Monday, March 31, 2008

Chokladfabriken

I know, I know, I keep repeating myself, over and over and..., however repetition is the mother of learning, and the best hot cocoa EVER is served at Chokladfabriken (The Chocolate Factory), here in Stockholm. Period.


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What I didn't realise, until recently, was that the drinking chocolate you can buy in paper bags and take home with you, or give away as a perfect gift for a chocoholic, was the exact same as they serve in the café - how perfect is that?! You can actually have the heavenly Chocolate Factory drinking experience in your own living room, hooray! Ah, to indulge in a cup when you want to treat yourself to something special, bliss... And as in the café you can chose dark, milk/light or white chocolate.


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What was far from bliss was the last bag of cocoa I bought, I had so looked forward to a cup of hot cocoa one evening and opened up that new bag. I thought it smelled a bit weird when I whipped the whole thing together, then it tasted rather foul, perhaps it was the milk? Turned out it was the content of the bag with cocoa that was the problem, for some odd reason sort of rancid in taste. Disappointed snarl.


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Today I finally managed to pop by to exchange that bag for a new one. A new one, I might add, I hope is up to its usual quality... And as an extra balm into that chocolate wound I got a little bag of their lovely, pricey creams. The perfect touch to get a disgruntled customer to return. Me like!

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If you feel like having a chocolaty pastry of some sort instead of hot cocoa, I think they serve a both pretty as well as tasty latte too. And this new concoction of a banana-chocolate mousse with some sort of fruit compote and crispy crumbs of some kind was just divine. With a heavensent tasty physalis on top.


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~ The perfect round off for the month of March! ~

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Things Yellow

Easter is over - although I do believe this year's moon cycle was a tid bit too pushy for my personal taste of Easter-time - but luckily we can enjoy these beauties of Easter lilies for yet some time.

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This bucket I found at one of the castles we did some spotting of this weekend - the capturing of castles I'll get back to in a later post, you can never get too many of them, but what doesn't seize to amaze me is that there are so many more or less well hidden gems of castles in the vicinity of Stockholm. So many I've never even heard of, me a castle buff, or perhaps I'm just the buff when travelling abroad or in other parts of Sweden and not in my own *backyard*, others I've visited earlier but before the age of the digital camera... - adorable, springy little thing!

The colour yellow is far from a favourite colour of mine - which might have something do with the fact that I really don't look good in it, perhaps mustard-yellow nuance being an exception, but in general yellow makes me look pasty or like a giant silly ice-cream, neither very complementary - but since I consider myself open minded in general, and vanilla yellow is rather a lovely nuance, I give the benefit of the doubt even to colours, I couldn't help myself when I started nibbling on M's chosen very yellow breakfast Tosca bun - at lovely place-of-wild-strawberries-to-eat, Café Lyran - yesterday. The nibbling soon turned into urges, it was just so. Very.Tasty. Since I refused to stop eating, M had to get himself another specimen of a bun.

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And as you can probably see, this heavenly bun must be consider a very fine example of the whole food circle (kostcirkeln) in one bun -

1. vegetables = the almond and the almond-paste, the grass eaten by the cows who produced the butter,
2. fruit = the almond, which surely is a fruit since it belongs to the plum species and is closely related to peaches,
3. root vegetables = the almond tree has roots, therefor the almond can also be consider a root veggie,
4. dairy products = the milk and the butter, the latter making this bun a veritable guilt trip of an excessive amount of fat...
5. meat, fish & egg = egg obviously,
6. bread & grains = yes there's flour in this bun, and the bun is a bread, voilá!
7. edible fat = see guilt trip no 4

Admittedly I did feel *slightly* queasy after this breakfasty meal, I won't go blaming the bun though, it just might have something to do with the fact that the bun itself wasn't the whole meal for me. Even though I have no problem with leaving leftovers, I do want to sample most things and well, it was very tasty and it was Saturday after a long week, and it was such a nice way to spend a sunny, weekend morning... Anyway. Darn tasty it was. Despite being yellow. Besides, in my world there's hardly anything that can't be cured with a bit of extra orange - as in a couple of extra carrots that day.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Sampling

Finally, four weeks down the course line I managed to get a lovely, relaxing day - and since I'm rather easy to please, sometimes, now and then, here are three samples from that day, the last Friday in the month of March year 2008 -

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Gauzy sunlight on a long walk through the Woodland Cemetery...
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... a well deserved and delicious sticky chocolate cake at Bakery Bakgården nearby...

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... and some hours later, waiting for the bus at the bus-station/commuter-train station at home, in my very own suburb and the sun is actually still shining, the sky is pale blue, although its late afternoon...

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... happy wee me!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Touchdown in a Smalltown

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As we all know, looks can be deceiving, and IMHO no, the above picture of a somewhat quaint small town doesn't correspond well with reality. The small town - or well, not that small really, but it feels really smalltownish in many different ways... - of Eskilstuna is far from a favourite place of mine. But since one of my best friends lives there for some years now, I do pop by now and then.

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Apart from this obvious cantharis, some of the notable natives of this town are Frida of ABBA - explanation superfluous - and Miss Universe of 1984. And as if that wasn't enough, the city is also famous for its steel industry, its Volvo-factory and for having a zoo with white tigers. As well as offering humongous cinnamon buns.

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And actually, apart from these beauties - served at the afore mentioned Café Kaka (Café Cookie) which also serves fresh food, coffee and cakes. Mm, I think I definitely feel a slight twinge of hunger just writing this, looking at those pictures...

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- the town has a few decent places for food. Like adorable Café Tingsgården, where I had a lovely lunch some months ago. The place offers light food, homemade bread, coffee and great cakes. Apparently afternoon tea during winters. Though, if that time of the year, beware of their foul lenten buns, only briefly mentioned here...

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Goodmorning Thursday

When I'll reach Karlberg c-train station in an hour or so I know it'll look just like this - crispy winter and glorious sun!

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A Tiny Case of Retail Therapy

First of all, it's flipping crazy that one year ago on Lady Day a k a the Swedish Waffle Day it was sun, green grass, being able to eat those waffles on the porch wearing shorts... One year later it's freezing snow and slippery streets. Alas.

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Now, with today's whine out of the way, let's continue with a slight case of retail therapy. Only very useful things of course. Must-have-things in the inexpensive price range. First out is a lovely little plate for tea bags - well, I consider it to be a teabag-plate, anyway - from the small Swedish Stockholm-based company/shop Yorrik. The name derives from Hamlet's court jester, the famous to-be-or-not-to-be-skull.

They mainly sell baby/children clothings but also household items and pottery. Small scaled, handicraft, ecological thinking, just the way I like it. My aim when entering the shop, which I'd thought of for ages, was to find a suitable gift for a friend's daughter - I opted for an adorable bright orange jersey Yorrik cap (much appreciated by the tiny gift-reciever). And then I stumbled over the pottery sale and ended up with this must-have-teabag-plate. You can never have to many of those. Period.

