Blog-nill Busyness

This has probably been one of the longest blackouts in my the history of my blog. Fairly certain of it. I would say that it’s not because I’ve been insanely busy, but because I have FELT extremely busy. You know how some days you feel like there couldn’t possibly be enough time for all the things you have to do, then you manage to do them all and feel so exhausted from the achievement that you plop into bed early? It hasn’t been like that either.

 

But I have felt really busy, because I am writing my BA in English Literature, and baby-sitting two wonderful children, writing poetry again, playing Skyrim and trying to use any left-over seconds and minutes on spending time with my husband, because it is what holds me together.

 

I realised yesterday that certain things just go once you’re too busy. Amazing super-hero couples who get children start slacking off in areas of their lives where they were always on top off the things before. Organised young women become less organised. OCD young men start realising that maybe their disorder wasn’t so serious, because the mess doesn’t bother them anymore.

 

Here’s a list of things I realised go when you’re “too busy”:

 

1. Blog.

Don’t think I need to say much here. Unless you are a very popular blogger, whose life it is to blog, who spends a minimum of two hours a day on their blog and commenting and networking… you’ll probably stop blogging for a while. Strangely enough, it’s when life gives you more to blog about that you don’t have the time to blog about it. (Though I very much doubt that anyone would WANT me to blog about my 25 page essay on Shakespeare’s The Tempest and the various forms of critique it has been subject to. Though it’s actually really interesting. It is!)

 

2. Social life

“I would love to come, but…” becomes your new catch-phrase. Often you would love to come, but there is also a certain relief in being able to hide yourself under heaps of busyness and let the rest of the world socialise with itself for a while. They’ll be fine. They may accuse you of being a hermit and boring and that you don’t love them anymore, but they’ll come around once you’re out of the bubble again. I hope.

 

3. Cleaning

Now that you don’t have people over anymore, and you are either out of the house doing busy things, or in front of your computer doing busy things, or in your bed reading about busy things… You stop noticing what your floor and your bathroom looks like. I remember very well indeed, days and weeks when I had absolutely nothing to do, which would tend to end in someone or other coming home and me trying to subtly get them to notice how shiny the kitchen had become while they were out, or how the lamps are a bit brighter, and the toothbrushes whiter… When I am restless and bored, I clean. But when I’m busy, I clearly don’t.

 

4. Personal hygiene

Or grooming, maybe I should say. Though showering becomes one of those “did we shower yesterday or the day before? Can’t remember. Can’t be bothered. I’m probably clean” things. But plucking your eyebrows turns into this ludicrous waste of time, attempting to make your hair look a little less like a sad dog before you leave the house is a no go, and whether your clothes are matchy or just serve the purpose that is currently required of them (right now warm, waterproof and covering all my rude bits) is not really a question anymore: the matchy goes.

 

5. Sleep

This should be further up the list, probably. The busier we get, the less we see those few hours of empty brain-ness as time-wasting crap. The problem is of course that the busier you are, the more tired you are, and the less sleep you allow yourself, till you just want to cry because you’re so tired but you just have to finish writing this assignment first…

 

6. Food

First, you stop cooking anything complicated that will take too long. Then, you stop cooking all the meals you used to. Finally, you live on snacks and toast. Or snack. Singular.

 

7. Health and fitness

Let’s stop thinking of this list in chronological order, because this should really go at the top. If we have any excuse in our lives to stop working out, we usually do. But with the busy comes this feeling that we can’t allow ourselves to be ill, to have colds, headaches, muscle-aches… So out of the house you go, face imploding, because you are too busy to take a break and let your body get back to normal.

 

8. More stuff

What goes for you when you’re busy? What are the first things you give up/neglect when life comes around and starts getting you terribly involved in living it? Besides your blog, of course… say your blog… it’s not just me, say it… please…

The Importance of Dance, Lanterns and… Two Extraordinary Photographers

This post is about… well, exactly what the title says. I am first going to post a few of the lovely pictures taken by my even more lovely sister-in-law, and then follow them by fucking fantastic pictures taken by my fucking fantastic best friend. At the bottom I will actually write a little, as well. I know, right?

