Monday, December 08, 2014

the things you really need when you have a baby

Just before we jet off tomorrow, there are two things I wanted to do:
1) Go for my last Hartbeeps (songs and play group) class (I might cry. I'm naff. I know all the songs off by heart and I sing them everyday.)
2) Write a post about the items I found most valuable during my maternity leave.

I wanted to leave something helpful on the Internet, in the case a pregnant mummy is Googling a list of things she needs to get before her baby is born and happens to come across this.

I got s twins list. The person who gave it to me had twins, so I trusted that everything on there had to be bought. They were 'essentials' not 'nice to haves.' As a result, before they were born, I had 40 muslins, 20 bibs, 8 bath towels. I still have those things, and I obviously haven't used half of them.

If there's one thing I can suggest: literally buy only the essentials. You won't need or use even half the stuff you buy, even if, like me, you thought you were bringing two home. Trust me.

The things I found most valuable, throughout maternity leave, were:

Without a shadow of a doubt, my new highchair.

You get so many types of highchair; some clip onto the side of a table (if space is an issue), some look lovely (beautifully crafted in wood, painted and have a Victorian feel about them), others look cheap and plasticy ugly but work incredibly, while very few look good and actually do the job.

I wish someone had really put emphasis on this for me. If there's one thing you should spend money on; it's a highchair that works. I went for aesthetics - the East Coast white wooden one. A bitch to clean, funny straps that don't work, he would slip through it, wouldn't sit properly, and become distracted so wouldn't eat. Looked nice, but also took up room.

I've eBayed back to where it came from and got myself a Baby Bjorn. It's small, looks better than you think, and the child is locked in.  Easy to clean, no mess anywhere, no distractions, he sits like a regal aristocrat, and he can push blueberries around the tray easily to pick them up.

My only regret? I never did it sooner. I should've got this when he was just learning to sit, as it helps them to sit upright too.

Tommee Tippee milk feeding bibs

Except I use them for any feeding. They have this dribble/milk soft thing at the neck. So nothing gets past it and seeps through.

All other bibs have a gap between the neck and the neckline. If you have a baby you'll know that by the end of the day, things start growing under there. You'll find everything under there, from last week's brocolli to hairballs to milk goo to unthinkable things. It's a catchment zone, and most bibs don't stop shit from getting stuck there.

Except these bad boys.

A few small, ceramic bowls

I found using my Granny's old ceramic bowls from her dinner service, the best thing for all of Sebastian's meals. You can safely heat them up in the microwave (heating plastic is bad....), and it seems to serve just the right amount for lunch, breakfast and dinner. I also store all sorts of finger foods in them in the fridge.

They've been the most useful things in the kitchen, ever.

Muslins

Everyone will tell you to get tons of these. I was told I needed 80 for twins. I bought 40, and as you might imagine, we are overrun with the bastards. This place is one big muslin fortress.

You don't need that many. If you have five big muslin cloths, or ten smallish ones, you'll be just fine.
You'll use wipes and tissues and everything else too.

I bought some cheap cream muslins off eBay.

Dribble bibs

Different from feeding bibs. (I didn't know these kinds of things when I was pregnant. A bib was a bib was a bib.)
My baby dribbles a lot.  He has been teething for, like, eight years. If he doesn't wear a dribble bib/neckerchief, the front of his clothes are wet within minutes.

They're essential. Seriously. I need to change his over a few times a day.


Sheepskin 

Again, a bit of an investment, but it's wonderful and soft for babies and really helps them sleep in their buggy. It keeps them cool in summer, warm in winter, and you don't need to worry about top sheets and lining blankets.

White noise

Buy this app for your phone/a device you're happy to leave near your sleeping baby. Immediately. I have so much to thank this app for. It would help settle my child and help put him back to sleep at all hours of the night, for months on end.

There are a few sounds to choose from, and in the end he liked the sooothing sounds of crashing waves. But the vacuum cleaner, shushing noise and heart beat were favourites for a while. He couldn't get to sleep without it, and honestly, it really helped him realise it was sleepy time.

