Tired Of Being Tired

Last year I had a really strange experience. I am not someone who can easily take a nap during the day; usually it takes me just as long to fall asleep as the time I then spend sleeping, no matter how exhausted I am. Either way I tried and eventually fell asleep on the sofa. When I woke, I heard Lilli giggling in the kitchen. Groggily I thought I must have really needed that sleep because I hadn’t noticed her coming home from school. I went to turn my head and realised I couldn’t. I could see the room but couldn’t move one fiber of my body. A vague memory hit me of someone who had once mentioned this odd state of being awake while being asleep — I can’t remember what it’s called. But the story was frightening and I panicked. I fought tooth and nail to move my legs and started screaming. The sound echoed in the back of my mind but seemed lodged in my throat, still I didn’t stop until, finally, my surroundings dimmed and I woke. For real.

That feeling of being stuck and unable to move or make a sound — hopelessly trying to reach past the silence, reach through the apparent barrier around me — is how I have felt these past few weeks. So it isn’t so strange the same happened when I started this post yesterday. I wrote — I wrote a lot. So many words yet it’s like they weren’t getting through, like they were not the actual words I wanted to write. They came out in disguise, in a shape I didn’t think them, in a way I didn’t intend them. And suddenly I had written several paragraphs about some topic not at all related to why I sat down to write in the first place.

What it all comes down to is that I am still tired. Beyond tired. Way past exhausted, even, to be honest with you. So completely hollowed out and unbalanced I found myself saying out loud: enough already! Do you ever get like that? Your entire life just seems so upside down and inside out that you could choke on it.

distant-contemplation

A few weeks back I had some blood tests done because I have had swelling in some of my fingers — they were red, hot to the touch, and one finger I couldn’t even curl fully. This sensitivity to the cold made it all worse and, sure, I have experienced this for a couple of years now, but never this bad. Just this weekend I came inside after not even half an hour in the cold and my hands ached so much I was in tears. I stood hulking by the sink as the warm water cascaded over my fingers and felt so damn miserable. I can take Loke for a longer walk, being in constant motion is what I suspect helps keep it at bay, but if I go outside with my camera to take photos I end up in excruciating pain and I hate it. So after one week of swelling, stiffness, pins and needles and something like liquid fire in my fingers, I sought out a doctor.

Among my bigger fears were SLE and rheumatoid arthritis. Mom has suffered these since (I think) her mid-twenties, and I myself was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis when I was fifteen. When I phoned about the results last week, though, they had come back negative, for which I am so, so grateful, because lupus and arthritis are hellish illnesses. However, we also did a screening of my blood levels as well, and it turns out I’m anemic. In spite of having taken iron on pretty much a daily basis since this time last year, when I sank into depression. Last week when I talked to the nurse I was told to call back on Monday, this week. She left a request with the doctor to write instructions for me, since I told her about that I have been taking iron. And other vitamins and minerals. All he had for me was: we will keep an eye on it. And the first time available to re-visit him is in mid-April.

Did I mention I am tired of being tired? I feel like screaming. I should probably leave the house first. I did that once a few years ago and it both did and didn’t help. Maybe because it wasn’t a very forceful nor impressive scream, but that anticlimactic sensation made me laugh. Sort of like the time when I in a fit of indignant rage decided I would try to throw a mug, because throwing things seemed to me be a thing some do when they get angry, and I had always wondered if it actually helped. I made a dramatic exit but came straight back inside to pick up the broken pieces and to apologise.

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loke-and-I-watching-eachother

All this said, last week on Friday I told myself, out loud, that it’s enough. To start off, I made a deal with myself to not touch my phone for the rest of the weekend, except for phonecalls and text messages. It worked really well, with a couple of minor slips, and on Saturday I spent a few hours in Rauma, both to look for new glasses and to get some plants! I have so often imagined how lovely it would be if I could have lots of plants, but I have felt cursed — they all die on me. Now I was ready to give it another try, and not only do they give a sense of peace and harmony, but some plants really do improve the air. If at any time that is needed it’s during winter and early spring. Both Lilli and I suffer a lot from dry skin this time of the year. And so I did some research to find plants best suited for someone who repeatedly exercises her knack for killing them. Not intentionally, of course.

beautiful-green-plants

kimbala-fikus

lovely-fern

zamiakalla-the-wardrobe-plant

On my way home from Rauma on Saturday I sat with a big smile on my face, constantly peering into the rearview mirror to see the back seat full of brown paper packages. I couldn’t wait to get back to the farm to introduce these beautiful plants to their new home. Loke was so excited and stared with such intensity when I unwrapped the plants. I wish I had remembered to take photos of it.

