Never agree to marry a man because he has potential. Men are not houses, they do not make good fixer-uppers.
Houses, however… Well, take a look.
Never agree to marry a man because he has potential. Men are not houses, they do not make good fixer-uppers.
Houses, however… Well, take a look.
“We’d been apart so long–I’d been dead so long,” she said in English. “I thought surely you’d built a new life, with no room in it for me. I’d hoped that.”
“My life is nothing but room for you.” I said. “It could never be filled by anyone but you.”
‘Mother Night’, Kurt Vonnegut
“I’m back in the grey wet bleakness known as home. The contrast with Barcelona is remarkable – only a few days ago I was walking in a zoo in just my jeans and a T-shirt, whereas returning here meant below zero temperatures and snow blizzards (and a rather morose mood after learning the fact that my luggage decided to spend way longer in Amsterdam than I did… got it the next day though). However, all that pretty white snow has melted into a yucky mushy brown substance and the sidewalks are covered in melting ice for that extra slippery touch. The flu season is also in full swing, so I hope that the vaccine I got in the autumn will help protect me, I could really do without all those pains and fevers, thankyouverymuch.”
The above is a paragraph that has been sitting in the drafts folder for two months now. I can proudly say that I did not get the flu, so I guess the flu shot worked. It’s looking a bit more like spring at home as well by now but just barely.
Anyway, Barcelona was fun and a lot less awkward than I thought it would be. I guess it might have been different but due to missing my initial connecting flight (my first plane needed thorough de-icing which took a lot longer than expected) I was so tired and bent out of shape when I finally got there that I simply had no more fucks to give.
Long story short – me and the Handsome Gentleman are an item once again and it seems that the separation after the last time has had a positive effect. We’ve both had time to think about what we did wrong and communication between us seems to be a lot better than it was before. I hope the trend continues in the same way because it occasionally still hits me how we come from completely different worlds. Seeing as we grew up on the opposite ends of Europe, it’s no wonder.
I think we had the perfect mix of being lazy and cuddling on the (terribly uncomfortable!) bed at the AirBNB and doing touristy stuff such as visiting museums and eating in fancy restaurants. But we also had KFC if we felt like it and lots of Netflix and chill, so that there wasn’t too much of oh-gods-we-need-to-get-going-if-we-want-to-do-this-and-that. I also had snails for the first time ever, that was definitely an adventure 😀
However, due to Circumstances I have no idea when we can meet again. Possibly end of June when I have another vacation coming up (the next one is about to begin on Saturday but I’ll spend it on Japan, yay) and hopefully I’ll have enough money left from all the renovations that I can afford plane tickets to the Handsome Gentleman’s current country. We both agree that a long-distance relationship can only last when it becomes a no-distance relationship at some point but currently neither of us knows when that can happen and it makes me kind of sad… but c’est la vie, right?
“Well, I suppose there’s no place like home,” she said.
“No,” said Granny Weatherwax, still looking thoughtful.
“No. There’s a billion places like home. But only one of ’em’s where you live.”
“Witches Abroad”, Terry Pratchett
So. Once again I find myself in the position of a future homeowner, this time without a mortgage, thank fuck. In a couple of months I’m going to move in to my grandma’s apartment that has been empty for over a year but before I can do that, I need to empty it from most of her stuff that she diligently hoarded over the decades. And then I have to renovate it because right now it is full of classic Soviet decor and that’s pretty much ohgodno in my books, at least if I have to live in it.
Ideally I’d do the works before moving in but that would require either lots of money or lots of time and currently I can’t say I have magnificently overflowing resources of either. Once I actually live there, I don’t really have much choice other than just do it or walk around blindfolded all the time 😛
At least the windows have been changed only a few years ago and I won’t have to buy a bed immediately, since there are two couches which both pull out. I’ll leave the floors as they are (at least for now… which probably means ‘forever’ or ‘until I fall through’) but I need to find an electrician who would check (and change if necessary) the wiring. It might be completely okay for all I know but that conclusion is better left to the professionals, I guess. The kitchen is in the worst state – I can keep the stove but those cupboards there look as if they will fall apart if I so much as breathe heavily in their general direction. The toilet and bathroom need some fresh paint and the latter could probably use a bunch of nice tiles as well. And I guess the sink there should be raised higher – I’m much taller than my grandma was.
