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Miss Best's Blog

About Miss Best's Blog

Journaling my thoughts and experiences in this life journey that I am taking with consideration to the environment, animals, fellow humans and myself.

Along this path I am excited by vegan food, raw vegan food, personal development and good health and by being an alternative and passionate entrepreneur, idler and thinker.

www.miss-best.com

Getting Back on Track

Being excited about your work Posted on Fri, August 14, 2009 07:01:51

Today is my last day working as a Graphic Production Coordinator for a company here in Stockholm. Since April 2008 I have been working on the non-creative side (working from other people’s designs) of producing templates for web-to-print services (Our customers, for example, offer a service whereby you can quickly and easily put together printed material such as brochures or business cards on-line, without the need for a designer).

Needless to say it
wasn’t really what I had applied to do, and despite doing very well
in learning the specialized software with very little training or
support it has not been a very creative or fulfilling job. But it
served a purpose at the time, and I really do believe that I wasn’t
meant to immerse myself in this job for too long as it was
distracting me from a more magical, fulfilling and authentic life.

Last summer, after
spending too many stressful and frustrating hours out of my precious
days on this work, I asked if I could reduce by working hours to 60%
so that I could have the space and energy to start navigating my life
back to the plan I had made several years previously; namely to be
able to spend more time working with the things that truly bring me
joy, and preferably working from home, or at least locally to avoid
expensive, time consuming and joyless commuting.

Fortunately, the
company I have been working for has been pretty relaxed, unlike some
of the places I have worked where there has been a formal dress code,
and where I would get slapped wrists for being literally 2 minutes
late for work, despite frequently putting in unpaid overtime! Maybe
if this company had been more draconian, I would have quit earlier,
but I almost got comfortable in my daily subtle drudgery. It is
frighteningly easy to quickly slip into the routine of commute –
work – commute – eat, then aim to distract ourselves from the
sickening truth that we are forced to press ‘repeat’ the next day,
and the next, until Saturday comes when we are left standing stranded
in the wasteland of our ‘free time’ unused to being able to direct
two whole days of our life as we please. Well, free apart from the
chores we need to carry out in order to support the following week’s
toil: ironing clothes, making lunch boxes, going shopping to buy
comfort food and drink that that will get us through the working
days…

Thankfully since
going down to part time (I will write a blog post one day to share
how I could afford to work less) it wasn’t as bad as all that…but
the memories of several years of working full-time in soul-shriveling
jobs still stings me today. So now, at the age of 32, I finally feel
that I am beginning to see the path that I wish I saw during my
university days. University; what a scam! As teenagers we are told:
‘Get an education, and if you knuckle down you will soar to the top
of your field, being rewarded for your hard work with support, praise
and promotions’. Wrong! Life wasn’t like that for me or most of the
people I know in those almost random jobs one gets. It’s as Michael
Cera’s character, George Michael, says in the series ‘Arrested
Development’ as he panics the night before an exam: “If I fail at
Math then I wont get a chance at being happy by working hard for the
rest of my life”.

I truly hope that
you wont recognize this pattern as you have been financially rewarded
for doing the things you love, and that you have maintained your
authentic self and path. I hope that when you hear the line from the
film ‘The Bourne Ultimatum’: “From now on your name is no longer
David Webb, It’s Jason Bourne. Welcome to the programme…” you
don’t flinch and twitch and flick nervously through your mind between
images of uncomfortable office wear; pointless meetings with dull and
moaning co-workers; idiotic bosses; packed commuter trains; and a
slowly deflating heart.

For me – who did
flinch at that line – this is a really exciting start. But it has
taken ten years since entering the ‘working world’ to get to this
point. And this point is only the equivalent of deciding to go to the
map shop to buy the map! I know which map I want to buy and I roughly
know which navigational tools can help me get there, but it’s going
to be slightly experimental as to how I move towards a life of joyful
work. I do know though that, where ever I end up, this is the right
thing for me. I hope you will enjoy what I can share from my journey!



We Are All Adventurers!

Life Posted on Thu, August 06, 2009 11:13:49

Through
listening regularly to a BBC 2 radio show I came to learn of Sarah
Outen’s challenge to become the first woman, and
youngest and fastest person, to row solo from Western Australia to
Mauritius. A journey of 3,100 miles across the Indian Ocean rowing
her tiny boat ‘Serendipity’ “up to 12 hours a day under a scorching
sun, riding 30ft waves, battling winds and currents, sharks, capsizes
and shipping traffic.”
Just reading those words from Sarah gives
me the tingles. They are just words, but we can try and visualize her
experience. However, set our imaginations free and I am sure we still
have no idea of the intensity of this journey.


