Friday, 10 December 2010

Immodesty, according to Facebook

Every once in a while, an application comes along on Facebook which is actually worth a visit. Although it's a bit scary to think that somewhere on the interweb, all your statuses great and small are snuggled up together along with a bunch of metadata.

Get yours here!

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

More gingerbread cookies!

Although this time they are more like art works. I went to the annual gingerbread house exhibition, where proceeds go to charity, to get in the mood.

I have to say I'm impressed with these, although they also lead one to wonder how the Scandinavians manage to have such a good economy when they appear to spend a not inconsiderable number of office hours doing these...

The ship has cheated slightly by not making the sails out of anything edible, but I think it's still pretty impressive.

OK, so they never win anything, but at least they have a sweet stadium!

Top tip: Making windows out of gelatine sheets.

OK, OK, I know, the petroleum industry are evil and pollute the world. But look! How can anything with this many Smarties on it be evil??!

Otherwise, winter has finally gotten over the first ridiculously Siberia dry and cold spell and it has started snowing properly.

I cannot even see the houses up in the hill across the harbor, though that could partly be due to my dirty window rather than just the snow. I have to go outside soon, which will be less than comfortable, but still, it's impossible not to enjoy it.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Gingerbread cookies! From the cold North!

I spent four hours yesterday baking gingerbread cookies. Four. Hours. Standing on the very hard wooden floor of the kitchen, barefoot in my wooly socks and quietly cursing the fridge cold cookie dough for being so hard to roll out.

After the first few trays I realised the trick was to make GM use his 190cm of manliness to flatten it with the rolling pin, and then doing the less physically demanding bits of cutting and baking the cookies myself.

At any rate, the cookies turned out lovely, and I shall decorate a large heart shaped one tonight to say "For GM, the strongest baker in the world" and hang it in the window.

I compiled the recipe myself, and I think it came out well, although next year I will add allspice and more pepper to the mix for extra flavour.

Gingerbread cookies
(makes a really large tin of little cookies and two larger hearts for hanging)

220 grams dark syrup (line the measuring cup with unflavoured oil to reduce stickiness)
220 grams sugar
220 grams butter
2 eggs
1ts ground cinnamon
1ts ground cloves
1ts ground cardamom
1/2 ts ground black pepper
1ts ground, dried ginger
660 grams plain flour
1ts cream of tartar

Melt the butter in a pan large enough to fit all the ingredients. Take it off the hob and add the syrup. Mix the sugar and spice and add this to the pan. Give the eggs a light whisk and add them. Last of all, sieve the flour and raising agent into the pan and give everything a good stir. Just to warn you, this requires some man power and a sturdy spoon... I've broken one in the past trying to do it. Leave in the fridge overnight.

On baking day, preheat oven to 180 degrees C, or 170 if you are using a fan oven. Roll a chunk of cookie dough out to a thickness of about 3mm for cookies and 4-5mm for larger decorational items or a house if you are ambitious.

Use cookie cutters to make shapes and move them to a lined baking tray. I find this whole operation easiest to do with cool dough on a silicone mat, which means you don't have to add any flour in the process.

Bake for about 8 min. for small cookies and a little longer for the larger shapes, the cookies should brown slightly, although this is surprisingly difficult to tell. Cool on a rack, decorate with icing and store in an air tight container. Taste delicious with hot spiced apple juice or some mulled wine.

Sunday, 28 November 2010


How 'bout a swim!? Originally uploaded
by Trondelarius

The days are getting to be ridiculously short.  I got up two hours ago and it's not yet light outside.  The sun, like some hungover teenager, struggles to lift its head above the horizon even at midday.

It is freezing outside, literally.  The door downstairs actually has a thin slick of ice covering the inside of its little window, and GM prefaces like every other sentence with "hrm, maybe I should buy another heater..".

My heartfelt thanks go to H&M, who are the only people I've managed to find in the high street who care enough about pregnant people to produce tights made out of at least 50% wool and with an extra bum panel so that the growing belly will fit at the front.  OK, so it looks like it's made to fit an enormous diaper across the back, but at least my piles and urinary infections are kept from an icy death.  Once again, thank you, Swedish people.  And don't even get me started on the children's department in IKEA.

I actually love the cold.  Not because of the cold, which is of course a bit of a bitch (it's like when you visit somewhere really hot and rush between stores to enjoy as much air conditioning as possible, except with the opposite pretext), but because it gives more light.  The sun is so pale now it would barely be noticed if it was cloudy and rainy all the time.

Also, I love Christmas.  Love it love it love it, although I am already fearing the eating aspect will be much curtailed this year due to the growing belly aspect of pregnancy, which is really starting to take its toll despite me not having put on abnormal amounts of weight.  Next week I shall bake gingerbread, and from thereon out, the year will be a veritable feast of advent calendars, cosy fireplaces and long lie-ins snuggled up to GM.  Bring it on.




Tuesday, 9 November 2010

What's in a name?

The baby is doing well, I think. She is mostly active in the evening or if I'm playing video games or on the phone to GM. She also likes sugary foods. So yes, it's a girl. During the routine scan it was established that everything from corpus callosum to toe looks fine, and her developmental markers are good (moving and sucking fingers and drinking etc.).

I hadn't really given much thought to what it would be like to be pregnant. I guess most people don't, because it's an experience so far removed from how we normally live our lives, full of abstraction and technical gadgets and ways of doing things without actually having to deal with them. Having sex and producing babies, as long as it's done the good oldfashioned way, is pretty much the only thing we still do, all by ourselves, from one end to the other, notwithstanding an epidural or forceps helpfully applied at the home stretch.

It's weird, it's someting my body is just... doing. All by itself. And it seems to know what to do. I think the underside of my breasts is beginning to show what might be tiny stretch marks, but otherwise I look as fit as a fiddle, just rounder. And without the waist. Maybe more like a double bass seen from the side, or at least a cello.

I had expected to feel more uncomfortable about my body changing so much, because I've always really liked it the way it is, but it just feels right. Of course, having a man who professes how beautiful he thinks I am on a daily basis probably helps lubricate the bodily ego to a large extent, but really, I think it's fascinating to see the body do what it's made to do, and making it look so easy, too. At least so far.

