Friday, November 30, 2007

NaBloPoMo, day 30

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... and just because I made it through all these 30 days not missing a blogpost a day - and since it's Advent's Sunday this weekend - I'm feeling generous enough to offer these treats of either saffron muffins or the special Xmas edition of carrot cake.

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If you're nice enough to leave a comment below I just might consider being even more generous sending them your way irl...

The Giant Princess Cake

Indeed, this day has turned out to be exactly that kind of day when one should have stayed in bed, or possibly curled up in the sofa, not even contemplating taking a step into the outside world. Ah well, home again, safe and semi-sound, at least I can see the humour in it all, even if it's so unbelievably clumsy, unnecessary and an inkling pitiful...

When I finally was on my way to the hairdresser's I thought that it was kind of a fine day despite the unbelievably gloomy, foggy weather. Music in my ears, being in a good mood, looking forward to a bit of pampering and a nice lunch on the town afterwards. Getting off the c-train at Karlberg station, tripping along in my Wicked Witch of the East-boots, kind of humming one of my favourite songs, wearing The Winter Coat - the very pale green, delicate, living-dangerously-in-the-Scandinavian-climate-coat... - when I suddenly felt oh no, now I'm actually tripping very factually, in slow motion, with my bags and kind of making a poor imitation of a breakdancer swirling on the dirty ground, ending up jiggering like a giant Princess cake.

I'll spare you the more gorie and embarrassing details - like this wasn't enough you might think, but really, I obviously had to have that icing on the cake to finish the whole spectacle off... And the music didn't stop playing - that song, one of my favourites, will now forever be tainted by this silly incident.

I quickly, perkily got on my way, the hairdresser TG(IF) being only a few blocks away, where I discovered the poor beautiful coat had been severely stained, my stockings were of course ruined, a bit of grazing and bruising here and there, something happened to my left middle finger. And oh yes, my poor ankle that I've sort of disregarded for quite some time now was once again badly strained. I suppose it's drycleaning and a doctor's appointment on the agenda for next week.

I'm not generally clumsy, honestly, but nevertheless I manage to make these completely unexpected hustle and bustle tripping over in very public with a certain charming regular irregularity. Sometimes when I'm on my own, others when I'm with friends. Friends who still like to reminiscence those stupid occasions - and yet, I still call them friends. And well, apart from the sometimes ruined clothes and the pain, I find it more than slightly amusing myself. Not everyone get the chance to make a breakdancing Princess cake imitation in public. With icing on the cake.

Incidentally, how does one tag this post, how about "Stockholm" since it happened here, "sweets" and "food" because it involves a Princess cake, inedible but still. "Sweden"; the Princess cake is very much a Swedish cake. "Illness"; my poor ankle and a bit of grazing - and yes there was blood involved too! - "Humour"; the only way too look at it. "Haircare"; on my way to the hairdresser's. "Entertainment; for some. "Shoes", "clothes", "NoaNoa", "iPod", "music" all played - no pun intended - important parts in this tripping story.

That Kind of Day...

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Looking out the window today, you really feel like doing this...

However I'm off to my hairdresser for some pampering, which is kind of neat too. I'm even bringing a piece of this with me - hopefully she doesn't read this beforehand... - chocolate raspberry chili truffle cake. Which turned out to be a veritable taste-explosion, subtle yet distinct, of chocolate, raspberry and heat. Divine... If you like raspberries, chocolate, nuts and a bit of oomf that is.

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Eagle

I don't watch much TV, well all things are relative, like when there are a whole lot of high quality English suspense series on..., and oh yes, good movies. And interesting documentaries. But other than that I've more or less drastically stopped following all sorts of TV series. I've never been an indolent watcher, but I have watched my fair share of series through the years. Some simply amazing, and they have left a tangible feeling of sadness when they're over, others have been rather a waste of time, in hindsight. So I've decided to stop waste that kind of time, and save it for some things better.

