A Newborn in the House and Baking against Corona Anxiety

These past three weeks have been eventful and strange. Their newness and uncertainty propelled me into one hell of an anxiety carousel. Here I was, heavily pregnant, nesting with a fervor I’d never known before, worried about petty things as the right measure on her bed linen- little did I know she won’t want to sleep in her bed at all- and all of a sudden the world seems to be ending amidst my long awaited happiness.

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Just three weeks ago I was busy complaining about pelvic pains and feeling fedd up with being huge and now I had to find new ways of reassuring myself we won’t all die of starvation if the virus doesn’t get to us first.

She came into our world on the 7th of March, she rushed in 8 days before the due date, almost as if she’d known that if she’d linger any longer, her dad wouldn’t be allowed to see the birth and stay with us in the hospital any longer. The first days were hard, I had the chills 4-5 times a day and she wouldn’t nurse, so we eventually had to feed her formula from a small cup (and it’d take hours!) hoping things would improve when the milk came. It didn’t. (But that’s an entirely other story.)

After an extended stay,  we could finally leave the hospital (after 7 days!), just in time for the Corona quarantine. That evening F shopped for groceries and there was no more toilet paper, nor tomato sauce, nor pasta or rice. Panic! After that, things went back to a sort of normality, at least when it comes to finding food on the shelves. But the longer it dragged on, the more somber the statistics all over the world, the less we saw of friends and family, one day I wasn’t able to control my anxiety at all. Some days it took the best of me and I could only sit there with a huge black hole inside of me. Other days, when the weather was sunny, we ventured outside and realized the world was still there, humanity had not evaporated and I came back lightheaded as though I’d had a pint or three. Today I decided to get back on medication, after spending all yesterday’s hours when Madeleiene didn’t need me either baking bread, baking a cake, washing clothes, all in order to avoid agonizing.

I’m heading to the pharmacy in an hour’s time, but I already feel better. I don’t read the news any more, I try not to think of how “non-essential” people will pay their rent, I ordered some stuff online and I’m doing my best to use all the ingredients we have in the house in a smart way. Meanwhile, I’m kissing my daughter’s chubby legs and sniffing her scalp. And thinking how I’ll start saving money and making room for a pantry when the times are better.

And here’s the recipe for the cake I baked the other day. I used the stuff we had, like 4 overripe plums and apple juice instead of orange juice.

Ingredients

100g walnuts

250 dates ( I had some dates, some dried figs and some dried apricots)

the zest from an orange/lemon

300g flour

1 tea spoon baking powder

1/2 tea spoon cardamom

1/2 tea spoon cinnamon

200 ml orange juice

100g butter

150 g brown sugar (I only had white)

1 egg

(I used 4 plums as well)

Bake the walnuts in the oven on a parchment paper around 15 minutes at 150 degrees C.

Cut the dates (and the other dried fruit plus the plums). Add the walnuts, the orange/lemon zest and one spoon of the flour. Sift the rest of the flour with the baking powder and the spices. Put it aside.

Use a kitchen aid/mixer to “fluff the butter up”. Add the egg and mix them well together. Add the flour, then the orange/apple juice. Then add the walnuts and dates (dried fruit and fruit) into the dough. Pour the dough (it’ll be a bit runny, it’s fine) into a cake form lined with parchment paper and bake at 180 degrees C for 1 h. Sometimes it needs a bit longer, check it with a chopstick. 😉

Bon appetit!

PS. Go for a walk if allowed in your part of the world, here it’s still ok (but we have to keep the distance). With a newborn I don’t get to do it every day, but when I do, I feel sanity rushing back into my veins. Today I even crossed the street to avoid other humans. But since I had to go to the pharmacy, I ran into people after all.

Stay safe and I hope we’ll all make it to the other side. I know, it sounds like something you hear in Sci-fi movies. 😉

xxx, Alina

 

 

 

Winter 2020

Alina tran-8Winter never came this year and everybody was so disappointed except for me- haha! One less thing to worry about- falling on ice with a big tummy! And freezing my butt off on top of that…But then it started snowing on Sunday evening and yesterday it was winter wonderland for a couple of hours or so. And so I took Sam out in the woods, disregarding my excruciating pelvis pain, and with my camera on my shoulder on top of that. 😉 It proved to be poor judgement since I fell on the ice the first chance I got. Being the good doggo that he is, Sam jumped on top of me “to save me” and so I ended up in an even worse state than the one I was already in. Laying there on the ground and alternating between “Mother of God” and “Fuck me”, I found myself crying, laughing, moaning and giggling, all at once.  Continue reading