Car seat to pram brackets/converters

It means you can put your car seat on the pram, for when you travel. It's genius and it makes life so much simpler, especially when you fly.

Just two little plastic thingies that clip onto the frame of the pram.
We could take our car seat away, and simply put it on the pram frame when we needed to push him around. It became known as 'the travel system,' and this is what we are taking to SA too.

Goes without saying...

....the play gym I was given (things hanging off it and music, flashing lights), and the Baby Bjorn bouncer were lifesavers. Before they crawl you can put them in there while you do stuff. My baby screamed for the first two months I put him down, but after that, these two things were brilliant.


Stuff I didn't need:

Swaddling blankets

Muslins wrap them up so much better, tighter and softer. As long as you have a large size muslin, you can swaddle so much better than anything else marketed for 'miracle swaddling.'

Baby bath

Or a top-to-toe bath. I was given a  baby bath, but never used it as I already had a bath seat I could lay Seb on in the bath. I preferred this, as it was less fiddly, and the baby bath seat lasted a long time, until he could sit up.

Excessive cot and moses basket sheets

For some reason, before I had children, I was under the impression that babies regularly shat themselves throughout the night. They do pooh a lot, but they don't soil through five layers of sheets. Every single night. Especially when they are just drinking milk.

I had fuckloads of sheets, ready for two cots and two moses baskets. I have reBayed these too. You only need two for each cot and moses basket.

Scratch mitts

I was also told by a mother whose child scratched the bejeesus out of his face - never seen anything like it since - it was weird -  and told that if I don't buy at least ten pairs of scratch mitts, he will damage his face with his nails.

I cut his nails. That's what I did. So buy a baby nail kit instead. The mitts really aren't worth it.

Bumbo seat

Some babies/mummies love this thing - swear it's the best thing
ever - hmmm....meh. Sebastian didn't love it at all. For one, his legs were a bit fat to fit into it, so it didn't look helluva comfortable. For two, he twisted back, and wouldn't sit upright in it.

Not an essential, I'd say.

Now if only I could take the high chair to South Africa tomorrow....

Saturday, December 06, 2014

real job versus mummy job


Amongst a din of other things going on, my maternity leave has suddenly come to an abrupt end.

I am officially 'back at work,' but have taken my accumulated holiday for the rest of the year. After South Africa, I am back.

Sebastian has been to his first settling in session at the nursery (which was fine, although I still feel like I'm fumbling in a sad darkness, not knowing if I'm doing the right thing and just hoping it is...)

I am starting to pack, do multiple loads of washing in preparation for home, wrapping and giving out Christmas prezzies, trying not to stuff my mouth full of mince pies knowing I'll be putting my pasty white thighs on display, and in almost unyielded reaction, packing extra maxi dresses in my suitcase. (Free-flowing, floaty and bums and legs hidey hidey, in veiled disguise, even though everyone knows why you're wearing one.)

Looking back on maternity leave though; it really has been the most epic, challenging adventure of my life. Everything else I have done that has been remotely challenging, comes with some sort of steadfast manual or predictability. Backpacking alone through a third world country on a shoestring? There are books, countless tips and tricks, maps, beer, couchsurfers, other backpackers, and only yourself to fend for. Starting a new challenging job? There's a job description, mentors, managers, manuals and experience to count on.
Running a marathon? You can train, eat the right food, stop for water along the way.

Motherhood is a baptism of fire into the complete unknown and unpredictable, and it is completely different to anything  I have ever embarked on before. As every single baby is different, there isn't a surefire way to get your baby to eat/sleep/stop crying/latch on/the list goes on. It's a journey of complete trial and error; and you may be blessed with a textbook child that does everything like it's meant to, or not, like mine, who had colic, lost his twin so needed extra comfort and couldn't be put down for the first 2 months of his life without screaming.

