Thursday, March 23, 2017

one year later

A year that in a strange way has been the shortest as well as the longest in my life so far. A year not only filled with deep sorrow but also resilience and an incredible amount of growth. Acceptance, gratitude and glimpses of happiness.

After the devastating fact so much and yet so little has happened since. Be as that may, I'm so darn proud of myself. Wherever I am today it's okay, we all manage sorrow and life differently and looking back I've achieved lots even if it doesn't feel like it some days. I'm not quite there yet, financial stability and serenity is not, as far as I know, within my reach just yet.

However these past few weeks have been a whirlwind of emotions, filled with very personal meetings as well as professional. I'm still quite dumbstruck as to what I've achieved and experienced in March alone. This March.

One of my features is pride, accepting defeat and asking for help does not come easy. I want to cope with things, solve my problems on my own. With the end of my company's financial year coming up very soon I realised things did not look well. Thought a lot about different plausible solutions. One of them being to contact M's parents asking for help. Given everything that happened between us during this year I'm sure you can understand how utterly deeply uncomfortable that was, I thought I'd close the door to that part of my life since writing that letter in September.

But realising I needed to solve a pressing issue and coming to terms with the fact that noone will thank me for my pride in this case and the only one with something to lose would be me. Also - what would the future me thank respectively reproach me for? So I bit the bullet. The very uncomfortable bullet. And to my surprise it turned out to be an easier bullet to swallow than I would have ever thought.

Without going into any details - but actually those details would be fit for a long blogpost about human behaviour, the far from uncommon notion 'if we don't talk about it it hasn't really happened' and communication gone awry - I got the help I very much needed. Without any discussions. A rather substantial weight has been lifted from my shoulders. Not every weight is gone, but still a big one. 

And even though I obviously remember how rubbish their behaviour over the year have made me feel, I understand now that a large part of that has been due to a strange lack of clear communication. And I do believe I've come to the forgive stage, even if it can't be forgotten or changed, forgiving is moving on. 

The next step, a new year. One year later.

Sunday, March 05, 2017

saffron semolina pudding

This is a simply brilliant little dish of irresistable yummy goodness - recipe adapted from a lovely vegan cookbook published by Djurens Rätt (Animals' Rights), Swedens's oldest and largest animal rights organization (of which I've been a proud member since I was about 7 years old) - and so simple to make!

food at home, january 2017 -

Saffron semolina pudding
2 servings

2 dl oats milk
2 dl oats cream (Oatly iMat)
4 tbsp semolina
1 dash of salt
0,5 dl caster sugar
0,5 g saffron

Serve with raspberry jam (or other jam of choice)

Stir all the ingredients together in a pot. Let to boil and let it slowly boil for about 4 minutes while constantly stirring. Pour it into little bowls, let the pudding cool and set. Serve with jam of choice. I definitely recommend raspberry.

Enjoy the smooth deliciousness!

food at home, january 2017 -

Monday, February 20, 2017

hello mid-february update

Dear Blog, it's been almost 4 weeks since I last wrote

Writing a summary of these past few weeks I can ascertain that at the same time as my life hasn't changed radically, a lot of baby steps have been taken in the right direction. Although, as very very grateful I am about those steps and kindness shown I, literally, can't afford to be patient as such... 

But at the same time I as I most certainly hasn't been lazy on my part I also have to trust the process started I suppose. It's a tricky thing, for a worrying kind like me that wants to have a resonable plan, to be independent with a financially secure platform so I can be open for all the wonderful things that can happen, to be mindful and just trust life.

But since it's my year of learning like never before I guess I just have to embrace this journey of trust.

So what has happened since last? Highlights and lowlights? Here goes the very short version (I actually wrote a longer one yesterday but decided it isn't very interesting for anyone other than myself, so short version it is) -

:: Rememember I attended a seance in November? (Which did help me with the trust thing above.) Did so again in late January. It was even more intriguing, heartwarming and comforting this time. As usual it's a completely anonymous and very unpretentious gathering. The only thing you bring is an open mind.

