Wednesday, February 29, 2012

2.29.12 – do you exist?

So the question of today is: does today really exist? I mean, come one, you haven't been around lately. And now you expect me to accept you? Just as any day. Just as if you really are today.

It's the strangest thing that we can agree on today's existence. Just for our convenience. Just because it fits into a system we created. The streets, the buildings, the cars, the lamps – the seasons.

I think I'll spend this leap day thinking about incomprehensible things. Life in general.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

You gotta do it to be it.

Some days, it seems like all you can produce is just major paper jam in the printer and a mess on your desk. However, one must remember, that other days, the printer runs smoothly and the mess can turn into an okay blog post or the beginning of a project.

Keep on working. Keep on trying. Keep on producing. Inspire and be inspired.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Monday Lunch Luxury.

There are two Frozenyo waaaay to close to where I spend my days. What to do?! Monday lunch luxury, even though I never really needed any comfort – it's been a fun and creative day – but Frozenyo is always right.

Froyo for all, yo!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

After 6 miles on the treadmill and 6 hours of resume writing.

This is what my calendar (i.e. me) told me today:

And did I? Well. That is up for debate. After waking up, feeling thoroughly rested, I had a cup of coffee and cleaned a little bit, before I ran 6 miles and went nuts doing cartwheels in the squash room; activities that made me creative and inspired. I figured I had to take advantage of my creativity, so I sat down with my resume, cover letter templates, letters of reference, writing samples and all of the other above.

Too many hours later, I had barely left my seat. However, since I made progress I do feel a little bit lighter, even though I'm still mostly running around in the dark in this job hunting process. But people are willing to help and I am willing to try.

I am very positive that it will all, in the end, become something fun.

Remember, today is a gift, that's why they call it present.

My little iPod friend played me this song and I figured I wanted to share the message with you all. Because think about it, what do you know about here and now? Can you see what you have in front of you right now? Yes. Do you know what the picture will look like tomorrow? No. Can you connect to that feeling in your chest at this very moment? Yes. Can you predict how your heart will play tomorrow? No. So...

The heart may freeze or it can burn. The pain will ease if I can learn. There is no future. There is no past. Thank God this moment's not the last. There's only us. There's only this. Forget regret – or life is yours to miss. No other road. No other way. No day but today. There's only yes. Only tonight. We must let go. To know what is right. No other course. No other way. No day but today. I can't control my destiny. I trust my soul. My only hope is just to be. There's only now. There's only here. Give in to love. Or live in fear. No other path. No other way. No day but today.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

For their Love.

Today, 2.23.12, my parents have been married for 39 years. I think that is worth mentioning. I think that is admirable. I think that is wonderful and hopeful and so romantic. They are so incredibly cute together. Especially when they every now and then just burst into laughter and nobody around understands anything.

These two, and their story, make me believe in Love. I think that is the most beautiful gift you can give your children.

So cute, isä ja äiti.

Before riding the metro: to snooze or not to snooze?

On the metro. It's 5:50pm and people just want to get home. Not overly crowded, but still, the seating is limited (your writer, for example, is standing up reading her book, which she actually enjoys having been sitting down all day).

Two women enter the train. One from the back door. One from the front. They both aim for the same seat. Only one of them can become the lucky one. Woman1 wins. Woman2 gets annoyed.

- Hey, I was going to sit there, Woman2 says showing how disappointed she is.
- Well – sorry, Woman1 answers in a short, kind of rude manner, while starring at the wall.

A long, hopeless sigh is all that comes out of Woman2, who – if that even matters – seem to be slightly older than Woman1. They are both definitely extremely tired.

My conclusion: If you snooze you lose. Too bad Woman2. However, if you don't snooze and miss out on crucial time sleeping, you become an obnoxious fellow metro rider – and citizen, even. Think about that. What would you prefer?

Don't forget to nap. Be fun metro riders, like my lovely ladies.

National Archives – not bad at all.

Must do's in DC? A visit to the National Archives definitely qualifies into that list. Especially if you are interested in American history and find old documentation impressive.

