Speaking of cake lasting for weeks… we still have cherry cake in the freezer from last summer. We just don’t eat much sugary stuff, despite my loving photos of chocolate pralines and writing about dessert.

The kids’ sugar intake and other potential addictions are most easily regulated by simple, somewhat fuzzy rules. I myself chafe at rules. So when the family is away, I celebrate by breaking rules.

I eat lunch late, when I am truly hungry, rather than at an hour that suits everybody’s schedule. I read a magazine while eating. And I have a piece of cake afterwards.

(Meanwhile I still miss having a proper camera, and the way the small one never makes things look the way I want is seriously annoying me.)


Adrian’s homework for this week was to write a couple of sentences about what games his parents played during break time at school.

I recall playing hopscotch. And kummikeks or elastics, which I loved but wasn’t good at. And Human knot, and chanting and clapping games. Other than that, I cannot remember any.

I also remember spending a lot of break time on the sidelines. I wasn’t quite bullied, but a few of the girls in our class decided early on that I was not to be a part of the group, and that was that. Sometimes, as an act of charity, I was let in from the cold for a while.

Seeing Ingrid and Adrian at school now, the difference is immense. The teachers here/now have a very strong and conscious focus on encouraging decent behaviour and teaching children to be nice to others. They have much closer contact with the children, a relationship of mutual trust and caring. Kids can actually talk to teachers as fellow humans, even friends, whereas in my days we were subordinates. I don’t think any teachers cared about the social aspects of children’s time at school, as long there was no actual physical fighting going on.

I really miss my big camera. Taking daily photos with just a compact camera (even if it is a good one) is just not much fun. It doesn’t do well in low light, and it can barely focus closer than at an arm’s length. So many times now I’ve had a vague idea of a photo I want to take, and I cannot even get close. It’s like there’s an invisible wall between me and the idea, and regardless of which direction I try to approach from, I always get blocked.

1.
I cooked a meal from a Linas matkasse meal kit today. Oven roasted cauliflower with a lentil salad and a yoghurt an goat’s cheese sauce.

Adrian is often a bit sceptical about “Lina food” in advance. (Maybe Ingrid is as well, but at least she doesn’t keep saying so every time.) Afterwards he gives his verdict: thumbs up, thumbs down, thumbs sideways or something in between. Sometimes he is pleasantly surprised. One Lina recipe is now among his absolute favourite dishes. (Pasta with green peas and goat’s cheese.)

Today, Adrian rated the cauliflower a 7 out of 10 and the lentils a 4. Ingrid had the exact opposite opinion: a 4 for the cauliflower and a 7 for the lentils. (Eric and I meanwhile thought both parts were a bit dull and the whole thing below average.) And I guess someone at Lina’s must have thought that this was really good. It’s interesting to see how much our preferences differ.

2.
I cook almost all our meals, but Eric does the Sunday dinners while I am at swim school with Adrian. It struck me this Sunday that his meals somehow don’t taste as much to me as the meals I cook myself. Not because they don’t have flavour. It’s more like the signals don’t reach my brain as strongly or as fast as the signals from my own cooking.

My only guess is that it’s because I spend less time thinking about the meal. When I cook, then I think about what I will cook, then think about it while I’m cooking. I also taste it and smell it for a good while. By the time I sit down to eat, my brain is already prepared and anticipates what’s to come. Whereas when Eric cooks, and especially if I’m not even in the house, the meal can be over before my brain has even properly processed it.

Life changes:

  • Changed jobs. Left ReQtest, which had changed beyond recognition during the past year, and joined tretton37 as a consultant.
  • Started playing Pokemon Go. Which is definitely not in the same category as a new job, but it’s something that is a part of my life now that I used to think I’d never do. But Adrian and Ingrid started, I sort of joined half-heartedly and passively, then Eric wanted to see it was all about, which made me start playing “for real” – and here we all are. I have mixed feelings about the game. I like it because it’s something that gets us all out of the house on those gray days. But I also dislike it because it’s such an attention magnet.

Achievements:

  • Learned F#. I undertook this as a mini-project during my first few weeks at tretton37 while I had no client project to work on. It was quite a struggle at first, since I was determined to write “proper”, functional F# rather than following the imperative patterns I am used to. But it got easier with time. I can’t think of a situation where I would choose to use it “for real” but it was interesting to learn.
  • Planted two sections of hedge.

Memorable events: mostly travels.

And two more distant events:

  • The terror attack in central Stockholm in April. Not an event I particularly want to remember, and not one that touched me personally – but a sign of the times.
  • The new commuter train stations in Stockholm. A mundane change that I am nevertheless reminded of daily.


