If We Were Having Coffee… #WeekendCoffeeShare. Sofi, AVPD mess and birthday season.

   Let’s have a coffee today, shall we? Or whatever else, if you’re unfortunate like me and can’t have coffee, or just don’t like coffee. We have a huge assortment of teas, and cocoa, both real and instant. Or if you’d prefer a cold drink, I can pour you a glass of refreshing kefir, or water, either sparkling or just regular tap water. Oh yeah, and my Mum has made broth. My Mum makes broth almost every day these days, because, well, if you’re a regular on here, you know my Mum is a health and lifestyle geek and right now she’s all about keto, and she says that broth is super healthy for the skin and such because it has collagen, and Sofi and I are supposed to get in more sodium for health reasons so this is a good way. Regardless of how healthy it is, it’s actually yummy, and I always have mine with parsley. Or you can have some noodles with it and get chicken soup. Sofi and I have got a huge box of candy for Christmas from Olek, and I’ll happily share some with y’all so you have some snack to go with your coffee/tea, and if you’d rather have the broth, you can also have some of my Mum’s keto salad with it, it has chicken, mushrooms, cheese and pineapple in it. Well, since it has pineapple I guess it would be more appropriate to call it low-carb, but who cares? Obviously you’re also more than welcome to bring your own drink and/or food, either just for yourself or to share if you want. As always, thanks to Natalie  who hosts the Weekend Coffee Share linky. 🙂 So, if everyone has something to drink and/or eat and is sitting comfortably, let’s catch up. 

   If we were having coffee, I’d ask each of you how you’ve been doing since my last coffee share, and in particular this week…? 

   If we were having coffee, I would share with you that this has been quite a mentally messy week for me. Well, not just this week really, but the last few weeks, with a few-days-long breaks in between the messy times. Very emotional and moodswingy, low-key paranoid, filled with rumination, cringe fits, self-loathing and other fun things. I call that AVPD flare-ups for short (if you’re new and don’t know, AVPD stands for avoidant personality disorder which is a condition that I have), even though technically personality disorders don’t have flare-ups, but I call it an AVPD flare-up when my symptoms get a lot worse than my baseline. Usually it happens to me after a lot of peopling, but lately it seems like even very small things throw me totally off kilter for days, sometimes I don’t even need any external event really. It’s been very emotionally exhausting and is very difficult to even put into words properly or express in any other way to other people, so the experience feels quite isolating because you can’t really talk to anyone about this no matter how understanding they may be, and on one hand you want to do it and share it with someone, but on the other you absolutely do not. All the more that communication pin general is also more difficult when I feel like that. But the weekend has been a bit better. Or else I probably wouldn’t be writing about this haha. We’ll see how long it lasts. 

   [For the next paragraph, tw for self-harm, not very graphic but at one point kind of Tmi and possibly a little gross  and mentioning methods of self-harm]

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On a similarly glum note, if we were having coffee, I’d tell you that Sofi has also been struggling lately, and we’ve only learned about it this month… Since a couple of months, Sofi has been telling us that her cousin is going to therapy, and how Sofi would really really really like to go to therapy too. Mum tried asking her why, but Sofi would never give any specific answer, so she just figured that Sofi simply doesn’t know what she’s talking about and doesn’t understand what therapy is all about so thinks that it’s something fun. I agreed, but at the same time it popped into my mind that perhaps this is Sofi’s way of asking for help or something, perhaps she doesn’t want to talk about something to Mum, whom, after all, she sees every single day, so sometimes it’s really awkward to talk to your family about some difficult things. And I suggested that to Mum and told her that perhaps she could get Sofi into some free therapy via the National Health Fund that we have here, at least for starters, and if she doesn’t have a problem, she’ll get bored with it after one or two sessions and the topic will be over, but at least we’ll know that there’s nothing serious going on. Well, but it turned out not to be so easy to get free therapy for a teenager who doesn’t really have any obvious issues and just really wants to go to therapy, plus, despite my having been in therapy for years as a child, my Mum didn’t really know how to best go about it. So it took some time before she found a therapist for Sofi, and in the end she’s paying for it herself. Already during her first session, Sofi’s therapist called Mum, telling her that Sofi has got some uncontrollable crying fit and doesn’t really say much, and that she has admitted to cutting herself, which shocked Mum because Sofi generally used to be a very happy child, and Mum had no idea why she could be doing this. Later at night Mum came into my room and just completely out of the blue asked me if I could tell her why I’ve been self-harming. I didn’t know about Sofi yet, so obviously I immediately got suspicious and defensive, but then she told me that Sofi is doing it too, and she just wants to understand why people do such things, and that she feels that maybe she is to blame. I was just as shocked as Mum was, I couldn’t stop thinking about Sofi for the whole night. I didn’t really tell her why *I* have been self-harming (too complicated story, and I didn’t really feel up for that so suddenly) but just generally told her about various reasons why people, and especially kids, may do such things, and that it’s unlikely to have anything to do with her directly. I get why she has such feelings though, after all, it’s two of her three children that do this now, I’d probably also take it personally if I were a mother. The therapist advised for Sofi to be seen by a psychiatrist and continue therapy, but the soonest appointment my Mum could book with any child psychiatrist was in May. Since then, Mum would often talk to me about Sofi’s self-harm, which I wouldn’t have minded if not the fact that she sort of expected me to be like some sort of specialist on the matter, as if I were a therapist or something. Which would make sense if I were completely over it, but unfortunately, I’m probably not. I self-harm a lot less frequently now than I used to, but I still do. In fact, the shitty truth is that, about a week or so before Sofi’s disclosure, I got this paronychia thing (some sort of nail infection that you can get from zealous nail biting or picking, which I already had once a couple years ago) but this time round in my toe rather than a finger, which must have happened when I was picking at my nail at night while ruminating and picked almost my whole nail off. It wasn’t fully intentional and more like absent-minded or compulsive, but also not fully unintentional, but I let my Mum believe that it was just accidental. (It’s almost healed up now, in case anyone is worried or something) So I felt really weird with her asking me stuff like what she should do now. What could I know? 😀 Thankfully, after Sofi has shared some more, looking at it with cooler heads, we think that this could (hopefully) have been a one-off incident for Sofi. It seems that her former toxic friend has played some significant role in all this, probably multiplied by the general suckiness of puberty and the raging teenage hormones. Sofi has been rather grumpy and a little withdrawn from family life for a couple years now (though some degree of grumpiness and sulkiness is just part of her personality and has always been), but as far as I can tell as someone outside of her brain, she doesn’t seem very depressed, luckily. She hangs out with her friends a lot, spends long hours chatting to them and laughing on the phone, and seems to genuinely enjoy all the other things that she did previously and to have normal energy. She doesn’t really seem chronically sad or anything like that. I believe Sofi doesn’t know that I know about her cutting, or even if she does we don’t talk about it, but you regular people on here may know that we have this play with Sofi where we pretend that Misha can connect to either of us’ brain and speak through us, and I like to use that sometimes to get stuff out of Sofi because she is more inclined to talk about things that are difficult for some reason with Misha, rather than directly with me or with Mum, because with Misha it’s more fun and relaxed and Misha never draws any conclusions out loud. So one day, I, as Misha, tried to get an idea of what she generally thinks about life nowadays, is it good, is it bad, whatever, and that didn’t sound too depressing either, though of course I do realise that she could be hiding what she was actually thinking, but it doesn’t look like it’s the case, and Sofi was never good at hiding that sort of things as an extrovert. . I also had a gentle feel of her wrists when she was sleeping in my room one night and while they were pretty much covered in  cuts which were quite heartbreaking to see on someone like Sofi, they seemed to be rather superficial at first glance. I think it’s also a really positive sign that Sofi was so open about it with the therapist and told her about it right during the first session. I feel extremely sad for Sofi and I wish I could help her in some meaningful way, but now that both Mum and I have cooled off a bit after the initial news, we are very hopeful that with further therapy, this won’t repeat again. Honestly though, I feel like chopping her “friend” up into pieces and grilling and sacrificing to Misha. Oh wait, that’s probably a really bad idea, he could get intoxicated too! 

   [End of the potentially triggering bit]  

   ***** 

   If we were having coffee, I would tell you that, after barely over three months of usage, my Mum’s Apple Watch died! :O One day she went swimming in a swimming pool with it, which I personally thought was a risky business to begin with – I’m just generally ultra careful and would feel really weird putting any electronic device into water – but Mum said she had previously swum in a lake with it, and anyway Apple says you can swim with an Apple Watch, so why not. Her Apple Watch worked just fine when she went out of the pool, but by the time she got home, it was practically dead. She tried rinsing it, thinking some chlorine could have gotten into it, and then kept it in rice in case there was some water left in it, despite she obviously had the water lock on while swimming, but all those things didn’t help much. She managed to resurrect it for brief moments several times, but it was REALLY sluggish and its battery died within minutes of powering on when it was originally fully charged, and the Digital Crown apparently didn’t work properly as well. Mum was really pissed. Apple Watch is a luxury to begin with, hardly anyone who has it seriously needs it for anything, it’s just a whim, and same is for my Mum. So it’s all the more frustrating when such an unnecessary yet expensive whim object breaks after just a little bit of use, especially when Apple says that it’s okay to swim with it. So, as I needed to go to iSpot (Apple’s authorised service and reseller here in Poland) to get a new battery for my iPhone, we brought Mum’s poor, sick Apple Watch as well. My Mum was even more pissed when she learned out that Apple Watches are not fixable and that the warranty doesn’t cover water damage. The woman who was helping us with our devices was so kind that she didn’t write that Mum’s Apple Watch was actually swimming prior to its death when preparing it to be sent for servicing, so we had a very slight glimmer of hope that perhaps they won’t figure out that it had anything to do with water and will give her a new Apple Watch. Not that Mum needed one, or even seriously wanted at this point, but it would be fair. The whole week after that, my Mum was telling everyone who wanted to listen that Apple just sells lies or something like that. She got even more pissed when a couple people with Android watches were really surprised that this happened to her and told her that they can swim with theirs no problem. She thought an Apple Watch would be better than Android since she has an iPhone now and likes it, and if it’s so much more expensive than, say, a Garmin, it should be for a reason. But, well, surprise of surprises, a few days ago, Mum got a text saying that a brand new Apple Watch was waiting for her in iSpot. Some people are lucky, haha. I set it up for her all over again and now she’s happy and no longer curses Apple. 