Image

My something blue

Image

Walking away from the ceremony

cake

Reassembling the cake

theo

What my nephew did while I was re-assembling it.

The above pictures were all taken by my lovely sister-in-law, and this is her photo-blog, in case you missed it.

together

First dance

dance

Quite cute

thought

Thoughtful groom

future

Sending a light towards the future

These four above pictures were taken by none other than our extremely talented best man, whose blog can be found here, and who has posted some of her favourites pictures from our wedding, if you want to see more.

To me, it was important not to have a stranger taking pictures at our wedding. I wanted everyone present to truly be a part of our day, and so there was no catering-staff, no wedding-planner, no photographer… well, we did have an officiator, but he was only there for the ceremony. We had extremely helpful, loving friends and family members, who made this day possible through gifts, money, and so much help with food and decorations and planning… and as you can see, they helped us make it the memory of a life-time.

Not only are they both extremely talented… it was so much easier to smile and be yourself than if you have a “professional” wedding-photographer that knows how they want things, and the sort of pictures that “couples usually want”. What we got was unique, warm, friendly and quirky. I got so much more than I had hoped for. So if you have very talented friends with their own cameras… spend that wedding-photographer budget on something else.

If you wish to find out how I made the ruffle-cake up top, here’s the link to the Swiss-meringue butter-cream recipe I used. I used a massive Wilton piping-nozzle to get nice, wide ruffles, and also created the roses on top, with a little help from this useful you-tutorial.

The lanterns in the pictures we bought 10-packs for £17, I’m sure you could find them for cheaper. We even had some left over. It was a wonderful way to end the evening, and I would recommend it to anyone who’s looking for the perfect way to seal the wedding-day.

Here Comes the Bride… (And who’s that? Oh. It’s just her shrink).

It is now a few hours less than 8 days  till my surname changes forever. In other words, I will be a married woman, and I am aware that I do not HAVE to change my name, and that I can change back to my “nee” at any moment… but since it is a voluntary action, I do not think we have to argue any further.

My wonderful husband-to-be is none other than a fellow WordPresser. In fact, we met through our respective blogs. It was far from intentional: he read an early blog of mine, he liked what he read, I read his blog, likewise, and a friendly exchange between bloggers began. To be honest, it never even entered my head that we could have any kind of romance ahead in our mutual future, nor that we would ever meet, or even speak outside of the “Leave a Comment” section on the other’s blog.

Ha ha ha.

Well, here we stand today… or rather, in 13 days and a few hours time. Since I will be going on and on about how we met and who we are and all the romantic stuff for several posts ahead, I would like to make this post one of caution… and no. I am not telling people not to get married. Duh. What? I’M getting married for crying out loud! I would never lecture people on that. No. I am instead going to make a weak attempt at being of help to other future brides out there, by listing a few things I didn’t really think about before the wedding, and which have come back to bite me in my more sensitive parts as the day draws near. These are:

1. People.

You may think that it is very obvious exactly who you want to attend your wedding, and who you’d never want to share your special day. Fair enough. To me, it seemed an easy enough question… and then POOF! Out of the blue, I certainly started thinking “how do these people get along? will that person get hurt if I invite him but not her? will these people want to sit together, or apart? is it too long ago that I saw that person to invite them? I know this person will say no, but should I invite them anyway, because it’s the right thing to do?” and hey presto! Your head is suddenly spinning with what-ifs and whose-its. So my number one recommendation is take time to THINK! You may end up not having invited some people that you in hindsight would really like to be there, or inviting some people out of guilt that you regret inviting once you think about the food and drink you’ll be treating them to… so stop to think. Take your time. You’re only getting married once (well, I am. If you’re undecided, maybe it’s not so important. Then you can forget about this one and move on).

