Sunday, October 04, 2015

teeny tiny birds

i spotted these charming little vintage hand-painted birds at a flea market the other day. the woman who sold them to me thought they were from india. each of them has its own little quirky personality. i was only going to buy a handful, but then the nice lady said i could take them all for 100kr. there are no two alike. so much fun to get a whole collection in one go. i'd love to know the story behind them. i tried googling, but didn't really find any info. i just found a few of them on etsy from someone who thinks they're german. i'm pretty sure they're not. what do you guys think?

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you want to have these people over to dinner.

charlie's latest masterpieces

our charlie outdid herself this time - having four gorgeous kittens! one looks so much like frieda, only she has white paws, then there's a little frankie tuxedo cat with white paws and lastly, two of her usual - white with spots of color (black and orange) on their heads. so sweet and wonderful! it makes us so happy to have kittens. and charlie's are always easy to find homes for. i'll admit i'm already scheming ways of keeping the little frieda look alike. i do love torties.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

great spaces :: the library

it seems like people haven't really discovered all of the best spots in our new library yet (ok, it did only open on monday). that means that i have this long, beautiful table down at the end all to myself. right next to the outlet. with quasi-employee rights to make a pot of coffee (i'm here a lot, so i feel like one of the family), i can settle in to do a little writing and research on a couple of articles. the new library is in an old building - first it was a school, then it was the city hall and the library itself even used to be here. and now, after a major refurbishment, it's back again. and although i didn't know it in these surroundings before, i'll hazard a guess that it's better than ever. it's light, bright, fresh and there's not a boring chair in the house.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015


when i was informed nearly a year ago that my wonderful job was going away, i was given a couple of disingenuous excuses. they assured me that it was nothing i had done, i had performed at a high level, it was just a new course that was being charted because "LEGO isn't ready for co-creation." this despite countless articles by business journals and sites to the contrary (i link to just one of dozens). the other thing i was told is that my position was being converted to a marketing job and that i just didn't really fit with that because, "you're not commercial." i ran through my cv in my head, stumbling over decidedly commercially-minded companies like microsoft and maersk along the way and felt bewildered. i numbly accepted that news, because what else could i do. i was in a state of shock.

i had sensed that there was a reorg in the air in the weeks leading up to that fateful day, but i hadn't at all seen it coming that there would be no place for me in that reorg. it left me feeling not only sorrowful that my wonderful job had disappeared for reasons that seemed lame at best, but also that i had lost my ability to read people and situations and quickly understand them. and it has, i admit, knocked me off balance for nearly a year.

over the past year, on three occasions, i've been in the final pool for a new position with our favorite maker of plastic bricks and on every occasion, i came in first runner-up. it felt like i was beating my head against a (plastic) brick wall. the only feedback i've received on any of those losing propositions was that i was "too intimidating." a piece of information that is so far from how i feel on the inside, that i didn't know what to do with it, other than stir it up with the other oblique statements i had been given and try to make sense of it. that proved impossible, so what i did is that i gave up and started looking for jobs outside of LEGO.

one month ago, i applied for a very interesting-sounding marketing content position with one of the oldest shipowners in denmark. as you know, i'm a bit of a ship geek from previous jobs in the industry, and i'd long missed that world. just a few days after i sent my application, i was invited for an interview for a different position than the one i'd applied for - one which had been advertised earlier, but which i'd missed. i gratefully accepted and it went well and i was invited for the second round last week. and lo and behold, i was offered the job yesterday. and guess what? it's a marketing job. so i guess it turns out that i am commercial after all.

a delightful and quick process (getting hired into LEGO took more than six months from application to contract) goes a long way towards healing the wounds caused by those disingenuous excuses about my co-creation job. it makes me feel that i can once again trust my inner voice, read situations and that i am once again seen and valued for who i am and for my experience. it makes me sad to admit that the way i was treated by LEGO made me doubt all those things and feel strangely invisible. this was compounded by running into that duplicitous manager the other day and having him nearly refuse to shake my hand in greeting, even tho' he was shaking the hands of everyone else i was standing and talking to. i actually had a nightmare about that the night before last. but now, those nightmares can be put behind me.

i will still love the ingenuity and cleverness of the plastic brick and i am happy to have had the year i had as LEGO's co-creation manager and my immediate boss there was probably the best boss i've ever had, but i am also happy to be putting it all behind and returning to the world of shipping.

it helps a little bit that the new job is in copenhagen, so i'll get to return to the real world, at least during the week, a bit as well.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

life lessons :: part 2

ahh, the distraction power of cute baby animals....
how to be småligt:

