Spotify was the first to release the year 2020 stats and top lists, so I’ll start with that. Oddly enough, Rush rushed to the top of the list, having been the band I hadn’t much even listened to, ever, until late last year (that would be 2019). During this year, however, it has become one of my favorite go-to bands, right there with Foo Fighters, Muse, and Linkin Park. And Morcheeba, the mellow moody music.
Books get to be next. Did not read quite as much this year as the year before: 35 books/13,424 pages (2019 46 books/18,919 pages), but last year was exceptional due to the binging of Harry Potters. This year was more according to average. If I had to select the best and the least liked book of the year, the least liked one is an easy pick: Berlin Poplars by Anne B. Radge. The best one is more difficult to pick, but I think if I had to choose only one of this year’s book to take with me on a desert island, I think I’d take Erin Morgenstern’s The Starless Sea. Or maybe Kate Morton’s The Secret Keeper. It’s a tie.
Photos next. The Top Nine’s from Instagram are kinda bs, for depending on the app you get a different set of nine. Best Nine app creates collages without watermarks (unlike the Top 9 app that wants you to pay a few euros to remove the watermark), so we’ll go with them. Flickr, unfortunately, doesn’t give a yearly recap, not even yearly stats.
Lastly, blog posts. I still have a bunch of blogs in Blogger, even though all of them get updates rather infrequently. The Happy Dogs Diary was the most active of them this year, mainly due to Ace, and me writing quite many posts about him during his first months. The most viewed post was Ace’s first day at home.
Artzy Bunny had some new posts too during the year, since I did do some painting and other art projects this year too. The most viewed post was my painting of Ace, go figure 😉
From Kitchen, with Love had a few new posts during this year, too. It is my most viewed blog, for sure, even though I don’t add much content there anymore. The most viewed post of this year was, in fact, a recipe from 2013, that of a feta and spinach pie (a very delicious pie, I can assure you!)
This one, the home of marilka.net, had 2,113 views this year, with a total of 20 new posts (not including this one) and five new pages published this year. The most read post is still that one about the busted OBHNordica blender 😀 There’s a few other posts that keep on keeping on in the top list, like the one about sulphate free shampoo and the one about a snowy winter’s morning.
I think that wraps it up for this year, with 5 hours to go until the Mad Max year of 2021.
I almost wrote something about the “Corona year”, but truly, it hasn’t defined my year, even if it has had its impact on my life just as everyone else’s. Life has continued through it all, things have happened – both good and bad – and now it’s time to take a look at all of it.
Corona was distant world news only, nothing bigger than the SARS everyone had already forgotten about. More important things were those like going to the IMAX movie theater to see the latest Star Wars movie with daughter, and starting the remodeling of our studio/office. Daughter and I started dance lessons again after a few years’ break.
Quote of the month: I think they’ve gotten it all wrong here at the airport. We actually need to board the plane, get in the air and fly to our destination. NOT enough to just gather people to the gate and turn off the lights. (Me) Book of the month: Garber, Stphanie – Finale (Caraval #3) The finale of a series that in many ways resemble The Night Circus. A world of magic and illusion. The battle of good and evil, not only in the world but inside of individuals.
Pic of the month:
There was the Ypäjä open doors, daughter’s school production, our new bed, and an ear infection. Nothing major going on.
Quote of the month: To expect something greater after life was to forget that life was the greatest thing of all. (Nina George, The Little Breton Bistro) Book of the month:George, Nina – The Little Breton Bistro Seek and destroy. Escape and find a new life. A book about finding oneself, one’s selfworth, the essence of life and family – not necessarily of blood but of friendship.
Pic of the month:
A day trip to Tampere, and Bryan Adams in concert in Espoo right before the Corona shits started for real in Finland. No more dance classes, stay at home working, stay at home school. Just, stay the fuck at home.