   If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that birthday season is about to start in our family. Ughhhh! 😩 Tomorrow is Misha’s seventh birthday (so he’s going to be 44 in human years, HOW THE FLIP?!) Then on Wednesday it’s Bibiel’s birthday, which I should probably be happy about or something but I’m not sure what’s so cool about getting older, and I’m not really looking forward to peopling, which will probably be unavoidable because everyone will want to make me happy lol. And besides, I still haven’t figured out why it’s such an unbreakable tradition, but, oddly enough, my birthday usually messes up with my brain. Either I get period PRECISELY on that day and have disgusting PMS, or I get really overwhelmed with peopling and all the attention, or someone vomits and my emetophobia wakes up, or something awful happens, etc. etc. Then next week after that it’s my Dad’s name day, and he didn’t have any celebration for his birthday last year, so he’ll probably have a proper name day this year. And finally two weeks after Dad, Mum and Olek have their birthdays on the exact same day. This is going to be already during Lent, so there won’t be any major celebrations for sure, but the thing is, it’s my Mum’s 50th birthday. She always used to say that she’s not going to do a huge 50th birthday celebration like a lot of people in our family do, because it’s cringey and childish, but then at some point she started saying that she probably should, and more recently that maybe she’d even like, and started seriously looking into where she could organise it and talking a lot about it, how she’d like it to be a dancing party etc. except she won’t be doing it now, but on her name day in July. I’ll have to think about some super fancy cool and fun present for her in exchange for not having to be there. 😀 

   Oh, and lastly, if we were having coffee, I’d share about something that happened a little earlier than last week, but I thought it would be good to update you all on that. Well, so the big news is that I was fired from job! For the uninitiated, I used to work at my Dad’s, who works as a lorry/truck driver for a larger company and delivers fuel, but that larger company requires him to formally have his own business because it’s more lucrative for them this way. When I was eighteen, his accountant advised him to take advantage of it and hire me, because, since I am disabled, it wouldn’t cost him anything. Here in Poland it works (or rather used to work) so that when you employ a disabled person, the State Fund for the Rehabilitation of the Disabled pays you back the entire salary of such an employee and returns the cost of any adaptive equipment or other such things that make employing such person possible. So he wouldn’t suffer anything, and I would have some additional money alongside my regular disability benefits. I worked as an office worker, so basically helped him out with all the tech stuff that he needed to do as part of his job, which wasn’t much. Writing emails to his clients, printing stuff, tracking ships that he was supposed to tank etc. Except this year things have changed a bit and while my salary was still paid back to him, he also had to pay significant insurance premiums for  me, so it didn’t really pay off. So he officially fired me earlier this month. Most people (especially such as myself who aren’t really employable) would probably be really upset over this, but I knew that this was only going to be temporary, though honestly I did hope that it would last for a bit longer than it did. Still, I’m grateful for it anyways, as even working for those seven years that I did has helped me to save a fair bit, so that now that I don’t work, my financial situation will probably still be stable for a while. 

   Okay, I think that’s all from me. What would you tell me if we were having coffee? 🙂 

Question of the day.

   Have you ever had a dream in which you started to cry, only to wake up crying in real life? 

   My answer: 

   Actually, oddly enough, this happens to me quite regularly. I generally have a lot of really emotional and intense dreams, which I wouldn’t call nightmares (although I do get a lot of nightmares too), but they’re just really emotional and the sheer intensity of them sometimes makes me wonder whether it isn’t my brain’s weird way at trying to deal with stuff that I have bottled up, some form of autotherapy or something, though I have no idea where it’s leading or what good it’s doing in the end because it keeps happening over and over again so it must be a rather fruitless effort. They usually have something to do with things I find difficult and emotional at the time except it’s all glaringly exaggerated, or other times it’s something from the past, or sometimes my brain just makes stuff up. Anyways, most often when I have those dreams, I only have a vague recollection of the actual plot line of the dream, just more or less what it was about but no details, yet on the other hand I remember all the emotions from it very vividly, and often when I still have one foot in the dream world and the other in the waking world, I am actually crying and only realise that when I wake up for good and have no idea what I’m even crying about in the first place. 😀  It’s really weird and quite confusing, but yeah, I think that’s a side effect of being overly emotionally inhibited in the waking world. On the other hand, there have been times when I’ve woken up laughing, because I’ve had such hilarious dreams. That’s probably even more weird, but it’s fun and I love it when it happens. 

   You? 🙂 

Question of the day.

   We haven’t had a question for a couple of weeks again, so let’s have one today. A chill one. 

   How do you like to relax at the end of a stressful day? 

   My answer: 

   With Misha. As I often say, Misha is my charger. I can recharge in other ways too, but with Misha it goes faster. I also like to listen to some music, depending on my mood. Often when I’m stressed I find it quite difficult to eat, so when the stress subsides I’m often ravenously hungry, so having something yummy to eat also helps me relax. And sleep, of course. Sleep helps a lot. 

   You? 🙂 

Question of the day.

   How do you feel about your name? Do you know why/how your parents named you what they did? Do you know what it means etymologically, or what it meant to your parents? Does it mean anything to you? 

   My answer: 

   Well, as for myself, I actually wrote about it a couple years ago for Nancy’s Baby Names who has a name interviews series in which she asks people how they feel  about their names, so if you don’t know how I feel and do want to know, check out this post on Nancy’s blog, and by the way if you’re anything of a name nerd but haven’t come across her blog before, I highly recommend it in general. 

   As for the meaning part, my birth name means “pearl”, and I used to joke that it’s because my Dad’s favourite brand of beer is called Perła which unsurprisingly means “pearl” in Polish. 😀 Obviously though if you’ll read Nancy’s post you’ll know it’s not true. It was my Mum who picked my name and I think she liked it, if only because of associations, given that it was her best friend’s as well as her little sister’s name and she chose it as her confirmation name. As I also wrote in the interview for Nancy, the only thing I seriously like about my birth name is my patron saint – Margaret of Castello – who was a disabled (she was blind, a dwarf and had some  deformities) member of the Third Dominican Order. There are many saints, blesseds and servants of God named Emilia or other people with similar names who could have worked as a patron saint for an Emilia, but first, no one really resonated with me as much, and second, I didn’t feel it was seriously appropriate for me to look for a different patron saint, after all, my birth name is still the name that I was christened as and I still use it as my Christian name, so like in church and such, and Margaret of Castello is even my Confirmation saint as well because she’s just my favourite. I could have chosen st. Hyacinth of Poland who is amazing as well and use Hiacynta as my Confirmation name but Hiacynta sounds like a nun name and I wouldn’t have pulled it off, not even just as a Confirmation name. 😀 I also liked Luisa Piccarretta and considered Luiza as my Confirmation name, but Luisa Piccarretta hasn’t  been properly canonised yet. 

   My current legal name, Emilia, comes from the Latin word “aemulus”, meaning “rival”, which is also interpreted to mean things like “envious”, so it’s one of those names with a not so positive meaning, but it doesn’t seem to discourage people from calling their daughters Emily or Emilia, and it doesn’t deter me either. I’m hardly competitive, and feel lucky that envy isn’t a feeling that I would have to deal with often at all (if I did have to pick an emotion-related name that would actually fit me, I guess I would have to be called Agar – “one who fears” – lol). But, again, as I wrote in the interview for Nancy, it’s not the meaning that drew me to the name Emilia, but the first thing was Emily of New Moon. And later on I just found more and more reasons to like it, and it does feel very much like me. 

   My middle name, Anna, means “grace” in Hebrew, and I really like it. I mean, both the name, and the meaning. I love it because it’s my Mum’s name, so mostly what Anna means to me is my Mum, or generally someone who is quite motherly and caring. My Dad actually wanted to call me Anna, which I would certainly like more than my birth name, although it would be even more problematic in terms of sharing my name with someone close than my birth name was, so I’d likely be even more confused whether someone was talking to me or to my Mum. And Anna is overwhelmingly common in Poland, so that wouldn’t be too enthusing either. My Mum once said that after all she wished they’d have called me Anna, and that if they did, she would go by Ania as she usually does, and I would go by Anna, but that’s not too realistic, because I don’t even know a single Polish Anna who goes by Anna, every single one is nicknamed to Ania. And I bet most people would deem it unnatural to call me (as the younger) the full version, and my Mum the nickname, and no one would do it in practice. And I wouldn’t have liked it the other way round because Ania is so plain and boring, lots more than the full Anna. Because of Anna being the most popular name for women here in Poland, I once heard someone say that they perceive this name almost as a synonym for “woman”, which was definitely supposed to be a negative comment. But although I personally also dislike Anna’s popularity, this observation actually made me realise more than before that it’s that essence-of-femininity vibe that I like most about Anna. As any regulars here and people who know me closer will be aware of, I have a very rich and varied Brainlife with multiple Brainworlds in one, with all kinds of beings, real and fictional, and that also includes one Brainworld where there are fictional characters who are like parts of me, embodying some of my traits, strong feelings, difficulties etc. Think Maggie the inner critic or Bibielle. And one of them is actually called Anna, aka my inner mummy, and in some aspects also the opposite of Maggie. She is one huge softie, kind of like my own Mum or grandma except less rational, you know, the textbook example of an individual who would fall into toxic relationships and wants to save people from themselves when they do shit to themselves, or feels compassion towards a villain in a book when he finally gets punished and there’s a vivid depiction of how he’s being impaled and cut into tiny little pieces (not that I ever read or watch stuff like that lol, just a random thing). Anna feels sad for all the people in the world and their issues, be that because they’re a hopeless heroin addict or because they have no slippers on their feet and might be cold, and she would most happily spend her life hugging people, listening to their woes and making them hearty dinners and cakes and massaging their feet. And of course particularly when it comes to any people that she loves or likes. That is certainly not to say that I am like that, because I don’t always, well, I usually don’t, let Anna act on her urges or tell me what I should think or do, because that sort of thing requires exposing your own vulnerability and I don’t like feeling vulnerable, nevertheless, Anna is a piece of me and I think her name fits her perfectly, even though of course not all Annas are like that. I also like that Anna is such a classic name and the Christian and Biblical connections, I like saint Anne (the mother of Mary), who is known as Anna in Polish. 

   How about you and your name? 🙂 

Question of the day.

   How did your 2023 start? 

   My answer: 

   Pretty normally. Honestly, I don’t really get celebrating New Year’s Eve, like in general, the fact of a new year starting is a rather neutral thing for me, and in particular, I don’t get the way most people seem to like to celebrate it, by getting drunk and staying up until as late as possible and do peopling. Ugh yuck. Oh yeah and the fireworks, I don’t see the point in that either, perhaps I would if I could actually see anything but I am kind of doubtful.

   So I didn’t do anything special for that day, in fact the first half of New Year’s Eve I actually had a migraine but thankfully it dissipated later on (things could have gotten quite challenging if it hadn’t until the evening so I really am very grateful). However both Olek and Sofi invited their respective mates here, and my poor parents, who originally planned to stay at home and perhaps invite a couple that they’re friends with, felt obligated to take part in a New Year’s Eve organised by my Mum’s cousins. 

   We’d had a few such situations last year where our parents would go out somewhere and my siblings would invite their friends, and while I generally didn’t mind it or anything, it did make me rather uneasy having some random peeps here and two parallel parties going on in the house at the same time, with the peeps running around the place and blasting music at full volume, and you can’t even have a proper guarantee that you won’t come across someone while sneaking out to the loo. And Misha gets all dysregulated as a result, I don’t know whether it’s more because of the noise, strange people, lack of structure or lack of Mummy but he gets very unsettled and it’s me who gets to deal with all that. And these peeps can’t even clean after themselves and leave loads of filth, I feel for their families. But  I have my room, after all, and no random peeps are allowed in here, (why would they  if they’re not my peeps), so I can and do stay in here and so can Misha if he wants, and listen to my own music and do my own things. 