  1. hold a secret meeting.
  2. don't send out an agenda beforehand, which would remind people who somehow didn't get it saved in their calendars of the existence of the meeting.
  3. don't send out any minutes of the meeting for at least ten days afterwards.
  4. get mad at someone who sends a set of suggestions to the whole group because they didn't know anything about decisions made at the secret meeting (or even that there was a secret meeting).
  5. hold another meeting (admittedly not secret) with a small minority of the members. make a bunch of decisions without including the contribution submitted in good time before the meeting. 
  6. choose a badly-designed, weirdly colored logo for your brand new beautiful house (which belongs to the whole community and not only the small group) without considering other suggestions or even opening it up to the public to contribute and/or choose. (e.g. get the community involved so they feel ownership. heaven forbid.)
  7. and odin forbid that any of those clumsy logo suggestions be sent out to all members of the group before the meeting attended by the minority so that everyone can offer a carefully considered opinion.
  8. be a control freak for no reason.
  9. exclude members of the group for no reason.
  10. have a chosen group within the group that makes all of the decisions. preferably in secret, behind everyone's back.
  11. especially that girl with the accent.
  12. be petty.
  13. think small.
  14. always try to exclude someone.
  15. preferably the person who came up with the idea in the first place, so you can steal all the credit.
  16. be a xenophobe whenever possible.
  17. don't acknowledge the enormous volunteer contributions made by the various people you're bullying.
  18. appear as a character in my novel. and wish to hell you'd been nicer.
*småligt - adj. if petty were on steroids and wearing both underwear and shoes that are too tight. not worldly. with a very limited horizon. non-inclusive. one of those words that's just better in danish.

Monday, September 28, 2015

life lessons

how to be a bitch:

  1. float into the room, wafting expensive perfume and dramatically flounce down your easel and art supplies.
  2. immediately pounce sarcastically on a small grammar mistake (the equivalent of a/an) made by a non-native speaker of your minor language.
  3. hold onto that grammar mistake like a nasty little growling drop-kick dog with an organic designer artisan dog biscuit, pointedly bringing it up again half an hour later.
  4. when the person who made the mistake (and who is tired from being up half the night watching the lunar eclipse and on top of it, in the throes of PMS) doesn't laugh, sarcastically ask if she's "too delicate to take a little teasing."
  5. ask as well, "do you have trouble with the full moon?" in some knowing way that just seems weird.
  6. refer to your husband as your consort (as if you're the queen). 
  7. disparage the large, successful international company that has put your podunk little nothing town on the map, complaining about the tourists they attract and how the town is filled with their offices, theme park, school and museums and worst of all their foreigners (gasp!). (not to mention their airport, and the public sculpture they've provided...)
  8. don't be able to take it when the absurdity of complaining about that is pointed out with a genuine out loud laugh.
  9. deny that you said anything disparaging about said company and fluff up your feathers, preening about how your consort was instrumental in it all, including the airport.
  10. launch into some insider story about the airport using a bunch of obscure acronyms and referring to your consort's private plane.
  11. get in one last snide shot at the grammar while also disparaging the non-native speaker's husband (who is clearly helpless if he hasn't managed to eat dinner by himself) and whom you have never met. 
  12. appear as a character in my novel. and wish to hell you'd been nicer.

* the g&t photo is because i needed one after that encounter.

a month-long project comes to a successful close

yesterday, we wrapped up a group project, decorating the wall in our new library's minibib - the library for the littlest kids (age 0-6). seven of us in total worked on the project over the month of september. the brief was to take inspiration in the children's books illustrated by swedish illustrator helena davidsson neppelberg. her simple style, filled with bright colors and flat illustrations with no shadows or contours is perfect for a children's library. but, we also decided that we wanted it to feel very contemporary, so the figures would have a street art quality - where although we didn't use templates, we wanted them to look like they were done from templates and if there was color, it would be one single color or at most two. we wanted whimsy and without violating any copyrights, to create imagery that the children would recognize. i think, in the end, we achieved this, but it was an interesting process.

reining in 7 different creative people and keeping them on track is no easy task. each of us wanted to leave our mark and sneak in our own unique style somehow. it presented some challenges along the way. again and again, we discussed the brief and all agreed and again and again, people went ahead and did their own thing.

it was inevitable that some of those things didn't work in relation to the brief. and it was inevitable that they had to be done over. and because of the nature of women and how hard we are on one another (why do we do that?), we didn't always talk about it constructively. but we kept coming back to the brief and what our "customer," the library, wanted and needed the wall to be. and in the end, it worked out.

there are touches of everyone's personalities. and there are plenty of fun and sweet details for the children to discover. the silhouette of a little girl on the far side will be lifted by papier maché balloons (once they dry and can be attached) and the steps, which husband beautifully constructed, will have a whimsical papier maché dinosaur fixed upon them, to discourage climbing and keep them a bit safer than they are now (we had visions of those tiny ones crawling up and falling off the sides). we hope the children will enjoy it for years to come.