The above was just an intro to some “before renovation” photos and here’s to hoping that I will have the “after” pics in a not-so-far-off-future as well 😀 Believe it or not, Team Me+Mom has already thrown away about half of the stuff that filled the apartment but it sort of feels like cleaning out the stables of Augeas – there’s just SO. MUCH. STUFF. And I don’t want to simply throw everything away either because there’s things I will definitely need to use myself in the future. I also try to recycle as much of these “treasures” as possible because I really hate chucking out perfectly good items that might be of use to someone else. Anyway, picspam time!
[Photos behind the cut because long post is loooooooooooong.]
I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.
“The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul”, Douglas Adams
So, it’s been a year since I last published a blog post. I haven’t felt much like putting stuff down, so I’ll just try to make one very compact post about what this year has been like, although in all likelihood this blog has no readers left 😀
I met several awesome new people this year, some more intimately than others. Quite a few of them have left the country by now but I’m getting used to that. I’ve become very picky when it comes to getting to know someone new and it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Quality over quantity – amirite or amirite?
Some blasts from the past happened as well. There is someone I am trying really hard to steer clear of and hope like hell I will manage that next year as well. There is someone who has been trying hard to get another chance of being a part of my life – we’ll see how that goes, I’m being rather careful there. There is someone who I haven’t talked to in many years (mainly due to the first person mentioned in this paragraph) but we have now officially made peace with each other, so that is nice.
I lost a close friend this year, for good. In a way he is not completely gone, as he will always be a part of me but it’s still hard. Sometimes I catch myself thinking about something and that he’d love it… and then it hits me that he is not with us any more. I am grateful for having known him and I cherish the memories of laughing so hard together that we cried 🙂
2015 also marks the year when I finally went to see a psychiatrist and got antidepressants. I must say that they are working – I’m feeling a lot better, even though it means I need to keep away from booze. Drinking apple juice or cola at a bar just isn’t quite the same but I still do that occasionally. The main effect of the meds is that in situations where I’d have lost my shit earlier, I now just sigh and try to explain my point of view in a calm but firm manner. It’s like I’ve finally found a point of balance within me that has been lost for many many years.
Due to various reasons I have gained far more weight this year than I am comfortable with. I guess one of the tasks for next year is trying to tackle it but I’m not sure if I’ll go back to calorie counting. We shall see. At least my dance skills have improved – not as much as I would like but I’m definitely better than I was last year.
Work has been OK although I hope I will be able to change my position (but stay in the same department) next year. I feel like my best assets are not used in my current job and I would be more useful doing something else.
Oh, and I bought a brand new car in July! 🙂 It’s not very big but it’s red and cute and I am very fond of it. Come to think of it, 2015 was a year for new vehicles, as I also bought a new bicycle.
Speaking of vacations – I went to Ireland and Italy this year – loved the first trip and hated the latter because 7000 km trapped in a bus with a chipper tour guide who never shuts up is not exactly my cup of tea. It was the absolute worst vacation I have ever had! I still haven’t uploaded the photos of either trip but I should probably deal with that very soon because in January I’ll spend a week in Barcelona and in April I’m going to Tokyo and I know I’d be really sad if something happened to my hard drive and I lost all pics from Ireland AGAIN.
I’m not making any promises about getting back to blogging in 2016 but I’m secretly hoping that I might…
My body is my journal, and my tattoos are my story.
I’ve wanted this tattoo for two years now and yesterday was the happy (and painful) day that the dream came true. The design is a collaboration between me and the tattoo artist 🙂
I became fascinated by owls a long time ago, can’t even remember how this craze got started but by now I have many owl-shaped trinkets from three different continents. My friends bring me all kinds of owl things as souvenirs from their trips and if you want to give me a present, owl-shaped jewellery is always welcome. The mythology built around owls is vast and complex and their eyes give them a very human-like expression, since they’re placed flat in the front of their face, not on the sides. Owls are also the only birds who move just the upper lid when they blink, which makes them look even more like us. However, their eyes are fixed in their skulls and therefore unmovable, so if they want to look at something that isn’t in their immediate view, they need to move their head. So the ‘moshing’ that owls do? That’s just how they get a 3D picture of what’s going on 🙂
Long story short – owls are cool 😀
In addition to my ‘spirit bird’ topic I wanted to make a connection to Ireland and Celtic knots were just perfect for this. The sun cross on the owl’s forehead symbolises the symbiosis of old and new – it is an ancient pagan sun symbol that Christianity ‘borrowed’ and Ireland is definitely full to the brim of religious monuments of both kinds. My other tattoos are also sort of pattern-ish, way more abstract than the brand new piece but it blends in well nevertheless, I think. Anyway – the point is that I have some relatives in Ireland and when I visited them a few years ago, a piece of my soul was left behind in those lonely mountains and grazing sheep and windy ocean shores. I think I’ll probably go looking for it in April, if everything goes well 🙂
Oh, and the tree is Yggdrasil. I know I’m mixing mythologies here a little but they aren’t that different after all.
