demands.

But my basic notion is that it's such a precious thing, owning your days. I decide when, where and with what I work. And mostly I don't have to be available on specific times, if we haven't agreed on that beforehand. If I decide to have a day off in the middle of the usual work week I can. Because I'm my own boss. Which is gold, with a capital G. And whatever did we do before the smartphones?

As much as most of us, from time to time, are guilty of routine surfing and obsessingly checking updates for the dreaded FOMO (fear of missing out), I also believe it has brought so much freedom when it comes to remote work, freelancing, running your own business. Even if we also have to be aware of our own behaviours when it comes to living authentically, being present, the smartphone and the internetz in all its glory can never ever outdo the magic that comes from real life meeting with people and fellow beings.

Remember I wrote about the struggle of grey hair I don't care? I actually don't think a lot about that greyness these day (hooray, on the path of progress, a year older and wiser). What I've come to be annoyed about though, is that I feel that despite my new routine of weekly hairpaks the end bits of my hair begun to look worn. So I decided to cut it myself. A clean cut of 5 centimetres. And now I feel like it's about 20 cm shorter, and I will have to start the growing process all over again. Ridiculous, but never the less true for me. Oh the importance of hair.

On another lighter note of luxuary problems, I briefly contemplated getting a pair of new shoes. And for those who know me, you do know of my deep fondness for a special kind of shoes (El Naturalista and ART all the way, baby). But these days shoe shopping isn't without complications. Because of I no longer want to be part of consumerism, LOHAS is the thing. Always. And hand on heart, do I need another pair of shoes right now? Plus, do my best this days to stay away from new leather shoes, if it isn't recycled or non animal derived. So I decided against it.

Then I thought about how the things I want most passionately now are things money can't buy. And also felt that money can be much better spent than on shoes one isn't in desperate need of. Which would not have been a thought I'd much entertained a few years ago. Then I'd simply gone and treated myself. All these seemingy little, insignificant things that show progress. Can I choose not to buy a pair of coveted shoes, I can do anything. And so can you.

tant brun, sigtuna, sweden, november 2017 -

Monday, November 20, 2017

free me

stockholm, sweden, november 2017 -

Free by Francesca Blanchard is currently my absolute favourite tune. I adore the mood, her voice, the simplicity of the text that manages to convey so much emotions - and that she's fresh, natural and actually fully, simply dressed. So incredibly tired of the fact that too many great female voices and the music industry seem to think that the three letter word and skimpy dressed is the only thing that goes, that sells. So so outdated. - and since it isn't something to dance too I actually sing along until my voice is hoarse.

And I'm even more grateful for the fact that noone, but the cats in pure state of shock, can hear that. Remember that scene with Julia Roberts in the bath in "Pretty woman" singing (well, sounding is more like it) with earphones on? That's pretty much me times 10. But given I practise a lot on this every day these days, perhaps I'll get better. Kind of. (No, not really.)

Unless it's a super catchy dance tune the lyrics have always been really important to me. It's quite amazing that you can always find those special tunes that just speak to your heart and mind, wouldn't you agree? So currently I listen to a melancholy, emotional Spotify list of old and new songs on repeat. Not that I feel melancholy as such, but it's a really good list for thinking and trying to figure things out. Yes, good thinking music.

My top 5 + 1 tunes for this thinking business right now are -

Just for now - Imogen Heap
Let go - Frou Frou - 'cause there is beauty in the break down, what a lovely sentiment...
Look after you - Aron Wright - wait for the very last sentence...
Waiting - Aquilo
Heartbeats - Aron Wright

And the funny thing is that sometimes I'm just so delightfully clueless. I thought it was amazing how I was suddenly suggested really old tunes from my teens, twenties by Spotify, because they are apparently similiar to the ones I listen to now. Songs and bands I had actually forgotten I'd listen too, but that seem so very familiar to hear again. Oh internetz and your algorithms, you just keep playing your suggestive tricks, don't you? As well as reminding me of the fact that my taste in music haven't changed all that much in a few decades, just being a bit updated to the 21st century.

NB I wasn't a melancholy teen or 20 something, but these kind of tunes just strike something in me now and then. The always close to Weltschmerz part of me secretly rejoice perhaps. Be as that may, good for thinking dreamy music it is here and now.

Then I took a day off in the middle of the week, because as a sole business owner you need to have those days. To think about where you are, where you're going, what you want and not, what's working and not. Setting a path, at the same time as you're open to unexpected possibilites that might happen that will excite and delight you. Walked for hours, had a lovely lunch, took a gazillion pictures, felt so grateful for being where I am in life, here and now, in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, in the country I call home. Which, for all its flaws, by comparison is rather decent.

I also came to the conclusion that I am on the right track, where I want to be. Despite it's flaws, and lack of strategy and progress in parts, I'm so happy to have crossed paths with my tribe of awesomeness. And for that I'm of course willing to put the time and energy into turning this project on the right track of greatness.

Then I was contacted by a recruiter for a full-time 1 year gig. And as flattering as that might be it also gave me the chills of unpleasentness. Because the idea of full-time in an office with no flexibility and being restricted still give me the creeps. It's simply not the best and most productive way to use my skills, nor something I'd be happy with. Plus I don't have the time for a single full-time gig. So I declined. With just those reasons. Free spirit me talking firmly.

I must not loose my objective. Nor my path of doing what I love, the variety and mix of gigs is bliss, as is constant learning and growth. If I didn't have that I would be miserable. And that's no way to live. I'm still not rich in money - getting there, one little step at a time, despite the nuisance of leaky roof - but I'm so rich in experiences. And that's truly something to be grateful and happy about.

