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Things photographed in 2018

The time of ice departing is always quite photogenic at the seaside.

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Spring was early and very warm. I spent it romancing this book.

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I also discovered a solitary daffodil at the seaside.

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….and had an all-around good time there. They hadn’t fenced the meadow in yet for the cows, in spite of it being early May, so there was ample space and practically no one else there. I got to run barefoot and all.

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Then came summer. It was very hot and uncomfortable.

I stayed in this old-fashioned room.

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Then came the best autumn my eyes have seen. It was the warmest. I went exploring the woods and discovered an egg up the tree. It’s not chicken. DSC03090

Then I made this composition with my forest finds.

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Some creature liked me.

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Some creature had died at sea and been washed to the shore.

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Then it finally stopped being very warm.

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When November came, I was very cheerful about it. So much warmth and sun made dreariness a novelty.

Also, my cat did some modelling for pet products.

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Shameful

Like the two springs before, I’m reading Jean-Christophe. This time it’s the second book. The first 50 to 100 pages I was a bit tired of the story. There seemed no development whatsoever, just the same type of things repeated over and over again: criticism of the local (French) music and art scene, Christophe alienating everyone, gathering enemies and falling into troubled relationships with women, and other people. The way this narrative repeats itself in just slightly different forms IS tiresome. It’s very predictable that after the artistic commentary and struggle chapters comes an infatuation chapter.  And not only that but there is no change in either either. This is not a typo. But anyhow.

I somehow got over this. The other day I felt a pleasant kind of cosiness to pick this book up again and be in the company of Christophe. This will sound sentimental – I’m trying to think of a way of phrasing it so it will sound less so – because it isn’t so – it’s a very down-to-earth sort of feeling, but he is like a friend to me. Reading this novel is like interacting with a friend, keeping an eye on his life and doings. A gentle, earthy sort of pleasure. Like touching moss or tree bark.

That was my first emotion and mood. But it got worse. I noticed I was slightly falling in love with me him – (if ever there was a Freudian slip, this has got to be the master slip…). When his appearance was described, I noticed it particularly (no, he isn’t beautiful). I’m also becoming to understand his strength. In the first book, the narrator kept referring to Christophe’s strength, but I failed to see a neurotic like that being particularly strong. Now I can see it more, though his type of strength is hardly my prototype, which probably made the suggestion laughable at first. One lives and learns.

Admiration and adoration of fictional characters is something I do sometimes, being of such a temperament that adores, but I don’t recall ever falling in love with them. I can’t say I have done so now either, but I noticed the gentle buds. So yes, I obviously have a screw or two loose.

Oh. And I think trees and moss are my favourite things in nature.

Parendamine

Tõlgin parajasti ühte teksti, ja mõtlen, kas ma peaks kasutama sõna “parendama”. Sest see on just selline koht, kus üks laialdase kogemusega tõlkija seda kasutaks. Sest mõeldud on ju tõesti, et too asi X teeb head veelgi paremaks. Enne oli ka hea. Ja nüüd tehakse veelgi paremaks. Ma saan erinevusest aru, aga…. keegi ei räägi ju nii? Ainult tõlgitud lepingud ja kasutusjuhendid on parendamisi täis. Et jah siis. Tõrgun.

Ei suuda seda sõna trükkida. Eneseirooniaga, pihku itsitades suudaks. Aga no tõsimeeli. Minu sõrmed ei paindu. Või teeks ikkagi naljaga. Ega keegi aru ei saaks. Iseendal oleks siiski parem.

(ranting about my highly personal, language-specific translation struggles)

Wodehouse

“He has the most distorted ideas about wit and humour; he draws over his books and examination papers in the most distressing way and writes foolish rhymes in other people’s books. Notwithstanding he has a genuine interest in literature and can often talk with enthusiasm and good sense about it.”

Dulwich College report on P.G. Wodehouse, 1899

 

I want to write foolish rhymes in other people’s books too. It sounds like a charming thing to do.

 

Out of this world experience

I switched off the light last night to go to bed, thought of something for a couple of minutes and then turned the other side. Little did I expect to have my first and only otherworldly visitation that night.

I saw two tiny silvery spots on my sheets next to the pillow. They looked like glitter and were placed symmetrically like eyes.

I thought what the hell and tried to rub them off, assuming they were glitter. They wouldn’t go. I thought WHAT THE HELL and tried looking away in case this was an optical illusion of some sort. Still the glitter eyes stayed next to my pillow. I removed the sheet in case something was glittering under it and could be rubbed off this way, but to no avail.

And this is the last I remember….

I’ve had trouble falling asleep these days, so I’m really surprised I fell asleep instantaneously after messing with the glitter eyes. Maybe it was my sleep fairy. In which case, sleep fairy, I am most truly sorry for mistaking you to be glitter and trying to be rid of you. Please come again and glitter next to my pillow. #waitingfortonight

Old opinions

On academic writing

I want to cry, I cannot write in this bloody awful language of the academia and discourse theory. I feel it in me to write a great piece, but I’m stifled by my lack of academic lexicon, my inability to bend my thoughts to come forth in such dull robes. In wreaths of roses and white lilies would I have them come. Or in some smart and elegant dress, modest and dazzling at once in their wit and originality, but not in the dull greys of academic speech. Oh, I’d rather write in curses. The tongue of the vulgar comes more naturally to my lips than the language of the academia. So help me God. Invest me with thoughts possessed by others, so I could do my home assignment and not fail miserably for my lack of academic ability.