Image of Sarah at sea: René Soobaroyen

On Tuesday 3rd August, after
124 days at sea, 24 year old Sarah made her very rough but
successful landing on the island of Mauritius, thus achieving her
goal to enter the record books as well as helping raise money for
charity in memory of her late father.

Following Sarah with her regular chats
on the radio show when she always seemed upbeat and positive despite
her progress, and through her blog, then finally hearing of her
arrival thrills and chills me to such a great level I had to take a
moment and ask myself why.

On a basic level the thought of being
alone in the middle of the ocean at
the mercy of the elements and fellow sea dwellers such as sharks and
beautiful but giant whales sends my head spinning almost as much as
when I try and grasp the concept of the vastness that lies beyond our
galaxy. But on a deeper level I am moved by the challenge she set
herself. It reminds me of the adventures that we all embark on. These
adventures may not be as perhaps as huge or as physically risky as
Sarah’s journey but they probably feel to us just as daunting and
exciting.

To
me, her journey at sea mirrors those times when you are on your
adventure; some days you are smiling up at the blue sky, gazing in
marvel at the things around you, rowing along with the tide almost
effortlessly. A flat sea bringing wafts of foreign and exciting
things. But like Sarah you also experience those times when the sea
is raging, the sky is black and you can’t even try and plod onwards.
Your only option is to just drop anchor to try and not get swept too
far away from your path.

We
are often alone on our own personal adventures, and though sometimes
only we can make the decision (on either a conscious or sub-conscious
level) whether we have the balls to continue with our adventure, the
hero/ine of your story will always have the equivalent of Sarah’s
radio back-up. Though they are not in the boat with you, your support
crew of family and friends – people you have met in person and on
line, and those who you don’t even know exist but are rooting for
your success anyway – will be there for support, motivation and to
send out the search boats should you send up a distress flare. I am
sure that knowing this brought Sarah to those safe shores. Knowing
this maybe even gave her the strength to come up with her personal
challenge, put it into action and to slip in to the ocean in her boat
on the first day of her voyage.

This
was a huge adventure to embark upon but it should not overshadow our
own challenges. What was the biggest adventure you have set sail on?
Does it make you tingle now thinking of your journey: of the unknown,
the actual voyage and the outcome (be it as you planned or not)?

I
am sure that this adventure was just something Sarah had
to do. Perhaps in order to progress in her life and to grow. I would
be very surprised and impressed if I did anything on that level (I am
pretty reserved when it come to physical danger) but my own journeys
have been just as big to me. And the exciting thing is that when one
has journeyed along one adventure and jumped nervously outside of
one’s comfort zone the next adventure is probably even bigger and
perhaps even more awe inspiring.

We may well take time in between
each adventure to appreciate our efforts (regardless of the outcome),
re-assess our lives and our ways of thinking and doing things, and to
gain the inspiration and energy for the next challenge. Sarah will be
writing a book about her experience before she plans her next
challenge, and I for one am looking forward to what can only be an
inspiring and thrilling read.

Wishing
you courage and joy on your journeys, you wonderful spirited
adventurer! Give me a wave when we cross paths out there in the vast
sea of life.

Read
about Sarah’s journey here: http://www.sarahouten.co.uk/



Bitter

Words Posted on Sat, July 18, 2009 12:07:49

There once was an old man. In his youth he was blessed with a gifted
craft. He made beautiful furniture from the wood he found on his
daily walks through the forest. His craft gave him immense joy and he
spent all of his free time creating gorgeous pieces with wonderful
intricate decorations. His home was full of the fruits of his talent,
and anyone who came to visit looked in awe at the chairs, tables,
shelves, large bowls and even child size benches. ‘You must make me a
chair’ they would say. Some even suggested he rent that workshop
which had recently become vacant in the market square. ‘People would
come from far and wide to buy your furniture’ they would exclaim ‘for
they truly are the most exquisite pieces’.

But the then young man would brush off their sincere compliments with
a wave of his hand. ‘Bah’ he would say. ‘I am no trained craftsman-
anyone could make these things if they tried’. But not everyone could
do so – no matter how hard they wanted, as not everyone possessed
this wonderful gift. Other gifts they would indeed have, but not the
gift that he had. His cumulative knowledge of the local wood, and the
possibilities certain tools provided him with together with his
limitless imagination meant that his gifts were unique.

