dream hunter

You wonder if you should take a step to the unknown. She leaped. You wonder if you knew how. She taught you. You wonder if you could. She did. A friend who's always there. A source of inspiration and admiration. Courageous, beautiful and full of amazing thoughts. She's someone so annoyingly perfect you'd want to hate her. But you can't help but love her. by iiris

Monday, December 22, 2008

films..only a few

My fiend came over last night to watch a film. I had pestered him for a while to give me a part of his outstanding collection of downloads as we had, my housemate and I been hoping to watch something in several occasions.

It appeared that my memory stick was way too small to hold anything but few trailers but luckily I realised that I had an external hard drive. Found it. I possessed this important piece of material because my mother, unlike me, is adamant about back upping your files.

So what do you want and where?

In the folder that says “films”?

I have a folder that says films? I knew I had the odd one on my laptop, which I had seen all at least once but surely there was nothing on my hard drive.

My friend clicked on the icon and started laughing. The folder contained 64kb worth of cinematographic material.


And then it all occurred to me. I had, at some point last spring given the hard drive to another friend so that he could put music onto it. And he did. Music and some other random stuff. I had then, happily, transferred those several thousand tunes onto my laptop and forgotten about it. Thus, when ever he mentioned the films he gave me I thought about the odd one he put on my laptop when I was last in hospital. It never come to mind that the “some other random stuff” was hours and hours worth of films.

So, all this time, I had had a long long long list of good movies lying in a basket next to my bed. I could not believe it. What about all the books we had read when not being able to rent a film? And all those conversations? Or going to the cinema? All because we thought we had no movies to watch.

And now I have 15more…think that adds up to….many. Very very many.

It took my friend a long time before he could stop laughing…and wipe off the tears running down his cheeks.

Yeah, not funny.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

the perfect dough

Gingerbread cookie or rather, to be more specific, Pipari dough is a very sensitive issue. There are numerous versions of the same thing but most people have a specific preference over one or another. Whilst busy lifestyles have encouraged many to avoid the laborious task of preparing the Christmas necessity from scratch and instead buy a frozen version (which also exists in different versions and hence the dispute over which one is the best of the right one keeps itself on the agenda) in most (Finnish) households is Pipari baking still one of the highlights of Christmas preparations.

I am going to make Pipari houses for my friends. It is a tradition my parents have started and some point in the distant past and as it is rather original custom, not to mention a fun and easy way of avoiding buying Christmas presents I have adopted it in the recent years. Being the daughter of an architect obviously has created some hidden desire in me to design and built houses, which is now transferred, every December, into a cookie cottage production line.

Preparing the dough is not as demanding as it appears at first glance, IF you have the right recipe. In my family, and hence also in my own little one person household, we/I make Paraisten Pipari. The one and only right one. However, as I was heading off to the grocery shop on Sunday I could not find the sacred recipe. It had gone.

I phoned my sister. Urgent matters. Unfortunately she was not at home but promised to find the list of ingredients and text it to me – asap.

I had, just to be on the safe side, asked my mother how big the dough should be for 5houses. Triple. WHAT? Triple? I didn’t have enough butter. Not a good start.

I set my alarm earlier than usual, jumped out of bed, put some more or less normal looking clothes on (decided that even if it was 7AM I could not leave the house in my pyjamas) and ran to the shop that had just opened its doors. The shopkeeper glanced at my pile of butter bricks with an amused look on his face. What did he know?

I ran back home, ready for my pre-work morning dough mission. Somehow, everything kept falling from my hands and the process of dough preparation turned into a lot of rattle and banging, waking my housemate up. I assume. With my morning coffee mug in one hand I turned the heavy mass into smooth dough, which would have to stand in a cool place for a day or so.

Our fridge is tiny. There was no way I could fit triple Pipari dough in it. I covered the bowl carefully and took it out on to the landing and placed it on the window shelf. Outside temperature creeping in through the window would surely be enough to make my dough feel it was in a cool place. I just have to hope that the people living above us don’t take any interest in the wandering dough as I will not be pleased if I find myself doughless when I return home from work tonight.

And tonight will be the moment of truth. Will the dough have the right consistency and taste and be transformed into, what can only be considered, a perfect Pipari house?

Friday, December 12, 2008

writing to santa

Yesterday I had a message from my brother saying that this year there was no point expecting a Christmas present from his direction. Despite being supposed to be devastated by this significant reduction in the number of parcels I would now receive, I rejoiced the news.

