Progress report

I’ve made some progress on Assignment 2 of the Umea application (see previous post).


Really haphazardly taken photo – I promise the drawing is not at this weird angle

My goal this work week is to finish this drawing and start on my visual representation. Eek!


Setting (at least some) parameters

So. Now that I’m ready to explore what I like to do, have quieted my brain, where do I begin?

[Cue tumbleweed and crickets chirping]

[Still chirping]

[Tumbleweed rolls off into the distance. Only the sad sound of sand blowing around remains]


This is going well.

OK, perhaps I shall start with a list of things I find exciting to learn how to do or to actually do. Not actual projects (yet!) but things that resonate with me.

I love lists, obviously, so here goes:

  • Adobe Illustrator – learn how to use it and the possibilities
  • Adobe Photoshop – same as above
  • Adobe InDesign – learn how to make better presentations, maybe print something of my own?
  • Working with my hands: drawing, painting, sculpting, woodworking
  • Design processes: industrial design – design thinking
  • Screenwriting/playwriting: My ex taught me a screenwriting program and it was really fun to do for an evening. No idea what I would write or how I would use it but maybe to write something short?
  • Interaction/Coding/Design/Art (from lack of a better word): Ann, you inspired this one from the following links – it feels like possibilities are endless and it’s just blowing my mind!
  • Photography – learn how to use the camera my colleague gave me to take reasonably good photos that I can later on play around with or use in some art project?
  • Write:
    • Get 1 (or more) article(s) published online
    • A collection of 5 loosely connected short stories about a women’s beauty salon in Turkey
    • Polish off Ruby short story, make sure it is submittable level.


OK so that’s a very all over the place list.

Which obviously I made into a table.

And then added a “How” column to the side. Because I’m me. I can’t help it I’m a serial blog-starter and list-maker and quitter.

What Why How Where When Cost Time
Adobe Illustrator Fun, Career Online tutorial YouTube 20 hours
Adobe Photoshop Fun, Career Online tutorial YouTube 20 hours
Adobe InDesign Fun, Career Online tutorial YouTube 20 hours
Art (drawing, painting, sculpting, more) Fun Art class Spring 2018 Folkuniversitetet Feb – May 2018 22000 2 hours a day, 3 months
Screenwriting Fun DIY Home
Interaction/Coding/Design/Art Fun, Mindblowing Home
Writing Life’s meaning DIY Home 3 hours a day
Photography Fun Online tutorial Home
Design Thinking Process Career School School

I think we also have to add in *Swedish here as well. Mostly for career purposes, but also for fun (mainly because now I get to understand funny, feminist TV shows, Instagram accounts and um, my friends).

But to wrap things up with this post, the first thing on my actual real life to-do list right now is my application for the Umeå Industrial Design Intensive program which has the following requirements:

Screen Shot 2017-12-09 at 11.48.26 AM.png

The goal of today is to finish the still-life sketch (Assignment 2) and to learn a little bit about Illustrator (Assignment 1) to see if I can’t make a visual representation of myself using digital techniques.

I’ve also thought/sketched a bit about Assignment 3 and started on Assignment 4.

So overall, work in progress!

I’m now off to learn a little bit of Illustrator until lunch-time and then setting up the still-life sketch for the afternoon!

Will keep you posted on my progress. Goodbye quitting, hello accountability (err…)


A seemingly simple statement

After my last post announcing my not-so-grand return to our blog, I wanted to spend this post providing a contextual background as to where I’m at now with my thoughts and feelings about this upcoming change.

The short narrative that I provide to acquaintances and colleagues about me quitting my stable job is as follows: “I want to do something more creative and leverage my experience in healthcare by becoming a service designer. I need to go back to school for this and for the applications, I need time to create a portfolio.”

Which I suppose is accurate insofar as that it’s ONE of storylines and the most realistic-sounding one. The truth, as always, is a little more complicated.

In one of our deep-dive unwieldy conversations on Skype with Ann a few weeks ago, I think I came up with the core of what it is I am doing which may not sound as career-oriented or clever or LinkedIn-ready or perfect narrative-wise, but is the simple truth.

I’m exploring what I like to do.

Breathe in. I’m exploring what I like to do. Breathe out. I’m exploring what I like to do. On repeat. Honestly, I have to repeat this to myself every single time my brain shifts into high gear grasping for a familiar story of a person who has direction, ambition, goals, focus.

