Apparently I posted nothing the whole seemingly-dead month. Sorry, my dear readers. It was a great winter month this year, cold and snowy, at times sunny and socially awkward. Here, enjoy some seemingly dead flowers and a not-so-seemingly-dad toddlers that I came across.
My daughter feeds me, combs my hair, smiles at me and plays by my side. Cuddles, squeaks, babbles, smacks her lips. And I realise with every day to come that one day, one day quite soon, this precious time the two of use have will end. We will get (back to) our commitments, interests and ways of getting through the day. We will be mum&daughter forever, but it will change.
I’m writing this as a reminder to myself that although some days are less bearable than others, that it is not in one’s power to be the perfect entertaining-attending-active mother at all times, that this baby time is so valuable. I *need* more time for myself, I need more company, I need tricks to get my baby to fall asleep faster and to eat better. I need and want to develop myself in other ways than, uhm, being caring, patient and multitasking.
But I will miss being a mum of tiny Lela.
No matter how important Christmas is for me I actually enjoy those days following the Christmas Eve (aka the Big Day where I’m from) much better than the actual December 24th. The pressure has dropped, I’m not sick with anticipation or the sense of obligation, the stress level has gone back to normal (whatever that might mean), there is no need to pose in the pictures. Yet I’m still surrounded by the loved ones, enjoy heaps of leftover delicious food without the stiffness of the dinner board and – can play with the present in front of TV.
And, then there are the ‘tween days after Christmas yet before the New Year, you know, those 28s and 29s, when many grown ups went to work and your babyless self finally made it outside as well. Some of us went shopping while those like me more likely travelled or skied or at least did something cultural.
Then the somehow awkward celebration of the new year followed – and then the emptiness stroke – is this it? The new start and the end of the Holidays?
I do not dare to open social media these days (well I do that so that I can find out about what is going on around us), because last year was the best year ever and THE year of transformation to pretty much anyone and everyone, as illustrated by holiday feet shots and sunsets and happy families.
I’m not writing this because I would think 2018 was a dull one, in fact, it was pretty eventful for my part – kicked-off start in Costa Brava, signed a new job contract, got overwhelmed by all sorts of pain, made great progress with a personal coach, bought a flat, then, ehm, my dearest daughter was born, moved to the new place and topped it off with a really nice and calm white Christmas.
I just wanted to say that this year was good, my baby and I are well too. I’m more and more happy with who I am, but honestly, there were so many dull, hopeless, painful, sad and confused moments so that I just don’t have the heart to fool the internet and pick the cherries.
In fact, I’m thankful for those difficult moments, days, mundane tasks and failed attempts. Makes me feel special – like I’m the one who is actually living, and not just augmenting and filtering life for the purpose of, uhm, impressing people I know (or not).
So my topic for 2019 is honesty and keeping it real.
It’s like this, I love taking pictures and sharing the happiness with the almost nameless crowd, but I’d like and will be posting about me dealing with the obstacles, with the routine of the everyday, about simple pleasures such as being able to wash the hair without being distracted by crying babies, filing nails on the toilet, post-midnight chocolate eating and hiding the phone/screen when the little one is around. If no-one enjoys that, well, at least I will.
I really wanted to post some artsy pictures that would sum this up, but this year baby pictures heavily dominate the photo stash. Heavily. Looking for beauty in the mundane, questioning societal choices and scrutinising the individual’s relationship to their habitat have way to anything depicting various parts of The Baby and glowing smiles of her parents. Well. Have some snow before it melts. Have a good one.
That kind that you meet after *add any period of time* and just carry on as if nothing happened in the meanwhile. That kind you unfortunately cannot spend time with as often as you want – because they may be thousands of miles away. Those friends who made you discover and accept that the connection you once made is way too precious to throw away.
We know that they are somewhere and that they care about you. We watch each other grow and develop (thanks, internet), and we debrief and catch-up now and again in person.
And then, one day, you meet them (yes, two of them) only in order to see them marry each other.
I was no there to take pictures of the wedding, there were more qualified people to do so, and I’m sure the outcome will be awesome. I feel so honoured to have been there, to share and witness, to see happiness and love and to be happy on someone else’s behalf. It was even so more special as the wedding took place in their hometown(s). I cannot share the atmosphere of the wedding with you, it is way too personal, but I can share the atmosphere of the nearby towns (Tarragona) …
and village (Cabra del Camp).
Please accept apologies from my side for being emotional beyond description in this post. We had a great, great time and the weather was just, well, pure summer, the food delicious and the time spent with friends priceless.
What does a non-diving diver’s wife do while her better half is testing some new gear in a place like this?
(I actually love – or hate love – how disturbing the above picture is! I hate the composition, it stresses me every time I look at it. It feels as… as if the forest would not fit in the picture, as if it was pressing down on the lake. Interesting how bad composition can affect (some)one’s emotions.)
