Saturday, April 14, 2018

the pussybow blouse and other weekly snippets

#knytblus #knytblusf√∂rsara #pussybowblouse #feminism #sweden ūüéÄ, april 13, 2018

I do believe Spring has finally sprung in Sweden. Although given the fact that last year the last snow fell on May 9, we should probably be prepared for that this year too... But that said, today it was +15 C, that awkward time of the year when you don't really know how to dress weather appropriately. And you feel like a dazed, shabby mole sticking your nose out the door.

spring + √•got = ūüíôūüíõ, april 2018

Unless you're a cat, then you pretty much always look ypur snazzy best. And just absolutely love being able to roll around in the sun in the garden again after six long, dark, damp, cold months. And yes, I'm writing this on the veranda in the company of said furballs. Which is a pretty blissful way to spend a caturday.

I think I might call my week that was another cosmo geek one, which will certainly be reflected in this blog post. Let's start with some skin care.

moroccan rose superfood facial oil, dr botanics, 2018

One of my personal goals for 2017 - which remind me that I haven't set any obvious ones for this year, at least not in blog. Might still exist though, believe it or not - was to get my skin back to normal. Better but not quite there yet. Might be an age thing, might be stress, might be me not being great at sticking to strict daily skin care regimes. Be as that may. Work in progress, part of trying to figure things out, as life in general.

I then got this little bottle of a fancy serum from a friend, who couldn't use it herself because it wasn't compatible with her skin type. Moroccan rose superfood facial oil from Dr Botanicals. I'm not a huge fan of serums, they're super expensive in general and have never done anything miraculous to my skin. Perhaps I hadn't found the right one, perhaps my skin now is mature (like old cheese) enough to benefit from it.

Anyway. Opened this tiny bottle of the vegan superfood for face and was smittened at first sniff. Because that rose scent is absolutely irresistably delicious and calming. You only need a tiny drop under you're (not so) daily skincare, so the expensive bottle will last a long long long time.

That is, if your not too tired in the morning and make the fatal mistake of emptying practically the whole bottle over your left arm instead - I was afraid I'd grow a baby's arm due to that superfood serum overload, but I'm relieved to report that didn't happen. At this time in life I wasn't really interested in paying full pricey price for a new bottle, so I was so happy when the same friend picked up that someone sold a brand new bottle at Tradera (the Swedish version of Ebay).

And I was even happier I won the auction, the price was 75% less than shop/online bought. Well, won and won, I was the only one bidding, might be such a bizarre little product most people have no idea what it is anyway. Will. not. make. the. same. clumpsy. mistake. again. My precious.

I'm also thinking that when I've actually created an account and made my first Tradera purchase I will now do a bit of spring cleansing and see if I can sell things instead.

stockholm, sweden, april 2018 -

Sensitive readers might do well in averting their eyes from this image above. It is just what it looks like. A supersized blue willy painted on a wall. If it wasn't well in to April already I would have thought that it was an April's fool joke, but it isn't. It can be found on that same wall in Stockholm until Wednesday when it will be removed.

The background is that this inner city wall, in the district Kungsholmen, has been assigned to legal street art by the property owner. And every six months or so a new painting adorn the wall. However the motif of this particular painting hadn't been revealed to the property owner beforehand so at the denundation last week it came as a shock. The female artist claims it's an empowering mural, in the aftermaths of #metoo. She apparently painted another one in New York last year, a red one, and it was immediately removed as being offensive. Go figure.

Myself I can't see anything empowering (for women) in a yet another phallus symbol in a world overflowing with them already, it's just unsavoury. And if I was a neighbour to that wall I most certainly wouldn't want to open the blinds in the morning for six months seeing a gargantuan blue willy. I like the blue on yellow, but other than that I think the only amusing thing about it is the fact that it's painted just above the goods entrance of the supermarket chain Willy's. And that the carpark P sign points in in its direction. Just in case you've missed what it is.

The property owner said the nearby residents have complained (duh) and it will therefore only remain on the wall for a week. Hopefully replaced by art that actually is empowering.

Which brings me to another debacle of last week, involving the Swedish Academy, which is the institution behind the Nobel Prize in Literature. You can read the story in the New York Times article, so I won't write anything extensive about it. Again, it's just bizarre thing that shows the patriarchy is still alive and in parts thriving even in Sweden. The debacle stems from one of the academy member's French husband having sexually assaulted many women over the years, with the good memory of most of the other academy members.

This came to light with #metoo and ever since it has been an internal discussion that kind of blew up after the police investigation. Several members have resigned, the good guys, and now the female permanent secretary, Sara Danius, was forced out yesterday. Since it's a royal academy the Swedish king is also involved in this decision, and he is most certainly not known for his feminist views or his irreproachable lifestyle. All and all a most sordid story on so many levels.

