New Year, New Ways

So it’s been a little over two years since I last wrote. Since then I’ve gotten a BA in English and moved from Sweden to England. The only thing familiar about the place I’m now writing, as compared to the place I used to write my blog, is my trusty old laptop Collin. He’s a massive HP “Dragon” from 2008, and he’s now lived with me in 3 countries, and throughout the life-time of this blog. He’s seen me write about random things, attempt to find some sort of topic, and eventually quit writing for two years. He’s used to me changing things around by now. He doesn’t care. He’s got his quirks, and I’ve got mine. He doesn’t care about the new things in my life, as long as he gets to develop wholly new and interesting issues that I have to work my way around if I want to use him. What do I want? He’s getting on a bit, after all.

The newest thing in my life is Twitter. My husband has been quite a bit more active on Twitter for quite a bit longer than me, but I have this tendency to obsess about something when I’ve just found out about it, only to completely neglect it and forget about it a few months later. (This does not apply to my husband, or salt-liquorice). The problem with Twitter, and the wonderful thing about it, is how very little you get to say in response to people. I find myself constantly itching to say enough, to say what I really want to say, to explain, but there is just no way, and I’m not going to write 6 tweets in succession, I’m just not!  So instead I thought; let’s breathe some life into the old blog, and then I can just link people to what I want to say.

Another thing my husband has introduced me to is speaking my mind when I disagree with people. I used to be that one person in the room who’d just stay silent and hope no-one looked my way if I didn’t completely agree with what was being said. I hate confrontation. I have stressful dreams where people refuse to talk to me because we have fallen out. I have stressful waking moments when people refuse to talk to me because we have fallen out. When two people I love are fighting I want to throw myself on top of pointy things. But my husband can also tell just how much it’s killing me to hold those opinions and thoughts in. And over time, this has cultivated a tiny warrior in me, about as scary as a chihuahua with a limp, but just as ferocious. She comes out when people are sexist. When people are racist. When people are trying to be religious at me. When people explain how this pseudo-scientific cr*p they believe in actually works. When people are being hypocritical, and using religion, feminism, or anti-racism as an excuse for being sexist and racist themselves. She barks and hops about on her three legs until I just have to say something, in the politest way possible, but still something.

So thanks to my husband, and Twitter, I now finally have a topic (or three). Collin, sorry if I don’t stick to these in the future. Not that you care.

 

Feminism

To me, feminism is a very exciting minefield. I get outraged by chauvinist a**holes, that according to me create exactly the kind of radical, regressive feminism there is so much of on social media forums nowadays. And in turn, these radical, regressive feminists create more chauvinist a**holes. Somewhere in the middle we have people like David Rubin and Christina Hoff Sommers, who just want everybody to be treated equally, and to have a good time while we’re at it. Problem is, when you hold that middle-ground, you end up being fired at from both sides. So I’ll be fired at from both sides. I’m an equity feminist: it means I believe that all people, men, women, transgender, anything else that I can’t think of, should be treated equally. It means I think we’re all different, and we should celebrate those differences rather than try to erase them. It means that I think radical, regressive feminists are feminism’s own worst enemy. It means that I will write about what I do, and what I think, in the struggle for equality.

 

Religion

It was only a few years ago that I gave up that last shred of superstition, the Chinese Horoscope, and became what I generally label as “atheist.” Thanks to a well-put question from my (then-to-be)husband: “Why do you believe in the Eastern Horoscope, when you think the Western Horoscope is ridiculous?”, and later watching Derren Brown’s “Trick of the Mind” in which he demonstrates how generalised horoscopes really are, I finally let that go. (If you still believe in horoscopes or tarot-cards or things like that, here’s the first half of that demonstration: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDlkl78Yf-8). I still tell myself off when I catch myself going “So what would that make them, a Tiger…” but I am getting better at catching myself out whenever I’m about to submit to a superstitious belief again. I think religion is never a good thing. Ever. I think anything that can cause people to kill other people, or specifically, parents to let their own children die because they believe in “the power of prayer” is an awful, destructive thing. Which leads me to my third topic.

