The every day matters

Time flies and itĀ“s been, what, two weeks since I posted? More, actually, as that last one was scheduled. It is just such an uninspiring time of year.

Foto0006My inner feminist was triggered by the following advert at the bus shelter on my street, itĀ“s for a highschool that specializes in technology and IT. Two serious-looking boys, clearly focused on what they are doing, probably programming a virus that will end all wars. Two smiling girls, one whole-heartedly focused on the boys, and the other having that odd smile that women have in adverts while eating salad alone, you know what I mean.

Another thing that has upset my feminist sensibilities is the kind of positive yet weird and creepy feedback women get on facebook when they change their profile photos. Many of these photos/selfies look absolutely nothing like the person and are changed very often. I have facebook friends I am not entirely sure who they are (or is it the same girl having many facebook accounts?). I have decidedĀ never to “like” a new profile photo. I canĀ“t think of a more devious – and naiv, considering it is meant to do the opposite – way to undermine someoneĀ“s self-esteem than to applaud this kind of self-objectification. (I am here on facebook, if you like to hook up there.)

It was deadly cold outside for weeks, now itĀ“s all melting away and the ice roads closed the day after they opened, which makes winter boring. I have bound myself a new sketchbook, a larger one, and am determined to faithfully art journal in it every day even if I have nothing more exciting to draw than fika; I am very inspired by Danny Gregory right now. Below is my first sketch, a Saturday sketch across the fika table, where the husband is nursing his broken leg with his favourite boiled sausages and blue candy while watching movies about Stasi on youtube. I guess we all have our weird little interests.

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Assortment of digital sketches

I found these as I was taking a study break. DonĀ“t remember posting them, so I thought I might now.

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This is just a doodle, toying with the tools.

 

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This is from the lobby of the Culture House, where I was studying one day. I canĀ“t sit in the library any more because of the asthma, but there are a few tables in the lobby, which is nice.

 

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Another doodle I did when I was fatigued from studying anatomy.

 

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This is the nephew, from the Christmas holidays.

 

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This is from the fall, my way to school.

I suppose it can get worse…

20160109_171534… but for sure, this first week of the year has had enoughĀ trials. I spent the New Year with a stomach flu of some sort, miserably watching the husband making a little luxurious New Year supĆ© for himself. Not that I was ill for long, after a few days I was pretty much myself again, but I did loose some good study days.

20160109_171459The mum-in-law has been in and out of hospital. It is very confusing for her, and at times she is not sure where she is or what is happening to her, which is stressful for everyone. As the husband was going to see her, he slipped on an icy spot, just a few steps from our front door, and broke his ankle! He now has a plaster boot, which he will have for six weeks. Luckily, he can work from home, except for classroom teaching, but there are cab drivers that need the work, so thatĀ“s solvable.

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My sister-in-law – angel-like – has come to look after the mum-in-law. That is a huge help, and I have more or less been able to devote myself to the intricacies of bacterial infections and resistance mechanisms to antibiotics. And feeding the husband, of course.

20151015_191225Oh, and I did actually manage to read a crime novel around New YearĀ“s; it was “The LiferĀ“s Club: An ancient site, a modern murder” by Francis Pryor, who is one of my favourite Time Team archeologists. I guess I had expected a not so very modern murder, and a not so very long book. This one falls into the category of Blaise PascalĀ“s “I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time.” I think Pryor may have been very pressed for time as well. He should have gone with archeology or trafficking and immigration, in my opinion.

We are keeping our spirits up by having bought tickets for a concert in March with the LuleĆ„ band Movits, which is a huge favourite of mine. One thing to look forward to! Enjoy “Apple-stealing-jazz”.

“Jerusalem Inn”, by Martha Grimes

20151229_203806Actually, I managed to get through three in the series about Superintendent Richard Jury and his friend, the ex-earl Melrose Plant. I started with “The Dirty Duck” around Lucia (the 13th), where a crazy murderer starts disposing of American tourists in picturesque Stratford-upon-Avon. This was not the most inspired of stories, the most memorable part of it being, perhaps, that JuryĀ“s love interest from the first book, Vivien, shows up all made over (sexy in that blatantĀ 80Ā“s way, or so I interpreted it), with an Italian fiancĆ©; a count, no less.