I've started giving GM daily updates from the belly region (which actually started a lot earlier as my digestive system has been generally schizophrenic since I got pregnant), which he has the good wits to pretend he appreciates. Like yesterday, I felt my first Braxton Hicks contraction. It was a very weird feeling, a section of my belly below the navel, about the size of a handball, suddenly jutted out with the taut texture of, well, an inflated handball. It only lasted for a few seconds, and then it was over. It wasn't painful at all, it just tickled. I started laughing out loud, alone in the living room, and felt a bit crazy.

Every day I look different. Some days my belly is massive, and I can feel my diaphragm being pushed upwards at the end of the day. Other days, like today, it still looks almost flat when I get up. Also, there are definitely kicks that can be felt on the outside. I wonder if they are purposeful, like the fetus is trying to turn, or if it's just a sort of "hey, my legs! I can move them!". Or if there is no conscience at all this early on. After all, the brain is pretty undeveloped still. So I keep taking my Omega 3 and hoping all will go well.

It is lovely to have someone to share all this with. I keep thinking that being a single pregnant woman must be lonely, even if you have all the closest friends in the world. GM is pretty much contract obliged to listen to everything I have to say, and he has a personal interest in the process which is purposeful, as we will be raising this child equally. I am not saying it would be impossible for me to do this on my own, I am just saying I think I would feel a sense of something missing. It does take two to make a baby, and there is probably a reason for that. It is not something one person should have to do alone.

We have started the naming debate sort of vaguely. Somebody pointed out to me that it's actually a really important act, and it is true that Freakonomics states that there are more dentists called Dennis than one would statistically speaking expect. Any suggestions received with thanks.

Monday, 8 November 2010

First snow

I woke three times last night. Once, I identified the reason for waking as an icy draft winding its way from the window to my bum via a small opening between the duvet and the mattress. When I woke and drew back the curtains, it had snowed outside.

The hillside I can see from my window has been sprinkled with icing sugar, it looks like a gingerbread village, especially at night. Pretty, as if everyone inside each house is cosyed up in front of a fireplace, roasting chestnuts and drinking good quality hot chocolate.

So winter is here, and it ain't no joke.

I don't know what happened to this year. Today is pretty much the first day where I am not grieving over loss of dreams due to previous partner, panicking because I'm pregnant or working 50-hour weeks to make ends meet (practically, not economically speaking; for some reason I like to torture myself by taking on way too much work).

I am still as much in love with GM as I have been since we met, though. I just think that missing him horribly because he is at school being (very deservedly) adored by a bunch of slightly stupid 16-year olds has become a bit of a baseline state, something I automatically allocate mental resources for dealing with.

This morning, I handed in the last essay I have to write this year, in fact it's the last essay I might ever write as a student. Now, only my thesis and final exams remain. It's a weird feeling. I am glad I put in as much work as I did, uncharacteristically working until a few hours of the deadline to get it right despite it only being pass-fail and as such having no impact what so ever on my GPA.

Getting through till actual Christmastime should workwise be relatively easy, no exams, just a lot of mandatory lectures through which I'll probably get to produce a lot of knitting. And after Christmas, well it's almost babytime, and all this missing my boyfriend and living apart will thankfully almost be over.

Suddenly there is space in my head for me. It feels weird. Like, what do you do with it?

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Those pregnancy books all lie..

Me. Oh, and that white elephant at 17-ish weeks
I've read several pregnancy books,aimed at both mums- and dads-to-be, since I got knocked up.

So far I've managed quite successfully to avoid the most graphic ones with colour photos of fetuses and that sort of thing, but I think I would feel like a slightly neglectful prospective parent if I didn't take some interest in what's going on inside me.

But as I say, these books lie.

When GM is around his friends or even colleagues, all they talk about appears to be pregnancy-and baby-related topics such as "what is the best estate car", "what symptoms/physical abuse can one expect from a pregnant woman" and "once I shagged my gf from behind when she had just thrown up and I was holding her hair back, just because it had been so long and I thought it might be the only go I would get for the next month or so (entirely true story)".

Not only that, but there appears to be a certain strange undertone of supportiveness in this line of conversation, even when they tell him things like "when they think she might rip, they use scissors, you can actually hear them cutting the flesh" (GM was traumatised for days after that particular one).

Oh and let me emphasise, these are all men we are talking about. They do manly, physically dangerous work with their man hands and have beards and smoke cigars and drink cognac etc. OK, so some of them are nurses, but still. They are men.

My friends, on the other hand, fall into two camps. The camp completely comfortable with my growing belly, who stroke it, ask if they can look after the baby once it is born and generally concerned with the well-being of us both.

Then there's the second camp. They want to hear nothing about the pregnancy, they visibly shirk back if I mention anything about being fat or tired or having headaches or anything related to being colonised by a parasite that grows by the day.

And yes, you've guessed. The first category includes most of my male friends. The second category are all women.

Perhaps this is the punishment for being over 30 and chosing friends with higher education and a career. The female friends who act this way fall into two further subtypes: a) Single and hating it or b) Trying to have a baby but failing.

OK, so I've never really wished for a baby and not managed to conceive. I would imagine it's incredibly stressful. And of course I realise it was somewhat foolish to mention to one of these friends (a very close friend actually) whilst she was complaining about her fertility issues, that in fact, smoking 20 a day does nothing for your fertility rate. If I was not pregnant, it would have been bad enough. Now, it's probably like I'm flaunting my own accidental fertility in a highly annoying and condescending way.

This 20-a-day friend has snapped at me just about every time we've met since I got pregnant, saying some things that I really think are mean, despite pregnancy-related heightened social paranoia. A few examples include pointing out that I'll be really fat and saggy boobs, and also that I shouldn't complain about not being able to eat due to nausea, as at least I get a baby out of it. I'm also not allowed to avoid smoky venues or unhealthy foods without her passing some sarky remark. Right.

Another friend, when I told her I was pregnant, exclaimed "but I thought you would wait until I met someone!". A third turned to her boyfriend and shrieked "see, she can have one, why can't I!"

They say pregnant women go all irrational and hormonal, but clearly these hormones also have an effect on those around us. Several people I've hitherto thought of as close friends (we have known each other for at least 10 years) appear to be avoiding me.