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The Yorrik pottery range is made in collaboration with the pottery at picturesque summer trip islet in the Stockholm archipelago, Fjäderholmarna (fjäder = feather, holmarna = the islets). A lovely place definitely well worth a visit, and not only for the wonderful restaurants and the handicraft studios.

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The other must-haves are simply towels. Size small. One colourful with chickens, perfect for the Easter kitchen. I'm not much for primming, but a new towel and some tulips, oh that's just a perfect touch. This one I found at the big department store, Åhléns, at a measly price.

The other two are perfect small terry towels for the toilet, with my childhood favourite Swedish cartoon character, the honeyloving bear Bamse, which I wrote a bit about here. Suddenly using the toilet-facilities is so much more appealing, when you can wipe your washed hands with either pink or blue smiling Bamse, don't you agree? These towels, and a whole range of Bamse-items, can be found at the Swedish home textile chain, Hemtex

Sunday, March 23, 2008

WCB - The Strange And Wonderful World Of Having Pets

The only, of course, reason for this probably not being a mindblowingly brilliant blog-post is the fact that I suffer from acute ammonia poisoning due to litter box cleaning. I have no idea why some days of litter box cleaning offer this extra sacheted indulgence, the same hairy bunch using the boxes, same food, same drink, same ol' living - and still, now and then I get an odour knock-out feeling all faint over the boxes. The risk of someone finding the neighbourhood's weird cat lady drowned in the cat litter feels strangely graspable.

Still, it hasn't happen as yet, touch wood it never will. Admittedly the odour knock-out somehow noteably clears my organ of smell. So when I've fought the risk of cat-litter drowning the side-effect is only a positive one.

I should think that that once upon a time experience of breaking an arm whilst bathing a cat was enough of a public-weird-effect-of-pet-owning - and I sure cheered the ER staff up that day when I tried to explain the somewhat unusual reason for me ending up with that broken arm. Cat, bath, slippery slide, ouch.

And that time another cat had actually peed in my sewing machine - may he rest in peace, although it was years later he passed away from something other than his legal liability and the consequences of peeing in a sewing machine - hence I had to have it mended. Including explaining the awkward reason for it. A case of wee-wee.

The same cat once involuntarily ran away from home - involuntarily as in I had forgotten to close the gate to the garden and he felt inclined to have a look outside and then I became really anxious scaring the poor one in to running into the night. Me in some really trashy clothes running after, trying to be very kind and calm when eliciting him from the shrubs outside the house.

Though apparently I scared him even more and when I finally, looking like the bride of Frankenstein, caught up with him I refused to let him go and ended up with deep scratches and blood running all over my arms - then some neighbours walked by and felt it very appropriate to feline-clueless-chitchat. Oh my what a pretty cat, oh my is he angry. Growl, hiss. Please shut up and go away.

Oh, mustn't forget that one time many years ago when my first Persian moved in and the two housecats of mine felt it very appropriate to show her just who were in charge of the house. Bless her, that little one didn't have much of a wit and in all that confusion of moggie-bullying she mistook one of my shoes for a litter box. It felt all mushy in my shoe when I was late for an appointment. Turd alert.

So not only do these furry darlings offer a sight for sore eyes, neverending comfort cuddle for the sad and weary, an end for wearing black, navy or velvet, dry feed elbow, Sisyphean challenge of cleaning litter boxes, they also grant all sorts of strange and exciting events that'll spice up any day and life on a regular basis.

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... add to that list, also being the perfect lovable accessory on the Easter broomstick

Friday, March 21, 2008

The Mighty M's

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*Swooosh*
There, safely back from The Brocken, having done my witchy duty, a bit of chanting, a bit of cooking invigorating broths and all that. A witch gotta do what a witch gotta do. I think the look of the gateway to this year's assembly hall was quite lovely. As seen above, what do you think? Oh, there's all sorts of interesting brewing going on inside such a gateway... Although I'm of course sworn to secrecy, mum's the word.
But I can give you a semi-secret picture of a few of this year's covenant participants, that go by the name the Mighty M's - their witchy scheming is particularly good. Inventive, vivid intellects with more than a dash of magic. Legendary even. Scheming extravaganza. Or at least, so I've heard. As by whistle through the pine crowns.
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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Pre-Easter Reflections

Oh, now it's Easter holidays for us *mature* students the next six days. Hooray! Not that it'll be all relaxation and fun; after the obligatory quick ride to and from The Brocken tomorrow *and this year I can finally flaunt not only one but two silhouette kitties on my broom!* I'm planning to get some studying as well as sleep done. And well, um, I somehow managed to enter an Easter cat show - once a keen showgoer now only a once-a-year-thing - with a few fluffy ones too. Something I *kind of* regret now, sigh...

And you know that very flagrant lack of forward planning and long term timetable of this course, the latest on that front is that suddenly we're told that we'll have an examination of the first three course-sections. In four weeks. Last week we were told that no examination would be held for the introduction part. And at the same time as we're supposedly should be cramming for the exam we're going to begin a course in Business English - something I'm so looking forward too, I do hope the teacher is a great one, but I would also like to concentrate on just that single subject then.

I must say that I think exams like these, all this cramming, is so very passé. It really doesn't reflect reality and how good you are at applying the acquired knowledge and skills in real life. I so think it would be a much better idea if we got out and did that traineeship, practice and then did a project/essay on that.

I think it has been quite an interesting first three weeks, my first impression of some course mates has most certainly proven wrong as well as quite right - like life in general - there are some really lovely ones and some very far from lovely ones. The latter category includes some who just can't shut up during class, they so very much like to hear their own voice - and the things they have to say is in general far from interesting to the rest of us.

I'm mostly able to sort of shut my ears to those squeaky, returning, dense voices and comments, and concentrating on the teacher's voice. Others aren't. A recurrent schism - that's ventilated both in class as well as in more private groupages - is that the constant interrupting of lectures is completely annoying and most of the times quite unnecessary.

One of the most annoying ones doing this is a guy I was actually very put out by at that rather brief information meeting we had before I'd even applied for the course. Just a very unpleasant personality who almost always has a very spiteful undertone in the things he utters. He constantly has to confirm he has a voice - today he managed to interrupt the lecturer 43 times during a 35 minute session. He very obviously has a problem - he very obviously gives the rest of us problems. A complete nuisance. Who doesn't care a bit about the ground rules of classroom behaviour, which we've discussed a few times already. One could expect a *slightly* more grown up behaviour from a student of this age, discussions like these shouldn't be an issue at all...