Jerusalem Inn” takes place during Christmas, which was very fitting, and this was a really fun one. JuryĀ meets a woman by accident; they immediately feel at ease with each other and notice they look so alike they could be brother and sister. They planĀ a date, but she does not make it. Jury spends the rest of the story trying to find out who killed her. The theme is family, the longing for and love of children (JuryĀ“s own biological clock is definitely ticking). Of course, Vivien shows up here too, being a bit ambivalentĀ about the Italian fiancĆ© and charmingly disheveled again; Jury is frustratingly passive. There is a vicar on the early pages talking about psychoanalysis and a crib plays a big part in the story. As in every book, there are children which Jury connects to with ease. I think the way she writesĀ children is probably one of the things I like best about GrimesĀ“stories.

The last in the row is “Help the Poor Struggler“. Here, children are the victims, and on the team this time is a half-American Chief Superintendent Macalvie, who has his own theories about the murders. I didnĀ“t enjoy this one as much, as there was little progress in the story about Jury himself; IĀ“d really like to see that one come along a bit further. IĀ certainly canĀ“t find any fault with the story though, I couldnĀ“t figure out whoĀ“d done it. ItĀ“s not literature with a big L, this, but a very enjoyable mystery series!

New YearĀ“s resolutions

20151229_204031I have to say, looking back at the year that was, it is quite overwhelming how much has changed for me. It was only late November 2014 when the idea appeared in my head that I would try for the university again and attempt to get myself a whole new profession; and the one IĀ“d least expected myself to go for. But itĀ“s nice to be able to surprise oneself once and again. It was certainly a surpriseĀ how well I did on the Scholastic Aptitude test. I asked the husband how long it would last. “You can use it for five years, I think,” he said. “No,” I said, “I mean the glory.” He assured me it will last forever. šŸ˜‰

20151229_203932The first semester has been a bit of a shock to the system. I had to relearn everything, I had no routines how to do breakfast, even, as I went from nightwork to day studies, from working alone and seeing just a few close friends, to being in lecture halls daily with 80+ classmates. Sleep and digestion has been a problem, but I think I am adjusting now. Slowly. Studying takes a lot more time than I thought it would, due to talking books, and due to – I guess – ambition. And though I will deny vehemently that my brain is slower now than when I was in my twenties, I guess it might be working a little differently… not that IĀ“m letting it slow me down.

An old friend I met for fika during the holidays (she didnĀ“t know I had started over) enthusiastically said: “But itĀ“s perfect to study now, three years go by so fast! Three years were a lot longer when we were twenties…” I hadnĀ“t thought about it that way, but it kinda makes sense, I think.

20151229_203945I will have to let some things go – a bit. The blog is starting to feel like a chore, and I donĀ“t like that. So this year, I will do only one blogpost a week. One sketch a day, certainly, but IĀ“ll post more seldom. Hopefully, the quality of what you are presented with will improve, but I canĀ“t guarantee it.

Other things I need to do is strength training, or my back will break. I have been spoiled with being physically strong, and sitting at a desk has me wasting away. I need to eat less, or IĀ“ll have to buy new clothes, and the student allowance I give myself doesnĀ“t permit such spending! Eating less will save money, too… What else? Some good literature, every day before bed. One free day a week, to just do anything I like.

20151229_204041I think that might be enough. I need to find my groove, in a nutshell. Routines and habits that make me strong and relaxed. Perhaps I could throw in some mindfulness exercises? Nah! IĀ“ll draw more! šŸ˜€

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Happy New Year!

20151215_162736, I say, from sick bay (actually, my bedroom) as I have come down with a virus of some sort on the last day of the year. So far, itĀ“s only been a fever, and I hope thatĀ“s all there will be. A good reminder to work less hard and go to bed when the eyelids start to fall down. The mum-in-law is no better, she is in hospital again. And again, it is looking bleak. But who knows, she has pulled through before; she will be 96 in four weeks and I donĀ“t think she wants to miss the party. Outside, it is raining, which seems fitting somehow.

