Adrian has been asking for fingerless gloves for a long time – since last winter I believe. I haven’t seen any in shops. Maybe I could find something online, but he also has very specific wishes regarding the gloves, so I decided to knit a pair for him.

Plus, I want to knit something anyway. I have the cardigan project that I spent so much time on and then had to rip up because it didn’t fit… and while I do want that cardigan, I feel a resistance. What if it won’t fit this time either? Maybe I should pick a different pattern? It’s easier to work up my courage with a small and simple project first.

Adrian picked the yarn. A variegated one, with blue, red and dark yellow. It’s woolly and warm and soft, but it doesn’t look that way when I see it up close like in this photo. It looks all scratchy.

I’m cycling to work almost every day, because current conditions at work rarely leave any room for lunchtime gym sessions. Our number one focus right now is knowledge transfer to a team in India, and with their office hours and our office hours being as they are, our meetings often end up being scheduled just before lunch.

I’ve only been to the gym once in the two weeks since I started working, which is a bit disappointing. But on the plus side, the cycling is very pleasant at this time of the year – the mornings are cool, bright and dry, and the afternoons are not too hot.

I am not fond of shopping for shoes or clothes. When it comes to shoes, I’m not especially interested in how they look, or at least much less than I am with clothes, but I am very particular about how they fit and feel. (Which is why I stopped buying and wearing normal summer sandals years ago, and now wear hiking/walking sandals the entire summer.) The vast majority of shoes I try on are just plain uncomfortable.

The bothersome thing about buying shoes (or other things that I want to be “just so”) is that fashion never stands still. I find a great make and model, and then they wear out, and there is no way to buy the same thing again, because it’s out of fashion and the producer now has totally new and different designs.

So imagine my happiness when I discovered that Teva still makes the exact same sandals that I bought in 2013. That old pair is really, really worn, and is about to start falling in pieces because the outer sole is nearly worn through in places. I have been putting off buying a new pair because of the hassle of finding something that fits. And now it turns out I don’t need to!

I had forgotten that the sandals once had a layer of nice, comfy microfibre on top. That fiber-y softness has all been worn away a long time ago. And I had forgotten that the soles used to have a bit of bounce to them – the arches of the old ones are much flatter and the soles noticeably thinner than on the new ones. They old sandals are actually about half a centimetre longer than the new ones, because of the way the arch has flattened out. But even as worn out as the were, they felt great. The new pair feels even better.

They feel so good and I am so pleased that I didn’t have to do any shoe shopping, that I actually bought a third pair as well. I will now put them away in the basement, and when this current pair wears out, I can get a new pair of sandals with no shopping. What a luxury!

I quit my job today.

What a liberating feeling!

All the stress and rush; all the annoyance and irritation. They all evaporate and leave me more relaxed than I’ve been at work in a long, long time.

All the decisions von oben that take no account of how development actually works, the reorganizations and downsizings and unrealistic expectations. I can just think “meh” and “not my problem any more”.

Day 1 of a two-day hike along Sörmlandsleden.

Section 9 goes through central Södertälje and is unlikely to go down in history as anyone’s favourite, least of all mine. I understand why it exists, and it was my own choice to walk it, and if I had to make the decision again then I’d probably make the same choice. But it was rather dull.

Section 10 was pretty typical Sörmland. Some open fields in the beginning, and then rocky pine forests with bilberry bushes. I notice here that all my photos are of the open areas – the whole section definitely didn’t look like this. The fields with their ripening heads of grain just felt so much like late summer.

This was my first solo overnight hike. I had a heavier pack than I normally walk with (sleeping bag and stove and all that, and more food of course) so I was slower than usual. I didn’t know exactly how much the pack would slow me down, so I was a bit worried that I would arrive very late at my planned camping spot. I needed to find the spring which was supposed to be there, so I’d have water for cooking dinner, and I didn’t want to have to look for it in the dark. So my walking was at times less relaxed than usual, and my breaks shorter. (I am a worrier, though I make an effort to avoid it.) In the end I got to the campsite shortly after seven in the evening, which still left me enough time before dark.