It's been incredible, and the hardest thing I've ever had to do in my life. Juggling time, routine, and basically living for something else. No time for anything but for baby, you don't do anything for you anymore and you don't mind it one bit. Breastfeeding and pumping my boobs sometimes four times a day sometimes meant I couldn't pluck my eyebrows for weeks, and I'd only get to brush my teeth by the afternoon when he slept.
Watching my little boy grow, his little milestones, his giggles and smiles. And his vomit. Pooh. And like recently with a monstrous cold, snot.
Meeting other mums going through the same thing is solace in the storm, and it's been wonderful to have so many nearby that I could grab a coffee with, both of us grappling with buggies and babies while we try to get a sip in while the cup is still hot.

What an adventure. I cannot believe it's just about over. And I become a working mum.

If I could compare my day job to being a full-time mummy for almost 9 months, this is what it looks like in a corporate strategy type of way:

Longterm goals.

Mummy: Getting child to start eating finger foods before December.
PR Woman: Getting a promotion before December.

Short term goals.

Mummy: Getting child to finish at least 500ml of milk by the end of the day.
PR Woman: Talk to five journalists, send them details of, plus give them, new product in lieu of launch tomorrow.

Daily task.

Mummy: Remember to add flaxseed omega oil to his cereal so that he grows up to be extremely clever, plays the violin and gets a music scholarship to the Wetherby School.
PR Woman: Take editor out for a boozy steak-laden lunch at the Hawksmoor and sweet talk him through a piece he is writing about something bad, so that by the end of of lunch, his story is at worst, neutral and at best, nice [about the company I work for.]

First thing on my To Do list each day.

Mummy: Arise at 4am (early days) or 7am (from 6 months onwards) in order to offer breast to baby. Later on, this was a bottle; so get up, make up milk and give bottle. Bribe, distract, do anything to get him to take most of it.
PR Woman: Read a copy of the Metro on the tube so that I know the top stories circulating before I get into the office.

Typical outline of a strategy.

Mummy: If he sleeps until 3pm, that means I can give him his milk by 3:30pm, which means by 5pm he will be hungry for dinner and therefore tired, and ready to go to bed. The bath will put him in a nice, relaxed mood before, so that he winds down just enough to go to sleep. If this strategy is largely ignored (it mostly was), abort the above and feed child CoLief so that he when he starts to cry for no reason at 4pm until 9pm, you can anticipate it before it happens, and then get ready to rock, sing to, bounce around, lay on chest, knees, in pram, anything to make it stop.
PR Woman: Meet with Marketing, to ensure we are aiming for the same audience, and prepare a campaign that targets consumer magazines in the 20-30 range, by giving one of them an exclusive on a vital bit of information that we hope will be picked up by another five papers after it has landed. Prepare folder of high resolution pictures and brief spokesperson on the FAQs, briefly retraining them on difficult corporate questions that will be asked by the Daily Mail. Line up a set of radio and television interviews for the spokesperson, while selling in the story elsewhere and briefing those about something that isn't of massive importance, but because you've come up with a killer angle, everyone thinks it's a brilliant story.

Potential obstacles.
Mummy: As about to exit the door, child does a massive poonami, soiling five layers of clothes, my shirt and pram lining. You're already late, and now have to peel these off, soak them (because they're from Petit Bateau and are therefore 1) nice and 2) expensive), and redress.
PR Woman: Your story has been shifted off the page because something more current/exciting/diabolical has happened and even if your story was amazing, this news is much more important.

Mummy: You can't find a changing table/high chair/you left the wipes at home - basically rookie errors - when trying to dine/go out/do something outside of the home with a baby.
PR Woman: A newspaper seems excited about your story, invites you in, only to start talking about the thing you most want them not to write at all, and ends up as a page four in the Sun, which means every builder/plumber/Sun reader in the country will see it because the opposite page always has a scantily dressed woman on it showing off her boobs. The only solace is the Sun is behind a paywall, so the Big Boss in America won't see it, but all the directors who have a copy of the paper in London will.