To earn his bread, the man worked in a coal mine. He did not like his
work. The physical conditions were harsh. The darkness dampened his
mood and could on occasion quash his creativity. The pay was poor and
his boss did not appreciate the effort that was put in every day by
his workers.

‘But you could earn so much more money selling your furniture’ his
friends would say when Christmas came and the man hung his head in
shame at turning up and the village celebrations empty handed because
of his empty pockets. Every year the reply was the same: ‘But what if
no one bought my furniture. What if …’

Family and friends of this talented man could see his spirits become
diluted with every year that passed chipping away at the dark, hard
coal. The difference between the man on a work day and one a free day
was like night and day. In his home workshop he was alive. His wood
spoke to him, every knot had a life. With every piece he created his
talent blossomed further. ‘Why don’t you leave your work in the mines
and sell your furniture instead?’ they questioned. ‘It is a tragic
loss that your house is full of these beautiful pieces and no one
except you gets to appreciate them.’ ‘People need heat. People need
coal. If I don’t help give them coal then, why, they may as well burn
my furniture to warm their houses’ was his reply. ‘But what about
their souls? Will your gifts not warm them as much?’ But every time
he would cut short the conversation with a gruff ‘bah!’.

As the years drifted on, so did his friends. No longer could they
stand the dark moods, the refusal of invitations so that he could
spend his free time doing the one thing that brought light in to his
world. And so by the time the man was old and retired from the coal
mine, he was alone. Finally he had all the time he needed to work on
his furniture. Time that was now essential since he had to build a
large barn to accommodate all the pieces he made and hid away from
others.

One year, upon hearing of these lovingly crafted pieces, the king had
sent for him. ‘Bah!’ grunted the man to the messenger ‘if my chairs
are not fit enough for the cobbler, the baker, or even the priest,
they are not fit for the rear of his Highness’. ‘But his Highness
wants one of your chairs. His Highness thinks that your chairs are
good enough for him’. ‘Bah…’

And so as the man spent his retired years making and staring at his
furniture, bent double thanks to decades of chipping away in the dark
mines, his soul began to dissolve. For while he had spent his life
underground, his soul had gradually been chipped away, turning from
light to darkness. And soon the old man could no longer love even his
craft.

The one thing he had left – and which he had to continue with if he
was to eat – was gardening. He planted the seeds with the tiniest
piece of joy that he had rationed himself and almost half smiled as
he watched them grow, but when it came to harvest time he waited and
waited, just a few days more, ‘perhaps then they will be bigger,
juicer, guaranteed to be ripe’; until the breeze brought the first
signs of autumn. A slight chill in the air. A small shift from green
to orange.

It was then he was forced to harvest the fruits of his labour. In his
youth his favorite was rocket – a green plant known as arugula or
ruccula in other lands. He carefully snipped away at the delicate
green leaves and prepared a large plate of his garden’s gifts. He
almost felt a tingle of pleasure as he lifted a handful of rocket to
his mouth. But the rocket was now too old. It had past its best. It
looked alive but it was bitter as hell.

For the first time in his adult life the man cried realizing that he
had wasted his life in the mines while his home was full of furniture
that was the real manifestation of his love. With the wisdom the
years bring he could see that his ‘sacrifice’ was not even worth it.
The coal he mined was now burned and forgotten. His gifts, however,
would have lasted an eternity.



Faking it – taking a holiday from my usual food.

Food Posted on Sun, July 12, 2009 13:52:23

We are officially on holiday! Yay! We will be spending our free time
here at home. We decided not to go away during our summer break from
work partly because summer in Sweden is just amazing, partly because
we live in a beautiful part of Sweden – two minutes walk from the
beach and in an area where people actually come to spend their
summers – and partly because we have just bought the house and our
little pockets didn’t really want to be emptied to pay for a holiday
away.

So how to have a holiday at home? One way is to do things that you
would do when you are on a holiday away from home. Do things that you
wouldn’t normally do and eat things that you don’t usually eat. And
for me, who usually eats mostly raw food, this meant sampling some
cooked goodies!

