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December in pictures

November went by fast and slow at the same time and even though I started out all motivated and geared up for NaNo, I didn’t get very far and have “lost”. I’m not going to tell you any lame excuses, I could have done it easily, if only I’d done it. So… Where does this leave us?

Right in the middle of December, I’d say. Alright, not the middle, but you know what I mean. Actually, December has been much more varied and fun than November so far and although I usually don’t get into any Christmassy spirit until (roughly) December 23rd, I’m well ahead this time. These are some of the things that have happened in December so far:

  • My sister and I had the first winter-time-tea with our grandma (and supposedly an elderly neighbour, but she forgot us…), featuring lots of candles, tea with fresh ginger, lemon and honey, dried apples from my uncle’s garden, grapefruit, mandarines and candied ginger. I tried my hand at photographing a still life, but I struggled with the background… How do you blend that out?

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  • On the morning of the second (1st Advent), me and the dog went for our morning walk in the first real snow of the year – fresh, crunchy, untouched snow – what a joy! Half a minute after taking this picture, a fox came along this path, stopped, stared at us for a second, then retreated into the hedge. I wasn’t quick enough with the camera to capture him and Nobby (featured in the photo) didn’t notice anything until he reached the spot where the fox had stood, where he sniffed, became excited, disappeared into the hedge and wasn’t seen again for the next couple of minutes. (nothing happened, he’s much too slow for any wildlife…)

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  • When Nobby and I got back, my sister and I put up the Christmas decoration around the house, most notably the beautiful window stars that our youngest sister makes. We knew we’d be in deep trouble with her as well as with our Mum if we didn’t put them up. We do love them, however, so it’s not hard to remember them. They always look lovely, but they do especially so when it’s snowy (so that the background is all white) and the sun lights them up from behind.

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  • A friend came to spend the day with us (which meant a train ride of two hours one way!) and after drinking lots of hot tea and coffee and eating mandarines and winter confectionery, we let our inner artists out (well, I did – my sister and our friend are artists, so their inner artist is also their outer artist… am I making sense?) and made some Christmas cards. This is one that my sister made, which is much prettier than anything I did:

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  • And then we made lots and lots and lots of Christmas cookies!

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  • And last (for now), I tried to take photos of snowflakes this morning, but as much as I love my camera, I think it’s not quite enough for that task…

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So, how has November left you? And what’s your December like so far?

And incidentally – which one of the two “snowflake” pictures do you like better? Or don’t you like them at all? I can’t make up my mind – feedback is greatly appreciated!

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unfocused

I feel like I should be writing a new post. Actually, I want to write a new post. I just can’t focus on anything that’s worth being written.

I had a look through my drafts, but none of them fit my mood. I’m still slightly nauseous – not physically, but in my head – from over-indulging in the wine and limoncello and Cuba Libre and champagne on my grandma’s 86th birthday dinner/party on Wednesday.

I have so much time on my hands, that I cannot fit enough things in to fill up my days. I know that’s a luxury problem, but it’s a problem nonetheless. Time is dripping through my fingers and I don’t know what to do with it. It’s all over the floor at the moment. A bit of a mess, to be honest.

I should be writing my NaNo novel, except that I gave up winning that and started a new story half-way through. I’ll have to write thousands of words every day for the next week if I want to win. I could do it. Maybe I should do it. Maybe I will. Not sure.

Walking the dog in the mornings is fine. There’s clear, crisp, slightly wet air and it wakes me up and clears my head. And there’s things to see, like this:

Or this:

And sometimes this, although not so much anymore, because the leaves are falling rapidly:

Sorry for the total lack of focus on this post. It’s an adequate representation of my mind at the moment.

night music

While putting together a collection of music for a friend, I got stuck on Nick Drake. To be exact, on Bryter Layter. And writing a little anecdote for said friend, explaining why I’d chosen this album, I relived the times I described and it suddenly became so real and so overwhelming that I couldn’t go on and am now, on an autumnal Saturday night, at my desk, listening to the whole album and drifting somewhere between daydreaming and remembering. I will just hope that the friend in question does not read this post before I can send the music off, because I’m just going to copy what I just wrote for him half an hour ago because I can’t describe it any better:

I can’t say that I have a favourite Nick Drake album, but if I had one, I think it would be this or Pink Moon. This is my “falling-asleep-under-the-stars” album. I listened to it almost every night when I was travelling in Croatia. I’d be outside in the sun all day, hiking or swimming or reading or writing or meditating and when it started getting dark, I’d crawl into my little tent and watch the stars through the mosquito net of the open tentflap, snuggled into the sleeping bag more for comfort than warmth and I’d listen to the rustle of the wind in the pines and the creaking of wood as the earth slowly cooled down and then I’d put on my mp3-player and listen to this album very softly.

I held on to that feeling in a poem. I’ll share it below the songs, together with a photo I dedicated to the poem.

night music
night
cold stars are out
zipped in
warm and safe
in the dark
notes floating
in my ears
piano and guitar
tears fall
for lonely songs
with intricate longings
and the vulnerable voice
of a musician
who died too young
and yet can make me feel
at home
in this night

Stari Grad bay, Croatia, at night