Strangely exhilarated and exhausted

So, I can’t remember if I already mentioned that I started to go to a gym. I think I might.

Anyway, I’ve been going for almost two weeks now. Not everyday, but mostly after work, since it is in my office building.

The strangest thing has happened. I’ve become somewhat addicted to the exercise. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love yoga(when I have a proper studio to do it properly) and I love jogging. Both of those have got me into pleasant state of flow, but I always attributed some of it to the environment,  the clean, airy space for yoga and nature for jogging. But apparently a lot of it is just the exercise.

My gym is not a sight for sore eyes. I mean, first of all, the cross trainer is directly three floors below my desk at work  and when I look out the window I see the same stretch of highway from a slightly different angle. I also always bring my own  music because the stuff they play there from the radio is pure shite. The walls are white,  the floors pale gray, nothing to distract  or please the eye. But still, on days I haven’t been to the gym, I miss it.

One factor might be the quiet feeling of victory when pulling on my old jeans in the morning and feeling that they are getting looser and looser. I still don’t actually feel comfortable in the gym space. It feels like somewhere that’s definitely  not been designed with me in mind. But in fact, it partly is, since I am using it.

One of the reasons the positive feelings I get from  the gym are so important to me is that yesterday was the Autumn equinox. It means that days are starting to get shorter than nights here. A lot shorter, and quickly. Although I don’t live above the Arctic circle, it’s only 100km to the north from here. That means that daylight usually lasts those hours I’m at work.  So soon I will be waking in  the dark and when I get home, it’ll be dark again. No vitamin D for me!

I felt so exhausted today when I realised that the dark times were coming again. Literally. But maybe this gym thing helps a bit.

Love,

Maiju

Smelling memories

You know those things that remind you of a good time in your life or a loved person or a place?

I just sat at my kitchen table and had a stroopwafel with tea.

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Stroopwafels are these delicious Dutch delicacies. Two thin waffles with caramel or syrup  between them. When you let it warm over the tea, the waffle  starts to smell really good and the filling warms up.

A Dutch friend introduced me to Stroopwafels years ago and I get them from airport shops when travelling. I flew to Helsinki for a weekend a while ago and found these at the airport.

Last weekend I went to pick up my cat from my mum in the town I’ve lived most of my life and walking from the station I smelled all of the autumnal smells of my home town. The town is by the sea and our house is in a suburb surrounded by trees and the sea. I sometimes feel like a season doesn’t start before I’ve smelled it there.

A smell can take you across years in a blink, not to a specific time necessarily, but to a specific frame of mind. As I taste and smell Stroopwafels, years of teatimes alone and with friends flood 8ver my unconscious, spilling over a bit. As I smell the earth and leaves and sea and trees around my mother’s place, I  feel at home.

Love,

Maiju

Diaries

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This is my chest of treasures. It used to be my grandmother’s  dowry chest, but now it’s full of paper written in my handwriting.  There is a layer of my first fiction, written in red ink on white paper, there are old calendars from the years I used to fill them in more detail (and write stories on the back pages), and then there are my diaries.

I got my first diary for my 7th birthday in April 1990. The edges of the pages were gilded and the paper was pink and you could tie it shut with satin ribbons. It has my first scrawly entries, articles of my favourite  ski jumper (I’m Finnish after all) and the autograph of my favourite singer from those days  (a Finnish tango queen).

My diaries have often included far more than just updates on my life and my thoughts. On a memorable Spring afternoon in 1995 I sat in front of the telly and started marking down what happened in an ice hockey game my dad was watching. Finland ended up winning thw World Cup in that game for the first time ever.

I guess writing has always been away for me to pass time. I like spending time by myself and though I talk to my cat, I’ve never been one to talk aloud to myself – excluding dramatic situations. I do talk to my cat all the time. But diaries have always been there to clear my mind.

I just ended a diary last week and started a new one the next day. I would never bore anyone with my diaries, but here online in blog form I have found another outlet to my ramlings. To those which bear the light of day.