Since Sara Danius - needle felted version at the Liljevalchs art exhibition last month - is well known for her fabulous outfits and fondness for pussybow blouses, yesterday many women (including myself) wore that in support of her. Hashtag #knytblus and #knytblusförsara on Instagram. Enough now, patriarchy, enough now.

I don't own a pussybow blouse at this time - but I should, they're lovely and I used to have a few of them - so I made it up with making a big bow of an old, gorgeous silk scarf I got in Venice years ago. That works too.

ootd, march - april 2018

Which brings me to the next topic, namely clothes. When I get rich, monetary that is - might be on my both professional and personal list of goals this year - high on my wishlist was a wonderful blouse from Marimekko. Yesterday I popped by the recently renovated flagship store in Stockholm to see if they had it so I could try it on. The model yes, the colour no.

This is my grumpy face before I tried it on, it's the yellow one hanging on the wall. No I will never master the decent angle full-length selfie, nor do I wish to. But it's nice to try it in a clean dressing room, compared to my full length mirror at home with a usual messy hallway. And I had a pretty good hairday.

Anyway. The blouse turned out to be of a spectacularly lousy fit. A really narrow bodice, if you're not tiny and flatchested don't bother, and oversized arms. Ah well, I saved myself not only money but also the disappointment and hassle of ordering something I'd have to return by courier.

book and tea, april 2018

I'm also happy to report I did finish that second book I had hoped to during Easter. As Anna Gavalda is one of my favourite authors, for her insightfulness of human nature and unique language, my only reason for not having finished it two yeasr ago when I got it is my lost reading mojo. But it was a lovely read, as usual. 'La Vie en mieux' isn't translated to English I think, but in Swedish it's called 'Livet vi drömde om' (The life we dreamt about).

speed meeting wallpaper, april 13, 2018

I still hope you keep your fingers, toes and paws firmly crossed for Ms Sustainability 2018, should know more this upcoming week. However I don't have the luxuary (?) to passively wait for other people to make their mind up on things that very much involve my life. Thus I continue to be open and curious about other possibilities.

So this past week I went to a really nice speed meeting at a recruitment agency I already knew. Similar to the business speed dating I really like, but it's only you and a recruiter for 15 minutes. You have to tell your very condensed story, the whats, hows, whys and wants during that time. And let me tell you, 15 minutes go fast. Really fast. But it was lovely experience, and just look at that gorgeous wall paper they had in the room. How about that for a fabulastic sign of great things to come?

vegan lunch at sturekatten, stockholm, sweden, april 13, 2018

After that meeting, which took place in their office at the same street as Sturekatten, I had a sweet solo lunch at just Sturekatten. Turns out they have vegan options there now too, I opted for a fine lentil soup and a cup of tea (of course). My favourite cafe in high school, countless cups of teas and apple pies accompanied by philosophying and giggles have been consumed there over those years, it was nice to be back. Rarely visit these days, for various reasons, but I highly recommend it, a Stockholm classic.

stockholm, sweden, april 2018 -

Rounded the week off with being contacted by a recruiter via LinkedIn about a job at a startup where they wanted a "rockstar copywriter". And as much as I'm allergic to that startup buzzword rockstar this rockstar unicorn that - whatever is wrong with simply having many star qualities and great capacity, values and visions? - I was intrigued by the company and its vision (and they quoted Nelson Mandela) so I said I was interested.

Who knows if it'll lead to anything that's a great fit, or if it was just one of those generic, highly unreliable contact efforts from recruiters who hasn't really checked you out at all despite what they claim? For now I'm just calmly curious and Ms Sustainability 2018 fingers crossing in a confident pussybowl blouse wearing way.

You've been pretty great and overall interesting so far, April, let's keep it that way, okay?

Sunday, April 08, 2018

fingers crossed for ms sustainability 2018

vegan banana split, april 2018 - ben & jerry’s x 2, coconut cream, chocolate sauce and peanuts

One of the reasons I moved to this suburb of mine early 1990ies was that it's the countryside with close links to Stockholm city - about 30 minutes with commuter train - fresh air, grand views, woods, walks, a serenity you will never get living in the city - which I love obviously, but I would never ever live there again. Inner city born and spent my first five years there before we moved to the suburbs, on the very opposite side of the city where I live today - I need room to breath, less people, crowds and traffic, more nature and green spaces. Might be the introvert me speaking. Or just nature loving.

Unfortunately things have changed a lot since I moved here. There has been a generic building frenzy these past 10 or so years, with no care for the beautiful green spaces. Instead of using the already built upon places, like obsolete tennis courts, industrial (non toxic) areas and so forth the county politicians (no matter political colour) see it fit to bulldoze nature and the important green open spaces. In some unholy alliance with building companies, which obviously isn't unique for this county, but close to home makes it easier to grasp.

One of the more recent bulldozing is based on some crazy idea that we need yet another shopping centre out here. As if the large shopping area 10 minutes drive from here, including IKEA and an outlet village and other shops, isn't enough. Agenda 2030 and encouraging consumerism aren't compatible. I'm so tired of politicans not making such simple connections.

