MORNING EDITION

Thursday, August 27

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I started cooking yesterday so my kitchen smells of garlic and combination of a few new spices. It's quite early to be awake with my unhealthy routine but holding onto a hot mug of chamomile tea sweetened with a little honey I contently dive into this settlement thinking what today will be like and what Nadia will come running to tell me first thing when she wakes up kissing my eyes open. It's quiet (and I can just recognize the shapes of trees outside from where I'm sitting), just how I like it - content and relaxed for as long as my tea is hot and I can tell the arrangement of toys on the table across from me by heart. The floor looks tidy but the somewhat mess of a few crayons, plastic toys, a stapler used for yet another book she made using Stabilo pens and her imagination, pair of scissors, her empty water bottle with Elsa and Anna looking at me curiously at first seem impossible to come to terms with. Abundance of paper and plastic that feels like growing unintentionally overnight. I take it for granted, a view that needs no special explanation filling me with joy there's an artist indoors that lays dreaming as I type this, a personality yet not shaped but loved unconditionally, still a lot unknown yet proving excellent in its making. I know I'll find all of this scattered here or elsewhere for the mornings to come. I fool myself the dawn will always come with familiar repetitions - the presence of a child will not be fading, how could it, not yet, not for a long, long time. I glance at the pebbles she lined up on the windowsill last night and can't help but smile. A satisfying smile I don't have to search for it through the alcoves of my memory but take it in with all five senses right here, right this very moment. So happy.

It's beginning to get brighter, I can now see the stilled leaves perfectly. It's unusually dry, calm and inviting after days of rain and dreariness. My eyes are brimming with excitement for once looking out the window. I drank my  tea, sneezed several times assuring myself there's nothing to worry about and keep warm socks at bay for little longer. My back doesn't ache as most mornings that I can barely put my feet down and begin the race of time. I don't handle pain well even though I put on a brave face at witnessing my sciatic nerve collapsing. It yells for a plan of action, ongoing treatment or just occasional acknowledgement this body changes and becomes less predictable. I've no idea what I could do about it other than let my child climb over me with her arms pulling and slender legs wrapped around like a pretzel countless times every day. This is something one cannot let go away easily. The bending, the twisting, the ordinary. My back goes through a lot in a week but as things turn out it's a combination of everything - satisfying and not, such life. It's something I haven't learned to do well, to take good care of myself the way I look after multiple things without even realizing. Through energy put skillfully in crafting each word, folding laundry with neat and precise movements, applying second, more defined coat of mascara, in things important but not crucial, I thrive. A packet of crisps beside me, essential.

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 It's almost morning, time spent on writing becomes less productive. Busy mind starts its daily race bouncing off idea after idea, chore after chore. I still have those quiet moments to myself for less than an hour so it's worth squeezing them like wet hair. I like this room a lot. Particularly I like to stay indoors (though you may not believe me seeing this excessive amount of outdoor escapades I document) so a place requires nice areas to occupy my eyes with pretty things. Not always useful or easy to reach but so attractive to the eye at each passing that my life could be easily spent on doing just so - silently applauding. It's the spots, corners or shelves that keep this abode together. It's not plain magnolia walls stained in ink or unattractive carpeted floor that gets rearranged in my head daily. Those we've never come across to tackling. I have no idea why. Those are our walls after all, this is our home - rented or owned, this is insignificant. What's truly important is to make it ours every way we can. At 6 years old I believe Nadia is incapable of telling what's changed here apart from the arrival of new sofa and a bushy rug in a happy hue. It's almost like we've been tearing along on our own not merging with the dynamics of this space and yet it will define Nadia's perception on a happy place, lively place, a home.