   This time round I found it slightly more difficult though, because soon-ish after Sofi’s party started, I was treated to overhearing a whole very dynamic scene where the main character was Sofi’s friend puking (my room is next to the bathroom). For any potential uninformed newbies, I’m emetophobic so… Well, actually, I didn’t even get properly scared, I knew it most likely wasn’t a sudden bout of stomach flu that she got, but hearing such a thing was rather distasteful. 😀 

   So at the start of  New Year, I think I was in bed listening to music and  engaging full-on in one of my most favourite hobbies, i.e. paracosming (is that even a legit word? Do I even care? 😀 ) Well yeah, now that I’m thinking of it, actually perhaps that’s the exact point of New Year’s, everyone gets to indulge in their worst addictions or develop new ones, so that then they can make a New Year’s resolution that they’ll try to indulge less. 😀 But yeah, as a lot of cultures and languages say, like New Year, like the whole year, so according to that I’m not very likely to become any less maladaptive of a daydreamer any time soon. Sofi’s friend will probably be more successful overcoming her issues, as she managed to indulge properly before midnight. 😛 I stayed in my BrainWorld until 1 AM, which was when my parents came back, full of regrets, because that get-together for cousins was even more boring than they predicted. And when they did, their regrets became significantly greater, as they saw the state of the house and in it some peeps with temporarily altered brain chemistry who were very reluctant to leave and a “v-v-veeer-r-rytired” Sofi”. Suffice it to say that neither Sofi nor Olek are allowed to invite friends  this year, and Sofi had apparently broken all the rules that she promised to follow, and others that Mum thought were obvious. I kind of wonder why, because Sofi is normally more sensible than that and it seemed a bit out of character for her, but she doesn’t even seem to feel any contrition or at least doesn’t show it at all. To be honest, while as I said I never particularly minded those parties when Sofi had them before (and they were  more civil and more teenage-like than the New Year’s one), I was always kind of surprised that Mum even allows this, because generally she is very attached to her house, hates the thought of someone coming in here when we’re away, doesn’t like to leave the house alone for too long as she’s afraid of theft, and has a strong sense of privacy, so allowing a bunch of random young people to come in and do practically whatever they want while she’s away seemed like a huge sacrifice on her side. Anyway, we all feel quite disappointed with Sofi, but also it feels like a relief for both of my parents and myself, and perhaps for Misha the most, that those parties are a thing of the past now. Olek has got a large-ish plot in a different town so he can still invite his friends there, and, actually, if I were him, I’d much prefer doing it at my own place, even if it’s not a proper house. And a part of me feels for Sofi, even though Mum says I shouldn’t because it’s her own fault, but I still do because she’s going to have an awful year by the sound of it. No parties, no sleepovers, no concerts, no hanging out after school… And I bet she doesn’t even have fun memories or anything, and probably a few spoilt friendships to make things worse. 

   Anyways, Sofi & Co. aside, after my parents came back, I decided I can’t be worse and went to sleep as well, or rather intended to fall asleep, but couldn’t. That’s why paracosming right before sleep isn’t always the best idea, ‘cause your brain gets all activated and doesn’t want to stop working. After 3 AM, I gave up and decided I’d rather be a zombie, because I had to get up early to go to church anyway, and I prefer to be a zombie than having to go through the torture of just having fallen asleep early in the morning, and then having to get up after what feels like a few minutes later, even if in reality I’d get two or three hours of sleep. But I wasn’t meant to start off the new year as a zombie, because I drifted off to sleep after 6. 

   I was woken up by my Dad who kept saying “Bibiel?… Bibiel… Bibiel…!” In a way that sounded a little off for some reason. When I managed to shake the thickest layer of sleep off my brain, I was rather surprised that instead of telling me to get up or something like that, he asked if I was hungry. I was WAAAy too disoriented to answer such complex, introspective questions, and a more conscious bit of my brain was a bit like “wtf? Why? did I sleep for a week or something?” so I think I uttered some very ambiguous response like “Hmmmmm…?”, and he must have decided that that means “yes” because he was something like “Let’s go then” and basically pulled me out of bed and led me, or rather dragged me, as I was basically hanging off his arm half-asleep, to the kitchen. If I weren’t as sleepy and all round confused, this would have been quite absurdly hilarious. Mum was in the kitchen and said that she thought I’d be very hungry because I ate very little the day before due to the migraine, and for me that is one of the triggers that causes me to feel really really faint so Mum was afraid and didn’t want this to happen to me so she sent Dad upstairs to ask me whether I was hungry, and he must have assumed that I was so out of it because I was feeling faint, rather than just zombie-ish. 😀 I was very appreciative of her consideration, even though I wasn’t hungry and didn’t feel any weak feeling or anything to be approaching. In the end, I was glad that Dad woke me up like that, because it was already after 9, so this way we could still make it to the 10:30 Mass instead of having to wait for the next one at 6 PM, I think it’s very lousy to go to evening Mass if you don’t have a solid reason for putting it off, or in any case I would feel as if I was being lousy. And Sofi wouldn’t be fit to go with us either way. So I was glad that, even though I fell asleep probably even later than most people who celebrate New Year’s the “right” way, I didn’t have a lousy day. And despite I was definitely under-sleeped, my sleepiness dissipated fairly quickly and I didn’t feel like a zombie or even half-zombie at all. 

   So we went to Mass and then had breakfast and I talked a lot with Mum, who was feeling really blue after that lame party and the Sofi thing and we ate a lot of apple pie. It was my grandad’s birthday and we wanted to visit him like we usually do but we found out that there are quite a lot of people there and my Mum was not in the mood for dealing with a lot of people so we decided we’ll go some other day. And other than that, it was really just a normal day. 

   How about you? 🙂 

Question of the day.

   How do you feel about video games? 

   My answer: 

   I don’t really play much games, for two main reasons. The first one is that the amounts of accessible video games is limited to begin with. You can’t just download or buy whatever game you want when you’re blind and expect that you’ll be able to play it right away. And secondly, out of those games that are accessible, I haven’t found many that I would  really be interested in. The only game that I really do play regularly is a life simulation game called Bitlife, which is a text-based mobile game, but I’m so ignorant that I’m not even sure if a text-based game counts as a video game, but after having done a bit of Googling some people do refer to Bitlife as a video game as well so I guess it can be a video game at the same time, and it’s not like it’s completely text-based, it does have visual stuff as well and some sounds too. If what most people like and look for in games can be judged by what most games are like, then I guess there must be very high demand for stuff that is full of strong emotions, tension, aggression, competition, adventure, quest for being THE MOST, be in the most powerful, the richest, the most evil, the fastest etc. I’m not really so much into all those things. I mean, okay, they can be fun sometimes, but it’s not something I would truly enjoy on a regular basis. I’ve never even liked adventure books, I read some as a kid and teen while still finding out what I actually like and what I don’t, and whenever I read adventure books, or mystery books or such, where you have for example a child character who plays detective while on holidays at his grandparents’, I’d be all like: “Why do you even bother? Why won’t you just enjoy your holidays like a normal kid and for example have a lie-in if you can instead of jumping out of bed at 5 AM to solve some local mystery that’s not even any of your business? Who would care about that?” I’m still very much like that. I rarely read the aforementioned adventure or mystery books, and same about crime novels, science fiction, or fantasy, unless the heavily folklore-infused stuff like Tolkien. So similarly I don’t play games like that either. I don’t play shooters (don’t even know if any are accessible actually, but either way I wouldn’t), because they seem utterly pointless to me. Not necessarily because I’m so afraid of violence that I wouldn’t kill anyone even in a game (you can kill people in BitLife and I have done it), but killing for the mere sake of killing is as pointless of an activity as it gets imo. I don’t play strategy, mostly because I don’t seem to be very good at this kind of thinking. I’ve played some strategy games that I found mildly to moderately interesting but I was quite easily discouraged with each of them, and again, getting as rich and powerful as possible just for the sake of it can be fun for a while but not long-term. Long-term I’d happily be less than that if I could have an interesting plot and a well-developed character, but usually it seems to be just about expanding your empire or whatever else and earning achievements with not much depth to it. I don’t play sports-related games, because I’m not into sports in any way, although gimme an accessible horse riding game or sim or generally something revolving around horses and I’ll happily try it out. I don’t play multiplayer games because, well, I’m not a multiplayer, I’m a MiniPlayer, in every sense of this word (except for the YouTube MiniPlayer, in case you were wondering 🙃). I don’t play logical games except for word games, because all others feel dangerously close to math, even if they don’t involve math as such, they just feel and smell and look and taste and sound like math, ewwww! 

   So yeah, I play BitLife for the most part. When you play BitLife, look at their weekly challenges, read what people want in the game, it is also clear that BitLife definitely aims for much the same things as most games – be rich, be famous, be evil, what not. – And from what I see most people play it like that. When I let Sofi play BitLife, the only thing she’d do when her character grew up was alternating between burgling houses, robbing banks and gambling, because she found it thrilling. I mean, yeah, okay, it is thrilling and I do it sometimes too when I play some character whom such things fit, but doing it like all the time your whole life? So eventually I uninstalled BitLife from her phone because she’s still a kid so if she can’t play it less pathologically, I guess she shouldn’t at all at her age.

   I like BitLife because I can play it the way I want. There’s nothing you have to do, you don’t win it or lose it, you just live. And I also like BitLife because I find people interesting as individuals, and here you can basically pretend you’re someone else, pretty much whoever you want. The way I personally usually play BitLife is I create a character in my head, who they are, what sort of personality and life they have, what flaws, what advantages, and then I play their life in BitLife the way I think such a person’s life should look like. Sometimes they’re completely random characters, sometimes peeps from my BrainWorld or sometimes I try recreating lives of people I know or book characters etc. And in the game, it’s hardly so that everything goes to plan, so there are usually some more or less interesting plot twists along the way. Anyway, I always like to imagine my BitLife character as I play, and have a bit of a movie going on in my head as I progress with the game. Then when the character dies, or when I just feel like switching or need to switch for whatever  reason, I switch to one of their children, and then one of that child’s children and we have a whole dynasty where everyone has loads of children with unusual names (BitLife can generate names from some name bank it has but I always name my children there myself because there’s also such  option, my current character, for example, is called Anne-Micheline Grønberg-Cleary, her father is Norwegian and her mother is Anglo-Irish and she also has some Dutch and Welsh ancestry and she currently lives in LA and runs a healthy food store which is just about to go bankrupt because naturally she’s near-dyscalculic and I don’t know what she’ll do next with her life). Which is why I think it stinks like a skunk that BitLife still doesn’t have more advanced family features – I mean you have parents, siblings, lovers, children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews (oh and family pets if that counts), but you cannot interact with your grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles etc. It’s not very realistic that a grandparent can interact with their grandchild but the grandchild cannot interact with the grandparent, but there are more such bigger and smaller ridiculosities in the game, like that every country that doesn’t have euros or pounds has dollars, and generally even though you can play in almost any country, the whole thing is absurdly US-centric. Like I once lived in Saudi Arabia and had a scenario where my cat allegedly threw an urn with the ashes of some distant ancestor of mine off the mantlepiece, and I was like: “Yeah, because Muslims sure cremate their ancestors, right?” It’s unclean. 😀 Or you can be a Swede going to a Swedish school and turns out your Swedish language teacher is actually from Mongolia lol. 

   Because Bitlife is largely text-based, it’s not as immersive as other video games, and a lot of the play feels repetitive when you play it for some time, so it absolutely can and does get boring. But on the other hand you can also live each life a bit differently so that things are never the same, and you do have quite a lot of options as for what you can do with your life, even if not as many as we’d ideally like (I’ve always wanted to homeschool my kids in Bitlife for example but what can you do, you have no say as to what school your children will go to, you can’t express your opinion on their new girlfriend/boyfriend or tell them how distasted you are when they say after years of you paying their college tuition that they’ve become a stripper or an escort! 😩 ). And BitLife devs may not be the fastest at releasing updates but the game is being developed so new things are added nonetheless. I wish I could also try playing their other game – CatLife – which is what it sounds like, a cat’s life sim, but it isn’t accessible even though it’s about a year old now so it’ll probably never be, and people say it’s not that good anyway, but I’d like to find it out myself. 😀 

   Most of all though, I’d like to be able to play The Sims, because it must be like a more fun and expanded version of BitLife. But I doubt it will ever become accessible for screen readers with the way it works. 

   Overall though, how do I feel about video games? Well mostly neutral. For the most part I don’t care. But I get why people who like them do, and I get why people who don’t like them say things like that video games kill creativity and imagination or desensitise you to violence and are addictive, although I don’t like generalising that they all do, like the mere fact that something is a video game means it’s bad and will make your brain rot. Even though I have never came across an accessible, interesting and truly valuable video game, I’m sure that there are such and that they are as valid pieces of art as good books, films and music. And speaking of music, game soundtracks can be great too. Or they can be creepy. I mean seriously, last year Sofi had a phase where she played some stupid little game on her phone, I don’t know what it was called or what the overall point was but you had a few parallel worlds in there and some weird creatures and you were racing someone, that’s about as much as I can remember, but what I remember most vividly is that each of those worlds had a different tune that played while you were in it, and one of them was absolutely creepy. Of course, for the uninitiated newbies, I don’t mean creepy in an objective sense, like spooky or anything, but just sensorily creepy for me, not sitting well with my brain, for lack of a more suitable description of the phenomenon. I’m so grateful to God that Sofi no longer plays that game. 