This saddens me immensely. I never realised being pregnant would be so lonely. And as weeks pass, I can no longer hide my condition, so I don't even have to say anything to be considered an offensive reminder of other people's failings.

It's not that I want people around me to be eternally interesting in what goes on in my uterus. I guess I just expected more from my friends than.. this. I don't have an urge to constantly discuss pregnancy related things, it's just that I find it really, really hard to have to watch what I say in order not to upset anyone.

I hoped for some level of support, even tacit support, or at least not outright hostility. I find them selfish, I am so deeply disappointed that they cannot, despite their various personal issues, find it within them to be just a little bit happy for me that things are going my way, albeit in unexpected fashions.

So I'm taking issue with is the fact that the books all say that "women share their stories of pregnancy with each other and feel more comfortable talking about this issue than men, for whom the pregnancy feels unreal and distant". Also they say that "feel more capable of taking care of the new baby because women discuss this with other women".

I've never heard such BS. At least not since the last time I had the misfortune of reading a right-wing political party manifesto. Give me those manly men with their horror birth stories, any day.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Time, going nowhere

My head is rushing. I woke from a dream of sorting through my drawers and putting away all the bras that no longer fit me. Which was of course most of them. At the same time I was trying to dry a library book that got soaked while I was wading through a mangrove forest in the pouring rain, trying to get somewhere.

It's 3 am in the morning and I'm wide awake.

Morning sickness, I guess, starts really, really early in the morning.

I did the usual, rolling over, eating a cracker with peanut butter, drank some water. But I can't seem to go back to sleep. I got the laptop out, checked my schedule for tomorrow morning, and the lecture is about sleep disturbances in children. Not helping.

Somewhere, in your wide, comfy bed, you are asleep, my lover. I hope you are sleeping soundly, that your body is allowing you the rest you deserve.

The space next to me is empty, but somehow I can still feel you there, see you sleeping the way you sometimes do, turned on your side, hugging the duvet like a cuddly toy, the curve of your upper lip protruding slightly, in a way that makes it almost impossible not to kiss, although that would almost certainly wake you, you are a lighter sleeper than you seem to think.

Or you are sitting, propped up against a pillow in the diffuse light from an IKEA bedside lamp, your strong hand with fingers spread out, splaying open a book with way too many pages, forehead slightly creasing up now and then, as if what you are reading surprises you. Your eyes move rapidly across the page, the same way they move when you are dreaming. I love that, how you can dream your way into a book, away from everything. How you can be called back if I touch you.

Last night, I was on the sofa, watching that episode from Season 6 of Buffy where Xander stands Anya up at the altar. My belly was doming below my hand, resting at that curiously hot spot at the bottom of my breasts (the ones that no longer fit into my bra).

I am pretty sure there is still life down there, I certainly feel as pregnant as ever, moved to tears by Extreme Makeover (House Edition), even when the parents are still alive and neither of the children are crippled.

There, on the sofa, where that baby could well have been made had we spent that particular evening in my apartment and not in yours, I was wondering whether I will ever feel contained by the company of this child, what we've created together.

But I think I will continue to miss you when you are not here, I will look at the empty spot next to me like I do now, and know that I am too far away from home, which is always where you are.

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Madness explained

Originally uploaded by stacy michelle
I once had a patient whose teenage son had a habit of cutting her arms and bleeding down the stairs.

The patient had a habit of loudly saying in front of said son and sibling how much she enjoyed them being away at their dad's house so she could get some peace (oddly, said dad no longer wanted to live with her).

The Child Protection Services had assessed this woman and found her a perfectly capable mother.

Which I'm sure she was in the strictly physical sense of the word, the kids were most of the time decently dressed and kept out of danger, apart from a couple of times when she sent them out to play on a nearby motorway junction.

But psychologically, not so much, I'm guessing from the cutting.

I myself should have called CPS, but I didn't. I was temping and my colleague, whom had visited this woman weekly for years, clearly didn't think it necessary. I guess part of me didn't want to stir the waters. This was years ago, I still remember the sight of the kids lurking round the corners during my home visits, and I still feel guilty about not doing anything about it.

Funny how, as soon as an adult goes a bit nuts, we forget all about the kids.

So GM opened the closet, finally.

Turns out that his perfectly friendly and welcoming, yet weirdly aloof and somewhat hypomaniac mother, in fact had some kind of psychotic episode when he was a teenager.

His siblings were sent away as they were deemed "too young" to know the truth, and my lover was left alone with her, and a few buckets full of antipsychotics prescribed by the local doctor, whom also explained what was going on to him in full latin, to make sure he had no clue what was being said.

Mother was clearly not deemed a danger to herself or others, and so was left home. Father was called back from overseas, but clearly back in the day, this took a while to arrange.

So the teenager was treated like an adult, which in a way he was. But still a child.

He has, over the years that have passed since, confronted his mother over this to get answers, closure, and perhaps an admittance that this was way too large a burden to lay on narrow teenage shoulders alone.

Of course, he has achieved nothing by this except her getting majorly pissed off, including throwing him out during visits, refusing to visit him for about 20 years (true story..), missing every special occasion and graduation in his life and attempting to blame it all on his father's drinking habits. Which I'm sure do have something to do with it all in that loosely connected way that everything within a family has to do with everything else, but it's a bit feeble really.

Naturally, this is all old hat by now.

But he has never told anyone about this, not even his siblings.

It is a heavy burden to carry for one person, for so long, when wounds are never allowed air to heal, and you are just forced to cover up the scars and get on with it.

So next time, I will call CPS.

As should you.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Morning sickness and morning sex

So, maybe GM will get the girl he wishes for anyway.

At any rate, morning sickness has kicked in. Though, as most pregnancy books / websites / mums will tell you, "morning sickness" is a total misnomer probably invented by some man who thought it would be comforting to pregnant women to believe that they would feel better as the day went on.

For me, I feel OK in the morning as long as I have a crispbread and some water (thank god for that ice cube machine in the fridge). In fact, I feel OK generally as long as I don't eat too much. And by too much I mean like, more than a slice of toast with spread, or a really small cereal bowl of spaghetti.