Lately another good reason for writing has been to egg me on with my novel project. Would someone actually get hold of my diaries at some point and have the patience to read them, they’d probably assume that the novel characters are actual people in my life. I find it refreshing to complain to my diary on how they refuse to grow up or do what I want.

I’ve always just loved the act of putting pen on paper and moving it across the page to make words and thoughts appear. Which sucks when you are trying to write a novel. Typing up everything afterwards is a lot of work. Blogging is one of my tries to get myself into a typing frame of mind. It hasn’t  yet worked…

Excuse me, I’ve got some things to report to my diary right now, so catch you later!

Love,

Maiju

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I’m sitting on a train, heading to my mum’s  to pick up my cat. As you can see,  the weather is awesome and it would be nice to get to spend the day outside, not sitting on the train. After very autumny weather we are back to summer for a few days.

I remember being afraid of train travel  when  I was a kid. I used to visit my cousins several times every summer in a town in the South West of Finland  and I always took the bus, even though I still needed to switch buses sometimes midway. I’ve always been  bit timid about uncertain things. Like on the bus, the driver was there,  you could ask for anything straight from him (I don’t remember a single female driver on those trips ). But trains were big and scheduled and much more impersonal.

After high school I spent a year on the Eastern border of Finland, 15km from the Russian border. During that time I learned to love train travel. At least off-peak train travel. Switching trains can still be stressful  but nowadays more if I have too much time between the trains. It is so totally annoying to be sitting at a station for a longer time than the rest of the journey would take.

It’s lucky I like trains because it’s really the only option for me travelling with a cat. Bus companies won’t accept pets, but trains in Finland always have an animal car. Last time I  traveled to Vaasa there was a kakatu on the train. It kept screaming occasionally but the people were more surprised by it than the animals.

I’m sitting on the second floor of a train car just now and passing yellow autumn fields with the familiar red and white houses and bales of plastic -wrapped winter hay. T

I’ve always loved staring at lit windows in dark most. There are so many stories in the world and at least some of them are going on behind those curtains. The world can never be boring when  there are so many potential paths everywhere. Every car is going somewhere,  every person  on this train has a destination or a place they are returning.

I wonder if I’m going to a destination or if I’m returning. I’ve been living in my current town for three years now,  but I still think of the town my parents live I  as my home town.

This is a subject that requires a new blog entry with a more certain Internet connection.

Love,

Maiju

A better day?

I just returned from work. I had a meeting with my supervisor today  and he told me there are going to be some changes at group level and I’m going to have a new supervisor.

I’m also planning on some changes. I signed up for a gym membership today. There is a new gym that’s been opened to the same building I work at and I’ve been  reluctant to sign up for it even though it’s really cheap. But since I’ll be working  8nly 4,5hrs/day for the rest of the year, I might as well get some benefit from it.

I love running,  but I’m a bit lazy to go on a run. It requires a clothing change and some level of inspiration.  Also the weather is often something I use as an excuse to be lazy.. Especially in the winter. And autumn. But my plan is to go to the gym on most days after work and work out for an hour. I hope I’ll stick to that.

I’ve been gaining weight since last summer partly because avoiding public places, partly because of laziness and partly because of my medication. I’ve gone from size 38-40 to size 44-46 in a year. I’m really not too bothered about the weigh gained,  only I have a lot of clothes that won’t fit me anymore. So I’m targeting a smaller clothes size and not having to get bigger clothes.

Also, since I passed size 42, there really are not so many clothes available.  I mean really. I guess in my case this is a good motivator…

Another  change.  I’m going to write every day. Starting from today. I always hated new year’s resolutions,  because why wouldn’t you start something immediately? Why would you wait?

OK,  I’m rambling and will stop now to go for a run. (See, progress already).

Love,

Maiju

To work early?

I got up this morning, dressed, at,  brushed my teeth and washed my face and headed for the door to leave door work. At the door I checked my phone and realised I was at least 10th minutes early.

I actually don’t enjoy hanging out at my workplace, so instead I’m going from blog until I can leave, which is now. I really don’t enjoy my work or workplace currently, should get a new one , but in this economy?

OK,  now I’m going to be late.

Love,

Maiju