And yes, it hurt. The outlines were the easiest part – mostly I didn’t even feel the needle. When the tattoo artist went for the shading, I was forced to admit that pain was indeed involved. And when he told me that he’ll do the white highlights as well, I actually thought about walking out of there because damn, it hurt 😀 Not even the poking of the needle but the fact that he had to lean on skin that was already hurt twice. Totally worth it, though! The needlework took about 5 hours from start to finish but we had a few smoke breaks along the way.
Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.
Turns out this blog is now exactly a year old, w00t!
Although I had the best intentions at heart when I started it, I haven’t really managed to post regularly. Hell, I haven’t even managed to write at least one post every month. Partly because as the internet grew larger and larger, it became more and more difficult to write publicly on personal topics; partly because I’m simply not used to putting my thoughts down in written form any more.
I don’t know whether it’s because the universally dreaded three-o occasion is coming up in 6 months but I’ve been thinking about putting my life in order more than I used to. There are some habits I’d love to acquire and others I’d like to kick, it’s all just up to my own perseverance. They say it takes 6 weeks for something to become a habit so that it wouldn’t require constant self-discipline any more and really – a month and a half isn’t that much for conscious effort but… yeah, I’m a lazy fucker, I’ll be the first to admit it.
Anyway – even if it’s just for the sake of dreaming – I want to improve in the following areas:
Making an actual timetable for myself would probably work – blocking out a couple of hours here and there for this or that activity (except the cooking thing, that’s something I need to incorporate into my everyday life). However, timetables work for people who have a daily routine… the only certainty in mine is that I work from 9AM to 6PM – even my belly dance classes will begin at a different time every day this year. Ah well, we’ll see.
It’s been a long long time since I wrote any stories or poems or even blogged, by the looks of things. However, there’s this lovely goth boy who asked me to write him a bedtime story and I gladly obliged. So I’ll post it here as well because I quite liked the way it turned out, even though it was written in just a couple of hours and I had no idea how the events would unfold when I had put down the first sentence 🙂
* * *
Once upon a time there lived a little boy. He was quite ordinary in looks and if you saw him play with the other little boys and girls, you would have had trouble telling him apart from the other little savages on first glance. He was ten years old like most of the kids in the neighbourhood, roughly the same height as his playmates and even his freckles looked like everyone else’s. His name was Tommy and that was very common as well – one of his closest friends, Bartholomew, was called Tommy for short just like him (although our Tommy’s full name was Thomas Albert) and another awesome buddy was named just Tom because his parents strongly believed in all things simple.
One hot summer day Tommy was walking down the dusty streets of his small hometown, kicking little pebbles out of his way. He was sulking as his best friends had both been grounded the day before since they had thought it would be funny to play yet another joke on the old lady who was rumoured to be a witch among the kids. She was very, very old, her loose skin hung off her birdlike frail figure like yellowed parchment and she was always dressed in black. Her wispy white hair was long and often tangled because it was difficult for her to brush it properly on her own due to her arthritis. Add to that the fact that she lived alone in a small house on the edge of the town – it was all the kids needed to be convinced that she must be an evil old crone, just like in fairy tales.
Lately the children had invented a new way to pass the time and amuse themselves. They’d ring the doorbell of the old lady, wait until the shuffling of slippers was nearly at the door, then yell “DING DONG, THE WITCH IS DEAD!!!” and laugh their heads off as they dispersed quickly. Tommy didn’t like this kind of jokes because he felt a bit sorry for the old lady. He didn’t really remember much about his own grandmother but something about that thin white hair brought back a dim memory of a warm lap where he loved to sit and play the clapping game. Even though he did not participate in this “doorbell fun”, he never found it in him to tell his mates off for bullying the old woman either.