 

Pseudoscience

I grew up with parents who subscribe to various pseudo-scientific, alternative, “medical” theories. I’ve been subjected to acupuncture, kinesiology, homeopathy, chiropractors, something weird to do with brain-scans and past lives, I was never vaccinated against anything, I’ve had to eat müsli with tea made from bark, take 10 pills a day, have a gluten-free diet… The list goes on and on. I think what still weirds me out the most is how my parents took me to a homeopathic clinic when I had double-sided pneumonia at 9, and then took me back home and put wraps full of yoghurt on my chest for a month. Instead of antibiotics, which would actually have done something. I remember watching the very thin, frail version of myself in the mirror, and being afraid I would die. I don’t understand why anyone would make the 9-year-old daughter suffer through a month of coughing and fevers and fear when there are alternatives. But to people who believe in pseudoscience, they were doing the right thing. Conventional medicine is evil. Well, here are two – of the many – things I’d like to say to you: it wouldn’t be called “alternative” medicine if it worked, it would be called medicine. Also, read Ben Goldacre’s “Bad Science.” Before you say how he’s being paid off by the evil, mythological “Big Pharma”, he has also written “Bad Pharma: How drug companies mislead doctors and harm patients,” so brrrrlllffft.

Radical, regressive feminism, religion, and pseudoscience are things I’m constantly bombarded with on my Facebook feed. I’m also confronted with a lot of narrow-mindedness in the opposite direction, at work, or at various social gatherings. But I want to finally talk about it, and talk about the issues I see, and what happens when I dare to confront them. Join me for the ride in my next blog-post.

Generational Shame

It’s a sad moment, when you realise just what your generation will leave behind for the after-world to say “aaaahhhh” over. What kind of “aaahhh” this is is completely dependant on what the people born in your decade can all nod and smile about, with this deeper understanding, this secret handshake, that anyone born after you will never quite be able to get to the same level. My husband can say “I love the Star Wars movies” without having to explain which ‘generation’ of Star Wars he was referring to. My oldest brother played the original Super Mario games before it became hipster-chique to play them. And I… I bonded over the Little Mermaid with a girl my age in Shakespeare class today.

This is very sad. I am simply wondering if the people growing up during the 90s have something to be proud of? What did we have that has become… cool? Hip? Trendy, because the geek-chique of today approve of it? I missed the wave of Barbie-Dolls, Spice Girls and Take That which swept over a world of pink and glitter, in a strange 90s which idealised the extremely girly or the extremely grungy. Mostly, people my age and I have little to bond over, but that it has to be Disney Movies is no consolation. I DID manage to snag a small corner of the ‘white but still cool and not completely bonkers Michael Jackson’ era, but everyone agrees that Thriller and Bad were his hay-days. I could not have told you who Nirvana were before the later part of the first decade of this millennium… but I actually still can’t. Though I have understood it has something to do with Kurt Cobain (oh look, I spelled that right before I looked it up!) and him shooting himself even though he swore he didn’t have a gun in the song. I also caught up with the other guys way after it was cool to listen to them: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beck, Cake, Pearl Jam, Goo Goo Dolls, Green Day… I started listening to them when it was cool to listen to them AGAIN. (I’m referring to the bulging mass of Indie-kids of today, who think that a band is only worth listening to if they played alternative rock in the 90s, or even better, you don’t know who they are, have never heard of them, and “don’t get their sound” when you’re made to listen to them.)

One good reason I missed out on plenty of 90s music is because when Silence of the Lambs came out I was only 3, and around the same age with the other “people will never forget about them and keep quoting them to death” movies: Pulp Fiction, Forrest Gump, Schindler’s List, Titanic, Jurassic Park, The Matrix (first one) etc. I did get in on most of the Disney Action: The Lion King was enormous, as was Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin. I did miss out on Toy Story. I wonder why my parents decided that one in particular wasn’t anything for us. Would it make us want toys? Are the cowboy and the astronaut too stereotypical to be good heroes for hippie-kids? No, that doesn’t make any sense. Because I never saw Pocahontas either.

Anyway, I just hope that something from my time will become cool again. Not Indie-kid cool, or hipster cool, and definitely not american football-player cool. No. I hope something from the 90s will be cool to the new ruling class: the geeks and nerds of the world. In case no-one else noticed, being geeky and nerdy has magically become the new sexy (more on that in some later blog-post). I just hope that when my children grow up, I can tell them better things than “when I lived in Canada, Justin Bieber became famous” or “Miley Cirus actually went from bad to fucking crazily nutty seriously what are you doing? Seriously” or “Well, at least Britney Spears isn’t popular anymore…”. We have one hero from the 90s, though I don’t think he is to the geeks: a man who managed to leave a sad boy-band and instead of failing completely, turned out some pretty good music, because he actually had a voice, and a personality. Yes, I think we all know that we’re talking about Robbie here. So there was always something good that the 90s left behind (though it took till the new millennium for that transformation to finish).