It is torture! OK so I've put on like 5 kg already and I'm only 6 weeks gone and probably don't want to end up like Catherine Zeta Jons (whom allegedely put on more than 20 kgs; that would equal more than 33% of my original body weight and would presumably not be good) but at the same time, I love eating. Love it love it love it. And I like eating lots in one go and am not very fond of chewing my food properly either.

Trying my usual style of wolfing down a whole takeaway or eating six cheeese sandwhiches has lead to lying on my right hand side in bed going "I can't eeeaaaaaattttt anymore... Poooor meeeeeee.." for about an hour and a half, by which point I'm suddenly ravenously hungry again.

I've now stuck to tinee weenee portions of food for a few days and my stomach has never been flatter.. I still feel a bit weird after and before I've eaten but not as bad.

Anyhoo. One of GMs pregnancy books, of the genre "mildly mocking and potentially misogynistic literature describing foetus in easily understandable language for men such as snack units or military jargon", mentioned that sex is a good cure for nausea.

And you know what? It works. In a way, I would say my sex drive has never been higher, but since GM and I essentially made this baby by being at it like rabbits all day long in a way I did not think possible for a man his age and a woman as intelligent as myself, that would be a bit of a lie. But it has not dipped in the way you would expect since most of my thoughts ruminate on themes like "don't chuck up, you have emetophobia" and "OMG OMG OMG I'm pregnant and we have no money", neither of which are particularily aphrodisiac.

In fact, we have over the previous days had sex 14 times. Four-teen. FOURTEEN! Geezes. And it works. It really works. He turns me on like no man has ever done before, and as soon as I get going, the nausea magically disappears.

And if I have an orgasm.. or two.. or three... I actually feel fine for like an hour afterwards. And we can do all the stuff we like, I can lie on my stomach and give oral sex, and my breasts have actually never been more sensitive than now, and I mean that in a good way.

I haven't exactly told him this yet as I don't want him to feel like some cheap remedy against morning sickness. But girls and boys out there, if you do feel queasy, do not let this go untested... And also, it can't be bad for the relationship. GM actually got access to the Cataclysm Beta, and he's barely looked at it. I'm not saying I want the nausea to last, but seriously, it's not all bad in pregnancy land...

Thursday, 22 July 2010


I think I just overstepped the mark with GM. We decided to tell two of our close mutual friends our news.. The girl in the couple has wanted a baby for ages, and we thought it would be good to get it out of the way while we had an exit strategy, as these kinds of situations tend to cause a lot of arguing in that household.

The exit strategy being that if a fight appeared to be ensuing, I would claim to have to give GM a ride to work and therefore we could both slip away unnoticed together.

Basically the girl started chatting about another friend of hers who is also pregnant, and GM and I both started giggling uncontrollably. When GM said I was pregnant, our male friend's jaw dropped to the ground almost audibly (he has a pretty square and solid jaw). The girl managed to be courteous and say congrats etc. Male friend said nothing, the poor thing.

Male friend and I plus another guy went for a guys' beer in town after GM dropped us off to go to work. The guy plus male friend were both full of great advice to me, though neither were particularly reassuring. They seemed both bemused and, as male friend said as he reluctantly let me go for the 10 min walk to GM's flat on my own instead of getting a cab (Him: "I would never let my girlfriend walk there alone." Me: "Neither would GM let me. However he is not here, and you're not my boyfriend, so I'm walking."): "It's been a happy and befuddling occasion this evening."

But that is really all besides the point.

The point I wanted to make is that I could actually see GM getting uncomfortable with having to share this really rather personal news with our friends, albeid close ones. I am not a very private person, and to me, there's no discomfort in it whatsoever. I could see him crossing his arms protectively.

I don't know what he's worried about, but I feel with hindsight that we shouldn't have told them. OK, so I'm the one who is actually pregnant, but really, holding back news for me is clearly more comfortable than letting news out is to him. I will hug him and hold him in the morning and tell him this.

It is weird, we are still learning to know each other, and all these great big issues are arising and we have to handle them in the best way we can. He says he is fine, and I think he is, but right now I think that being with me, just the two of us, is all he really wants. He has no urge to involve the whole world, like I do. It is my basic instinct to unfold in front of my friends to include them and reassure myself of their support.

GM doesn't need them, not like I do. He only needs me.

It feels like a large responsibilty, but at the same time it really is an honor.

Monday, 19 July 2010

A hatchling!

OK so in this late trend of whirlwind romances and engagements.. I am now pregnant.

I guess I should have figured as much two weeks ago when my breasts became sore and my tummy ached in a weird, dull way without actually producing a period, but since I've considered myself more or less infertile since about the age of 19, I didn't really think much of it.

But a few days ago, I could wake GM with a massive hug, and the message "we are going to be parents." He took it cooly, or at least as calmly as one can expect from a man whom until about two months ago thought he would probably never have a family.

In fact, he has been amazing. For better or worse, I know I have chosen the right man.

Because I have been in two minds.

There are so many cons. We each own a flat, in different cities. We are still students. There is a massive leak in his roof and my student loan allowance won't last forever.


And we've been seeing each other for like, six weeks.

This morning GM came home from his night shift to wake me, smelling in his comforting way faintly of cigarettes, coffee and sitting in an uncomfortable chair from dusk till dawn.

He held me. We talked. And I realised that the main reason I am reluctant to have this baby is that I want him to myself. All to myself. I don't want to share him with anyone, not even our child.

I am not sure this will change. OK, so I am crazy in love still, and one is meant to love one's children more than anything as soon as they are born, or maybe even before that.

But I know there are people who grow up knowing that their parents always loved each other more than they loved their kids. I wonder what that is like? Versus growing up, like GM did, with parents not even sharing a bed, or mine, who live together in some weird symbiosis but decidedly not in any sort of romantic love.

He came with me to the doctors to have the pregnancy confirmed. The doctor acted like abortion would not at all be an option and said I was extremely lucky to have fallen pregnant just like that. And I guess I am.

And as my friend, who struggled for ages to conceive and also miscarried once, pointed out that not only am I lucky, I am also over 30 and should be responsible enough to take the consequences of my actions. Which is true. But in itself I don't think it's a reason to have a baby.