:: The very unusual, but seemingly right and important assignment I was about to start in February? Well, to be honest it may be a good thing still but at the same time it's much more time-consuming than I was led to believe. And since I don't get paid for the actual time I put in but by a fixed rate it's definitely not something I'll be able nor inclined to do for more than a very limited time. In fact, no surprise, I feel used, the serf thing showing its ugly head again. And really, I'm angry at myself too for not thinking more about the numbers before I accepted...

That said, I believe we're suppose to be where we are at a particular time in life and time, so in order to not dwell on these obvious negative facts I'm adamant at doing a good job, help the participants and look at is as something pro bono for a greater good - which I wish I could afford doing but can't at this time in life. I too need to pay my bills and put food on the table and in the cat bowls - for a very limited time before I move on to reasonable hourly rates again. And of course it's a great learning experience and opportunity to meet new people, with very different experiences from mine.

:: I've tried out quite a few new recipes, food and baking. So I'm all on track with that goal for 2017Will share the best few in blog soon.

:: I've gotten myself a pretty lovely new cat shirt. It falls in the ambigous category not a must have yet a must have. If I had the money I'd bought other fabulous kitty garments too. Perhaps it's a very good thing I couldn't. No need to flaunt the (not so) crazy cat lady persona that much.

:: 2012 - the year I started my own business - it was time to get a new identity card (for us that don't have driver's licences). And oh how I fretted over the picture. Which turned out to be much easier and hassle free than I had expected, photo booths these days are pretty great. 5 years later it was time to get that identity card updated. And this time it turned out to be one of the least customer friendly experiences I've ever had so far (touch wood). But now it's finally sorted and done, despite the time consuming customer unfriendly stupidity. What a difference 5 years make.

:: I won another little competition on Instagram. This time a Sonnyangel of choice. They're of course nothing like bobbaloos, but still adorable little beings (and rather addictive if you have the money to collect them I think). I chose one from the Valentine 2017 series, you can't chose the exact one since they're suppose to chose you (at least when you order online). But I'm happy to say I got just the one I had a particular keen eye for. The pink bunny.

Her/his first food outing was the top one. A Swedish fika-shake, have you ever seen such a glorius thing?! I made a special order so the mylkshake is vegan. And it's sparkly!

:: I've also managed to sneak in a cold of some sorts. It was almost 2 years since last. I'm so grateful I don't have to deal with the regular nastiness of colds and flus that lasted some weeks anymore, touch wood. They are fewer, far apart and much milder than they used to be. Thank you, linseed oil and ginger. (And no dairy of course.)

Hope your February has been a lovely one!

Friday, January 27, 2017

when the going gets tough...

prosit in schwarzwald, october 2016 - sunflowers in heidelberg

... the strong get growing.

Ever since that devastating Wednesday 10 months ago my rollercoaster mind has pondered over how to turn devastation into a positive change. Things happen for a reason, and when they are meant to happen there is nothing we can do about it but accept. And grow through the pain and sorrow. Thank you resilience, my friend.

These past few months I've been thinking more and more about how I can share this journey of mourning - that we all will go through sooner or later - and connect it with my professional dreams and goals for the future. Without turning it into a pity party, sob story or unsavourly utilize the death of a loved one. (Because believe you me, those thoughts have also crossed my mind.)

But we all have deeply personal stories, and generally it's the struggles and heartaches that turn us into better and more compassionate human beings. Sharing is caring and perhaps me sharing my story, my hopes and dreams can help someone out there. And myself too.

And finally two weeks ago the words came to me. I wrote an article for LinkedIn - which I find to be the best channel for reaching a wider audience with a story, message and asking for help - When The Going Gets Tough, The Strong Get Growing.

I believe that we should all be more open, honest, personal (without being limitlessly private) and unafraid to ask for help. And I'm definitely not a person that ask for help easily or usually. At least not before the year that was. Be more fearless asking for help. Be more fearless in general. Without losing your self-preservation of course. Be strong by being vulnerable and open.