While I am still able to switch off - and in my world this is nothing compared to muddy underbred feet on bus seats - there are others that are simply on the verge of irritation explosion. This is a rather interesting example of human interaction and I'm quite curious about how this situation will post-Easter resolve "itself".

But now it's Easter. Holidays. Sofa. Cuppa. And tonight's episode of "Lost" - the one seemingly-neverending-TV-show that manages to keep me interested still. And after watching that, I'll most certainly look something like below and bed will be the answer to that.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I'm With Stupid

I know I've been sort of raving a few times or so about the public transportation system in Stockholm - and bragging about my closet trainspotting skills - but having to use it during rush hour is no rosy picnic. Since far too many commuters are showing unthought - at least for us a cut above peabrain-status - of ramrodic skills and lack of decent behaviour. I'm mostly fortunate enough to be able to have a seat and concentrate on my book, but still the often appalling lack of adaptability to crowds and tactfulness makes one wonder. A lot.

And it sure doesn't get any better with the SL (Stockholms Lokaltrafik, Stockholm's Local-traffic) company, the public sector, that supplies us with this, in theory and most of the times also in practicality, grand transportation system also employs its fair share of peabrains. Like the public procurers doing a far from good job when apparently procuring inferior quality trains in 2002.

Trains that has offered a whole lot of delays for a whole lot of weird reasons, when they're in use at all. Since that has apparently also been a problem, faulty trains. Which has cost the taxpayers billions. And does someone think that anyone takes responsibility for this? Of course not. You can always hide behind someone, something else. The public sector in all it's usual doing-its-job-in-wasting-money glory.

I thought this morning's c-train ride was even more crowded than usual - guess what. The feebleminded strategist at SL - the colleague of the peabrain procurer - had come up with the oh so bright idea (making sure they're worth their salaries) of cancelling some trains during rush hours, since it's Easter holidays and many people are hence on holiday. The only slight glitch in this bright plan is that no it isn't Easter holidays in Stockholm THIS week, but next. I bet the best and brightest of Sweden's intelligentsia doesn't work at SL. Or perhaps the real problem is that they do.

Then on my way home I was on the verge of getting an apoplectic fit, yes on the public transportation, namely the bus. But this time it was a perfect example of a peabrain passenger i e a lowbred mother and child. I have no idea how some people tick letting their children stand in the seats with their muddy shoes on.

What made it even worse is that I then discover that this little spawn of tosser had actually not only stood on the seat, but also on. My. Coat. Leaving muddy prints. I was so darn angry when I got off the bus. And what makes me even more mad is that I was so darn angry I didn't say a single word about it to that idiot lowbred excuse of a mother. I so regret that. I so do not like regretting such a wimp behaviour of mine.

The moral of this post might just be that it's simply not safe travelling too much with our public transportation and all it's deviants, since the degenerate behaviour tense to rub off. I'm with stupid. Too often.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Early Birds

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For some weeks now the early birds of spring have began twittering and chirping in the middle of the night, about 3 am, somewhere very close to my bedroom window. Even though the mornings, afternoons and evenings rapidly are getting lighter and brighter it is still dark and night at that time. And if I don't happen to be reading a book in the middle of the night, which do happens, it is kind of nice to be able to have a peaceful non-chirruping sleep.

The early birds don't care, they seem so overly excited about spring, and even if all that tweeting is rather disturbing it's also catching. Catching in the way of getting a certain effervescent feeling of spring in the air, of nothing being impossible. Or at least hardly nothing.

This early bird chirruping might of course also being a subtle, or not very subtle, way of revenge. Revenge for that red menace of a bird butcher that's lurking in my garden. Or the fact that the bed & breakfast facilities leaves, from a bird point of view, a whole lot to be desired foodwise. Or just a whole lot of complaining over the sad fact that the official spring isn't a proper one. It's just a chimera that deceives spring birds to return from warmer climates too soon. But all that possible complaining sounds so very cheerful.

Poor little fuzzy early bird who came with high hopes of spring. Instead you were greeted and surprised by snow and chilly winds. So I promise to serve you better food from now on, I'll make sure the red menace can't catch you and I hope you'll be able to cope with this early excuse of a spring in a colder climate. Please keep on twittering as much as you like.

Curiosity Didn't Kill The Cat

I've always felt that one amazing thing about being alive, and human, and being blessed with living here and now, is that there's such a plethora of things to see, discover, experience, do and learn. Quite an overwhelming plurality of things to be curious about actually, if one gets thinking about the things one will never know...

But it wasn't about those things I set out to write but about the achievements made, the knowledge savored, the experiences added to my life story. I think most of us have those days when we seriously question our lives, what have I really done, have I lived, have I made a long-lived pawprint on planet earth, is this life, is this all there is, really? I know I do. Some days more than others. And yet others I'm just completely and utterly satisfied and content with what I've done and plan to do.

One thing most of us tend to do quite often is to compare ourselves and our own lives with others, preferably with the others we - or the society we live in - consider to be successful, living meaningful lives. Meaningful in this case either being stupendously rich or having put a compassionate and humanitarian pawprint in time. Preferably both entangled.

Those persons that have that certain Evinrudic energy drive and neverending passion for a cause most of us can't seem to muster. At least not all the time. Since we're just so very busy living in the here and now commanding our own lives. Busy surviving. Busy living. Busy being.

I very rarely regret the things I do, I more regret the things I don't or didn't do. The things never said. Perhaps not as much as I possibly once did, but it still happens. Although I've also learnt to live with me and my personality of being cautious, and I most always consider it being a healthy portion of self-preservation. But I suppose one can also look at it as a streak of fear and possibly cowardice.

So, even if it might be teensy-weensy things in the bravery realm of life, I do like to challenge myself on a regular basis. Oh, I will most certainly never ever be one reckless adventurer. Foolhardiness isn't bravery or important pawprint-material, as far as I'm concerned. It's just plain stupidity. Sad stupidity, since I think we owe it to life, to ourselves to have that healthy amount of self-preservation. But at the same time embrace life and living without being a complete coward. The brinkmanship of life.

I like myself better for every time I've actually accomplished something I never thought I'd do. I like myself better every time I've actually questioned something that needed questioning and it made a change in life, for me or someone else. Or when I asked a question fearing a possible no, getting that no, but still feeling rather satisfied with mustering the courage to at least ask. Since most often a no isn't the end of the world, it just means a slight detour. And who knows what exciting things might happen on a detour?

Perhaps this comparing with people *more successful* than ourselves is basically a good thing, a thing that makes us strive to be a better us. To be a more accomplished, compassionate human. Well, when all this comparison doesn't simply makes us green and envious, bitter and grudging. Which often is the case. Alas.