We came home from the doctors after going to the supermarket to buy ridiculous amounts of food (may I please emphasise that this extreme nesting behaviour was at the initiative of GM) and made love a 2nd time for the day, then I put GM to bed and had lunch with a friend.

I have thought.

He will always be mine, and always mine alone.

Even if we have a baby, even if things will be chaotic and harder than I can ever imagine (which is what everyone says about having children), he will stand by me no matter what.

So I bought him some flowers and Northern Lights by Philip Pullman. I will wake him now, and tell him that I brought him this not because we are having a baby, but because he is the most amazing man there is, and somehow this has made all my doubts melt away.

Monday, 5 July 2010

"I'm relieved this secret passage still works"*

When you open the door to happiness, you also have to open the other door, to all the stuff there was no space to feel previously.

I spent so much energy taking up as little space as possible in my previous relationship. Now I find that expanding into someone's arms, even though I trust them, is difficult. I have to unlearn so many coping skills that have become second nature, I have to unlock so many bolted passageways in there.

Yesterday improved, for a while. We went for a lovely long walk along the beach, took sickeningly cute photos of ourselves at the shore in front of a bunch of most likely jealous toddler parents who were out to dip their offspring in the not-too-cold-even-for-up-here sea.

Being outside just does wonders for me when I feel a bit down and restless. The weather was soothing, windy, warm but not too hot. GM bought me ice cream on the way back. We kissed and wondered how one makes an instance entrance for a wedding reception. GM thinks he knows someone who can.

We went for an open viewing in the neighbourhood, because it just so happened to go on when we passed by. Neither of us liked the flat.

Later, in the evening, we went on our second date. Yes, second. We only had one date before we started practically living in each other. I plucked my armpits and dressed up, GM cut his hair and trimmed his beard and also dressed up.

We walked along the seaside promenade in town, looked at the bench where we first sat a little over a month ago. GM said his heart skipped a beat when we first met properly a year ago. That even he, who will refuse at any opportunity to recognise that he feels something, admitted to himself that this probably meant something. All I remember is that he hugged me so softly, I wondered how a man his size could manage.

We made it to the restaurant on time. The reservation was made so early the place was almost empty, as the city sleeps off its latest "food and drink to excess"-festival (the festivals here have different names, but essentially they all do the same). The food was great. Coming home after was even better.

I had to do some work when we got back, and suddenly I felt so depressed. I had no anxious thoughts, no weird ideas of guilt or sorrow rushing through my mind, just a claw in my chest trying to squeeze tears out of me, though I've never been much of a crier, so of course nothing came.

GM stayed awake with me, holding me, soothing me. And I think I feel angry, somewhere deep down, but I also feel bad about feeling angry, so I can't seem to let it out. Maybe this something I feel but cannot name is not sorrow, but rage. Of all the wasted time, of all the tongues bitten, of all my needs and personality aspects locked away so deeply that not even I can seem to reach them anymore.

Yet, I will expand, like one of those Disney washcloth cubes you put in water that magically become a piece of terry fabric. I will drive down Highway 1, and I will hold the hand of the man I love, playing the Cure on the radio.

PS! I bring good luck. GM came with me once (!!) to do the seasonal boss, and now.. Well, the photo below looks a lot like him. Naked man pleased with his new Frostscythe of The Lord Ahune, yes, I'll have one of those.. Especially considering the snow flurry effect.

* "To the ends of the earth!"

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Dreams, dreams

GM drives me around to desecrate some midsummer fires.
In fact we got up at 0600 in the morning to do it, so my
brother now officially thinks we're both nuts.
I woke this morning at 0430 because I had a dream about my ex boyfriend, who was strangely as tall as GM, and who was crying his eyes out because he was sad. Previously to the crying we were watching Kazakh TV together, along with some former colleagues. I felt guilty.

I rolled over, cuddled up to GM, went back to sleep.

At 0645 I woke again, having had a dream where my parents had promised to refurbish some large part of the house, and were telling me in detail just why this could not go ahead as planned. For some reason this made me furious.

I feel weird this morning. Why, I don't know. Last night we had dinner with my brother, it was lovely as always (considering he is a chef I try to invite myself over as often as I possibly can) and I beat him at a Wii Sports Resort game, which is very unusual. Spain won the last quarter final, with David Villa, whom is in the top 5 prettiest players in the World Cup, scoring. It was good.

When we came home, I sat in the windowstill with white curtains billowing around me in the late evening breeze and undressed GM before he carried me off to bed.

So I don't know where all these negative feelings came from. My breasts are feeling tender and my back aches, it could be that my period is coming up. I feel weepy and angry and, well, weepy and angry. I don't know why.

GM is downstairs now, cooking me breakfast, and he is taking me out for a meal later on to commemorate our one month anniversary, which technically speaking was two days ago, but for some reason at the time we agreed it should be today. I guess old shift worker habits die hard, and we like to count full weeks ending on Sundays.

He is the loveliest man. I wake him at 0430, complain of my dream, refuse to tell him what it was about and he holds me and says he is there, now, and that he wants me. Today that just makes me want to cry.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Happiness is...

So I got engaged.

Wait, I'm going to write that one more time.. SO I GOT ENGAGED. In. Real. Life.

Omg, it looks all the more absurd in writing. It is 0617 in the morning and I can't go back to sleep to save my life.

If you want to read about the actual proposal, please skip by clicking here, because a lengthy rant of "how the fuck did you get engaged after less than a month" is to follow first.

I had a strange evening on Wednesday. Our Best Mutual Friend rang up and wanted to have a few beers in the evening. I invited him over. It just so happens he is also best friends with my First Proper Boyfriend, whom I was with when I was 15. Or at least they used to be, they are not as close anymore. FPB has actually finally managed to leave town at the age of thirtysomething, and I guess he has found that he in fact misses BMF, because he also wanted to come along. So did my brother.

Before the guests arrive, as I'm showering, I notice that my breasts are slightly swollen and sore. This is weird, as I have about two periods per year, and the last one was about three weeks ago. I say to GM that I could be pregnant. We google "early signs of pregnancy". We are happy. However, I find this thought too unreal to keep me from drinking. Poor lump of cells that might be down there.

So I am sitting in the beautifully refurbished kitchen of GM (though I guess now I should say "our" kitchen) with these four men: My brother, my lover, my first boyfriend and the man who introduced me to both the latter.

