Candle Lit Tree, Finland
photo via owen
My Mother is Finnish and grew up with such a tree, inside. By the time she had me, she was too safety conscious and I was too active in every way for candles. She would spend days make Swedish, paper think gingerbread figures, slightly peppery, gingery and more, in the shape of ladies, men, pigs, stars and she would thread them and hang them on the tree. You cannot know what a temptation those lovely biscuits were to my young self…
Yesterday was a day of many demands, almost surreal in terms of the contrast of different emotional worlds. In brief, these included taking a family member to hospital and with that came worry, the need to reassure, suppression of self to be present for another, and mental focus in order to be a good advocate for one too old to do so. This was juggled with court, a family matter that had ten years behind it and a sea of feelings. There was a lot of research, intense mental activity and again, a suppression of emotions in order to remain clear headed and sharp. Later, I was standing outside the cinema queuing for “Midnight’s Children,” when it came to me what a strange mixture of a day it had been. I won’t spoil the film for those who haven’t seen it but I admit, I do not love the wry and wordy Mr. Rushdie, nor did I love this film. It was, we agreed, a film that one would benefit from knowledge of the history of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. There were many layers to the story and fragmented drama, not so much taking you on a journey, as walking you through an interesting shop of things, with many rooms and all the products quite different. It left me feeling unsettled but I really enjoyed the setting and some of the language was brilliant. Simple phrases remain, such as “handcuffed to history,” I do like that one.
Today I’m grounding myself with cooking, catching up with correspondence and listening to music. I’m baking banana bread, making pumpkin and coconut soup and vegetable curry. Run Rig’s old favourite is playing, “Heartland,” and the air is filled with a sweet banana aroma, underscored by masala, cardamon and cinnamon.
Tonight before turning in, I was waylaid by nostalgia. I was hunting for a photo and came across my favourite beagle, Snoopy, eccentric hero of the Peanuts, and a blast from my past, the Easy Bake Oven. I had one of these until I worked out that the big oven produced better and more satisfying results. It looked roughly like the photo, was that same horrible institutional swimming pool colour but was full of wonderous possiblities. You could bake your own little cakes in it, all under the intense glare of a - well, an incandescent lightbulb actually. The man who developed this exciting toy for girls (gender stereotyping was fully engaged), Ronald Howes also had a part in Play Doh and the Spirograph. I wonder what happened to all the little girl’s who owned this oven, are they leading enchanted lives of domestic bliss?
(For those who ended up here because they linked with the tag, girl’s toys and were looking for something different, I’m laughing!)