Sunday, November 30, 2008
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Perhaps not a majestic apparation with a wingspan of 54 metres (177 ft), this angel of the north has found its perfect spot in blue at Rosendal's Gardens. I like to think that he/she/it watch over the wee softie until rescue arrives.
Friday, November 28, 2008
The Angel of the North is a beautiful, impressive, huge contemporary sculpture erected in 1998 in Gateshead, close to Newcastle, in England. I've seen it in countless movies and music videos and even if I'm in general no fan whatsoever of modern art there are of course exception to some rules and I've always find this sculpture strangely fascinating in its unique blend of soft beauty and steel beast. And it's enormous size makes it one sculpture I don't find all that eerie...
It hasn't exactly been on my to-one-day-see-irl list, but when we drove past it last summer - two of those 90 000 people a day, 33 million per year who see it - it was of course, without a doubt a must see.
I thought there would be swarms of visitors, but it was quite a serene place, a very unpretentious location kind of in the middle of a residential area. It was stunning, beautiful and majestic with a grand panoramic view over the nearby landscape. I could have there stayed forever contemplating life and trying to capture the perfect photo.
But alas, due to the light that wasn't too cooperative - always a good excuse when you need one - and the fact that we had to get back on the road, I really did miss both the perfect photo op as well as getting a decent photo of the angel's superb behind. Because even if it's an angel with no real individual or gender features the backside of this 20 meters (65 ft) is really very human and sublime.
I think the work behind - no pun intended - this angel is as intriguing and respect commanding as the sculpture itself - official site - and the thoughts behind the angel of steel and its location are well put like this by the sculptor, Antony Gormley -
"The angel has three functions - firstly a historic one to remind us that below this site coal miners worked in the dark for two hundred years, secondly to grasp hold of the future, expressing our transition from the industrial to the information age, and lastly to be a focus for our hopes and fears - a sculpture is an evolving thing.
The hilltop site is important and has the feeling of being a megalithic mound. When you think of the mining that was done underneath the site, there is a poetic resonance. Men worked beneath the surface in the dark. Now in the light, there is a celebration of this industry. The effect of the piece is in the alertness, the awareness of space and the gesture of the wings - they are not flat, they're about 3.5 degrees forward and give a sense of embrace."
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Once again I wondered why I never seem to have any problems with being me, fairly eloquently expressing my views and personality as well as strengths and competences when in other formal or informal situations. I do believe I can safely say that I usually, most often, do not appear as a first class nitwit, in complete lack of social skills or independent thinking.
So why, oh why - for the billionth time - do these hatchets of the completely obsolete, detached from reality, labour office treat me like I can barely spell my name? Do they take courses in this offending approach?
Like their Swedish name says they're suppose to actually mediate, when for different reasons necessary, work and job opportunities. And perhaps once upon a time they did that and sometimes still do. But for most of the time they clearly seem to misspend tax money and resources, not to mention obviously take great pleasure in degrading people no matter background or competence.
A few years back I had never ever thought I'd find myself in this predicament. I never thought I'd suffer from burn-out syndrome either, me the picture of composure, never lacking of ego strength or self worth, knowing my own boundaries, capable of handling countering and penalizations. As it happened, the latter only up to a certain point.
After soul searching, analyzing - got to love it - brooding and talking I found a new me, a stronger and more insightful person and I had no doubts whatsoever that this new discovery, not to mention all this new experience, would benefit me when I returned to the labour market. I'd be unstoppable, I'd be sought after, things would turn out great and back on a new track.
I really try - with this analytic mind of mine - not to dwell on the past, things done or not done, actions taken or not, where did I go wrong or not, where did things go wrong or not. But the longer it takes to get back on the proverbial rosy track forward the more difficult it gets to try and see this mess with major student loan debts - still demanding to be paid even though I at this time have absolutely no use of all those years at university - and wasted competence called my life today in a positive light of self experienced adversity and more compassion with lesser fortunate.