2. Theme.

Now, I’m one of those wondrously naive people who can say stuff like “I don’t really care what it looks like/I never really thought about it/I’m sure it will all work out in the end” about things such as decor, venue, general theme of the wedding etc. *stifled laughter*. Mhm. Here’s the thing. Even if you, like me, haven’t spent your entire life planning your wedding-day into the tiniest and minutest of details, all of a sudden things which didn’t seem that important will take on a magnitude that the Sphinx can’t really compare to. So try not to sit there like me, a few days before the wedding, hoping you will be able to find something green in the wild to decorate the room with, that won’t whither and die within two second of being picked. And if you were wondering, yes, it will be important to get those specific candle-holders. Trust me on this. This wedding is stupidly simple, low-budget and laid-back… and the details are still hurting my brain.

3. Expense.

Think about that for a second. If you have a certain dream-wedding in mind, you will definitely want to think about the budget before you pick a date. And once you have thought about the budget, think about it some more. Try to come up with more possible expenses. We have already had multiple: my dress, which was only going to cost me £162 (custom-sown, ordered on the internet, including transport) ended up costing me another £78… in customs. This is a cost that many sites will conveniently forget to mention when you order, so you’ll have to look up possible customs expenses when you order from out-of-borders by yourself. Because when you are already hard up for wedding-funds, an unforeseen £78 is not what you want to have to pay.  We also have to pay extra for the ceremony, which would otherwise have been free, because our officiator is from a municipality not our own. And a cravatt can be much more expensive than you think. So sit down, think about the cost down to the nitty gritty details, and then add extra money (a lot of extra money) for the “in case” fund. Because there will be “I never thought about that” expenses.

4. Help from your friends.

My friends and family-members, and family-members-to-be, are truly wonderful people. If you are arranging a wedding where you are doing basically EVERYTHING yourselves, you will probably need to ask some people for help. Think about who to ask for what. Some people will gladly help you cook or set tables, whereas some may feel a bit insulted. Some you can trust with carrying those rings and getting your grandmother home safely, and some you can’t trust with pouring welcome-drinks. Asking for help can be difficult, and it is, for me. If you are worried about stepping on toes, try to gauge who actually would like to help, and who would just say “yes” to be polite. Just try to keep a nice balance on things: you don’t want to have a guest of yours working their a** off all day, but you don’t want to be standing there doing dishes and carrying chairs either.

5. Traditiooooooons. Traditions. TRADITIONS!

Today, quirky and modern is becoming increasingly popular. The bride shall carry the groom across the threshold, the mother will give her away and maybe the ceremony should be held whilst bungee-jumping? There are, naturally, still some very “conservative” weddings, with the white dress, the cake-cutting, the father-of-the-bride speech etc. I have no objections to either. What is important is to ask yourself: this thing that we are about to have/not have at our wedding, is it because WE want it or because a) we don’t want to follow tradition or b) we haven’t even thought about it simply being a tradition because everyone does it? There are some I’ve chosen to stick with: the cake, “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue”, bridal bouquet, brides-maid… but my dress will be champagne, my father won’t walk me down the aisle and our best man is a wonderful woman… but the title is still Best Man, so don’t you go trying to change that around now! 😉 Just consider that a wedding can be exactly the way you want it. Don’t let yourselves be governed by traditions, or the fear of them.

 

One last, tiny piece of advice… don’t panic. Douglas Adams said it right. My husband-to-be has tried to help me in this regard. When I start hyperventilating about the things that may go wrong, everything that will have to be done last minute and all the expenses, he does his best to calm me down. I can’t say I don’t panic occasionally anyway… but it certainly doesn’t help one bit. Here’s a friendly reminder, printed on our custom-made wedding-invitations:

20130719_015733

I don’t know if these words will help any desperate brides or grooms out there. It has given me a nice little venting-space, however, and something to type while the pasta-sauce is simmering to delicious, tomatoey thickness. I’m going to go boil some fusilli now. OK. Bye.

Ask why

An acquaintance of mine and her boyfriend recently broke up. I asked her why and she answered “That’s just how it is sometimes, I guess”.

