Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Just a girl out of her element

I am typing to you all...from a HOT, windy day- less than a week from Xmas, only I have no feeling for Xmas at all this year.  I am listening to the new Curtis Harding via Spotify on my noise canceling headphones because there is loud construction noise emanating from below.  The office in the garage is almost least the main parts.  Not the windows, or the stairwell into the house seem to me, quite large undertakings.

Meanwhile, I do not know where the time goes...although I am at the gym 4-5 (sometimes 6!) - I would say I have been going 5 days a week but sometimes I think that the sessions just make me too tired to do much else.  I will do a bit of yoga - maybe a 20 minute 're-set', but I rarely go for a hike, swim, or bike ride like I would do when I was going to the gym closer to 3 days a week.

I have also tried going up in weight to the point of 'failure' aka leg giving out- weights dropping to the floor. Basically the gym shapes an otherwise free-form day while my better half is busy in his own world.
Here, at the bottom of the planet...hours ahead of most people I know...I find that I can untether from social media- which in turn- makes it easy for months to slip by.  I am still phoning people which is fun when I can actually get someone to pick up a call.   

 But I do feel strange when I think of the gym as being my 'constant'.  I feel my natural state is in a park reading a book.  I know that people at the gym find me odd, and I find them the same...I admire all the instructors that they have put the work in that they have to be "Fit"- but I do not really understand it.  I look at myself and all I think is maybe this is as good as it this I mean I am motivated by fear really...that IF I did not go to the gym so often, I would blow up like Violet Beauregarde in 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory'.  I don't expect to suddenly cast a glance over my shoulder and see a toned arm- let alone muscles in my legs so then the futile nature of my actions seem -absurd and my thoughts go a bit tangled.  Where are my people? 


Thursday, November 16, 2017

Half-right - Violets in November, and a post before the end of that same month

I have just returned from the mainland.  A perk was that there was forced television and radio watching/listening so that I did get to see the voting results from the Australian "Marriage-Equality" postal survey come in.  This also meant I got a short lesson in why 61.6% was an "overwhelming" majority. Eighty percent of the population sent back the survey even though it was not mandatory as voting here, is.   Obviously, I am heartened that the vote was viewed this way- and that Tasmania was not dead last in percentages, our state had 63.6%, or fourth-highest of seven.  However, legislation still has to be written, and passed through Parliament, and so far that body does not seem to be echoing the will of the people.

Even though I have tried to center all my attention on learning about Australian politics, the U.S. still spills over and soaks up some of my attention.  After a particularly funny 'Broad City' episode, I can see that much of this year has been sadly dominated by Chump and all the darkness that seems to stem from that event.  When I sit down to write I can't find anything that I want to talk about.  The day-to-day seems too unfeeling in a world so full of well...strong emotions.  

Another aspect is that I have been talking to friends on the phone.  The phone not unlike cassettes seem to be making a come back.
 So if you find the current posts lacking - why not give me a ring?

Friday, October 27, 2017

...where October went...

Despite my resolution another month has passed without my doing even short updates on this blog.  My birthday is soon and I thought to myself "What did I do last year?", and as is my habit I would come here to look.  This is the main function now that people have moved on from Blogger and/or can no longer comment.  

I think the only significant thing I did was that Saff and I drove up to sleep over in Corinna, and Stanley with the idea of getting an impression of the Tarkine forests.  We essentially drove the gold route seen on this map.  A fair amount of time has been taken up with Croquet and the sharing of our car.  

 October always has the quality of my constantly comparing and contrasting - in a way to blame my new upcoming age marker for any troubles I might be having.  
Switching back and forth between countries, and missing out on the down time of winter - takes up a lot of mental space.  On my way to the gym, I got all the way to town and the closed parking lot, before I came to the conclusion that it was a public holiday.  But then I couldn't remember the rules for parking on a public holiday.  
Here is my list that goes along with the passing of October.
Made lemon curd successfully once out of three tries,
Gardening- which involved trying to preserve many lemons, mostly I made lemonade concentrate
Volunteering time to Friends of Peter Murrell Reserve
People dropping by, phone conversations (right?! new trend), and having a house guest
Never finding the time to read, but getting a library loan, and trading in books for three new ones I want to read
The gym
Letter writing
Listing items on Etsy and Ebay...and navigating the new policy changes and wondering if this is a worthwhile use of my time

The important aspects-
Spending time with people I haven't seen in months
Enjoying the garden
Stressing over, and yet happy to have it to stress over - our home
Enjoying new music (new QOTSA)
Exploring and appreciating Hobart-town
Getting to a part of the state I hadn't been to before
Trying to understand Australian politics and trying to understand what matters to me- and where to expend my mental energy.