Quote of the month:My life just changed when I realised that Bon Jovi sings “let it rock, let it GO”, not “let it rock, let it roll!” My life has been a lie (Me) Book of the month:Itäranta, Emmi – Teemestarin kirja (Memory of Water) A dystopia where water is restricted, owned by the government and used as a means of oppression. A young Tea Master still has a secret water source and she tries to help the villagers inconspicuously. She also plots her escape, to go to her mom. A rather fascinating read.
Pic of the month:
More of stay at home. Except that we didn’t entirely, but went for an outing or two, out into the nature, just to get away from the four walls closing in. Ok, once. Once we drove to Linlo. Other than that we had walks aroung here. And we went to see a lady about a puppy ❤
Quote of the month:Quarantine ups: teen’s room stays clean when she wears her jammies day and night (Me) Book of the month:Riley, Lucinda – The Shadow Sister (The Seven Sisters #3) Perhaps my favorite of the Seven Sisters books, perhaps because it travels in the booky world. I read them all – except for the seventh one which is to be expected next year. I fancied them all what with the mixture of contemporary and historical all over the world. Not all stories ended well – actually quite a bit of them didn’t – but life always wins.
Pic of the month:
I suppose the month could be just as well named Ace. First impatiently waiting for him to come, then our life revolving around the little meatball. Though, we actually got a whole lot of renovation stuffs done in our hallway while waiting for the little dude, and I did go to the hairdresser too.
Quote of the month:Deep down we all want to be twelve years old again. With all the innocence of childhood still lingering, with all of of our life still ahead. We all have that one thing that took us over the bridge. (Me) Book of the month:Mujunen, Salme – Pentuaapinen Puppies for Dummies or so. The beginner’s guide to caring for a pup. We’ve had dogs for years, but neither one came to us a puppy. It was ok, lot’s of tips and stuff.
Pic of the month:
Oh, glory! I turned 45! Went kayaking with some colleagues, swimming at our summerplace, and just, erhm, stayed at home. Oh, we ventured out to the public enough to enjoy a sunny evening on the terrace of Torpanranta (in Munkkiniemi). I lauched my new FB page Mama Loves Bully – all about dogs.
Quote of the month:You know it’s summer when there’s no socks of mine in the laundry (Me) Book of the month:Barker, Pat – The Silence of the Girls Interesting different approach of the legend of Achilles and Troy. Really. It’s not so much about the war heroes, more like the ugly side of it all. Told by the women in the camp of those so called heroes. The only thing I missed in the book though was that there was no Trojan horse. I mean, how was there no Trojan horse!
Pic of the month:
Vacation month. Zippy ziplining with daughter, day-trip to Hanko and Tammisaari, a weekend at our summer place, a few days at a cabin up in Vesanto picking up daughter who worked for a week at our relatives’ dairy farm. Stuffs like that – in addition to reading in the sun on our terrace, whenever the sun decided to warm our days.
Quote of the month:I KNOW you KNOW how to [use a knife, drive, do whatnot], it’s just that you’re so absent minded. Like, driving down the road, you’re like thinking of unicorns and other universes and such. (H) Book of the month:Morgenstern, Erin – The Starless Sea An adventure between worlds. Who is good, who is evil, who is right, who is wrong? And why, and does it even matter? Morgenstern knits a dreamlike world full of intrigue and danger, but somehow this book is just not as dreamy and amazing as her first one, The Night Circus.
Pic of the month:
Back to work. Actually back to work at the office, at least a couple days a week. We spent some time outdoors in Linlo and Luutalammi, visited some friends in Labböle, ate crawdads at our summer place, and whatnot. Hunted for an apartment (actually a room) for daughter, prepared for her moving to her own place at the beginning of September. Had my last drop of alcohol for the rest of however long time.
Quote of the month:Kuoleman läheisyydessä pelkäämme meluamista, aivan kuin viikatemies ei olisi vielä poistunut vaan etsisi seuraavaa uhriaan ja voisi kuulla. (Indrek Hargla, Apteekkari Melchior ja Olevisten kirkon arvoitus) [Freely translated: “In the vicinity of death we are afraid of making any noise, as if Death was still lingering nearby looking for his next victim and could hear us.”] Book of the month:Hargla, Indrek – Apteekkari Melchior ja Olevisten kirkon arvoitus Humhumhum. I did even get the next book in the series. It’s kinda like the C. J. Sansom Shardlake books. A bit slowpaced, like I suppose life was back hundreds of years ago. Much doesn’t really happen, the main character just goes about noticing things and finding the culprit with sharp-witted deduction. Not bad, but not my favorite style of writing either. Intriguing, though.