And then, on Sunday, Lilli and I had a day in Raisio — a little over an hour’s drive from here — to visit IKEA, among other places. Over the years I have always seen so many nice pots there, but can you believe the one time I go there specifically to get pots there were hardly any? At first I was so certain I would be able to dig up some old pots from the nooks and crannies here at home, but they were all wrong sizes, so off we went. At the end of the day I came home with four pots, and we really had a wonderful time.

new-pots

It’s not often I enjoy shopping or spending any great amount of time in places packed with people. IKEA is one of those places that can be so cozy and fun to browse, while at the same time sucking the life out of you. I only have good memories of it though, from when my parents took us there as kids. And when I lived in Australia, I would sometimes visit IKEA to alleviate my homesickness.

After a full day away from home, I was too tired to do anything else, so it wasn’t until yesterday I got stuck into re-planting. It took me a lot longer than planned because I wanted to take photos at the same time. Jay shook his head (all in good humor) when he came into the living room. I had news papers, pots and plants spread out over the floor, and my camera on the tripod blocking the passage, haha.

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I honestly have no idea what I am doing, which I am sure you figured already when I mentioned I am an unintentional plant-killer. I have done some research and written down instructions on how to care for these plants (where to place them, how much water to give and how often, etc) but only time will tell if I get it right this time or not. So if any of you have tips or advice for me, I will more than gladly receive it. 😀

Now there are only two plants left without pots, but one of those will be planted this afternoon. I did have one pot that I bought for an ivy which died last November. It sat in its pot still until end of January. Somehow it looked beautiful anyway, and I didn’t have it in me to throw it out. I gave it to the wardrobe plant, as its called in Swedish. It basically means you can put it away and forget about it and it will still survive — sounds perfect for me, right? 😉 So the terracotta pot I bought from IKEA got a little special paint treatment. It didn’t occur to me until after I had painted it that maybe the paint isn’t good for the plant. The chalk paint I mixed is meant for furniture, and the shimmering paint is meant for wooden panelling, so I don’t even know how well it will last. But it’s so so pretty!

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Painting really is so relaxing and the pot turned out pretty nice, if I do say so myself. I will snap a photo of it when the plant is in place.

Now I have a little request of sorts, and I would really like to hear what you think about this post and these photos. What did you like? What didn’t interest you so much? Or is there something you would have liked to see/read more of that I didn’t show/write? I figured that just because I can’t spend much time outside right now with my camera it doesn’t mean I can’t still take photos. I’ll just have to get a little more creative, I guess, and then take the opportunities those moments when it is warmer to take my camera outside.

Another big plus with all this is how good it felt to do something. Buying and planting a few plants and painting a pot might not seem like much, but finding enjoyment or even the energy to do something small after long months of slumber can mean the world. And for a while I got to feel a little more like myself and not the tired blob inhabiting my body lately.

Last but not least, thank you so much for leaving so wonderful comments on my last post. Every single time I receive a message in spite of my own shortcomings in replying on time (if at all), I get such a warm feeling. It really, really means so much to me and I truly feel I have your support regardless of what my life looks like or how often or seldom I update. Still I strongly believe it will get better. Many hugs to you my dearest readers. ❤

Touched By Art

Hello, everyone! Even though I have joined the weekly photo challenge it feels like forever since I actually blogged. There have been times when I have wanted so badly to reconnect but not only have we had so much to do–the attic project, other cleaning and clearing-out projects around the house, preparing for harvest, among much else–I just couldn’t get the words out. I sat down a few times but nothing happened.

Today, however, I am going to share a little frame project with you that I have been wanting to show you ever since I got the painting that inspired me to do the frame in the first place.

RamvikCape

I told you that I went to an art exhibition when I was in Sweden for a holiday with Lilli, but I was too excited and emotional about it still that I couldn’t get the words together to tell you about it. I can’t tell you how silly I felt when I left Junsele that day. Ever since I heard about the exhibition I knew I would make sure Lilli and I could go there. I haven’t followed Jonna Jinton’s journey right from the beginning, when she left her apartment in Gothenburg and moved all by herself to the small village of Grundtjärn in northern Sweden some seven years ago, but her blog and her art–photography, painting, the haunting tunes she produces by practicing the ancient herding call–touches my very soul. So naturally I had so many questions, things I wanted to say, but once there I couldn’t get the words out. Does that qualify as fangirl problems? I think I even forgot to sign my name in the guestbook under my message.

