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So it was all about Stockholm Pride last weekend

Pride Flags

After my original plans fell through at the last minute to go and visit some friends around Europe this weekend, the focus of the week and the weekend was about Stockholm Pride.

This was one of the more interesting Stockholm Pride experiences that I had. This year I decided against all-things-Pride-all-of-the-time and just decided to focus on a couple of events. This year that was Schlager night on Thursday at Pride Park, as well as my participation in the parade on Saturday, and some celebrating in the evening.

The Thursday night Schlager night was notable less for the performances, but more for the company that I was with. It was cool to be at the Cafe Opera tent with friends and acquaintences and socialise with people who were just chilled out and relaxed. After the Schlager night, we went to Cafe Opera courtesy of Micke and Daniel (THANKS!) and had a great time. I can’t remember dancing so much on a Thursday in a long time.

On Saturday I joined Moderaterna in the parade. Yes that’s right, the conservative political party was in the parade. I am continually grateful to be welcomed to participate by politician and personal friend Tomas Tobé. Actually, most of the political parties were in the parade directly or represented through their alliances. And it says a lot about the openness and appreciate of diversity in Sweden that the political parties actually look forward to being in the parade. Moderaterna in particular (the lead party in power) does an  outstanding job of to driving the home to importance of inclusion at every level of government. Every year at least one of the high-ranking party members joins in the parade and walks. This year it was the Mrs. Filippa Reinfeldt, who is the wife of Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, along with one of her daughters. Literally 1,5 meters away from me. So I considered it to be a treat and a honor march with a party who country’s first lady and daughter show such open support for GLBT citizens. So participating and dancing along to great music, seeing friends in the crowd, and feeling good the whole way made for a great Saturday afternoon. I really highly recommend that everyone go in the parade – it is even more fun than watching it! And at least in Sweden, Pride is not about who get naked and acts the most outrageous. It is an fun environment where people of all ages (from children to adults) line to streets to watch and support. Some dancing along with you on the streets, clapping and cheering from windows, or just watching and wondering. It’s all okay no matter what. What I like to think is that what is most important, is that people see us and visibile and comfortable with who we are. And the response from the crowds in the parade showed societal acceptance and support. I wish it could be that way in the US. We have a long long way to go.

On Saturday night I went to a pre-party and then we went to Cafe Opera (just the regular section) and Zipper and had a great time. And here I must give a shout out to Gregory for being fantastic to hang out with during the night (and for the bravery of biking back to his house from the club without killing himself…I cheated and took a taxi back to my house). Sunday was spent relaxing and recovering and as I was thinking over how my Pride week had gone, I feel like it is was one of the best Pride Weeks ever. I simultaneous look forward to the possibilities next year as well as have a little fear that I won’t know how to top how great this year was 🙂

So it’s been one of those weekends

First off, I have to say that it has been bonkers at work. My days got a whole lot more busier even though my job has stayed the same. That is because during the last 3 weeks or so I have been covering for people who have been on holiday. Some weeks it has been 4 people and some weeks it has been 5 people. So although I have not had many meetings, I have had a ton of emergencies pop up here and there. I can’t ,ake pretend that I will be sad to see most of the people I was covering for come back to work tomorrow. And I see a bunch of long weekends in my future as a form of recovery.

Anyway, it’s been one of those weekends where nothing went according to plan, but the weekend was basically good anyway. Being so exhausted from all of those little emergencies.

Friday was an intentional stay-in day. I tried my hand at one of the recipes from Mark Bittman’s ‘How to Cook Everything’ website and I have to say, the Mushroom and Chicken Paella (Paella de Setas y Pollo) came out fantastic. I ended up downloading the cookbook from iTunes. I have a general rule that you sample a recipe from a cookbook and it only takes one sample to know if it is good. So between dinner, some red wine, and a tv (mental note: too music CSI and Criminal Minds back-to-back is not good for my overactive imagination) and the night was a success in my book.