Oh I really don't want to be or become one self pitying member of the club - or possibly famous law firm as one witty friend said - Haggard, Bitter, Wrinkly & Sour. But some days really are worse than others.
The days when you get summoned to meetings where you're belittled by Mr and Mrs Beetlebrain who question your qualifications, work experience and skills, who haven't the decency to actually read up on your CV, who talk about you in third person although you're in the same room and quite obviously have made their mind up about your mental capability and level of intelligence beforehand since they think a project that aim to give unemployed a chance to show their willingness to work, their willingness to learn new things, capacity for planning and social competence is right up your alley.
All this through brushwood clearance work, carpenter work, painting and taking care of hazardous waste. I'm sure these are very commendable tasks for people with a knack for it and less of a burdening student loan debt. The tasks in questions though are very far from, academic degree aside, both my core strengths as well as talents.
And it's neither a case of the demand for my qualifications and personal skills being low nor me being too uppish to take a routine office job - I simply do not get those just because I'm overqualified. Oh, if I had just gotten a penny for every time I received that overqualified-answer when job searching I wouldn't have to worry about getting a viable income source anymore.
In this life interlude of seemingly endless search for a job match - even if perhaps not made in heaven at least with a dash of rosy glow - I take great care in noticing all the lovely details around me, when I have the opportunity I try to capture them with camera and recapture them by words. I enjoy the company of more or less furry family and friends as well as time spent in the company of self and books. I try to make the most of the truly good moments in the now never to return and I channel my frustration and anger in blog to keep reasonably sane. So, thanks for reading.
Yes I know, I did make a big fuss of all the lovely white fluff that fell down. Can't say I'm equally excited about the new style of pants I have to wear because of it though. And I'm sure there must be a better way to get rid of it than a shower. Life in white just isn't fair for me loaf doggie extraordinaire.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
In the southern parts of inner city Stockholm you'll find Lisa's Café & Homebakery. A smallish, no frills café that celebrates regular coffee, friendly service and very tasty breads, cakes and buns. Lisa herself bakes everything that's served and the mood in the morning guides her in the kitchen.
This homely, cosy place with red checked tablecloths likes to show off its guests, from all walks of life and different ages, on the walls.
Different sandwiches are made on order and you help yourself to coffee, tea, buns, cakes and cookies at the self serving counter. When you're full, you pay.
This best lenten bun award winning gem of an unpretentious café is open Mon-Sat 6.30 - 15.00, it's frequented by haunters as well as casual drop ins. The place is crowded yet peaceful and no prams allowed. Lisa's Café & Homebakery is situated at Skånegatan 68, Stockholm - and most definitely worth a visit. Or more.
More Ruby Tuesday here
Monday, November 24, 2008
Someone loaf shaped is very happy about the current weather status. After a night of heavy winds and snowstorm in these eastern parts of Sweden this is what we woke up to.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
My mother found this old pillowcase I once made (probably when I was around the age of 12). Can't say I find the art on it to be of a very fine kind, merely an obvious reason why I never ventured into art and painting. But still, it's pretty amazing that the pillow case has lasted all these years and that the colours haven't faded, at least that bit shows high quality.
At that time I tried to surround myself with as much cats as possible in different shapes and forms, since my parents didn't think it was a good idea to have a cat while living in the city. So the two blue figures painted on this pillow case are cats. Yes. Really.
Sov gott ~ Sleep well
Saturday, November 22, 2008
This is as far as I'm concerned the ultimate food remedy when you have a cold - vegetables in hot green curry. Add a fair amount of sambal oelek and there it is, the thing that will chase any nasty bugs away. At least it feels that way. When I have this while suffering from colds and sore throats I always think that when I feel better I must remember to recreate it myself. So far never have. Which is ridiculous since it's so easy and so wonderful in all its green spiciness. When I can't have this - a k a when there isn't someone very nice that brings it home to poor ill me - I settle for spicy food in garlic shape, in general.