So yesterday, after a leisurely breakfast, we went into Stockholm for
lunch and a mooch around. We had decided to eat at Ekobar – a new
‘accidentally vegan’, healthier and more environmentally friendly
alternative to fast food places. It’s located just a couple of
streets away from my part-time job so I know that part of town pretty
well, but Christoffer suggested an alternative route to get there and
we discovered some new streets, shops and a further appreciation of
the lovely buildings in that area. (I always remember the advice I
read somewhere about experiencing new places: always look up. And
it’s true! There are some lovely old buildings around Stockholm and
looking up instead of down or straight ahead reveals beautiful
details on the facades and interesting balconies.)

At Ekobar I had a yummy cheeseburger and oven baked fries and Chris
had a burrito. All vegan and mostly organic and 100% tasty! And since they are not
greasy and fried you really don’t feel bad after eating them (well, a
strict and long-term raw fooder probably would, as it would be a bit
of a shock to the system!)

After a very nice chat with the gorgeous owners, we pottered along to
our favorite food shop, Goodstore, which has a brilliant selection of
vegan and organic foods. Seriously, this store means that I don’t
miss the UK like I used to, as we can get all our vegan goodies from
there.

To follow the holiday theme we decided to try….wait for it….fake salmon! Yes, it does in fact exist. Over the past few years more and
more ‘fake’ food products have come on to the market, so you can now
find vegan alternatives to: cheese, ice-cream, chocolate, burgers,
bacon, ham, roasts, caviar, salami, prawns…and now fish!

I am sure opinions are divided over these fake products. Some people
may argue that it seems illogical to try and fake meat. Some veggies/
vegans really don’t want to eat anything that resembles meat and some
people believe that we shouldn’t encourage the consumption of
processed foods.

However, many people who don’t eat meat for various reasons actually
used to enjoy the taste/experience of meat/fish-based dishes and
these foods are a good replacement and incentive to give up the
animal-based versions. I personally was never a fan of meat or fish.
Well, except for the things you don’t actually really want to eat,
namely burgers and sausages, which to me didn’t resemble the flesh of
a dead animal too much. But since these ‘foods’ (if you can even
class them as that) are, as how one person put it, ‘ground up lips
and arse holes’ they are not the most appetizing of things to put in
your mouth once you think about it. Interestingly enough it was the
discovery of a hairy piece of cow skin in a burger that pushed me to
give up meat. Those burgers had suddenly become a lot more animal for
my liking! And now, if I do want a burger, then I can get a 100%
vegan one, without the bits of skin!

These fake meat/fish products also mean that animals and fish are not
subjected to suffering and death in the name of a meal, are better
for our health since they are free from toxins, cholesterol and
saturated fat, and are also less of a burden on the environment since
the meat, dairy and fish industries are incredibly destructive and
energy demanding. For more info see www.vegansociety.com/environment

So back to the ‘fish’. Once defrosted we lightly fried it in coconut
oil and served it with salad, new potatoes and a yummy creamy dill
sauce that turned out to be totally raw when I made it!

The verdict? Well, potatoes are a novelty to me, and were most
appreciated, and the fake fish was in fact very yummy. I never liked
fish before turning veggie but since eating more raw food I have
developed a penchant for seaweed and thought this fake fish with the
raw dill sauce (recipe to be posted shortly) was pretty good. Chris thought it had a good and
convincing taste and texture (I can’t remember what real fish is
like) and was also impressed with it.

But I have to admit it did feel weird eating something so fish-like.
My brain was sending thousands of ‘does not compute’ messages. I
kept checking the packet to make sure that it really wasn’t fish.
It’s made from seaweed, soya and wheat protein and spices but since
it in an imported product from China we are at the mercy of the
translator. Maybe it’s a cruel joke played upon us veggies…

I am definitely not giving up my beautiful health-giving and tasty
raw food in favour of food like this on a regular basis but it really
was an interesting experience and gives one less excuse to continue
eating meat and fish products.

So it was a good holiday-day yesterday. The only thing that made it
not feel like a holiday was the washing-up. Maybe we need to invite
some people over for dinner. They are often more than willing to help
clean-up in return for some beautiful food. Any offers?…. 🙂

(For your info, this fake salmon is distributed by K.F. Enterprise in the Netherlands. Tel +31 24 3773698)



Bedtime Stories – Sack your editor!

Films Posted on Fri, July 10, 2009 08:54:24

I
am going to keep this post short and sweet as it has a similar theme
to a previous post

Last
night I looked at Christoffer with my puppy dog face and said
“Pleeeeeeease can we watch a film together since it’s our
holidays?” He didn’t take too much persuading, but he did have the
condition that it would be an animated film. Since I fortunately have the
mental age of a three year old, I was more than happy with this
clause.