Saturday was good enough during the day. I went to a lighting and hardware store in order to do a little DIY in my apartment regarding electrical outlets. I am still alive and the apartment isn’t shorted out so I think I did something right. Also got in a awesome workout in the afternoon. I now remember the importance of some free choice in my workout routine. I love the classes I take, but I need to add in some alternative exercise days or else I will not make my 2011 target. The even was spent making another cookbook recipe that came out fantastic – stir-fried beef in ginger with veggies and rice. Liking this cookbook. Then it got disappointing. Got a call and a sms from 2 friends asking me what I was doing tonight and if I wanted to go out. So I said yes and to give me a call in 30 minutes so I could get ready. Well no sooner than I get out of the shower then I get 2 sms messgaes with each one of them saying that they wee tired and that they were going to stay home (note: these 2 people aren’t together nor do they live together). Fair enough I thought…off to the club anyway as there is always someone I know. Fast forward to 45 minutes later when I notice on facebook that one of them cheched-in at the other one’s apartment. More than a bit annoyed, I shared my views. It ruined my mood to go out, but I decided when I went to bed that hey, at least I know where I stand with them. Another positive – my facebook friend list is now right-sized by 2 people.

Sunday…feeling good. Started the way I start every occasional sober sunday…chillout music streaming in the apartment, a download of the morning papers and websites to keep informed (this debt ceiling thing is a manufactured mess), read and answer some e-mail, write a letter to a friend in a difficult place to try and help out, and of course, fresh-baked scones a la cookbook, homemade strawberry jam, and some typical scandinavian breakfast items. The morning feels good. The afternoon though is all about the gym and The last Harry Potter movie (quite good…a good use of 3D for the right reasons too). Dinner was chicken Adobo from the cookbook (of course) which I was not overly pleased with because I added too much japanese rice vinegar to the sauce. A glass of red wine and relaxing at home. Some cleaning as well.

So really overall it was a good weekend. A restful weekend. Which I think that I will come to appreciate because this upcoming week is Stockholm Pride week. The week when the love that dares not speak won’t shut the hell up. I am rather fired up for Pride. Certain days anyway. I’ll try and blog and stream it if I remember.

So anyway, I hope everyone had a good weekend ans sweet dreams when get that far. I am actually going to go for 6 hours of sleep (a doubling of my normal time) and see if these new resting and sleeping techniques I learned can trick my body into being tired.

Godnätt 🙂

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPad.

Until We Meet Again, Ben Walker

So I just learned that one of the administrators in my high school, Ben Walker, passed away today.

Maybe I last saw him 15-17 years ago, but this is still a very sad event for me. This is perhaps because I believe that high school for me was such an important experience and it played a big role in forming the person I am today. There are 4 teachers/administrators in high school I owe a lot to for never giving up on me even as I grew restless (and maybe occasionally rebellious) in high school:

  • Dr. Coulter – who gave coaching and guidance to a tenth grader who was often tempted to settle for the ordinary
  • Mr Gordon – my English teacher and a great listener
  • Mr. Seto – who helped fan the internationalist flame in me through a little after-school programme called Model United Nations which literally would change my live in ways which would require a separate blog entry; and
  • Mr Walker – the international studies coordinator who sparked the flame of me getting a world view by helping me spend a summer with a host family in France when I was 17.

I have great memories of Mr Walker giving me lots of advice and guidance when I wasn’t sure about something. In high school I actually held 2 jobs my Junior and Senior year – an after school internship during the days and working at a movie theatre on some nights because I felt working was a more productive use of my time after I would finish my school work. I specifically remember when I was working too much and I would come to school tired. He reminded me that that stage in my life was about studying, not working. And that helped me to decide to take up Model UN. He was instrumental in me getting to France for the summer as part of an exchange programme. The programme was very expensive and he managed to help secure money to pay for a significant part of my trip because he believed in opportunity for all. And when I returned from Paris, he had the wisdom to see that my mind had opened up to the world around me and instead of considering his job done from the perspective of his job role, got me to talk to Mr Seto and then get involved with Model UN which got me to Bentley University which led to IBM which led to Sweden. I can chart my life’s journey by the people who guided me.

In today’s public school environment, there are too few teachers and administrators like Mr Walker and the ones I experienced at Snowden. People like Mr Walker chose to see the best in us, the potential in us, and help us to believe in ourselves as much as they believe in us. I write out a sense of sadness but also of heart-felt appreciation. I consider myself fortunate and blessed to have known him. And his passing is a reminder that the best way to honor his memory is to look for the best people and help them to believe in themselves and that enabling them to do something successfully is an important measure of your success as a person.