In any case his best friends had been caught red-handed by Tommy’s mom last afternoon as they were about to take flight from the old lady’s front door. Tommy’s mother did not find any of this amusing either and took the boys home, making sure their moms and dads learned all about their behaviour as well. When she got back to her own house, she scolded Tommy, too, even though he protested that he had never ever done anything to the woman in all his life… but that’s moms for you.
So there he was, walking down the street and brooding because it was difficult to have fun all by himself when he could have been racing his friends on bikes up and down the street or go swimming together or at the very least play some football with them, if only they had not been stuck at home. He wasn’t really paying much attention to where his feet were taking him until something made him look up. He was surprised to discover that his absent-minded walk had taken him right to the cottage of the so-called witch and that was definitely the last place he wanted to be at the time. He was about to turn around and leave when he suddenly noticed the old woman leaning on her fence and looking at him intently. Tommy was not a chicken by any means but at that moment he felt his heart skip a beat.
The wrinkled old woman beckoned him with a gnarled finger and as of their own volition his feet began a hesitant trip across the street. The journey which usually took only a blink of an eye seemed to last an eternity this time, all the while his heart was thumping rapidly in his chest like some wild bird thrashing about, trying to break free from a cage. What would she say to him? Would she yell at him because she had seen him with his friends and therefore think that he had come to taunt her on his own?
When he had made it to the fence in what seemed like a whole other lifetime, he finally gathered up the courage to look the elderly woman in the eye. To his utter amazement she was smiling at him! His shock was even greater when she opened her wrinkled mouth and quietly asked: ‘Would you like to come inside? I have tea and biscuits. I think we should talk.’
Tommy was so dumbfounded that he could only nod in response. His knees were shaking like aspen leaves in the wind but his curiosity got the better of him. None of the kids of the neighbourhood had ever even been in the witch’s hallway, never mind being offered tea with biscuits!
The old woman tottered inside, holding out the door for him and smiling encouragingly. Even though thoughts of gingerbread houses and hot ovens for cooking children were flashing through Tommy’s head, he decided to follow her. He was even further astonished to find two steaming cups of tea on the living room table, next to a cookie jar. They could not have been poured out more than a couple of minutes ago and yet everyone knew the witch lived all by herself!
The lady of the house gestured towards the couch for him to take a seat and he obliged immediately. She pushed one cup towards him and passed along some cream and sugar as well. His hands were shaking badly but he managed to pour the cream into his mug without spilling any of it and was secretly proud of himself for this little victory.
“My name is Marian,” said the wispy-haired woman suddenly. It broke the silence in such an abrupt way that Tommy almost yelped and dropped the spoon inside his mug with a loud clatter.
The woman smiled again.
“Don’t be afraid of me, I’m not going to put a spell on you. I think your name is Tommy, is that so?”
Tommy gave an almost imperceptible nod, then immediately scolded himself in his mind for being such a coward and coughed to clarify his voice. “Yes, I’m Tommy,” he admitted bashfully.
“I know you’re not entirely like your friends, even if you look a lot like them,” the old woman continued. “For example, you have never rung my doorbell or broken a window of mine and that is definitely commendable. However, I want to ask you something.”
Tommy took a gulp of his tea and realized too late that it was still way too hot for such a big mouthful. Trying to suppress a grimace of pain, he looked at the woman next to him and motioned her to go on.
“Do you think I am a witch?” Marian asked him suddenly.
“Err… uh… I… that is… I don’t know… I think so,” spluttered Tommy. “Are you?”
She smiled again. It was a funny smile, as it made her look a lot younger than she was. Tommy reached for a biscuit and decided to concentrate on eating it in order to appear less nervous than he really was. Everything was silent for a while, except for the ticking of a large grandfather clock on the wall. Tick tock. Tick tock.
“Well, what do you think?” came Marian’s voice but something about it seemed to be a bit… different. Tommy raised his eyes and dropped his biscuit on the floor. The smile that had made her look younger before was no illusion – she really WAS younger! Her hair was thicker and darker, though still light and straw-coloured. Hundreds of cobweb-like wrinkles on her face had been smoothed out, so that only a few remained. Her posture had straightened and her eyes seemed to sparkle with suppressed mirth.
“Oh my God, you ARE!!!” was all Tommy could manage to utter on the first attempt. “But how… why… how did you do that?”
“That doesn’t matter right now. What’s important is that you thought me an old hag and yet you were brave enough to come inside my house, alone, not knowing whether I have gingerbread tapestry or not!” She was still obviously amused at his confusion but Tommy did not share the sentiment. He felt deeply embarrassed instead.