Here is an excerpt from my email to Ann a few days ago as an example:

“I saw this bootcamp that they are having here… it’s a little expensive (55000 SEK = 6500 USD) but I was wondering if it might be worth it? Attached is the syllabus. The problem is that it overlaps with my art/Swedish class but … also maybe a good investment of my time to learn something useful down the line for UX jobs? It’s also a cool company that was founded by women who also founded a company called “Tjejer kodar (women coding)”

Or is this me doing A Quitting Zany and flip flopping and signing up for something without even exploring it? I am just always so bedazzled by the idea of a Bootcamp and getting “stuck” into something, so maybe best to take a step back. And, I think they have multiple ones of these in a year (they are 12 weeks) so it’s not like if I don’t register now I’ll miss out. But in any case, just wanted to see your take on the syllabus and if it’s worth time/energy to even apply?”

Ann’s very wise response:

I’m going to vote a hard No for the bootcamp.  You’re really going to want to focus on art.  It’s going to take up so much of your time and I think you’ll regret trying to do both.  Coding is incredibly time consuming when you’re starting out and without a project in mind that excites you, I think you’ll be really unhappy.  Just thinking “this might be useful for a job perhaps later down the road” is no different than thinking, “I should become an uber driver”
Stoooooppp thinking about skills that’ll make you employable and just focus on doing the things you like.  Think of projects.  If those projects are all web related than take a week to just do an intro coding course on treehouse or codeacademy or whatever that’s free.  If you really enjoy it, then maybe do the bootcamp. 

I have to remind myself of this conversation every time that I freak out and want to sign up for an expensive coding bootcamp, see above (thank you for the hard no on this one Ann) or have meltdowns about getting another job in Sweden (with my intermediate level Swedish) or envision myself depressed, lonely in my apartment watching Netflix and snacking myself into oblivion.

I am exploring what I like to do
This is my starting point. And that’s OK. No matter if I haven’t figured out the end destination, or what I even want to go towards or that I have no focal point right now. It’s OK.

I am exploring what I like to do 
For possibly the first time in my life, I’m going to let myself float around, enjoy the process of splashing in place rather than spending time, money, energy exhausting myself haphazardly trying to swim to a destination I’m not even sure I truly want.

So yes. Bring on the floating in place.



The caption of this on Google Images was “sad girl floating in place” which is a little depressing. I’m going to reclaim it as “wise girl floating in place”







Or at least, I am. (Hi Ann!)


IT HAS BEEN SO LONG SINCE I LAST POSTED. Thank you for taking me back into your loving and welcoming arms.

So, a few key updates since May 4th 2017.

  • I finished my (shitty) short story and then shelved it as I was too horribly embarrassed about it and didn’t want to face my failure or edit it. So it’s sitting gathering internet dust on my Google Drive, hopefully to be unearthed and turned from a shitty mound of coal into a sparkling diamond.
  • May 21: I met a boy and got sidetracked. Summer came to Sweden; all I wanted to do was hang out with said boy and be outside and ride bikes and go for picnics and look at leaves dappling in the sunlight. Decided I wouldn’t do anything future oriented until I got permanent residency and let self off the hook.
  • June 16: Took a 3 day portrait drawing class which was fun! Here is the portrait below. I think I spent 12 hours shading – it was a solid challenge to my nonexistent patience levels.


  • August 10: I GOT MY PERMANENT RESIDENCY IN SWEDEN which meant that I could quit my job.
  • September 16: I broke my foot while celebrating said permanent residency. Life became consumed with daily mobility struggles. It was only two weeks ago the doctor said I no longer needed to wear my walking boot.
  • October 6: I quit my job (!) I have a 3 month notice period which I’m finishing up over the next two weeks.
  • December 7 (today): Officially started freaking out about quitting my job and HENCE I AM BACK AT THE BLOG.

I don’t know about you, but for someone whose commitment to her personal projects when things are unwieldy and uncertain is about as strong as a single strand of spider web on a stormy day, I think I need to start getting some of this accountability back, especially since my last day at work will be December 21, which is coming up soon. Ann and I have spent a lot of time Skyping and emailing, but I think I would also like to share my process out with the world in case it helps anyone else that has stumbled on to our blog!