Off with the woods, blast the rocks, build even more ill planned, fugly, generic houses. Don't forget to make sure it's easy accessible by car alone, no need for public transport. Oh, and we need a gas station too. Nevermind the Swedish strict regulations where gas stations can be built vs residential areas. Sure enough, after the gas station built was well on its way someone suddenly realised that building permit was illegal. Obvious to anyone but the permit giver.

To this new part residential, part shopping area a new, supersized Coop supermarket has moved. Previously situated a couple of kilometres down the road, easy acessible for the nearby neighbourhood and a few bus stations away from where I live. So instead of renovating an already working supermarket within easy reach for the customers by walking, biking, bus and car, they saw fit to move it and erect a new building with no easy access unless you live very nearby or have a car.

Building in 2018 should be all about sustainability and careful, smart planning, with practical solutions that don't revolve around cars and driving. Quite possibly too little too late, but still to be this *insert foul words of choice* stupid, ignorant and negligent is not acceptable.

That said, it seems like this new supersized Coop hasn't become as popular as they thought, partly because the nearest bus station is three kilometres away and you have to walk through a muddy construction area not fit for pedestrians to get to and from there. So Coop offer free, special bus rides there twice per week.

They don't exactly advertise the service. I've taken that bus once, last month. We were three people on it. And that's the usual quota. Ill-advised *service* is a kind word for it.

Coop makes a big deal of this new supermarket being sustainable, green and everything extra awesome. Myself I see food waste galore. Because there is simply no way they get that abundance of food sold while still edible. I don't like supermarkets, I want small, independent shops or at least smaller grocery stores that take the vast food waste problem seriously.

That said, this post has now reached the top of the grumpy, muddy hill and it will now be a breeze of positivity, sunshine and grand views on the easy walk down.

vegan food, march 2018 -

When visiting the Coop I discovered they had suddenly catered much more for vegans and there where a lot of new, organic brands present too. So I was admittedly a bit starstruck by that fact, in all my grumpiness. If money wasn't an issue and had this residence many mouths to feed I would possibly had bought a lot of nice, tasty, green things. But I settled for some old favourites and trying some new ones. Amongst them nicecream.

There was a whole wall full of different vegan icecream brands. I have never seen something like that, it was amazing. Hadn't tried the Ben & Jerry's vegan icecreams, but since I never liked their original ones which I find to be overloaded with sugar, I was most certainly not going to spend my money on a tub of that. No I had my eyes set on a Swedish brand. Until I saw the price, jeez. So in the end I went with a tub of Ben & Jerry's vegan chocolate fudge brownie, because surely that was cheaper than a nicecream that clearly had gold dust as a secret ingredient?

It was only after I checked my receipt that I realised that it was in fact 15% more expensive than the other one. I was in shock. For a nicecream I wasn't even that keen on. I'm such a fool.

I was really sceptical when I opened the tub. Had a spoonful. Died and went to nicecream heaven. Turned out it was in fact one of the best vegan icecreams I've ever had. Smooth, flavourful and not too sweet. The amount of chunky brownie bits in the chocolate was perfect. Did not find any visible gold dust though, which is surprising.

No plans to get another tub anytime soon, if it wasn't on special price. But then I had the homemade chocolate sauce for the Easter dessert (no, I haven't forgotten about the recipe) left over. And bananas. And always un-sweetened coconut cream in the fridge. Banana split sounded like a nice thing to make. So I needed nicecream.

Once again I was fooled by the B&J price, and saw another price than it actually was. In fact even slighty more expensive than the first time. April's fool I.

I'm afraid I'm well on the path of becoming the (not) so crazy cat lady that buys really expensive vegan icecream, because I'm worth it.

vegan banana split, april 2018 - ben & jerry’s x 2, coconut cream, chocolate sauce and peanuts

However, when I made the banana split that price seemed well worth its literally weight in gold. Because needless to say, this bowl of chocolatey, peanutty banana split was heavenly. Easy peasy to make, a banana (organic of course), whipped coconut cream (un-sweetened), a couple of scoops of B&J chocolate fudge brownie and peanut butter cookies, drizzle with chocolate sauce, topped with crushed peanuts.

sonny angel, march 2018

The third part of this post will be about work. Because on Thursday I got a call from Denmark about an interview for a communication position at a well-known, international environmental organisation, for their Stockholm office. I applied for it a couple of weeks ago, but while I don't doubt I'd do a great job and tick a lot of important boxes on their wishlist, the competition must be absolutely fierce, it's such an amazing opportunity.

The interview was scheduled for Friday already. It was a lovely meeting, I would love to get the job, a six months gig. Such a fantastic chance to make a real difference and work with passionate and like-minded people. Two details that warmed my heart at the meeting, there was a huge delivery of Oatly iKaffe oat milk in the kitchen and the head of communications had swam with manatees, twice. Obviously the position screams my name.