So I shared my story and asked for help, from friends and contacts, and the response during these two weeks has been overwhelmingly loving and kind. I've had lunches, meetings, suggestions and offers. I've put in a lot of thought and work, and learnt a lot. It's been exciting, exhausting and energizing.

I'm not quite there when it comes to my part-time employment goal/dream for 2017, but on my definite way, and I had a lovely meeting today about a really great, unusual but also very right and important new assignment (thank you again, LinkedIn) that will start in February (yes, January has just flown by!).

So if I don't blog as much as I used to, it's just because I'm busy building my new future.

I promise to write the post about my wonderful Schwarzwald experience as soon as I have the inspiration and time. And I have tried a few new, vegan recipes - yes, the 'one new recipe per week' goal is well on track - that you really need to try.

Feel free to read my article, comment (if you're on LinkedIn) and share. If we're not already LinkedIn-connections I'd be happy to connect (if you write a personal note so I know where we've 'met' of course).

Have a lovely oxytocin-filled weekend, one and all ~

luddkolt's british shorthair, january 2017 -

Saturday, January 14, 2017

caturday is for oxytocin

Ever since I started my own business, 5 years ago now, I haven't made much distinction between weekdays vs weekends. Because I've felt so very fortunate being able to be quite flexible of when and where I work. Tuesdays and Wednesdays can be just as much weekend as Saturday and Sundays. And vice versa. The freedom of it all is as much holiday as 5 weeks scheduled summer holidays. 

However this past year I've come to treasure my weekends and especially my Caturdays. I've made them my obligatory one day per week when I make sure not to think too much, just be. No worrying, just lazying. Reading, knitting, watching TV, cooking, eating and most of all cuddling. 

The main part of the day is in fact spent stretched out in sofa with cats on my tummy, lap and legs, wrapped around my neck, sitting on the sofa table eagerly patting me on the arm for more cuddles.

I love my Caturdays. They are for filling up of oxytocin. Gratitude and love from a not so crazy cat lady.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

my professional goals 2017

hi! december 2016

From personal to professional, this post will be all about my 5 (main) business goals for 2017. I only ticked off two of the five goals I had for 2016 - getting 3 new clients, long and short-term + be better at follow up with people/potential clients.

But with 2016 being a rubbish year (with, granted, glimmering highlights) I'm glad I ticked any goals off at all.

This year my enclasping goal will (obviously) be to reach financial stability and independence. With worry comes incentive. I have to trust that everything will be alright of course. But that doesn't mean I can settle down and just trust that everything decent and great will land in my lap all by itself (besides my lap is already full of cats). I have to work towards it, without losing myself, my values and visions amidst it all. And I believe that if we put ourselves out there the universe will give more back.

Here are my 5 goals to get there -

  • Do at least 1 active thing per day with the enclasping goal in mind - it can be book lunches and meetings, write articles and posts on LinkedIn, reach out to people and network, research potential clients or places of work and so forth.
  • Take an online course - one of my goals for last year that I never accomplished. One of the topics I had in mind then, and have been for a long time, has been graphic design. As great as it is to be able to pass inquiries on to friends and contacts, it also seems a waste from a personal point of view when I could be able to offer both copywriting and graphic design in my own package. Maybe 2017 will be the year I start this journey?
  • Commute to work - I read this nifty article about secrets to homeworking success. And while I already tick most of those boxes I don't tick the 'commute to work' one. I've been meaning to go out for a walk every day for ages, but the truth is I haven't. I have a tendency to overdo it, instead of a short walk every day I go for longer, brisk walks and then end up with muscle soreness because I overdid it and then end up feeling blah about it. Until I overdo it next time. I need to get a bit of regularity without overdoing it. And if I look at it as commuting to work every day (without the awfulness of rush hour traffic!) it might do the trick.
  • Get 3 new clients - just like the ticked goal last year, at least three and for both long and short term jobs.
  • Be active and open to part time employment - as much as I do not want to be chained to a desk 9-5, deal with rush hours and office politics, I do feel I need to be part-time part of some greater goal and working with likeminded people. As much as I love the freedom of working for myself and being fortunate to do it at (mostly) my own terms from my home office I do lack the opportunites to make a real impact for a a greater sustainability cause which can only be achieved working with others. To inspire and be inspired. 