I can't see myself completely in lack of TV though, since besides all the obvious waste-of-time- crap-TV-shows, there are many interesting, moving, mind evolving things to be found there too. Like things Danish. As is probably rather obvious by now, I do think many nice things - one blatant exception being the, well, non-pleasing-to-the-ear-language... - stems from Denmark, some of those things are a decent amount of really good movies as well as TV series. The last episode of the third season of one the best series I've ever watched has just been shown here - Örnen (The Eagle). I'm not sure if it's the last episode ever - that would be such a shame!

Because it's truly a magical series, with a hint of the preternatural. Every single little detail is thought through, from plots to characters to music to... Suspense, intensity, sceneries, photo, credibility, actors... As far from anything in the American action genre you can come, since it actually makes every little bit of human kind's nastiness horrifyingly plausible and tangible, and leaves you on pins and needles through every episode.

The main character, the eagle himself, is brilliantly played by Jens Albinus. His "only" obvious flaw being his continuously wrong, and totally incomprehensible, choices when it comes to love and relationships.

This is how TV series should be, intelligent as well as entertaining, real, credible, captivating, beautifully made and giving heaps of food for thoughts.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Next Step

Yesterday. Actually, I did something as neat as going to a job interview. And for quite a swishy job too. I'm not 100% sure this is really what I want to continue doing with my life, but it certainly is a step in the right direction to get to the next level and get an interview. At last someone who can actually appreciate my CV and read between the lines. So whether or not I'll be called to a second interview for this job (next week), well, I won't brood too much if I don't. At least I got the opportunity to present myself irl, which can always lead to something else another time.

I've learnt to really trust my gut feeling when it comes to job interview-situations too - something I didn't do when I was interviewed for my latest job, which obviously got me into a whole lot of unnecessary trouble. But I've learnt that lesson, learnt it oh too well perhaps. It has left me a both stronger as well as a weaker person, though I think those two sides of my personality get along well in a more insightful, relaxed and overall content person, inside out, so who am I to complain...? - and this felt quite alright.

Some template questions as usual - and I won't even bother to pretend I have some pretentious, hoity-toity, grand career plan which will lead me to "the goal" in five or ten years time. I want to be a satisfied, content person living a life with a healthy melange of private life and job. Of course I have dreams, plans and passions, just not any specific career goals as such. Strangely (?) enough I don't think I ever really had them either. Which might come as a surprise to some, since I've always been consider that kind of gal who-will-most-likely-excel-and-succeed.

But what is consider to be a success? And what is really a successful life? I'm pleased, very pleased, to know myself, my thoughts and ideas, my passions, my innermost me, my pros, my cons - which is always a work in progress to minimize - everyday I learn a little bit more. And no matter what I do or will be doing in five, ten or twenty years time I'll be doing a heck of a good job!

It doesn't make me less of a person, and for sure not less of a good employee, just because I don't have a grand career plan. Who knows what might happen during those five years, who knows what happens in a few month, next week, tomorrow even? Do your best, excel if you can, here and now. -

and some unexpected ones. How much do I want this job on a 1-5 scale? How good am I at computer issues on a scale 1-5 - which is completely unanswerable since I don't work with computers, I only use them as a work tool. I'm sure not even the nerdiest computer nerd knows everything about all things computerish, the word being specialist... And I'm very far indeed from being a computer nerd, I probably know more than I think, I get by just fine with what I know, I learn new things all the time, some areas interest me others really don't and if I had to learn more I'd most probably have no problems with that either - and do I have some special travel destinations I recommend?

Oh yes, how was my university grades? And even if they could have been better, for sure, I realized I'm settled with them. I'm so much more than those grades. I actually managed to have a life and evolve as a person during my university years. And a bit of insightfullness, compassion, openmindedness, life experience and problemsolving attitude has never hurt when practising law I believe, practising most anything really. I much prefer that from being a Jill-in-the-office kind of type.