There were beers. There was cheap white wine from FPB, which was so sweet and nasty I had to help him drink it in exhange for a few G&Ts.

Whenever I drink with BMF, I get totally pissed. The last time we did this, in this house in fact, I had a whole bottle of wine to myself plus an unknown number of drinks. I was still trying to be with someone else. But it was here, surrounded by these people, that I had one of the best evenings I'd had in months.

BMF is barely allowed by his wife to go out with me, because one drink tends to turn into several, and we once went out for "one beer" and stayed there until 0400 in the morning when the bar closed.

The weird thing is, when we are together, I never feel drunk. I have known him since we were 10, and he knows everything there is to know about me, which is why I think I never notice that slippery slope from talking about work to talking about your sex life in disturbingly candid detail.

So we sit, we drink, and strangely life seems to have come full circle. BMF approves of me and GM, though he thinks it's weird, but he says, in fact, why should we not be together? He has a lengthy rant about how he thinks GM is smarter than me (in a conventional sense this is clearly bullshit, but no doubt GM would make a far better shrink than I'll ever be once I finish my studies).

FPB and I have a Spotify Battle all evening where FPB interrupts about 4 out of 5 songs I try to play and puts on old music that reminds me of being 15, holding hands, snogging in his basement and spending hours playing video games. Not much different than what I do these days, in fact.

I love FPB. He was an excellent first boyfriend, and since taught me the number one important rule of getting over boys: If they don't want you, they are either stupid or gay. So you probably shouldn't go for them anyway. This was, of course, long before I was with my gay ex and eliminated one of those options. These days I think whomever doesn't want me must simply be stupid. He looks into my heart, straight into it, still. I sort of wish I could have asked him what he thinks of this new relationship, but maybe I will never know. Maybe it's time to make my own decisions.

The evening rolled on. Much important stuff was talked about across the table, most of which doesn't actually matter anymore. But it was important at the time. I sat next to GM, we kissed, we held hands. We behaved. There was no public groping.

I belong with him now. I guess it was a coming out of the closet sort of event. We are now a unit. My closest friends have seen it. I spent the last half hour fashioning rings from beercan ringpulls with a Leatherman, which was no easy task, though I am somewhat unsure of whether this was due to the levels of alcohol in my blood or to the task being impossible to begin with.

Brother had to go home to his wife and kid, FPB and BMF decided to get a cab into town (which is like a 5 minute walk but as I said, there was quite a lot of drinking). I emphasised to GM that if he wanted to go with them, which under normal circumstances I'm sure he would have, I didn't mind, but I personally was fully ready to hit the sack. He insisted on staying home with me, though I think he appreciated the sentiment.

After they had left, about 130 in the morning, I sat on GMs lap in the kitchen, and though part of me wishes I remembered more about what we talked about, I know the central points were such:
  • We love each other.
  • We want to get married.
  • The proposal GM had secretly planned in his head involved whisking me away for a weekend in about six months time, proposing in front of some embassy where he had also secretly booked a slot for us to get married.
  • GM has been waiting because it is so soon, and the rest of the world cares about those things.
  • GM is slightly drunk (though he insists now that the moment was so sobering he felt sober, he clearly wasn't) and decides he doesn't give a shit what the rest of the world thinks.
  • We have never been better than with each other.
  • It becomes clear that my passport is not in town, so there will be now impulse-travelling to a romantic location this weekend.
  • GM says that this is just as well, as instead, my father will be incredibly proud to walk me down the aisle, my best friend will cry because she's my maid of honor, and my mother will shed tears of joy in the church of my choice.
  • Did I mention we love each other?

There was other talk too, kissing, hugging, which escapes me now. He, who never cries, is tearing up, I can see it. We feel emotional. We hug more. Then, GM lifts me up from the chair, and I assume he wants to carry me off to bed, which he does like five times a day (yes, five.. It's nuts, like being 21 again, or possibly even younger, when men had stamina and you thought maybe sex would run out once it was legal).

But he puts me down on the kitchen floor in front of the IKEA fridge with the ice cube dispenser, kneels down closely in front of me, takes my hand and says something I also can't quite remember, but which went along the lines of "I love you. Being with you is so good, I've never had it better. You are the most amazing girlfriend. I want to share the rest of my life with you. Will you marry me?"

I completely lose my faculty of speech, which, if you knew me, is pretty rare. Had I been completely sober, I would probably have cried. GM reports later that I looked clearly emotional. I hug him, I kiss his forehead. I manage to say yes, yes, yes, of course I will marry you.

There is more talking, though the only thing I can really remember is that he says we should go look at rings in the morning, and I can have what ever I want. And GM says he also thought that if I really am pregnant, he wanted me to know that he really wants us to be together forever, for me, for us, not just because we are having a baby. This brings me close to tears. He has a last cigarette and we have a pint of water (with ice from the ice dispenser) each. We brush our teeth, I am too dazed to notice that we don't clear the table, which I usually always do after a long evening, somehow we make it to the bedroom. We have sex, we fall asleep.

When I wake, early in the morning, I have no hangover, just a dull sensation that quite a lot of alcohol must have been consumed the evening before. I turn around in bed, and the man I love is there. He will be there, in person or in spirit, every time I wake for the rest of my life. It is an incredibly peaceful feeling to have.

I feel a little anxious that he will regret having popped the question after quite a few drinks, considering he had such grand plans. I feel a little disappointed that I can only remember bits of our pre- and post-proposal conversiation, because it felt important there and then. Though I suspect he remembers his proposal, it was rehearsed in his head over and over before he carried through with it, so even if he was drunk, which of course now he claims he wasn't, he will remember. Maybe one day I will ask.

Then GM wakes too, calls me his fiancee and says he loves me. We want to go into town for rings, but have to make love three times and have breakfast inbetween before we manage to get going. I have no regrets. Maybe he will carry my regrets for the rest of my life, as he does already. I feel lighter.

So we are now engaged. And I have never had it better, either.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

I'm dating my guild master

Yes, it's true. Love exists in Azeroth even though the chances of finding it are about 1:11.000.000. But I made it, we made it.