A ballpoint sketch from the movie theatre lobby.
A ballpoint sketch from the movie theatre lobby.

We had extended family coming and going for ten days around the holiday and it has been great fun to see them all. I have been to see the new Star Wars film twice – I had to make sure it was as brilliant as it first seemed, and yes, it is! We laughed at the woman sitting behind the husband in the theatre, gasping at the end: “OMG, itĀ“s Luke Skywalker! He is so OLD!” She probably slept through the whole thing, or thought about some other important stuff. One guy behind me was loudly commenting the film until I turned around and gave him the Evil van Vaderhofen Eye, and he said to his girlfriend, “IĀ“ll explain later”. I feel sorry for the un-enlightened ones who canĀ“t appreciate this piece of film genious; one comes out of the theatreĀ knowing Abrams is a fellow fan. Even the husband was saying this is a really good film.

I hope you all have a very good New YearĀ“s Eve with partying and reflection in equal measure. LetĀ“s hopeĀ 2016 will bring goodness and sensibility and a sense of unity in which everyone is included.

I just felt like ending this year with a drawing of Churchill painting; it cheers me up!
I just felt like ending this year with a drawing of Churchill painting; it cheers me up!

The Christmas Walk – LuleĆ„ at its darkest

IMGP1366The drawing I published on Christmas Eve turned out to be prophetic; I had counted on company on my walk before hitting the Christmas buffet, but at eleven everyone was still sleeping, showering or making breakfast. Well, I was waiting for no one, I had a date with the sun! We see precious little of it this time of year, and you know you are hungry for light when you get excited and take photo after photo of things reflecting direct sunlight; like tree trunks or house fronts.

I was out for about two hours, and so was the sun. The temperature was about minus three, which was perfect for photographing, but I would have brought a sketchkit if I had known IĀ“d be all by myself!

The elk on Kƶpmantorget (TraderĀ“s square).
The elk on Kƶpmantorget (TraderĀ“s square).
The Christmas Tree on Storgatan (Main Street).
The Christmas Tree on Storgatan (Main Street).
Through the woods on GĆ¼ltzauudden (the promontory).
Through the woods on GĆ¼ltzauudden (the promontory).
IĀ“ve been trying to find out who made this, but no luck so far.
IĀ“ve been trying to find out who made this, but no luck so far.
People were walking on the ice, but as you can see, itĀ“s pretty wet towards land and I didnĀ“t feel that it was entirely safe.
People were walking on the ice, but as you can see, itĀ“s pretty wet towards land and I didnĀ“t feel that it was entirely safe.
Neither did this couple, who decided to stay on the firm ground.
Neither did this couple, who decided to stay on the firm ground.

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A biker with the largest tyres I ever saw.
A biker with the largest tyres I ever saw.

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The old brewery.
The old brewery.
The sun!
The sun!
Someone left a fire burning.
Someone left a fire burning.

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A new, interesting-looking buildning. I hope it will be flats; we need them!
A new, interesting-looking buildning. I hope it will be flats; we need them!

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The old harbour office.
The old harbour office.

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The ice breakers.
The ice breakers.
After my walk, it was time to start Christmas proper - with some Disney!
After my walk, it was time to start Christmas proper – with some Disney!

Christmas!

snƶlƤngtanTomorrow is Christmas Eve and that, for us, is all about sleeping late, having my sister-in-law’s yummie saffron bun for breakfast, taking a walk to work up a decent appetite, watch Donald Duck while drinking mulled wine, and make a large, traditional smorgasbord that will leave everyone ridiculously over-eaten.

I hope you all find yourself in similar circumstances, whichever day is your big Christmas day. Merry Christmas!

Lucia

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Last Sunday, I went for fika downtown, on Lucia day. My friend and I were pleasantly surprised to be entertained by a very good good a cappella group doing a folksy Lucia performance. The candles were all real and slightly dangerous looking, both in Lucia’s hair and in her hands. I had no camera and no choice but to make a quick sketch. Wish I could have sketched how it sounded, too!