Alors, Monsieur Walker, je ne vais pas dire au revoir. Je vais dire "until we meet again."

With the kindest and warmest of regards //Rodney

I Feel Good :-D

So now I am on my way back to Stockholm after a wonderful weekend with Candice and Johan! They are so amaing it is hard not to end the weekend on a real high note. Lots of relaxing, eating, talking and laughing, and some work around the house. I couldn’t have asked for a better weekend! It really helped me to re-balance myself on what is important. I dare say i think that I found my Walden Pond 🙂

I feel in some way that I head back into uncertainty as the train speeds towards Stockholm. There are conversations that are waiting to be had and decisions made off of those conversations that are waiting to be made. But the uncertainty is not nervousness…it’s a welcome anticipation to sort things I should have sorted long ago.

But I feel great 🙂 just wanted to share that with you all 🙂

Enjoy the remainder of your weekends 🙂

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPad.

Weekend Getaway – A Reboot

So the theme this week is about having a reboot – in many different ways. A reboot is needed when:

– A big error has occurred and it cannot be recovered (e.g. Computer crash)
– You’ve made an improvement to something basic and you start something again to see the benefit of it (e.g. Diet and exercise)
– You aren’t completely happy with the result, so you want to try the same concept again to see if it yields something different (e.g. Movie franchise series)

It just so happens that I have experienced all 3 this week 🙂

So with my computer problems fixed, and getting back on my diet and exercise routine, I now am working on the third part. In part thanks to the wonderful public and private messages I have received from my “Brain Drain” post. I am reminded of how many wonderful and insightful friends I have around me who messaged, skyped, and called me to ensure I was okay. I don’t spent enough time with you all. I turn down too many invitations. I have defined fun in terms of the name of the restaurant or club instead of the people around me. I recognise that I am part of my own “problem.” I need to once again become a disruptive force in my own life. It was that way of thinking that made me decided to live in France for a summer when I was younger; that caused me to pull up roots and move to Sweden; to make it a goal to stroll confidentlly where angels fear to tread; and to where necessary, be willing to make radical changes to my social networks to enjoy and appreciate a diversity of people. Even time I have taken this path to shake things up from the status quo, I have been happy with the result. I need to remember that life is ultimately a people-centered experience.

So my reboot – besides a relaxing weekend at Boda Kvarn with Candice, Johan, champagne, and good company – is also to re-examine these things. So give me some time. I hope you’ll see that the change and the reboot – yield something positive.

I feel humbled that even though I am 25 years old with over a decade of experience – I am still learning and have the capacity to do so.

Whatever you decide to do this weekend, have fun!

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPad.

Brain Drain

So it’s been quite a long time since I last posted anything to LiveJournal. There are a few of you out there who still won’t jump on the Facebook/Twitter/Google+ bandwagon and I can understand that.

Anyway, the last 4 weeks have given me really a lot to think about. I don’t think that there have been any earth-shattering "ah ha" moments, but more like a realisation that things are not always like I think they are…and it took a few events in sequence in order to see that really clearly. Little things that people have spontaneously done to cheer me up (Kim calling me for my birthday and singing "I’ll stand by you is something I am still riding high on almost a month later). Medium things where I feel a bit let down. No big things though.

So, it comes down to this…i’ve spent a lot of time recently feeling like an after-thought. Kind of like "oh there is Rodney" or that I am part of some guilt-free checklist.  And perhaps it is more jarring because I had so many fantastic things happen in June. It’s never my style to give specifics in a public forum, but in the many ways I measure happiness my with life, I am starting to realise it centres around too few elements. Whether those element are places, things, or people.

So I am slowly centering to the fact that I think I need to make some changes about my life around me. Big Changes. I have to re-balance this unbalanced feeling I have, even if it means some short-term uncomfortableness or long-term loss. I have had lots of small successes over the last 12 months — things to be really happy and excited about. But they aren’t changing the fundamentals. So I need to assert myself more, be less inhibited to communicate what I want and need, and find the happy balance.

It’s not a melancholy feeling I feel. Rather, it’s one of clarity. I clarity I have not felt since my aunt passed away. Maybe this is my way of telling myself I am ready to move forward again.