This led me back to a train of thought that I’ve been stuck on of late. The relationship today, and why it has turned into what it is. The shrug and the “other fish in the sea” attitude which people often have around break-ups nowadays. The disinterest in finding out why it fell apart. The ease with which we can shut people out, because we don’t all live in the same tiny village and have to see each other every day.

Is it that simple? Because we are so many, living in massive heaps of human upon human, we can abandon our partner, a person we have shared every intimate ounce of our lives with for years, and go find someone else to do it all over with? Really?

And why would you not question, why would you say “I guess that’s just the way it is sometimes” and shrug and give up? If you have been with that person for several years, there must be a reason beyond “it was convenient” or “we had sex and then we kept dating”? No?

The hopeful romantic in me wants to shout and ask people to fight, to stop and ask themselves what they saw in that person when they first met them, whether that was a construct of wishful thinking or a real quality, and if so, is it still there? Why is that not so important anymore? Why does taking something for granted immediately make it a negative, in a sense, something which is forgotten and discarded behind all the habits that all of a sudden become so annoying and impossible to live with?

It’s as if people don’t need to think anymore because we can just run away; defriend, delete pictures, block phone-number, change lock and ask your friends if he’s going to be there before you go to the party. Oh, it’s not an easy process in the slightest, but it’s probably a hell of a lot more comfortable than having to face that person and have some form of conversation with them about the reasons it didn’t work out, and the reasons why it should have.

The hopeful romantic in me cannot believe that all the things you loved in a person have certainly magically disappeared. The hopeful romantic in me knows that if it was worth getting into in the first place, it’s worth fighting for. The hopeful romantic in me knows that unless you hate the person for some reason, or it turns out your values differ greatly in the fields of politics, religion, upbringing of children, drug-use or something equally serious, there will probably be a way to find common ground, compromise, forgive and live with each other again.

But no. No say the people of today. We are many, we are young, we have a friend-list of 1000 people to pick from, because hey, we can be bi if we want to. We have longer life-expentancy, so more time to screw up and keep screwing up.

Fine. You do that. I am going to keep loving the man I am with madly, for all the reasons I fell in love with him in the first place, and never let myself forget. Because when you have found something and someone worth fighting for, you do not let go. Under any circumstances. You do not shrug and turn away. You ask why.

Bureaucracy is hard to spell

After yet another black-out, I return. Countless events have transpired since I last saw this tired page. Mostly a battle with the Migration Office and the Tax Office in Sweden, to get my husband-to-be a personal number. Sweden, the land of democracy, justice, acceptance… not too democratic, just or accepting. Even now, riots and burning cars crowd the suburbs of this ‘fair’ capital. Apparently it is to protest youth unemployment and immigration. Too much of the first and of the latter, too much discrimination. Oh, we may rant and rave about the U.S and the difficulties to enter those states, but strangely enough, the fact that my fiancé is an EU citizen makes it more difficult for him to get in… and the fact that we are getting married in two months makes absolutely no difference. The backward thinking of the bureaucracy of this country is astounding.

Yet, it does appear as if we’ll be able to get married, processing of certificates willing. Mind you, first we have to pay a visit to the British Embassy and then wait for 21 days, and oh, pay £130 for a notification of marriage and a certificate of no impediment. But hey. Getting married was never supposed to be easy. I often joke and say we can skip the “in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health” bit, because we have been through so much already, there’s no need to promise what we already know.

However, on the 27th of July, there should be a glorious beach-wedding, with a ludicrously low budget, and I will be sure to blog about the decorations, menu, dress, venue, suit, preparations and so forth… once they are under way. What with the two of us studying up till now, and having not a penny to our names, this wedding will have to be fairly last minute, in the ‘purchasing’ and ‘preparing’ department.

I would just ask my native country one thing: do not make things any harder than they already are. Let my husband stay here with me. Don’t rain on our parade, or our wedding-day. Give me a job with an income. Any income. And don’t you dare give me anything but A’s on my grades this semester.

