Thursday, July 25, 2013

Working in July

Life just seems to have gotten away from us. So much going on at work. It's crazy how much stress can drain you.

Work in July in Sweden is both super quiet and super stressful. I usually like working during summer because the big bosses are away and you can usually come and go as you wish: come in a later, leave a little earlier, longer lunches. But on the down side there are less people around to work... meaning more work and responsibilities for us that are around. I work for a huge international company with weekly deadlines to meet and it can get pretty stressful (people getting burnt out left and right) but I usually take it pretty chill. I don't often take my work home with me, literally or mentally, but this summer is killing me. The ladt two weeks I've been spending entire days trying to put out fires... it's crazy, I don't get time to actually do my real work which means when I leave for vacation on Monday I will be behind on several projects (this has never happened before) and its eating away at me.

Same, same at Tony's work. Thus, we were talking about Swedish work life. It seems like at his job there are a lot of similar things happening. Big bosses are away and the burden is laid on people who don't always make "the big decisions". Everyone is super stressed. A lot of things can and do go wrong. Summer replacements are making mistakes and in general everyone is miserable. So, Tony asked me: "is this particularly Swedish?". How is it that everyone can just take off an entire month? The deadlines are still there, the work still needs to get done but people just take off. I can understand when 'regular peeps' without a crap load of responsibilities can take off but when all the managers both low and high level take off at the same time it makes absolutely no sense to me.

I write all this to say: I NEED A VACATION!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Had a lot on My Mind

Been a bit busy lately. Preoccupied with the nice weather, family visits and sad thoughts. If you get the quote you know what I mean. If you don't get it, keep on moving on.

Happy times are ahead. We leave for NYC shortly... Only another 8 more work days.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The start of something BIG

Tilda turned 6 on Monday. SIX. Yeah, that went fast. But, here we are and it's a bit scary! This seems like the age when "it all starts happening". The years leading up to this... were all about this year. She is starting school in August where she'll be meeting new kids, older kids and with this comes a new way of life. New rules, new attitudes, independence, peer pressure, more responsibility. And, to be honest I feel like the little kid phase was... not always super easy... but it was easy. This new pre-tween thing is a bit scary... Because I feel like unlike the baby years I only have one chance. From here, she will remember. Was I there, did I care, did I listen, did I scream, did I overreact or did I show love and sympathy, understanding and kindness. And, this will shape her, it will guide her or it can damage her (no pressure).

Ive been reading a lot about emotional intelligence. What is this, you ask...?

"Emotional intelligence is self acceptance, seeing things from the other person’s point of view, and the ability to regulate one’s own anxiety" To establish this "emotional intelligence" at an early age, I think, is key. But, it will take work.

Establishing emotional intelligence early, from what I understand, helps our kids manage anxieties which will help them later in life. It will help them manage their anger... to work through conflicts and fears. All this will eventually determine the quality of his or her life.

It all seems about right. So... I at the moment have two things I'm working on:

1. Being a role model for emotional intelligence. "do what i say and not as i do" doesn't really work... does it? Kids, generally speaking repeat what they see. Thus, I have a couple of things I'd like to work on... (1) spending less time with my iPhone and/or computer (2) spend more time being crafty (3) not snap under stress? (4) give more compliments (5) smile more (6) laugh more (7) listen more!

2. Talking about the hard stuff!
We (read: I was) were all challenged by different issues as kids. Ethnicity, shyness, learning disabilities, physical, cultural, or sexual preference differences come to mind but whatever it may have been it was double as difficult to go through this awkward time without a support system (parent, friend, teacher). Even with a support system... when you are six or nine, thirteen or sixteen it is really difficult to talk about stuff... especially with your parents and especially if your relationship with your parents isn't safe, open and trusting. So yeah, I wanna work on that.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


I love going to the country because its empty. Our house there is so pure and I don't feel a need to fill it with stuff. I don't want to open any boxes there or bring any drama or chaos or sadness there. I want it just as it is... filled with grass, flowers, walks by the lakes, laughing children, good food and good views. No TV, no traffic, not much need for anything. Really. I feel very fortunate to have it so good. I also feel blessed to know when I got good. Really.