I've never seen the purpose, or reason, of being nervous at a job interview. All I - or anyone for that matter - has to do is being myself - or well, if we're talking anyone I'd much prefer if they are themselves and not pretending to be me at their job interviews... - and hopefully painting an accurate picture of me and my skills. Then it's up to someone else. Either they decide I'm the one they want, the one that will make the right complement for their company, or they don't. Perhaps they make a mistake, perhaps they don't. Not much point in brooding over it. Although, actually, come to think of it, brooding is one of my fortes...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Terms of Endearment

It has been an exhausting day, both mentally as well as physically, and I feel drained from wordly inspiration. So I'll keep it very short - remembering this is the last week of NaBloPoMo... - and just say it's been an absolutely beautiful, chilly, sunny early later autumn/early winter day in Stockholm, with a very special light for us who had the opportunity to actually enjoy some time outside when the light from above was still turned on.

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I'm sure I'll feel more inspired after a good night's sleep - right now I'm just going to join these blissful furry ones in the sofa with a princess cuppa. Life is good.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Silly Stuff On Wilbur

Just when I thought I had found it in my heart to forgive her for all she put me through the other day - in the end I just couldn't resist giving in to that cosy bed warmer... But, just look at this, so silly, so very Stuff On My Cat, and I don't think it flatters me at all. Not a bit.

Granted it wasn't the #1 human slave who did this - she was busy acting bed warmer - but the other one, the adjunct, who got a bit carried away when he saw my pretty face with a dash of smugness, ah it isn't easy being this adorable, it's darn hard work, all the time.

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Sunday, November 25, 2007

Goodie Bag

The second time I met Anne was at a small garden party I held for some friends and acquaintances some years ago. If my memory serves me right they all bought nice little gifts for the hostess, but one of those gifts really was a bit extra.

And from someone I barely knew at that time, but whom I've come to call a friend - and not only because of that mind reading gift of some extraordinarily lovely soaps back then - namely Anne.

One of the interests we have in common are that of cosmetics and beauty products - for some strange reason I have *very* few other friends who care for this essential stuff... - and we are completely unanimous about the excellence of products from Bath & Body Works.

Especially their outstanding body splashes, which I simply adore and yearn for all the time - for some unknown stupid reason the products aren't available in Europe anymore and when I ask the BBW customer service why, I get some neither rhyme nor reason silly answer...

So you can imagine my surprise and happiness when I got this goodie bag for my birthday, with some nice Japanese food stuff including tea - which I'm looking forward to try out - and the sweet Stay Healthy. Be Lazy. detox booklet by lovely company innocent, but most of all the bag contained not only one, but three fantastic splashes from BBW!! One of them being my favourite cucumber-melon scent.

Don't you just love it when people actually make an effort - whether it being something homemade, handmade or something that will take a bit of work to obtain - to get a gift that'll really very much delight the gift receiver? As opposed to swing by a department store and get something without much thought to it...

So thanks again for this thoughtful gift, Anne, I thoroughly enjoyed and enjoy it!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

WCB # 129 - Saturday Night Live



Oh no no, no no NO, there are limits to what I'll do for room and board, no matter how much cuddling that's on offer - simple bribery! - just because I look like an adorable little fluffy snowflake it doesn't mean I have to actually show that IN real life snow. It's cold, it's nasty and I don't like it. A bit. I ask you, is this an acceptable behaviour from a human slave? I think I'll just have to sack her right now.
She was all cheerful, please sit still for a second, show your pretty face, hush, hush, this will go so quickly if you just keep still for one moment... Ha, like if I'd fall for that! No, no, no, I adamantly shake my head and show my terrifying fangs - get me inside! Right this minute. Like, now!
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Now she's all wheedling smooth talk and offer herself up as a huge cat bed with built in warmer. I tell you as much as, I don't fall for it. No way. The others might do, I don't. It might look all snuggle cosy and irresistible inviting... But no, no, no.
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I've actually heard her say that it was slightly amusing to watch those blurry - serves her right if you ask me, and of course you do - pictures of pretty me and the horrible snow. As if I was some kind of Saturday night live entertainment. Unacceptable, unbearable and well, I'm afraid, very afraid, this just might be the first sign of a human slave uprising. But the others just don't seem to listen, they seem so content. Too content. Saturday Night Live, ha-di-ha and snort. Big time.
The human slave assures that no kitten was harmed in the taking of these pictures
This week's WCB is hosted by House of the Mostly Black Cats