You can listen to phone calls from former presidents, watch the Declaration of Independence and find out why Ronald Reagan is referred to as the Great Communicator. That last one goes for me, at least. When I read the transcript of his farewell address to the nation, held January 11, 1989, he convinced me.

"All in all, not bad. Not bad at all."

That is how he summarized his presidency. Not only is it brilliant use of words. It is also a very good summary. A conclusion I often try to get to, when I have completed a mission and know I have done my very best.

Anyways, plan a visit to the National Archives. It's free. It's on The Mall. It's not bad at all.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Little Miss Sunshine always finds her way back in the end.

I was sitting on the bus the other day, reading probably the most depressing ad I have ever read:

"Feeling really down? Experiencing thoughts of sadness, hopelessness, guilt, worthlessness, lacking of interest in everyday activities you once enjoyed?"

What was even more depressing was that I was in such a horribly bad mood, I answered yes, yes and yes again.

Then a man passes me saying something. Strangers talking to me is generally something I like. But there and then, me being completely miserable, when this man said for the third time "You are so beautiful! Can I call you sometime?" I just became that horrible person I really don't like to be. "Eh, no, I don't think so," I said and demonstratively looked out through the window.

Not all days are happy days, but may I just add that it wasn't really that bad. What's important to remember, and focus on, is the fact that even though Little Miss Sunshine runs away and hide sometimes, she always finds her way back in the end.

When you don't like, but dislike or just... meh

Is it not absolutely bizarre when people post a status update on Facebook, or any other social media platform for that matter, telling something sad and people "Like" it?

How to do it then? When you dislike something or feel like it's a bit so-so. Comme ci comme ça. Così, così.

Well, one solid idea is to actually go out there in the real world and tell your friend you are sorry for his or her misfortune. Or at least shoot your friend an email. We become a bit impersonal with the convenience of the "Likes," don't we?

As much as I do appreciate social media and would like to dedicate most of my time to it (i.e. work within the social media realm), sometimes I just want to give the whole thing a big, fat MEH...

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Happy Birthday buddy! Love from Facebook and Google.

Having trouble remembering your friends' birthdays? Even your BFF's? Even though you're friends on Facebook? I mean, it does happen (does it?) that a day goes by when we don't login on FB (okay, at least we could pretend that it does).

Anyways, if you use Google Calendar (I should start doing that...) you can now make sure to have yet another media channel reminding you when it's time to sing "Happy Birthday" – and all with the help of Facebook!

I must say I was a bit surprised to read that Facebook actually allows you to basically copy-paste the information about your friends' birthdays and use that data for other applications, Google Calendar being one.

Check out this Mashable how-to-video and you have no more excuses for not remembering. But let me please ask you to do one thing: for that BFF of yours, send more than a lame Internet "Happy Birthday." If not a song, a bunch of flowers or a box of chocolate, at least a more personal and sincere birthday wish.

If I can, I prefer being there for real, baking my friend a cake!


Sometimes, I just don't know.

Is that me?
Where are my stories?
What have I done to the words?

How will I...?
How should I...?
How do I...?
Can I?

transparent – allowing light to pass through so that objects behind can be distinctly seen

Sometimes, I think I should allow more light to shine through. Then, maybe it would all become much clearer.

The Metro Minutes.

I always thought that the minutes shown on the board down at the metro, letting passengers know when the next train will arrive, never really corresponded to real life time. When I once mentioned my thought to my, at that time, fellow metro rider, he picked up a watch and started to investigate the case.

It turned out it was exactly as I suspected. The metro minutes are not the same as the minutes we know in the so called real world. The metro minutes are just up there on the board to give us something to look at. I assume, to ease our stressed out minds giving us some sort of time reference. We know that 18 is much more than 5.

Somehow, that seems to matter. Time matters. 18 or 5 or 10 or 3 or 12. That could be the difference between right or wrong. It could be what decides today or tomorrow. Or. It might just not make any difference at all. Who knows. Just keep in mind not to completely trust the metro minutes. They come and go a little as they wish.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Don't rain on my parade. And it didn't.