Pic of the month:
Daughter moved to her own place, a room in a dorm-like apartment. Son turned twenty and is not a teen anymore. I went kayaking with colleagues, and downhill biking with colleagues. Kayaking was all good despite the rough waters, but the biking ended in a broken arm and surgery. Gotta get some new experiences sometimes, right? So then, the rest of the month I was on sickleave from life.
Quote of the month:Consultant is a machine that turns coffee into speech(No one and everyone) Book of the month:Lipasti, Roope – Jälkikasvukausi How does one translate a word that is not really a word even in Finnish but more like a mesh-up of two compound words? Maybe it’s unimportant anyway. The story is that of a completely normal family with teens. It’s all about growth and pains and mistakes and learning from them. Written with warm humor.
Pic of the month:
Yey! Back to work again, feeling like a human again. We built a whole lot of cabinets in the room vacated by daughter. There was even a dinner with my dad and kids, and 69 Eyes gig at Tavastia. Kinda like almost like normal life.
Quote of the month:The wave harmonic theory of historical perception, in its simplest form, states that history is an illusion caused by the passage of time, and that time is an illusion caused by the passage of history. (Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) Book of the month:Radge, Anne – Berlin Poplars I can’t actually recommend this one really. I think it was the worst book I read all year. Quite boring, going into seemingly unimportant details forever before getting to the beef – which really was the last 3 pages of the book. Yes, intriguing in a strange way, enough for me to not stop reading halfway (or fourthway or thirdaway or… I did consider!) with crash boom bang at the end. I guess it was worth it. Maybe.
Pic of the month:
November was actually a rather good month. It started all sorts of good new things in our life. Nothing special or major events, just good times together with and without our offspring who visited us every so often.
Quote of the month:Humor is looking at the broad picture, and then finding the incongruous detail. Humor is another word for looking at life from a slightly different angle. It means not taking yourself too seriously. In addition to all that, it adds a bit of fun to the process of living. (Elaine Cunningham, Elfsong) Book of the month:Jones, Terry – Douglas Adams’ Starship Titanic One of the lesser known Adams stories. While Douglas Adams was busy creating the video game, Terry Jones wrote the story into a book. Very much a Douglas Adams book, if not entirely written – or maybe finalized into novel format – by him.
Pic of the month:
Oh Christmas tree…! No Christmas tree in this house, except for a tiny non-real one. Like 40cm tall. Surprisingly enough dude has left it alone, at least mostly. There was Christmas time, teens and the non-teen visiting. There was Cards Against Disney, puzzles, good foods, and just good times together. And then the year came to its end.
Quote of the month:“My life is such a mess,” I said to Lula. “Maybe,” she said, “but your hair looks good.” (Janet Evanovich, Fortune and Glory) Book of the month:Adeyemi, Tomi – Children of Blood and Bone A magical fantasy built on Nigerian culture. As is true in most fantasy, the main characters are barely out of their diapers – actually most of the characters are – but if you don’t let the naivety innocence of them bother you, the story actually flows rather nicely and I truly enjoyed the read. Way more than I did the sequel (and still I definitely will read the third one once it comes, for the second one left off on such a cliffhanger).
As 2020 is coming to its end, it is time to take a look at the past decade. The first full decade after my divorce from my kids’ dad, a decade that has seen more than any before in my life, a decade that has seen my kids grow up to be adults (well, almost; the youngest one still has three months to go until she turns 18, but she is more or less independent, living on her own already, so adult in ways too). So let’s see, at the beginning of…
…2011 I had been divorced for a year, went through a nasty-ending rebound relationship, and was licking my wounds after a short-lived affair with a married guy. During the Christmas time of 2010 I had made my peace with myself, and was rapidly settling down for a life alone with two cats and my every-other-week-kids. Right then, when I least expected, this Man stepped into my life and swept me into a rollercoaster of emotions that has now lasted for, well, a few weeks shy of a decade, and still going.