As usual I went into analyzing overload mode after meetings like this, what did I say, what didn't I say, what could I have presented better, what did they say, how did they react and act, what if, how come? But, as usual, what's meant to be will be, I can't do anything else but trust the process now. And no matter what I was so pleased to get the interview, I will always treasure that fact.

So, dear universe and the internets, fingers, toes and paws crossed firmly now, okey? If I could I would treat you to a heavenly vegan banana split to get you into a magical and powerful mood for it. But since I can't I will send you an abundance of kind thoughts of gratitude instead.

Yours sincerely,
Ms Sustainability 2018

PS The Ms Sustainability 2018 expression is courtesy of my ex-team mate, he had some brilliant and entertaining ideas along the way. When I think about that the whole situation is even more sad and incomprehensible. DS

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

finding your feet over easter

sonny angel, march 2018

It has been a rather fine Easter weekend, after all. Two years later.

finding your feet, good friday, march 2018

:: Hadn't been to the movies since "La la land", "Finding your feet" was a sweet, funny and melancholic British comedy, perfect for Easter. It's never too late to find your true tune.

McVegan & co, sweden, 2018

:: Hadn't been to McDonald's for years (for obvious reasons, I'm not loving it) but I've been wanting to try the McVegan burger since it launched in December. The burger is made in cooperation with the Swedish vegan company Anamma. It's nice, worth a try, but not something that turned me into a repeat customer. And certainly not a satisfying, well composed meal that leaves you happy for a long time.

lovikka cap and green companion, march 2018

:: Put the finishing touches to a couple of caps I've knitted a few years back. The purple Lovikka cap was for my mother. Better late than never she got it now. One of my personal goals for 2016 was finishing old knitting projects. Well, that didn't really happen. Made the same goal 2017, but after these mittens nothing else were finished. My heart and mind just hasn't been into it. But these simple finishing touches and finally completed projects, it was very satisfying. Every tiny step.

sonny angel, march 2018

:: Walking, thinking, sunshine, cooking, eating, reading, sleeping have also been lovely parts of my Easter weekend. If you haven't watched 'The Miniaturist' or the movie 'Still life' yet they are still available on SVT Play (in Sweden) and shouldn't be missed. Haven't read the book 'The Minaturist' but the TV-series is captivating and beautiful like an old Dutch painting. 'Still life' isn't exactly cheerful (understatement) but it's so well-made and endearing and in the end I just bawled my eyes out in a very liberating way.

vegan cooking, jan - march 2018 -

:: Cooked pulled jackfruit for the first time. Have eaten it at various restaurants, sometimes delicious, sometimes they clearly had no idea how to prepare it right. Been meaning to do this for years, and finally I did. Surprised at how easy it was, took a couple of hours of slow cooking but the result was very satisfying. The glazing was too spicy for my liking, so next time I'll make it milder. Very nice to serve with turmeric rice and fresh veggies of choice.

Again, nature is amazing and offers so many intriguing, tasty plantbased options. There is absolutely no need whatsoever to inflict so much pain and suffering to other earthlings and the planet to get food. We should know better in 2018.

vegan cooking, jan - march 2018 -

the vegetarian, march 2018

:: Since I have lost my reading mojo, again, I have a lot of unfinished books lying around. I got 'The Vegetarian' by Han Kang just before Easter and promised myself I would finish it plus another book over the weekend. I did finish this one, am only half way through the other one. But have high hopes of finishing it this week. Not sure what I think of 'The Vegetarian', part one and two was strong and intriguing, part three was much weaker and the ending was abrupt and awful. A very unusual book that made you think though, and it's only around 200 pages so it's a quick read.

vegan snickers dessert and pelle, april 2, 2018

:: I made a lovely vegan Snickers-dessert - Snickers is a Swedish candy bar with chocolate, toffee, peanuts and biscuits - which Pelle loved too. And no, just like with dogs chocolate isn't good for cats, but it was a quick and brief tasting. I'll share the recipe in a separate post.

sonny angel, march 2018

:: Got news that I'm apparently on the Top 20 List of Swedish Lifestyle Blogs to Follow. Can't say I have much, if anything apart from being Swedish, in common with the others on the list. But being an odd bird is of course something I enjoy, as usual. Thank you for the award, it's lovely to know someone still reads and appreciate my random shares and snippets of life as is.

sonny angel, march 2018

:: The large fly in the Easter ointment was that I managed to strain my right gluteal muscle in a major way yesterday, when I alas didn't do something exciting but simply had one of those very unfortunate, very un-glamorous accidents at home. Silly me. It has been like a serious delayed onset muscle soreness, a non visible bruise and doable indoors. However, going out with the garbage today, about 200x2 metres... jeez. Hobble shuffle along with a painful grimacing face. Had plans, but think I and my heine needs a slow week.