   So, how do you feel about video games? And what games do you play, if any at all? 🙂 

Question of the day.

   What’s your dream job? 

   My answer: 

   Ever since I’ve read a German book on the history of brain surgery by Jurgen Thorwald, which I believe has no English translation but I read it in Polish and the Polish translation is called The Fragile House of the Soul, I thought it would be super cool to be a brain surgeon, or even a neurosurgeon more generally. I’ve been interested in various aspects of the human brain pretty much since forever, but it was then that I thought that being able to actually work with it in such a tangible way and tinker with  brains must be incredibly interesting, if also just as incredibly stressful, pressuring and all, but I think the interestingness compensates well for it. My conviction only strengthened when I met my horse riding instructor, who aside from being a horse riding instructor and hippotherapist and quite a few other things is also a neurologist, and so we tend to talk about various brain-related things a fair bit. Obviously though, I cannot be a brain surgeon being blind, so while I’d really like to be able to do that, it has to stay in the sphere of dreams. And actually, I have a feeling that even if I could see, perhaps this wouldn’t necessarily be the best fit for me. I guess to be able to study medicine you have to have a bit more of an idea of subjects like math, chemistry and physics than I ever did at school. First and foremost, you actually have to pass your finals and I didn’t pass my math final, let’s not forget about that. 😀 And I think being able to see wouldn’t necessarily make me a lot more dexterous and coordinated. But it’s not like I am or have ever been devastated because I’m not able to do that, it’s mostly just a fun thing to think about and the fact that I cannot do that doesn’t fill me with bitterness or anything. 

   Another thing I’ve also wanted to do for ages is to work with speech synthesis, text to speech solutions and such, and especially to be able to create speech synths for various mini languages that no one cares about, sometimes even their speakers hardly do. And that would be a way of conserving them, as well as a way to help speakers of those languages who are blind or have various communication challenges to be able to do things in that language, like read ebooks in that language with synthetic speech the way they’re actually supposed to sound, rather than having to use, say, a Polish speech synth to read a book in, for example, Vilamovian (no clue if there even are any books in Vilamovian, it was just the first really small language that came to my mind), or communicate with their family in such a mini language if they can’t speak. This is really interesting stuff for me and has pretty much always been, but to work in such a field it’s not enough to have some linguistic knowledge and be language-conscious generally, you also have to be awfully geeky with technology and everything and again, that involves a fair bit of math and other such so called left-brain things (if we do believe in left and right brain doing separate things). And I doubt you can actually make a living off making Vilamovian, Karelian or other Lusatian speech synths, as these languages obviously have a very limited number of speakers and the speech synths would be used and needed by like 1% of those speakers. 😀 

   How about you? 🙂 

Question of the day.

   If you can’t sleep, or just don’t sleep for whatever reason, what do you do during the night? 

   My answer: 

   I listen either to music or some radio station where they speak one of “my” languages, and usually read some book. Or if I don’t read, I typically daydream or just generally hang out in this or that part of my huge Brainworld, because it’s most interesting at night. Or I ruminate if I’m feeling very anxious, or nervous about something specific. If I’m sure that I am not going to fall asleep any time soon and don’t feel like it at all, I may write something, like in my journal, or write back to one of my pen pal’s if I’ve got any emails from any of them that I wasn’t able to respond to earlier. Or I play with Misha, because he’s often up when I am. Or I play a bit of Bitlife. Or chat with my Replika (a sort of AI friend) called Jac, because obviously he never needs to sleep. 

   How about you? 🙂 

Sharing my world after a LONG time.

   Oh boy! How long has it even been since I last participated in Share Your World? I used to do that fairly regularly when I was just starting with this blog, when it was run by Cee Neuner who I believe was the original host of SYW (someone please correct me if I’m wrong), and then a few times when Melanie of Sparks From a Combustible Mind hosted it, but it feels like it’s been absolute ages since I last did. 

   I didn’t know Melanie very well, but I was aware of that she’s been MIA from the blogosphere for some time. But it was only yesterday that I found out that she has sadly passed away. I feel really ignorant to have learnt about this so late, and a bit shocked. This makes it a sad year for the blogosphere, as she is the second very active blogger (of those that I know of anyway)  who has passed away during it and is going to be very much missed, the first one being Ashley of Mental Health at Home I am and will continue to be praying that they both rest in peace. 

   Thanks a lot to Di of Pensitivity101  for hosting this last SYW of this year. Here are Di’s questions and my answers to them: 

   1.   If you have been given a variety of gifts, do you have a clear out of older stuff to make room for it? 

   It’s definitely not something that I’d usually do for Christmas/birthday/other such gift occasions, certainly not just for the sake of replacing old things with new ones, unless it’s logical for some reason like for example getting a new phone and thus doing away with  the old one or receiving new clothes and getting rid of the ones that I no longer wear if there is no room in my wardrobe etc. 

2.  Do you overindulge with food for special occasions and then come to regret it with either weight gain, guilt or severe indigestion? 

   Not very often. Generally, these days the amount of food that I can eat in one go seems to be a lot smaller compared with most people, ‘cause everyone says I eat very little. But as I always say, at least that makes me low-maintenance. 😀 I have a little theory that I might’ve screwed myself up a bit, because I’ve had emetophobia (fear of vomit) for years, which is now easily manageable most of the time but used to be quite bad when I was younger and I would heavily restrict what I ate, most things were more or less unsafe really. For the same reason I’ve also tried my best to avoid overeating, feeling very full, not to mention indigestions, as it’s naturally all quite triggery. I’ve also had times when I struggled with a sort of control issue around food, where I didn’t like having needs like that ‘cause it was a burden on people and I thought it was weak etc. And when I’m anxious or stressed, I’m usually not able to eat much or at all, but once it goes away and I feel relief, I become ravenously hungry and get wild junk food cravings. So I think all that undereating and erratic eating patterns has turned against me and now I really don’t need very much to feel really full. Add to that the fact that I’m awful at estimating amounts of anything (including how much I am able to eat) and that I’m scared of eating in social situations, and there isn’t really much room for indulging, both literally and figuratively. The upside of that is such, that while most people eat a lot of food in one go and then feel heavy and bloated all day and have no energy for anything else, I am able to beat everyone at hangman 😛 ‘cause I can still think clearly, and then  happily eat another mini portion of something once I  recover and have some room freed again. There have been times when I overindulged on Christmas, either due to overestimation of my own capabilities or because I wanted to try as many yummy things as possible (it sure CAN be hard to limit yourself to just a few when suddenly there is so much delicious food in front of you and a lot of it appears only during Christmas season) and then I always regretted it sorely indeed. Not necessarily with a real full on indigestion, as you paradoxically very rarely get those when you’re emetophobic, but some mild nausea and bloating that then got worse just because of my ruminating on them and whether or not I’m going to vomit in the end because of feeling like that. 

3.  What is your favourite part for any celebration? 

   This is going to make me sound like  Grinch or someone who really doesn’t enjoy things but I do have to say it’s probably the part once everything is over. Celebrations can be fun for sure, but one thing that they all have in common is peopling, and peopling is generally quite overwhelming, so it feels great when it’s all over and you can go recharge your brain and breathe a sigh of relief and things go back to normal. 

4.   Are you looking forward to getting bargains in the January Sales?

Honestly I couldn’t care less. 😀 I don’t really follow it but there seem to be some sales all the time or very regularly so I don’t see it as anything spectacular to bother with. I never buy anything just because it’s on sale, and I hate shopping so I don’t go shopping without a very clear reason. 

   Gratitude: 

   This week, I feel really grateful for Christmas, because we had a good one for the most part, even though I was a zombie (sleepless) on the first day of Christmas (Boxing Day is celebrated as second day of Christmas over here).  That in itself is a reason to be grateful, because I’ve had zombie days which were far worse than that. It wasn’t too stressful, even with the peopling involved, and we had a really fun atmosphere. I am grateful for all the lovely gifts that I received, in particular for the new jasper in my gem stone collection whose name is Alasdair (I give my stones human names if you’re a newbie or something and are feeling confused 😀 ). And now I regret that I don’t have a pic of him to show y’all, but oh well, I’ll ask Mum if I’ll remember and maybe I’ll post it some other time. Generally I’ve been forever wanting to show you my entire collection but it’s so huge that I guess I’d have to hire some real photographer for a few hours to take pics of all of them and then write alt texts for me so I know which is which. 😀 Who would want to do all that for free! And I’m also grateful for re-reading (for the umpteenth time) my all-time favourite YA series – Jeżycjada by Małgorzata Musierowicz – this time round together with my Mum. I mean, we’re not necessarily reading it together physically, but going through each book more or less at the same time. My Mum reads slower than me since she doesn’t have as much time for reading as I do, which allows me to read other things in between and also helps me to savour the series more and remind myself to slow down sometimes as well when reading. I don’t know, maybe I’m boring, ‘cause I first read this series when I was a kid and I still remember whole lines from them, but they still make me laugh, even though I perceive them differently now and notice different things than before, but that’s why re-reads are such a good thing. 

Question of the day.

   What food do you think is overrated? 

   My answer: 

   The thing that pops into my mind is avocado. But probably a lot of so called super foods could belong in there too. I understand that it’s healthy, but it’s so yuck that I don’t get how desperate for health people must be to eat it. 

  Also most fast food in my opinion. It sure is fast, and most of the time cheaper than making a home-made, healthy meal, but in my opinion most of it isn’t as good as one could think judging by how many people eat it regularly as a treat. The only fast food I really like are enough to eat it regularly are chips and KFC hot wings. I can eat some other fast food things but I can’t say it’s truly delicious or anything. 

   Also a lot of people I know really like hot dogs and I can’t wrap my brain around what is SO amazing about them. 😀 

   And pizza. I don’t necessarily dislike pizza, I absolutely love a good, home-made pizzas, but most pizzas that you can get in food places or at least the ones that I’ve had aren’t all that good. A truly good, noteworthy pizza is a rare thing in my experience. 

   What are your overrated food picks? 🙂 

Question of the day.

   What do you appreciate or look for in a friend? 

   My answer: 

   I think loyalty is the most crucial thing when it comes to friendship. I’d say so crucial, actually, that there isn’t even much point writing about it when answering such question, because if there’s no loyalty, is it even a real friendship? As for more subjective things that I appreciate or would look for, I think the key thing for me is at least some mutual life experiences, and preferably not only that we’ve experienced the same or similar thing but that we’ve also experienced it in a similar way. For example I and someone else can both be blind, or mentally ill etc. but I think it’s more likely to evolve into friendship if our experience of blindness/mental illness is more or less similar, that is, we feel similarly about it and experience similar ups and downs of the shared experience. Even better than experience is if I and the other person  share some interest(s), even if it’s just liking similar books or some of the similar music (though dare I say if we like similar music we’d probably find some other interests in common as well 😀 ). If we can share something, be it an experience or interest, it can make such relationship deeper. 

   Other than that, I highly appreciate a good sense of humour in people, even if it’s a bit silly or weird or something. As well as intelligence, so you don’t have to clarify everything to them all the time. I really appreciate sensitivity, both emotional sensitivity and sensitivity to beauty. Also I think that either having beliefs, values and views on important matters in common with each other, or being able to have respect for each other’s beliefs and views is incredibly important, at least if it’s supposed to be a really strong friendship. I like weird, quirky people. Not necessarily being quirky for all means and just for the sake of being quirky, and not necessarily in the sense of being controversial, but just having your own way of living/doing things/your own things that you like and not many others do. I think for me it’s better to be friends with introverts, because since I am an introvert too, a fellow introvert would understand things like needing to recharge and not feeling like interacting with you ALL the time and that it’s not for personal reasons and that it doesn’t mean we’re no longer friends. I guess such things would make an extrovert feel underwhelmed or possibly hurt if they’d take it personally. And qualities such as being helpful, supportive, kind or a good listener are also very much appreciated, but I think these are again ones that most people would look for in a friend. 