Before
we managed to decide which animated movie to watch, we came across a
nice film called ‘Bedtime Stories’. It’s not animated but it is a fun
‘suitable for kids of all ages’ movie starring Adam Sandler, 2 cute
kids and a hamster with huge googly eyes. Adam Sandler’s character,
Skeeter, has to look after his niece and nephew for a week, and on
their first night together Skeeter tells them a story, but to his
chagrin the kids join in on the narration adding their own
imaginative details. The next day the story comes true and Skeeter
soon realizes that it’s the kids’ details that are realized and not
the parts he come up with. He wants them to come up with stories that
get him the Ferrari, the girl, the money, the promotion, but kids’
brains don’t work like that and they come up with far more exciting
things like gum-ball rain and snot monsters. It might not turn out
exactly like they imagined but the essence is there.

When
the kids do add their details Skeeter tries to censor them: ‘That
would never happen’ or ‘That’s not possible’. Not surprisingly the kids are
hurt by this and the first time it happens they clam up and retreat
under their duvets. But still the stories become reality.

How
many times do we censor ourselves with ‘That would never happen’ or
‘Be realistic’? Who’s to say it will never happen? Isn’t life way too
mysterious and magical to edit it in our minds? Isn’t it better, and
more fun, to imagine and visualize events that blow our minds and to
leave the details for Lady Universe to take care of? If we keep
reprimanding our wonderfully creative and limitless minds for coming
up with things that we
think will never happen, eventually we will dry up. Our minds will
become limited and will clam up and retreat under the duvet.

So
sack your mental editor and let loose your mermaids, gum-ball rain,
snot monsters and talking trees and write your own script to this
adventure we call life!

**
Stay tuned kids because I have given my editor the sack and am
bursting with new blog posts. Watch out for another one in the next
few days!**

Image:
stock xchng



Forget the Celebrity ‘X’ Factor – it’s our ‘Appreciation Factor’ that counts!

Life Posted on Fri, July 03, 2009 14:35:40

I have to admit that I avoid reading and listening to the news. I
feel that it delivers us just a teeny tiny fraction of the world’s
events and are highly manipulating. I prefer instead to read
optimistic and inspiring news such as Ode magazine.

But since I am hard-core Facebook user it’s hard to avoid hearing
what’s going on the world. To be honest that’s good in a way as it
would have been a bit weird if in 5 years I discovered that Michael
Jackson had left planet Earth back in 2009. It would have been like
that part in ‘Dumb & Dumber’ when Jim Carey’s character sees a
framed article of man landing on the moon and runs out of the bar
shouting ‘We’ve landed on the moon, everybody!’

I have to admit that Michael Jackson (MJ) was probably my first
crush. Back in the late 80s he was much hotter than of late, and I
have fond memories of listening to him in my bedroom as a kid,
dreaming of seeing him in concert. I never did, and by the time I was
old enough for such a possibility I felt his best period had passed
and never made an effort to go.

I don’t know much about MJ but if anyone who isn’t causing harm to
others dies – famous or otherwise – then it’s a sad thing. And
regardless of who he was or wasn’t in his personal life, he did bring
the world some great music. But guess what? So have so many other
people. And guess what? So many non-famous people bring us fantastic
things every day, but are not appreciated on the scale that people
like MJ are.

It’s just the mass scale that intensifies the appreciation of these
people. Take this little anecdote for example. A few weeks ago I had
a naughty celebrity dream. Come on hands up who has NEVER had one of
those dreams? I know you have! Well, me being me, didn’t dream of
steamy passion with the latest heart-throb. No I dreamed of , let’s
call him ‘Mr Celebrity’, serving me cake. Yes, it’s true! He was
making a big effort to score me some vegan cake. Fully clothed. Cake
– that’s all it was. Nothing to make the vicar blush what so ever.
Nothing. But when someone gives a girl cake in her dream, it’s hard
for her not to wake feeling rather fond of that person. Funnily
enough a few days later my friend was having a cat-fight on Facebook
about who gets to ‘have’ this celeb. I refrained from joining in on
this public declaration of fondness for ‘Mr C’, knowing that he had
served me cake and all was good. I knew where his loyalty lay.