Goodbye Easter, hello April, 
please be kind and brilliant.
Yours truly and grateful.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

organic vegan food inspiration, part 3

årstiderna organic vegan food box, food ambassador, march 2018 -

Looking for some lovely food inspiration for Easter? Look no further, time for some more delicious dishes from my vegan food ambassador gig. And again, the recipes can be found on the √Örstiderna website or in the app, only in Swedish. So if something tickles your tastebuds please let me know and I'd be happy to translate the recipe. Possibly a bit better than Google translate.

årstiderna organic vegan food box, food ambassador, jan-march 2018 -

Creamy curry stew with mango salad. The mango salad was unfortunately awful, since it turned out the mango was no way near ripe. The stew was nice but basic.

årstiderna organic vegan food box, food ambassador, jan-march 2018 -

Mushroom-bean burger with fried onion, tomato relish and potato wedges. A bit of work but so very good, rustic and satisfying.

årstiderna organic vegan food box, food ambassador, jan-march 2018 -

Onepot with tomato sauce, beans and fried mangold. Tomato sauce based dishes aren't my favourites, but it was quite nice. Well, if it hadn't been for the fact that the fresh rosemary figs fell apart in the pot and I had to fish them up one by one. The fried mangold was a lovely addition.

årstiderna organic vegan food box, food ambassador, jan-march 2018 -

Fried pita bread with avocado-ruccola cream and spicy chickpeas. So easy to make and delicious.

årstiderna organic vegan food box, food ambassador, jan-march 2018 -

Yellow peas tikka daal with minestra cabbage. Just lovely and flavoursome.

årstiderna organic vegan food box, food ambassador, jan-march 2018 -

Baked sweet potato with tikka daal, coconut and couscous salad. Often you save half of the dish from the previous day and incorporate it with the dish the day after. Great way of making two different dishes of one. As much as I love sweet potato I think this dish would be better with a usual potato though.

årstiderna organic vegan food box, food ambassador, jan-march 2018 -

Rainbow paella with portobello mushroom, carrot, minestra cabbage and turmeric. Melt in your mouth comfort food deliciousness.  

The top image is of one of my favourite dishes so far, amazing flavours. Quinoa-squash steaks with warm beetroot-apple-mungbean salad. First time I tried the natural egg-substitute - more natural than eating eggs obviously - psyllium husks as binding agent for the steaks. Worked brilliantly. 

One of few greens I dislike are capers, I forced myself to use them that week and I'm surprised how great flavour addition they were in every dish. That week's four dishes were all amazing.

årstiderna organic vegan food box, food ambassador, jan-march 2018 -

One pot pasta with tomato and capers. Revelations: a) you can cook pasta in the actual sauce instead of separately in water. Fabulous. b) If you use a very generous amount of (rapeseed) oil when you fry the garlic/onion the sauce will taste so much better. c) Capers add flavour without overhelming. d) A  simple tomato based pasta sauce can actually be really very good.

årstiderna organic vegan food box, food ambassador, jan-march 2018 -

Buddha bowl with quinoa, mungbeans, avocado and sweetpotato. Delicious, the grilled sweetpotato added a caramelized flavour to the dish.

årstiderna organic vegan food box, food ambassador, jan-march 2018 -

Curry stew with sweetpotato, aubergine, coconut and spinach. Again, use a generous amount of oil when you fry the vegetables for a more creamy, delicious (feline approved) stew.

årstiderna organic vegan food box, food ambassador, jan-march 2018 -

årstiderna organic vegan food box, food ambassador, march 2018 -

Maccheroni pasta with pumpkin cream and warm squash-tomato salad. Loveliness.

årstiderna organic vegan food box, food ambassador, march 2018 -

Curry stew with chickpeas, butternut squash and broccoli. Nice but basic.

årstiderna organic vegan food box, food ambassador, march 2018 -

Cauliflower 'pizza' with black beans, avocado salsa and cashewnuts. To be honest this was by far the worst dish through all these months, a waste of cauliflower and tomato sauce basically.

årstiderna organic vegan food box, food ambassador, march 2018 -

Seitan tacos with black beans, roman salat and avocado salsa. Lovely.

√Örstiderna organic vegan food box, food ambassador, march 2018 - beetroot kornotto with beetroot-apple salad

Beetroot cornotto with beetroot-apple-hazelnut salad. The cornotto is made with spelt corn. And it's delicious.

årstiderna organic vegan food box, food ambassador, march 2018 -

Organic vegan food inspiration 1
Organic vegan food inspiration 2

Happy cooking, tasty, kind Easter weekend, one and all!

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

trade in your darkness for the light

dog walk, sweden, march 2018

When I began writing this post I was really angry. But before I hit publish I thought about the "Be responsible for the energy you put out in the world" and decided to sleep on it. And here is the much shorter version, still angry and disappointed, but I'll omit the worst, unsavoury details.