If you would like to point out something positive the 90s gave us which is cool/useful/nice/edible/acceptable to geeks, please chime in, and make me feel a bit better about being… a 90s kid.

I leave you with this sad and hopeful tune.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4D35vfQ7eZg

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…

What Would You Have Done?

Besides my new Stumbleupon fad (which I shall nurture in your little souls and hearts at the end of this post by giving you a few links to my most recent fave-stumbles), I have decided on a “frequent visitor” post: What Would You Have Done? Why? I will tell you.

A few minutes ago, whilst washing up, my room-mate told me and my husband a story from her work earlier today:

A woman had come into the store and told my room-mate that “My husband just died, so I need to buy…” My room-mate was stumped about how to respond, and said something along the lines of “oops” (though this whole conversation was in Swedish, so she actually said “ojdå”, which isn’t quite as funny as “oops”, but almost. When my room-mate told me this, I got a sadly hilarious image of someone just telling you their husband died because he slipped on a banana-peel while climbing a ladder and fell into a big tub of whipped cream and drowned. That is the sort of image that saying “oops” to “my husband just died” evokes in me. Yes, there is something wrong with me). When the woman left, my room-mate simply said “bye”. Because…

What do you say? We do have an equivalent of “my condolences” in Swedish, but it is so out-dated and formal as to be almost cold. You could say “I’m sorry” but you can’t really apologise because, well, it’s not like you caused their deaths. (And in Swedish, “Jag är ledsen” sounds more like an apology). You could say “that’s sad” but that is a statement, which in fact sounds rather stupid, because of course the widow knows it’s SAD that her husband died.

Once you’ve gotten over the hurdle of figuring out how to respond to “my husband just died, so…”, you get to the “what to say as a good-bye?” issue. Like my room-mate pointed out, you can’t really say “have a nice day” or “hope it gets better” or something to that effect, so you end up with a very awkward “bye”. Or…

What would you have done?

Do you get the theme of this now? So every once in a while, when something happens to me, or someone I know, or a friend of a friend… I shall write a post, because the question stumps me, and I would really like some advice in case I end up in a similar situation in the future.

So give us a comment below to let us know what you clever, sensitive people would have said in response, and here are the deliciously awesome Stumble-links for this post:

My husband found it quite hilarious and sweet how excited I got over the carrot-fact at the top of this page. You have to admit it has a certain wow-factor though. Or a no-way-factor. Some kind of factor.

http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2011/01/10-fascinating-food-facts/

Most of these adds are either “you clever boy” chuckley or simply genius

http://www.sortrature.com/24-clever-print-ads/

Kinda pretty, and probably something I’ll try someday when I am dying with boredom.

http://www.sheknows.com/food-and-recipes/articles/976091/latte-coffee-spoons/

These blow my mind, clean and simple. I could not believe some of these were actually drawings. Still can’t.

http://twentytwowords.com/2013/06/18/pencil-sketches-that-seem-to-stand-up-off-the-page-12-pictures/

Much of this made me go “he he he” or “woooow!” I have to admit I found the Spongebob one especially hilarious. Sadistic streak in me.

http://www.mrpilgrim.co.uk/inventive-urban-art-cool-street-art/#.UiuWfNLWUr8

Usually I go “euuuargh!” when I get a paper-cut. If I got one of these, I would be very happy.

http://www.picamemag.com/a4-pepercuts/

See you soon, me hearties!

Stumbling through time

Of late, I have found myself restless and worried. It’s quite common for the mood to shift with the seasons, and autumn is undoubtedly arriving, at least up north here in Sweden. With it come the colds. I think most everyone I know has been posting about how sniffly they are and their sore throats on facebook for the past two weeks.

In this restlessness, I found myself looking for a new facebook game to play. Yes. I was actually looking for a new facebook game. Actively. And I already play 3. Well, two that I play, one that I have lost my addiction to. So I stopped what I realised must be a clear sign of desperation and sat down to write out things that me and my husband like to do, that we are good at. We intend to start our own company, but all the things we are good at are fairly… insubstantial. Creativity, writing, story-telling, analysing, prop-making… and most of those are just my husband’s. So attempting to start a company, based on passion alone, with no funds, and little actual professional experience, has proven a frustrating process. (If any of my beloved readers have suggestions based on the things I wrote above, please, tell me. I would love comments with suggestions).

