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.

Maiju’s Teacup 3/8/2017 – Another Island

I’m staying at my uncle’s place for a few days in South Western Finland. I’m on an island, again, but there are landbridges to this one.

I’m looking after my aunt and uncle’s two dogs. One of the is old and sick. The other one is in his prime and we went for a run.


So the scenery isn’t too bad. There are fields and woods and huge rock formations and big houses, even a manor house.

 I drank a cup of my night time tea and now I’m very drowsy and forgot what I was going to write…

Maiju’s Teacup 30/6/2017

This June hasn’t really been very interesting tea-wise.  I’m on One Stone Island, a tiny strip of rocks in the Vaasa Archipelago aka Kvarken and I’m drinking Darjeeling First Flush for breakfast and then Clipper’s Assam in the afternoon. The island has no running water  (or electricity) so I try to minimise the need for washing teapots  (the seawater is cold).

My reading has been more interesting. I read 8 of Jaqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs novels. I got addicted to them and struggled to take a break. Today I finished reading Ben Aaronovich’s Rivers of London. I’ve read the first two books several years ago but I have to admit I remembered only bits and pieces on the second read. I have 4 books of the series now and the library might have more.

The treat I’ve been waiting for has been Tad Williams’ The Heart of what was Lost. I requested the book from the library already several months ago, but didn’t have time to read it then. Also,  I was a bit apprehensive. I first finished reading the Memory, Sorrow and Thorn series (omg) over 20 years ago (omg omg). How would it feel to step back into Often Ard  again? I have re-read the books after that but I still associate it with my teenage years as it was the second long fantasy series I ever read (first one was LotR).

It is kinda weird but only because a few weeks have passed in Osten Ard  while I’ve turned from a teenage dreamer to a mid-thirties woman. I’m getting teary eyed every time Simon or Miriamele or anyone at all that was in the first series is mentioned, let alone steps on the page. I have such vivid memories of reading the series for the first time.

And now I will remember how the rowan blooms snowed around me when I sat on the terrace, reading. Older, still a dreamer.

Maiju’s Teacup 24/4/2017

Ginseng oolong in the pot earlier today.

I’m actually already lying in bed and thinking about Hogwarts houses and how there’s a word missing from language. 

I escaped Twitter because there’s some sort of tweevent going on at the Pottermore Twitter in which the Forbidden Forest plays a big part and also big hairy spiders. I’m phobic about big hairy spiders. I don’t mind little hairy ones (unless I see them in a photo where they look huge) or even big hairless ones. When I worked in a bookshop, there was a children’s book about animals that had a tarantula on one edge of the cover. I startled many a customer by screaming and throwing the book across the shop. I do it instinctively, before my brain kicks in.
At the Warner Brothers Harry Potter studio there was Aragog in the ceiling and my friends warned me about it but it was next to a hippogriff so I went and peeked  and ran to Diagon Alley in panic. It seemed like the staff at Diagon Alley were used to calming hysterical arachnophobes.

I digress. As I was still dodging Pottermore tweets I had a short conversation with a friend just about to which Hogwarts house we belonged to. I’m a Hufflepuff. I love being a Hufflepuff. I’m very proud of it. When Pottermore changed I took the Sorting Hat quiz again and it put me in Slytherin. Luckily I remembered my old username for the old version of the site so I could claim back my Hufflepuffity (Huffelpuffance?). About a year later I took another quiz which claimed to be the ultimate foolproof Sorting Hat quiz. It would have put me in Ravenclaw.

I am a big fan of Oh Witch Please podcast. It’s a podcast that looks at the world of Harry Potter  (books, films, irl Quidditch, games etc) from the point of view of narrative theory and feminism. It’s so good and so much fun. If you haven’t listened to it, do yourself a favour and do it now. Or rather after reading this post. 

On the podcast the hosts (or whaddoyoucallem) discuss the different Hogwarts houses and point out that if you sent your own kids to school, you’d only want them to be in Hufflepuff. Because, let’s be real, who wants their kids to learn that you only get into the in-crowd if you have a certain personality trait defined by a conjuror a thousand years ago. Like really. 

So yeah. I’ve been thinking about this and though Hufflepuff doesn’t discriminate anyone, I feel like that’s the feature that sets it apart from the rest of the houses.

‘Suvaitsevaisuus’ is a Finnish word that could be translated into ‘tolerance’. But tolerance has that nasty tang of there being something to tolerate, someone who decides, someone who is the authority and who says: you’re different but I will tolerate that and that somehow raised me above you.

I wish there was a word that suited it better. I guess ‘acceptance’ is another with more neutral connotations.

I’m not explaining this very well. Anyway. Accepting and appreciating people as they are has always been the most important thing for me. The only kind of people I do not appreciate are those who are not ‘tolerant’.

So. To conclude. I guess what I’m getting at that this is why I’m a Hufflepuff. Forever.