The anger includes myself because in hindsight I feel like a fool for trusting people I obviously shouldn't have trusted. For being open and willing to take a chance at a new, much less structured way of working, which went so awry. Will not make that mistake again. Even free spirits need basic structure. And trust is earned, partly by clear and transparent communication. And since I'm not usually gullable, the whole thing feels... bizarre. What. was. I. thinking?

Wish I could just let The Project That Became A Mess go, as a very important life and work lesson. But unfortunately I realised while going through my papers and invoices for the annual closing I'm still missing payments for it. A fact which obviously has added another layer of disappointment, hurt and anger to this whole mess.

So not only did I a) agree to a subpar fixed payment (since the work had so much promise for the future, in various ways) for a job that turned out to need a whole lot of more hours than originally stated -

and I who always want to do a great job, since it's important to be proud of your achievements, did put in more work and hours because to get the consistent quality level and attention to details that was needed -

b) I haven't even gotten all the payment I should have.

For me it's an important sum to get, for a well-managed company it would be penny ante.

However, since bitterness is a useless emotion, just like worry - what have I learnt from this? Well,

1. I will never ever again go against my instinct, experience and adopt a laizzer-faire attitude in work when it comes to agreements, communication and structure. This was the first time I did, and look what a mess that turned out to be. Duh, says lawyer I.

I realize this was a rather special situation and circumstances, but really, had we just set aside a few hours before we jumped right in this could have mostly been avoided.

2. I don't care if people, future team mates, think I nag and repeat, nag and repeat, nag and repeat, because seriously, it. is. so. very. important that we discuss, get everything in writing and have the solutions to what ifs and different possible scenarios well sorted beforehand. For everyone involved. Stress less, be more focused and productive.

dog walk, sweden, march 2018

Another thing to feel better, stress less and come up with solutions to tricky situations is to go for long walks in nature. Which also boosts kindness, happiness and creativity. As I haven't been able to do that much for these past couple of months due to all the snow and ice, I found it both incredibly elevating as well as exhausting when I've so far had two long dog walks in the sun and wind two days in a row.

No, I'm not a dog owner again, it's one of the neighbourhood dog ladies who needs help with walking her sister's dog (who she is currently caring for, one of the cuties I practised my dog whisperer skills on). She's such a sweet tempered labrador, but she is also very strong and needs someone who can hold the leash and keep up with her. Even I find it a bit laboursome, but perhaps it'll give me som serious upper arm muscles.

Funny thing is that the dog sitter think I and Mynta (the herb Mint in Swedish) match eachother so well. Walking side by side. Although, important detail, Mynta has a very special swagger and wag her bottom quite noticably. I most certainly don't.

I still miss having a dog of my own again, but it's also a responsability for someone who needs more of my time and not least structure, compared to the cats, perhaps I'm simply not there yet. And just as I believe that the above work experience with it's ups that ended in a serious down was meant to be, for experience and growth's sake, I believe if a doggie is meant to be it will happen.

Much like songs come your way when your mood calls for them. And even if it's difficult to believe I don't only listen to Haevn these days, this dreamy thing with Celine Cairo is one of my current music crushes.

From darkness to light, from anger to music that soothes a weary soul. As life is. And with winter phasing out, spring, real spring is just eager to step in and take charge. I do believe this will work wonders for the body and soul. And not least bring opportunities and new beginnings. Which I welcome with open arms and a curious, eager mind.

Friday, March 23, 2018

at a cemetery in freiburg i sat down and wept

prosit in freiburg, schwarzwald, germany, october 2016 -

Today it's exactly two years since M passed away. And as important and healing as the grief recovery process was, the subconscious mind works in mysterious ways. I've had trouble sleeping these past few weeks, a general sense of worry persistently present. It was my mother who pointed out the time of the year, this week the date, next week Easter, which used to be my favourite holiday, now forever linked to death and sorrow. Even if the grief isn't ever present, far from, I believe this time of the year will be tainted by it all for a long time. That is simply how life, and death, works.

That day when I by coincidence - which are life's little messages to tell us we are not alone - ended up on a bench at a cemetery in Freiburg on a beautiful October afternoon and cried my heart out seems awfully far away, like a distant, memorable, bittersweet dream.

I've come so far since, looking forward to going much further. In fact this week I took another step in that direction, a step so far outside of my comfort zone I'm still surprised I did it - but it was such an obvious thing the future Pia would have been angry about if I hadn't.

Someone pinged me on a 2 weeks gig as a teacher in social media at a journalist education in Rwanda, I applied. The course would take place April 2-13 already, so I didn't have time to think it over. And I didn't really expect getting a reply. But I got swift and great feedback, which then got me really stressed, because was I ready for this, with such short notice? But luckily, for now, they chose someone else for this gig, though wanted to get in touch again for the courses this autumn. Which I think sounds awesome and give me time to prepare. What an amazing experience it would be, wouldn't you agree?