Friday, November 23, 2007

Nearly Wordless Friday

Today I'm just going to share some photos from one of my favourite places in Stockholm - some might remember the post and the pictures posted about a year ago - the Woodland cemetery (Skogskyrkogården). I must make a note of actually visit this extraordinary place when the weather and light conditions are better - I always seem to end up there late Autumn... More pictures to be found, as usual, in my Flickr Album

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Liquorice Trolls

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Even though I haven't been around in pictures for a long time now - far too long a time if you ask me, I have no idea what our personal human slave has been thinking about omitting perfect little black panther me from the blog and WCB's and whatever... The obvious answer must of course be, she hasn't been. Thinking that is - I'm sure you remember my striking post a while ago?

I'm LBC, Viola Vindolanda, perfect for any occasion and ready to set off for new adventures in a few weeks - that is, if any sensible homo sapien with the tiniest hint of wit would get in touch and offer to take over the distinguished role as human slave from my current one.

Awaiting the perfect offer I'm making the most of it here, keeping the boys in order - all silly seven of them - and exploring, mapping out every little corner of this house. At least I'm trying to, yes I'm trying my very best to look non-conspicuous, melting into the wall and unnoticeably also sneak into one of those secret rooms to which the doors are always closed.

I bet there are unimaginable treasures behind those doors, like mountains of savoury catfood, 24 hours of tummy rubbing heaven or all-the-whipped-cream-you-can-eat-for-free. Although the twolegged slave mutters something about, oh no, this is off limits due to fragile things and a cathair-freezone. And she always, always anticipate my ingenious break ins, I have no idea how she can foresee them...

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Of all the silly seven I prefer my little black cousin, Waldemar Warwick, since we LBCs must stick together. Besides that, he is so tiny, like a little troll doll, although feisty, spunky and - at least the slave says so - a complete darling in every sense. Sweet enough too eat I've even heard her say!

I mean really, who knows what she might be capable of...? So I've decided I'll watch and guard Waldemar closely, just in case her human sweet tooth demands immediate satisfaction and the only thing sweet enough at hand is Waldemar. My secret weapon for teeth off Waldemar is of course not so secret, simply a truly horrifying LBC pose and the evil eye - I swear, that works every time. LBC, perfect for any occasion indeed.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Rijksmuseum and Other Artsy Places

Today I'm going to try and keep my mind from wander and actually write about the things I set out to write about yesterday, namely museum visits in Amsterdam. I have, ever since those obligatory museum-visits in school had very mixed feelings about museums, and there really is, or at least can be, something *slightly* pretentious about some museums and it's visitors.

Oh you know what I'm talking about, the artsy hoity-toity people who like to show off what they themselves believe is initiated and intelligent knowledge of a particular work, or works, of art. Whilst those of us who actually don't have the need to show off our possible knowledge would very much like to enjoy our museum visit and a certain piece of art in silence. We either silently snickers at those pretentious fools or mutter in annoyance at the spoilt experience.

But having said that, I'm no stranger to visiting such hoity-toity magnet museums now and then, especially not when abroad. The must-visit-museums, sometimes they turn out to be a complete overall disappointment - other times being just delightful. And many times it's the museum in itself that is just lovely, not the actual art on display. One example of that latter is, IMHO, Danish Louisiana - which I'm certainly not going to write anything more about here and now, except for saying that the atmosphere, the garden and its situation overlooking the channel between Denmark and Sweden is well worth the visit in itself. And oh yes, for the museum shop extravaganza.

Back to Amsterdam and its plethora of museums, I would have liked to visit a few more but the time didn't allow that, so in the end the plan was sized down to three - the lovely museum of handbags and purses, Rijksmuseum and what will remain a secret for a while still. I can say as much as it has to do with tiny, furry, fourlegged friends that often meow...