But life isn't always fair. Far from. And success, whatever that may be, most certainly doesn't always come to those who most deserve it, the most talented, compassionate, intelligent ones, the ones who work the hardest, the ones who have the most outstanding pawprint material.

Myself I take pride in rarely being envious of others. Honestly. Even though I can ponder a bit over things not being exactly well-deserved always, I also firmly believe that being a green grudge doesn't hurt anyone but myself. And everyone has their sorrows, setbacks, ups and downs, even the seemingly successful ones.

I believe things happen for a reason, perhaps not an obvious, perceivable reason here and now, but somewhere along the line of life. So whenever a slight case of green flutter in the back of my mind I grab that notion. And remembering all my own achievements and strenghts, the things I love about being me and myself.

Sure there are things I'd like to have in my life, things I dream about, some of them I alas completely lack now, others I'd like to add to what I already have. Hopefully one day I'll be able to say I've successfully added them all. And if I don't achieve all those goals, I'd like to think I can say that I've had a really good and successful life just the same. Having made my very own pawprint in time.

Meanwhile, I'm continuing being curious. Of life, people and events. In general, though some definitely more than others. And I'm also fully convinced that curiosity didn't kill the cat, at least not the cat with a healthy amount of self-preservation. Satisfaction guaranteed.


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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Two Places For Food

Today I promised myself that I would be completely nice, at least when blogging, which means I won't tell you about the more unpalatable, and pricy, food experiences as lately. But just the really lovely ones. The two of the new experienced ones.

Doing this course means I have to eat lunch on the town 2-3 times per week. Have to as in I really want to get out for a walk, some fresh air, changed scenery, chat a bit more intensively with a few fellow course mates, not having to bother with microwaving and *enjoying* lunch in an environment that will get you into serious mental anguish. Sure it cost, but I'm all too willing to pay for it, if the food is decent.

I won't bother to tell you in details, not this time around anyway, about the goal post shot of a food place that made me seriously ponder food poisoning, we tried two times. The first time was decent, on the pricey side, but we did get large coffees to go for free. The second time was a joke, the food was horrible, the proprietor kept glaring at us all the time and refused to give us coffee to go. Just so he could continue glaring...?

I'm just so glad we found another place, close by, which serves this flippin' delicious healthy food, with emphasis on vegetarian alternatives. I think the place used to be a sushi restaurant, perhaps they still serve that, but since sushi is about as far from my tastebuds as possible can be - if we're not talking steaks - I don't much care. What I do care about is that the staff is very friendly and the food is great. So far we've also always gotten really lovely espressos for free by a very pleasant, tanned, muscle bound waiter, well, not that I care about the latter fact, actually, though some of my fellow course mates really very much do. In a really very entertaining way.

So I thought I should make a mention of it. In case your choice for a lunch, coffee, dinner place stands between two places that serves equally good food but one of them with staff consisting of thin or rotund, pale, short, grumpy waiters and one with waiters like above. It's all in the details you know.

The food then, well, unfortunately their website seems to be under re-construction, so to sum things up it's mainly a lot of low carb food, healthy stuff, vegetarian, shakes, sandwiches but also quite a lot of mouthwatering cakes and buns and coffees. The interior decoration is very clean and white, not really homely and cosy, but pleasant just the same.

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So far I've always gone for the superb personal salad where you get to chose 4 different ones from about 15 different versions of salad. Such as red lentils, beetroots with pumpkinseeds, pasta concoctions, root veggies with thyme, spicy thai shrimps, quinoa with tuna, beans & onion and so on. Add a dash of hommus and roasted chick-peas. Ah, that beetroot thing...

Next time I think I'll bravely take the plate where you can chose from five different proteins and five carbs and get a mix of your own liking. Just to show my adventurous streak. And the name of the place is - itamae soul food, odengatan 62, open mon-fri 9-21, sat-sun 10-20

The other place I've heard so much nice things about for years, but it's a bit off if you're not living in the neighbourhood so I've just never gotten around visiting. Until now, before that terrible *quality entertainment show* the other week. It's in the vicinity of where I go to class and it's an Italian restaurant, to begin with a deli, now a smallish and very cosy place, with a not very extensive menu. Perhaps that's why the food's so good...?

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I got a rather nice vegetarian pasta - where you can either chose your ingredients yourself or rely on the chef's choice. Unfortunately the latter happened to, this time, include two of my least favourite vegetables, capers and sundried tomatoes, but overall it was a nice dish. Perfect al dente pasta, a reasonable portion, creamy, nice seasoning.

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But the best thing was really the divine round-off, the heavenly Tiramisú. Possibly the best I've ever had really. Just perfect in texture, size and flavour. Mmm...

Very pleasant staff, efficient and friendly. Always an extra plus for staff that keep a close check on the waterbottle and refill it when needed. And the name of this place - Haga Deli, Hagagatan 18, also open for lunch from 11 on weekdays

Friday, March 14, 2008

Wanted: Blog Style Council

Talked with a few of my fellow course mates today, and the topic sort of slided into blogwriting. I was the only one who had one, and since it's a waterhole where I ventilate, not always in very pleasant manner, this and that, him and her, I like to keep it a *well-kept secret*.

If you're very good at sleuthing the Internet I guess you could find it with a few personal details of mine, though I can't be considered all that interesting as far as they're concerned. And since I'll most probably continue with my personal observations, nice or naughty, all through this course, it would be more convenient if it could remain a ventilating sidekick of mine...

One very general observation of mine is that every single time the topic of blogging comes up, which frankly isn't all that often since I and the people I spend time with prefer to live in the very real life (although I very obviously can't wait to retransmit many of those amazingly interesting bits of real life into blogging...), is how very few who actually know or care about this kind of "subculture".

Some because they have no interest whatsoever in the Internet - yes they exist! - others because they find the blogosphere being swamped with, frankly, crap. And I know the feeling, the introvert illiteracy of far too many bloggers is appalling. Embarrassing. Horrible.

Myself I don't read many blogs, at all. The ones I read I return to, on a more or less regular basis, because they're in possession of one, many or all of the below qualities;

* so darn entertaining
* well-written or extremely well-written
* creative
* educational
* witty or incredibly witty
* revolves around a certain interest I share
* lots of nice - great - amazing photography
* makes me think, and think again, and then some

And, honestly, very few of my favourites are Swedish, since I - *confession big time* - consider many, oh too many, of the Swedish ones, both unbelievably boring and badly written. Completely lacking any of the above desired qualities or having even a hint of public interest. Blog style council, anyone?