This week also held a really interesting, inspiring as well as dispiriting sustainability forum at my old Alma Mater, Stockholm university. With topics like How can we achieve Agenda 2030 in a polarized world as is? The future of food, how do we get consensus on the importance of plantbased diets and health and non food waste? The world's crazy dependence on oil - the topic that interested me the least, but it was so enlightening and heartbreakingly scary - and How can academia, the business world and society work together for a better world?

vegetarian lunch / fika, fru marias bak, älvsjö, stockholm, sweden, march 23, 2018

Rounded the week off with having a lovely lunch and much needed, long talk with the one person that has been undoubtedly, undeservedly more bruised by the hurtful mess. The whole situation is a different kind of sorrow to work through. To learn by and move forward from, wiser and stronger.

Which in the end is what every setback, sorrow and disappointment is, a valuable experience and opportunity to change, grow and become a better human being.

As usual music helps a lot in the moving on part of life. This week I'm happy to see that George Ezra's new record is out, Get away is my favourite from Staying at Tamara's so far. And even happier to hear Haevn's first single from their first record to be - Back in the water. Everything they make seems magic to me, always beautiful and soothing. Music always makes sense, even when life doesn't. That in itself is magic.

Monday, March 19, 2018

my cosmo geek week, part II

sonny angel, jan-march 2018 -

As a creative I need to replenish inspiration, energy and joy regularly to feel and perform as best as possible. Luckily I'm pretty easily inspired by little things around me - as well as unfortunately easily caught by the Weltschmerz notion, given the world situation in general and people's ungraspable and un-compassionate behaviours. Though always grateful for my "grounded in happiness" personality - but sometimes you need something with extra oomph.

Such as a museum visit, a great conversation or a long walk in pretty surroundings. Given the icy streets these past couple of months (!) there hasn't been a lot of walking alas, but museums are great. Especially when you get to experience so many lovely, inspired works of art that your heart kind of overflows by awness.

Granted I rarely get a lot of that when visiting the annual spring art salon (since 1921) at museum Liljevalchs. I just find the level of quality and originality of the chosen art pieces to be crazy varied, more than half of them seems like silly nursery style jokes. Also this year the quality level varied a lot, but I saw more lovely pieces than I'd ever done before.

As I wrote in my part I post, my number one favourite was, which I obviously can relate to on a very profound level, "Kerstin shall save all the animals" by Kristina Nilsdotter (her mother is the model). But some other favourites were these -

liljevalchs vårsalong, stockholm, sweden, march 2018 -

German philosophers with cats by Gabriel Jonsson

liljevalchs vårsalong, stockholm, sweden, march 2018 -
Rabbit with carrot by Simon Fergin - crocheted with recycled T-shirts

liljevalchs vårsalong, stockholm, sweden, march 2018 -
The bulldog Rolf by Mari Juslin - partly made with old nylon stockings

liljevalchs vårsalong, stockholm, sweden, march 2018 -
Explorers by Olof Astrup Hällqvist

liljevalchs vårsalong, stockholm, sweden, march 2018 -
Breath in - breath out, a year with yoga by Stefan Bennedahl - 365 clay figures in yoga positions

liljevalchs vårsalong, stockholm, sweden, march 2018 -
Parts of them by Therese Isabelle Olsson

liljevalchs vårsalong, stockholm, sweden, march 2018 -
The Introvert House by Sofia Runarsdotter (photography)

liljevalchs vårsalong, stockholm, sweden, march 2018 -
Snow leopard, ghost of the mountain by Emelie Bäcklin - sculpture in faux fur

liljevalchs vårsalong, stockholm, sweden, march 2018 -

The Pig mother by Mathias Lyngman

liljevalchs vårsalong, stockholm, sweden, march 2018 -
Academy member by Monika Eriksson - I think its the spitting image of Allyce Beasley, but it's suppose to be Sara Danius, the permament secretary of the Swedish Academy.

liljevalchs v√•rsalong, stockholm, sweden, march 2018 - 
Fir tree by Leif Engström

liljevalchs vårsalong, stockholm, sweden, march 2018 -
Sculptures by Mari Pårup

liljevalchs vårsalong, stockholm, sweden, march 2018 -

I wish I was beautiful as a swan, could fly and wear red high heels by Vanja Jonebring Arnell

liljevalchs vårsalong, stockholm, sweden, march 2018 -
Station 9 (paper babies) by Bea Szenfeld (Swedish fashion designer who is also vegan)

liljevalchs vårsalong, stockholm, sweden, march 2018 -

A cherry kissing herself by Kristina Brandeus Kirkkopelto

liljevalchs vårsalong, stockholm, sweden, march 2018 -

All this creativity and quirkiness, such happiness!

:: Which brings me to another cause of happiness of mine. Namely these little tykes, Sonny Angels. Inspired by the American Kewpie doll this Japanese collector's doll is a wee cherub, an angel boy - with all his little bits on full cheeky display for some reason. I wonder why it isn't a gender neutral doll or at least half of them boys half girls - with quirky headgear and sometimes upper body clothes (like Donald Duck). It is said to bring good luck, comfort, protection and happiness. I can certainly vouch for the latter at least.