Highlights of 2011 were most definitely our summer vacation on Tinos ❤ with a twist of Mykonos, and our short but sweet 23 hour trip to Paris in December. I did do quite a bit of traveling that year – in addition to Tinos and Paris, I spent 2 weeks visiting my mom at Gran Canaria with my kids, a weekend in Tallinn, a week in Anaheim, CA, at a SharePoint Conference, and we went on a cruise to Stockholm, all five of us (me, my new man, our three kids).
Lowlight would be giving our cats away in August, with the understanding that my life simply did not support the wellbeing of them. It was bitter and I still sometimes miss them, but I did what I thought best at the time. Even in retrospect, it was the right decicion.
…2012 H and I had had our first New Year’s Eve together, all five of us, actually. We had settled into a rather serious relationship and were working hard to get our kids accept it. In late summer we decided to move in together, thinking it would be better before our kids hit the teen years, so we rented a big house in August and began our journey together as a household.
The year saw me in Amsterdam (oh the Anne Frank museum!) with H, Las Palmas with my kids, Tallinn with H, Tinos for two weeks all five of us, and a business trip to London with a colleague. It also saw us in great distress during the last quartal of the year, for reasons better left unwritten here.
…2013 we were living a rather normal life of a new family, an “uusperhe”. Kids were every other week with us, every other week with their other parents. I had my first (and so far last) speaker experience in an international Conference when I gave a session about SharePoint branding in the European SharePoint Conference in Copenhagen in February. In early August we went on a roadtrip with all kids around the Turku archipelago.
In June my mom was diagnosed with lung cancer and I went to Las Palmas to visit her alone in July. Later in the autumn mom came to Finland to live with us and my sister’s family. Around the same time we got our first dog, when Meggie came from Spain and found her forever home with us.
…2014 I was scheduled for acoustic neuroma surgery. My mom was starting her chemo at about the same time. She moved from our place to my sister’s a few days before my surgery, and due to, erhm, disagreements, she never came back to our house, but instead moved back to Las Palmas a month before she died in mid-May. A couple weeks later my sister and I flew down to take care of her stuffs there.
My surgery was a success, though the recuperation was not a small thing. I had to learn basically everything from the start – walking, spooning stuff into my mouth, driving the car, washing my hair, everything. It did come back quite fast and after 10 weeks I was back to working, having suffered two major losses: hearing from the left side and my naval piercing. Oh, and my balance will never be the same again.
At the end of July our pack grew with another spanish rescue dog, when Timmy joined our family. He had a bit of rough start with a broken paw and a bloody diarrhea episode, but has fared well since those. In November we moved to another house in Paloheinä, and in December I visited Barcelona for a weekend with our company.
…2015 we were doing all sorts of renovations in our new home (which was, in fact, a 60 year old house): kitchen, electricity, some plumbing even. And it went on for most of the year too, later spreading to other stuffs like painting hallways etc. The kitchen we managed to finish in May. Both of my kids moved to live solely with us for different reasons. Son in Febuary, daughter in August.
In May my grandmother turned 90, and in August she ended up having emergency surgery and died a week later. The surgery went well, but her heart couldn’t handle it. Second major loss for me in little over a year. I myself turned 40 in June and we had a biggish party in July. My only trip outside of Finland was a company trip to Berlin in November. The year went down as the year my grandma died.
…2016 H was going on business trips every few weeks for a few days at a time while I worked at home a lot. My step-daughter moved to live solely with her mother, only visiting us for a few days or so every month. On the other hand my kids stopped spending weekends at their dad’s, only seeing him occasionally. In March I went on a business trip to Brussels, getting out of there only a day or so before the explosion at the airport. I also went on a girls’ trip to Tallinn with a bunch of my friends.