The week ended with some unexpected news, which I admittedly had secretly hoped for, something I'm possibly a tad more jazzed about than I should be. But who cares, it's a sweet feeling and it's my very own. When life, things are complicated and not as straightforward as most of us prefer, it's essential to make the most of those jazzy moments. Worry less, enjoy more. And listen to music that make you think. And dream.

stockholm, sweden, november 2017 -

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

organic vegan food inspiration

årstiderna organic vegan food box, march - april 2017 -

This will merely be an inspiring cavalcade of the organic, vegan food I've been cooking lately as a food ambassador for the Årstiderna vegan food box on Instagram (@veganskamatkassen). The recipes can be found on their website and in the appstore app (in Swedish). But if you find some dish/es especially interesting I'll happy to translate the recipe/s in a separate post. Just leave a comment about your favourite looking recipe.

årstiderna organic vegan food box, march - april 2017 -

This has so far been my absolute favourite dish. A very unassuming looking beetroot quinoa (served with salad, cabbage and carrots in a wrap), that's absolutely jampacked with texture and flavour (who new quinoa, raw beetroot, apple, raisins and a simple dressing of lemon juice, garlic, oil, salt and pepper could create such magic?).

årstiderna organic vegan food box, march - april 2017 -

årstiderna organic vegan food box, march - april 2017 -

Spicy bean tacos with avocado and grapefruit salsa.

årstiderna organic vegan food box, march - april 2017 -

årstiderna organic vegan food box, march - april 2017 -

Okonomiyaki with a spicy rice salad - such a nice new food experience!

årstiderna organic vegan food box, march - april 2017 -

årstiderna organic vegan food box, march - april 2017 -

Bangkok soup with rice and coriander - not a favourite flavour/texture experience. Love coriander, but the rest was just very basic.

årstiderna organic vegan food box, march - april 2017 -

food at home, october - november 2017 (årstiderna organic, vegan food box, food ambassador) -

Potato and leek soup with fried leek and pumpkin seed topping - the soup was really good (if not exciting) but that topping was fantastic!

food at home, october - november 2017 (årstiderna organic, vegan food box, food ambassador) -

Tartlets with creamy stew of asparagus, broccoli, carrot, leek and mung beans - just as tasty as beautiful. Just look at that gorgeous salad... Nature is amazing.

food at home, october - november 2017 (årstiderna organic, vegan food box, food ambassador) -

food at home, october - november 2017 (årstiderna organic, vegan food box, food ambassador) -

Saag aloo with chickpeas and spicy cucumber salad - let's talk about that pickled cucumber salad. I was very sceptical. Apart from pickled red onion I'm no fan of pickled veggies. Or so I thought. This was delicious and such a nice contrast to the spicy, hot saag aloo.

food at home, october - november 2017 (årstiderna organic, vegan food box, food ambassador) -

Spicy noodle wok.

food at home, october - november 2017 (årstiderna organic, vegan food box, food ambassador) -

Hokkaido pumpkin soup with turmeric and roasted corn and pumpkin seeds - absolutely delicious! That roasted fresh corn and pumpkin seed topping, fantastic.

food at home, october - november 2017 (årstiderna organic, vegan food box, food ambassador) -

Cabbage wraps with quinoa and pumpkin and pea hummus with turmeric - that hummus... oh my, tastiness! (Snoopervisors agree.)

food at home, october - november 2017 (årstiderna organic, vegan food box, food ambassador) -

food at home, october - november 2017 (årstiderna organic, vegan food box, food ambassador) -

Chickpea pancake with leek, squash and cherry tomatoes - I find chickpea flour to be rather dry and so was this pancake, but I'm basically just happy that I managed to fry and turn it reasonably unharmed.

food at home, october - november 2017 (årstiderna organic, vegan food box, food ambassador) -

Bibimbap with pak choy, mushroom, leek and carrots - very good. And that pak choy before cooking, gorgeous.

food at home, october - november 2017 (årstiderna organic, vegan food box, food ambassador) -

årstiderna organic vegan food box, october - november 2017 -

Seitan sausage in a bun with pickled red onion and Asian cabbage salad - I was surprised at finding a semi-finished product in the box (but granted I wasn't excited by the idea of making my own seitan sausage). Not very exciting as a meal. But I enjoyed the pickled red onions.

årstiderna organic vegan food box, october - november 2017 -

Wraps with quinoa, red cabbage, carrots, cucumber and peanut sauce.

årstiderna organic vegan food box, october - november 2017 -

Korma curry with chickpeas, sweet potato, cauliflower and tomatoes.

årstiderna organic vegan food box, october - november 2017 -

Latkes pancakes with hummus and tomato-onion salad - really good flavour combo.

food at home, october - november 2017 (årstiderna organic, vegan food box, food ambassador) -

The recipes are for two persons but in general I have no idea how hungry you have to be to finish all that food, so I can usually freeze the leftover food or enjoy it several days in a row. Very practical. I'm just so happy I got this chance - Instagram hashtaggery has certainly been very very good to me over these past few years.

I never enter any competition where it's just pure luck or a lottery (I'm never lucky in lottery anyway). To win by competence or talent is just so much more rewarding as far as I'm concerned. And even if this very honourable food ambassador assignment was something you applied for I consider it an Instagram victory - like the glasses, the dress, the Schwarzwald trip, the muesli, the wee sonny angel. Big, small and everything in between. The combination of image and words, my special winning combo apparently. And how lucky I am to be able to work with what I love. And eat and live the way I want, in a way that's beneficial for both myself and the planet. Lucky lucky lucky me.

NB the empty Årstiderna wooden crates are awesome for little excited snoopervisors too. Such a win win win situation.
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