Till next time, me hearties.

One Wedding and No Funeral

Yes. It has been almost a year. I know. I’m shocked to see that there are occasionally people still checking in here, almost every day! I do not have a long, elaborate explanation as for why I haven’t written. Life happened.

 

Last time I wrote, my oldest brother and his fiance had just had a little boy. He is now about 8 months old, and a proper person, but a lot smaller than most of us. It’s my job to talk English to him, so he grows up knowing several languages. I have no problem with that. Well, not just my job, mine and my fiance’s.

 

Oh yeah. Remember that amazing person I mentioned frequently back when I was still blogging, last year? We’re engaged to be married this summer. It’s rare, not only in it being my first, last and only marriage to anyone, but also in it being a full-blown WordPress wedding. Oh yeah. Do you remember how he was a blogger and we met through WordPress? Well, he’s still a blogger, he’s been a lot more active than me over the last year, and right now he’s working on some exciting updates to his page. It just so happens that his 2 year bloggoversary falls on the 17th this month, so give him a wordpressent by visiting him a lot! It will be fun, because the changes are happening gradually.

 

What else? Last time I wrote, I was still finishing up courses to get into university. Well, I did a summer course on “Visual and Material Objects”. Does it sound complicated, pretentious, weird? It probably was all of those things, but I enjoyed it immensely. My – occasionally – overly analytical brain thoroughly enjoyed picking apart and decoding images and various forms of art. I feel like I have had good use for it in my current field of study; English. I did English all of last fall, and now all of this spring, and then I will spend all of this summer planning our wedding.

 

So the one wedding should be fairly obvious by now. Best get to the second part before you claw my eyes out.

 

A wonderful, beautiful person in this world has died. Sierra, a girl that I have known since I was 16, and whose blog I actually linked to once or twice, chose not to live any longer, and I have to deal with that over Christmas. I was not angry with her – though I have the feeling that her relatives were, because they did not have a funeral –  I was just sad that she was so sad that she could not carry on anymore. Sierra had a wonderful sense of humour, was very caring, hated conflict, drank like a champion, rocked short hair, gave the best of hugs, doted on Audrey Hepburn and could not stop smoking. I love her to bits and pieces. I still feel tears welling up when I think of her “too closely”, but at the same time I am grateful for having known her, and happy for her that she doesn’t have to be as unhappy as she was anymore. Ironically, her last blogpost is titled “the queen is dead”, and the last thing she wrote in a book we sent back and forth, like a letter, was “BUMMER!”

I can’t bring myself to leave you on such a sad note. Think about all the wondrous and joyous things I will share with you this summer! I am sure to blog about the wedding and the wedding-plans, because apparently everyone does that, and I have noticed that women become absolutely obsessed with that date as it draws nigh, so I’m sure I won’t be an exception. Also, with the permission of my brother and his lovely lady, I will post a picture of the most adorable – to me, and yet – baby ever born!

One thing my English course has taught me – so far – is – besides quite a few things that I know happen to be incorrect, because my fiance is not only English, but good AT English, and most Englishmen would cry if they knew what they teach us at this university – how to write a very boring, overly complex, fancy, abstract, and to most good writers, unacceptable, text, which needs a conclusion that repeats everything you have just told people. To that end (clears throat): In short, I have studied a lot, I have a wonderful little nephew, my friend is dead and I will get married this summer to the most wonderful person I have ever met and then get to spend the rest of my life with him.

 

Write you soon.

How happy some o’er other some can be

Upon my return from the longest blackout yet in the history of this blog, I feel no remorse. My life has been busy and a blur of school, spending time with my boyfriend and friends and trying to sleep somewhere in-between the two. I do not have enough readers that there’s a riot or a global crisis when I take a break from writing, but mayhap enough that there’s a tiny spark of joy on seeing that I’ve finally posted something again.