For those of you who want to come visit. Come. You know who you are and you are always welcome. We'll be around most of July and mid August and forward. Share the love!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Start of Summer

Summer at our house starts with school winding down for the kids, goodbye parties and Quincy's birthday on the 15th of June. Summer is officially in full swing when Tilda's birthday comes around 2 weeks later. As I have written before, summer has that bittersweet feeling of another year gone... more so than New Years, for me at least. Along with me, both kids turn a year older during summer months. Summer marks the end of one year and the begining of another. 

The kids are happy that summer is finally here but they are also a bit sad because they’ll miss their friends. Tilda starts school in August and it will be a new life for us all. New school, teachers and new friends for Tilda, daycare without Tilda for Quincy and two drops-offs and pick-ups for Tony and myself.

But for now we start summer with a new daily rhythm. With all the summer light the days last longer and we find ourselves outdoors much more than usual. More ice cream, more grilling, more wine, more late nights just hanging out. More time to plays games or watch movies. Schedules are a bit more relaxed; the days go at a slower pace and seem to last much much longer. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Sarah in Stockholm

Jumping for Joy: when she said she was coming... I asked if she'd already bought a ticket. "Not yet" she answered. Yep... ok she's not a coming. It's a nice idea but Los Angeles, California to Stockholm,  Sweden is not a short, cheap or common trip. I've lived here 8 years this month and until last week only one friend has visited (me). A week later I get an email. "Take the days off work! Tickets are booked"

Day 1: Sarah gets right into Swedish life with a herring burger! It's not for everyone but if you like to really get get down and dirty with native foods when traveling then... Sarah did! And, she was glad she did!

Day 2: Back for more herring burgers. Yes, they are really that good. I'm not sure what is but you put salty fried fish together with lots of red onions, cucumbers and a light but flavorful white mystery sauce and it becomes addictive.

Swedish Summer Nights: it is 9:25PM and the sky is still light. The days really are longer when the sun goes up at 3:30AM and goes down after 10PM. Good thing is there is more time for ice cream.

Tourists are always amazed at Swedish Summer nights. Sarah and I walked up to the top of Södermalm and watched the sun set with about 2 dozen other tourists whom all had camera in hand.

Archipelago: Stockholm has the largest archipelago in Sweden and the 2nd largest in the Baltic. Not a common known fact to all tourists, apparently. Who knew? Stockholms archipelago extends almost 40 miles and has hundreds of islands.

Fjäderholmerna: Sarah and I took a 30 minute ride on a ferry to the island of Fjäderholmerna. We picked the perfect day and spent a good long time lounging in a outdoor cafe, drinking lattes and just catching up on life.

Stockholm: Seriously... it is such a beautful city. As a resident you become blind to the beauty that surrounds you every day. I am so happy that Sarah came and was able to see where life has taken me. It is such a long way from Los Angeles and New York.

Smörgarsbord: We went all out on the traditional Swedish smörgåsbord. Instead of picking a total tourist place in Old Town I decided to step it up a notch with The Grand Hotel. The food was amazing!! We did 6 courses of food food and 2 courses of dessert in 4.5 hours! That's a lot of food, people.

Atmosphere: We were so lucky that they were renovating the veranda where they usually serve the smörgåsbord... so we got to sit in the formal royal dining room ("where Bill Clinton ate and drank a diet coke"). The atmosphere made the experience so much more special.

Day 5: On Sunday we spent the entire day with the kids. As they are in school they didn't really get to spend that much time with Sarah but on Sunday they made up for lost time. They are still talking about you Sarah and it's now been over a week!

Good with Kids: before you have kids you have lot's of friends that are awesome when it comes to having a good time, great when it comes to talking about politics or art, fabulous companions when it comes to road tripping it across America. Some friends are really great until you have kids and then they are like... "give me a call when you find a babysitter". Not Sarah... she is great in all those situations plus has the most amazing energy with kids. I was blown away! The kids really appreciate that they could use her cell phone to look at pictures and after spending a fabulous Sunday together Tilda got really sad when she heard Sarah was leaving the next day.

Tilda's portrait: She's not bad... my little photographer! Here we are taking a little break after a long day wondering around old town!

Flaten Lake: Just before Sarah was about to pack we took a long walk behind our apartment. It was 9PM and the light was perfect... the heat of the day had settled down and we just tried to take in what a frickin' amazing few days we had just had!