As for the beverage part when in cold out of the running - or in my case the walking - it's all about apple juice, the whole apple juice and nothing but the apple juice. Can't stand my tea with milk - since milk makes for, beware of graphic images forming inside your head, horrible mucus formation... - I loath hot beverages with honey - something my parents thought the world of when it came to fight my childhood colds... - and plain water, as much as I love it when my regular self, it's plan nasty with a sore throat. And for some odd reason, apple juice is all my body screams for at cold times like this.
Any other personal cold remedies out there, feel free to share, I'm all snivelly, coughing curious...
Friday, November 21, 2008
The other day I found out that dotty tummy Siri had become an aunt, when her sister Solbritt - translates Sunbrit and it is a proper name in Swedish, even though I've never heard of anyone by that name, more of an apt British Shorthair of sunny disposition name I suppose - had become the proud mother of five in Denmark.
The auntie bit, come to think of it, also includes Viola, in a half sibling way. Viola, the one formerly known as LBC, now mainly an obsessive TV-watcher. Neither Siri nor Viola, for reasons only cats know, couldn't care less, undersigned though am a proud human granny breeder.
I'm not sure how the forecast for this weekend looks - on the other hand, meteorologists is probably the second professional occupation group I trust and respect the least after politicians, so who cares what they might proclaim - it would have been nice to get out and about a bit, but as things look and feel right now I'll be tucked under a blanket fighting a sore throat. If things turn for the better, after loads of C-vitamins and garlic, there might be outdoor adventures including one loaf doggie and a silly meager amount of snow.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
This may not be anything like encountering lions in the wild in Africa, but still pretty neat on its own merits. This adorable miniature iron lion can be found in the middle of the city, at Kungsholmstorg (King's Islet Square). He might have a rather content expression, though to me he seems kind of lost and alone in the big, busy city. A bit like yesterday's dog...
Paws up for a creative as well as pretty take on a doorknob. This safe way of having a slight encounter of the bear kind can come true at outdoorsy living store Friluftsmagasinet, corner Sveavägen/Odengatan. Please note, not a shop I frequent often. Since I'm the kind who celebrates not being sporty. At all. However they have one impressive doorknob. Bear style. All paws up.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
I discovered this wee little soft fellow when I was out and about camera style the other week. He - looks like a wee he, I didn't take a closer look though - had been left behind by his owner and was now contemplating life at the feet of Bacchus, in front of Rosendal Palace, Djurgården. That day it was sunny, still rather warm for the season. Now it's not.
And I can't help but thinking about this poor wee one who is probably still all alone there, now in the cold and I somehow doubt Bacchus or his feet will be of much help and comfort during the freezing nights. If it hasn't happened already, will someone please rescue this dog, give him a loving, caring home and a warm bed to sleep in? And do not ever leave him behind when out walking.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Outside my window there's more white (spelled first snow, the alas sloshy kind) going on than the tiniest hint of natural red this time of the year. So I put on my ruby shade mittens and dream of spring bringing red tulips and pink shoes.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Sure it's a sweet, mildly humorous, easy read and it has its moments of appeal and amusing, subtle observations. So I read the books (borrow them from my mother who loves them) when I want an easy read before lights out and something that won't keep me toss turning thoughts swirling at night. The latest two I've finished reading are "The Kalahari Typing School for Men" and "The Full Cupboard of Life". None of them, of course, mind evolving but they did gave me some good sleeps after reading them at bedtime.
Having said that, again, about this book-series of McCall Smith, I must of course also, again, mention that his Sunday Philosophy Club series is a wonderful reading experience. I positively love those books. And they're just so very easy to relate to on a whole other level, with the Isabel Dalhousie character being a philosophizing, human behaviour observing, intellectual with perhaps too much time to spend doing just that. She's a woman of independent means in her mid forties, editor of a somewhat nerdy, but irresistibly fascinating, small magazine of applied ethics, living in Edinburgh, being a patron of the arts as well as a sleuth when she finds something, some behaviour worth investigating. I mean, what's not to love about such a character?