This country is so very often so very interesting. Today's experience of the Presidents' Day Parade in Old Town Alexandria was such a moment. Parades in general is such a fun phenomena. People dress out and walk the streets up and down, cheering, smilig, waving and perform their tricks.

Today, in the almost warm light of early spring sun, we saw everything from mayors waving, to little girls drilling, to big military trucks, to boys scouts, to a man dressed as Abraham Lincoln, to old men in kaftans, to directors of school boards, to marching bands, to whatnot.

I love parades. They bring such a joyful atmosphere into any day. Whether sun or not. And why not end this Presidents' Day with some good words of wisdom. Tune in to Barbara Streisand and hear her tell us:

C'est presque comme si j'étais en France.

Ended up in Old Town Alexandria. Parade plans – absolutely.

No further wording needed. This is what I do. This is who I am. Irreplaceable MacBook. Red Cannon. Large cappuccino. And that old little Sony Ericsson phone that always finds its way into the picture.

What can I do for you with that? I'm at this point where you just have to lead me. I will follow. As long as I can bring my fantastic four.

The day of all the presidents.

It's Presidents' Day today! But what does that mean, other than getting a day off work and seeing Presidents Day sales everywhere one turns one's head?

Presidents' Day originally honored the birth of George Washington, the first president of the United States, for those how need a quick reminder. Initially, it was celebrated on his actual birthday, February 22, just over a week after the celebrations of Lincoln's birthday, February 12. Since 1971 these two birthday boys have been commemorated together, along with all past presidents, each year the third Monday in February. This year, that would be today.

A quick glance at today's even calendar tells me it's a day we we can go out and enjoy parades and walks down memory lane. At this early hour, I have not decided yet what to do. But a visit to Old Town Alexandria to watch the parade does seem appealing.

Happy Presidents' Day, people!

So, Presidents Day is not only a celebration of the current president, Mr. Obama, just to clarify that.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

We all have it, a habit.

"A large part of virtue consists in good habits."
- William Paley

I read the above "quote of the day" on sometime last week. I wrote it down, since I thought it made sense. And today, after reading an article in the NY Times it started to make even more sense to me. The article, at least according to the headline, was about how Target targets your shopping habits in order to send you the right coupons at the right time.

However, the story could also simply be a great read about habits and how they control your life. According to the writer, also author of the book The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business, 45% of the choices we make are due to habits, rather than conscious decision-making.

Think about that for a while. It seems accurate, doesn't it? Why do you do what you do? Because you always consciously decide to do it or because you usually do it and know what the outcome of your actions will be? Do you often end up regretting your actions? Then it might be time for you to take control over your habits. It can be done, you just need to learn the three different stages of cues, routines and rewards.

A great read that made me think several things over. If I want change, I have to recognize the routine. If I want to break a routine, I have to replace it with a new one. The tricks are many. If you have a few minutes to spare, I highly encourage you to learn more. Here you go.

We end up where we end up. Just the way it is.

Not only did I want to, but I needed to get out of the apartment. In order to not go insane. Things need to be done and even though I like it at 305, I find very little inspiration by that kitchen table. I gathered my belongings and walked outside, only to get a bit annoyed by the fact that my favorite café closed at 5pm and to find the nearest Starbucks being packed.

What to do? I saw it as a nice moment of fresh air, a well needed walk and headed home. Grabbed a free coffee in the lobby and headed up to the penthouse. Not so bad after all. When I need inspiration I just glance through window. See the Washington Memorial.

It's so strange how we sometimes just end up where we end up. Who would have ever imagined?

Enjoy your Sunday afternoon. Mine is dedicated to texts and words in different shapes and forms.

Miss perfectionist and her enemy: Lysol.

"This is the cleanest microwave I have ever seen," my sister once pointed out. That remark does say a lot about my character. I like things clean (preferably spotless). Hence, I like to clean. However, nowadays I always moan a little bit before I decide to wash up the mess that this place sometimes become. And why? Because of the most dreadful "All Purpose Cleaner" I have ever experienced.