I asked my GM out for a drink. He said yes. I said I liked him. A lot. I told him I was anxious I might change my mind. He said he definitely wouldn't.

I told him I remembered when we first played together a year ago. He said he remembered what I was wearing when we first ran into each other seven years ago. I outfit tested it. He really did remember.

Every time I tell someone where we met, I blush. My mother refers to him as "the gamer" and refused to meet him for several weeks, as she is already lumbered with two addict children and one addict son-in-law. Probably she is wondering where she went wrong with it all. Personally I think she should have let us have an 8-bit Nintendo when we were kids, so we wouldn't have grown to see video games as such a treat.

Obviously now, though, my mum has caved in and met him. She loves him. Everyone does.

And I love him. I love him in a way I have not loved someone since I was 21 and fell head over heels for my gay ex and soulmate. I love him in a way that is whispered in someone's ear at 03.30 in the morning when they are half asleep, in a way that promises that he will never again have to scale back on his expectations of being cared for in order to avoid disappointment.

And to reassure my anxious and recently broken heart, he has confirmed that he will:
  • Scale back on smoking when we have children
  • Sometimes bite his tongue and watch lame TV with me
  • Do half of the housework
  • Hold me when I wake at night and I'm scared
  • Always kiss me when he returns
  • Probably cry when I tell him I'm pregnant
  • Propose
  • Look me in the eye and still be his own person

He will carry me through life and I will carry his heart that he has given me, that is beating in my chest in return for mine.

He will boost me through every instance, make sure I have all the gems my gear can carry, teach me how to tank and heal, dps race me and tell me I'm great even when he crushes me, he will love me especially because I understand the pleasure of killing a gnome and getting an extra nice cable from Clas Ohlson on a Saturday afternoon.

I will not look back. This is it.

Monday, 24 May 2010

A face in the doorway

I stand in the doorway, and the flat looks entirely different. I have moved in. I have a jewelry tree, I have lilac paint on the walls, silk scarves and dirty socks strewn carelessly across furniture.

I am here on my own. My hair tossed up on top of my head, my skin itching.

Is it sorrow? Is it restlessness?

When I look into the bedroom, I fear love.

I have flashes of dreams, of running hand in hand down a road in the rain, dodging the cars and laughing.

Of waking up and cooking breakfast for someone.

That I'm happy, intimate, that I don't think romance is dead, that I'm with someone that sees me, understands me, loves me.

I spend way too much time thinking about that, because the more I do, the more I fear it.

The inevitable disappointment, the scaling back of passion to the Little Love that sustains a relationship alongside dogged commitment and a refusal to give up.

I am not sure this shows on my face. My eyes are dry.

Monday, 17 May 2010

To my rebound crush,

So we have actually spent quite a lot of time together, though I can't remember the time we first met.

I'm tumbling down a slope of falling for you. I don't know if it's serious.

This is what a rebound is I guess, once you are allowed to really experience all those crushes you had to previously suppress, they start blossoming like weeds after a spring shower.

You are lovely, you really are. This whole spring when I've been complaining, whingeing, irritable, erratic, you have given me hugs at every opportunity, you have listened, given constructive advice and loyal support. Even though we barely know each other.

So now I am pouring all my dreams for the future into your cup.

Will you quit smoking if we have children? Will you sometimes bite your tongue and watch lame TV with me? Will you put up with me not talking to you for a day when your football team beats mine? Will you do half of the housework? Will you hold me when I wake at night and I'm scared? When I forgot to get something really important for supper, will you nip out and get it, and kiss me when you return? Will you cry when I tell you I'm pregnant? When you propose, will you look me in the eye and still be your own person?

I am asking so much of you, and who knows, maybe in real life you read the Daily Hate Mail and we have nothing in common. There is only one way to find out, but I don't think I'm ready to try yet. And I'm certainly not ready to break your heart in three months time when I realise that yes, it was just a rebound crush and you were not the cup I should be pouring all those hopes and dreams into.

Because even if you are not the one for me, you are without a doubt one of the nicest people who have crossed my path since I can remember.

Maybe when I come out on the other side, I will tell you this.

I know you will listen.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

We kiss children, dry lips, softly.

I sense you next to me in the cinema, we are in the back row, nobody can see us, it is in the daytime but we've sought out the dark. Dust dances in the flickering light just above our heads, suspended in an imaginary road leading somewhere, anywhere.

You are holding my right hand in yours, you look at me and smile, and this is when I kiss you.

I wasn't planning to, not now, but maybe all along, all these years that we have known each other.

I steal that kiss, just as this time is stolen, and we are sitting in the back so that nobody will spot us, we both know this, though neither of us has said so.

We think the same and say it, all the time. But this time, neither of us does. Some things don't bear being reminded about.

And this is why our first kiss is one between two children, because that is what I remember, you as a child, though of course we thought we were adults back then, and we kissed like adults, greedily, blindly.

As you kiss me back, the memory is buried at the back of my dirty laundry, so many garments waiting to be washed, maybe tomorrow, next week, just not right now.

But I find you, the taste of you in my mouth has been somewhere all along, and I am thinking, I could get used to you again.

Sometime soon, the lights will come on and we will go on as if nothing has happened. But I know you are looking at me when you think nobody can see it.

Saturday, 17 April 2010


It is raining outside today. Large drops falling almost straight, hardly any wind, and the harbor is rippled only by the impact of water on water.

The city is still sleeping, though I hesitate to call it a city, because it is not much more than a town really.

I have thought about whether I feel lonely. Whether I always felt lonely and thereby became a serial monogamist. It is weird. I never planned on having a boyfriend when I was younger. Sure, I liked guys but I've never really liked committment.

And I've never managed to form a relationship form which I got as much or more than I gave. With J and I, I guess we both gave more than we got. Our relationship turned into some kind of vortex that just sucked the life out of us both. The kind you read about in romatic novels, at the beginning, before the heroine realises that actually, the dashing guy next door is her true love. Like the opposite of gestalt theory, the whole is lesser than its parts.

So what am I afraid of? I, who barely know what fear is, unless it slaps me across the face with a fist, which it actually only did once for a brief moment during this last trauma.

My mother, always the pragmatic, told me several times to stop calling people, because she worried that they "would get tired of me". Experience of course showed that people didn't get tired of me, though they probably got used to me showing initiative and therefore rarely rang me first.

