stuffed mice

steve jobs living room

stuffedmice blog living room

A short conversation with a mobile phone company salesman.
Where is his accent from? It’s not India. He laughs a lot and speaks so fast that even I, a rapid talker, feel confused.
We can give you more more more more minutes more texts more data just confirm your current spend for me just confirm.
But why? I’m in the middle of designing some shit here, deadline upon me, what is he talking about?
You wouldn’t be happy to miss out if all your friends had the same tariff and more more more you wouldn’t be happy would you you wouldn’t be happy to miss out right?
Am I right? Am I right? Am I right? Dogs bark. But the caravan goes on.
And I wonder – wouldn’t I? There are piles of things I’m more than happy to be missing out on. But yes, he definitely succeeds in distracting me and gets me thinking. What wouldn’t I truly like to miss out on? And what I don’t care about much?

As a list devotee, there was no doubt that sooner or later I’d write things down and group them. Here they come:

THINGS I CAN HAPPILY MISS OUT ON:

  • news – this is nothing radical. I haven’t been following any news for years. Have no facebook profile and no access to other pages (LeechBlock, I salute you!), update my own page when I remember, via HootSuite. Ignorance can mean happiness.
  • shopping and offers – if I could skip all shopping, for good, wipe it out or something… I know this is being irrational. Online shopping is OK but I don’t want to think about the number of times I had to return clothes or furniture (one box ready to send back is currently in my still furniture-less living room). Choosing things can be fun but actually purchasing them can lead to time-wasting nightmares.
  • all things latest – latest trends, latest apps, latest movies, latest books and latest gossip. Do I even need to comment?
  • parties - yes, I’m one of those people who’d always feel loneliest at parties. Crossed out from my life years back. Who knows, maybe I haven’t been invited to the right ones;)
  • things to do before you die – recommendations like that make me cringe. Flush lifestyle and doing so-called exciting things? Neeext!
  • drama – missing out on drama saves me time and energy. Both creating and participating in any kind of drama. I prefer being boring.
  • power and status anxiety – boy, is this list getting serious! I’m reading Status Anxiety by Alain de Botton at the moment and it shows!
  • being a parent – this is a grey zone for me. It has been for a long time, really. If I anchor this list in now, this year, this day, this moment – I must admit that yes, I’m happy to give it a pass.
  • getting married – I still don’t believe in marriage. Not romantic enough, not religious enough, let’s agree on ‘not enough’.

THINGS I WOULDN’T LIKE TO MISS OUT ON:

  • Attention and kindness – to me, these two are connected – one stems from the other – and so I wouldn’t want to miss out on either. If there is The Ultimate Skill to master, mine would be kindness. Disclaimer: please don’t confuse with lack of swearing, they can co-exist!
  • relationships with people close to me – I’m not an activist and my time as a social worker has passed. What I do want to be active about is being present in the lives of people I care about. Sometimes it isn’t easy, often relationships change so much over the years… and I guess what I’m aiming for is injecting tenderness in all the difficult ones. Funny thing with tenderness – it’s perceived negatively, like a sentiment reserved for the elderly – don’t you think?
  • creating and learning - in whatever form. Cooking, playing the piano, designing, stitching a notebook, taking photos – whatever. Without these, sooner than later I feel like a dead woman walking.
  • connecting to something greater than life - I always, always feel thrilled when musicians or artists talk about this. Call it flow, call it one’s muse, doing something beyond the ordinary, beyond oneself, one’s life with its potential and limitations – that must be awesome.

Who would think – a short phone call from some fast-talking guy and I took a closer look at my life. Hours of moaning to my friends (thanks for listening guys!) and I finally made a decision to take on less client-work. It’s been on my mind for months and, as any other freelancer, I’ve been choosing overworking rather than risking saying NO to projects I’m not too keen about (and – duh! – making space for other, more interesting ones).
From May, I’ll be working on my personal projects once a week. This probably means less money for shopping. And definitely more time for things I wouldn’t like to miss out on. Win-win. Am I right? Am I right? Am I right?