Potential Solutions.

Mummy: You have a bottle of Vanish Oxy Chrystals on the sink at the ready, as you've discovered it removes every stain known to man, save beetroot. When he does eat beetroot you make sure you only dress him in dark navy blue, so that any seepage and stain, never gets noticed.
PR Woman: You call a competitor newspaper, hoping that they don't know that there's a massive scoop about to explode across the original newspaper you called, and sell them the exclusive.

Mummy: You can't find a changing table, so you find a bench in the middle of a park and change his nappy in full view of ogling strangers, and just repeat to yourself that you are a good mother and you'll probably never see these passersby again.
PR Woman: A story has landed that you never managed to grapple off the journalist/your talking to him has somehow exacerbated it, and you try to find all the positives before you hide every copy of the Sun in the building. It's only on page 4, it's below the fold, the journalist is a known hater, he got the story slightly wrong so we can 'leverage' an apology, no one else picked it up.

Ultimate achievements.

Mummy: He ate all of his food, took all of his milk and is sleeping soundly like an angel. Mother of the Year potential, right here.
PR Woman: A six page spread, you have been working on with a magazine, has finally been published, and it has a captive market (it's an airline magazine), and mentions all your products, praises them, and on top of it, he wants to do a follow up in a few months time.

Mummy: He put a piece of broccoli in his mouth! All by himself!
PR Woman: My work nemesis looked visibly jealous when I casually laid the six page spread over the bosses desk with a casual, "I'm really pleased how this turned out; I really had to hold his hand on this one."

Attire.
Mummy: Vom-splatted boyfriend jeans, a top with buttons/flaps/easy access to boobs, a cardigan (also for easy access to boobs.)
PR Woman: Depending on who you're visiting, today it's Vogue, so everything that is completely stylish, and fashionable, but not too fashionable because you're not a try hard. You need to show that you have effortless style, so you settle for a button up silk shirt, black skinny jeans and a massive necklace.

Fuel/refreshments.
Mummy: Cold coffee, water out of a Camelbak to keep your milk flow up.
PR Woman: White Americano, mineral water, herbal tea.

The Boss.
Mummy: Not the boss, but feels like the boss because it tells you you're doing it wrong/what to do/gives excessive and conflicting information: The Health Visitor. "He should weigh this," or "Don't feed him Weetabix, it's full of sodium."
PR Woman: Your manager. "You need to lead these two big projects from start to finish, so that you have enough visibility with the director for promotion in the next cycle."

Colleagues.
Mummy: Mummy friends. The ones at the same play group, visit the same Rhyme Time at the library, or belong to the local community meet-up. Some you talk to, some you don't, but you're all doing the same thing, and your project is to keep the child alive, happy and flourishing. You talk about bodily fluids, food, milk, sleep tactics, recipes, more sleep, schools, childcare.
PR Woman: Your workmates. Some are brilliant at their jobs, others are not so good, some are in positions of leadership and should be, others shouldn't be at all. You're all going for the same thing: visibility, recognition, Story of the Week, and ultimately, more money. You banter about things - office gossip, hilarious stories (in and out of press), which pub to go to after work, and work itself.

Key takeaways.
Mummy: Hard work. 24 hour job. No holidays, no lull periods. No pay. No help (unless loaded/live in third world country), satisfaction quotient is extremely high. When your baby is predictable/happy/does something cool, all the sleep deprivation is forgotten.
PR Woman: Competitive, cut throat, 12 hour days. Perks. Holidays are sporadic, but taken in exotic place. Pay is good, but not as good as a job in finance or marketing. Satisfaction quotient oscillates between extreme high and extreme disappointment, depending on what you land and what you don't.  You're only as good as your last story.


Action items.
Mummy: Make bottles, put a load of washing on, make his next meal, get dressed (both of you), go to a class.
PR Woman: Write the press release, call the Telegraph, come up with five interesting campaign ideas, listen to pitches from other agencies to help with said campaign.