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Rijksmuseum was situated not very far from our hotel, in an imposing, wonderful building that looked absolutely enormous - M said that it would take at least five hours to wander around there, so one can say I was both disappointed as well as relieved that the museum turned out to be far smaller interiorwise than exterior. Which I came to understand might have something to do with extensive renovation work that has been going on since 2003 and will be finished in 2009, seven years of renovation, that's a really long time...

So while the renovation is underway the art displayed is only what they call the masterpieces. To walk through the museum take about one-three hours depending on how much you're enjoying the things displayed, or perhaps on how artsy hoity-toity you are... As far as I'm concerned there were some really wonderful, exquisite paintings to lionize as well as those... um, not so interesting. I must say that I found the well-known, much acclaimed Rembrandt painting The Night Watch to be more than slightly boring. It just didn't play in the same league as the grand, lively with amazing intricate, exquisite details of the same sized painting by Bartholomeus van der Helst - Banquet in celebration of the Treaty of Münster

A couple of other favourites were the entertaining painting Winter landscape with iceskaters by Hendrick Avercamp. Such amazing richness in details, and such humour. Nearly enough tiny details to discover for a lifetime. Delightful indeed. And that very special light and sublimeness of Willem Claesz Heda's still life, lovely.

After having fed the mind it was time to invigorate the body - at a café in the park nearby the more the sophisticated part of the museum visitors chose coffee and carrot cake, while the more... um, plebeian part chose this - ah, the profanity of it all...

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Way of the World

When I was in primary school, museum-visits were quite an extensive part of education. And far from seldom we also had to work on group projects at the museums. Even back then I was far from a fan of group-projects, since there were (and are) most always some slackers who couldn't care less, annoying free riders who wanted to benefit from the work made by us who actually did care. A lot.

Hence I very much then, and very much now, prefer to work, and depend, on my own - or when required with a few selected, trusted friends/co-workers - with full responsibility both of success as well as possible failure. One might say I like to be both in charge and have full control - well, at least when it comes to school- and work related matters and tasks.

With life in general I'm of course aware that we can't, far from, control everything and everyone. What we can control is how we react in different situations, how we handle things and how we response to others' actions. Something I'd very much like to have really grasped when I needed it some years ago, but I suppose it wasn't my time for enlightenment in that particular area of life then...

Although now, when I've actually learnt a lesson or two, or much more, and want to practise these knowledges acquired through hardship, it seems pretty darn hard to get on with life. To get back into business, to get a job with an actual and decent paycheck at the end of the month. I could go on and write a thesis about this situation, but instead I'll just say that one has to muster every possible grain of a positive thought - mindfullness in the here and now! - to pocket one's pride for ever thanks-but-no-thanks one gets for the, by now, a more than countless amount of different kinds of job applications...

I'm no high school drop-out, I have a great education, a whole lot of neat experiences, lots of great skills and talents, both professional as well as social, wrapped up in a snazzy CV. I would make such a fantastic resource for most any company. And still... Apart from being weird beyond belief, it is just so completely frustrating not to mention - Such. A. Complete. And. Utter. Waste of assets. Both in my world as well as on a larger scale.

Ah, and this post that was to be about a museum visit, strange how the mind wanders and demands a whole other topic outcome from the subordinated keypad workers...

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Monday, November 19, 2007

This Is Not A Food Blog, But...

This is not a food blog, well at least not a food blog with lots of more or less inventive and exciting recipes, but I do like to experiment with veggies and since I got the ultimate vegetarian cookbook, which I'm kind of trying out almost every recipe from - although very much changing, adding, experimenting along the way - I certainly spend a whole lot more time in the kitchen department than I used to. Even though, admittedly, the best thing with cooking is probably not eating it, but to try and take a mouthwatering picture of it...

The things I did find a bit odd to add in a recipe can make wonders and give me incentives to dare venture myself where I haven't spiced before. I'm thrilled to say that a definite majority of the recipes in this darling cookbook are absolutely wonderful in flavour, the spices work so very well together, and you get to discover new - at least for us non-food-bloggers - lovely veggies. And herbs. And spices. And combinations. And savours.