She walks. It was a race and I won, I managed to hike around the Iso-Melkutin lake. It was nothing extraordinary, the scenery was pretty much like this all the time:
And it was super peaceful of course, after all it’s Finland and Sunday late afternoon. I was at least hoping to spot a lynx, but was out of luck this time.
There must have been a wind storm in the area not a long time ago, there were plenties of logs and branches in the water (and along the path). More than usual. In combination with the lake’s clear water it was a nice scenery.
And some sun-kissed reeds from the walk – needless to say I proper wet my shoes while taking picture of these fluffy ones.
And these nameless ones.
And the picture of the day for the most faithful of my readers: sun, water, wet shoes and the good old nameless flower.
Don’t get me wrong, it does get a bit boring at times when you are with the divers but you “actually… don’t dive”, and the thought You never know in advance how long they’re going to take, there are no amenities around, in case of bad weather there is nowhere to hide and it gets a bit boring, and you feel like a short-order cook when you start lighting up the fire and grill the sausages. But actually at that point it is mostly for you, ’cause you are starving and tired of waiting.
After that your better half smells of mud and rubber and… you are glad that he is fine.
I’m typing this on the phone and it is definitely not that easy. Shall I give in and get a tablet with a keyboard or something.? Plus I have no access to my camera pic as of now, so yeah, this might be a bit dull.
First, a bit of boasting: my no-more-sweatshop challenge is going well! I have been so tempted a few times but I’m still good and fair;)
Second, TelltsleFacebook reminded me that today is my 11 year anniversary of FB presence. What?! 11 years?! With a tear jnder my eye I remember tjose times ehen FB was fun, apolitical, for university students only, I had no need to censor my posts, it was just a play. And today, FB is the vox populi and your profile is your constructed self as you want the society to see you… and everyone is on it. Everyone. Not a fun place anymore, actually I do feel anxious every time I open it, anticipating more ignorance, boasting and suggested posts… no.
I’m in Pampas, aka Österbotten, for the moment. Doing my fieldwork and exploring new places. Burglars: don’t worry, my man is at home, taking care of our property. So! To begin with, there are plenty oc mink/fox/fur farms around. It’s not a pretty sight really, in fact it’s pretty terrible, and as a consequence driving along the coastal roads smells 😀 Yesterday I made it to the Söderfjärden crater. No bull, a real crater. It was too cool to describe in words:
Needless to say after having driven 200km per day at least I’m knackered. And glad that the Valentines is called “the friends’ day” in here. Somehow it makes d everyone feel loved, nevermind the relationship status…
We had exactly 3 days of winter last week. Winter meaning minus degrees, snow and sun; after that it quickly turned back to good old liminal grey nonsense.
On one of these days I took a feel-good walk to the cemetery and paid tribute to the frozen cherubs.
On another day I had some business in Malmi. I wish there was something more exciting to take pictures of. Maybe some other time?
However, during the weekend we were meeting some friends on Suomenlinna. And that’s why this post will probably take you like 2 hours to load – I cannot resist taking AND uploading all the pictures. According to hardcore Suomenlinna locals such days are scarce and should be enjoyed fully. So we did that.
I don’t think these photographs need any comments: we took the ferry to the island and walked around and drank coffee and bubbly. The light was soft and warm and everything was so fluffy from frost.
I’m particularly fond of the following picture. Eeeeeeeeghh!!
Everything was fluffy and beautiful. Bikes, trees, trash along the paths, fences, rails. Everything.
The best thing is that apart from minor exposure etc. corrections no photohandling was needed.
Some views across the half-frozen sea…
Those pastel colours!!
Obviously we tried to avoid the crowds.
A little peninsula.
Isn’t that wonderful? It was. A few days later the temperatures climbed above zero and all the beauty was gone. So I resorted to books, emails, articles and sketchbook.
Have a lovely weekend everyone!
I’ve been postponing writing this post for so long it has become proper awkward – but awkward to whom? To my few loyal readers, or am I just using this as a self-loath tool, to prove what I have not done? Either way, the post is being written now and another item on my to-do list is being checked. Ha!
Last week we got our new supercomfortable futon mattras and a reasonably good-looking bed, got rid of a few bagfulls of stuff that does not bring us happiness no more and while giving the flat a fresh start into 2017 I thought I would be original and come up with some resolutions for the coming 12 months, with a little audit around my birthday (which is conveniently in mid June).
So what kind of year do I wish for myself?
- an active and efficient one, FFS. I’ll use my potential. I know what I mean, but telling the world makes it a bit more binding. Applies to both work and fun.
- I’ll take a picture a day and publish it either here or on on Instagram.
- every day I’ll sketch or be otherwise artistically productive.
- I will take better care of myself. The body is asking for some particular care so it will get it. Includes some weight or proportion alterations.
- I won’t buy a single item of clothing from a mainstream brand. Why? Because ethics, ecology and refusing to support fast-fashion. Because I’m sick of poor quality of clothes hidden behind (designer) labels.