And being the loyal girl that I am myself, I started to feel guilty
for going around feeling fondness (and that’s all it was) for a chap
that wasn’t my Christoffer. So my little mind went into analyze mode
and I realized that Christoffer was actually very much like this
celebrity. The character this actor played is a slightly nerdy but
funny, kind, smart and handsome young man. He is the celebrity
version of Christoffer! And I thought that if Christoffer and I had
never met and he was a celeb I would definitely be having cakey
dreams about him.

And am sure I wouldn’t be the only one. I am certain my friends would
be fighting over him on Facebook. So what stops them from doing that
now? Well, apart from the fact that I would scratch their little
beady eyes out for lusting over MY man 😉 they don’t really know who
he is! It’s all a numbers game. If you are a non-celebrity and say
you score an average ‘appreciation factor’ (how much people appreciate your gifts to the world) of 7/10 then
your total ‘appreciation rating’ would probably be (bearing in mind I
am a creative person and not a numbers girl!) n x 0.7
where n is the number of people who know about your existence. The more people who
know about you, the higher your total score will be.

So what’s my point? Well, let’s look at people’s ‘appreciation
factor’ rather than the total score. Let’s look at our partners,
friend’s, colleagues, neighbours, family with the same adoring eyes
as we have when stroking pictures of our celebrity idols. Let’s
assess our own ‘appreciation factor’. How can we better deliver our
gifts to the world so that people can benefit from what we have to
offer. How can we up our ‘appreciation factor’ to live a more
fulfilling and giving life?

And since we are suddenly being bombarded with MJ songs on the radio
when we hadn’t really heard much about him recently let’s remember to
celebrate people now. How many people make a special effort to go to
a funeral, but wouldn’t make the time to go and see that person when
they were alive and well? Let’s appreciate the gifts that are given
to us by others (and ourselves) on a daily basis – now! Let’s not
allow ourselves and each other to become ‘famous after they died’
figures. Let’s love life now!

Oh, I guess you may be wondering who ‘Mr Celebrity’ is? Well, if you
hadn’t already figured it out, the chap who was going to great
efforts to bring Miss Best vegan cake in dream land was in fact Adam
Brody, who played Seth in the series O.C.

Now if I can just get Christoffer to bring me vegan cake in
real life then that would be something to make the vicar blush
😉

My Lovely Christoffer – better than cake!

Vegan Cake!



Bonus Blog!

Thoughts Posted on Fri, June 26, 2009 22:24:38

This is a bonus blog. Wohooo! I usually only put up one post once a week, as
that seems to fit my life at the moment, but for a person like me –
who, when packing a small suitcase, spends far too long trying to
decide what to take – ‘what if it’s cold’? or ‘what if I need this
or that?’ – it’s not easy to decide which passage of thought to
post.

I mean there is so much to write about! I want to write about funny
incidents, or something that has helped my growth, or something I
love and want to recommend, or something I am extremely grateful for.

Sometimes having so much choice and having to edit one’s own life can
be daunting, It can paralyze us. We may think ‘How will I know I have
made the right choice and be satisfied with it?’

A good example of this is toast. Yep toast. Roasted bread. I rarely
eat toast -or bread for that matter- but I just love it. To me, a
meal of tea and toast is just so amazingly comforting, tasty and
cozy. But I can’t say I feel full of vitality afterwards. So I
consider what many people have every day for breakfast to be a real
treat. But the problem is this: what to have on my toast? There are
too many choices. The options are endless. Do I go savoury: Marmite
and tahini? Vegan cheese and tomato? Dairy free sour cream and vegan
caviar? Avocado and salad? Or perhaps I fancy something sweet: Jam?
Banana and maple syrup? Chocolate spread? Or what about a mix? Peanut
butter and agave syrup? Or perhaps just plain old vegan (margarine)
spread?

And because I can’t possibly eat a piece of toast for every option I
fancy (without feeling bloated and really rather ‘blurgh’) then it
puts the pressure on that sacred piece of toast. What if it doesn’t
quite ‘hit the spot’? What if I choose salt but I wanted sweet?
Arrgh…Toast Trauma!

So, what’s the answer? Choose one topping and be grateful for it? Go
hungry? Choose something else with less attachment to it, but with
the risk of missing out on yummy joy or satisfaction to avoid
disappointment? Choose something that is better for your health?

When it comes down to it I usually skip the toast and have a bowl of
fruit salad instead. The bowl of fruit has far less pressure on it
than that poor piece of toast! But today I had both – well
metaphorically speaking. Today I posted one blog and now I am
complimenting that blog with a blog about blog decision angst. And
the best thing is that I don’t feel bloated or wont charged for
excess baggage. Sweeeeeeet! (or do I mean savoury?)