I had earlier struggled to come up with something I would need. My mother had repeatedly asked me the items on my wish list, which until then had remained empty. However, there was no escaping this parental treat as I assume that even after I have celebrated my 60th birthday my mother will still ensure that my siblings and I receive in equal terms and hence all wear matching socks. She will also be phoning me on a daily basis to make sure I haven’t got into trouble and to guarantee that she is the first one to know if my latest (and most likely failed) first date had any potential to turn into a relationship. Unless she has by then given up hope. Luckily she accepts vacuum cleaners and packets of porridge as a suitable gift so I can always keep asking for something I actually need.

When I moved, not so many months ago, I did a through cleaning of cupboards, under bed boxes and the lot. The number of bags I took to recycling and charity was beyond my counting skills (the number of fingers in my hands) but in spite of my serious attempts to get rid of clutter I have now found myself with another few plastic bags full off stuff to be taken to the charity shop still before the holidays. How was this possible?

So, whilst ten and a bit years ago my wish list sent to Father Christmas could hardly fit on one page it now had moved to negative. So what do I want for Christmas? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. I could not, under any circumstances come up with any”thing” anyone could buy and I would need or want.

I don’t need anything. No clothes. No pots. No books. No nothing. Nothing. Nothing.

My brother, in an additional message told me that he would get a flight for Christmas. For himself. To London.

This is when the party kicked off in my little head. I celebrated silently in my universe and started making mental notes of all the things we could do and see when he was over.

That IS what I want. Don’t waste time going through the shops but send an email instead. And tell me how you are. A lot less stressful and you can enjoy a nice hot drink while typing. Or if you feel like going on a shopping spree, get yourself a free few days and come over. Or if you desperately need to buy me/someone/anyone something/anything get me a coffee – but find the time for it first.

I seriously think that as soon as your age does not have a “teen” attached to it anymore the only present you really need and want is: A. digestible and B. comes together with the donor (C. is from your mother).

Despite my aversion to commercialised holidays and other events (whether be Christmas, birthdays, Valentine’s day and the lot) cards still rate high on my list – thoughtful and a nice change to the constant stream of bills. And phone calls. Easy, simple and very very easy to store – no space required.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


When we moved into our East London mansion, there was only one feeble lock in the front door. Despite not possessing anything remotely valuable, we decided that a second, more secure lock would be a sensible addition. If for no other reason, at least to force the robbers to cause a bit more noise when they decide to break in, thus waking us up. If it happens to be the middle of the night and we are in bed. Or to alarm the neighbours if we are, as would most likely be the case, out.

Whilst until now, the door had to be closed with a key from inside and outside, the new lock kept the door shut automatically. But the catch was – lock it from outside and you won’t be opening it from the inside.

This morning I struggled to get up as I have been, during the past days and week become accustomed to a minimum of 9 hours of sleep per night and hence the normal person’s average of close to 7 hours seemed like an unacceptable injustice. Or maybe it was because my alarm went off earlier than usually. Irrespectively, the end result was the same. I was drowsy.

When locking the door I was convinced I had forgotten about something important but could not figure what it was despite trying to think very hard.


And a second clic.

Two hours later my phone rang. My housemate.

“You have locked me in!”

I had no choice but to hop on my bike and cycle home to release my poor housemate from her what had now become an East London prison.

When I opened the front door, indeed securely closed with two locks my flatmate was enjoying her breakfast “as she had been given some extra time”. Despite her forgiving attitude I felt remorseful.

Must make a mental note – never hear two clicks when housemate still in bed.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

bite the bullet

The past few months the world has been going on about the credit crunch and the economic crisis and the financial turmoil and the gloomy growth outlook. Nothing but trouble ahead, behind and around.

Friday evening I came home from work with a firm decision that I would make significant progress in my Christmas present mission that very same night still. I had managed to keep my diary page empty and thus I could, with a good consciousness, stay at home amidst my little projects.

The problem was – I needed fabric.

I had been terrified by the idea of London shops, full of manic and overly stressed Christmas shoppers bouncing from one department to another in a frenzied search for the ideal gift. Exaggeratedly heated stores steaming from a mixture of smelly fumes from wet overcoats playing cheery songs and dinggelidongs. Absolute horror.

I was sitting inside, with a hot cuppa when it started raining. The idea of leaving the comforts of my own home to start the search of material suddenly felt even less appealing. But, I decided to be strong and bite the bullet.