When we got home from the Christmas party yesterday evening, we found the front door unlocked. Once we got inside we discovered other open doors and windows. It so happened that we got home right in the middle of a burglary.

The thieves got maybe 5 minutes inside the house, at most. Despite the open window, the living room didn’t even feel cold yet. Despite this short time they had time to make away with several laptop computers and some jewellery. But I guess we were lucky; there was much more that they could have taken.

The loss of the laptops is mostly a monetary problem and a slight annoyance. Mine is fully backed both to an external hard drive and to the cloud (and oh how grateful I am for that right now!). Ingrid’s was also backed up and didn’t have much valuable content anyway. Losing my work laptop is more annoying, because it’s going to cost hours of work to set something up so I can work again.

The same goes for all the locks, which we’ll have to replace since the thieves got a bunch of keys.

The real loss, to me, is the loss of my necklaces. They took the opal, which was really special to me. They also took a vintage pendant on a gold chain, neither of which has any real monetary value, but the gold chain was one of the very few things that I inherited from my grandmother, and every time I put it on, I was briefly reminded of her.

I don’t feel unsafe, anxious, helpless, or traumatized. Just sad and annoyed.

The kids were understandably anxious and temporarily moved into our bedroom for a few nights. Adrian especially is young enough to have a picture-book “bad guy” mental image of thieves: looking recognizably thief-like, a bit dumb and violent, not really like other people. We’ve been talking a fair bit about why and how thieves steal, to make them seem more human and understandable/predictable, and thus less scary.


Myself and my mum, cooking a New Year’s Eve dinner. Ingrid took the photo.

Bruschetta with smashed avocados and cherry tomatoes; spinach and ricotta cannelloni with tomato sauce and bechamel sauce; chocolate and blood orange semifreddo.


My last day at work.

All of this week, the gradual emptying of the office has been very tangible. Nothing is left of the buzz we used to have. The Monday morning company breakfasts, when we barely fit around the giant dining tables, and the shared lunches, and the general atmosphere of togetherness.

Today, for the first time in many months, I arrived to find the office locked, dark and empty, because all the early risers have already quit or been let go. It wasn’t quite that empty during the day, but when I went home – for the last time – in the afternoon, it didn’t feel like leaving the company I used to work for, because the company now barely exists.

It’s my last day at work. Tomorrow I will officially be unemployed.

I’m sad it had to end this way.

Not because I am leaving the company and the product where I invested nine years of my life. My leaving is just a small part of this. What saddens me is that an entire great team has been destroyed.

I say “destroyed”, and it may sound overly dramatic, but I really feel that that’s what happened.

Collectively the core team of senior developers had built up twenty-six years of experience of this product. That is not even counting the the Malmö team who were all let go earlier this year already.

A team is more than just the sum of its members. We were not just a bunch of people sitting in the same room. We were a team – we achieved things together that none of us would have been able to do on our own. We had figured out ways of working that made the team productive and creative. We cared for each other, respected each other, complemented each other. These parts of a team are even harder to replace or rebuild than the product experience.

And all of that has been thrown out. There is no more ReQtest dev team. What a sorry end to an era.

I hope the product survives this.


More interviews. Which means I get to visit interesting parts of Stockholm that I don’t normally see. This is the Kungsträdgården subway station, one of my favourites. It’s very deep (the deepest in Stockholm I believe) and has interesting decorations. The station walls are plain bedrock, in places, with water trickling in through the ceiling. Moss grows on the walls, including species that are not present anywhere else in Stockholm. It smells like a cave.

On the topic of interviewing… If I am to search for a job, and if I want to find a good one, it makes no sense to meet one company only. I need to meet a bunch of them so I can compare and contrast. I have interviews scheduled for most days this week and next.

The obvious question is, what do I consider a good job? What kind of job do I want? What am I looking for?

I am looking for a developer job, not a manager position. (That’s a discussion worth an entire blog post on its own and I’m not getting into that now.)

What makes a good developer job?

First, there are the obvious things – competent colleagues, sensible bosses, a stable company that will be paying my salary on time, a decent office etc. Those are things that anyone would agree with, in any business, so they are not particularly interesting.

Next, there is the MAP triplet, things that I imagine any skilled worker would want: Mastery, Autonomy, Purpose. On the “purpose” side, specifically, I want to work on “good things” – projects that make some part of the world a tiny bit better, rather than worse. That means a no to online casinos, for example, and to all kinds of digital marketing.

I am a strong believer in the agile development philosophy. I want to work together with other developers rather than on my own. I want to work in close communication with customers/users.

I believe in quality. I want to work in a team that takes pride in doing an excellent job and believes in producing quality work.