    We are all constant works in progress and what you feel you want and need one year might very well change next year. Especially so if your life changes drastically. It's all part of my process of redefining myself I guess. There's no perfect time to make a change, just the now. Noone knows what will happen next year, next month, next week, not even tomorrow. Some times I'm really good at being patient, others not. The now is my (very) impatient time.
Bring on the good times 2017, 
I'm ready to go get going!

Sunday, January 08, 2017

my personal goals 2017

Last year I began my new tradition of setting 5 personal (plus 5 bonus) and 5 professional/business goals respectively. For devastating reasons out of my control not many of those were reached. But I'm really grateful and happy about those I did reach.

Like the personal ones; travel alone abroad, get rid of the runny nose, give at least 1 bag to charity each month. I've way surpassed the last one, so many big, black garbage bags with clothes, fabrics and stuff have gone to charity in 2016. The very smart thing that I didn't know about until last year is that you can call your charity of choice and they come pick all that stuff up. So I didn't even have to worry about the fact that I have to get someone with a car to drive me and stuff to the shop. I'm so very grateful for that. Circular economy is a fine fine thing.

I will definitely continue with my cleansing of clothes and stuff in 2017. It's such a liberating feeling. With the goal being to just keep things I really love (which also is a lot, but more graspable) and am inspired by. I will not set it as a goal for 2017 though, seems pointless when I already know that a good, regular cleansing has proven to be good for the soul, so I'll not have any troubles continuing with it.

Remember I also signed up for a mentor/friend-programme for people new in Sweden? Obviously a couple of important criterias for me were that the new friend-person I matched with was vegetarian/vegan and non-religious. Which apparently and sadly are really tough criterias, I never did hear back from the mentor/friend-programme... Despite that I signed up this year too, maybe things have changed.

So first up my 5 personal goals for 2017 (the professional ones in another post) -

  • Improve my skin condition back to normal - 2016 was a bad bad year for my skin too. I've previously blogged about how difficult it has been these past few years to find great skincare products that fit my both sensitive and often dry skin, but things brightened up when I began using Dermalogica and Bare Minerals. Though with all the sorrow and stress last year things have become so much worse than ever before. Since I eat healthy and well, don't drink or smoke or have any other bad habits I take it as a very visible sign of a worrisome year. It might be rosacea, I had that checked years ago and it wasn't then, but who knows if that has changed. I need to do something about this now, time to face it. No pun intended.
  • Start a new hobby - I've been thinking about joining a choir of some sort for many many years. And taking a vegan cooking class. Perhaps 2017 will be a year for that?
  • Try a new recipe every week - I know, it was one of my goals of 2016. It didn't happen. I've obviously cooked a lot during the year that was, take out-meals have been non-existing all year for financial and logistic reasons. But I've mainly cooked ol' reliable recipes or just improvised something depending of what I have in the freezer and fridge. Now is the time to try new things regularly. I've already cooked three new recipes, so I'm on my way for a 52 new dishes year!
  • Finish one old knitting/crocheting/sewing project every month - another one of my 2016 goals that didn't happen. Still think is a brilliant and worthy goal, since I'm notoriously bad when I'm close to the finish line. I've already finished the first project of the year, these mittens for my mum. Next up, finishing either a scarf or mittens for me.
  • Seriously clean up two rooms that I basically use as lumberrooms - not my proudest moment to admit this to the internetz, but there you are. And most of the stuff piling up in those rooms will obviously go to charity. One room I will also repaint and turn into a craft room (finally somewhere to have my sewing machine, yarn, fabrics and beads all in one place). The other room used to be the guest room, it will continue to be even if I'm not very keen on having guests as such. But it's nice to have a fresh spare room.
I won't set any bonus goals this year. These will keep me quite busy. (Plus as a now sole provider I really need to concentrate on ticking off the professional goals.) And obviously I haven't set any goals like yoga or meditation (the first really failed miserably last year, the other one just petered out). I think it would be great to do something or other like that, perhaps I'll have another go one of these days. Without setting any goals obviously.