In May my son finished his mandatory school and decided to burn his school books in the yard so that’s what we did: had a book bonfire going for math books and Swedish book, mostly. H and I drove to Lapland for a week on summer holiday. In the autumn I traveled to Austria a couple times: a long weekend in Seefeld in early October and a short week in Vienna for a SharePoint conference in November.
…2017 saw us move again. This time to my grandparents’ old home after my dad had acquired it for himself (and emptied it). H got his Finnish citizenship in March and in July we got married. Just the simple civil service with my dad and his wife, and my sister and her husband, and our kids attending, and some champagne at home afterwards. A few days later we had a big barbeque party for friends to celebrate our nuptials. At the end of spring the middle-daughter finished her mandatory school.
Unfortunately we didn’t escape renovations in the new home either (to be certain, they’re still ongoing), starting with a full kitchen remodeling. H tore everything old out and we built a new one from scratch, renewing even the floor. In July we took ourselves and the dogs again to Vuotso for a week. I had been to Tallinn on a company trip in June, and in the autumn I traveled to magical Dublin for a conference yet again, and Prague for a company weekend. Before Christmas my son moved to Ypäjä to study.
…2018 life was just plodding along. Son was at Ypäjä, but I took my kids for a weekend at the company villa in Tammela for some hot tubbing and chilling. In May, right at the time of the Eurovision Song Contest (definitely not by design, quite the opposite! that’s what you get for not being interested in these popular events) I took daughter to Lisboa for a long weekend. Apart from that I visited Tallinn with my friends in May and Amsterdam in December.
In the summer we got a new car and took it and the daughters and dogs for a roadtrip to the Turku archipelago, just one night in a cabin and back home. Vuotso met us again in July, this time with the addition of my daughter, two inflatable kayaks, a bb-gun, and a horsebow. At home our summer was mostly spent in the phase 1 of our yard remodeling, i.e. clearing out the jungle. In the autumn I spent a wonderful day scouring the Helsinki Book Fair just on my own.
…2019 one of the first things I did was helped my son buy a car for himself. A 15yo Audi A4 it was, the dream car for the young man studying in the middle of nowhere. This freed me from chauffering him back and forth when he came home for a few days every few weeks. This came to an end already at the end of spring, though, for he graduated in May and moved back to Helsinki, and into his own apartment in the autumn. Youngest daughter ended her mandatory school. In the summer we built our wonderful terrace and got an inflatable hot tub for the yard.
In May I traveled to France – Lyon and Sète – with middle-daughter. That actually was my only trip outside of Finland that year, and so far my last one. Our traditional company trip was supposed to be a cruise to St. Petersburg but that got canceled so we spent a weekend in beautiful Lehmonkärki instead. We didn’t even go to Lapland for summer vacation, our own yard being so nice and all.
…2020 I was thinking that I had another year as usual ahead of me. One with a whole lot of normal life and maybe some special ups and downs. Actually, looking back, that it mostly was, despite the coronageddon. Before the pandemic hit Finland life was nothing out of special. I went to Ypäjä Open Doors with son, and saw Bryan Adams in concert with H and didn’t even think too much about the Corona that still seemed somehow so far away. Then it did hit with us and for a while it caused a lot of fear.
For five months we were all huddled here at home, I barely saw my son and dad, let alone any others. Then again, all of that is nothing out of ordinary, except for the part of not going to the office and daughter’s school being remote school. At the beginning of September, daughter moved to her own home.
In May, however, we got a new member to our pack when little dude Ace joined our family as an eight week old meatball. In June I took daughter to Zippy for some zipline adventures. We spent a day in Hanko. Daughter spent a week at Vesanto working at their dairy farm and we drove up there to pick her up, and stayed for a couple nights in their cabin. We even visited some friends at their summerplace in August, and went to see 69 Eyes at Tavastia in October. I returned to partial office work after my summer vacation, went kayaking, downhill biking and to the theater with some colleagues. Our Christmas party was online in Teams, though.