(early university days)

Little annoyances

I’m struggling to adjust to my reduced circumstances, to use a somewhat Victorian phrase. I never thought a person like me would find poverty and saving difficult, but I’m finding it difficult. Back in the days I went to university, I was often poor. I lived in a truly Dickensian flat and sometimes had to make do with a very small allowance for food.

That flat was so cold in winter that at one point I had the smart idea of heating the kitchen with the electrical stove and moving my bed there. To be warm for once. Next month’s electrical bill made it clear it wasn’t very clever.

Taking a shower there was a nightmare too. The bathroom was so very cold that I much preferred a bath, but the hot water tank couldn’t handle both a bath and a shower right after each other, so it often ran empty by the time I was ready for a shower. And if my hair was full of shampoo, it was very, very annoying.

One spring, we had a mosquito infestation in the town. And my flat was severely affected. The mosquitoes came in through the ventilation shaft so the place was packed with them. I’m a great favourite of the mosquito species as well. Maybe they sought me out. When standing in the bus stop near that house, I was the only person they attacked. It felt strange to be waiving my hands there while others stood calmly. And no escape from them even in the flat. It had a balcony though. And in spring and summer it was warm there. One could go for a walk in the graveyard or the manor park nearby. Those were nice things. Lilacs blossomed on the edge of the graveyard.  The closest store was located next to the Rapists’ Wood, as I called it when I first saw it. I never had the courage to walk through that wood because it looked exactly like a spot where one might get assaulted. Some places just give me a bad feeling like that.

In Poland, we once stayed at a hotel that had formerly been… something else. I’m not sure what, but it could have been a care home for the elderly, a hospital, a tuberculosis hospital, a mental hospital. It had long eerie corridors, old furniture and bedding reminiscent of the 1960s. There were sinks in the bedrooms. The shared bathroom was located in the middle of the corridor. It was a huge room with some 20 cubicles, all last renovated in 1970. No one was there in the corridors or in the bathrooms. It was dark. When I entered the bathroom, the window was open, the wind blew in, and it gave me the creeps. So much so I couldn’t use it, but rushed back and had to ask my friend to come with me to the bathroom. I was too scared to be there alone. It felt like a place of suffering and misery. I’ve never experienced anything like it before. I’d like to go back and find out what had actually been there.

Anyway, I’m used to living frugally, I’m used to inconvenience. Why can’t I do it any more?

I don’t seem to manage keeping to my monthly budget at all. I keep getting myself things that I shouldn’t be getting if I wanted to save. And I do want to. A year ago I could afford these things. I can’t any more, but I carry on like I did before. Dream of travelling somewhere and get myself hair curlers for 50 euro because I absolutely need a third one. Every girl should have one for soft waves, one for small waves and one for big waves. Naturally. And I lacked the one for big waves.

I don’t even have much to say to this except sigh in dejected despair and hope I’ll adjust to being poorer sooner or later. Because I can make poverty fun. I still can do that. If I can’t afford a fridge, I can store food on the balcony for most of the year. If I can’t afford a proper stove, I’ll get a single hot plate. If I can’t afford a bed, I’ll sleep on a mattress and the dishes can be washed in the bathroom sink. This sort of life and circumstances is nothing to me. But somehow I find it hard to give up on presents for myself. Things bought for no practical reason whatsoever – books, hair curlers, clothes, shoes, writing paper etc. My priorities have never been with the practical. And maybe having to use the balcony as a fridge could be an acceptable trade-off for me. As long as I’m okay with it, does it even matter that my priorities are completely askew?

I should write a post on how to avoid buying necessary things and what can be used instead. Oscar Wilde would probably agree with me that buying necessary things is tedium itself. One should always prioritize the beautiful (the engaging, the interesting etc.). I find his general life philosophy to be a little too superficial and decadent,  but I do agree with him on a number of points.

Anyway, I was exaggerating somewhat. I do buy necessary things when it is unavoidable and usually reach a somewhat better compromise than living for years with no fridge, but my general inclination definitely is towards pretty things or fun things. Not laptops, phones, fridges, stoves and TVs.

Job market absurdism

I saw an ad for the job of a translator, translating technical and legal documents.

The requirements – and yes, requirements – included having a positive attitude to life.

I don’t think pessimists would make for any worse translators. The only place where they would not be great is the service sector.

So who do I complain to about this sort of personality-based discrimination? It has nothing to do with a person’s actual skills and ability to translate.

Why, what with all manner of discrimination types being discussed to death, has practically no one pointed out the extreme discrimination that goes on in the job market? Why is it okay to discriminate based on some qualities and not others?