My mum let me draw on the wall of my tiny space when I was 10 or 12 - I still remember the sad wing of an angel I drew way too close to the ceiling disappearing under the leakage every time it rained. It kind of developed its own features over time - the old house was collapsing gradually allowing all kinds of deformations in plaster, faded paint and the leakage blurred out the lines. It was far from pretty but I was happy to add a signature to my place no matter how temporary my residence or how poor the resources. And I kept adding a touch of personal wherever I went over the years. Sometimes it scares me how easily this idealistic, happy child inside is pushed aside once we grow older, how what we've learned to pursue with persistence and eagerness is given up without fight. Nadia's bedroom walls are adorned in her artwork, images of princesses or heroes she currently resonates with. It is busy. It is a happy place. Today I'm worn out of dreaming of organizing a space once it's mine. Tomatoes will grow anywhere, rented soil makes no difference to the ripeness of fruit and if she remembers a crazy wallpaper her mama tweaked between meals, the better (already bookmarked a navy one with drawings of boats, talk about the urge).

It takes time for me to implement a new idea into a well-known routine or philosophy but I'm eager to try even if I may only be great at trying. The present is all we've got, the pebbles I will not move from the windowsill but to dust around them, the over-talked about plain boring paint that keeps me in a state of panic - this is happening. I've reached the point I no longer want to explain why a coffee lover like me is not in a possession of a high technology piece that comes with 16 capsule-assortment -- yes, those cabinets are frustratingly low to accommodate one but let's do it anyway. Let's look for friendlier kitchen and make it work. That's the plan. But first the coffee because days centered around a good brew are essential.

I get up slowly, that first perfect stretch. I hear the bed next door creaking and the rhythm of a new day entwines for good. Upon typing up the last words I smile gently at the thought how lucky I am. To not only dream of changes but to make them happen. Right now because it's all we're in the possession of.

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WHAT I'VE BEEN READING 01

Tuesday, August 11

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The pile of books next to my bed is constantly growing but instead of having unfinished stories by my side, I’d rather have a bookcase full of favourite literature to pick whenever I feel I want to go back to that story. Adding more words to my daily routine seems like the day will never be long enough. On the positive side – there must be at least half an hour break between chores to get wrapped around an exciting plot (and I don’t mean making a shopping list). I think I can do it. So a couple of weeks back I tested my ability to concentrate on things other than little garments and rainy weather. Here's the result.

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 Recommending Lolita is like promoting great aunt's pie - everyone knows it's good even though they've had too much of it already. On this occasion I read it in original half-guessing the words but I nearly know it by heart so it didn't really matter. One of my favourite novels, the kind of novel that stops you and forces you to take sides but in the midst of fantastic vocabulary and even more astonishing sequence of events, this is not easy thing to do. Nabokov told the BBC that Lolita was his special favourte. It was his most difficult book - the book that treated a theme which was so distant, so remote from his own emotional life that gave him a special pleasure to use his combinational talent and make it real. I'm definitely drawn to controversial material, the more distant the story, the deeper the connection?   ☻☻☻☻☻

If you want to be introduced to original prose with a big bunch of unexpected and slightly terrifying decisions made in a daylight, Two Serious Ladies will not disappoint you. I reached for it thanks to a brief review claiming this novel being the only one written by Jane Bowles and becoming a classic. That's pretty impressive. I had to read it, as an aspiring writer myself I couldn't overlook another writer's first attempt that became a hit also named by Tennessee Williams as his favourite book. Simple language, rapid action, tropical destinations, interesting characters. Every novel needs help with somebody drifting to places off the beaten path and if there's two of them, the better. Playing it safe is absent from the pages. What's the worst that can happen from escaping a boring life? Multiplying encounters with (strange) people, getting swallowed up by forbidden world and finding new strength? I kind of think it's one of the coolest things to experience. Her women are not interested in bearable life, they pay close attention to their needs however crazy and condemn by the society decisions they make. They adapt well and are willing to try everything out - if there's a will, there is a way, right? 'I have gone to pieces, which is a thing I've wanted to do for years.' - a heroine declares. Summer read with a big dose of thinking to do. A definite thumbs up.   ☻☻☻☺☺

