Maiju’s Teacup 1/12/2017 – For the Love of George…

20171128_103746… Eliot.

I am in love with George Eliot. I don’t know if I mentioned this already.

I don’t know why it took me so long to read her work, but I suppose it’s just been one of those things I haven’t got round to. Until last March when the cat was sick and I read Middlemarch.

Admittedly I read it because there was a web series based on it starting (still going) and I wanted to read it before seeing the LIW. But it helped keep my mind off things and whiled away the hours between forcefeeding the cat.

I loved every word of that book and I’m glad I didn’t read it earlier, because I would have missed a lot of the political and societal stuff that it had if I’d read it for example 10 years ago.

Middlemarch was the only Eliot my library had in English so I had to wait until I could afford one of my own.

Every December (for the past 2 years at least) I’ve read a book as a sort of Yule calendar. I choose a book (a classic I haven’t yet got round to) and divide the pages by 24. In Finland we celebrate on Christmas Eve and lie about and relax for a few days after that. So I’m going to read 28 pages of Danied Deronda so I can finish the book as my first Yule present.

I’m following a podcast called Bonnets at Dawn which is about 19th Century literature by female authors (originally Austen vs. Brontë but they have branched out a bit… or a bit more). The people making and listening the podcast are among the nicest bunch of people. I’ve made many new friends and a frequent question on the podcast is to choose between Austen or Brontë. I’d have gone the Austen way before March, but now I’m an Evans girl through and through.

And I’ve only read one of her books!!! But it makes it even more special. I remember when I read Austen for the first time. I rushed through all the six main novels in a week or two. I never really warmed up to the Brontës, but apparently I’d been reading books by the wrong sister. But now I have George Eliot, and I have all the time in the world to read her books and enjoy every carefully chosen word, every jab at the patriarchy and prejudices against women, every layered meaning on those pages.

I feel like I’m cultivating a new and deep relationship that is just going to get better and deeper as I read more of her books and more about her life.

I’m going to have a Yule romance with George Eliot.

(If you want to follow my exploits into Daniel Deronda, I use the hashtag #MaYuleRead on Twitter and Instagram. If you want to take up the habit of a Yule Read, I’d love to hear about it!)

And in the cup above I have there Wild Pu’er, that just keeps getting more delicious the more I steep it and the older it gets.

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Maiju’s Teacup 20/11/2017 – Monday


I’m feeling a bit frazzled today. 

I usually start my day with a bottle of water while still sitting in bed, but today I forgot. Then I wandered around the kitchen, confused as to what to do next in order to make tea. Every small thing seemed to require extra brain power. Or rather, every routine required some thought.

I’m not sure if it’s NaNoWriMo’ing and working, or my period on top of that, or just a general Monday(though it feels like Wed/Thu bc I worked the weekend an will be off in Wednesday). 

But now I can’t even remember what I was going to write in this post… 

I guess I just wanted to exorcise this feeling. Writing about it (whatever it is) usually cures all ails. I guess we’ll see if that works with this.

*

Oh yeah! The photo reminded me of the small twinge of disappointment I felt when I realised there wasn’t a last sip of tea left in my cup. I was probably going to post something very deep and lame about it. Maybe a poem.

Let’s try it…

~

Last sip of morning tea has disappeared from my mind

Like I forgot 

how to make tea 

in which order to act to feed the cat

where I keep my journal (in the middle of the table, in plain sight)

what I thought this poem was about

~

Yeah. It needs some work. Or rather, a matchstick… I may need to write it again on paper in order to burn it.

See. This is a perfect example of this morning. I’ve now wasted 15 mins writing a blog post even I don’t want to read again…

Maiju’s Teacup 18/11/2017 – Two Jobs

So, if you are wondering, as you probably are (NOT), I have been too busy to keep up with the blog much of late.

I am flat out lying. Well, not really. I am busy now, I wasn’t a few days ago.

On Tuesday I started working at a part-time job. It’s an easy enough job so that I can save my mental energy to writing. Of course the first few shifts have been more draining as I need to learn to do the job. And also getting into the gist of being on a schedule. But today was my third day and I’m settling in quite well.

I’m doing NaNoWriMo as well. I actually started a new and very much altered and enhanced version of my novel about a month ago. The website I use for writing (novlr.org) launched a new goals feature and after writing about 500 words per day for a couple of weeks, I raised it to 1000. And in the beginning of November I raised it to the NaNoWriMo goal. I’m now at 33K with NaNoWriMo, so a little ahead, which is good as I have room to manouver now that I have to work on some days.  My novel in its entirety just went past 49K.

So these are the things I do when I’m not at work: I think about writing. I think about my characters and I watch really stupid mindless films. The last part is just to get my mind to settle after all the excitement. I’m just about to go in search of a silly film, because I worked from 8am to 3pm and then took a small walk and wrote a thousand-odd words.

So if I’m not around as much as before, my apologies. I promise to make up for it next month.