Stanley- The Nut- and the N.W. are definitely worth another visit- although I would camp if I had my choice.


Thursday, October 5, 2017

...where September went...

I went on two trips right before leaving Sweden to return to Australia.
I have been back in Tasmania for two weeks.
Suddenly, the calendar says October.

I had a really good time in Chester / Saltney as I do each time.
This year I kept local, going back to some areas I didn't visit the last couple of times I went.  
Right after I returned to Stockholm, I went on a 5 a.m.(!) train to Malmö, to watch a long weekend of Derby. The WFTDA Division 1 finals.

I wish I more time to update my diary here, but the Internet is going down off and on with some rainy springtime weather. I will have to try again soon.


Thursday, August 31, 2017

Ex-nuclear reactor research facility and the pull of Atlas Obscura

A friend recommended to me this website; Atlas Obscura
There are some interesting stories that they run.  There are not many sites marked for either Tasmania or Stockholm. Well, actually a lot has been added recently for Tasmania, but they are the same places you can find in any tourist guide.  Stockholm has two that took a bit of searching.  A nuclear reactor in the middle of the city, and a monument to a plane crash (also in a central area) that had no casualties.

I have a friend that lost a family member and our summer has been coloured by her grief.  She helped me a lot the week I found out via Facebook that my Dad had died. I was happy that she felt spending time with us could help her through the process, and I am grateful for all the time we have spent together.  We are also not over the violation that was the house robbery. While it is true that Stockholm is going through a large population increase, and building of infrastructure and housing, improvements and extensions of local train lines.  We have new buildings going up on our block, and a school just feet away from the other side of our apartment building.  The trains are crowded, the streets are crowded.  All this has impacted us in ways that we are not in the same mood for exploring or loving where we live.  We had never planned on staying here forever- yet I think we were open to the possibility that work might keep us here until we could retire.  I say, we but...
Perhaps we are both emotionally distancing ourselves and we prepare to try and live on the island full time.  

Meanwhile, not each day has been grey.  We have had nice dinners and excellent company.  Because of one of these dinners I found out I knew a guy that knew a girl that could get us into the Nuclear Reactor, which via Atlas Obscura I had found the building, but not even the actual entrance.
The whole event was satisfyingly cloak and dagger.
Although, I do realize I could have gone to see a performance there, but I couldn't find a date, and I probably would have just gotten lost.
Besides, we had a tour guide with insider information.

The reactor was for research, when Sweden decided not have nuclear reactors, and the research showed that having even a research facility in the city, was not in the peoples best interest, they shut it all down.  Removing the waste- although I don't know what they did with that waste, but whatever they did, it can't be as ill advised as the U.S. attempts. This was in the late 1970s, early 80s.

The coolest thing is that the space is used by the media department of the KTH University for art, dance, music performances.  There is a really, really cool Wurlitzer organ that when powered up, a slated wall opens to reveal glimpses of a room full of instruments, drugs, horns, various sound makers.  
Somehow that all ended up on my instagram feed and 'stories' by not saved to my phone.  Such is progress.
While we were there an architect student was setting up her dissertation in visual form.




Tuesday, August 15, 2017

When you are completely incorrect in a belief

This year and last year, there is a lot of English on the signs around Stockholm, the official signs- also tourist pamphlets.  There are apps that allow you to download audio in English to your smart phone.  There is a noticeable difference in the fluency of younger people moving from Swedish to English in the same sentence.  Years ago there was also English on signs, but about fifty words to every two-hundred words of Swedish.  The signs about subway art are all in Swedish, and when I first tried to learn about the art, there were Swedish only tours, and all the available brochures and books were in Swedish, this was the same year that I started listening to Podcasts.  Before iTunes took over the aggregation of them, the shows were found through sites called 'podder'.  Every podcast I listened to was some guy (almost all male) in a small room somewhere, just talking into a microphone, but I was a bit starved to hear English and alone in Stockholm, so I listened to them while I roamed a world that was mostly incomprehensible to me.  
All this new addition of English (and perhaps a bit of my improved Swedish)- I keep realizing that some idea that I had- was completely incorrect.

