The size, spread and fragrance of these inner city lilacs is both immensly impressive as well as seductive. They kind of slightly put my little haven of lilacs to shame. Ah the abundance of green lusciousness..., this time of year is truly magical naturewise.
Saturday, May 31, 2008
And since I'm creative in the non-webdesigning-html-code-kind-of-way I have of course had help, a whole lot of help from a friend, *thanks-ever-so-much*!
I think it looks so much cleaner - I'm very far from a friend of too much graphics on websites, I'm looking for information and pictures, not falling stars, rosebuds, ribbons, raindrops and all that nonsense fuss, so I'm quite happy that my site too has gotten rid of that stuff at last - and easier to browse through. This time only in Swedish, yet. I'll be adding the information in English and new pictures soon, but this will do so very fine for now. Welcome to have a peek.
Friday, May 30, 2008
It's always good to get things in perspective, and this capture reminded me of the fact that there truly are things worse, much worse, than being treated like a useless doofus - it's having to be a shopping companion. See, then you most certainly will end up completely wasted on a bench outside a shop of your girl/boyfriend's fancy. That. Will. Never. Ever. Happen. To. Me. I take comfort in that.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
I kind of feel I keep repeating myself a whole lot, but the Swedish employment centre has just been an awardwinning horrible joke - if it wasn't really serious business -, all the way from the beginning. Even if I had my serious doubts before I unfortunately had to enroll there I shrugged and thought *hey this won't be forever, me and my competence won't be enrolled here for long. Go through the motions and soon it'll just be a distant deplorable memory to sigh and snort at*.
Instead it has sort of turned into something resembling a psychological thriller, from which you can't seem to escape. Speak, but don't speak too much, act, but don't act too much, play along and keep silent. On the one hand I need to move on, but since I for ungraspable reasons can't seem to get at least a decent step along that road of a new beginning I can't explore other possibilites since in this glorious Surveillance Society of Sweden you should always keep in line, fill in the forms, follow even the silliest, most incomprehensible rules and regulations imaginable.
And hey, I'm certain silly rules and regulations can be found in most any country, but this is me, here and now. I feel like a round ball trying to squeeze myself into a square shape to fit in the provided box.
Here are some low-water marks of today's meeting (be warned, this is going to be long) -
* So you're a lawyer, do you have an education or a degree? (No, I call myself that just for fun)
* So you like cats. Do you have children? No. Ah, cats. Instead. How many? - Seriously? As many as I see fit (none of your f***ing business!!)
* Looking at my current CV, well, you just can't write down the coaching under courses since you haven't learn anything from them - excuuuussseee me?? It's a part of my personal development, it's given me a lot of helpful tools that I will take with me wherever I go, am, work, it stays, none of your business
* Still looking at my CV, it's misleading to write that you've attended a course in purchase since you've dropped out - look, I've written that it's an introduction course, nowhere does it say I have a degree, it was a two months more than fulltime course and it stays
* Looking at one of my job applications, you can't write you've attended a course in purchase since you haven't, you've dropped out from a course in purchase - look, I've written I've attended an introduction course which gives me an insight in the profession, I'm not saying I have a degree, and it was completely relevant for the job I applied for
* Still looking at the same job application, why do you write so much about yourself, there's nothing more to tell at a job interview - what. the. f---, are you for real?? Do you think all of me and my skills fit on a 3/4 A4 page, Of. Course. I've emphasized on the skills I have which has been requested in the add
* I've also applied for less qualified jobs, but I just have no chance since I'm overqualified for them - if you apply for such jobs you of course have to remove your degrees and qualifications from your CV - (ah, so you mean I should erase about 20 years of my life then, I see. You don't think 20 years blank in a CV looks somehow... weird?)
(Btw, I have a burning question, if you have such great skills in recruitment and how to write a CV, why do you work here then...?)