And had my arm operated. One could understand that downhill biking is not very safe for a person with less than perfect balance. So I broke my arm and had to have surgery. By the end of the year I’m still going to physiotherapy with it, but it’s doing quite good.
2011-2020 in stats
Countries visited: 16 (Sweden, Denmark, Estonia, USA, Belgium, Netherlands, Spain mainland, Canary islands, France, Germany, Austria, Ireland, England, Czeck Republic, Portugal, Greece)
Books read: who the fuck knows? Didn’t start using Goodreads until sometime in 2016, but if the stats after that are any indication, I’d say a decade would be somewhere around 350-400 books
Number of devices used: 20 – 7 cellphones (2 HTC’s, 3 Lumias, 2 iPhones), 4 tablets (Galaxy Tab, iPad 2, Kindle Fire, iPad 5 mini), 2 smart watches (FitBit, Apple Watch 4), 7 laptops (1 mini, 2 home laptops, 2 HP work laptops, Surface Book Pro 2, Surface Book 3)
Home addresses: 4 (Pakkala, Torpparinmäki, Paloheinä, Munkkivuori)
I suppose that just about does it. Oh, there’s been a lot lot more, a whole lot of things I won’t go into. A whole lot of difficult stuffs, but all in all, I think I’m ending this decade and entering the next one on the plus side of things.
Joskus tuossa alkukuusta keskimmäinen kysyi mieheltä ja minulta, mitä haluaisimme joululahjaksi. Vaikka sittemmin vastasimme kumpikin esikoiselle samaan kysymykseen ihan konkreettisilla asioilla, keskimmäiselle sanoin, ettei minulla sen kummempia toiveita ole, kuin että saisin koko katraamme meille viettämään joulua (tai esi-joulua, kuten yleensä, sillä joku tai jotkut ovat aina toisaalla aattona).
Sunnuntaina ennen joulua tämä toiveeni toteutuikin, kun – sovitusti – kaikki kolme nuortamme tuli meille, ollakseen meillä iltaa kaikessa rauhassa ja kiireettä. Syötiin perinteistä isoäitini reseptillä valmistamaani lohipiirakkaa, vähän vähemmän perinteistä poropiirakkaa, ja donitseja. Pelattiin Cards Against Disneyä iltamyöhälle, sillä jopa esikoinen jäi yöksi. Kaksi nuorempaa olivat meillä keskiviikkoon saakka, jolloin tosikoinen lähti kotiin, vain tullakseen aattona takaisin. Keskimmäinen lähti äitinsä ja pikkuveljensä kanssa mummilaan perinteiseen joulunviettoon.
Mitään kovin perinteistä ei meidän joulussa olekaan. Minä lienen ainoa, jolla on edes jotain perinteitä joulunajassa. Lauantaina paketoin joululahjat White Christmasin pyöriessä telkkarissa. Aatonaattona kävin faijan kanssa isovanhempieni ja isoisovanhempieni haudalla Espoossa. Avasin partiokalenterin viimeisen luukun aattoaamuna. Keitin riisipuuron, jota miehen kanssa söimme katsellessamme joulurauhanjulistusta Yle Areenalta (suorana toki). Siinä kai se.
Esikoinen ja tosikoinen tulivat meille isänsä kyydillä kahden maissa aattoiltapäivänä. Minun isäni tuli piipahtamaan hetkeksi neljän maissa. Jos ei nyt muuta jouluista niin paistoin kuitenkin joulutorttuja ja keitin glögiä (vaikkei nuo nuoret sitä edelleenkään juokaan) ja faija istui kanssamme tovin ennen kuin lähti kotiinsa varsinaiseen joulunviettoon pari uunituoretta pientä banana nut breadiä mukanaan. Me saatiin vaihdossa pieni taatelikakku, joka katosikin (meille jääneiden neljän pienen banaanileivän tavoin) parempiin suihin seuraavien parin päivän aikana.