How about you, any special personal or professional goals for 2017?

Sunday, January 01, 2017

goodbye 2016, hello 2017

luddkolt's british shorthair, december 2016 -

2016 will go down in history as my worst year ever. And one of the planet's worst too. I'm so relieved it's finally over. For me the sudden death of M has haunted the whole year, even if the grief process doesn't come to an end just because the clock chimes 12 on New Year's Eve you shouldn't underestimate the symbolic power of being able to close the door to an awful year.

In a few months only it's a year since he passed. A year. A whole year. That's nothing short of crazy. I still find it unbeliveable that people who've meant so much to us can just be snatched away from one day to the other without prior notice. They're just gone, no chance of goodbye. Suddenly the only thing left is memories.

Amidst all the sorrow, worry and stress of the year that was it was also a year that forced me to take a good, hard look at myself and my life, continue to cultivate resilience, make changes, reinvent myself. Something that is an ongoing process obviously. But it was a year of growing up, in many ways. And part of that growing was the lovely Schwarzwald trip - yes I'm well aware of that I have yet to write something more substantial about that experience. Stay tuned.

I've also realised that the people I call(ed) friends and family are much fewer than I thought. It's an uncomfortable part of the sorrow process to realise that you really don't matter that much to those people, that those so called friends have evaporated because apparently the words 'supportive', 'care' and 'kindness' aren't part of their vocabulary and lifestyle. And some of them have in fact been plain nasty. Nothing like the death of a loved one to get people to show their true colour.

Clearly I need to find some new friends. And see the above mentioned ones as acquiantances, people I once met on the path of life, they may not have been reliable in the long run, they still meant something then but not anymore.

On the other hand I'm deeply grateful for the other part of the social coin during the rough year that was, people and the few friends who have gotten in touch regularly with kind and encouring comments, letters, postcards, emails and offers to talk, suggestions of reads, jobs, possible clients. Some of these things have been surprising and very special. Thank you, thank you, thank you. From the bottom of my heart.

Now I'm looking forward to a wonderful fresh year full of amazing possibilities and new beginnings. Dreams and visions. It feels exciting, it's an important year, so much needs to happen, must happen. I will make it happen, you will make it happen, we will all make it happen, right? Right.

Happy, prosperous, meaningful,
kind, compassionate, peaceful
and inspired year
to all earthlings ~

Saturday, December 24, 2016

the holiday called christmas

I hope you have a lovely holiday season and get to spend it just the way you want it and not just in a way that's expected with a lot of musts and shoulds.

Needless to say mine isn't very happy as such, but I get by with the help of cat cuddles, books (and things can't be too bad when one actually manage to read instead of brooding), marathon watching of 'Location, Location, Location' and lots of cups of tea. 

The book heap above consists of 5 read (bottom) books and 5 currently reading (top). I would grade the read ones 2-4, perhaps I'll make a review one day. And I hope to finish the last 5 before December is over.

I'm also very grateful that the snow and ice have completely melted away. Hooray.

Hopefully I'll have the inspiration to blog a bit more before this awful year is over - I am so so looking forward to a fresh new year of inspiration, great work and happy days! - and I'd really like to write that/those post/s about Schwarzwald... But for now, have a lovely Christmas!

Now where's that saffron bun that's calling my name...

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

goodbye november 2016

As a stark contrast to wonderful October my November has been an uninspiring blah month. The stressful mess of substitute buses, the crazy snowfall, chaos in traffic, icy streets that were so limiting (because even if one works from home it's obviously a must to get out for walks and a bit of socializing regularly. 