* You're most probably looking for the wrong jobs, apply for those that match your skills - (of course) I already am. I don't apply for any undoable jobs but the ones that in a reasonable way fit my skills (and just so you know, a job advert often states requests not demands)
* But if you pick and chose like that you can miss opportunities - excuse. me.what.did.you.just.say??
* It's only been a year, you've done really great with those job interviews - I really don't agree, that's why I hope the academics agency and their coach will help in sharpening my CV
* We're here to support and help you, but you realize that everything we do here precedes the academics agency you've enrolled in... - well, that's just great, you haven't been able to help me with one darn thing for over a year, rather the opposite really, and now, when I finally, after queueing for nearly six months, got a place at that agency you have the audacity to question this... Blimey!!
* I think you should start with worktraining - yes a traineeship would be nice and a step forward, if I could get one - no, not a traineeship, I think what you really need is an eight week work capacity evaluation. With an assistant that will follow you everyday at work and make notes on how much you're capable of. You'll then get an evaluation and we will work with that - Meaning: You've been previously sick-listed for so long that you don't know what's best for you or what you really want or need
* Now you have one week to decide if you want to worktrain or if you want to be work capacity evaluated. I so recommend the latter since your days of compensation are ticking and if you go for the other option we have to find a cheap employer - ?? ?? ??
* If you want to reach me, please call me midmornings since I'm part time sick-listed - Ok. Ey. So that makes it perfectly fine to treat me like some less than knowing ex-sick-listed oddity then? Right. Hear you. Tosser nitwit.
And the worst thing of it all was really the way she somehow managed to in mid meeting do a complete about-face, turning all empathetic milk and honey. I got this distinct feeling that if she couldn't break me by insults - and amidst it all I was. So. Very. Grateful. That I could counterargue - she would try to do it by showing insipid empathy instead. Sickening and scary in a delightful mix.
That was a slice of my day, how about yours?
The only thing is, the royal couple will for some silly reason arrive with the commuter train about the time I'm leaving in the opposite direction for an appointment - perhaps I'll bump into them when they'll be shown around the pee-corner at the station? Every self-respecting train-station has one. Welcome to reality.
The other scenario just might be a whole lot of a sandwich-short-of-a-picnic-security guards floundering things for us distinguished commuters. Time will tell.
Another thing that surely will be a major muddle is the international Iraq conference held in another part of the Stockholm suburbs. For debatable reasons they decided it would be a briliant idea to hold it in Sweden and hey presto why not hold it in an major working-place area, that would be kind of neat.
M who works in the same building as the conference is held is away on a business-trip, but apparently his whole company is at a standstill for three days due to this conference. Slight inconvenience perhaps, or for a good cause, disputable in many ways.
Might I add that I've also attended several catshows in the same conference hall, I sadly suspect that will be as close as I'll ever get to the seat of Secretary-General of the United Nations...
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
First of all, I'm the kind of person who practically never ever win anything in random games and lotteries. Until now the most memorable win I had was a free badminton-contract in the early 1990ies, and it wasn't even my licenseplate number on the lottery ticket just my name on the contract.
So imagine my complete surprise when we actually won first prize in a silly - like in I-never-win-why-bother - quiz at the Secret Rooms event the other weekend!! To be honest I was the one who knew the - obviously correct - answers to most of the questions, but I would never have bothered with it if it wasn't for my mother who thinks these things are fun.
The silliest thing of it all was the fact than the very last question was about some ancient Swedish king's sisters, and me being so completely uninterested in royalties of this kind - as far as I'm concerned they cost a whole lot of money and you get very less than the money's worth for it. Basically - I just went for the most logical answer. It's kind of neat to be right without really having any knowledge or interest whatsoever of the issue in question.
The prize then? Well it's neither a whole lot of money nor a round-the-world-trip (in my dreams). Not even a gecko green VW Beetle with a bright pink gerbera in the built-in-vase. But a painting. Freshly made that day, in the secret garden I mentioned before. Will be framed and sent when the paint has dried.
The thing is, how should we divide this prize? Cut it in half, or one month each, visitation rights, mm, I see headaches coming.