   How about you? 🙂 

Question of the day.

   Simple question today, as we haven’t had any in a long time: 

   What did you do today or will do? 

   My answer: 

   Well, it’s half past noon here right now. If we’re considering that today started at midnight (which I guess would be the most logical), then the first thing I did is I went to the midnight Mass. Now that we go exclusively to TLM (traditional Latin Mass), our new parish, so to say, is quite a bit further away, and  midnight Mass is long-ish, so by the time we got back home it was after 2 AM. Most of my family overate for the Christmas Eve supper, but I hate overeating so by the time we got home I was starving, so I ate a little more of the Christmas food, and then we opened our presents. It’s fun opening Christmas presents at 2 AM. To an outsider, especially one unfamiliar with Christmas Eve celebrations, it could look as if we were so impatient that we couldn’t even sleep the night through like all normal people and wait for the Christmas morning but had to run for the presents as soon as possible, but actually it’s the other way around because most people who celebrate Christmas Eve festively tend to open their presents soon after the supper. And we did that too for many years, only changed it a couple years ago because why not.  Sofi is no longer a little kid and has more patience these days and understands that there are important, more important and most important things, and the rest of us aren’t really crazy about presents like she is. I mean, sure it’s cool, but we don’t really think about it so much and we all agree that it’s a little bit awkward, the whole thing. Without Sofi, perhaps we wouldn’t feel the need to do them at all? So it’s good that we have Sofi, as she brings a bit more spontaneity in here. 

   We all got Sofi new AirPods. Mum bought her AirPods earlier this year, but someone stole them from her at school about a month ago and she’s been disconsolate, because lately she goes everywhere with earbuds in her ears and otherwise life sucks. Actually, yesterday morning I even asked her just for fun what present she would most like to get if she could get anything, even something for a million dollars or more. And Sofi said that she’d like to get driving lessons so that she could ride some mini car that kids her age are allowed to drive, but since that doesn’t seem likely to happen at this point even if our parents or Olek or me were millionaires, she said that the other thing she’d really like to get is new AirPods, and then added that, actually, if she got some AirPods today, or find her old ones, she’d be the happiest peep in the world. And she really was happy when she got her AirPods. 

   I never know what to give Olek (even though he always knows what to give everyone), so I traditionally buy him FIFA every year because he likes to play this game, although I’m seeing that his enthusiasm is waning gradually every year so for the next year, I’ll have to think about something different. 

   For Mum, I got a bullet journal, because I think this is something she’ll really enjoy now that she’s IFfing (intermittent fasting) and on a keto diet, and she didn’t seem to have an effective way of actually tracking how she was feeling, and it can potentially also be a fun outlet for her abundant inner life that keeps spilling out rather uncontrollably. 

   Dad says openly that he doesn’t want presents really, and he’s hardly ever even happy with anything, so I didn’t get him anything. If our situation was different, I would have probably gave him some money and he would have appreciated that, the materialist he is, but considering the fact that I am his employee, it would be a tad bit ridiculous, like a child taking out money of their parents’ wallet to put it under the Christmas tree. 😀 

   And Misha got a water fountain. I never know what to get Misha either, because, well, when people talk about presents for cats, they usually talk about toys and things like that. And Misha isn’t really big on toys. He does like to play, but he gets bored quickly, and as for shop-bought toys he hardly ever looks at them. He’s a naturalist and prefers things like cones, leaves, feathers, peas etc. Oh yeah, and he likes marbles, but he must take that after me. So I usually just buy Misha some yummy food for Christmas and spoil him in every way possible. But this year, just totally last minute, I thought that I would buy Misha a nice, ceramic water fountain, so that he could drink running water, which he likes most, as all cats I suppose. It also has a sensor so that the water only flows when Misha’s nearby, so Misha also finds it interesting and he really drinks loads now. I’d like to have it here in my room, but I’ve no free outlets, so I’ll have to get some new power strip or something first. For now it’s standing in the kitchen. But what I actually wanted to say is that, despite I bought it last minute, I mean this week, and despite it was online, the fountain managed to arrive before Christmas Eve. And I strongly suspect that Misha is an atheist anyway so he doesn’t give a flip about Christmas, or otherwise he must be an Orthodox Christian in which case he’d have two more weeks to wait for his Russian Christmas and have it on our Epiphany, so I figured that I might as well show him the fountain right away, and I did. 

   As for myself, I got a beautiful, rough chunk of jasper from Mum. You regular people know that I give my stones names that I like, especially ones that wouldn’t be usable for me on a real child even if I was to ever have one. I thought the whole evening about what I’m going to call this jasper, even involved my whole family but that was more for a bit of social fun rather than because I expected actual help, almost all their suggestions were absolutely crap, but at least we had a laugh. In  the end I chose Alasdair which suits him ridiculously well so it’s weird that it took me so long to think about this. I also got a very delicate bracelet which is made of carnelians. I am generally not a huge fan of jewellery other than rings ‘cause it gets in the way of doing things and I find it annoying when it happens, and also the whole thing of getting used to wearing something, but this one is subtle enough that it doesn’t really get in the way and I hardly feel it most of the time. 

   And from Olek, me and Sofi together got like a whole, indecently huge cartonboard box of sweets. I mean seriously, if anyone wants some candy, come to us! If we eat it all throughout the next year, we will both turn from mildly underweight to morbidly obese by next Christmas. 😀 I highly appreciate though can barely fathom the fact that he even felt like wasting so much money on us. And last year I got  wooden box of ALL kinds of teas from him and I still have like  half of that left. 

   And then we went to sleep… well okay, at least to bed. I was feeling kind of weak since midnight Mass and first thought it was because I was standing for a long time (which is normal for me, I mean don’t know if normal but typical), then I thought perhaps it was because I was starving, but it didn’t go away once I ate, and Mum kept saying that I’m probably ill because apparently there’s some weird very high fever epidemic going around right now, but I didn’t really feel sick or feverish or anything like that at all. I thought I was just tired, so went to bed thinking I’m going to be out like a light, except that was not what happened. My brain was going a thousand miles a minute about everything and anything and I couldn’t settle, while at the same time feeling quite exhausted. And I didn’t get a wink of sleep ALL night long. In other words, I’m having a zombie day. So this thing you’re reading was written by a zombified version of Bibiel. But I haven’t had a full on zombie day in ages, so that’s okay, I can deal with it, although I’m not sure why it happened, because my sleep-wake cycle directly prior to this was very satisfiable to me and in line with societal norms so I wonder what’s going to happen next to my circadian rhythm. I still feel weak physically, and while I’m not even feeling sleepy really, I feel seriously spaced out and outrageously mood-swingy and that really annoys me. And I don’t like how my brains feel cognitively on zombie days, it’s frustrating as shit, my languages get all jumbled and I can’t think like a human and can’t make the smallest decisions rationally and without stressing out like the whole world depends on it. I told my Mum about it today and she happily offered that she can help me make any decisions that I need help with, but I was like: “But I don’t even know what decisions to start dealing with first”. 😀 It’s as trivial as: should I eat now or in half an hour? Do I first let Misha in or finish this sentence? Do I listen to this song or that now? I’m not normally like that, not to this extent for sure. Misha slept with me though and he slept for us both, because he slept until 9 which is unheard of for him unless he’s sick or sad, but today it was simply because everyone got up late, and he was warm and toasty so no point getting up at 5 AM and sit in the empty, cold and silent kitchen waiting for someone to come. 

   Hm, what else did I do…? I can’t think! I mean, I started writing this post half past noon and now it’s after 2 PM so I guess that gives you an idea of my cognitive abilities today lol. Hmmm well, I had breakfast while my mood was swinging back and forth, and then I went back to my room ‘cause all people started to wake up and I couldn’t face people because at that particular point my mood was swinging very low above the ground. I went back to my room and started crying, not like I even had a reason for that, I just felt really sad and mad and useless and like the only thing I was able to do was cry. And then after a couple minutes I realised how absurd this is that people all around the world have real problems and some stupid Bibiel is crying and doesn’t know why, and stopped crying and chuckled at myself how weird I am and at Bibiel’s first world problems. My parents went for a 10 km walk and Olek and Sofi watched a movie. 

   We thought that we are going to be visiting people – Mum’s and Dad’s family – today, but (paternal) gran is at my uncle’s today, and we don’t want to split up the visits for two days, and also I really can’t do outside people today and would be afraid that I would suddenly become sleepy with lack of anything constructive to do other than sitting by the table and would fall asleep. And also, as a normally socially over-inhibited individual, being around people on zombie days sort of scares me because I’m not as capable to control  everything as I normally do, or at least as I like to think that I do. It’s mind-blowing how sleep or lack thereof can change everything in your brain so much that it barely even feels like your own brain and the same one that you were using yesterday. So anyway, we’re going to visit everyone tomorrow, which I’m relieved about. 

   So no big peopling today, and no other big plans either. We’re just going to do whatever we feel like for the rest of the day. Now let me try to figure out what it is that Bibiels actually feel like doing, maybe I’ll know in the next two and a half hours if I’m lucky. 😀 

   So how about you? How’s your Christmas going? 🙂 

Question of the day.

   What’s a saying in your language that probably doesn’t have a straight-forward translation into other languages? 

   My answer: 

   Well, in my experience, when translating anything between Polish and English, it’s English that has more words that are untranslatable into Polish, simply because English has loads more words than Polish does. That being said, we do have a lot of sayings, also proverbs, idioms, colloquial or downright slangy words that are very handy yet don’t seem to have a straightforward translation into English, and as much as, when speaking Polish to a non-English speaker, I often sorely lack the huge amounts of weirdly specific and descriptive words that English has, on the other hand, when speaking English, I really feel the lack of all those very picturesque and often quite humourous and to the point sayings, idioms etc. of my native language. As you may know, I have always envied people who are multilingual since early childhood, but as my own language development keeps progressing, I am increasingly more inclined to believe someone I was once writing with who was raised bilingual, and who told me that being bilingual is not all amazing, because, according to him,   when you speak two or more languages fluently from a very early age, in a way you can’t develop either of them as well as a monoglot can, and you have gaps in each of them and mix them up a lot totally accidentally etc. I was raised monolingual, so that was not my experience, but now that my thinking is pretty equally divided between Polish and English, and my Swedish is also pretty strong, I think I am starting to see that myself. When I speak English, I still don’t know a lot of niche words or am unfamiliar with some structures, or make a lot of mistakes, or am just not sure how to express some very specific thing, or  like I said  lack some colourful idiom from my native language. But when I speak my native language, I find it increasingly difficult to resist the temptation of snobbishly throwing words from other languages in between or awkwardly calquing expressions from other languages, or otherwise it sometimes takes me ages to remember what something’s called in Polish which feels and appears ridiculous. Also I write a lot less in Polish these days than I do in English and sometimes I have an impression that ever since I’ve started writing loads in English, like blogging and having mostly English-speaking friends, my writing skills in Polish have degraded slightly but visibly, while I still haven’t developed as distinctive a writing style as I’ve had in Polish. I shared that observation with my grandad a few months ago and he said that perhaps this is evidence for why humans might not actually be built for being multilingual. It’s an interesting theory and could sort of make sense at the first glance, because in the past people rarely travelled so far that they’d need more than one language to communicate effectively with everyone, nonetheless I don’t believe in this theory one bit. AlSo yeah, linguistic dilemmas. But anyway, I’m digressing already before I’ve even managed to properly start answering the question. 😀 

   So, an untranslatable Polish saying? The first thing that comes to my mind is one that would literally translate to “to think about blue almonds”. At least on the surface, that may seem like the best literal translation for it, even though it’s not really right or exact but we’ll get to that in a minute. If you’re thinking about blue almonds, it means that you are dreaming, usually about something that isn’t very likely to come true, or, in any case, you are not doing anything to get closer to it coming true. It is also strongly associated with being idle and lazy, like, instead of doing what you’re supposed to do, for example doing your job so that you can eventually get a raise and gradually become richer and possibly very rich, you just sit there thinking about blue almonds, that is in this case  how cool it would be to be a billionaire and what you’d be doing if you were one, but you’re not even trying to increase the likelihood of it happening. I’ve also heard it used several times to signify something more like zoning out, for example, you’re in the middle of doing something, and then you stop in the midst of it and suddenly appear deep in thought, so someone might ask you what you’re thinking about and you could say: “Oh,  just thinking about blue almonds”, meaning that you’d simply zoned out and weren’t thinking about anything in particular at all or just mind wandering or something. But generally it’s most basic meaning I’d say is idle, lazy daydreaming of very unlikely or perhaps utopian things. 