Ah, now that I've been whining for a few blogpost, I'll try and keep it strictly nice the next time. Perhaps a bit on the food-front? I have found some *new* lovely places to eat lately, lunch, dinner and for a coffeebreak, should write a trifle about that perhaps. Or a few castles visited, or a dash of cat update, or books or a neighbourhood review... Well, the latter one maybe later because that one will definitely concentrate on the more whining aspects of the vicinity around here.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Goodmorning Sunshine

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Mornings like these, it's important to remember oneself there's light of hope somewhere down the season line...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Word of Advice

Hardly no surprise, but worth repeating, I love writing. Both workwise as well as just for the sake of keeping sane I suppose. A part of breathing, living and loving words is of course also to be very interested in how others use them. Or as it happens, too often, misuse them.

My view, on most things, is that if a job, a commitment, is worth doing it's also worth doing well. Oh I most certainly stumble and fall my fair share of the commitment times too, once in a while. But I've also learnt that if I know, more or less deep inside, that I don't have the time, or the real inclination, to do that job in the way that it's suppose, worth, to be done I should say no from the beginning. I simply shouldn't commit to it.

If I commit to an assignment I owe both to myself as well as others to do it well. It doesn't have to be perfect - that can be a relative thing - I might be a beginner, just learning. But I should at least do the best I can under the circumstances and my particular knowledge at the time. I should be aware of my flaws and the possible lacking in certain skills and therefore make darn sure I get help or use the tools that will help me implement the task in a more than decent way.

As a professional as well as a human being I've got my personal strengths as well as weaknesses, and for everyone's sake I should make the most of my best features and work on the far from good ones. Or for that matter, leave them to others that do have my lacking skills.

Instead of showing a bit of insightfullness many people have the tendency to use their flaws, their possible limitations in certain areas as *convenient* excuses for their shortcomings. This gets even more obvious when you're working in a group and get dependent on the others performing the way they're suppose to. If everyone actually do perform and takes on the task they can do and do well, then all is fine and dandy of course. But when they don't, especially when they make a big deal of having certain disabilities and still insists on taking a certain role in the group, refusing to use the aid tools available, hence making the whole group look less than good...

Ah, I do like being and having sounding boards, and collaborations where everyone is responsible for their own particular speciality, but in general I so do not like group projects. Because if the specific group isn't meticulously put together there's most always some freerider, someone who's the self appointed boss but far from good at it -

I generally distrust people who actively aim at being the one in charge, they're rarely good at it. My experience is that the best managers are most always the ones whose far from very interested in becoming one, but often shows those certain, sort of impalpable features that make them so very good at it when they happen to kind of stumble in to the role -

someone who might live under the illusion of being very skillfull, but by most comparison isn't, someone who is actually very skillful but on the shy side of things and not always very good at expressing him/herself. And so forth.

I'm not very patient when it comes to these types of situations. Less so over the years. I know most of my strengths and weaknesses, I know which ones I can improve on and which I can't - that being because of either pure laziness, uninterest or really a total lack of talent. Period. I have no need of flaunting my talents or strengths in general, I'm safe and aware of them, and so are most of the people that matters to me.

Well, admittedly if I get really annoyed by some boastful pleb trying to appear like an expert in a field they very obviously don't know very much about, whereas I do, I now and then like to have a zingy saying in the matter at hand. Or of course, when it comes to job applications or in certain competitive situations. But not just for the sake of it. For the sake of showing off. A nice degree of non-false, secure, modesty is always very appealing in a person I think. I so like that quality in others, I like to think I strive for that myself.

Back to the actual thing that got me going in the first place, this time around. Group project. Presentation. Who's writing it. Who shouldn't. Or at least shouldn't when they blatantly refuse to use the aid tools available. And instead rally their own disability, still somewhat insisting on being the one who's compiling the work. The presentation, the achievement which reflects us all, as a group. All the ideas and discussions summed up in what should be a good, great if possible, and distinct presentation.

I managed to get a bit of saying, and writing - horay! - in in the end, when I also did a bit of proof-reading - spell checker anyone? - but I'm still far from satisfied with it. The person in question - a basically nice one with lots of ideas, views, knowledge and capabilities - instead of making the most of all those devices that can help her to make a better job, she continued snickering about her dyslexia.

And it's far from the first time I get a more than sneaking suspicion that some dyslectics - diagnosed or not - us that disability as an excuse instead of an incentive. The excuse being I know I have this disability, so I don't perform as well as others, but I insist on doing this anyway. My way. Which would be fine if one also made good use of all those aiding tools, spell checkers, advice and proof-read from others. In this day and age we have not only the human resources but also all these amazing gadgets and widgets that can help most of us perform better in a whole lot of different areas. With or without certain disabilities.

Presentation is (at least) half of the work, if it's not correctly written or easily interpreted, it makes such an unprofessional, sloppy and in worst case, uninteresting impression. Which is bad enough if it's solitary work, even more so if it's a group project.

If there'll be a next time, I must make a writing stand earlier, which is sort of tricky since I suppose it can be something of a case of stepping on someones delicate figurative toes. Wording will have to lead the way.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Bonus Track

My view on the Eurovision Song Contest is definitiely the same still. But seeing these two stunningly professional and immensly entertaining twins and their group that goes by the name Rongedal on today's morning TV, I'm all starryeyed excited, rooting for them all the way to wherever the finals are, and then some!

I knew them beforehand, I'd seen them perform here and there, but somehow for reasons completely incomprehensible they hadn't made an impression, I shamefacedly admit.

Listen to their piece here - the song itself is so-so, even though it certainly grows on you, but their performance is simply outstanding! They own the stage, they're completely in sync, lovely outfits, and just look at those cool moves. What is it with a guy (here times two) that's got rhythm, humour and doesn't take himself too seriously? And then it so very obvious they love to perform, all that joy they eminate. Wish I could feel like that about my job one day!

Even better moves you find here, when they apparently participated - and of course, ruled - a, in some circles, very popular Swedish sing-song television show.

Giddy happiness! Exclamation mark.

Legal Creativity

Today I thought I'd get a bit of writing done while I'm still semi-conscious. So here goes. It's actually not that I'm studying hard 8 hours a day, every day, but my mind tends to have a studying agenda of its own and contemplate all sorts of new ideas, inputs, views, analysis when I myself would like to relax a bit. In short, I'm *slightly* winded up. All the time. I guess it just takes some time to get a more relaxed approach to it all, not that we have the time for that. Every course unit is only two weeks, so next week we start another unit. And pretty soon it's time for the first month of traineeship.

To be honest, the forward planning, or the very obvious lack of it, the schedule leaves a whole lot to be desired. I get a very semi-professional feeling, unfortunately. It's kind of a muddle what is really expected of us. My ambition is usually high - with a personality that constantly clashes between being laid back, with a longish takeoff since things really have a tendency to work themselves out with the right amount of effort, and at the same time being the overachieving kind, that gets *rather* annoyed when things aren't efficiently well-done in a no-wasting-time-way. Hence I'm grateful I am the very efficient, skip the drivel, let's work when I can't procrastinate no more (have you heard that before?)