The Lysol we have makes me never want to clean. To say that it smells bad is an understatement. It smells so bad, the atmosphere in the room becomes even worse than it was pre cleaning session. It doesn't make any sense to me. That nice smell after scrubbing is half the pleasure.

I had to use it anyway. I've been down on my knees for a couple of hours now and I have got to say, that even if it doesn't smell as flowery and nice as I could have wished, I feel great. Cleaning is therapy and a clean home makes me relaxed.


The Iron Lady said, be careful what you think.

Ended up at the movies last night and sure picked the right film to watch – Iron Lady. Even though I was far from intrigued during the first ten minutes, the plot quickly picked itself up and the screen, with Meryl Streep as a crucial factor, delivered a piece pleasing for both eyes and heart, I would say.

I thought about life. I thought about society. I thought about myself. I thought about my Grandmother. I was moved by how the challenge of relationships to others as well as to oneself was depicted and I did shed a tear or two.

Also, I left with these words imprinted in my mind:

"Be careful what you think.
Because your thoughts become words.
Your words become actions.
Your actions become your character.
And your character becomes your destiny."

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Bros are here!

"Coming soon." For how long can soon be soon without becoming later or is-it-ever-gonna-happen-questionmark? Since we moved here, we have been walking past this Einstein Bros Bagels announcing that they are opening soon. A couple – or something like that – weeks ago, they finally did. Of course, we just had to try it out.

And the verdict? Well, a bagel is a bagel almost anywhere you go. Will I be going back to the Bros? Maybe. After all, I do walk past them every single day.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Escalator pondering, wondering and wandering.

Everybody knows that the left lane of the escalator is the walking lane. The fast lane, if you so wish. However, when there is an elevator outage – which happens more often than not, especially in the metro system – that rule does not seem to apply. The fast lane mysteriously disappears.

People start walking all over the place. In their own pace. The mission of zigzagging is almost impossible.  All of a sudden, nobody pays any respect to those in a hurry. How annoying, huh? And what a weird thing to even think about, yes, I know. But that's just how my brain works.

I'm an observer, a thinker, a wonderer and a wanderer. And yes, I always choose the walking lane, the fast lane, when stepping onto the escalator. Why waste time standing still?

Into the social media realm.

Being an intern is about so many different things. It's about getting experience, learning about a particular business, networking, showing your skills, acquiring new ones, being grateful for the opportunity, being ready to deal with the leftover tasks and having the courage to ask for new projects. Also, and what I personally think is the most important aspect, it's about finding your thing.

This constantly goes through my head. What do I have an eye for? Were do I have chances of becoming successful? What do I like? What is my thing?

A few weeks ago, me and my fellow interns were given a research project involving social media. Yesterday, we presented our material to the whole team and not only was I satisfied with all the great feedback, but I felt a rush of excitement presenting something that interests me. Needless to say, when we were asked to dive even deeper into the social media sea, I started jumping up and down (actually, not really, but I did so in my head).

I'm looking for my thing and I think I might have somewhat of a notion of what it could involve. To be continued.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The mayor's press secretary murdered outside of drug dealer den!

The other day, in class, we did some journalism drills and one task was to write a news story based on some facts presented by a police officer. The scenario was: the mayor's press secretary had been shot to death, after an argument outside of a bar known as a drug dealer hangout.

My immediate thought: oh wow, isn't that a very unpleasant situation for the mayor, or any kind of public person? Imagine, the press will be all over the person in question, doing just that, asking millions of questions. Did the mayor know that the press secretary was involved in that kind of business? Is the mayor involved? Who? What? When? Where? Why? And all that follows.

And who will tell the mayor what to respond? The press secretary is dead! Tough situation.

What's your major?

Colleague: So, what are you majoring in?
Me: Well, about that... I would say I'm majoring in life.
Colleague [giggles]: Majoring in life. I like that.
Me: Pretty much.