Since the visitors of this Secret Rooms-event was roughly 41.000 in the Stockholm area (62.000 counting the whole country) and there were a whole lot of people doing the quiz when we walked around it feels kind of... special. Yeah, we won!! First prize! Go figure.
On May 24th 2008, for the second time ever - the first time was in 2004 - the National Property Board opened the doors to some houses, rooms and spaces that aren't usually public. These so called Secret Rooms could be found across the country, as well as the Swedish embassy in Finland. The places in the Stockholm vicinity were 12, and I doubt that even if you were very quick and had a car there was just no way you could managed to visit them all during those five hours of free entrance glasnost.
Not surprisingly of all the buildings revealing their secrets that day, we choose to visit some of the palaces. First stop - and not much of a queue when we arrived about 20 minutes before they opened - was the now conjoined buildings of the Oxenstierna Palace and the Beijer House, neighbour to the Royal Palace in Old Town.
Lord High Chancellor Axel Oxenstierna - the tall man in the picture above, and even if you perhaps think it's an actor I suspect he just might be the real one, he striked me as rather well-preserved in spirits so to say - was one of Sweden's most influential and distinguished statesmen during the 17th century. In 1653 he ordered that a palace should be built at the prestigious site next to the Royal Palace.
The architect was Jean de la Vallée, a french-born man also the architect behind other great buildings in Stockholm and other parts of Sweden. Like Skokloster castle, Ekolsund castle, Hässleby castle and Karlberg palace. The Oxenstierna palace was meant to be grand in many ways, but was never finished since the chancellor died in 1654. The only part finished was this wing, now called the Oxenstierna Palace.
At the same time, in the mid 17th century, the post-master-general Beijer purchased the two neighbouring buildings which at that time served as the only post office in Stockholm. With an inner courtyard that's unique since being preserved intact for over 350 years.
The Swedish state purchased the Beijer House in 1918 and linked it's interior with that of the Oxenstierna Palace. The state has ever since used the conjoined buildings as offices for for example the State bank and the Treasury Department. To me the place looked quite empty, I have no idea as to what exactly is lodged there nowadays.
And to be honest, neither being a major architecture buff nor immensely enjoying the rigged-out-in-costumes-of-that-time-people, of which some were overacting in a major way - one being really zeleous in telling the details of her husbands nasty VD-problems. A fact which I chatted happily about later while in a café, was misinterpreted by the guests at the table next to us. They looked completely horrified and left in a swooshy hurry, poor guys, what if something had rubbed off - I found the whole secret-rooms-hullabaloo of this particular place (apart from some nice well-preserved wall- and cealing-paintings) to be rather overrated indeed.
Glad we got there early though, the queue when we finally found our way out into the light once again - the exit was befittingly by steep stairs from the cellar - was rather... unappealing.
Although admittedly, just past the neighbouring Royal Palace was a longish queue to the next stop on our day of most secret revelations, another palace. This one with a magic garden though, which certainly makes one stand a bit of queueing, don't you agree?
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
They have simply not been a top priority of mine, whether those (subconscious) decisions have been wise or not, only time will tell. Or not. I do brood *a bit* about the not-top-prioritizing when these to-do-things involve me keeping in contact with people though. But I'm pretty sure they don't live their every day thinking why that Pia-person hasn't kept in contact...
Since none of us are always top priority to all the people we meet through a lifetime I shouldn't feel too bad about it I suppose. It's just that sometime I think I should make a bit more effort to be a good, wholehearted friend, to everyone I like to be that with.
And now to someone who certainly won't be my new best friend, the new coach. I'll spare you the finer details, let's just say my first impression through emails and phone was spot on. And in my world it's rather an annoying - as well as rude - feature to not concentrate on the meeting and the person in front of you here and now but eminate stress, lack of concentration and not listen properly. Perhaps especially if you're a coach, ahem...
