Monday, 29 September 2008

Less of a day.... and a demon closing in on me

Today I feel hopeless, useless, futureless and just about any other less I can think of.....

About once a week I have a day like this, where I wonder what the hell I'm doing, and why I'm doing it. Why didn't I just get a job, why don't I get a job...... While I had a minimal income until recently now the cash flow is barely dribbling and everything is resting on my shoulders. Who can live without income? How do you pay the bills, repair the car or replace it, do anything in life other than just exist...

What happens if my money runs out and I can no longer contribute to the bills? The financial stress is a demon, chasing me just as fast as it can, and I'm so tired of running from it. How much longer can I keep up the pace?

I've invested so much time, energy and money. And it all comes down to the money. It is an investment that I do not make alone, at least not monetarily....

But at what point does the price become too high, the risk too great, the consequences too far reaching? At what point are the repercussions no longer worth it? At what point is the return on the investment no longer high enough? At what point do I give up and just go get a job? Any job...

Do I spend my time racing to the finish line, or searching for work? I've never felt more passionate about anything I've done in the past, I believe in this, I want it to work. Or do I just want to have my cake and eat it too.....

Will I take my children to Australia this year? Alone? They have not seen their grandmother or most of my family for almost two years but precious resources cannot be spent on me and my whims. And bills need to be paid. The car needs to be replaced.

Will I ever be able to say - I told you so! You didn't believe in me, or my ideas, but I did! ? Will I ever be able to look them in the eye and say HUH!! I wasn't just playing around!!! Will I ever be able to look back and say - it was a tough time but it was worth it?

Will I ever be able to turn around and slay the demon, the very demon that has been chasing me for years, the one that is closing in on me?

Sunday, 28 September 2008

A love of small things

Makaila, who has often talked about how she longs to be grown up, be able to drive, and most importantly, be a mum, got a chance to practise today.Kieran was also fascinated and was also going to have a hold, but wasn't willing to miss the chance to kick a ball around with his dad.

Saturday, 27 September 2008

It's raining acorns

I chuckle to myself every time I walk out our front door or on to the balcony and hear the plonk of acorns falling to the ground from the big oak tree outside our apartment.
I've never see so many acorns before in my life.Have I missed it every other year?I'm just waiting for one of them to fall and hit me on the head!

Thursday, 25 September 2008

A glorious autumn day

My day started with a breakfast meeting at Stockholm Business Region and a presentation, based on independent research, about where Sweden stands when it comes to international investment compared to other European cities, the forecast for investment and the current trends.

This was followed by a presentation about "Cleantech" and how strong Stockholm, and Sweden are in the race for investment opportunities. It was inspiring to hear that we are one of the strongest countries in the world in environmental terms and that the number of people coming here to see how things are done, will grow.

Unfortunately I didn't take any notes during either of these very interesting presentations so I dare not relay too much back to you. While I was a little tempted to ask for copies of their slides, I chickened out...

Afterwards I went up to Kulturhuset (The Culture House) and couldn't help but notice the massive Vision 2030 sign above the entrance. It is kind of like when you meet someone for the first time and suddenly you find yourself bumping in to them all over the place. Well, Vision 2030 seems to be everywhere I turn at the moment.

I sat in the library for a couple of hours and did some work.
It has free internet connection and a fabulous view.

On my way out I headed down past the current Stockholm Bygger (Stockholm is building) project at street entry. I love models and I particularly love this one of Stockholm. It would be a great place to bring relocation clients to give them an overview of the place and help them get a feel for the different parts of town.

Looking down Sveavägen to the Kulturhuset and beyond, from Wenner Gren Centre.

Across Djurården to Gamla Stan and beyond.

From Globen in the south, looking north.

Then I headed off to Kungträgården and had lunch in a particularly popular restaurant at the end of the park. I met with some of the women from Mums In Sweden, caught up with a few I know and met a few new faces. While the food was ok.... the company was great and the weather was perfect. Sitting outside was divine, it is amazing how you appreciate the small things in life after a few cold, wet and windy weeks.

Tell me this was not a magnificent view from our table??

Let's hope this glorious weather holds up for just a little bit longer.

Paying to pee

I can't even go to the library without having to pay to pee!
But don't get me started on that subject again
- lets just say I was PEEVED!!

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

A day with my son

As I was heading in to town to have lunch with a couple of friends I decided it was a good opportunity to keep my tired, sooky, mummy's boy at home - knowing there would probably be other kids at the lunch. So in we headed, marvelling along the way at how a few red leaves can brighten up an otherwise dead boring train station.

Problem is when we came to the planned meeting spot there was no-one in sight and a quick phone call revealed I had my days mixed up - it was to be tomorrow instead. After much cursing I decided to just enjoy the time with my boy and so I did, we sat outside in the sun and enjoyed a sandwich together.

On our way to do an errand we passed the old Astoria Theatre on Nybrogatan. I seem to remember hearing about the theatre, but it is not all that often I find myself in this part of town and it seems that until today, I had managed to pass by oblivious of any change. But as we strolled along in the sunshine it was impossible to miss, so we went in for a look.

Having been to the Stockholm 2030 event last night I couldn't help but think that there must have been someting more interesting, more culturally enriching they could have done with the old theatre, than turn it over to Urban Outfitters.