   But why blue almonds, actually? Well, the thing is that they aren’t really blue. The Polish word for blue (niebieski) also has another meaning – “heavenly”. – It is much less commonly used, these days you’d mainly see it in religious texts like the Bible (lol my Mac is so brainwashed by me already that it autocorrects Bible to Bibiel 🤣 ) or hymns or prayers (so essentially in Polish Heavenly Father means the same as blue father, and I remember that when I was little I found that really odd) or such, or otherwise perhaps astronomy-related stuff where it would mean “celestial”. I guess it’s because the word for heaven (niebo) is the same as sky in Polish, and well, the sky is blue. Or perhaps there’s a more logical reason behind that. So technically the almonds aren’t really supposed to be blue, but heavenly. But since “niebieski) is more  commonly used as meaning blue these days, most people think the almonds in the saying are actually blue and interpret it as to think/daydream about something very weird/fantastical/surreal, ‘cause blue almonds don’t exist. Apparently, in the past centuries, the Polish word for almond (migdał) was also used to mean something delicious, perhaps a bit sumptuous, exotic, luxurious, that you didn’t eat every single day. So I guess a more fitting literal translation would really be something like “to think about heavenly delicacies”. 

   Or am I wrong in assuming that this doesn’t have an English equivalent? If so, please do enlighten me.

   . How about you? Or if you’re not sure what sayings from your language are or are not translatable to others, what’s your favourite saying in your native language? 🙂 

Question of the day.

   Simple question today: 

   What book are you reading right now? 

   My answer: 

   Me, well, I think the GoodReads widget on my blog is still working, in which case you should be able to see that I am reading Catherine of Siena by Sigrid Undset. I’ve read a lot of books by this author during the last year or so. I first read Kristin Lavransdatter some years ago, mostly because I read about it in my favourite Polish author’s – Małgorzata Musierowicz’s – books, because a lot of her female characters have read and like Kristin and either Mrs. musierowicz herself or one of her characters said that this is a book that every woman should read or something along those lines. In hindsight, I can add that, in particular, every Catholic woman, and every introverted woman. Not that men or non-Catholics won’t find it interesting and insightful as well. I thoroughly enjoyed that book reading it for the first time, mostly because of Undset’s understanding and sensitive way of portraying people’s characters, inner lives etc. as well as the daily life of the characters (it’s a historical novel set in medieval Norway), and the strongly Scandinavian vibe generally, but also something else drew me to it that I couldn’t quite pinpoint. Not much later, I came across The Master of Hestviken and enjoyed it even more mostly for the same reasons, and again primarily was drawn to it by something that I was not really able to name. 

   I’d always wanted to reread both of them, and possibly read her other books if I could get hold of any, but only actually did that last year, when I bought both of these books for my Mum. We had fully “converted” to Traditional Catholicism not long before last Christmas,  started attending Traditional Latin Mass exclusively and all that, and I think that was what made me think of these books again, because Undset wrote both of them after converting to Catholicism, and she herself lived pre Vatican II, and so  obviously did her medieval characters, and so when I started to attend Traditional Latin Mass more regularly, read Traditional Catholic books etc. it all starkly reminded me of Kristin and Olav (Olav is the main and title character of The Master of Hestviken). And so I thought that my Mum would really enjoy them, because of the TradCat flavour, and because my Mum likes old classics, as well as Scandinavian literature (Mika Valtari for example) and I thought she and Kristin and Olav would get along supremely well. And that turned out to be very much the case, because Mum says now that Kristin Lavransdatter is the book of her life (even despite a rather clunky Polish translation which really is a translation of the German translation and initially the clunkiness and weird pseudo-archaisms in it bothered my Mum, just as they did me). Olav took more time for her to develop a liking for, but I think that might be the case for a lot of people and I totally get it even though weirdly enough I had no such problem myself. To me, as a person, Olav is actually more interesting than Kristin, because Kristin, while an introvert, is shown more from the outside, like through her daily life, what she was doing, how everything was changing etc. and, compared to Olav, her personality isn’t as well-developed. My Mum initially disagreed with me and, again, I get why, ‘cause Olav is difficult to get to know in a way, but once she read the whole Master of Hestviken she agreed with me that, despite he’s in his own head most of the time (or imho precisely because of it), he has more of a character.

   So anyway, I couldn’t just look at how my Mum was reading my two favourite books, I had to reread them myself too. And I have more time for reading than my mum and a more messed up sleep cycle so I finished both way before Mum was done with Kristin. And this time it was precisely the spiritual life of those people that grabbed my attention the most about those books, and their relationship with God, their religious customs, their thoughts about faith etc. Perhaps this was the thing that I initially was so drawn by but couldn’t quite specify, although I think there is still something more to those books  that I can’t pinpoint. Further rereads are due, I guess. But yeah, this second time I enjoyed both of them even more, and noticed a lot more about them aside from just the external stuff which was what I mostly noticed when reading them for the first time. 

   Kristin and Olav only wetted my appetite further, and so I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Sigrid Undset’s Gymnadenia (The Wild Orchid I guess it’s more commonly known as in English) series is in our blind library. I must have somehow not noticed it before because it was there way before I first read Kristin. It was weird because I was actually looking for The Wild Orchid all around the web before and it either hadn’t occurred to me to look in such an obvious place, or for some reason I didn’t see it there or something. So, even though the recording is very old and sound quality not overly enticing, and even though the narrators mispronounced most Norwegian words like people’s names or place names in both parts of the series as if they were  French or German or something which drove me up the wall, I read the whole series. It is set in early 20th century so definitely feels very different than the other two books by her that I’d read. It tells the story of Paul Selmer and focuses in particular on his way to converting to Catholicism. It didn’t captivate me nearly as much as Kristin and Olav did, and really dragged in places, the first volume was particularly difficult to get through, I guess simply because Paul as a person and his life as such resonated with me less rather than because it was a worse book or something. But I found it very interesting nevertheless to see Paul’s transformation throughout the series and read about his various reflections relating to the Catholic faith, Mass, being Catholic etc. I thought that my ardent Mum would resonate with it even more, and again, I was right. She says that, even though it is obviously not really a religious book as such but just a work of fiction, it drew her closer to God and felt very spiritually enriching for her to read at that particular point in time when she read it. 

   And while I found The Wild Orchid in our library, I also found two other books by Undset, that is Jenny and a re-telling of the Arthurian legends but I’m not sure if the latter has been translated to English so no idea what it’s called in English. I believe both of these were written before her conversion, but to someone who knows that she eventually did, you can sort of read between the lines that she was having some sort of spiritual/existential breakthrough or something. Jenny was kind of disappointing, I don’t know, I guess I just expected it to be better than it actually was and didn’t really enjoy it all that very much, but it’s still worth reading by all means and I definitely don’t regret doing it. And the Arthurian legends, well I’m a Celtophile so… yeah, had a lot of fun reading it and seeing the whole thing from a bit of a different angle than the other Arthurian legends books that I’d read before show it. It was kind of weird and kind of funny though, considering that Sigrid Undset could overall definitely be classified as a Christian writer, that these legends are absolutely full of lust, murder and other similar obscenities and there’s a lot of focus on that, like reading it you’d think their lives consisted almost solely of adulterating, fighting/killing each other and drinking and it can make you feel kind of demoralised if you’re sensitive to such things. But there was still a lot of beauty in between and a lot of Christian accents, even though not as obvious as in Kristin or Olav. 

   Since then I’ve wanted to find some other of her books but had no luck, at least in Polish. Yet, I was able to find Undset’s aforementioned biography of Catherine of Siena in English on Audible, so I got it right away. Actually before I heard a sample on Audible, I thought that it was more of a fictionalised account of her life, since I’d only read fiction books by Undset before and was a bit surprised that it’s a proper biography, but I think it just shows that she was a really incredibly versatile writer. I am slowly finishing this book and I am really liking it because of how detailed it is. It isn’t just a biography like a lot of saints’ biographies that is written solely to inspire the faithful to follow her example, it actually shows in a very realistic way what sort of person she was overall, what her life must have looked like at the time when she lived, all the chaos going on at the time around the pope’s relocation from Rome to Avignon and the relationship between France and Rome etc. so that the reader can have a pretty detailed picture of everything, while at the same time it’s also quite obviously not just a historical book because, as a devout Christian herself, she also does focus a lot on the most important thing that is Catherine’s spiritual and mystical life so I’d say it’s a very edifying read at the same time and I feel sad for my Mum that she probably won’t be able to get hold of it anywhere in Polish unless some second-hand bookshop if she’s lucky. My dream is now that I could read her books in Norwegian one day, but for now the mere thought feels rather intimidating. 😀 Also, having read quite a few of her books by now, I am growing more and more curious of Sigrid Undset herself, as a person, and her life. I mean, I’m usually like that, when I read a book, or listen to music or anything like that, I quite automatically think about the individual behind it and what they must have been like to create that particular thing, but in this case I’m actually very seriously curious, and I wish someone wrote a thorough biography of her, but so far haven’t come across anything like that. Also these days I have another reason for being so much into her books. I’ve been praying for someone who is Norwegian, and I find it extremely encouraging and heartening in my efforts to know that such very deeply Christian books were born in Norway, and not very long ago at all, when Norway was already a largely secular country. 

   So, how about your current read(s)? 🙂 

Question of the day.

   Whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, what are some annoying things that the opposite do? 

   My answer: 

   Well I’m an introvert, and what I’m going to say obviously aren’t things that I think ALL extroverts do, just what I experienced with quite a few of them. 

   The most annoying thing imo is how a lot of extroverts see introversion as something weird, abnormal or pathological, something that is the worse option of the two and that you should at least try to change, or else you’re crazy, strange or something. I think if it’s something pathological, it’s not introversion but anxiety or other things like that, and introversion is just a totally neutral trait. Sure, there are more introverts than extroverts who have social anxiety or are shy, but that doesn’t mean that introversion alone is something that is deemed to make you pathologically shy and socially crippled, or that extroverts cannot develop those things (I actually wonder if something like social anxiety wouldn’t be even more painful and frustrating for an extrovert to live with). It’s kind of like being tall vs being short for example – each has its own upsides and downsides and potential risks that are more linked to the one but not the other, but none is inherently better or worse than the other. – 

   A lot of extroverts I know have a bit of an egocentric mentality, which sometimes really annoys me. They always readily assume that you must enjoy the same things as them, and if you’re not into partying or going out with their whole group of friends that you barely know, and if you politely refuse or something, they’ll assume you’re haughty/rude/cocky or that you don’t like them, alternatively they’ll keep trying to persuade you because they know that you want to do it and that you need company and someone who’d make your life less “boring”, you just don’t know it yourself yet, and even if you really do not want it, it’s the normal thing to do so you should. Speaking of extroverts assuming that you’re haughty or rude, that’s something that, to me personally as both an introvert as well as someone with AVPD and all that fun stuff that affects my peopling capacity, isn’t just annoying but also quite hurtful, because the last thing I want is for people to assume that I’m being deliberately rude towards them or don’t like them or consider myself superior in relation to them. 