Just like the darling bobbaloos they are lovely little photo props. Though since they're made of not wool but plastic - which is a material I usually shy away from as an environmentalist, but... - they can jump into liquids and food and be easily cleaned afterwards. Plus they don't need to travel in a special hard case, but a soft pouch will do. 

The last time I welcomed new arrivals to the Scandinavian bobbaloo settlement I alas had to pay a hefty postal and customs fee, which granted was really unfortunate after all these years of uncomplicated delight. Many of my bobs have been through a lot of adventures over the years and are *a bit* shabby, so they have been retired from most commitments. And the talented maker Kit doesn't seem to be making new bobs anymore. Thus obsession of fondness for little happy, colourful beings have been shifted to these angelic guys.

I got my first one about four years ago, a carrot headgear (of course). Followed by cherry blossom (naturally) and morning glory. Then I won an Instagram competion (like I do, now and then) a year ago. And I suppose that was the start of my obsession of fondness for them. A perfect treat for yourself when you've accomplished something great. Or need a comfort treat for that matter.

Sonny Angels come in 9 regular series, with 12 dolls in each. 4 animal series, 1 vegetable series, 1 fruit, 1 marine, 1 flower and the latest one, sweets. Plus they have different special series now and then, like chocolate, Ladur√©e, Happy birthday, Easter, Halloween, Valentine, Christmas. In every series there are additional secret Sonnys that are more 'valuable' and very hard to find. The angels are supposed to be bought in blindpack in every series. Which means you never know what you pay for ie can get the exact same one again and again and again... 

I've been lucky enough to find and bought most of mine as display figures, which is great. I have some series full and have been even more lucky to get my hands on a few secret Sonnys. I still can't believe I found the very illusive secret unicorn. Still waiting for my smashing good luck and fortunate events to come knocking big time though.

Until that happens I enjoy the company of these wee angels, the inspiration and simple everyday joy they bring. Which help keep me healthily silly, young at heart and in mind.

food stockholm, february 2018 -

:: Refilling my travel card last week I ended up doing that with a very chatty ticket collector. Who exclaimed "What a funky jacket you have! Where is it from? My wife would love it! She shops a lot at Gudrun Sj√∂d√©n." I really hope one wouldn't mistake my fabulous happy Marimekko Pienipioni coat for a Sj√∂d√©n coat. As grateful and happy as I am for my Schwarzwald trip, I obviously do enjoy the odd garment from her now and then, I also have issues with the brand concerning a lot of other things. Not least her recent appalling views on women's financial status in society, lack of insight in power structures and feminism, link to article in Swedish.

Still, grateful for the unexpected, kind compliment, as always.

happy lights hallway mirror, march 2018

:: Three years ago I got a second set of the irresistable Happy lights. It took until last week for me to assemble it. Oh, procrastination. I was so pleased to finally get it done. Tured out though that alas a) the colours of the pretty balls, in colours I had so carefully chosen, weren't at all the same colours lit up as unlit. Too red and warm for my liking, b) the danger of them becoming irresistable kitty toys is imminent. Have survived one night, I sincerely hope that is how it will stay.

vegan waffles and rawfood cake, älskade traditioner, stockholm, sweden, march 2018

:: It took 2 years until I got a buddy match via the Kompis Sverige integration project. And then it took us a couple of months to have our first meetup. But now we've had one, my new friend and I. A long vegan lunch and fika accompanied by a lot of talking. At one of my favourite cafes, √Ąlskade Traditioner. My new friend is a vegetarian teacher from China. Our conversation involved many of my favourite topics, like vegan food, religion vs kindness, philosophy, culture, education, love, books and languages. 

Looking forward to meeting her again, think it'll be a museum visit on the agenda next time. If the weather hasn't picked up, allowing outdoors activities. It'll be great to follow her progress in Swedish too, given we only talk in English for now, easier that way.

vegan waffles and rawfood cake, älskade traditioner, stockholm, sweden, march 2018

:: Rounding off part II of my cosmo geek week post with being immensely grateful that all my latest proteges in my coaching gig have now started their respective internship at different companies. All that hard work put in + companies genuinly interested in helping = the warm and fuzzy feeling again. I'm sure they will have great 12 weeks internships, looking forward to meeting them all again in early June. 

Having finished the major part of this gig I am now open for new gigs and jobs again. As I said I will be braver this year and open to other opportunities than I've concider before, without losing the importance of being true to myself, I've actually applied for some interesting full-time jobs too. Hopefully and fingers crossed I'll at least get a couple of interviews from that. It's about high time I find my kind of people now too. Really.

I also firmly believe that there are a lot of companies out there in dire need of a Chief Happiness Officer who also take introverts' needs seriously. Do get in touch, I'm here to help!
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