(image:www.sxc.hu)



The key to problem solving: The freedom to be creative, fake creativity or, if all else fails, chocolate!

Being excited about your work Posted on Fri, June 26, 2009 12:59:11

‘Be creative…now!’ ‘Solve a problem…now!’ Ever had that pressure
put on you? I know I have. One time that springs to mind was a
grueling 2 day entry-test to get into an Industrial Design Degree
programme at Lund University. I had a really bad cold, and not a lot
of creative experience or confidence behind me. It was horrid. Chuck
a load of wanna-be designers in a room and give them a load of briefs
(design briefs not designer briefs!!) and watch them sweat! I had a
fever and the shakes and had to present my work to a panel, who must
have thought I was a nervous wreck or severely hungover, or had
Parkinson’s Disease until I pointed out that I was in fact suffering
from a nasty nasty cold. I got a lot of praise during that panel
interview…sadly not for my outstanding work, but for my apparent
good command of the Swedish language. I didn’t get in. The universe
knows best anyway, as a few months later during another degree
programme I discovered my love for graphic design, which I think is
far more instant, satisfying and accessible, and suits me much
better. 🙂

You might think to yourself that if I am moaning about the pressure
of coming up with designs on the spot then I am not suited to the
modern work place. And I will quite agree with you. I mean I can
certainly perform under pressure and am always pretty creative, but I
have to say that my best ideas do not come when plonked in front of a
computer and prodded with a stick to perform.

My most creative ideas come when I am not at a desk, and when I am
not particularly thinking about the problem. I am sure we have all
heard that the great thinkers came up with their revolutionary
theories when doing other things than working. Mine often come to me
when I am walking in nature or working out. In the days when I used
to be partial to more than a drink or two I would find that the
delicious, barely awake stage of waking up the morning after (when
still slightly intoxicated) was an amazingly creative time. It was
during one such morning when I lay in bed just 25% awake in a dreamy
state yet with my mind going to crazy, alcohol induced places that I
came up with the cheeky, but much appreciated, slogan for a
back-mounted vacuum cleaner with a built-in massage function and MP3
player that I was working on for a group project. “Vac-Pac:
Pleasure from behind!”

In fact I am sometimes tempted to get ridiculously drunk just to
experience that wonderfully creative window of time the next day. But
now that I am a little older – and therefore far less tolerant of
the physical and mental hell that comes with a hang over – I think
I will give it a miss and bounce on my mini trampoline instead.

So I do find it frustrating when companies insist on fixed working
hours. Especially since I have had the good fortune of breaking away
from the traditional 9-5 route and am more used to directing my own
time and working when creativity is there.

And I know I am not the only one. A friend is doing some contract
work at a rather old fashioned organization. He is used to working
with modern, high-tech companies and despairs at the Stone-age
mentality of his new colleagues. He rather amusingly described their
use of email: “They come up to me at my desk and tell me that they
have sent me an email. They then hand me a printed version of the
email they have just sent!” Funny but insanely frustrating! So this
organization is really not in the ‘problems are more likely to be
solved away from the computer’ camp and have even bothered to
reprimand him for not doing all his work chained to a desk.

So what you may ask, has prompted this public criticism of modern
work life? Well, today I am not working in the office. Today I am
free to go to and from the computer depending on my mood and my state
of creativity. No prodding sticks. No need to ‘fake work’ to show
that I am in fact thinking about the problem and not just aimlessly
staring out of the window. You know the ‘I am actually working’ look
don’t you? The frown of concentration; deliberately talking to your
self; writing something down and dramatically crossing it out again;
stabbing the air with a pointed finger and giving a satisfied nod?
You don’t know it? It’s a good tactic to use when stapled to your
desk until some form of inspiration strikes. Alternatively, you could
subscribe to the following idea which is slightly less bonkers and
far more pleasant:

May all
people, who has completed a major piece of work
and who soon are
going to sleep
may all souls who for a moment
feel themselves
to be without inspiration and motivation
may all people who find
the air humid, the time moving slowly
and the mood difficult to
appreciate
grant themselves a good half liter of hot
chocolate……..
they will experience a miracle.

Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1775-1826)
French
magistrate and gastronome

What ever you are doing – have a great day. Eat chocolate. Be
inspired!

xx



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