Coming up for Air is not terrible but can be depressing at times. I loved its humorous parts, interesting associations, words I had to look up for better comprehension. It's definitely one of the deeper reads I talked about vaguely here but the retrospective part when the main character describes the place of his childhood - a village he remembers as a rural haven of peace and tranquility - won me over without a doubt. I'm a sucker for long descriptive paragraphs you have to read over and over to get the point and - God forbid if I'm interrupted mid-sentence as the page can last me hours on most days. Would I go back to this story? On a deserted island or stuck on the airport overnight, yes but some books are meant to be absorbed once.   ☻☻☺☺☺

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MOMENTS THAT GO BY IN A FLASH - SEALIFE PARK, WEYMOUTH

Sunday, August 9

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This is definitely a happy face!
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For many of us, the words 'fun' and 'theme parks' always go hand in hand - no matter if you're four feet tall or not at all but you can still reach the highest shelf in any bathroom. I think they are fun - acres featuring objects tailored to satisfy everybody with a valid entry ticket and good grip shoes. Partly it's the child accommodated in all of us waiting to decrease the balance between well dressed & respectable and untamed and ready to shake the neighbourhood. Can be achieved any kind of way but never so appreciated if holding a little hand - for courage or pleasure. Sometimes both.

The Crocodile Creek was a hit we had a go at twice. Nothing like a good splash out. What interesting here is -- in the process of going down the water slide everybody knows exactly what they are going to be a centre of (ton of water splashed without notice) yet they come out surprised and a little disappointed? The faces I witnessed after getting wet were an explosion of mixed feelings. But yes, the excited and fully satisfied exceeded. You could also get a printed photo of such explosion painted on your face as there is a hidden camera in a relevant spot to keep you haunted at night but I made sure I took enough photos of everybody I recognized, there was no need of paying for something an adult would never allow to go public.

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Calling penguins by their names, it's how easy she makes friends these days.
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Theme parks are scattered around in our area like supermarkets and off licence shops. For any kind of experience and age group however everybody will find a thing or five to get transformed from humble straight-walking citizen into a screaming pair of shorts while holding a candy floss for a full experience. This particular place I believe will become our long time favourite - accommodating a great portion of sea creatures (penguins, otters, silly behaving seals, sharks and selection of tropical fish) breaks the experience into educational and wild, breathtaking (seaworms that actually respond to hand motions from behind the glass tank) and heart-stopping (any kind of carrousel or drop tower moment delivered in a sequence of emotional breakdown). Anything else is fun too. Eating in the open in the full view of a few local seagulls trying to intimidate us to give up or share the meal when neither option works well if both parties are hungry and have to pay attention. Or shopping in the gift shop but in the midst of plush, plastic and too much sugar it is the last place a parent wants to visit voluntarily.

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They figured out what makes them happy a long time ago
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Let's do more adult things, shall we? ;)
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Some of us are braver than others
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But just as much as we like to explore each and every noisy attraction within the park, there's no stopping us from chilling out on the outskirts of any place for well needed, totally relaxed time with no one waiting for us to order, move or calm down. Sometimes I feel this is the best time of any visit. But it only works like that after we've come out exhausted, sweaty and barely moving our legs forward. Or wanting to be picked up every five steps if we're talking our offspring. It's the time to catch up on what we missed while having fun, tell a few jokes, talk over weird wardrobe choices of people queuing behind. Eating leftover sandwiches or giving them to the seagulls. You've got to allow for a bit of a quiet sphere after a mad experience, a stepping back to enjoy the day. And teaching important lessons is essential too - why only a handful of tries could be the winning ones and that lucky not always means the outcome but the attitude. We'll get those minions next time! x

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THE GOOD THINGS AND OTHER THINGS

Wednesday, August 5

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Top: unspecified Polish designer, Pencil skirt: Asos, Cardigan: George













































































































Not all summers are made equal. Everybody's got their favourites they look forward to on each tea break in canteen and it does help if the weather cooperates but occasionally no plans means just as much as over scheduled and pre-booked two seasons ago. Exciting, a little lazy on some mornings, intent on finding interesting spots to look about, purposefully or otherwise. Before I came to this conclusion I quite forgot not everything has to turn into an event. I'm happy if it does, fireworks and stuff but staycation has its definite charms among occasionally feeling out of place in my own town.