And now? I need to do both. With a little less intensity on the Mummy part, as I will only be playing this role in the mornings and nights.

I'm trying not to feel completely overwhelmed....



Sunday, November 30, 2014

southern hemisphere christmas

I have caught a stonking cold from my son.

We're falling like soldiers in this house.

However.

Not only am I excited to go home for Christmas after six years of doing it elsewhere (here mostly, and one stray year when I was backpacking in Argentina), but it's the first Christmas my Brit will be spending down south.

He's never experienced a sunny, warm Christmas; the mere concept of it blows his mind.
"I can't imagine what it's like...do you just hang out on the beach?"

Well, yes, if I lived by the beach.

I explained that we do pretty much everything that people do here, but without the Christmas jumpers and Seasonal Affective Disorder lamps. Brits generally put on a better show though. It has to be said. Because it's so cold and dark, they really go all out on the food, the cosy atmosphere, decorations and things like Black Friday. When the weather is shyte, it's something to really look forward to, so people here really embrace the festive.

They wear lots of sparkly things, drink loads of mulled wine and spiced cider, and warm fruity puddings. Certain streets have big "switching on of the Christmas lights" evenings, where Christmas markets come out, we all bundle up warm and go and watch.

We did it the other night with our other baby-addled friends. We bundled up the babies, went down to Northcote Road, sunk a few glasses of prosecco, and felt all Christmassy.
December in London is wonderful.

It's January when you pack away the sparkles, Christmas jumper and there's nothing to look forward to until the spring (and longer days), that you want to suicide yourself.

Anyway, we are spending Christmas in Cape Town with the extended family for a few days, having rented a house with a swimming pool.
We are making an extra special effort - for the Brit's sake, and as we have a new member of the family to celebrate.

We'll be whacking a turkey on the weber, crisping ourselves in the sun as we do so, eating cold gammon and salads, and drinking chilled wine. Afterwards, we will have meat sweats and will sleep it off for three hours as we fight against the heat and digesting of a massive meal.

I cannot wait.

I also can't help myself.

"I need to tell you about a family tradition we do, but I'm not sure you're going to like it."

Brit...oh?

Peas: Well, you know how it's about 30 degrees and after you eat Christmas lunch you usually need a sleep and a swim?

Brit: ....yes?

Peas: Well. In our family, we all strip down and go skinny dipping. We've done it for years.

Brit: What??

Peas: It's nothing hectic, you just jump in the pool and that's that.

Brit: With your mother? And father?

Peas: Yes.

Brit: That's just weird. Not doing it. Can't do that.

Peas: It'll be fine, promise.

Brit: That's so weird. Are you having me on?

Peas: It sounds worse than it is.

Brit: No. You guys crack on. I'll go for a walk.

[pause]

And never come back.

Peas: It'll be fine.

So he thinks that's what we do. Am I being cruel?
(We don't. Just in case.)


Back to my Lem Sip and 8000 tissues.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

traditions and remembrance

I've been thinking about family traditions, Christmas, birthdays and how we incorporate Molly into everything, a lot.
'Tis the season, after all.

Seb is too small to know anything right now, and since we will be in South Africa for Christmas (I haven't had Christmas at home for 6 years. I am SO excited), we haven't gone bonkers this year round.

Bonkers being getting a Christmas tree, decorations, all of that stuff. But I have been watching my Twinless forums closely to see what others do as families to remember and include their deceased twin.
Most of the people on the Twinless Twin forum are from the other side of the pond, and are, understandably, very American (read: large) in what they do. Here, in Britland, where remembrance over Christmas time and birthdays is a more low-key, poignant sort of affair, I had a good think about how we can include Molly without it being 1) cheesy, b) over the top and c) sad.

