Saturday, December 25, 2010

On life, politics and chicken pox

These past few months have been wonderful and hectic. I did a super interesting and intense journey in the US before the midterm elections - where I wrote about many things from the proposal to legalize marijuana in California to poverty, unemployment and president Obama. Back in Sweden I´ve juggled everyday life with our beloved girls (home work, fencing, gymnastics, choir performances, chicken pox and beautiful Lucias) with full time work, my equally beloved husband and trying to care for my dear friends as well as my body and soul (best done through yoga, sour dough bread and disco dancing). I turned 40 on a beautiful beach far, far away, under the stars and surrounded by family.
I have a feeling I smile more often, and that I´m slightly less stressed. Awake alone the night after Christmas Day I think about all the eyes I´ve looked into these past few months - about the hope and sparks I´ve seen in them. I also think about the strength of willpower, about giving and receiving blessings and about saying grace. And I remind myself to sometimes in the middle of the night whisper a word of tenderness to the sleeping body next to mine.

PS A few days ago I made a Christmas interview with Swedens prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt. He told me that he spoils himself by listening to hockey on the radio. The knowledge that a good game will be on that night can keep him working for hours and hours. Joy can be found in small things :)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Hail to the Bishop

"Rasism saying that you are not worth as much as I am, that you shall not have the same rights as I have , are not worth a life in freedom, and this for one single reason - that we happen to be born in different parts of the world - is not worthy a democracy like ours".
The quote (freely translated) comes from Swedish bishop Eva Brunnes preaching today in Storkyrkan in Stockholm. The service marked the start of the new Swedish parlament after the elections _ elections in which Sverigedemokraterna, a party with a racist agenda, sadly enough took some seats.
Brunne showed moral courage, something we don't see to often these days (and Sverigedemokraterna walked out of the church).

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Love Life of Borg and Digital Diplomacy

On the very same day I made two interesting interviews - one with Anders Borg, Secretary of Finance in Sweden, and the other with Alec Ross, who advices Hillary Clinton on technology and innovation. Both are rather strong personalities.
One can have different opinions on Anders Borg and the policies of his liberal-conservative party Moderaterna, but one must give him the credit for keeping Sweden afloat during the global financial crisis. We talked about a variety of things, from the ongoing election campaign to his passion for walks in the forest, and then I asked him what he was most proud of. "Well, my wife and I have had a very long relationship, I was 16 when I moved in with her. We still have a vivid and loving relationship and I think we offer our children a great and safe environment".
It took me by surprise that he choose to talk about his love life, but it also made me happy. I believe politicians needs to be well grounded (and of course armed with a vision).
Visions is only the first name when you have a conversation with Alec Ross who is known for his "digital diplomacy". I quickly fell into his idea of spreading digital telecom to the developing world and thereby making people communicate, innovate, get access to banks and other services and - according to the World Bank - increasing their country's GDP. According to Ross its all about creating projects and learning by doing. You go.

Monday, August 30, 2010

A Repair Kit for the World

I love smart games. Especially this one that was given to us the other night by dear, cool Miriam and Björn. It´s a repair kit with several assignments in order to make the world a better place. It also contains a World Repair Passport and stamps, to keep track of the good work. Of course Björn bought it in "our" old city San Francisco. And of course all of the net proceeds go the Serena & Lily Foundation who funds youth initiatives around the world. Lovely.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Om Mayan Chewing Gum, Replanting Rain Forest and a Happy Family

In a suburb of Stockhom, on a quiet ordinary street, lies a small treasury in the form of a coffee shop said to promote dialogues on sustainability, leadership and resilience. By chance a friend brought me and the girls there. It´s called Open World Café and it´s run by a Swedish family who have lived in California and South America among other places. It was not only the healthy, yummy, home made food, the Brazilian furniture and the art work on the walls that hit me. It was also the smile on the owners face, his daughters dear and aware attitude towards the clients and the organic, biodegradable chewing gum from the Mayan rain forest that was sold (made from r e a l gum, lovely lime-tasting but a bit sticky in the mouth...). And - maybe most important - the family have started a great foundation for change called Open World Foundation who among other things replant rain forest in Brazil...
I believe change comes from working in your own small circles while thinking big AND having fun. This is a great example.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The summer moment

