Normally Eric drops Adrian off at school in the morning and I pick up both kids in the afternoon. Once a week we swap, so I get a free afternoon/evening. Today was such a day.

I use these afternoons in various ways. Sometimes I go to a movie. I may go book shopping. Or I may simply work late, digging into some fun project.

Right now I feel no inclination whatsoever to invest more in work than I absolutely have to. I also don’t think I could focus on a movie. So I simply cycled home via a slow, scenic, circuitous route, through parts of town that I rarely visit.

The area around Bällstaviken is an interesting mixture of modern housing (including cool all-wooden modern apartment buildings), greenery that is still mostly dead at this time of the year, scruffy boat yards, and views of industrial buildings across the water.

I’ve been cycling to work several times a week now – since the ski trip I feel that I need to move more.

Not every day. Yet. Firstly, because of the unsettled April weather – I don’t want to cycle in rain or snow. Secondly, because I’m not strong enough to combine 20 km a day with twice-weekly strength training, and still have enough energy in the afternoon/evening for everything else that I want or need to do.

The situation at work keeps going downhill fast, and physical exercise is the best way to clear my head somewhat for at least a little while. Cycling, gym workouts, digging in the garden… I cannot focus enough to read, and relaxing activities such as knitting don’t distract the brain enough.

In the evening I’m still full of adrenaline. I literally feel like I have stress hormones up to my eyeballs. (And when I use the word “literally”, I do mean “literally” and not just “general expression of emphasis”.) Probably they extend above the eyeballs as well but I cannot feel them up there because there’s not much muscle up there. My body is ready to flee or to fight, almost twitching, looking for an outlet for the nervous energy.

The situation at work is spinning out of control.

We got a new CEO a couple of months ago. Various workshops about our processes and practises followed, and were welcomed by the team, because we knew things needed to change. Agreement was easier to find in some questions than in others, but in general, we worked until we agreed on key points.

Now I feel that the development process has effectively been hijacked by the CEO. The development teams no longer have much say about important parts of it.

Previously we had workshops. Now we have meetings where we are told what to do. We sigh with resignation, and he does not seem to even notice.

We do not have agile self-organising teams any more. We have top-down planning and scheduling instead. We don’t really even have teams any more – just a bucket of people. (A “bucket” being the technical term for “an unordered collection of weakly related items”.)

The chances that I will still want to be with the company in, say, half a year’s time are decreasing by the day. Currently I’d put them at 10%. This thought actually feels quite liberating.

So I went to the gym and took out my frustration on the kettlebells. I cycled to and from work to tire myself out, so I can sleep at night. When I got home, I found peace in photography again, and then attacked some of the more stubborn large rocks in the ditch I’m digging.

Today, after I’d had time to speak to family and friends, the reality of Friday’s terror attack in Stockholm finally hit me in the guts.
Today I also found out that on Friday roughly a third of our developers had been told that the company will not be needing them any more.

I went home and looked for peace in the garden.

Glitterheim to Gjendesheim, 23 km.

A slog of a day. We’re coming down from the mountains and running out of snow. It’s the end of the season, and according to the local folks, they haven’t seen a winter with this little snow in some 60-odd years.

Up, down, along mushy snow and around bare patches. Skins on, skins off – and even skis on, skis off, where the bare patches are too many to ski around. Sunshine and a nice icy lake in the middle provided a bit of a break. But the further we went, the worse the conditions were. Some slopes were too patchy to ski, but the snow there was so mushy and deep that we kept sinking thigh-deep into it and getting stuck when we tried to walk on it, so we walked from one rocky juniper patch to another. Finally towards the very end we ran out of snow entirely and could simply walk.

Knowing that this is the last day of our trip, and tomorrow means going back to civilization with all its trappings, does not make things any better. I’m doing my best not to think about it.

My most comfortable shoes have slippery laces. For years I have simply tied the loops in an extra overhand knot to keep the laces from coming loose, and then had to fiddle with the knot afterwards when I wanted to untie it.

No more! I took 5 minutes to learn to tie a Better Bow Knot. It never comes loose (based on a week’s worth of testing) and yet I can undo it by simply pulling at the free ends, like with a normal bow not.

Why did I wait so long to spend those 5 minutes?

Helium balloons at a birthday party.

People have birthday parties. People who have “round number” birthdays tend to have especially large or elaborate parties. I will turn 40 this summer and I feel no need whatsoever to have a party. So if you don’t get invited, you shouldn’t feel left out.

My birthdays are fundamentally uninteresting to me to begin with. And having a birthday party does not appeal to me the least. First there would be all this arranging and preparing, and then all these people, and there more of them I invite the less I have time to speak to them. No, not for me.

I wouldn’t turn down a cake, though.

This was an exhausting week at work. We had several workshops/meetings lasting over half a day, where the tone got more confrontational and less collaborative than I am used to. In order to recover I used up some of my flex hours to take a day off and go walking instead. There’s nothing like 7 hours outdoors on my own to restore my mental energy levels.

It was a beautiful, warm day, with blue skies and balmy winds. The lakes I passed were still covered in ice and so were parts of the path, but the brooks were full of snow melt and the hazelnut bushes were in bloom – the first plants to do so.

Adrian took a photo of me yesterday.

My expression of amused resignation was due to what Adrian was doing at the time – sort of eating snacks, in a rather slow and silly way, and then showing off for the camera.

I needed a dose of nature so I went for a long walk.

(It’s a stressful time at work right now. Senior developers have been increasingly dissatisfied with our work situation, and just as we had started work on analysing and improving the situation, we found out the company would get a new CEO. That new CEO arrived a few weeks ago, and he of course has his own ideas about what needs changing. So everything is in a state of flux, but nothing is actually improving yet. It’s going to get worse before it gets better.)

It’s a snowless, cloudy day in February, and it feels like the whole world is the colour of muddy asphalt. And it is actually muddy as well, due to unseasonably warm weather – all of February is normally below freezing, and today’s forecast was +7°C. I stopped for a snack break next to lake Muskan (which you can see in the photo above) and while the ice was still thick, it was dripping and purling like a whole brook.

But it’s not all mud and greyness. With a bit of attention, I found specks of colour here and there. (Although counting my own rucksack as a speck of colour dos feel like cheating a bit…) I also found out that lingonberries, which are quite tart in summer, get milder and sweeter after having been frozen – the taste brought lingonberry jam to mind.