Getting Ready for the Big Move

Although I moved away from home at 19 and lived more places than I care to remember since, this one is the Big Move. Not that the apartment in itself is much bigger than the last place I had downtown, in my previous life, but it is definitely more up to date- we’ll have each our own sink in the bathroom and Madde will have her own room from the day she’s born! 😉 Plus the last couple of years we’ve lived in F’s condo and I had to put most of my stuff in a storage box. And boy does it hurt not to have your belongings around when you invest so much feelings in your things. (I know, I should deal with my hoarding problems, but that’s for another entry. ;-))

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Back to Real Life

31 weeks into my pregnancy and moving into our new home in just 5 weeks, being back on track doesn’t really begin to cover it. After the holidays, we have to do what’s needed to evaluate, style and sell the apartment, as well as apply for parental benefits, go to work, walk Sammy and purchase the rest of the stuff the baby needs- like pram, diapers and clothes for the first two months. What can I say, with this terrible cold and the dark outside, I feel overwhelmed before even starting. Thank God I’m not working until Tuesday afternoon and so tomorrow I’m calling my chiropractor, fetching Sam and easing into things.

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Christmas Break

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Phew, done with everything (that counts)! From today on I’m officially off duty and I’m enjoying it to the fullest. Outside it’s snowing, I’ve walked Sam and made myself a ham and cheese sandwich, the apartment is warm and the gifts are all wrapped up, the tiny tree is decorated and I’ve even remembered to buy pantyhose for the Christmas dinner. 😉 Haha! (I always forget!) Continue reading

Late November

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I don’t know about you, but I hate November most of all months of the year. It’s dark, rainy and cold. The trees are bare, the leaves turned brown a month ago and all I feel like doing is cancel all plans until May and snuggle up with cocoa and a good book instead. Continue reading

Preparations

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These days I’ve had little work and all this time on my hands. The first few days were blissfully relaxing, then I started panicking and now I’m back to “I couldn’t care less”, there’ll be more work than I can handle when it picks up. Meanwhile I can read my photography books, take pictures and bake bread. Today I made a fantastic pumpkin and walnut bread and I can’t wait to get hungry again to have some more of it. I’ll blog about it soon enough.

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The other days my buddy Sam and I hit the woods for a morning walk and since there was nobody else there that early, I let him run free and he was ecstatic! He would dip in the river, chew on some sticks, run right past me and then come back to see what had become of me since I’m walking so slowly.

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Nature was amazing that particular morning, the frost made the ground turn surreal and I imagined how lonely it must feel to be that bench in the middle of nowhere.

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Here and there, broken branches fell heavy from a tree and the river raged rusty with leaves. Sam barked at it and grinned at me, showing me all his small teeth, I could read bliss on his face.

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Back to civilization, I was saddened to see so many apples left unpicked, I know many residents are old and can’t reach them, but I would die for an apple tree and would have gladly helped had somebody asked me to. 😉

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I’m turning mad from house hunting, today I actually decided to take a break, ’cause it’s simply not good for me. Every time I see something I like (and it’s not that often!), I keep imagining myself settled in, drinking coffee on the porch and enjoying the garden and I can’t even sleep with excitement. Unfortunately, most of the places I’ve liked have either been far away or not to my significant other’s taste and so instead of getting angry, I decided I should let him take initiative. Stay tuned…

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The weather is cold, but sunny and since I’ve managed to regain some energy, on Saturday I was out lunching with a friend of mine at Ahaan, where they serve the most fantastic Thai street food and the best non-alcoholic drinks I’ve had so far in Norway. The experience was so uplifting, I’m still a bit high on it today. Going back there soon with my F. ❤

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Hoping this entry finds you well, tell me how you spend this November and what have you been up to lately.

xxx, Alina

Counting down to Christmas

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This is pretty much what Oslo looks like these days, although the trees are no longer green, since this picture was taken sometime in May/June. 😉 But yeah, lots of rain and umbrellas and Chinese tourists. When it’s not sunny, as it was yesterday, and all you feel like is find a little spot of sunshine to enjoy your Darjeeling on.  Continue reading

Home again

Summer holiday is over and to begin with I didn’t really know if I should be sad or relieved, as I was a bit tired of the heat and I’d started missing Sammy and my friends.   Besides, all good things come to an end and if they didn’t, we would just take them for granted in the end. 😉 Although, between me and you, going back to jackets and carrying an umbrella in my bag was not my plan for August, I have to admit.

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My Oslo

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Lately I find myself fascinated by people. And, as it is with many other things, once you start looking around, you can’t undo it, you notice all sorts of patterns, all sorts of folks and funny behavior you just need to photograph. That being said, I’m not there quite yet. In fact the pictures with the best potential were the ones that got too blurry because I didn’t have the balls to focus or to go close enough. You see, in Oslo it’s not customary to take pictures of people without their knowing. But hey, I can’t help myself! So here they are. Lady in red, waiting by the bus. Continue reading