Ingrid writing down a wish list for her birthday.

When you picture the year in your mind, what does it look like? Do you even do that?

I do. And apparently I’m not the only one: there’s a long thread at MetaFilter about how people picture calendars in their heads. (The internet truly is a wonderful thing.)

For me the year is a flat ring. It is oval in shape, and relatively narrow compared to its diameter. Imagine 365 blobs of no particular shape for the 365 days and arrange them next to each other in an oval shape; that’s roughly the scale of it. But my year is continuous and is not made up of daily blobs.

The ring lies flat at a slight slope; summer is noticeably lower than winter. The winter end is also the narrow end of the oval.

We move counterclockwise around the ring.

Distance affects visibility. The ring is large and narrow enough that from where I am now, in autumn, I cannot see spring on the other side. I can see the whole year if I leave my current actual position and decide to view the year from above, but I cannot see it from where I am.

The closest physical-world equivalent I’ve seen is this rotating playground structure. There’s one near my mum’s home in Uppsala. In this photo (from 2010) Ingrid is stretched out roughly from February to April.

We crafted invitation cards for Ingrid’s upcoming Halloween-themed birthday party. Ingrid drew monsters and skeletons and gravestones on hers. My designs were more abstract.

Playing games with the kids.

Whenever we do play, games or otherwise, we’re always on the floor. Sitting on chairs around the dinner table just doesn’t have the same kind of feeling. I’ve occasionally thought about buying a sofa table but I think we all feel more comfortable on the carpet.

Look, even our board games are colour coordinated!

Note the different styles of play. The orderly zig-zags at the left of the game board belong to Adrian; the curlicues are mine and Ingrid’s.

For weeks already, Adrian has been talking about a playdate with a friend. Today it happened. His friend Elin was here for about two and a half hours. After that Adrian was totally exhausted. He slept for an hour and a half on the sofa, then woke and had dinner, then went to bed.

Ingrid having breakfast.
Marketing vs. real life.

The kids like Lego and we now have constant shortages of certain kinds of pieces (especially flat plates of all sizes, for use as airplane wings, roofs, etc) so I’ve been shopping for Lego pieces at Tradera, a Swedish auction site. An interesting experience.

6531 hits in the Toys category.

You can buy any kind of Lego you can imagine. Figures of all sorts and kits of all kinds. Selections like propellers, or windows, or mixed wheels from the 80s. Very specific listings like “10 blue transparent round 1×1 pieces”, or “10 1×3 dark gray plates”, and at the other extreme, mixed pieces sold by the kilo. How about 8.3 kg of mixed Lego?

Adrian and I took a trip to IKEA this afternoon, since both kids have been asking for “fluffy blankets like you have”, i.e. duvets. We also ate at the IKEA restaurant. Sitting still during the meal was not a viable option; somehow standing (relatively) still was easier.

If there was one thing I could change about myself, I would lower my expectations for myself. There is that persistent streak of perfectionism that I always struggle with and never manage to quash.

I view myself and my doings with a critical eye. I compare myself to others; I compare myself to the best. I feel I should always make an effort to do better. If I’m not good, then I feel I’ve failed. If I think I will “fail”, I abstain.

I know it is so and I remind myself that these thoughts make no sense. Sometimes I manage to convince myself; other times not.

The daily photography project is one way to train myself to let go of those impossible goalposts and settle for good enough. Forcing myself to post something, even if it is not quite what I had aimed for, not quite as good as I had hoped.

Looking at other photographers’ work is a mixed experience. What could be inspirational often just feels unattainable. It makes no sense to compare my photos to the pros and feel that I fall short – and yet a part of my brain still does that.