Lately I haven't felt very inclined to make desserts - believe it or not, I'm probably coming down with something... - so this will simply be a photo cavalcade of main courses or sidedishes. That'll perhaps give you some vegetarian cooking inspiration for bleak autumn dinners.

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Fried potatoes & mushrooms with herb tomatoes - simple!
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Clear asparagus soup - yes it is nice to use fresh asparagus in food, it's a delicious veggie, but personally I'm no fan of clear soups. I like my soups creamy. So the next time I make my own asparagus soup it'll be a whole other kind.
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Grilled root veggies - this really is the perfect autumnal dinner! Well, any dinner with carrots is perfect of course, all year round. Seasoned with garlic and basil, delicious.
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Spinach/ricotta tortelloni with tomatoes, basil & sunflowerseeds - simple, but well, not really my kind of neither pasta nor sauce. Although I should remember to use sunflowerseeds much more in cooking, not just in smoothies, cereals or dessert.
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Fried rice Asian style with grilled halloumi - leftover rice, paprika, leek, red onion, garlic and herbs, ta-da, delicious and would go well as a maindish all on its own even though IMHO almost any dish goes very well with a bit of grilled halloumi...
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Potatoes & black bean salad with peanutdressing - this was absolutely amazing, the flavour of the dressing, so simple to mix in a food processor, really added something extra. Another new favourite!

And as usual, if you'd like a recipe you only have to ask. Nicely.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

WCB #128 - To Host A Teaparty

Actually these pictures show an exception to the *very* strict rule of no cats on the table, and most definitely no cats on the table while eating, and even more certainly no cats on the table while having guests. Really.

Today they were allowed, a selected few, to join, or rather junior-host, the teaparty. I had a friend over, who was absolutely delighted over the immense effort made by a few of the kittens to make her feel at home. They were adamant to show her all the culinary delights on offer, here's the butter, here's the cream, here's the eggs and look scones too. Feel free to join us!

Even though I'm far from keen on having the cats roaming around on the table, nibbling the food I find it rather liberating when I have people over who just couldn't care less. Who finds it endearing and tremendously entertaining. And well, it is kind of cute, at least when the cats are really small, and very curious and so eager to be welcoming and helpful. In every way possible.

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And after playing the role of a diligent, attentive and charming junior-host of a teaparty, you really need to have a nap.

This weekend you'll also find lots of kitty culinary delights over at the WCB-hosts Kashim & Othello.

The Winter Coat

With new mittens comes the need for a new winter coat... Or well, really the need for a coat definitely preceded the making of the mittens. Since there is sense and sensibility, not complete shallowness dwelling inside of me. I mean, who have ever heard of such a silly thing like buying a coat for the mittens...? However if the coat demands matching mittens, its wish is my command. Of course.

My winter outerwear department is far from extensive. I've been depending on, fraying comfortable oldies and it was about time to look for something new, something warming, comfortable as well as pleasing to the eye. Well made in good materials with intricate details. And so I found the perfect swayed coat at NoaNoa *surprise*, and at a bargain price, for that kind of work, since I stumbled over it at the outlet village. Happiness in a coat.

At first I wasn't exactly sure about it because of its colour though, I mean it feels kind of completely impractical with a pale green winter coat in our Swedish winter climate. M assured me it was perfectly fine, and somehow I was pretty easily convinced. And what the heck, why not take a chance, live dangerously and oppose that typically Swedish mentality of practicality in every garment? Yes, only the sheer excitement of being so impudently rebellious makes the coat worth every penny!

Now, time to get down examining all the lovely details, outside in. The outer parts are a mix of wool and cotton with a hint of gabardine pattern. It has a lovely flowery embroidery around the waist and on a large part of the back, which is followed by an intricate lace around the waist - despite it giving the coat a distinct look it's the part I'm a bit less over the moon about...