With this course however, it is *rather* difficult to get a feel for what's expected and not, after the initial boosting of all the demands, it's all been well, confusing. Sort of. Not the subject per se, but the expectations. The two way communication part of this full speed ahead two lane thing isn't quite working. I hope it's only an initial glitch.

Having said that, we did have a really fun, and exhausting, group project on today. I think we worked well together, or ahem, well, perhaps it was just a very tiny bit of a me enforcing my ideas. Though really, IMHO I was the only one who had actually done a decent preparatory work. Anyway, we did have a lot of fun, silly fun, I think they were so darn witty some of the ideas. I hope the teacher (the first of 10) - which btw is a really, really good one, a very experienced practitioner in this field, giving us a whole lot of insight and great case studies, pedagogical and just very likable - can appreciate all those little creative details...

Ah, things just don't get much better than twisting legalities with dippy creativity. That mix of strict primness and resourceful creativeness is utterly irresistible! I get completely absorbed every single time. Addictive. Strictly in a very positive way.

Red Fur Cuteness

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Once the (in)famous bird butcher was young and all innocent looking. This was also before he had discovered the joys of chocolate creams... How time flies.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Movies Again

I've been trying to catch up on some movies, but still the pile of recorded movies/DVD's doesn't seem to shrink... Anyway here are some of the ones I've watch lately;

* Cassandra's Dream - Woody Allen's latest, didn't make a memorable impression, might have something to do with fogey Colin Farrel making one of his standard lousy performances. A few Mulberry bags were, as usual in Allen's England set movies, involved. Alas, they didn't perk the movie up all that much. Liked Ewan McGregor, Hayley Atwell and as always Tom Wilkinson though, - 3/5
* Layer Cake - brit gangster drama, yes with Daniel Craig, and some other talented actors - and oh no I really don't include Sienna Miller in that group - tried to be stylish and edgy I suppose, didn't succeed, just quite boring, -2/5
* Bride & Prejudice - a semi-Bollywood version of wonderful movie (book) Pride & Prejudice, and quite a lovely one it was. Colourful, happy, full of that nerdy but yet charming song & dance numbers á la Bollywood. Not as good as Monsoon Wedding, but a nice entertaining piece just the same, +3/5
* Bewitched - a sweet and rather entertaining romantic comedy bagatelle, 2/5
* Open range - I'm not much of a western movie fan, but now and then I catch one and it happens to be a good one, such as this beautifully made drama, 4/5
* Napoleon Dynamite - I know, this is suppose to be a cult comedy, but IMHO it was just so embarrassingly bad it was just... yes, bad, 1/5
* House of Flying Daggers - absolutely stunningly beautiful movie, brimming with those picture perfect scenes that takes your breath away, poetic and sad, +3/5
* The Squid & the Whale - depressing and overrated family drama with good actors, it had its moments, but too few of them, -3/5
* Guess Who - in parts absolutely hilarious, the interaction between Bernie Mac and Ashton Kutcher was great, -4/5
* National Treasure - I'm a great fan of Indiana Jones, especially of the Raiders of the Lost Ark-movie. I didn't have any real expectations about this film, but it turned out to be quite a nice surprise in the Indiana Jones-genre of films, good action, nice plot, +3/5
* The Interpreter - a very good political thriller that gets you thinking, 4/5
* The Jacket - a kind of supernatural drama, different, I do like paradox in movies, books - and well in life I suppose, sometimes - and I rather enjoyed this movie, +3/5
* Against the Ropes - I fail to see the interest in a *sport* that's about beating each other into a pulp, and I fail to see the interest in a movie about a female promoter that has the bad taste of being fascinated by this whole ugly business. And I do not like the once so sweet Meg Ryan's new and nothing but improved plastic face, -2/5
* We Were Soldiers - yes, war is ugly, bloody hell, and yet man(kind) keeps fighting wars over and over again, never seems to learn this simple lesson. Do we need yet another bloody boring on the verge of parodical predictable war-movie brimming with stereotypes and cliches? Shouldn't think so. This one includes another once so pretty now very plastic face too, Madeleine Stowe, such a pity..., 1/5
* The Merchant of Venice - admittedly I rarely enjoy a Shakespeare play or movie. Though the stories are often great and timeless, I find the original dialogues/monologues so incredibly dull, pretentious and over-the-top they make me itch all over. Oh there are exceptions, however this one wasn't. Except for the setting in Venice, I didn't like it much, despite all the good actors, it was just quite silly really, -2/5
* Lost Souls - can things get anymore boring? What could have been a good drama/horror movie turned out to be quite a sleeping pill, such a pity, +1/5
* Cinderella Man - once again boxing, this praised drama based on a true story just left me with a "so?", 2/5
* Dirty Pretty Things - ah this is issue is so completely sad, about the illegal organ-trade and immigrants, about those vicious ones who use the vulnerable, dependable, and for some, expendable others, 3/5
* Finding Neverland - such a lovely, lovely movie, 4/5
* Mrs Caldicott's Cabbage War - this is what happens when Shirley Valentine retires, kind of bittersweet comedy drama about a rising at an old people's home, -3/5
* The Bourne Supremacy - I'm one of those - well, hopefully there are more than me around - who liked the Richard Chamberlain version of The Bourne Identity much more than the other one. And this sequel didn't do much for me either, a really thin plot and a whole lot of chasing, mainly in cars and mainly in Berlin. Yaaawn. -2/5
* Hellboy - liked this one! Nice special effects, humour, action, a bit of thinking, entertaining, +3/5
* The Deep End - a remake of a The Reckless Moment from 1949, it never grabbed me, I'm just very bored of people making all the wrong choices for perhaps the right reasons instead of just taking responsibility for their own as well as their loved ones actions in the first place. Shot in absolutely beautiful surroundings at Lake Tahoe. -2/5
* Song for a Raggy Boy - based on a true story, about a boys reformatory school in Ireland in the late 1930ies. Great performances, chilling, sad, gloomy, +3/5
* In Good Company - much better than I expected, liked the ending which isn't the usual insipid Hollywood one, +3/5
* The Golden Bowl - beautiful, but oh how boring and superficial, nothing whatsoever in the vicinity of Ivory's great movies like A Room With A View - things just don't get any more perfect than that one! - Maurice, Howard's End, The Remains of the Day... -2/5
* Nynne - just a bad drunken Danish version of Bridget Jones really, without heart, warmth and a decent humour, +1/5
* Final destination 2 - I liked the first one and its plot very much, I liked the second one too, here's a -4/5
* Radio - such an endearing movie based on a true story about the mentally challenged boy Radio and his life as an "assistant football coach" in the late 1970ies, Cuba Gooding Jr is brilliant as Radio, 3/5
* The Cooler - William H. Macy plays the gambling jinx, the so called cooler, in this drama in casino surroundings. A rather lovely film, good actors overall, +3/5
* Se upp för dårarna (Mind the Gap) - a lovely, Swedish comedy-drama about two girls from different backgrounds applying for the Police Academy. The name of the movie literally translates "Mind the idiots", and its a fairly common pronunciation by immigrant tube drives of the "Mind the door"-phrase - idiots = dårar, dörrar = doors. In this film one of the girl's father is the immigrant tube driver, though in fact a highly skilled heart surgeon, that can't speak Swedish very well. Hence the title of this first time director movie of actress Helena Bergström. -4/5
* Before Sunset - admittedly I don't remember much, at all, of the prequel movie Before Sunrise, but I really loved this sequel. Brilliant script and dialogue, a wonderful, moving film about second chances, about life and choices, +4/5
* Ready When You Are, Mr McGill - quite a sweet and funny English drama about an extra at a TV show who tries his best to give a performance of a lifetime, and about all the brown-nosing going on behind the scenes, with brilliant as always Bill Nighy as the director, +3/5
* Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street - I had expected so much more, even though I'm not a fan of musicals - Singin' in the Rain, Moulin Rouge, Cabaret and The Wizard of Oz being some exceptions to that - I thought this sounded like an intriguing movie, vaguely remembering seeing a TV adaption of the Sweeney Todd musical as a child. And if it was only for the amazing scenography, costumes, makeup and great actors - oh Alan Rickman... - it would get 5/5. But it isn't, despite all that it was mainly slow and tedious, hence only getting a -3/5
* No Country For Old Men - I didn't have much of a preconception about this movie, just decent actors and some Oscars. But since the latter obviously always isn't a sign of quality - I just say, Braveheart... - I wouldn't make too much of that. And even though I'm still haunted my the notion of what happened to that poor black dog in the beginning of the movie, I thought it was an overall pretty darn good one. Amidst all that violence - Javier Bardem so deserved that Oscar! - and all the choices we make, a low voice humour and philosophizing going on. Highly recommended! 4/5