And maybe they didn't ring me first because there was something aloof about me, I had no fear. I might say no.

But I remembered my mother's words, and now I am worried of getting in touch with people, even though I do it, I don't feel entirely comfortable with it, except with my few very close friends whom I know I could call at any time of the day and they really would not mind.

Then there is the moving. I have moved around so much that I have never had time to settle into someone's social group. I am always welcome, never expected. Have I moved so much because I was afraid that if I tried to settle in, I wouldn't be accepted? I don't think so. I think this is just what I've had to sacrifice on the altar of my restlessness. Among other things. Though in a sense one could also say that at least they never have time to get tired of me.

So therefore, having a partner was always comforting to me, to my insecurity and partially my laziness.

It is fantastic to always have someone there, someone who will entertain me or that I can engage with my random thoughts about life, someone to have sex with. Sex on tap is extremely underrated, and I can tell I'm getting pretty cranky now though I'm too lazy and still feeling too tender to do anything about it.

I don't actually mind being on my own. I just mind not knowing that someone won't come rushing to my side the second I do.

Thursday, 15 April 2010


Slowly I am moving out of this numbness that's pretty much constituted all of my emotional life for the last month or so.

I remember what it can be like to wish to wake up in someone elses arms, to actually yearn for social contact with friends, to make playlists in Spotify just because you can.

There should always be an ex to fall back on. Just not the one you just broke up with, obviously.

The insane thing about being in love is the inevitability you start to think applies to you being with the object of your affections. It feels like it must happen to such an extent that you think it will happen. This is clearly delusional, but it is such a lovely flight of fancy, such an incredible high, that it's difficult to resist.

I've stolen enough moments with my "one who got away" that I now remember what it's like. It's a dangerous game, but what is life for, if not for playing...

Monday, 12 April 2010

Better late than never

I've finally gotten around to painting my corridor. My parents came over and helped, but honestly, I did at least 20% of it myself.. The red heart of the flat has been obliterated by white and lilac. I love it already, and have taken to keeping the lights out there lit at all times so I can glance out of the living room door and admire our work.

Obviously I've suddenly noticed all the other things in the flat that need painting.. Uh oh.

Before: A lovely deep red which is probably nice for curtains if you have a Victorian hunting lodge, not a 2 square metres corridor...  

After: Niiiiice! Lilac to go with my new green spring coat from Ted Baker. I had to scour London to find it, but it was worth every minute of "hard work"!
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Sunday, 11 April 2010

All time love

Spring has finally arrived, and with it, my all time love. He puts a smile on my face, and I feel seen, heard, validated, in the way I always do when we meet.

I will not act on this, I don't think there is any need to. Our train passed the station a long time ago and for whatever reason we never got on it.

It is simply good to find that I can still fall stupidly in love, that my heart is not broken for ever, that things are fixable.

The fact that I have fallen in love before does not mean my quota of bliss has been spent. Past performance is a guarantee of future income.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Words escape me

It's weird, this feeling after a breakup of being totally discombobulated. Language is leaving me, as at least I thought Annie Lennox sang at some point, though she might in fact have sung something completely different as this was back in the day when I knew most English language lyrics only phonetically.

Being on my own, I really feel lost for words. I guess you might have to know me in person to know what a monumentous statement that actually is. I am the girl that talks. I occasionally listen if I get paid to do so, but usually words just pour out of me until most people wish it had stopped a long time ago.

But now, I can't find them. I don't feel like talking, I don't feel like writing. I know I am not very good at emotion. As my best friend said as I was visiting her and her kids at Easter, I talk about my feelings a lot, but I don't really express them.

I haven't cried for over a week. It is odd. I am sure there are tears there, just behind my eye sockets, lurking in my sinuses maybe, just waiting to be cried. But they don't come. Like the words, they seem stuck.

Maybe a breakup throws you back to some pre-verbal stage of grief or confusion. You have to go though the developmental stages again at breakneck speed (physical withdrawal at your needs no longer being met ==> terrible twos and anger ==> learning new stuff at school age ==> Ready to fall in love again head over heels like a teenager ==> Mature relationship. Hopefully).

I don't know when I'll learn to put together sentences properly again, with more than two words in them. I keep dropping out mid-sentence at the moment. But things are progressing. This week, I'm painting the entryway. Next week, talking again.

Friday, 26 March 2010

My first ever...

...knitted adult pair of socks!

OK, so I'm not convinced both of them are exactly the same size, due to the emotional duress I was under during sock no. 2, but on paper, I'd say I've done a great job.

I knitted using Rowan 4-ply soft and made up the pattern on the fly. The wool is super erm, soft, and the socks are actually way too nice to hide inside a pair of shoes, yet way too thick to fit inside any small footwear that would actually show them off. D'oh.. Shoulda thought of that I guess!
Knitting is oddly comforting. Psychologically, the combination of repetitive actions with a certain requirement for concentration can't be beaten. Except maybe by WoW.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

It's a girl

It is weird, being on your own all of a sudden. I realise how much energy went into my past relationship, and now that energy and time is all just there, for me to spend on.. what ever I want to.

Today, I put feet on the TV cabinet which has been Victorian legless since I purchased it almost a year ago. I have filled the holes in the corridor wall with putty and will sand it down and paint it one day..

I have rearranged the bedroom. Maybe soon, I will get around to rearranging the closet as well, seeing as I now have twice as much space.

And in a strange way, the same thing seems to be happening inside myself, there is twice as much space for me to just be.. me. It's a weird feeling to just be oozing into my own skin after such a long time, like an amoeba preparing to split in half again at a later stage.

And no, don't worry, I haven't suddenly gone mad and started a baby blog. It's my friend's baby. She went for her 18 week scan today and I am celebrating by knitting a baby cardigan.

I actually started casting on in class today before my friend even told me what gender the baby was, but she has been claiming for weeks that it was a girl, so I pretty much thought it was a safe bet. After all, one has about a 50% chance of getting it right...

I knitted one of these earlier, for my niece I think, and it came out really well.

So new projects, new prospects, new configurations of furniture.

Still working to suppress the feeling that I might die alone at 80, surrounded by cats, though.