Having said that I will also say that I think I got a few useful tips, ideas and hints regarding structure of CV and my approach to applying for jobs etc. And I'm glad all the work I've already put in, especially over these past few years, wasn't too bad at all, it was just a case of sharpening the arguments and details.
So now I'm in the sharpening process of things. And I'll also attend a short series of seminars, perhaps they'll do some good in one way or another. At least it'll be something to work with.
Something to work one's hands into is also this new fragrance of the Swedish soap brand that brings back sweet childhood memories, Bliw. Launched in 1968 it was apparently Sweden's first encounter with liquid soap and at first had a very brand distinctive, and appealing, shape of a bubble. The bubble shaped soap is still on the market, but has since been followed by pump-bottles and refills. When I was on the prowl for new handsoaps the other week I found this pale pink beauty with a heavenly scent of dog-rose and rhubarb. So very summer! Will certainly be a treasured little soapy thing at the basinside.
What on earth made you mowe our lovely longgrassed lawn?! We so appreciated the ample opportunity of grass eating galloping indoors barfing. Why oh why did you have to take that pleasure away from us? Humans are just weird and a constant concern.
Monday, May 26, 2008
Though even if this is my life and my adversities they're of course nothing like suffering from hurricanes and earthquakes...
The latest news from the course is that the organizers keep avoiding the fact that I've escaped from there, they for some reason adamantly refuse to answer any questions from the other participants as to why I haven't been there for some weeks. Which is totally weird. But at least now they should now through the one I've confided in ever since the beginning of this mess.
The now ongoing five weeks of traineeship is a complete fiasco - no surprise there... - all those remaining that hadn't manage to get a traineeship were of course sadly enough left all to their own devices - quite the very contrary to what was promised when we began the course - and were ordered to sit down and call companies fulltime to get a trainee job.
The very few that had actually managed to find a traineeship on their own have heard absolutely nothing from the organizer while there. It's surreal beyond words that the organizer actually hasn't bothered to get in touch with respective company before the traineeship period began. Dumbstruck coursewise. Once again.
If it wasn't causing so many problems for so many people, not to mention costing a whole lot of money, resources and valuable time, the mess of it all would be award-winning laughable. That the organizer actually has a decent enough website that promises the moon over and over is... mindblowing, to say the least.
I wonder when I will be able to put this whole darn thing finally and for good behind me... One day. When I least expect it. And yes, as usual things will improve, a bit here, a bit there, day by day.
This afternoon I have an appointment with yet another *career*coach. Frankly I'm slightly hesitant about this particular person, let's just say that she hasn't impressed me by emails and phone. But who knows, things and intentions do get lost through wires, she might be quite alright face to face.
At least I'm rather intrigued to find out if she can actually add something new and possibly give a plausible answer to this huge question-exclamation mark as to why I haven't been able to find a newish way in life. One that actually pays the bills.
One day in late May an afternoon walk in the woods nearby, the ripple of the lake, the sun glistening through the foliage, gentle winds, loaf dog extraordinare companion (on good behaviour), finding new paths, one step at the time, breath in, breath out is just what one needs to be able to look forward, onward once again.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
To our immense delight there has been, since some weeks back, at least one hedgehog lurking, pitter-pattering around here. He - she (possibly even "they") isn't as forthcoming, yet, in picture-posing as last year's model.
But totally adorable just the same, and very hungry. He - she is definitely a crunching slobber of fine cat food. And of course, he - she has a very nice little snuggery of a roadside hedgehog-restaurant on my property, it's our pleasure to serve wee prickly ones and protect their crunchy food from bad weather.
Welcome, welcome, mi casa es su casa, our cat food is yours, my dear Mr - Ms Hedgehog.
Meet one of my absolute favourite details in Stockholm - Järn Olle a k a Järnpojken a k a The Little Iron Boy. A tiny, adorable iron sculpture that can be found in the very heart of Stockholm, at a semi-secret place...
The little boy has sat there ever since 1967. In the summer he sometimes get a daisy-chain around his head and when winter comes he most often gets a tiny scarf and cap to keep the cold out - yes as it happens someone close to me use to knit him a new piece every winterseason, though she's far from alone in doing that...