The plans were big, so was the size of our luggage but a week before the departure date the car decided to play up. Brash beast to put it lightly. Stubbornly I refused to unpack. Days subtracted one by one in which our holiday shrank almost like a dry leaf I still hoped to stride utterly ahead - in altered transport, with less baggage or none at all but ending this unrest we lived in awaiting not really knowing what. The car eventually got exchanged for a new set of wheels while some tribulations between French illegal immigrants and UK's government prevented us from believing in taking off in no time. To admit defeat in the middle of a pear and plum season with the heat absentmindedly reaching record breaking temperatures (all of it admittedly happening in Poland) is like settling on something less likely to become a great summer. But the more you get to know yourself and the place you live in, the more options come to shake your opinion on having a good time. Becoming a tourist in my own town sounds blatant but it's got its advantages -- I exactly know where to put my foot and what high-peak attractions to avoid. I'm the tourist that retires one day on an island of her choice as she already knows her tracts and the vibe of the place.

I guess I'm not the person that is making the most of what she's got, that's why the universe is always on its feet to teach me a lesson. To be grateful even for the silly behaving English summer not to mention family grocery shopping and lots of exploring around the area before autumn hits us again. And we have a seaside under our nose, any kind of beach you strove to visit, here it sits wide, windy and inviting.

In the meantime I'll occasionally dream of a ridiculous weather far on the continent and thank for the sky I've been given to appreciate taking advantage of each intriguing shade of steel blue at a time. If you ask me, everyday is a good day to enjoy myself, home or away. Have a great summer, friends!

LITTLE BIG GIRL

Monday, July 27

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It's been an intense year for us around here -- in terms of mind workouts and commuting we haven't been short of a challenge to say the least. But since the school is over and long mornings are back (just for a short while but oh so needed) we can't complain as the struggle with getting to school and back is well and truly forgotten. We'll only get up before nine if we absolutely must. If the sky is more than inviting (hair washed or not), you'd look for hours to find us indoors. 

The day the school closed its gates was like a festival of emotions - there were tears of leaving the overstuffed with posters of carefully practiced words classroom and the teacher behind, informal goodbyes and promises of many playdates, excitement at knowing we were soon off on a long road trip to Poland. And before we knew it, a pampering session was not only truly enjoyable but so child-friendly both of us thought we could only dream of. So into it we were I may include it into our monthly routine. You know, I'm joking, right? I wanted to start a tradition of doing something unusual on the last day of school, chocolate ice cream included or not, something just for us girls that will be long remembered. Nails are pretty important in our household and since Nadia was a barely walking tot, she took on the biting habit. It worried me but we never made a big deal out of it neither tried to make it a quick fix. I believe it has had an emotional foundation so it took her nearly five years to start growing her nails and enjoying having them decorated. It was a hit. She sat through it like a big girl only slightly overwhelmed by the abundance of colourful bottles full of glitter and nail varnish, middle aged women smiling at her and asking if she's taking part in a beauty pageant. She is a girly girl (maybe in slight need of a favourite colour shift, no one can handle this amount of bubblegum pink), likes her lipstick and wears her hair loose but she can also be as not into it as you can imagine. Just give her a scooter or skipping rope and nothing else matters much.

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 How has this year flown by, I am first to make a saucer eyes at! How she warmed up to each day commenced with a short bus ride and long day alone with letters, numbers and her peers continuously on her side. With all sorts of weather and different load in her backpack. Home learning ideas in combinations of useful and impractical, sudden realizations at how things should work without my help and finding answers quick enough to have time for using more paper than an average five year old. Almost six, mentioning her birthday party needs on ongoing basis. This school year was frantic as one would (wouldn't) expect it to be, with some chaos in between as we adjusted to life on the run. And in a short while Year One will be all that is to talk about or the birthday party or both. Way too many choices about how to turn the day around. Nothing short of exciting. Just a readiness to learn and play.

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