I am a chatty person and going so many days without conversation was shocking to my system.  But I have always moved around a lot- and often I am a stranger- which is why I think that characters from books occupy such a large part of my brain, from my earliest memories I have merged these characters to a place where I think of them and their adventures as if they were friends who told me what their lives were like first hand.  The same went for D.Js on the radio and later podcasts.  This meant most of my thinking was down silently in my head- without anyone to correct or corroborate my ideas and beliefs. 

Another aspect or product of this is when I find out I was completely wrong in my beliefs about something- even when it is trivial- I did not grow up with an Internet to fact check what I believed, and perhaps I am in the last generation (living with read access to computers) that will grow up with beliefs that do not get challenged until years later.

I just found a pamphlet on the Moderna Museet 'Utomhussamlingen' aka 'The Outdoor Collection'.  Sometime in the 1990s there was a toy called 'Zolo' which is what a group of statues outside the Moderna Museet reminded me of.  They are in part mechanical but they do not run during Winter, and I was only here in Winter the first couple of visits.  Finally I saw them running, but until this year, never all at once.  I think I mentioned them to our roommate who said 'Oh yes the Picasso garden'.  Who was I to think I knew all of Picasso's artwork?  So I also started to call this area the Picasso garden.
Two years ago, I was on another side of the museum where I found a piece that did look like sometime I had seen by Picasso, but this also turned out to be incorrect, the piece is done by a Norwegian artist Carl Nesjar based on Picasso's cardboard models.

 From my new information I now know what I thought of as the Picasso garden, or the Zolo garden (no one I ever mentioned this to remembered the toy I referred too).
is in fact called 'Paradiset' or The Fantastic Paradise by Niki de Saint Phalle and Jean Tinguelly, I couldn't find many photos- I think I wrote about this place but maybe ten years ago.  These are not comprehensive but lately I have been uploading to Instagram stories more than anything else.  I do not know why I feel such a strong sense of embarrassment that I misconstrue facts, or perhaps told a guest incorrectly about some place I took them to visit but I really do.
I now know that this was created for the World Fair in Montreal in 1967 (Interesting!) and that in the "warm season, hte figures are set in motion, spurting water that trickles here and there".
I uploaded most of the mechanical ones in motion to the 'stories' for my friend M. and here I will add an apology as when he came to visit I was excited to show him this small park, which at that time was not in motion and whatever I told him about the place was apparently made up information. 


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Minus 9 hours, or plus eight between friends

Could you understand me if I told you that this last month has been one long, cloudy, summer afternoon?

  I am always a bit tired because I only have short naps between going places, cleaning for the arrival of friends, cleaning up after a large meal with friends.  I don't seem to have the ability to take candid photos, I am not exactly sure candid photos are something that can actually exist when so many stage their photos.  I seem to fall apart when faced with so many examples-that somehow I will be shone as lacking by comparison.  This is the silly fear I have when I want to write a post here, but I don't have photos to share.

There is something about being in Sweden that causes me to think over my life.  I often have stray thoughts, I will remember something, some one, some event and think "Why would I have done that?!"
Then, I have to sift through a few years to unravel my behavior to myself.
I think self-reflection is important, yet I wish I could just dismiss a lot and be happy to be the me I am just, now.

After our "trying" year- we both seem to be sort of - just holding fast in a way
I can remember other times I have felt this way-
Just after almost making a huge life change then realizing my idea was not sound, these were usually trying to move to a different city and that move not working out.  Then I would return home, and try to just be grateful and hope superstitiously that I would lose what I did have by my having tried to gamble it all.
Similarly I would dislike my job or feel unable to untangle myself from a person who I felt was bringing me down, and I would just grasp towards anything in the future to keep me going- usually a new author, a new record, the release of some book in a series. 

But in the midst of this seemingly depressed time, we are actually really busy with people, visiting people, meeting up, meeting new people, having new people over, spending time with friends we haven't seen, and friends we see all the time.  

We had a 'leftovers' Midsommar, so many friends were out in the countryside but we decided to stay in the city, luckily derbylove won the day with Red, Kim and her new gf, JJ, and D.A all coming over- (after there was walking off the meal and secret pocket monster business)
Vana returned to Sweden with her two daughters this time, and we helped them with some travel glitches (needing a dr., laundry the boring realities that can intrude on a vacation)
JJ was reunited with his better half and we all went out to a castle in the suburb for a 'cake buffet'
We had such a nice time, we had them over the next night with other returned friends (special appearance of Tove/Jonas) and Vana and her daughters which meant we got to use the new table from Skåne in its full glory (seating for 10!)
Our neighbours returned from the country and we experimented with making pizza on the bbq (weber- U.S. not AU style)
Our besties returned from the U.S. and we ran around (again with special(!) secret pocket monster business) for days, 3 or 4, we met a lot of strangers, but we all became united hopping on and off of buses- running from park to park
This has been the strangest part of our time spent and I could feel a bit...of guilt that I am not 'bettering' myself but sometimes - life is just about- making sure no decisions are made too rashly, and sometimes work is slow, and sometimes one is in the holding pattern in-between large changes, so why not have a bit of mind engaging, yet mindless fun?