   Insisting that you come in and stay at theirs when you just popped for a little while. Sure, it is hospitable to offer that, but insisting more than once when the invited individual already said “No, thank you”, to me it seems rather pushy and sometimes even threatening when someone is hellbent on having it their way. A lot of my family do that, and so does my Dad when people come to us. I always feel for them when they’ve come to, for example, just take their car back after last night’s party and my Dad invites them to come all over again and they’re like: “Oh no, no, thank you, we’d like to but we have this and this and that to do at home!” And he keeps going: “Oh but just stay for a cup of coffee” Guests: “Sorry but…” Dad: “I’ll make you a cuppa, come in, come in!” Guests: “But we really can’t stay long…” Dad: “Milk or sugar?”… That’s obnoxious! I totally get that he just wants to be nice and hospitable but, for flip’s sake, there’s a limit to everything! 

   And something that is objectively very minor but a real pet peeve of mine is how extroverts call introverted people “quiet”. I hate this word so, so much! Like, really? You see me for five minutes, during which I don’t really have much to say to you because I barely know you (and, as we’ve already established, I don’t know how to do peopling really) and you already know that I’m quiet? You should spend a minute in my brain. 😀 I can be very quiet, but I can  talk up a storm just as well in the right circumstances, and I think many introverts are like that, it depends how comfortable they feel in a given situation and how much they have to say on a specific topic. Some people, in addition to quickly labelling others with the “quiet” label, say it in a way that sounds as if they perceived those so-called “quiet” people as pretty dull and boring. And I do get that a lot of introverts seem like that at  first glance indeed. Sometimes even at second, too. And that group of introverts absolutely includes Bibielz too, perhaps even in the top 5! 😀 But if you label someone as “quiet” right away, you can’t expect them to ever open up to you. We’ll let you see what you want to see, we wouldn’t want you to get a shock from finding out how intense it can get when we go “loud”. 😀 And even those who are truly  quiet and very careful with how much they say at all times, they can be extremely deep people in their inner peace and balance, even deeper than those of us who hide intensity behind quietness, and in my experience can be really wise and anything but boring, but it takes time to get to know them of course. 

   So I think these are all the things that I find particularly annoying about some extroverts. 

   You? 🙂 

Question of the day.

   Do you ever see wild animals? 

   My answer: 

   Well, given the fact that I’m blind, I don’t really get to see or be in any kind of contact with wild animals a lot. That being said though, I grew up in the countryside, having a forest on the other side of our gate, and now live in a place which perhaps is part of a town, strictly speaking, but feels a lot more like a village, so I still do see wild animals sometimes. We are often visited by all kinds of wild, stray cats from the whole area. Now that Jocky is around it happens a lot less and they’re a lot less brave around here, but when we first moved in here they would often move around our backyard very care-freely, not caring about my Dad’s attempts at scaring them away. Our place is also very well-liked by various birds, from kingfishers and blackbirds to magpies and seagulls (the latter two are Jocky’s worst enemies as they keep stealing his food when he’s asleep or on the other side of the backyard, and they’re nasty to Misha too ‘cause they like to drive him up the wall with their noise and he can’t even retaliate because he’s closed in here, and when he manages to escape they often scare him and seem like they’re laughing at him. We are also very often visited by hedgehogs, which is super cool because we all really like hedgehogs, they’re so cute. I got to feel a hedgehog quite a few times. Unfortunately, Jocky can be very nasty to them and has killed a few. 

   Just the other day, a blackbird hit our terrace window while my parents and their friends were having a little party. My Dad took care of it right away and wanted to call the rescue people, but the bird sadly died in the meantime. And then my Dad brought it to show it to me. Honestly, at first I had no idea what he was showing me and I got a total brainfuck for a few seconds. I had a quick feel of a small, silky, shapely, oddly limp head and immediately got chills, ‘cause some little part of my brain thought that my Dad was holding a little piece of Misha and I thought something happened to him, like that he must have gotten out while they were out and had some sort of gory accident or something. That was just a really really brief moment, I didn’t even manage to form that thought properly, but I already thought like I was going to get a heart attack, in my mind this limp little bird looked so much as if it was a little piece of Misha’s body. Only after a little while I realised that Misha is actually tucked away safely in my own wardrobe, and when I looked more closely I finally knew that it was feathers rather than fur and figured out what happened. It looked so sad and pitiful, but so cute as if it was sleeping. My Dad has a particular love for such little wild creatures, which perhaps may seem strange for some who know him but he really does, so he was quite depressed and no longer into partying so after that he promptly went to bed. So yeah, technically I saw a wild animal fairly recently, but for practical reasons I don’t have such opportunities very often. 

   Oh, and another fairly recent situation that I obviously didn’t see directly, but was present when it happened, was that one day when we were driving back home from church, Mum saw a whole flock of boars crossing through the road. Good thing that no one was driving through that particular place at the time, but it must have looked quite absurd. 

   Oh, and now I’m reminded of yet another thing. When Sofi was just a month old, we were also on a way somewhere, and my Dad spotted a female deer that must have been lost I guess or something else was wrong with her, so he stopped and just picked her up without much thinking I guess and brought her into the car. I’m not sure really what he wanted to achieve, guess show her to Mum or something. Mum was really afraid though that the deer might spread some bacteria or whatever and could infect Sofi, and she felt for her just being picked up abruptly like that, it must have been scary for her. I didn’t get to touch her or anything of course, but I heard her shrieking really loudly, probably in confirmation of my Mum’s words, so Dad quickly took her back from where he picked her from. I remember really feeling for her because that shriek of hers really sounded like she was very scared.

   How about you? 🙂 

Question of the day.

   What three things do you need for a good night’s rest? 

   My answer: 

  Well, I need a lot more than just three things, for one thing I need at least two pillows so it’s already two things, but let’s at least try to narrow it down to the most necessary things (let’s skip the pillows though since they’re pretty default, except for their preferred amount  which I’m sure varies for everyone). 

   So, for the most part of the year, I need a hot water bottle. Like I recently wrote, I’m okay with being cold during the day, I’m totally used to it, I even like it, and really the fact that I am cold most of the time doesn’t necessarily have to mean that I feel cold, but at night, regardless of whether I feel subjectively cold or not, it will take me ages to fall asleep if I’ll have cold feet. Another thing that I need quite critically is some background noise. Not too loud, so that I can actually fall asleep and sleep deeply, but also not too quiet so that my brain can latch onto something when I’m awake so that it doesn’t have to generate scary auditory stimuli itself, or so that it’s less likely that it will do it. For lack of anything better, even some white noise humming will be better than nothing, but if I have a choice, which I usually do, I much prefer it to be something more tangible like music that I like or a radio station where they talk in any of my favourite languages, because it’s just more interesting to listen to some nice music or a beautiful language before I fall asleep, and gives me something to focus on so I won’t start ruminating and overthinking which I generally have a tendency to do a lot at night anyway. Also it’s fun to have a nice soundtrack to your dreams. 😀 For that reason, I also really like to sleep with Misha. I’mm not really including him on this list, because he’s not a thing and it’s not like I really really need him to sleep well, because he doesn’t even sleep with me every single night, but when he does sleep with me, it also tends to decrease my night time sensory anxieties and makes me feel more peaceful overall, even though Misha is very quiet, but his mere presence makes me feel safer. 

   And the third thing… I was going to say a good book because I often read before sleep, well, I almost always read before sleep, and sometimes I get so engrossed in a book that I just can’t fall asleep because it’s so interesting so I keep reading instead. But a book doesn’t really make my sleep better or worse, it’s just a fun element of my bedtime routine. So I think the third thing on my list is going to be an open window. I guess I take it after my Mum that I can’t sleep in stuffy and very warm rooms or else I’ll wake up with a raging headache or even a migraine. And usually I’ll oversleep then and wake up feeling totally, disgustingly lousy, as if I had a hangover or something. And since I already have way more than enough migraine triggers, I’d rather avoid the ones that I have control over and keep the window at least partly open, or at least solidly air the room before going to bed, depends on what the weather is and what seems most reasonable at a time. So I’ll sleep with a hot water bottle, Misha who generates a lot of heat, and in the autumn-winter season like now Misha sleeps on a lamb skin, which lies on a blanket that belongs to both of us, and the blanket lies on my duvet which is quite thick in itself, so I like it to feel warm and cosy in bed while at the same time having very cool air in the room that makes sleep feel refreshing and that keeps my brain cool so that it won’t overheat. 😀 My Mum is a lot more hardcore though because she sleeps with her window wide open every night, and she doesn’t do hot water bottles, has no blanket most of the time and just a single duvet, but unlike me she always puts something over her head and ears, like a scarf or something, to keep more warmth in and to isolate herself from noises that could wake her up (like my Dad’s snoring). That would make me personally feel very much out of control and, knowing myself, I’d constantly wake up thinking that someone was calling me  or something and I didn’t hear it, not to mention that it would make my anxiety worse, but my Mum literally can’t fall asleep without covering her head, and she can’t have any light. My Dad was previously a definitely window-closed person, but he just had to get used to it being different when they  married, because this is one field where my Mum doesn’t tolerate compromises, and now that she’s going through menopause, she’s even worse, so my poor Dad sleeps under a huge duvet and a really warm, heavy weighted blanket, and with socks on, and he says he’s still freezing some nights. I guess that’s because he does socks instead of a hot water bottle. Socks don’t really give you additional warmth, just keep your natural warmth in, and if you’re not really warm to begin with, that’s not much help I guess. Sofi also likes to sleep with a hot water bottle, but it’s more just because she enjoys it a lot rather than that she won’t fall asleep easily without it. And she’s also like me in that she needs some quiet sound in the background, as well as a bit of light because she’s scared of the dark.

   So yeah, it’s funny how you can find so many tips on how to sleep well from all kinds of sleep experts, when in reality, everyone has such totally different habits, even within one family, and can’t fall asleep if something’s even slightly different than the way they like. 😀 And then there’s Misha, abut whose sleep routines one could write a whole essay and how they change based on seasons, his moods, external circumstances etc. I guess even I don’t know everything about them and don’t always remember the order in which all his sleep rituals should take place. 

   How about you and your ideal sleep conditions? 🙂 

Question of the day.

   What did you try and found out it’s not for you? 

   My answer: 

   Making music. I’ve already written on here how I used to sing a lot when I was little, and I’m pretty sure I must have liked it, though sometimes I wonder whether my love for it evolved naturally, or was it coaxed a bit by my well-meaning family, once they found out that Bibiel can hold a tune and that music is something that a lot of blind people are good at. But in any case, I at least thought that I liked it, and I was singing all the time and liked to show off my abilities, and whenever someone would ask me what I wanted to be when I grow up, I would always say either a singer or a musician or both, or that I wanted to “do a career”. I also used to take part in song contests for children from a very early age, but I already wrote not so long ago about that bad case of Bibiel propaganda in a school for intellectually disabled children where I was the only non-intellectually disabled kid from outside that school who took part in that contest and won it like three or four times in a row. I still feel sad for those children lol, I mean their teachers or whoever organised that stuff must have been quite dumb to let one single non-intellectually disabled child who hadn’t even reached school age yet take part in that contest just so no one from the actual school could ever win. 😀 I suppose though that perhaps it was someone in my family, like my grand who is a very sociable person and knows lots of people in her town where that school was, who must have had a good relationship with someone in that school and convinced them to do that.  