I might even start writing silly job poetry as I did when I worked as a waiter… Hmm… I could publish them here… If I have time. One excellent thing about the job is that it’s very busy. So I can’t really get bored. Time flies and workdays, though rough, are also pretty soon over.

Anyway, have a good November and see you closer to Yule!

 

 

Maiju’s Teacup 28/9/2017 – The Truth About Pumpkins

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So, I know this must shock some of you, but when I think about Autumn, I do not automatically think about pumpkins.

I hear you gasp. It’s true. When I think about Autumn, I think of lingonberries and mushrooms and rain. And the creeping darkness that quickly stops creeping and, after the first proper windstorm has carried away all the bright leaves, takes over the scenery and continues until the snows come.

The halloween-pumpkin-bat-autumn combination has arrived in Finland during my adulthood, so obviously, my mind wanders into the forests and bogs covered with lingonberry and cranberry tussocks when the leaves turn yellow.

An Instagram friend recently asked, when is the peak Autumn here. ‘Syyskuu’ is September in Finnish and it literally translates to ‘Autumn month’. So we are at the end of the period now (though this year the whole year has been off-kilter and all the trees are not yet yellow). October is ‘lokakuu’ which literally translates to ‘sleet or mud month’, which is pretty accurate. It’s getting darker and darker and before the snow arrives (closer to Yule, if we’re lucky), it’s going to be dark and cold and miserable. Each day is shorter than the next.

This is, of course, the perfect excuse to huddle up under a blanket and drink tea. And on the weekends, to pack a few rye sandwiches (with pickled cucumber, for some reason) and a thermos of hot cocoa, and head to the forest with a bucket and a berry-picking rake. Afterwards you can make your own juices and jams. And when the yard-raking bee comes around, there will be lingonberry pie for all.

That’s another Finnish thing, though not only restricted to Autumn. A friend in Australia told me that they have similar things, and there they’re called communal bees. It’s basically a weekend or one day of the weekend, when everyone living in the same yard or building takes part in raking the yard of leaves and tidying up the surroundings. The people who don’t have time or the energy to do the work will usually bring something to eat. The communal bee is usually a whole day or a weekend, and you can take part whenever you have time. And afterwards, everyone goes to sauna.

So, though I’ve grown partial to chili-butternut squash soup in the recent years and would consider a toast without zucchini jam a lost opportunity, if someone presented me with a pumpkin, I wouldn’t know what to do about it (though I’d know who to ask 😉 ).

And in the photo at the head of this post is a bowl of vispipuuro, whipped berry porridge. An immovable part of Autumn cuisine. It’s made of berries, farina and sugar. Before the word meaning the colour purple was brought into Finnish, it was called berry porridge colour.

This is just a snippet of the Finnish Autumn for you!

Maiju’s Teacup 25/9/2017 – Stealing a Street

I have been drinking tea. Lots of it. But except for a trip to a friend’s place, my teahabits of late have been dull dull dull… This photo is from Teeleidi teahouse I visited with said friend and the pictured brew was a delicious Oolong Tie Kuan Yin.
I’m lying in bed and for some reason started to think about a story on Readers Digest that I read many years ago. Soooo many years, because the Reader’s Digest was at my grandmother’s and she died over 20 years ago.

The story was about a thief or a group of thieves who stole the cobbles off a whole street in the night. I can only remember it was somewhere in Germany,  maybe.

I’ve no idea why I’m thinking about it just now. I really can’t even remember reading a Reader’s Digest ever since. Tried to figure some kind of symbolism that would have brought in to my mind but can’t come up with anything.  Unless it’s a suggestion for a career move.

Maybe it’s something as dull as “you can do anything if you put your mind to it”. Blehh….

Going to sleep now.

Maiju’s Teacup 22/8/2017 – Gravity 

Those days are the worst. The days when gravity just grabs hold of me and even getting up to drink a glass of water seems like a Herculean task. 

And the worst part isn’t that helplessness. The worst part is the fear that I might not be able to shake the feeling for – oh I don’t know – the next few years.

I count myself as lucky that my depression was caused by the circumstances that were piling up in my life. And that there was something concrete that I could do, once I’d recovered enough to have the strength to do it.

The last year has been pretty amazing. I remember lying on the sofa in my living room one day, reading a book and chuckling at it one day. Laughter by yourself is such an underrated luxury. It’s only when I thought it lost that I could appreciate it. But laugh I did.

Yesterday was not good. The sunk feeling is so recognisable still that I was afraid my brain was returning to the old pattern and I could do nothing about it. That those neural paths were stuck again, and I wasn’t sure if I had the strength to dig myself out this time.

Today is better. I can only guess why I felt like that again yesterday. Maybe it was as simple as leaving the island for the summer (the photo is my last cup of tea on the terrace on Sunday). Or maybe something else. But realising that I somehow don’t feel like that today makes me feel even stronger.