Five minutes later.

Colleague: You know, I have been thinking about what you said. About majoring in life.
Me: Yes?
Colleague: And at least it's better to major in life than to minor in it.
Me: True story.

Journalism and Public Relations majors.
But even more so, majors in life.
Straight A Students.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Everything is just peachy!

There is no better way to learn how to master a language than to be in the country in which it's being spoken. Textbooks can teach you spelling and grammar, but you really pick up the lingo when you talk to those who know the language by heart – for real.

Me: How's it going?
Colleague: Peachy! How about you?

peachy = fine, excellent

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Thank you and good night.

Today definitely had the potential of becoming a cozy and Valentiny day. But it didn't. Thank you Mr. Migraine for yet another day making me feel like sh*t. Thank you. And good night.

Jag älskar dig.

I'm not sure if I followed my own advice of sending out some extra love today. Mr. Migraine most certainly did not send me any love, only hate. I don't know what to do about that. It's just unfair.

However, you lovely people in my life, you do know that I love you, right? If not, please listen to this. And for the linguist, take a couple of minutes to learn. I love you.

Greetings from Grandma.

There was something about today. I know it. Calendar? Oh yes, that's right, Valentine's Day. While out of principles I don't really "celebrate" this day as merchandisers would like me to, I still would like to encourage you all to give a little extra love to the world this Tuesday in February.

I mean, why not?

In all honesty, even though we do love all the time – family, friends, kids, life partners – do we always remember to love actively? I don't. Sometimes, I forget. Sometimes, I think the world is cruel and that I'm all alone against tough days and struggling weeks.

But I'm not.

This Valentine's Day becomes a reminder. Every year. Day in and day out, I love and I'm being loved. Today, I will give that wonderful thought some extra time. Happy Valentine's Day, my loved ones.

A whole lot extra love to the world.
Greetings from Grandma

Monday, February 13, 2012

Be prepared, unlock and look up.

Love must not always be only on Valentine's Day.
Gratefulness must not always be only on Thanksgiving.
Joy must not always be only on Christmas Day.
And the sun must not always shine only in summer.

Sometimes, it all just happen in one, simple and ordinary day.
Sometimes it all just happen in one, sweet, perfect moment.

You never really know when that moment might be.
So keep your eyes open, and most important of all, your heart unlocked.

What is advertising?

To answer that question, one can turn to the New Oxford American Dictionary:

Or, one can talk to somebody who has been in the business for years. Who might tell you that the essence of advertising is all about giving people a break in their otherwise so ordinary day. Giving them a reason and a chance to laugh. 

Or at least smile.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Still learning: An odd secret of journalism.

Funny thing. Oh no, not funny at all, actually. But maybe a little bit like that irony life sometimes brings to us. During Friday's class – which is a mix of internship advice, journalism drills and public relations how-to-do-it – our professor told us that if or when we land our first journalism job, we are very likely to end up writing obituaries. And not only about people who actually died.

In fact, and here comes the revelation of the big secret, most obits are written when people are still alive. So I, the journalist, will have to make phone calls with the opening line "Hi, I'm writing So and So's obituary, would you care to give me a juicy quote?"

It's bizarre, isn't it? However, when you think about it, it kind of makes sense. I mean, people are probably more likely to give an accurate picture of somebody who is still alive. When people die, we tend to forget everything that was ever bad about them. Which is not, of course, a bad thing. I absolutely think we should choose to remember the good in people. But still.

And the irony of life? I guess nobody missed out that, today, we can all read Whitney Houston's obituary. Not so unexpected, perhaps, but obviously a tragedy. May she rest in peace, the woman who wants to dance with somebody. That's how I choose to remember her.

Winter back there and snow over here.

Friends! It's been snowing here in DC.

Last night was awful with cold wind and actual snowflakes. Kind of Gothenburg annoying, with an icy feeling that gets to your bones. Winter should be winter for real if it's going to be winter. You know what I mean? Oh maybe, you don't. So let me paint, or more so show, the picture for you.