I’m going to go to sleep now.

Maiju’s Teacup 1/4/2017

Today’s pot of red Oolong is Feng Huang Dan Cong. In its second steep. It says on the package to last 4-5 steeped but the second one was already a bit weak. Maybe I’ll increase water temperature….

I had a terrible case of the NOs today. Apparently it’s PMS… Camp NaNoWriMo started too and after a shaky start, I made it to today’s word target.

After I’d written I made pizza and found out Finnish national tv had Planet Earth 2 on their service. It’s just beautiful!!!  We should show it to  Vogons before they destroy the planet to make way for the intergalactic freeway…

Now I’m off to bed to read some Middlemarch even though the vet pronounced that the cat is healthy now. I’m just associating the book with the sick cat…

Reboot

On Thursday I finished the first edit of my manuscript. It was early so I walked to the hospital to spend the afternoon with a friend who’s there to have her appendix removed. That evening I cranked open the old laptop that still has Word with Finnish spell checking on it, and after the 1,5 hours that it took to open it, I used it to print the whole thing too. This version is already so complete that I’m giving it to my dad and a few friends to read. I set the printed manuscript on the bedside table and went to sleep.

On Friday evening, I was expecting a friend to come for a visit. She would come at 7 so I had the whole day to tidy and clean the flat. She happens to be my oldest friend and there really is no need to do that, she’s known me long enough, but I used it as a good excuse to get things done. While I’ve been writing, the household hasn’t fared too well… So I started around 8am and finished at 4. That’s a full day of cleaning and organising. There were a couple of boxes left from the move that I hadn’t emptied and I found spots for all of the random items in them. I washed the kitchen and the bathroom as well and dusted a bit in the livingroom. Then I took a nap, and when I got up, I baked apple muffins for us. It was great seeing my friend.

But on Saturday morning when I got up and set about my morning routine, I realised, I was beat. My mind was internally wordbleeding and my body was tired too. Though I skipped the morning workout on Friday, I had cleaned so vigorously that it had totally tired me out.

So yesterday I just lay on the sofa and tried to switch my brain off. I did read a few of my dad’s short stories that I’m stylizing, but that was the only cerebral activity of the day.

Usually, when I want to switch off my brain, I just look at the clouds and lose myself in them. I find shapes in them and concentrate totally on just the clouds. But yesterday the sky was evenly grey and I couldn’t even find a youtube-stream of live clouds (which I actually searched for!). I also felt averse to using my phone. It was just in my mind, but the screen seemed to be sucking energy from me every time I glanced at it, so I put it away.

It’s really hard to come up with an activity that uses up time, but doesn’t involve words. Reading, writing, even watching a film, all of those require some effort. And I was too physically tired to go for a walk (and the weather is horrid). I ended up crocheting some more. Finally I felt up to watching an old film and later even cracked open a book, but that’s all.

This morning I woke up before 6 with some ideas for the novel. I think that’s a sign that I’m recovered. Which is good, because the manuscript is still waiting for me on the bedside table. After stylizing yet one of dad’s short stories, I’m going to pick it up.

Happy Friend’s Day!

Nope. This isn’t one of those schemes to turn Valentine’s day into something new. Instead, I will tell you what it’s been for me ever since I was a kid.

In Finnish today is called Ystävänpäivä. Ystävä means friend, päivä means day. The n in the middle is the possessive suffix (or smth close to that). When we were kids we made cards for all of our friends at school and sent cards to those friends we might have elsewhere. Telling that we were thinking of them on this day, that we loved them and cared for them and sometimes just that we remembered they were there.

It wasn’t until the internet, and mainly social media brought to Finland the idea of Valentine’s day, something which was for lovers. But while I have nothing against lovers, I still prefer friend’s day. With your lover you can have an anniversary, on the day you met, started dating or on the day you got engaged or married. With friends — well, to be honest, there are few friends of whom I can remember the exact day we became friends. Even now, a lot of my friends are online but I still can’t remember the first tweet or the day we first started messaging. And usually you just drift into other people’s vicinity and become friends. So, I always liked the idea that today was to remember friends.

To celebrate Friend’s Day this year I went to have lunch with a friend of mine during her lunch break. I messaged a few people with whom I have lost touch or am in a state of mutual neglect. I have friends that are important to me, but they aren’t part of my daily life, so I have to make a slight effort to send them a message. Today it’s easy to remember to make that slight effort.

I have been neglecting my friends lately a lot. The reason, the excuse is my writing. I spend days in the company of my imaginary friends. But I figure that that’s the real measure of our friendship. My friends know how important this is for me. And because they support me, they are still waiting for me when I emerge from the imaginary world. Thank you, friends!

Anyway, writing has gone well today. I’m starting to wonder why I didn’t trip before over these piles of planks… I’m finding them everywhere!

Happy Friend’s Day!

Love,

Maiju