Even though, admittedly, there's a very obvious lack of straight talking between the main characters in this series too. Slightly annoying that is. But since I'm completely smitten by the whole concept and storyline I let that detail slide. Did I mention that the Scottish milieu descriptions are quite delightful too?
What I find most appealing about the books and the Dalhousie character is the way she often notices and philosophises about, sometimes borderline obsessive, about just the things I too think about. Which would mean there are more beings out there, hopefully more than in an odd book here and there, that share my wavelength of mind.
Having said that, let me share two - of many - amazingly apt in their seemingly simplicity thoughts from the latest book, "The Careful Use of Compliments";
"...the trouble with most people is that they are so literal. Very few enjoy flights of fantasy and to have that sort of mind which enjoys dry wit and understands the absurd leaves on in a shrinking minority."
And this summarize my view on humanity, a word that's so strangely one-sidedly looked at and used, when humanity is such a complex, and not overall and far from necessarily kindhearted thing;
"Humanity is, after all, not restricted to kindness and sympathy. Qualities of humanity can surely be bad, because that is what humanity is like."
And yes, I'm fond of using compliments, when they are due and the nice thing to give, I'm happy when I get them myself and I do enjoy giving a bit of happiness in a compliment, but I'm also careful in the use of them.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
First snow this season fell over Stockholm today - and no, sadly it doesn't look anything close to as ideal and lovely as in the picture above taken about two years ago. It's just a miserable, bleak slosh with temperatures dropping to new nasty lows. I so not want to go out and play, can I please stay indoors snuggle under a blanket hibernate until spring comes?
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
Sture is a Swedish male name and "katten" means "the cat", however the Sturekatten this post will be about is not a cat but a café, namely a classic among Stockholm's cafés. One of my favourites ever since high school, back then our visits were rather more frequent than nowadays. Since back then, a long long time ago, the café competition wasn't as fierce as it is today. And I suppose, fierce of not, this place is truly one of a kind and very personal.
The premises are a three storey building from the 18th century and in order to reach the café you have to climb steep stairs - hence not a place for the infamous pram mafia -, first floor is the bakery, second floor is the main café and top floor seems nowadays to be open only when the place is very busy. But up there you'll find the best and cosiest seats. In the summers there's also a small outdoor seating area at the inner courtyard.
What makes Sturekatten extra special is that it's interior and furniture makes it appears like you've stepped into someones private bourgeois home, turn of the 19th century. In here the time has seize to exist. It's a cosy misch-masch of different styles and more or less worn out chairs and sofas, trinkets, lamps and a plethora of crocheted tablecloths.
Admittedly everything edible that's served isn't amazing and lack that little extra something - although the apple pie with custard has been a favourite of mine ever since those high school days -, some of the elder staff really lacks in polite manner and behaviour towards guests - also something that has been surprisingly consistent since the 80ies - but the unique ambiance, well that is truly difficult to compete with. And the main reason for returning for tea and cakes since nearly forever. Every foreign visitor I've brought there have been delighted and talk about it still.
The other classic Stockholm "cat" café - not nearly as cosy but with better breads and cakes - Vetekatten was founded in 1928 and one of its employees later opened her own café and named it Sturekatten, since it's situated at the street Sturegatan (gatan = the street).
One of the best things about Sturekatten, apart from the ambiance, the unpretentiousness and the apple pie, is their style of teacups. During a period some time back these cute, personalized cups were replaced by some horrid, plain white IKEA mugs, I was so glad when I found every cup was back in working order again...
The guests at Sturekatten are really a most pleasant mix of old ladies in hats, teenagers, middle aged couples, business folks of different kinds, people having a cup of coffee and a good read on their own, and of course, now and then, one snazzy undersigned with equally zingy friends in the prime of life.
Café Sturekatten, Riddargatan 4, close to subway station Östermalmstorg ~ is the place to go meows one Sture the cat ~