Many families hang a Christmas stocking for their other twin. I liked this idea, but I wasn't sure what we would really do with the other stocking. It's all very well, but what would we stuff it with? Surely anything that goes in there wouldn't be meaningful, and wouldn't it just die away after a few years anyway?

So, after some thought, our Christmas family tradition will be as such:
We will fill Sebastian's stocking with things from Father Christmas; and we will fill Molly's stocking with old toys and things we no longer want for children who are less fortunate than us. That way Sebastian will be comforted knowing his sister is very present with us at Christmas while also learning that it's about giving and thinking about those who aren't as lucky as we are.

I had their stockings lovingly crafted, by a lovely lady called Carol who runs her shop on Etsy, and they arrived yesterday.
I have mixed feelings looking at them, but am also comforted - she is with us at a time where families traditionally bandy together, and she hangs out right next to her twin brother. Just as she was meant to.

The other thing we managed to do, (actually, this was the Brit's project mostly), was create a 3D stamp of Molly's footprints.

When they were born, they took her prints in ink. Her little feet are enclosed in a booklet in her memory box, and we thought having them on a stamp meant we could possibly make something out of them/use them.

I had her feet cast in silver not long ago, but they managed to do that from a piece of paper. For the stamp, the Brit used a 3D printer - to create the right diagram, and mould for the stamp.
Had they been born a generation ago, we never would've been able to do such a thing.

And the results were absolutely astonishing.
Dipped in paint, the detail and texture is quite surreal. Bearing in mind her feet were really tiny - the size of a ~33 week old baby - so we stretched them out to make them a little bigger, roughly the size of a 6 month old baby.
Again, technology can be an incredible thing.

It's almost like she has stood there.

All these things may seem like overkill - jewellery, foot stamps, stockings - but it is absolute therapy for me. Again it falls into the acknowledgement basket, and it's a way to process things and remember her, feel close to her.

Now to think of the most appropriate way to acknowledge her on their birthday. Sebastian is 8 months old today, so his first birthday is on the horizon, it's crazy!
I have such mixed emotions about it - I anticipate the day with extreme excitement and utter dread. It's kind of how I felt about the day they were born.

Monday, November 24, 2014

funland*

Well. I can say this with a steely level of surety: Finland is the most terrifying country I've visited.

Like most things, pictorials tell it best, so I'll litter this post with enough photos to slow your internet speeds down considerably, (still loading? Are they?), however please note that there is a recurring theme that pops up within the slew of photos below. And it isn't intentional.**

Going to Finland on a weekend break is an extremely strange thing to do. Most people travel to Helsinki for business (massive telecom centre etc etc), or they go to Lapland up near the Arctic circle to see the northern lights and/or go dog sledding.

Finland is evidently a very flat country, and Helsinki itself was apparently created as a port for a Swedish king back in the viking ages. He had his little post that he could stop off in on the way to Russia, and somehow, it remains very much like as was intended. It's a bit of an outpost, and is Swede-like in nature: clean, somewhat featureless and fucking freezing.

As I've said before, I like visiting places nobody else likes to go to. I also like bleak, 'featureless' places, because therein lies the adventure. When you have to look for the cool stuff, because it isn't blatantly obvious. This is why I had a love affair with Johannesburg when I first moved there. I had to find the pretty. Once I had found it, (and one man's ugly is another man's pretty - I think Ponte City, for example, is a sensational structure), I went down the rabbit warren of love. Cape Town, it's all glaringly aesthetic, you don't need to work to find stuff there; it's all pretty two dimensional.
Some of the most special places entail you having to dig a little deeper.

Anyway. Finland is probably the least well known of Scandinavian countries, and for fairly good reason. It certainly doesn't shine as brightly as Denmark or Sweden, but Helsinki did remind me a lot of Oslo (minus the exorbitant expense. It's expensive, but nothing is as expensive as Norway.)

My baby is a trooper. He is a traveller like his mama. Sebastian caught a cough on the way there, and yet still managed to smile and happily be bundled in five layers of clothing to go out.