Jouluaatto soljui iltaan rauhallisesti – mitä nyt nuo kuopukset välillä aiheuttivat vähän hässäkkää, kuten tavallista. Availtiin paketit, käytiin koirien kanssa ulkona, laitettiin ruoka ja syötiin. Ruoka, tai pikemmin ruoat. Valmistin nuorille lohipastan, jota söivät samalla kun mies ja minä syötiin alkupaloiksi silliä ja mätiä smetanan kanssa. Nuorten vetäytyessä pelaamaan pleikkaa ja hoitamaan koirien iltakävelyä, me valmistettiin meidän pääruoka: surf and turf. Hummeri ja pippurikuorrutettu tomahawk.
Joulupäivänä oli vuorostaan sushi-päivä. Hääräsin keittiössä keskenäni sushia loihtimassa, nauttien keittiön hiljaisesta rauhasta. Olen aina tykännyt sushin tekemisestä (ja tehnytkin sitä itse jo kauan ennen kuin suurin osa suomalaisista tiesi mitä sushi on, aikana jolloin Helsingissä oli tasan kaksi japanilaista ravintolaa), siinä on jotain rauhoittavaa. Leikellä kaloja ja avocadoja siivuiksi, pyöritellä riisiä nigiri-kököiksi, asetella kalaviipaleita riisin päälle, rullailla norirullia. Usein teen myös tamagorulla – munakasrulla – mutta joulupäivänä jätin sen väliin. Sushia tuli ihan tarpeeksi ilmankin.
Esikoinen lähti kotiinsa Tapanina tavaralastinsa kanssa. Joukossa oli mm. uusia tyynyjä, vedenkeitintä, leivänpaahdinta, ja sen sellaista tarpeellista. “Tuntuu kamalan aikuiselta, kun lahjatoiveet on hyötytarpeita”, tuumi poikaseni availlessaan pakettejaan ja todetessaan sekä isän että äidin toteuttaneen kaikki annetut toiveet ja tarpeet. Poika muuttaa tammikuussa ensimmäiseen ikiomaan asuntoonsa ja tarvitsee kaikenlaista, mikä jää nykyiselle kämppikselle.
Tytär on vielä meillä, sillä mitäpä hän siellä yksinäisessä solussaan kavereidenkin viettäessä aikaa kotona, perheen kesken. Huomenna hänkin palailee kuitenkin solukämppäänsä, ainakin joksikin aikaa; en ihmettelisi vaikka vielä saisimme hänet tänne päiväksi muutamaksi ennen koulun alkua, mutta sitä ennen on mahdollisia kaveririentoja ja uudenvuodenaattoa. Korona tosin arveluttaa tytärtäkin noiden menemisten suhteen.
Korona on muuttanut elämää kuluneen vuoden aikana todella paljon. Viisi kuukautta mekin vietettiin lähes puhtaasti lähiperheen kanssa, mitä nyt isääni ja lapsiamme tavattiin satunnaisesti ja enempi ulkona kuin sisällä. Vaikka syksyllä kesäsuvannon jälkeen luvut lähtivät jälleen nousuun, meidän perheessä oli moni asia muuttunut jo radikaalisti, ja omiemme suhteen tiputimme korona-varaukset vallan; nuoremme ovat tänne aina tervetulleita, ja sydämeni iloitsee siitä, että he monien vaikeiden vuosien jälkeen viihtyvät meillä ja viihtyvät yhdessä.
Olen nauttinut joulunajasta perheeni kanssa täysin siemauksin! Tämä korona-aika on ollut minulle oppikirjaesimerkki sanonnasta “ei niin pahaa, ettei jotain hyvääkin”. Katselen valoisin mielin kohti tulevaa vuotta.
After staying at home for several days, waiting for Husband’s Covid-19 test result, today he finally got his result: negative. It was a relief, obviously, and makes life a lot easier. Already we’d had to rely on our youngsters for help: my daughter went to the store for us, for some immediate need groceries, and my son took Timmy to the vet with an Ace-bite that looked like it was infected. Lucky to have those kids who’re not living with us anymore. Not so lucky that we had to cancel the visit of my step-daughter due to this stuff.