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Skopje & Prilep

I don't get to ask as many questions as I would like when I am visiting- a lot of what peaks my interest is just normal life and people find questions about that a bit strange.
The country feels a bit - un-regimented, a lot of sub-economies filling gaps left by what in our life would be organized and restricted by local government.  There are brand new high rises going up, along side or across from buildings that look either like a dream unfulfilled or a derelict left behind, too much trouble to clear out.  This dichotomy is strange to see, like the modern expensive car next to the mule drawn cart of young men who are collecting garbage in lieu of a company.
There are so many ancient and also new churches, but still the roadside altars as if one should never be further than a five minute trip to a place where one can give money to a specific saint.
There are buildings that still remind me of the bronx, while the corners continue to bloom with grand statues and new churches.

Macedonia, wilted flowers, battered feet

We had hoped to avoid the heat in Macedonia by going early in the summer, but for me 90s/27c is as bad as 100s/30c+, I just lose all motivation or worse.  I do best in summer rains, light storms, or a steady winter.
I, think on this, my fourth (fifth?) trip to Macedonia the older family members must have believed I was going to learn the language all along, because they just kept speaking to me in Macedonian as if they could will me to understand. 
Younger members have gotten older, and they will sometimes be near and speak English with me.  There is a strangeness to liking people, being connected to them and knowing that actually neither of you are quite 'known' to one another.
I also feel very naive when I am there- people known a lot about so many countries, in part because of history, in part due to the admissions process of becoming part of the EU.  I do not remember many Americans knowing so much about the other states they are connected too.  My naivety shows when I say/think how much better life would be if Sweden could get produce from Macedonia, a country closer than say...Brazil.  Then someone explains to me the standardization laws that come with being part of the EU, and all the things I have read about 'ugly food' movements starts to become clear.  Of course, the problem is more complicated than what the store near you wants to stock.
I managed to really hurt the back of my foot on our stairs the week we were going to Macedonia, so I had the added trouble of not being able to walk well or far. After these past few years though, I can really recognize unique qualities in the country- I am happy to have seen so much of it.  I ate my weight in vegetables and fruits.  There is a new cultural center up above Skopje that I loved and am trying to talk my way into staying there on our next trip.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Control; the illusion, the fight, the letting go- oh and Lilacs!

I hope that I always remember how I love that Lilac trees are the common tree in Stockholm city.  They are everywhere.  Three colours, lilac, white, and dark purple. When I first came to Stockholm in a spring, I remember all my previous lilac adventures. My favorite house in Sonoma when I was young had two lilac trees, one white and one purple. When I lived in Los Angeles I would buy lilacs from the flower mart in downtown L.A. in the early morning hours.  When I moved to Seattle, I had a friend who loved them as much as I did.  We started a tradition where we would go out under cover of night, looking for a tree that seemed to be on common or public land, and we would prune it, lovingly- heaping our haul into a box and filling our homes for weeks.
There are so many lilacs in Stockholm, one only needs a small vase of them- and getting them is easy, almost too easy-but I look forward to them every year, and one of the best plants I have in my own garden, is my own lilac tree.

 I have looked back on my blog posts from the last year- and what I see is just a lack of time- I haven't done less, I've actually done a lot- so any feeling of not 'doing' if coming from within.  2016 had huge challenges- and set backs, but now it is June 2017 and I need to let go. I have asked for a gotten advice from women who live on a more spiritual path than I do- and although I need to watch out for my own tendency towards superstitious thinking, I do need to work on my illusions of control.  Dissipate the feelings of loss, and of false ideas in the face of realities- 
Time might be an arbitrary marker, but our fifties are coming, and I want to do the work, lay the foundation for those years and the years beyond.
I want to shed parts of myself, ideas of myself that are no longer applicable.

I hurt myself on our apartment stairs- AGAIN, I scraped off a good chunk of the skin covering my Achilles tendon- I had to realize that pain makes me want to just go to sleep or pass out- and that my ability to survive any apocalyptic event are quite low.  Today I am worse than yesterday because the area has not stopped bleeding and somehow now, I am unable to put pressure on the foot so I can't really walk, and I feel queasy and dizzy when I try.
We are meant to go visit family in Macedonia in three days, so I'll just have to wait, and try to stay off of my foot, at least for today.