Winter over there, back home. (NB! Product placement.)

Winter over here, my current home.

Sunday pondering.

Another café day. Things I should do. Decisions I need to make. Paths I have to choose. Things I need to plan. People I want to include. Goals I want to reach. I really don't know where to start. 

Pondering. With a venti cappuccino on my table. Pondering.

But I don't really stress. It will be alright. I know that. That's what my Bästis always tells me and what I always tell her.

It will be alright. Det ordnar sig.

My prince. My love. My best friend.

I have known you for two whole years now. How was life B. E. – Before Elvan? Well, I knew a lot less about changing diapers, giving the bottle, Ninkinonker, Teletubby gadgets, getting dressed for cold weather, the beauty of korv and other important matters of life.

Thank you for teaching me, my dear. Thank you for being the love of my life when life was upside down.   Thank you for the wet kisses and the unconditional love. I'm sorry for not being there with you. But remember, no matter what your mom says, I will always share my lollipop with you.

Happy Birthday, Min Lilla Prins, My Little Prince, Mon Petit Prince, Il Mio Piccolo Principe. 
(Yes, I'll keep working on our little language project.)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Is Facebook bad for you or does it make you happy?

The social media freak might have been reading about how Facebook and Twitter supposedly is much more addictive than cigarettes and alcohol. I don't know about you, but for me, the word addictive sure has some bad connotations.

However, HERE you can read about how to interpret these results in a slightly more positive way. The columnist suggests that we take a deeper look at the study, presenting that what it really shows is that people actually experience "intense engagement and enjoyment" while being social-network-active.

So what do you experience when you go online? I am proud to say that Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest – what have you – is just as sweet as chocolate for me. It's a hobby. It's a lifestyle. It's pure enjoyment.

Saturday Buzz.

What's better to do a cold Saturday afternoon than jump on a bus with your roommates and sit down at a warm, cozy spot? Laptops in lap. Coffe in cup. Cupcakes all over the place. And important business to deal with. That last thing – not so much yet, but will start. Soon.

Happy Saturday. Stevie. Coffee. Good friends. They all keep me warm this cold (snowy?!) DC day.

Buzz Bakery, just a short bus ride from our place.

Friday, February 10, 2012

What do you see?

"The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity.
The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."

– Winston Churchill

Mr. Storyteller and My Creative Me.

Music. Photography. Books. Radio. Poems. Sports. Cars. Food. Friends. From where do you get your inspiration?

I'm a very visual person, which explains my love for pretty pictures and fiery flea markets. Different colors, shapes and forms spark ideas in my head and my creative me wants to do backflips when it encounters odd objects, dorky devices, peculiar pieces or amazing artifacts.

In addition to all I can see, I have another source of inspiration equally important: people. And some people are just more outstanding than others. All pictures and visual impressions aside, when I meet with a great storyteller, my creative me sees no limit for my capabilities and fears no obstacles along the way.

I love listening to stories and with the right narrator, I picture myself in them. As we all know, the people in the tales can do anything they want. It will always end up well. How about that for inspiration and creativity.

No, this is not a result of boredom. 
It was merely what happened 
with a pen in my hand 
and inspiration in my head.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Fulfilled Feedback.

What did I do and what did I learn? Those are questions my professor want me to answer for the Internship Journal that I'm writing for class. But, that is also what I constantly ask myself as I leave the office at M Street every day.

This Thursday evening, I realized to appreciate the great value of feedback. As I was waiting for the light to shift to white for me to cross the street and walk towards my building, I evaluated the day as having been very good. And why is that? Because today consisted of two meetings and a lot of useful feedback.

Working with the one same project for a long time can feel like running around in a circle. Have we not touched upon this before? What more can we do? Enter: feedback. For the questions you can answer, you realize that you have done some good research. For the questions you cannot answer, you realize that you can always improve.

It becomes obvious what the heart of the story is and the small cracks appear for you to fix. It's rewarding as well as stimulating. So keep on working and ask for somebody's opinion on what you have achieved.