[photos: Steve Jobs before his furniture delivery, our living room before similar event]

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Defining trends in fashion and online bingo

When we think of Italy, we immediately think about images of pasta, pizza, fine wine and opera music. It is also the birthplace of the game that inspired modern bingo. Despite having originated in the US, bingo’s history goes way back to 1530, to Lo Giuco del Lotto D’Italia, an Italian form of lottery that is still played every Saturday in the country.

Aside from bingo, another thing that can be attributed to Italian history is the color purple. It has been a popular color since the ancient times. Ancient Romans reportedly used this hue as indication of their social status. The most excellent dyes were used by Rome’s wealthiest citizens.

This year, Pantone, the world-renowned authority on color has announced Radiant Orchid as Color of the Year 2014. At the end of each year, Pantone chooses a color to signify what they believe will become a major trend across all design platforms.
Radiant orchid lies somewhere between the darker shades of purple to the pinker, brighter end of the purple spectrum, close to fuchsia. Mostly associated with designer gowns and wedding dresses, this color is considered to be very sophisticated and feminine.

In fact most bingo games use this color as web interface to attract female followers. Wild Bingo uses aesthetically smooth colors like purple on their website. The darker shade of purple harmonized with a vivid shade of pink worked exceptionally with FoxyBingo as it radiates a welcoming and friendlier atmosphere. Because of the radiant orchid color schemes on bingo websites, people are enticed to play longer and communicate with their fellow bingo players.

Radiant orchid is not solely reserved for stunning fashion or online bingo sites. It is also featured in interior design for its ability to flatter and inspire. Even graphic designers add this element to grab attention for their works. Whether using this color as an accent to other colors or the centerpiece of the design, it can really make a huge difference to the quality of the design.

This is a guest post that was meant to be published on 01 April.

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stuffedmice instagram

It looks like my social media crisis is over – at least as much as instagram is concerned. It’s so visual that I can’t resist it. And, what’s more important, it has something that, for me, no other social medium has: it encourages you to really contribute. Unlike facebook, pinterest and twitter – who can be just fine for consuming/viewing/reading what others have to say, simply looking at images on instagram never feels enough. Not a photographer? So what? It doesn’t matter what photos you take, you watch others and see what works and what doesn’t and try for yourself. And even if your photos look bad, who cares really, you’ve started learning the art of seeing. Not bad for social media.
The snaps above were shot in March. It looks like it was a blissfully boring month.
Are you on instagram?

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Stuffedmice The Good Stuff 5k

Gym: ran 5km for the first time in years.
Sun, open windows and homemade frappe – the iced coffee season inaugurated.
Finished reading Ruth Rendell’s The Sain Zita’s Society. Pleasure reading but nothing special.

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Kate-Bush-Before-The-Dawn

This is a shameless, bragging post – for all these who read and judge it immediately. Let it be.
This is a record of joy, although some say that the moment you record joy it stops being joy, it becomes pleasure. Let it be too.

I requested to work remotely today because, alerted by my friend (thank you Marcin!), the tickets to Kate Bush’s Before The Dawn tour were going on sale at 9:30am. Thankfully, my client is also a DJ so no explanation was necessary. I made coffee, switched on my computer and refreshed all three tabs with the pages of the ticket sellers. Catastrophes and more catastrophes followed. The ‘view tickets’ were changing to ‘sold out’ within seconds. Frustrated and tearful I was swearing and hopelessly choosing yet another date that wasn’t the one I had in mind (!) and another, and another. Until it happened. ‘Your booking is now complete’ – read the letters on my screen. I couldn’t believe it! A couple of hour later, when the level of adrenaline in my blood dropped considerably, I texted my friend Marta – she also listens to Kate on loop – and invited her to come along. And that was even more thrilling – as making surprises always is!

From the list of goals for this year: learn to play one of Kate Bush’s songs on the piano. As a kid whose parents sent her to piano lessons, I thought it a pretty achievable plan. Bought the music. Moved away from a place the size of a grand piano. I’m ready to look for a teacher. And a piano.

But seeing Kate Bush in concert? That was unrealistic. A dream beyond dreams. Something I could do nothing about. Well, maybe apart from staying sane, keeping calm and carrying on, for about ten minutes this morning.

Come September!

/photo credit: katebush.com

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