Half way up Oxford Street I regretted my determination. Extended business hours had obviously encouraged busy bankers to squeeze in some serious shopping between the office and the Friday night pint.

I locked my bike in front of the department store, took a deep breath and walked in.

Silence. Total silence.

Further away an older lady was examining some expensive looking creams. Another customer was leisurely strolling the aisles in search for something, not sure he himself knew what.

I took the escalator to the fourth floor and managed to climb up without someone bumping into me, without needing to use my elbows or even to excuse myself as I try to pass people standing side by side thus blocking the likes of us who prefer to use their own feet when moving between floors.

In the fabric/sewing/crafts department there was a Finnish lady comparing different Fiskars scissors and a handful of random wanderers but as the section is rather spacious I could move around freely admiring the numerous fabrics and trying to convince myself not to buy all of them. Unfortunately the colour ribbon I needed was not in the shelf. I asked one of the sales ladies if that particular string could be found in red or green. And only few minutes after she came back with – both.

And new waiting inline when wanted to pay. (after I had finally decided that enough is enough and was ready to go home and start tinkering)

THANK YOU credit crunch.
(there is something good in everything)

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

heart trouble

Whilst waiting in the emergency to be admitted to the hospital I witnessed a rather interesting confusion. I was comfortably lying in a bed (after having had my face poked with long needles I felt slightly weak and faint) after being, in between, forced to move outdoors due to a fire alarm, when a nurse came in with an EKG machine.

I was, despite my half conscious state, rather puzzled by this. Surely an aggressive infection in my facial area could not be the result of heart problems. I pointed this out to the student nurse (I was at the university hospital) but she explained that the EKG would rule out many possibilities and hence was necessary.

Who was I to argue?

There was, it seemed, nothing wrong with my heart. (Never has been, unless broken hear counts)

I was still convinced that there had been some misunderstanding and that, no matter what the EKG said I would not be going home anytime soon.

I was right.

About 15minutes later the same diligent student wheeled the machine to the room next door where the true heart patient, a 70+ years old Indian lady, was.


patient without patience

I landed myself in hospital again. Not yesterday but fairly recently. I had learned from previous experience that when my head starts resembling a beach ball I should go and see the doctor. And I did. And he told me I would not be going home. Well I would as there were no beds available but I would have to get myself back into the hospital the following morning.

I did.

As always I told the doctor that I have a strange and irrational fear of the drip. I don’t mind needles but tell me it has a drip attached to it and will flip. The considerate man in a white coat messed the whole thing up the first time. Second time he had better luck but by this point I had already freaked out. Not that anybody cared.

Two days running I was prepared for surgery. 12hours with no food. It came 9PM and the final verdict was – no surgery. Today. Unfortunately at this point there was no longer any food available at the hospital. Luckily a friend of mine, who had been kind enough to pay me a visit, had not made it further then the downstairs lobby and could rescue me from a painful death with a pot of take away noodles.

Luckily the day after the “no surgery needed” verdict came just before dinner but as I had been kept unnourished, without even a drop of water since midnight I was slightly grumpy to say the least.

Hospitals are places in which you are supposed to get fixed. Unfortunately we were six in the same room and one of my sickly fellows snored. I mean really snored. The earth shaking noise was counterbalanced by a crisp crunching nurse and by the time it was time for my morning drip I was convinced I had not managed to close my eyes yet. This then ensured that I spend my days drowsy. My enjoyment came from regular heat rate and temperature checks. I had been provided with an excellent opportunity to see how low my rest rate could go and it amused me endlessly when the machine started flashing and beeping as the figures were, in its view, too low.

During my last day I was released from my straight into veins source of liquids and in between medications I was let roam free. As no longer constantly attached to a metal pole I could use stairs instead of the elevator. Despite regular coffee breaks being a great relief to me I was not willing to take the risk of upsetting the doctor by telling him that I did every time climb back up to the 14th floor. During one of my wanderings I hid the drip hand into my sleeve and went outside. Felt like a little kid with hi hand in a cookie jar. Forbidden pleasures.

When I biked back home after being released from the torture chamber (I did find it acceptable to bike it to the hospital when being admitted in and hence my loyal mode of transport was waiting for me outside when I left again) I decided I would never go back.

Unfortunately they still don’t know what is broken and hence have no idea how to fix it.