I have been listening to a talk by a doctor Dr. Northrup about ageing, specifically women and ageing as recommended by a friend.
I think next year if our plans stay as we have them, will be a transitional year-
A foundation year for the life we are choosing based on our last ten years.
I am grateful to be alive at this time- with the new views on growing old well-
I am unable to articulate how happy I am to have found a best friend and place to live with him that is to my mind a paradise.
I am happy my lilac tree is thriving, and will be blooming when I return to it.


Monday, May 8, 2017

Second Hand Shopping in Skåne

We needed to drop some gear off down in Malmö, so we took an opportunity to do some second hand shopping in Skåne, closest to Malmö, so not as far in as we traveled last time when we needed to get furniture for our apartment.  We stayed at a work friends summer place for two nights, we stayed there just to sleep over last time, and I was (am) in love with the place, so I was really happy to stay a bit longer this time.
The second hand shopping is amazing, it is a loosely organized mix of actual shops where people are curating and refurbishing antiques, interspersed with barns that have just seemed to have accumulated generations of stuff, some barns that seem to have different sellers throughout, and a sprinkling of garage sales.  Both trips we both found basically what we were looking for.  This time we bought a dining table- Scandinavian in its magic ability to go from a four person round table, to a six person oval, to finally an 8-10 person formal oval.
We also found odds and ends, I got a version of a hand tooled leather bag/purse I have been searching for - maybe 3 years now? We completed our plate settings, and also found five new matching spice jars we were missing.

I realized that, at this moment in time- Stockholm really is going through a transition- growing so quickly- working out how to fit in people who have been displaced from their own countries and cultures.  There is building everywhere, rock being blasted, trees being cleared, roads being extended- all over the city but also directly next to our building.  My mood completely changed while being in the countryside.  For about ten years now I have been sidling away from cities.  When I have a choice I avoid large cities when traveling.  When I thought we might settle here I pushed for a smaller city.  But then, Hobart grew- the as the media calls it...'the MONA effect' has perhaps permanently changed Hobart, if not concretely, at least by outside perception.  For my first five or six years I could barely get people I knew to remember we lived in Tasmania and not Tanzania, or New Zealand- whereas now Tasmania seems to be on every persons 'must visit' list. In 1992, when I moved from L.A., to Seattle I never expected Seattle to boom the way that it did, yet still, I was surprised all over again when Hobart changed.  

I came back to this post to add, because as I sat in a small patch of sunshine, looking out at the clouds and small snowflakes (in May!) I realized I hadn't wrote what I wanted too.  My intention had been about how much Zok loves to second-hand shop now.  How when I first took him when we were in Bellingham, the concept was so foreign to him.  He never went thrifting or as the Aussies say 'op-shopping' when he was young.  He never had to go from necessity nor did he have the fever or looking for treasure but he does now.  The bargain hunting part of his dna sadly still loves a large bargain store like costco but all in all, I feel I have created a positive change.  Plus this is a couples activity that we both enjoy.  Also now, when we pull off the road, to some random barn, and I start to speed up as I go through items saying semi-crazy things like "Our höganas plates are here somewhere, I can feel it!" and then I find them...well he is almost a believer in my powers...

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Bredäng Konst Tbana, Lena Kriström Larsson

I have to admit that the lack of spring-like weather since arriving from actual summertime weather really has been like a dark cloud smothering my moods.  The day I did this station, there was a bitter wind, and I also had a friend in tow, a local, which usually amounts to about 2-3 minutes worth of attention.  I think I will go back to this station to give it a bit more attention.

I couldn't fully understand the art signage, but I believe that the artist worked with the local school kids, and that there was theme that was about honoring the original nature of where this neighborhood is now.  Only, I am unfamiliar with the area, so I don't know how much nature is left, another reason I want to go have a look around.

I keep telling myself, that April isn't over, and that come May suddenly the trees will bloom and this snow mixed rain will abate, and Spring will arrive, all at once.  But in my heart I can feel a hardening, for years now I have felt myself recede from any passions I had for cities.  This happened once in 1992, when I moved from Los Angeles to Seattle- but from about 2000 I have had a steady pull to the quiet of the life I have in Australia.  Of course, we have had really bad luck this last year- and maybe I will have a change of heart- but if I had to decide today, I would go home to Australia, and stay.