But the tension with trying to navigate forward on icy streets, well that's not an option if it can be avoided), the fact that Yelp suddenly shut down its operations all over Europe (so no more Yelp Stockholm events only the options to continue writing reviews and upload photos), the mad outcome of the US election, more sad news regarding climate change and the point of no return. Brooding and mourning. It has certainly been a month for an abundance of that. Reading, watching movies, cuddling cats, drinking a gazillion cups of tea has been my blues remedy, but no inspiration for blogging. Obviously. (And the Schwarzwald thoughts post will be left for another month.)

Though putting together the #november2016 for Instagram I realise it has also held some really great days and stuff. Only overshadowed by all the blah.

So - I will never again complain about reasonably rainy days, because they wash away any icy streets and aren't difficult to navigate only liberating.

The #VeganVikings week with Yelp Stockholm, Oslo and Copenhagen (at least it ended with a bang) - it was lovely. Even if I couldn't take part as much as I would have liked due to those darn substitute buses. But a vegan dinner, a lunch, a breakfast and a wonderful rawfood fika, that was sweet too.

During that week, on its worst possible day - because my bus/train was 1,5 hours delayed and her train 3 hours delayed... - I rekindled with a friend I hadn't seen for 7 (!) years. It was via her and her then boyfriend (who was a childhood friend of M) I met M all those years ago. She and I studied law together back then. It was lovely to meet up again, hopefully our contact will be much regular than once every 7 year from now on... 

- On a side note I learnt that her then boyfriend and M's childhood friend also suddenly passed away in November. Even if we hadn't had any contact for many years and he didn't come to M's funeral it was sad to hear of another too early passing. And how odd that both M and he doing it so unexpectedly and only a few months apart. This year has held so much deaths of good people. And with every passing I hear of my own sorrow surface again.

On an especially blah day, when even more snow fell, I decided to make a snow angel in the garden. (Things that is possible to do when you don't have a dog that has hid pooptastic secrets under the snow.) And despite my hair looking scary gray (no of course it must be snow, of course) it was so much fun. Making snow angels it's impossible to be sad.

Then on the last Sunday of the month, first of Advent, the snow unfortunately began to fall again - hello nasty, icy streets - I went to a group seance with my mum. Simply because I'm open and curious. There are so much in this world we don't know about, things we can't explain. I'm all for having a healthy sceptical attitude, there are many charlatans out there, but I also believe it's important to have an open mind. 

You are completely anonymous and whatever message you get there is no possibility whatsoever the medium could have researched you beforehand. I'm deeply grateful I went. I got a personal message, even if it wasn't a greeting from a special person but more general it was so very accurate with details I've never told anyone. I should have taken notes perhaps, but I remember the most important things. And the one thing that made me tear up once I was out on the snowy streets of Stockholm again was the detail that there's a little bright, happy dog that accompanies me. That's such an endearing, comforting notion. Little Loaf with his liquorice nose.

It was an emotional Sunday, but a very good one and it gave me more reason to really trust that everything will be alright, it really will. I will continue to work on my focus, my goals, but it is also high time for this worrying kind to enjoy herself more.

The last Sunday of November also held the purchase of a gorgeous dress. My intention was only to have a wee look at it in the Marimekko store - it's the same fantastic Pieni Pioni pattern as my coat, only in red, grey and white for a perfect winter dress - but when I tried it on it was simply to perfect to not get. Wonderful heavy viscose crepe fabric, brilliant cut. And pockets. As the coat was a symbolic birthday gift for myself, this dress is the same for Christmas. Bring on the good times.

The month was rounded off with a rare movie visit - 'Fantastic beasts and where to find them'. Loved it. A perfect simple way to end a month of much blah on a light note.

Goodbye November, you were a rough month but in hindsight a good teacher.
Hello December, please be bright, kind and awesome.
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