So we get into the car, stop at an old farm to by fresh strawberries, drive to the bakery in Hablingbo, get vanilla-buns and still warm bread to die for. We keep driving through the incredible Gotland landscape, singing out loud to Frank Sinatra´s New York New York. Then we´re on the small white road that goes right down to the blue, blue sea. We laugh at the day while eating the warm bread, our dresses and faces full of flour and our minds full of peace.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Pop in the Kitchen

And suddenly a pop duo entered into my kitchen, singing old songs by Ted Gärdestad, and made all the everyday duties magical...

Saturday, June 12, 2010

On Soccernomics and Peace at Work

I´m back in the newsroom at TT, for a few weeks of work while dear A is stay-at-hom-dad - he´s one of the vikinga men who has it all, according to a lovely article the other day in New York Times :)
Working is on one level very peaceful. No one messes with my stuff, I get to go to the restroom alone and I only have to feed myself at lunch. It is also really stimulating and rather intense. I´ve written stories on Ship to Gaza, Swedish telecom, BP and the environmental disaster in the Mexican gulf, American politics, next years fashion trends, the upcoming royal wedding in Stockholm - and soccer. Everyone who knows me knows that I´m NOT a football fan. But when I was assigned to write about the economic effects of the World Soccer Cup and when I found the report Soccernomics 2010 that a senior economist at the Dutch bank ABN Amro had wrote, I thought it was rather fun. Not only had the bank through careful calculations figured out which country should win in order to benefit and balance the world economy (Germany). They had also - in a dry, academic paper-writing-way - calculated which country should win if we only listen to our hearts (Cameroon or Ghana whose inhabitants are least happy and among the poorest in the world). Fascinating that economists spend their time doing this - se my story in DN here.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The door behind where it all started...

...or at least part of it. Behind this door is the house where my grandfather Frans was born in 1909 in Dalecarlia. They were nine siblings, he was youngest and his mother died when he was 16. They were not to well off, but the old wall paintings in one of the rooms tell us that there was creative joy. Frans was the first in his family who got to study, he worked hard and he created a wonderful life. He married Viola, from the same village, and became a musical director, conductor and teacher. They had three children, one of them my mother. When Frans got old, and couldn´t hear to well, he started to paint mainly landscapes. I remember him from my childhood as warm but full of a spectrum of deep feelings, a man who sometimes was caught by sadness.
We can learn a lot about ourselves by just looking a generation or two away. My children love his old house, now called the Bakery because people in the village still bake in the old oven there.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Pulitzer-congrats and Joy over Journalism with Moral Force

Congrats to Washington Post for winning four and New York Times for taking home three Pulitzer Prizes (the Oscar of journalism) for work in 2009. But an extra big congrats to online, nonprofit news organization ProPublica who won the prestigious award in print journalism.
Reading ProPublica - and reading about the publication - makes me happy. It presents itself as "an independent, non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest. Our work focuses exclusively on truly important stories, stories with moral force."
According to ProPublica investigative journalism is at risk and seen as a luxury in many newsrooms. But they state that it is fine to steal their stories, as long as you credit and link to ProPublica :)
The newsroom is led by Paul Steiger, the former managing editor of The Wall Street Journal. The managing editor is Stephen Engelberg, former investigative editor of The New York Times. You go!
The Pulitzer Prize is awarded from the Journalism school at my old and very beautiful university Columbia in New York.