I cooked myself an excellent dinner – a hearty stew with carrot and tomato and lentils and wheat grain. Then spent some time reading while there was still enough light from my campfire and the setting sun. Then applied one last layer of mosquito repellent, and went to bed. The mosquitoes were repelled enough to not bite me, but they kept buzzing so close to my face that I had to use earplugs in order to be able to sleep.

I’m forty years old.

Much of me feels just like I did when I was 25. Other parts feel better.

I sometimes think about ageing. I see my mother age and realize that my own old age is no longer distant enough to be invisible and unreal. I’ve noticed wrinkles appearing around my eyes, and my hair is gray. But I’m comfortable in my body. It’s healthy and strong, still. I am probably stronger than I’ve been for years.

I am frustrated with my job, which is now all stress and no joy. But that reached such a peak in June that clarity struck like lightning and dissolved all doubts. It’s time for me to leave that job and move on.

I am somewhat tired of being a mom. Perhaps I’ve let mothering dominate my life too much for too long. Or maybe not – maybe now is just the right time to pull back a bit. There is room for me to be more selfish again, to think about what’s good for me and what makes me happy.

We flew to Newquay for a week of walking and touristing. It’s been a tiring day. An early morning flight, delays, transfer at Gatwick, lugging all the baggage around, a hurried lunch… This awkward combination of deadline after deadline and dead waiting time in between, and crowds and queues and cramped seats and one loud announcement after another (and you’re not even allowed to wear headphones during takeoff which is of course the noisiest part). Exhausting.

It feels good to be back home.

I have missed cooking proper meals, that I can spend more than 20 minutes on, and that involve spices and condiments other than just salt, pepper and sour cream.

I have missed my own bed; I have missed falling asleep next to Eric.

I ask myself for the N:th time why I am still staying at my current job. I guess I’m still hoping for a turnaround. I give it until September, and if the situation is no better then, I will give up.

The team is trying to complete three priority 1 projects at the same time, all of which require constant attention, all of which must be done before midsummer. I’m like a juggler with too many balls, and more are being hefted at me. Other projects that we should prepare are getting no attention, so the next couple of months will be singularly unproductive because we’ll be picking upp all the dropped balls.

I am accumulating overtime daily, frequently catching up with work late at night at home. I sleep badly. I’ve missed breakfast twice in a week, and I haven’t gone to the gym in two weeks.

I’m walking precariously close to the line where I will break, but I’ve been doing it for so long now that I know the signs that mean I’m getting too close. When I cannot fall asleep at night, or when I wake up from weird dreams again and again, or when I wake up and yesterday’s stomach ache is still there.

I am so used to feeling constantly stressed – faster, faster! – that I don’t remember how to relax and slow down any more. Yesterday I had to tell myself to pretend I was not in a hurry, so that I could try and figure out how I might behave in that scenario.

By Sunday evening, after two days of focused effort on slowing down, I feel somewhat like a normal human being again. And tomorrow it’s back into the fray again.

After another stressful day in the office, I went out into the garden to look for peace. And photos. Those two go well together.

The first lilac flower I looked at was a five-petal one. Those are lucky in Estonia; I don’t know about the rest of the world. I remember hunting for them as a child. I spent my summers with my grandma at her summer cottage. That is what Estonian children do for summer – get sent to their grandparents. (Did thirty years ago, at least.) Swedish children – today at least – don’t do that. They get sent to camp instead.

I have many fond memories of my grandma’s garden. The cottage was there for us to sleep and eat in, and I remember it well, but it’s the garden I miss. And the forests nearby. Years after I moved to Sweden, she sold the place because she got back a part of her family’s lands, which had been expropriated when Estonia was occupied by the Soviet Union. Of course I understand that that place was home to her on a deeper level than the summer cottage could ever be, but I still wish I could go back.

I can’t recreate that garden here, and any attempts to do so would be sure to fail. But it is there at the back of my head when I plant the garden I have. This garden also has birches that sigh in the wind, and swallows that fly past in the evening. There are berry bushes and rhubarbs and strawberries – and lilacs and poppies and hostas and bleeding hearts.