It is a beautiful building, with beautiful fixtures. Having been in there today I think it should be classified as nothing more than a Wasted Space!


showed another side of itself in the late afternoon light yesterday as I walked to the event at So Stockholm.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Stockholm 2030 - Visions for our city

Creative people and environments make Stockholm an interesting place to establish oneself and contribute to economic prosperity. How can we make the most of these? What can we as culture practitioners do to make Stockholm more attractive to its inhabitants, visitors and entrepreneurs.

That was the theme at tonight's discussion at So Stockholm in Kungsträgården. And ready to answer these questions was a panel made up of Nils-Erik Selin, Kista Science City; Peter Johansson, Atrium Ljungberg, Projekt Ledare Sickla Köpkvarter and involved in Levandegöra Kista; Peter Eriksson, CEO City i samverkan Anders Nordstrand, CEO Micasa and Karin Lekberg, head of Subtopia. Ivan Dazza of Blatteförmedlingen was the discussion moderator.

An interesting topic and the panel was made up of people heading some very interesting and inspirational companies or projects. A lot of key words were thrown around and just as many key concepts. Questions were asked, points were made, opinions were given and there was a fair bit of audience involvement.

Unfortunately, I found myself continually wondering -
What's the point?

The event did justice to neither the topic nor the panel. Culture was not defined and agreed upon, the discussion's goals were not established, questions were not answered, the points made achieved little depth and the promised debate was nowhere to be seen. The concepts and opinions hung in the air like free-flying balloons, each heading somewhere different, all independent of each other.

Despite my disappointment it is an interesting project and the future is worth contemplating, planning and creating. Stockholm will apparently grow to 1 million people in the city area and 2 million in the greater region and the this initiative has set the following goals for Stockholm in 2030:
  • Multilateral and rich in experience
  • Innovative and progressive
  • The people's Stockholm
While Melbourne was once described as a donut, with all life being in the suburbs and a dead city centre, Stockholm is the complete opposite. How do we create life in suburbs, how do we meet the goals as they have been defined, how do we ensure that it is a vibrant, dynamic, living city for all concerned?

You have until June 30 2090 to get involved and have your say.
What is your vision for Stockholm 2030?

Monday, 22 September 2008

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Some unfortunate news

reached us this afternoon....
Ty's Uncle Davey passed away last night.
He was due to have heart surgery tomorrow, but didn't make it.

Another tough blow to the family, just 18 months behind his brother, Ty's father, Paul.
Our thoughts are with Jo, his partner of 37 years, and the rest of the family.

He will be sadly missed...

A festive weekend

While our diner with Helena & Patrik was cancelled due to the flu (a common occurrence for about 9 months of the year) we managed to have a last meal with our friends and neighbours before they head off to Canada for a month.

Friday night I had been craving good food, good company and red wine - but no-one was around - including Ty. Saturday night I got my fill - as well as a whole lot of kid craziness. The worst thing about living in a small place is not being able to send the kids upstairs, downstairs, outside or anywhere else when we have friends over and want to be able to talk while we eat!

Sunday afternoon was time for another kid's birthday party, but this was no ordinary birthday party. We spent a few hours at Sandee & Robert's celebrating Josh's 3rd birthday, but also eating smoked salmon, proscitto, a cheese platter including rum & gooseberry jam, figs, atichokes, salad, crackers, aoli and ..... red wine!
My kind of kid's party!

Robert, Leo, Josh and Sandee put on a great afternoon.

The kids played like mad things and the adults did their best to talk. Yet again, the joys of a small apartment got the better of all of us so we took the kids out into the glorious autumn sunshine to continue their wild play in the park.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Swedish freedom of information

The openness off information in this country never ceases to amaze me and I'm sure it horrifies many.

Today I discovered a new site as I was browsing Internet World's Blog called For the non-Swedes amongst us that translates to All Companies and it lives up to its name.

Put a person's name, a company name or a sector into the top search criteria, and add an address, region or town to the bottom one (or leave it empty) and all sorts of information will appear.

Find out just how many companies a person has registered and which ones are no longer active. If they are limited companies you can see who the CEO is, how many people are employed, contact details, board members, key figures for the last few years etc etc. For a nominal fee you can order an annual report, annual accounts and financial ratios as well as a credit check.

Even I'm in there, but surprisingly it does not list my first company which was closed several years ago.

WOW!! It was all public information before, but suddenly it is so much more accessible.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Aussies, Americans & Brits at Gröna Lund

Finally, we got to go to Gröna Lund.
It is Makaila's favorite place. Probably Kieran's now too.
Heading over to Djurgården on the ferry.

M posing on their first ride, K on the horse behind her.

K & I on a little roller-coaster. M & a friend sitting in the last carriage.

The free-fall ride.

The girls enjoying a day out with the kids as well as a
chance to catch up - minus the usual glasses of wine.
Can you guess which is the Aussie, which is the Brit and which is the American?

All the kiddies (bar one) together on the little viking ship.

It was a lot of fun to go on so many rides with so many friends.

Kieran's favorite ride.

Their first taste of fairy floss (no - they did not eat it all!)

I love the gardens in Gröna Lund.

It is not called the Green Area for nothing.

All our bunch (still minus one).
A mix of half swedes and half Aussies, Americans and Brits.
Had M been to the far left they would even had been in order of age.

On the ferry heading back to Slussen.
It was a fun, sunny, albeit chilly day at Gröna Lund today.
Lots of fun was had by all, mums included.