- I’m allowed to cheat a little bit on the previous and buy things such as undies, socks, ball gown should I be invited to the Independence Day Ball and – if I made it to London this year – a piece or two from COS or Jigsaw I know I will wear a lot.
- I will save toward travelling and house.
- do something I have not done before every week.
- be a better person for myself and others.
- Get that photo project going, dang it.
- Survive the pipe replacement in the house.
- And learn basics of a new language – and a foreign alphabet.
So, as a part of my something-new-every-week, today I gave a good beating to the flokati wool rug I’m in a love-hate relationship with. I can still taste the dust and gunk but the relationship has shifted toward the love axe.
And for the visuals amongst you, I have some memories of Prague. Was it indeed a great day ❤ so great that I don’t mind that about a million tourists and locals will have exactly the same pictures. Kitch is good in smaller doses. Who knows where the compressions went wrong and made the pictures into bitmaps…
I’m particularly fond of the following photo, taken after the sun had disappeared behind the Petrin Hill:
Nice. Noise. I know. Not completely my fault.
I returned to 894,781 shades of grey in Finland – and to -20°C! I don’t understand why people dislike lower temperatures, I mean -15°C is so much more bearable than -2°C. Or +1°C and a foot of slush and wet snow sliding from the roofs behind your collars.
And two random thoughts for the end:
- woolen socks I got from grandma rock. Roses and wool and lanolin cure and the smell of beeswax.
- do you know what is the best christening present? A Google account in the baby’s name, or close to it at least. Soon Google will run out of domaines, so be creative when naming your baby.
And keep well.
… or how was it? I never noticed this tree in Kamppi, a place which I pass many times every week. Looks quite nice in contrast to the sunshine (for real)-illuminated sky. I mean, the tree is located at one of the busiest spots in Helsinki, thousands of people and hundreds of buses pass by every day, and it just stands there peacefully and bears whatever we pass onto it.
… just like the people closest to us, right?
As you can see, the snow is gone, long live the snowy frosty weather. Together with the snow, my better half departed for an adventure and he took some of my worries with him. There is much to do still, apply for grants, meet VIPs, ingratiate myself with gatekeepers, visit more Swedish speaking areas, take pictures of whatever I have made lately…
… sorry but due to certain circumstances, or certain people using this blog as their stalking platform, I cannot share more at this point. But I shall, I’ve used this platform for 10 years and no lack of respect shall change this 😉
^ our beloved apartment building. For another several months at least. The picture is taken yesterday, note the winter sky contrasting those miniature apples (I always wondered whether they are edible…).
An hour and about 1000 steps later:
This is the official Christmas street of Finland, and an unofficial and accidental tram no. 4 – and the legendary Stockmann department store clock. I mean yeah, it is Christmasy, yet nothing I’d blog about… oh oops!
Another part of the Christmas street is the shop window scene at Stockmann. I have no idea what was in the window this year, all I could see was… blue and black silhouettes.
Oh and may your Advent Sunday be blessed! Cannot wait to be with the loved ones, nothing can beat a family get-together, watch the little and elder ones alike… And for those curious about our humble season decorations, do not despair, they will be documented once there is daylight.
Cheers to good life!
(not with this glass though, found downtown, abandoned yet still shining)
If you’ve been wondering what has kept me away from the blog /I’m sure you were worried sick/ it was a mild yet annoying enough case of bronchitis. Or to be more precise, head pounding from sinus headaches. Things seem to be somehow better now, so I took a chance and stepped out of my den yesterday.
And my roads led to… the supermarket. I took the sightseeing tour though and got to enjoy the snow for the first time since it arrived. Oh and it was wonderful. Together with my (almost complete) recovery other things happened in my semi-personal life which enhanced my general well-being, the walk in the sun somewhere in Oittaa put me back on the right track and helped bat all the worries and ugly away. Life is fine again.
First, I found myself at the end of the world.
Turned myself around and saw the silent faces under the snow blanket…
And now, check out the snow: how does it even stay on those almost vertical branches? What a marvelous result of the wind force combined with the gravity and the way snowflakes hit the branches!
At the risk of being Captain Obvious, snow equals winter for me. And melting snow and icicles equals spring. This, however, is not the case any more in central Europe or the UK, so hey yet another reason to be glad about living up North! To be honest with you, they promised rain and above-zero temperatures again next week, so soon we will say goodbye to this shiny sign of Yuletid, illuminating the otherwise rather dark land- and cityscapes. The snow, too, shall pass. And come again when it really is the time.
What else – I’m currently working on a several art projects which are kind of secret (Christmas, baby) and pretty messy, but hopefully worth it. They include (in no particular order) metal, lino, a pack of styluses, paint and woolen thread.
And hoping I get my other camera working for a good cause – hope someone will get to use it soon and will share the results with us. *drinking a glöggi toast to that as I “speak”*