So after I stopped myself in the hunt for a new facebook game, and then put the company ideas on the shelf until further notice, I delved deeper into my latest obsession: Stumbleupon. I can, honestly, sit for hours and just “stumble”. I felt that my posts need some form of gimmick, so from now on, I shall attempt to end my posts with a few links to things I recently stumbled upon and thoroughly enjoyed, for one reason or another.  So I shall kick this off by sharing a LOT of things that I enjoyed on Stumbleupon.

This man creates an “image” on the wall through the shadow of objects. Quite astounding.

http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/4yvz0l/catinwater.com/2012/08/21/rashad-alakbarov-paints-with-shadows-and-light/

This picture made me smile… a lot 🙂

http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/323KpH/media.al.com/birmingham-buzz/photo/goldie1971jpg-a0de64e9bd62fd9b.jpg/

These pictures of snowflakes are so incredibly beautiful. I know macro-photos of snowflakes aren’t new and exciting any more, but I will always find them extraordinary.

http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/2pnYmj/www.petapixel.com/2012/12/07/ethereal-macro-photos-of-snowflakes-in-the-moments-before-they-disappear/

This is an amusing, interactive page.

http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/1n6win/www.drawastickman.com/episode1?o=66-69-32-67-82-69-65-84-73-86-69s66-89-58-32-84-72-69-32-66-65-78-68-69-69/

And finally, an adorable video of a grizzly bear cub playing with a wolf puppy. Daaaaaaw!

http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/30xLvD/www.youtube.com/watch?v=vL8x7LcA-Y4/

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.

After the Storm

A little over two weeks has passed since I did. Well, I said “I do”, rather. And also “I will”. Before you ask: no. I do not feel any different as a married woman. I find myself repeating the phrase “it’s kind of like your birthday: you know that you are a year older, technically, but you do not feel any different from the day before”. I continue to feel overjoyed and blessed that I get to share my life with this wonderful person, whether as his wife, girlfriend, fiancée or whatever other creative words we have for “romantic involvement”. Perhaps I can’t pinpoint any specific sensations of “just married” bliss because I never got out of the “hi, there you are! I love you!” bliss upon first falling in love with a person. I wake up filled with gratitude every morning because I can turn over and see him in bed next to me, with a sleepy, adorable smile on his face. So no, I don’t feel any different. I still feel just as wonderful as I felt before.

This next post (or two) will be about the wedding. Maybe it will give you a few creative ideas. I will also blog about my oldest brother’s wedding, in due time. Their’s was a bit more quirky, since they had a distinct theme: 1920’s. Our theme was more in the colour-scheme of things, as can be seen in the following pictures:

Image

Image

The serviettes took a considerable amount of time to fold. They worked well as place-settings, added colour and a feeling of general festivity. I was going to show you how I folded them, but I can’t remember what the fold is called, so after searching for 20 minutes on youtube to try to find the tutorial I used, I gave up. If you want to know how I did it, ask, and I’ll try to record a tutorial. How about that?

The above pictures, along with many others which will be posted in the future, were taken by none other than my very talented sister-in-law, whose artistic photo-blog can be found here.

The flowers were simple and so were the candles, no mystery there. The posters on the walls were created by my husband, and tell our story in 9 chapters which you can find if you go to his blog, here. (Here’s chapter no. 1 if you wish to read it from the beginning).

A fun wedding-game was this:

shoes2

Where my oldest brother, our toast-master, initiated proceedings with the following instructions:

1. Bride and groom stand back-to-back, (so they can’t see each other), holding one of their shoes.

2. Guests may ask any question according to the pattern of “who/which one of you does the most/doesn’t…”, so that the couple can hold of their shoes to say “Me! I do!”

3. Example: “Who does the dishes?” “Who does the shopping?” “Who’s the first to say sorry?”

4. If the bride and groom both hold up shoes to the same question, a discussion may ensue, where the couple has to explain their thinking.

That is all for now. More on activities, cake and dress in a later post. Also, a picture or two from our other wedding-photographer and Best Man, whose photo-blog can be found here.