This post shall be about happiness. Ever since I first read an excerpt from the Declaration of Independence I’ve never quite been able to get over the wording “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. The pursuit of happiness. See, every human has the right to try to make themselves happy. This should give people a clue. It’s not like we’re born little bundles of joy. Sure, babies smile a lot, but they also cry at the top of their lungs a lot of the time. And sometimes there’s no telling why. Are we maybe born depressed and live our lives in the pursuit of happiness?

Maybe you wonder what triggered these strange thoughts. Well. I go to school in my decently sized but scarcely populated country’s capital city, and the other day I was making my way back from the school-grounds to the subway. I was dressed in a very plain black coat, black pants, black boots, colourful scarf. My hair a complete mess as always, but that specific day, a fashionable mess. A latte in one hand, a cigarette in the other, I cruised with my shoulder bag through the crowds. I felt at one with the city. I stopped dead in my tracks next to the subway entrance. There in my head stood the strangest question ever, bent over laughing at me in a very annoying manner: right this moment, you are the person you’ve wanted to be since you were quite the young lass. You look like you could be anyone in a crowd of thousands of other Stockholm girls like you, with slight variations. You flow through the crowds and move with the beating of this city’s rather unrythmic heart. You are she, the woman that you looked at years and years ago and somehow decided you wanted to become one day. But are you happy?

The answer was of course yes and no. Though there are times in our lives when we are absolutely over the moon, and others where we are way low, for the most part we’re pretty content, and if someone asks we can give people a list of the things that are good in our lives right next to the things that are bad. A lot of the time we put quite a big focus on the things that are not good, or not as we wish them to be rather. I bet you that if you start keeping track of how your friends respond to “how was your day?” or “what is happening in your life right now?” many of them will either start off, or quickly fall into, a long list of complaints regarding their health, co-workers, work-load, family, out-of-date cellphone, few too many pounds around the waist, too small kitchen, horrible weather… and it never ends. There will always be a million and thousand things that could be improved in our lives, and for some reason we’re really good at noticing them and then pointing them out to others. No end.

But then when you’re there, whining and bitching in your head about something really frustrating or annoying or how tired and stressed you are… you can just stop for a split second and ask yourself the classic question: What about if this is as good as it gets? Say that you, right now, are at the high point of your life. Then shouldn’t you be overjoyed over all the amazing things you have at the moment? How about the fact that you don’t have a blister on your heel, that the coffee wasn’t a dollar more expensive than it was, your mother didn’t call you a whore today, and yes, it’s raining, but it’s not hailing! For lots of people the reverse psychology of thinking about how much worse things could have been doesn’t work, but just consider, we really notice the bad things when they are present, wouldn’t it put us in a better mood if we noticed how un-present they were?

And if you’re depressed, if you find yourself constantly bitching and moaning and making the people around you cringe when you walk into a room because they know their mood is about to drop by about 30 degrees… so what? What is so wrong with not being happy all the time? It’s a bloody fact that we can’t maintain the same happiness for an extended amount of time – actual study showed that people, after having won a really big, like huge, sum from the lottery were right back at the same level of “happiness” a week after the win as they had been at before the win. This is true! -, and every single person, be they life-coach or millionaire or rock star or preschool-teacher, every single human on this earth has had, or is about to have, a bad day. But no, when there’s misery on the horizon, people run. When did sadness, anger and frustration turn into the Black Death of our time?

So kids, happiness cannot be maintained as a constant. Happiness is a bit of a rollercoaster and if you don’t like it that’s tough shit. P.S Doing E won’t help, I’m sorry. I don’t know this from personal experience but I have noticed from hours of observation that drugs wear off once you run out of them. Sorry. And if you’re feeling down, don’t be so afraid to show it. Please don’t go all emo and start cutting yourself and your bangs, because a) it looks bad on most people and b) the bathroom zink becomes a mess and you’re probably going to be too depressed to care about cleaning up yourself, so someone else will have to do it. But don’t go around trying to hide your sadness thinking people will run from you if you don’t. There is nothing wrong with not being the most energetic flying squirrel on a sugar-high around, 24/7/365,25. Because nobody is. It’s OK not to be OK.