Baby Grace

Every morning this little bottle makes me happy. It simply smells the best - purity, soap and water and happiness and clean sheets. And since I´m the proud mom of three beloved girls I must concede to the text on the back: if God has a face, surely it is that of a child. and if there is a place called heaven, it must smell like a baby. Thank you Philosophy.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Clean, sexy water... the title of a New York Times op-ed by Nicholas D Kristof. It tells the fascinating story of former Manhattan night club promoter Scott Harrison who founded charity: water - an extremly successful aid group focusing on drilling wells and providing clean water to people in Asia and Africa. In three years the group is said to have raised 10 million dollars and provided water to nearly one million people.
Harrison has a natural gift for marketing and social media - part of the success story is the way the group uses the web. There are "twestivals" among followers on twitter, new donors can see how their money have been used since wells have gps-coordinates so they can be found on Google earth. And the videos produced really rock and go viral on the web.
Most important - Harrison seem to have found the joy in giving (the same that Bill Clinton describes in his book Giving). Another driving spirit in that context is my friend Amelie Silfverstolpe. She founded Volontärbyrån, an internet based service who matches volunteers with various groups and assignments - all because she believes in the great force of getting involved and helping others. You go!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Hammocks with Spirals and Pearls

I just fell in love with Brazilian artist Maria Nepomucenos exhibition at Magasin 3 in Stockholm. Nepomucenos creates large, colorful hammock-like sculptures that seem to grow organically in a never-seen-before garden. It is said that she always lets the rope take its natural spiral form - and that she sees the rope as an umbilical cord and the pearls as fertile points. The sculptures cross the room and create a feeling of traveling or transmission. To me its a lovely and interesting crossover between ancient traditions and a warm, philosophical - and beautiful - approach to art.

Friday, February 26, 2010

The joy of Pain au Chocolat

I´m Zoë, I'm eight months old and I'm very, very pleased to meet you mr Chocolate Croissant. Where have you been so long?
Pure joy.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sweet Smart Dreams

I knew it - frequent naps actually makes you smarter. According to researchers at University of California Berkeley they're the brain's way of making room for new information. The study, presented a American Association of the Advancement of Science Conference this weekend, can be interpreted as follows according to USA Today: a good night's sleep + a solid midday siesta = increased intelligence.
Great news for me and fellow parents who tend to be very efficient when our small darlings sleep. Better to lie down next to them. Sweet dreams.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Serenity and Beauty

Beauty and esthetics is an important part of our everyday life, not only something that lies on the surface. The objects we surround ourselves with, the visual impressions we are fed with, affect our wellbeing. In that context I´m extra superhappy about my new Serenity Prayer-artwork, made by talented Therese Sennerholt. I´ve placed it in my bedroom, so I can rest my eyes on it when I´m about to fall asleep or when I greet the day.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

A Single Man

All my life I´ve been facinated by people who dare to jump, change direction in life, follow their heart. Therefore I´m impessed by and curious about fashion icon Tom Fords directorial debut A single man. I´m off to see it next Monday, thanks to Moderådet (The fashion council) in Stockholm. It´s been told in articles that large parts of Hollywood laughed when Ford began to work on the film, but now Colin Firth is nominated for an Oscar. Check out the interview below with Tom Ford.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Happy Old Days

My darling husband is the best at scouting articles from around the world. This one, from New York Times is about aging happily and all the adventures people in their 80ies and 90ies have nowadays while hiking, traveling, flying over the English channel in a single-engine biplane etc. I´ve said it before: 60 is the new 40, 70 is the new 50 and experience and wiseness is the new black.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Missing New York

Picture taken by my dear friend Maria on our long weekend in NY.

Is creativity divine or a ghost?

I love TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) - a conference, site and a meeting place for creativity, knowledge and great ideas in California. Not to long ago author Elisabeth Gilbert - who wrote the mega hit Eat, Love, Pray - spoke about how to nurture creativity. I watch this for the free thinking, the laughs and because it gives me relief when I struggle with my own writing. Looking forward to read her follow up Commited, that I got for Christmas.