Today, we had groceries to get and pharmacy stuff to do, so when the freeing test result came, off we went to the local mall to take care of our business. I had read in the news only this morning that while the Corona case numbers are soaring and restrictions have been set in order to diminish the crowds, people are actually flocking to the stores in bigger crowds than since this pandemic shit started. We noticed. Even the pharmacy was packed.
This holiday season is a difficult time for people to stay at home. They want to go Christmas shopping and stuffs, but still that really doesn’t explain the rush into the pharmacy, grocery store, or coffee shop. Not at a local little mall anyway, where the only businesses besides the aforementioned are basically a liquor store, couple of small boutiques, a bookstore, a pet equipments store, and a couple of hair salons. Hardly your place for Christmas gift shopping!
I was puzzled, but then again, I was there too. Maybe it was just this collective moment where everybody and their dog (erhm, we had Ace with us too) decided to go take care of some very mundane stuffs at the same moment. Go figure.
The one thing I did notice was the masks. Half a year ago me and my daughter were the only ones, save one dude, wearing a mask at this same local mall, which actually was way more empty at that point too. Now, while masks are still a recommendation, not an enforced obligation, 90% of the people were wearing one. When the recommendation was given in August, at first only concerning public transportation, it was a mere 10% wearing one.
These are very strange times we live in. A CEO talking to their employees has the background music of a baby crying. Never before. People excuse themselves from online meetings to go let the plummer in or receive a post package. Never before. Babies crying, toddlers fussing, dogs lapping water and barking have suddenly become a regular and normal thing in business meetings. Never before.
And when people go out to public, they wear a mask. Forget any burkha discussions. We’re all hidden behind a mask now and suddenly it’s not an issue anymore. Suddenly an unmasked person is the odd one out.
Masks revealed to me how much I actually rely on reading people’s lips. First time in the metro with a friend after the mask recommendation was given, we sat opposite from each other as usual and I realized I couldn’t hear him in the noisy metro. It hadn’t been an issue before. The only thing that had changed was that he was wearing a mask, and thus I couldn’t see his lips when he was talking.
For me the solution was easy: I simply moved to sit next to my friend with my hearing ear on his side. Many have struggled with this much more than me. At least one of my ears hears well enough that I can tilt my head towards the shop clerk or whoever I need to hear and I’m good. For many others, this is a real issue in a mask wearing society.
However, people have made a whole lot more noise about the smile hiding feature of the mask. That, in my opinion, is not a real issue. It’s more like a blessing. Not that I don’t like to see smiles, or smile a lot myself – I do – but it reveals fake smiles. In my opinion, if a smile is not visible in a person’s eyes, it’s not a real smile at all. Actually, I look at the eyes much more anyway. Lips are secondary in a smile, really. Masks make it impossible to even try to fake smile. No one will see your smile if it doesn’t reach your eyes.
It is interesting how masks have become a part of my attire already. I have a colorful Desigual mask (in the pic above), a simpler black mask, a black Apulanta mask, and a tiger snout mask – all with KN95 filters inside. I choose which mask to wear according to my mood and clothing. It’s become part of my style when in public.
It is also interesting to see how people are kind of devided into three categories when it comes to mask wearing. Those more or less like me, who choose a cloth mask – maybe out of style or maybe just due to eco thinking – and there are thos who wear the simple disposable paper masks – like I occasionally do too, when e.g. just popping downstairs to get food or smtg. while at the office – and those who use KN95/FP3 masks or even gas masks to protect themselves too, not only others – which I actually do too, just hidden inside my stylish cloth masks.
And then there are those who refuse to wear a mask. Due to health issues – not being able to breathe through the mask or something else. Issue may be physical or mental, but an issue all the same. Or due to stupidity issues – Covid-19 still is not real to some. Some people still refuse to acknowldge it as anything more than a “regular flu”. Due to just simple ignorance.
Be as it may, our wolrd has become a masked society, at least for some time still. Vaccination is on its way, but it’ll take some time before it’s destirbuted to everyone and the world can breathe without masks again.