The padded lining is made of two different, lovely flowery fabrics which makes it rather a pity that you can't wear it inside out, showing its inner beauty, now and then too. Since I do believe even a winter coat is more than only a pretty, shallow surface. It has coatly feelings and deserves respect for all its hard work during harsh Nordic winters. Think about that, the next time you take it's services for granted. I certainly will.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Mitten Time

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Let me introduce you to my latest needlework. Cosy, colourful, wool mittens with a twist. Some made on order, others just for fun. Perfect for this time of year, and darn cute if I may say so myself. And I may.

These kind of mittens I've been making on and off for as long as I can remember, at least since high school. Great gifts, much appreciated and so fun to make! Even though I've been knitting and crocheting for ages, and loving it, I'm not very patient when it comes to intricate patterns and timeconsuming projects.

Oh, it's very rewarding having finished such a project, having made a gorgeous, detailed work of knitted art, but the ones I've actually had the patience to follow through can probably be counted on the one hand fingers.

So I prefer to work with colours, materials and now and then unexpected details. Like I descend from a family of green fingers, it also embodies many different craftsmen, most of them seem to have had so much more patience than me... On the other hand I do find the odd piece of inherited art here and there which I believe could do with *a bit* more work on the details and finish, plainly, to me it's botchery. Though made with more than a dash of inhibited ingeniousness.

These works are most certainly made by my maternal grandmother, a lady who was well before her time, artsy, craftsy, spunky, unrestrained, curious, audacious, outspoken - more than borderline embarrassing on a regular basis I might add... - and simply great fun to be with.

She sadly passed away when I was in highschool, so I never had the chance to assort with her as a grown-up. Miss that. I'm sure she would have proven an even more valuable mentor for me now than for me as a child, teenager. The receptiveness of certain things in life back then was probably *slightly* less than it is today. But despite that, she did teach me and guided me into the world of arts and crafts, mainly knitting and crocheting. And without her I, and many with me, would probably freeze their mittenless hands all sad and blue.

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Friday, November 16, 2007

Books

I believe that in an ideal world there would also be a witty title to every blogpost about books - alas this isn't an ideal world. So from now on I'll probably just stick to plain and simple "books" when it comes to reviewing the latest read. That is, if I don't get a brilliant wordly title whim.

Anyhow. These are the three latest books I've finished reading. Or well, admittedly one of them I never finished, it was simply too boring. I mean if you can't muster the energy or interest to finish a book that you've began reading over a year ago, I think you can safely say that it's not a book for you. The book somehow falls into the category "sleeping pills".

As I've said before, the books - only suspense novels and mainly English ones - from the small publishing company Minotaur are generally of a very high quality. But there are always exception to any rule. Here I give you some;

Written in, if not exactly bad language, at least somewhat pulp literature like. Written for the simple minded reader with no demands for a certain writing standard or quality of words. Example, Louise Anderson: Perception of Death. I just shuddered over too many phrasings in that book, brr...

After having read a few, or as it happens not so few, books in a series you get more and more annoyed about the main characters and their stupid behaviour, or lack thereof. Behaviours that make you wanna shout *grow up for X's sake, learn a lesson or two, and just t-a-l-k!* Example, Stephen Booth. Which I've already said a definite goodbye to.

After having read a few sentences of a newly discovered *talent* you realise this is just too plain boring to be true. Most often the book is of brick-novel-size, the plot hobbles and the author just seems too preoccupied trying to jam in as many words as possible writing under the misconception of the-thicker-the-book-the-better-it-is. Example, Eliot Pattison.

In this case I suppose one can say he suffers from the infamous lawyer-disease - we do like our words, and we do like many of them, even in those cases and places they don't really fit in. All of them. At once. And in that particular order.

Having said all that, I'll now give you the name of the author and book I've been adamant to finish for *quite* some time now - and now I've finally given up. My time is worth more than finishing some silly book that's just not my cup of tea. This definitely falls into the category sleeping pills. Dull, longwinded and after having decided to definitely put it aside for good I read the final chapter and realised it was the ultimate anticlimax which made me feel quite content with my decision. Mister Candid by Jules Hardy, yaaawn, IMHO not worth neither money nor time.