As one might gather from the collection of coins, and the wee one's shiny head there's a formation of myths around Järn-Olle; tourists often leave a coin and pat the little head for good luck. It's also said to bring bad luck if one steals his coins and most probably the money left by tourists go to the collection in the neighbouring church.
If you're able to find his exact location, why not pop by for a visit the next time you're in town...
Saturday, May 24, 2008
I found some old children cakemolds in my garden shed the other week. They looked so adorable I felt I had to use them for something. My mother said she used to make me a tiny cake in them when she baked cakes when I was a child, me, I have no recollection of that at all. But it sounds endearing, and I'm sure all my dolls had lots of lovely tea-parties!
So when I had some eggs in the fridge I had to make into something, I thought it would be a neat thing to bake something in those molds. Instead of one large mold I used three small ones. Tick-tack-toe, one cake each for Goldilocks' bears - not only pretty to look at but rather nice to eat too. Although I have no idea if I can withstand to cut into the two tiny cakes.
I think I'll have to leave that to the dolls. I'm sure they'll be delighted for the opportunity to have a tea-party in the garden shed - yes there are many treasures and secrets from decades back hidden and stored in that shed of mine...
Friday, May 23, 2008
Once upon a time, about six years ago, there was a very tiny kind of Knut - and he had brothers too - that eagerly wanted to discover the world outside the kitten kingdom.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
To me and my tastebuds there's nothing that says summer quite like the combination beetroots and feta cheese, add a bit of bunnyfood (a k a green leafy things) sprinkle with sunflowerseeds and there you are, a tastematch made in foodheaven!
This specific recipe called for lentils too - not to mention a whole lot of nasty stuff like pig-murder, mouldy cheese and the stringy, surly thing called ruccola, stuff that never ever get to enter my home - did add them, nice but also rather superfluous. However grilled halloumi compliments dish very well. Very, very well. Indeed.
Since change is said to be the spice of life, why not switch the beetroots for some watermelon, add fresh coarsley chopped mint. Baby sister to the above tastematch.
And as far as desserts go, there's just nothing that positively screams Swedish summer like rhubarb pie, possibly the crumble version...
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
A garden with lilacs in full bloom and a forest nearby with a plethora of lilies of the valley, who could wish for more...?
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Oh I do, very much, appreciate the independent thinking, imaginative and a vivid intellect-qualities and quirks in twolegged as well as fourlegged beings. But sometimes there's just too much of a good thing, the independent thinking, vivid intellect can become *a bit* excessive, spoilt and self-centred.
And let's just say that one of those more often than seldom very self-obsessed-look-at-me-I'm-the-centre-of-the-world-types is a lodger of mine. Admittedly I have had cats acting like this too, but at this moment in time none of them is anywhere near as self-absorbed as loaf-doggie extraordinaire.
Rascal-tyke example of today - friend I haven't seen for ages shows up for lunch. Loaf-doggie his usual super over-excited self when guest arrives. Guest can hardly enter doorway because of excited welcoming loafie. When inside guest puts her bags on floor so she can say hallo to me too, loafie likes to sniff out bags. Though he usually actually listens when one asks him to calm down with the bag-sniffing-thing.
Ears very closed today. Sniffing continued. Guest found it very amusing and said it was quite alright since she had bought him something. Loafie all superexcited with ears closed suddenly fished out something and ran for the garden. Not one wof of thank you. Imagine my embarrassed apologies for spoiled loafie brat behaviour.
Loafie brat very happy with new toy, it was a soft squeaker - that usual lasts a couple of hours or so before it's finally silenced forever and ever -, the best there is on the toy side of loafie life. But however happy with new squeaker toy the world just isn't right if cats get toys too. Toys that aren't nearly as fun as squeaker thingies, but nevertheless cats shouldn't get toys of their own. That's just not fair. At all. Must loudly, adamantly vent bark way. Ears still closed.