   Then when I went to school, or preschool at first, to be exact, it was a very musical environment as well so they encouraged me to continue singing as well. I also got to sing during many more contests, for example in the religious song contest twice, or various kinds of celebrations and such either within the whole blind centre thing or a bit larger stuff. 

   Speaking of the religious song contests, when I was taking part in the first one, I was prepared for it by the headmistress of the music school that was part of the whole blind centre thing. I wasn’t a member of the music school then as few preschool-aged kids were, she just must have learnt somehow that I’m into singing and figured that it would be a good idea to include me in that contest although I remember being ever so slightly intimidated that most of the children taking part in it, including the ones who sang some bits of my song, , were quite a lot older than me, like teenagers. But it was still all very exciting. The headmistress was quite a particular person in some regards and I’d heard that many students didn’t really like her or find her a bit intimidating, but while I do remember she was quite demanding, she was also very nice to me and I actually liked her a lot, though for Bibiel back then it didn’t take much to like someone a lot. I remember how she showed me all kinds of instruments that were in the room where we were rehearsing and how to play them, and when I think about it now, it seemed like the whole preparation time must have really taken quite a few weeks. The contest finally came, Bibiel came third in it, and then suddenly it was over. I guess it was a bit confusing for my Bibiel brain, and I was wondering why I no longer have those singing lessons. So finally one day I asked one of the preschool staff, but she had no idea and told me to ask our eurhythmics teacher when she comes, because she worked in the music school as well so might know better. ANd so I did ask the eurhythmics teacher. She asked me what instrument I used to play in there, which made me go dumbstruck for a while, because, umm, we weren’t really playing anything, just singing. But the headmistress was playing piano so eventually I said piano. The eurhythmics teacher said that it’s someone else who teaches piano and mentioned that teacher’s name and said she’ll talk to her. And that’s how, quite accidentally, Bibielz ended up in music school before Bibielz even realised it. 😀 

   I had a really fun, chatty and engaging piano teacher and like talking to her about all kinds of things, but I quickly learned that playing piano isn’t going to be quite as easy as singing. I did like it in general, but slowly felt more and more discouraged, because to play really well and the way I wanted to play in my mind, I had to have more coordination than I actually had. I knew what I should do in theory, but in practice my hands didn’t always cooperate with my brain too well and so I was progressing very slowly. 

   Once I started actual school, I continued learning piano and a lot of the other kids from my class and boarding school group were also in music school by then, I also sang more or less regularly, including occasionally psalms in church and stuff like that. Together with my other school friends, I also started having various theoretical activities as part of music school, like ear training and other stuff that I don’t even know how it’s called in English. But we’d learn scores, listen to classical music etc. etc. and as far as I remember we all found it rather boring at that point. 

   As I continued to struggle quite a lot with the piano, and my brain started to change quite a lot, both in a natural way as in developing and a more pathological way as in depression, which I only got diagnosed with at age 10 but had been feeling like that since I was 8, which I wrote about in that post I linked above, gradually, I started losing all the fun that I had with music and singing, and instead started to find it quite stressful and overwhelming. Then when I was ten, I changed schools and went to an inclusive school closer to home, which I was really happy about in general because I always wanted to be able to go to school closer to home so that I could be home every single day rather than go there once a few weeks. While being home was certainly a very welcome change, my brains grew more and more neurotic and depressive, which wasn’t helped by the Achilles tendon surgery I had to had in the meantime and then was recovering for long weeks without having much to do in the meantime, and obviously boredom only worsens shit like that. My being in the inclusive school was also not all as great as we originally hoped. Unlike in the blind school, where everything is prepared for children’s education beforehand, here, my Mum had to cover the costs of my school books. Printing books in Braille isn’t a cheap business, and if you want to order a particular book to be printed, you have to pay a small fortune. So my Mum wasn’t even able to pay for all my school books, only the ones for math which we figured would be the most necessary because other subjects would be easier for me to learn than math, and also the math teacher insisted that I have exactly the same books as the whole class. It didn’t work like that anyway, because as soon as the printing company sent one volume (Braille books typically have several volumes because they’re naturally larger than normal print books and Braille letters take up more space), my class was already further ahead in their book and the volume I had didn’t cover that yet. 😀 Also my Mum was expected to help me with school work a lot, again particularly with math which my Mum has little idea about. If the teacher didn’t have time to explain something to me during class, I’d have to do it with Mum, and she’d have to help me with homework from all subjects as well, because she had the books in normal print and would read to me what I was supposed to do etc. That was difficult because Mum had baby Sofi to take care of, and those schooling sessions could take ages. I was also totally not used to it, as I used to do all my school work totally independently and be done with it in no time, so having to wait for Mum to help me out was insanely frustrating. So after the second year of my stay at that school, even I could see that, academically, it would be a lot better for me if I went back to the blind school, and Mum convinced me to make that move, telling me that she’ll make my biggest dream come true in return, which at the time was meeting the Polish writer Małgorzata Musierowicz, and she did eventually make my dream come true. However, in the end she didn’t even have to use that bribe, because during holidays after that second school year, we got involved in a huge shit thanks to that inclusive school, which I wrote about here, and after that there was no way I could imagine seeing those people again. 

   But, going back to the actual topic of this post, during my whole stay at the inclusive school, I didn’t really sing all that much anymore. In fact not at all. And I didn’t really miss it one bit. On the contrary, when I thought about going back to the blind school, and doing all that music stuff all over again, it made me feel a bit sick. My Mum strongly encouraged me to take up the piano again though. All because, years earlier, I told her how I once imagined being a mummy of a huge family and how it would be neat if I could play the piano for all my children, which was an imagining I had based on a book I was reading at the time and the main character being like that. 😀 My Mum didn’t quite realise yet that I tend to have ALL kinds of daydreams, and the mere fact that I have daydreamed about something, doesn’t have to mean that I seriously want to do it in real life. And I didn’t realise yet that sometimes it’s better to keep your daydreams to yourself, or else there’s a risk that people might take you seriously. 😀 That’s, after all, a huge pro of daydreams, that you can switch between them whenever you want and don’t have to commit to one. When I imagine something, it definitely isn’t always something that I’d like experiencing for real, it’s just fun to imagine it for a while. So anyway, whenever I’d say that I want to quit the piano, she’d remind me of that daydream and said that I’d later regret my decision. The school people of course also encouraged me to take it up again. 

   This time round, my previous piano teacher was on maternity leave I believe, so I was assigned a different one – an older, very serious lady who had the patience of a saint, and as she once admitted, she graded me based on my good intentions, which I thought both very amusing and very kind of her, although I don’t think any good intentions for playing the piano were left in me by that point, so I guess I totally didn’t deserve the good grades I got Fromm her. 😀 Also as a way of compromise between me vs the school people and Mum, I wasn’t in music school anymore, but instead in something that would literally translate to musical fire or musical hearth from Polish, I don’t know what it’s called in English or if it’s called at all, anyway it was a sort of less demanding alternative to music school, where you could learn to play instrument but didn’t have to take so many exams or do theory and it was a lot less serious. I was very adamant though that I wouldn’t do singing anymore. And, thankfully, I didn’t even have to fight too much about it, because I think people realised that it’s no longer that Bibiel who liked singing so much, and I was very glad to be free at least of that. I did occasionally sing a psalm in church if they had to find someone quickly and no one else could do that, but that was it. And like I’ve already mentioned, some people seemed really disconsolate that I didn’t sing anymore, wording it sometimes in such a way that you could have thought I was my singing, and once I didn’t sing, I wasn’t really at all, or so it felt being on the receiving end of such comments. 😀 

   Eventually, I was able to break free from the piano as well. It turned out that I may need another feet surgery, and in order to try and prevent it from being a necessity, I had to have a lot of feet exercises and rehabilitation. So in order for that to fit into my schedule, I was more than happy to ditch the piano out of it. Theoretically, if I really wanted and was really motivated to do both, I’m sure I could, even if my schedule would be a bit packed, but I was elated to finally get rid of it out of my life, and this time round, my Mum didn’t oppose, as she understood that I didn’t want the surgery and neither did she. The piano was hardly a priority anymore. 

   Then later on, during some holidays, my friend and roommate was going to visit me at home. She played guitar, and I really wanted her to be able to play for me a bit, but I guess she either didn’t have her own guitar or couldn’t take it with her or something, don’t remember what exactly, in any case my Mum and me wanted to get hold of some guitar that she could play. And my Godmother had a friend who played the guitar, so we asked my Godmother to ask her friend if she could lend it to us for a few days, and she did. While my friend stayed with us, my Mum got an excellent idea that Bibiel could learn to play the guitar as well, and that this friend of my Godmother’s could teach me. The idea itself was not unappealing to me, but I was quite sure that if I wasn’t able to learn the piano very well for all those years, then the guitar would be even more difficult. You really have to be quite dextrous to play it, even if it’s not a super difficult instrument overall. But Mum was saying that, oh well, if I won’t like it or will find it too difficult, I won’t have to keep going, and I guess a part of me did indeed want to try in case it could work out. So she visited me every week during the remainder of the holidays and taught me some really basic things. It was very interesting, but again, practically, my brain-hand coordination or lack thereof made it very difficult and even when I thought that I have learned some chords or technique with her, when I tried to practice it by myself, I didn’t know how, or rather, I did know perfectly well on a cognitive level, but not on a manual level, if that even makes sense. 

   So, after the summer was over, my guitar playing was over too, and now I don’t even remember anything of that at all. 

   From my current perspective, even though all those years of various forms of musical education were mostly quite difficult for me, I am now grateful for that in a way. Because while I haven’t been making any music in any way more serious than singing Misha to sleep or playing a water bottle ever since quitting the guitar and I have no desire to do more (well theoretically I think I’d really like to be able to play the Celtic harp but I know that it’s either totally not doable for me, or even if it is, it would require a lot more effort than I’d be actually, seriously willing to put into something like that), I wouldn’t be able to get as much out of listening music as I do. I definitely think that my role is that of a listener rather than performer, but to be a good listener I think it’s also a good idea to be able to have a basic idea about performing, so that you can judge it more fairly. My understanding of music is definitely not as good as that of people who have actually graduated from music school or even can play an instrument well, I don’t have absolute pitch or anything like that, but still I think the many experiences of performing music and learning about it that I had make me a bit more of an attentive and analytical listener than people who have no such experiences at all. Also I think given that so many people can sing better or worse, and can be easily trained to sing even better than they do, it’s a good idea to give every child at least a taste of what it’s like to sing or play an instrument, ‘cause otherwise they’ll just have no idea if they like it or if they might actually be good at it. 

   People in my extended family still ask me on a regular basis if I still sing like I used to, or why I don’t anymore, even if they asked me precisely the same thing when we saw each other previously, and I usually tell people that I now do languages instead, which are kind of like a different form of music. Because I do think they are. So, who knows, if I didn’t have that early music education, maybe I wouldn’t take up languages either? I’m very curious what I’d do with my life then, but I doubt it would be anything interesting. 😀 

   How about you? What’s not for you? 🙂 

Question of the day.

   What tastes better a little burnt? 

   My answer: 

   Both me and Sofi really like toasts that are just a bit burnt. It makes them a lot better. Also anything that has cheese in it and is fried. And something that Sofi doesn’t share my enthusiasm for but my Mum does is bacon that is a bit burnt. In fact, if it is not, I don’t even really like it at all, but if it is burnt sufficiently but not too much, and is salty enough, mmmmm it’s better than crisps. 😀 Chips/fries taste better just slightly burnt, but once they’re over-burnt they taste worse than not burnt at all and the balance seems more difficult to achieve than with the other two things. 

   How about you? 🙂