Imagine

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Saturday, March 08, 2008

What Not To See

As I've mentioned before I'm not much for theatre going. When I now and then do go, I like to think it's carefully chosen pieces and shows. Still, not even those times it's always the impression of it is a pleasing one. And then we have the other times, the pieces and shows I haven't chosen to see myself, either being a total surprise, a gift or even a spur of the moment thing. I (we) went to such a show last week.

A "quality entertainment show" (the ironic and what must be presumed thought to be entertaining name of the show) with a somewhat praised comedian, best known from the Swedish political satirical TV-show "Parlamentet" (The Parliament). A show that is at times - with the best comedians - absolutely hilarious. When the *comedians* aren't top notch it's more of a oh-my-this-is-embarrassingly-bad-entertainment-please-stop-talking.

I can't say I had much of an impression of or view on this guy beforehand, I just thought it would probably be a rather pleasant evening. Which it would turn out to be far from. It was actually and most definitely one of the most awful pieces of *entertainment* I've ever seen.

This poor guy - Henrik Dorsin - keenly though in vain tried to resemble one of those (more or less) well-deserved belauded old school Swedish (well, I guess there's old school entertainment genre in most every country, you know what I mean, the intellectual witty, dryly humorous, most often satirical kind of humour) comedians, and it just turned out so very very very bad. Extremely strained old-mannish slap-stick. So. Very. Not. My kind of humour.

Apparently I was somewhat of an exception to the rule of being quite entertained by this poor excuse for a comedian, since most of the rest of the audience seemed to have a good time. Whilst my face more and more resembled a lemon. A very sour lemon indeed. We left in the interval.

Ah, thank goodness for a great book and a lovely bed - if you might harbour the idea of this show being something too spend an evening with, I suggest you to think again and chose that bed & book alternative instead.

Friday, March 07, 2008

*T*G*I*F*

Granted, this is a worn cliché but today I am really very extremely grateful for the fact that it is Friday, that I can sleep as long as I want tomorrow. Some lovely time to contemplate and collect all those buzzing, excited new thoughts over the weekend.

Right now I'd very much appreciate if soMeone could serve me a more than well-deserved nice dinner, and a few pieces of chocolate. I have no inclination, or energy, whatsoever to cook something myself. And I do believe I'm on the verge of becoming quite gaunt, poor starving me. Food now please. Then I'm quite content to make it a very early, well-deserved night.

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Thursday, March 06, 2008

A Bit Of Snow

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This is what met the eye when I woke up this early, early morning - snow on the ground. But it had all melted away in the afternoon. Oh I wish the weather could make up its mind, stop bickering winter and spring, behave!

I'm actually completely exhausted after this very first, real day of course - a great teacher, interesting subject and a massive overdose of really very interesting information about this subject/occupation I more or less had no idea existed until now. An occupation which plays a really important role in most any company, and still being poorly managed - there's an immense room for improvement, fascinating indeed! I guess tomorrow will be just as crammed with information, and interesting case studies - I'm glad weekend's next and that the next class won't be until upcoming Thursday...

Though I kind of volunteered for an extra task, which I thought/think the course lacked - sort of the only way to get it done is by doing it yourself - so hey presto this weekend will be kind of crammed too I guess. Though it's all about words, hence a labour of love. I don't complain. All that much. Just a tiny bit for the sake of it.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

A Life Less Ordinary

Ah, the first day back on the school bench was quite exhausting - and it was only a mere introduction of two hours... Though we got homework for Thursday, a 350 page book in English in specialist language, in a field I have no experience whatsoever in. Why couldn't it have been a pleasant fictional novel instead? I wouldn't have minded that. At all.

But now it's full speed ahead double lane learning right from the start. Phew. It's not that it's written in a highly complicated or technical way, but having just 1,5 days to browse through it and sort of semi-understand it... But perhaps, as my friend so eloquently put it, maybe this massive overdose of course literature is a clever way of separating the sheep from the goats? Are goats wiser than sheep?

What kind of fellow students did I get then. Oh me oh my, some pretty weird ones - I can write an essay about them - , some ordinary, some less than ordinary. Though I did get the impression that everyone was quite eager to learn, change course - or for that matter immerse themselves in a field they already knew. But as we introduced ourselves I was flabbergasted at the meager and boring amount of hobbies most everyone had - if they had any at all, except partying at the Baltic Sea cruise ferries during the weeks they didn't have the kids... How completely sad is that on a scale. Apart from that specific and pathetic excuse for travelling no one but me liked to travel and experience new things... Or at least they kept it as a well hidden secret.

