Sunday, 28 December 2014

White just after Christmas

The Christmas holidays are perfect time to recharge one's batteries and do the exciting and less exciting Christmassy things. This season started with the coffee group ladies' children's Christmas party on the Sunday before Christmas. This was a heartwarming British party with one of the mothers behind a lot of programme and one of the fathers expressing himself as a DJ. Otherwise our Christmas is every year decidedly an Anglo-Finnish affair.

Christmas preparations continued with strategically timed Monday food shopping spree that allowed us strolling in the Bradgate Park on Tuesday. The preparations were finished with gingerbread baking and cooking a kind of Finnish meal with duck (but with a genuine sweetened potato bake) on Christmas Eve. The first batch of presents was delivered to Number One Son on Christmas Eve as well.

Christmas Eve meal

Then it was a swap to the British Christmas and night-time Christmas stocking delivery for me and Number One Son with a second batch of Christmas presents. I thanked Father Christmas, a.k.a. Archaeologist Husband, with a bottle of less traditional Finnish licorice vodka (not consumed, yet - miraculously considering how much he likes the stuff). The Christmas lunch ended up being 'traditional' steak and chips due to the small amount of duck left from the previous night, but the third batch of gifts kept Number Son happy. Archaeologist Husband had taken rubbish out and observed that it was cold, so the rest of the day was spent on the sofa. We did however keep up with the cultural developments by watching Frozen at last.

The most important Christmas present had already arrived on Saturday before Christmas. We are now four with our Cat slowly getting to know our house. (S)he managed to pee in an extension lead box and defusing one of the plugs that meant no Netflix over Christmas. Otherwise it had found Christmas tree inresistable.

The sofa related activities continued throughout Boxing Day and the highpoint was the traditional Finnish Boxing Day fish meal in the evening. By this time it had started snowing, so we were not certain if Friend's son's three-year birthday walk was going to take place the next day. I was not too keen on driving in snow without proper winter tyres, but it transpired on the day that I was made to go, since Archaeologist Husband really wanted to go sledging. Thus we all headed to the Old John and had a cold, beautiful, eventful hour in the sun. Then Number One Son's hands were cold, his cheek had a frostbite and we were hit by a child's sledge. Nevertheless, the day continued with tea and hot chocolate in the Friend's house.

There is still more to come. A trip to London died a quick death on the planning board after the traditional British railway chaos started - even before the snow landed. Now we are heading to see the first panto I and Number One Son will ever see in De Montford Hall. It will be Cinderella with Buttons and ugly sisters. I think I will need some further enculturation to know who Buttons is...

Sunday, 21 December 2014

I lost the vote

When Number One Son was a baby we had a cat named Shelly. Sadly, she passed away at 18 - while being the healthiest dead cat in the village after all the lab tests done in order to know why she did not eat and withered away. Ever since Archaeologist Husband has wanted to get a new cat. This urge has not been diminished by the fact that our neighbours hate cats. But they do have a gravel gardens both at the front and at the back, so you can guess what the cats do there. The urgency of this new cat has become more apparent with Number One Son loving cats and lifting and cuddling certain Biscuit on the way to and from school.

Shelly 2 (photo: AH)

I found it easy to make Number One Son to behave by saying that he will not get a cat for a Chhristmas. He was stroking the imaginary white cat when saying it... When I asked if we should get a cat, two voices said 'yes'. The women will always lose in this household! And apparently end up buying all the cat food as well.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Skype fighting

Now I have managed to return back to England despite of the best efforts of underground trains breaking down and motorway improvements closing motorways on my way back. The whole air control system broke down in UK happily only after I had managed to lose most of my sleep deprivation sleeping in my own bed. For a couple of weeks the normal life routines are in place and I will see Number One Son and Archaeologist Husband in the same country and in the same house. My blog entries are likely to be either duller or more interesting, depending on the normal way the life goes on on a daily basis. It will be about school runs and unwrapping Christmas presents with an added spice of multiculturality. But of a duller European fusion version that is more about choosing the different kind of Christmas food than anything else.

The tedium and tiredness of the last weeks away did bring about that new spice of coupledoom in Skype Mums life: the Skype fighting. This is the way your specific personal traits are transformed into digital portal online. Are you a Shouter? Well, then you will shout at the camera and let your neighbours know that You Are Skyping and that Your Are Not Happy. Are you the Mute? Well, then your partner will not get anything than your picture over Skype. If you get angry like I do sometimes on a short fuse - you shut down the whole thing and disconnect Internet. And start getting angry, anxious texts to one or two of my mobile phones. Since as an Europe-wide juggernaut you will have more than one, don't you (and your partner is likely to use the last mobile number you have texted/phoned from - handy, if that is the one that lies closed in the drawer waiting for the next trip).

The row will continue as long as you dare to keep yourself off-line: I managed a couple of minutes. Then it was time to try to patch everything up. I must say, being in the same house, getting nagged about undone housework and being able to bang the doors is much more effective and somehow reassuring...

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Christmas is coming!

Number One Son and our tree - apparently (Photo by AH)

The last blog post was passed, since I spent Sunday visiting my mother and having a coffee party with my childhood friends, some of whom I had not seen for 20 years. Monday was spent in an Institutes of Archaeology and Classical Studies team building day, almost directly from the ferry harbour. Then the reality hit and I spent one day sorting out admin and panicking over my vanished e-mail address where students were supposed to send course work. Thus, I decided that I put all my Christmassy thoughts together in this post. However, not all of them are smelling of gingerbread, but remind of the reality of a Skype Mom.

Luckily, I can move later this week to work at home and continue work with book projects and other matters in the same house with Archaeologist Husband and Number One Son. Nevertheless, due to the timing of meetings and other timetabling issues, I will miss for the second time my son's Navity play. Number One Son also tried to refuse to talk to me over Skype, because he will not get a hug from me at the end. Then was a good time to start counting down to my actual appearance next week. In addition, the Finnish Christmas calendar I got from Alex's godless mother is a real joy when we open one shutter lid every evening and look for right numbers. However, the flight home could not come any sooner.

I lost the run for gingerbread making :-> (Photo by AH)

My trip to Finland means I have now a bag full of gifts: more Moomin books, Mauri Kunnas picture books, DVDs with both Finnish and English soundtrack, an educational board game and clothing. I have also one old favourite for Archaeologist Husband, so that for 15 minutes he will be happy about my time away. I have a new photo of Granny and photos of my happy girl friends. The Christmas tree is up in the house and we can start finalising the fusion Christmas meals, since we celebrate both Christmas Eve and Day with fish on the menu on the Boxing Day. We also have to send Christmas cards to all older family members. Luckily, I did my Stockholm-themed e-card yesterday.