This church, carved out of rock, is one of the main tourist attractions.

 Luckily, it did get better.
Helsinki Cathedral. See what I mean? It's not especially outstanding, it is kind of vanilla, but honestly it's not just Nokia handsets and blonde people.
We put on all the clothes we owned and walked downtown to the design quarter. This was apparently where is all happens. Someone once told me Helsinki is the New Berlin - they were wrong - don't listen to everything backpackers tell you - but this part of town was where things got interesting.
My little urchin was so dressed up, he couldn't really move.

We went to the Design Museum, as I imagined that if this place is anything like it's other Nordic siblings, it should have some beautiful shit inside.

It did, but it was creepy. (Even better.)

To get into the Design Museum with a baby buggy meant we had to go through the back of some basement porthole, where a lady wearing her granny's curtains (looked much better than it sounds) let us in, through a secret passageway.

When we arose to exhibition level, the first thing we saw was this:
 Plaster dolls, wedged in boxes, bound up with tape.

And scissors in plywood. Just standard Finland, I have come to realise.

Turns out it isn't just a nation of horror film design and creepiness. They have designed some almost sunny-looking things too, and some stuff is globally classic. (Including the orange-handled scissors. They made those.)

 I love the high chair. Finnish people made the bubble chair. See?
 Stopping for a coffee.
 The Finnish are into their ceramics too. It happened to be a ceramic exhibition, but all sorts of stuff came out of the woodwork.

 Like these creepy little soldier boys.
 And awesome retro 70s murals.
 And creepy masks, because they love a scary mask, as we've already seen at our hotel.
 And anime-type Japanesey viking sculptures.
 And viking aliens.
Back in the outside world, the shops in the area were festooned with beautiful Nordic Christmas decorations and design pieces. Nothing beats real Christmas decorations. The festive season is fraught with plastic tat; but here it's all wool and beads and silver and fur.
 The building below reminded me of communism and it got me all nostalgic for places like Poland, east Germany, Czech Republic, Estonia.
This place could've been communistic, but it wasn't. Those clever vikings managed to avoid most colossal twentieth century hazards.

 Yeah, I don't know what that means either.


 There are areas of the city that are fiercely eccentric; you just have to find them.
 ...And try not to spend your mortgage on cool designery things for the house.

"When I was 8 months old, my parents took me to Finland. What for, I'll never really know."

* Not really. Just Finland.
** See? Completely terrifying.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

hello from

...the creepiest country I've ever been to so far?

The hotel is a cross between a Stephen King novel about masks that come alive in the dead of night, and The Shining. (Hotels with red carpets.)

On coming into land, you see clusters of little islands that make up the jagged coastline of Helsinki, just stuffed with these talk Nordic fir trees. Between all the buildings are these Twin Peaks trees.

It's creepy and weird. I LOVE it.

On closer inspection, so on ground level, the trees are all tall and packed together, very Blair Witch project.

I have a feeling that we won't have to venture too far to find something INSANE here. Finland might be Scandinavia; clean, expensive, dark and cold in winter. But it's definitely creepy and strange.
God it feels good to be in a ridiculous place again.

So far my son and husband don't seem to mind it either, mostly ignoring the red carpet and masks and living it up in our upgraded room (a suite!)

And, according to my Favourite Irish Gay Friend who is a genius at languages, accents and linguistics in general, all I have to do is add 'leinen' to the end of everything to be understood in Finnish.
'Televisionleinen, Sebastianleinen, sofaleinen....'

The thing is though, it's not that cold. It's 1 degree. That's nippy, but it's not Baltic, which is the seaboard we lie on currently.

I am wondering if we will even see snow on this north pole expedition?

Monday, November 17, 2014

there are days like these

I have collected a stash of quotes over the last few months, and I store them to stare at sometimes because they put all my thoughts and sadness into words.

Sometimes when I'm having a bad day, I don't always want to talk about it. So I rather let the quotes do the talking for me.