Next book - Light on Snow by Anita Shreve - isn't a suspense novel of that kind, more of a psychological drama written as seen from a twelve-year-old girl's view. Since Anita Shreve is one of my favourite authors this was of course a must-have-book, and I like the notion of a grown up woman writing about her experiences during a few winter weeks when she was twelve. But somehow the book, or the plot itself, never really appealed to me. It lacked depth, it lacked true character descriptions, it only scratched the wide surface trying to fit in as much background as possible. And the words themselves, I've come to expect so much more from Shreve, so I was overall rather disappointed by this fairly short book.

The third book of this threesome was a truly wonderful read. Swedish tax lawyer turned crime novelist - oh how I like the sound of that! - Åsa Larsson's third book about lawyer Rebecka Martinsson, her struggling personal life as well as really, very un-Swedish and bloody plots. Her books are just so extremely, extremely well-written, sadly an exception to the rule when it comes to crime novelists I'd say (both Swedish and foreign, both females and men)... Anyhow. This third book Svart stig - Black path - I found to be the best of the books so far, intriguing plot, international high politics as well as personal, emotional issues of many. Loved every page of it!

Btw, this was the book I left behind on the airplane, I never got that copy returned to me - it's rather difficult to imagine that there's actually someone who wanted to keep that daubed book full of notes... - so I had to buy a new one, return to page one - I only had 50 pages left to read - and make those notes all over again... Yup, books, especially those with noteworthy passages and phrasings, have to be read with a pencil. Always. Can't wait for her fourth book to be published in paperback. Which will take quite some time since it won't be released in hardback until next spring...

What I don't like, at all, is the fact that the first book Solstorm - Sunstorm - has been made into a movie with the main characters being played by a very attractive woman though appallingly bad actress - Izabella Scorupco, mostly known for her part in Bond-movie GoldenEye - and one of Sweden's most hyped actors, and frankly not very good..., Mikael Persbrandt. Such a complete waste of a great book. Not to mention time and money. Why on earth even bother making it into a movie, read the book instead!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Stockholm Mid November

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Outside, Stockholm mid November vs inside at the same time.
I definitely want it all!
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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Sirocco, Penguins & Good Hope

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Previous post on South Africa can be found here

The drive from Stellenbosch to Cape Town takes about one hour if you don't make any detours or stops along the way. But of course you can't just drive straight there if you're on holiday! There are just so many detours to take, so many must-sees, must-dos in that area. For example, if you like a bit of tan - responsibly obtained of course - perhaps a slight case of sunbathing at Sunrise Beach?

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Enjoying the atmosphere, with many interesting antique and craftsman shops, in the absolutely charming town/fishing village of Kalk Bay and having lunch at one of many tempting cafés and restaurants there. Like the wonderful open air restaurant Sirocco with a delightful, fresh menu including a dessert that's definitely one of the top five on my cheesecake-list. One of my best overall restaurant experience while in SA, if not THE best actually. Simply lovely with great music playing in the background. This is how life should be. Bliss.

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If you find gemstones to be completely fascinating and alluring must-haves, by all means do not miss Mineralworld and Scratchpatch in Simonstown. The prices are just peanuts compared to what you have to pay for these kind of stones in Sweden...
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Another definite must is of course a visit to the penguin colony at Boulder's Beach. Amazing experience, just inches away from all these guys. It was just such a treat in many ways.

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And no, I just can't get over the fact that there are actually baboons roaming around freely, a wildlife so completely different to ours up here in the very north. Fascinating indeed.
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And well, as I've said before Cape of Good Hope isn't the southernmost place of the African continent, but I suppose - despite the *slightly* over touristy and very crowded feel of it... - it is a must too. It is a World Heritage Site, it is a vast national park and yes it also offers a plethora of amazing natural sceneries. So, now I can say I've been there, to the most south-western point of Africa too and yes, the faithful travel companion Elvira even got her picture taken when there was a brief second of noone else posing.
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By next post we will have landed safely in Cape Town, despite the scary roads a k a scenic route we took to get there, *somewhat* similar to the Swartberg Pass experience...
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