Loaf doggie lodger obviously thinks every guest of this house has come to visit him, him alone and only him. When guest and boring old undersigned don't want to play with great new squeaker - or share food - loafie sighs, goes to snoring, flatulent sleep under table.
Exactly why can't loafie be more like well-behaved cats, that show, among a plethora of endearing qualities, excellent tea-party-hosting-skills?
Squeaky toy lasted about four (4) hours - it's both silenced and flattened forever and ever. By one super over-excited bratty self-absorbed tyke of one loaf doggie extraordinaire. It's a dog's world.
And I don't fancy metallic colours - silver and gold on other things than jewelery, yukety yuk with yuk on top - and no, no to neon-colours. Honestly, the 80ies, been there, done that, it sure wasn't pretty or stylish then and the decade very much hasn't aged well.
I'm sort of not very fond of purple and lilac, for very obvious reasons, but other than that - bring on the colours! I get all giddy happy when I see a designer and design who isn't afraid of colours, who very obviously love working with colours and not just the timid threesome of black, grey, white. Which to me is just bland and b-o-r-i-n-g, boring, boooring. I find colours so very inspirational, I thrive on them, love combining them whenever I get the chance. And I love, love, love it when I see other people in great colour combinations.
If I can't have pink, I very much like its mother, red. If it's the right nuance, the darkish, cold nuance and not the lighter yellowish kind. I do fancy orange - which darlin' Elvira is quite an obvious sign of - preferably the deep, darkish kind, and brown is rather an undervalued and lovely colour. Dark chocolate, mocha, cappuccino, cafe au lait, chocolate cake, milk chocolate, latte - scrumptious!
The worn denim blue and petrol blue strikes a certain cord, not to mention the wonderful colour scale of green. Pastures, hills, lawns, woods, trees, leafage, linden, lime, pistachio, olive - just as long as I don't have to eat the latter. And pastel colours, delish, pale pink, blue, green, grey, vanilla, eggshell white..., de-lovely. And hey, if it's a pastel I might even agree on a pale violet shade.
Since I'm a true believer in Details, capital D, I relish whenever I find that I've consciously or subconsciously gone down the same colour/nuancepath when buying clothes and accessories as last year/season - that I actually found something this year that really very much goes well with "that old rag" (worn by this old hag). Excitement! Ah, I'm so easy to please that way, give me a sight, a splash of matching or complimenting colours, sigh, I'm yours.
I've also found that for every new season I get certain cravings for certain colours - even if *surprise* pink is always present - perhaps washed-out pale blue, or a particular nuance of green, not quite olive, not really lime and not exactly linden green either, something in between.
This season I think I'm rather partial to pale blue and green. And when I found a certain model of a certain shoe make in a certain green, add certain details, I somehow just couldn't resist trying it on. And like Cinderella I found my perfect match in shoe. So. Very. Comfy. So very... princess meets monster Frankenstein, decide to create shoe together. So. Very. Pleased with my mighty green shoe investment.
Please note silly little tinsel on shoe front, it's suppose to resemble a lizard's eye. In fact, the whole shoe is in the shape of a lizard snaking itself around the feet. From Spanish brand El Naturalista, a company which obviously has a lot of interesting ideas and also eco projects going on.
Monday, May 19, 2008
Elvira this, Elvira that, Elvira here and there and everywhere. To be honest I was getting really tired of hearing about how perfect, smashing, adorable in every way that silly large sized Elvira is. All the time.
What about me, I'm not only pink - in a dark, attractive, alluring, gorgeous, irresistable way - I'm the perfect size, I have lots of neat pockets and straps, I'm so darn cute I'll bring tears of joy to your eyes every time you look at me. And yes, all your most must haves do fit inside my perfectly shaped body. So I have this very simple question, when are you going to inaugurate me for the season then?
Finally. About time. Lookie, lookie, just look how fabulous I look anywhere you put me, I add much needed sparkle and shine to any old stone -