“I’m not brave… I never thought it was funny to bully you the way my friends did but I never said anything to them about it and I’m really sorry!” He hung his head in shame, as he felt the burning blush creep across his cheeks and forehead. The feeling was genuine, he had never been more sorry about anything in his short life, not even the time when he accidentally broke his little sister’s favourite model airplane and she cried inconsolably for two hours straight.
Marian had stopped smirking and turned serious. “Apology accepted,” she said in a sober tone. “However, as luck would have it, I can see inside people’s hearts sometimes. I can peek inside yours as well and it seems like you’re in need of more company, especially now that your two best buddies have been locked up until further notice from their parents. In due time I might even teach you a bit of what I know about the world and people therein but for now – would you like to come visit me once a week to drink tea and have a chat? You can ask me about anything and I shall see if I can answer as truthfully as I can. I like you, Tommy, you’re a good boy.”
Tommy felt the need to secretly pinch himself on the thigh. This was bordering on the absurd! Why would she want to hang out with him, a ten-year-old kid? And why did she choose to look like an old hag if she could change her appearance at will? He decided to ask the latter out loud.
Marian smiled that dazzling smile once again. “That one is easy,” she said. “I can only change the way you see me, not the way I am. Take my hand!”
Tommy was hesitant at first but still decided to go through with the experiment and touched her outstretched hand. What seemed to his eyes like slightly plump, normal fingers, were bony and dry to his actual touch.
“Wooooow,” was all he could press out.
“As for your other question that you did not mention aloud – I don’t have many people left who care much about my presence and since you currently seem to have a bit more free time due to your mates being grounded, I thought we might see if we could become friends. So, what do you think?”
Tommy thought about it for a moment and came to the conclusion that he had nothing to lose but a lot to win. He nodded fervently, albeit a bit sheepishly. “Will you teach me how to look some other age than the one I really am?” he asked self-consciously, not wanting to come off as impolite.
Marian laughed again. “No, not just yet! However, I have a neat little toy I can give to you as a present. Come back in a week and tell me what do you think makes it work!” With these words she placed something small in his hand. He had to raise it close to his face to realize what it was. When he finally did, he was glad that he was sitting on the couch as he almost dropped the tiny thing out of shock. It looked like some kind of intricate clockwork mechanism, he once had seen a movie about that sort of stuff… only it couldn’t have been! There was a tiny dotted egg, out of which came a bald little chicken who grew in size rapidly and also spurted fiery feathers outside its skin. When it was looking the most magnificent and majestic, it suddenly burst into flames and the ashes were compressed into a tiny dotted egg.
Tommy then looked Marian straight in the eye and stated boldly and loudly: “I think you’re an awesome witch!!! I’ll be back next Wednesday with little George here!” With that he gestured to the ever-changing phoenix in his hand.
Marian smiled her mysterious smile again: “Thank you, Tommy. I’ll see you in a week then. Oh, and George, as you named him, likes warm places but don’t leave him too near to anything flammable, please.”
With these words she showed Tommy out of the house and locked the door behind him. Tommy looked back over his shoulder, then at his palm where George was doing his cycle trick, shrugged and decided to go home. In a week’s time he’ll have lots and lots of questions and then he’ll see how much witches really know!
To give pleasure to a single heart by a single act is better than a thousand heads bowing in prayer.
Yesterday evening was sooooooooooooooooooo nice 🙂 Since my back has been aching for 3 weeks now, I finally agreed to go visit a teammate of mine who has been trying to convince me for ages that I should let him give me a massage. He’s studying to become a masseur, so he knows what he’s doing with his hands. Although I’m somewhat reluctant when it comes to letting random people touch me, I was also getting really fed up with this pain in my lower back. And, well, he’s not THAT random any more, as we’ve been playing D&D on a weekly basis at his place since late autumn.
It was so relaxing, I almost drooled all over his mat 😀 The lights were off, soothing music was playing quietly and he’d lit a huge scented candle as well. All I had to do was lie there and let him jiggle and press and pat me from head to toe for an hour or so. It felt incredibly awesome to go completely limp and give away all control over my body and limbs. Even my mind was drained of all cognitive activity, so the brain was rested as well. I’m still surprised I didn’t simply fall asleep right there 🙂
I think we need to do this again some time soon.