All that said, it was a wonderful day, and I may have forgotten half the things we did talk about, but she is ever as bit real and genuine as she is in her blog. A truly amazing human being. And I am so happy both Lilli, my brother, and I got to meet her and her partner. I certainly hope there will be more opportunities, especially since my daughter has become so very much inspired by Jonna. More about that later.

Driftwood

I remember when I was much younger and used to go down to the river with my mother to collect rocks and driftwood. My mother would paint on some of the pieces, and others were ready artworks already. Gnarled and twisted, bleached and mystical. I just love driftwood. So when I came back to Ramvik with the painting I bought at the exhibition, I knew instantly what kind of frame I wanted for it.

AbandonedBoat
This old boat has been sitting there for so long I can’t even remember it not being there.

I already had some driftwood I collected during the two years I studied in Sweden, but Lilli and I took a walk down to the cape and collected some more to bring back home to Finland. So I now have an entire IKEA-bag full–and then some.

Driftwood, however, can be very fragile, so I needed to build a frame to which I could attach the driftwood pieces. I wanted to get started as soon as we came home, but things kept getting in the way. I did document some of the steps, though, when I managed to squeeze in some time for it.

OldSaw

CuttingCorners

AllPiecesDone
I got the measurements a little wrong, and didn’t realise until I was ready to glue and nail it together.

We have so much wood here that it wasn’t difficult to find material. The saw is vintage and the blade was so dull, but I managed. And it was easy enough to adjust to get the right angles. I will be getting a new blade for it for future projects because it really is so handy.

MasoniteTriangles

WoodglueAndNails

One day I went into Rauma to K-Rauta and bought some nails, wood glue, and I had some paint since earlier. I have another project with those wooden logs I wrote about in an earlier post. You can read a little about that here. The details of that project I am still leaving for a later post–it has evolved since the initial idea–even if I am dying to tell you about it.

FinishedFrame

 

FrameDetails

Working with wood is something I truly love. There is something peaceful yet energising about it. Everything from picking out the pieces to sawing and sanding. I easily lose myself in it and I love that feeling. My mind goes quiet and I just exist in the moment. It’s like I become all my senses, and all those complicated thoughts that I tend to trip and stumble over disappear. I guess it is the same with drawing and photography, but getting to work with my hands the way I do when I handle wood is something deeper, more soulful.

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Can you believe this is what it looked like earlier this year? This room is called tupa in Finnish, which is the first room you enter in the house–after the foyer. It is now our new living room.

Harvesting season has just begun and it usually takes a couple of weeks, but after that I really hope to get some more time for my own projects. And to be able to finish the goals I set earlier this year for the house. Clearing out boxes and piles of things that have been left over the last couple of years. Plain junk or valuable memorabilia from past generations–it doesn’t matter. When it is piled up in stacks all around the house it leaves this chaotic energy that sucks me in and I have such a hard time getting past it. At times it seems to be at a standstill–nothing happens, housework piles up, Loke’s hairs gather in the corners and follow our socks and clothes onto every surface in this entire house. It drives me mad sometimes, and I can get so grumpy, but I try to tell myself I’ll get there. To look at what I have accomplished (like with the living room, for example). All it takes is a little every day. One step at a time, right?

Lastly, I want to share another painting we got, also by Jonna, and the story behind it is quite amazing. In an affiliation with Samsung, Jonna painted this, and Lilli saw the video she made while working on the painting. She was both horrified and mesmerised when Jonna started painting outside the canvas–on the wall. You can find her video here.

JonnaJintonArt

JonnaJintonStyles

And so Lilli wanted to paint her own galaxy. I watched as she dripped paint and smudged it, just like Jonna, and while I don’t have a photo of that handy right now, the result was sent in to an art school in Rauma. This morning we got the message that Lilli is accepted and starts next week on Tuesday. It is only one day a week, but Lilli loves drawing and painting and I am ever so grateful and thankful for the way art touches us. All of us.

And I am also so thankful you are still here, and for the newcomers as well. I hope to get back to updating more regularly soon, but until then, I have found Instagram Stories to be a lot of fun and easy to manage, and I share a couple of photos a day on my account, so if you are curious about what goes on and my updates on the blog are sparse, head on over. Link is here, or just click the Instagram icon or any of the photos at the bottom of my blog.

I wish you a lovely weekend. Much love and hugs to you. ❤