Myself I also felt the urge of a miniature Wallraff, all those lives, all those oddities and quirks, I want to go undercover, discover, analyze, I'm sure it would be a highly entertaining piece of... something. Instead, for now, I have to yield to those 350 pages of another kind of analysis, strategy, planning and practise. Baa.

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Monday, March 03, 2008

The New Look

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Suddenly outdoor living became so cold, all my lovely fur insulate vanished - I swear it had something to do with that horrible treatment I got last Saturday - I'm not fully convinced, at all, this is an improvement. Granted with this new season look comes a whole new dimension of kissing and cuddling, ohs and ahs, you're so soft, you smell so good, you look so cute, only a third of your usual size, quite adorable in a geeky way - the latter I pretended not to hear. Because mentioning Malte (me) and geeky in the same sentence is pretty darn close to blasphemy.

The undersigned of this post says I will now be able to outrun the fastest there is, with this highly trimmed new look of mine. I'm not sure I'd be interested in that. Even if I'm a bundle of energy I prefer more of quick and steady walk than a silly run, my nose is my most precious belonging and I just love reading haiku and other interesting poems and news when we're out walking.

Running is for when the undersigned is too impatient to wait for me while I enjoy a spot of reading, or when I say hallo to friends - the world's full of them, and everyone is kind. Everyone loves me. Thinks I'm the best. That's just how it is - being kind of far away, must come close fast. Hallo there, how are you, am I not the most wonderful being you've ever seen, of course I am.

Undersigned said I wasn't very cooperative when we took pictures today, well so I thought it was quite cold, and uncomfortable, dah, but still I must say, I do look rather fetching carrying this new look well, the scarf rather complimentary to my colour and eyes, don't you think? Of course you do.

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Undersigned also promised that all my lovely fur will grow back in a blink of an eye, that I will be back in my old, comfortable Malte-shape in no time. Looking forward to that.

Lady In Red

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I don't play golf, never have, never will. In fact I think it's one of the silliest sports around - though M would most heartily disagree - , and oh my, are there plenty of them to chose from... As far as I'm concerned, too much interest in sports is like cleaning-mania and a complete spotless home, as sign of a wasted life.

Mind you, keeping fit and a healthy amount of exercise is of course nothing like being obsessively interested in some guys running around kicking a ball, herding a puck on ice, running track up track down or some other mindless way of practise sports.

Ah, why not use your intellect instead, read a book, or two, or a hundred, thousands, go for a walk in the woods, spend time with loved ones, travel, educate yourself, expand your mind, get a life. Well, perhaps, my sneaking suspicion for years have actually been, having an intellect is rather the opposite of being interested in sports.

That said, I could quite fancy having a little red (golf) car like this, having a bit of a tour around the estate, for those days one feel like a true lady of leisure. That doesn't mean I have to begin practising the simp art of golf, does it?

Saturday, March 01, 2008

One Black Dress With Pink Roses Looking For A Perfect Closet To Stay

I've very graciously surrendered the TV remote control over to M this evening - the Eurovision Song Contest is about as far away from my taste in music as one can come, and when I actually have to suffer being in the same room whenever such jawdropping drivel is on (believe me, that rarely happens) I'm dumbstruck. Every. Single. Time.

I just can't believe things can get any worse in this genre of music. But there's always room for yet another low water mark I suppose. Flabbergasted, that's me. And if not literally running screaming out of the room, with the hands covering my ears, someone please help, I very much do it in my head.

Oh, I'm just so very grateful it's an optional thing. And that I can usually master my own remote control over to something significantly more pleasing to both the ear as well as eyes. Not to mention the intellect and good taste - ok, diversity is in general quite a nice thing, even when it comes to music, I'm not one to say my taste in music should be shared by all (or at least I don't fully admit to it in open), but come on, one should at least be able to carry a tune when on stage trying to sing something that tries to resemble a song...

The only reason for me being so darn gracious and accommodating with the remote control this particular Saturday evening is that I felt it would be as good a time as any to have a bit of a rummaging through the closets. Seems like I've been doing quite a bit of that as lately, but now it's time to send all the Spring-Summer-not-in-use-and-won't-be-used-in-a-foreseeable-future garments off to a second hand shop, last time it was the winterish clothes. While rummaging though the closets I'm also ever so slowly working myself through parts of my past - some items are considerably easier to let go than others.

The perfect example of hard-to-let-go is a gorgeous black cotton garden-party-kind-of-dress brimming with small pink rosebuds, from Laura Ashley, bought about 100 years ago - only a slight exaggeration - but haven't been worn for about the last 50 of those years. Not worn for many reasons, like the back is quite intricate and requires a very specific bra, one I never found. I could wear it with a jacket or a cardigan on all the time, but that would be a pity on such a lovely dress. To wear it without a bra isn't an option, it would not only be uncomfortable, it would be the perfect example of bad taste Eurovision-Song-Contest-style, not to mention surely get one on a worst-dressed-anonymous-list in a second. If one cared about such matters.

I've tried to wear it with some weird Hollywood concoction of a strapless bra, which was a scary thing and instantly as if by a villainous miracle put Dolly Parton to shame shelfwise. It was a horrific day for all parties involved. Poor pretty dress with roses.

Today admittedly I don't think the bra-issue would be the major problem with the dress, there are two others overshadowing that, the fact that it's a black dress and that it's in cotton makes it a very obvious no-no in an other-than-black-cat-environment and besides, hrm, I don't think it fit as well as it once did. But it is such a flourishing dress, it's like a little dress-work of art, and I haven't been able to part with it for all this time. It doesn't demand much, no food, no drink, not very much room, I can have a glance at its pretty pattern now and then.

But the not-fitting-anylonger-fact apart, it actually very much isn't my personal style of a dress anymore. I think it's about time we parted, pink roses on black bottom dress and I. Time to finally say goodbye, to let this summer be a summer for someone else to look fab, dance, love and be happy in one wonderful black pink flowery dress with intricate back straps. Time to do what closet cleaning is all about, move on.

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The Last Day of Mr TooLongFur

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This is one happy loaf doggie in even worse need of that long overdue furcut. I haven't been able to contact my very handy furshaving friend, so now at last I've been forced into investing in a shaver (for dogs) of my very own. Tomorrow is the day of the inauguration - then little loaffie will be a brand new dog, perhaps in the shape of a Schnorfolk...?

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After being trimmed he'll be able to run even faster in that newly discovered and totally neat in-the-middle-of-the-woods-exercise-ground. And when you can actually see his whole face again he'll show you a completely adorable smile with that little extra of an underbite.

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When he returns to the place for barbecues by the lake, the lassies will swarm around that handsome little guy, in perfectly trimmed shape and size. The only thing he won't be able to carry out as well as before is his perfect skills as an undercover turf... Ah, win some, lose some, life of a dog, Mr TooLongFur.

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