Sunday, April 8, 2012

Good right now

I have spent most Easter Sundays over the last nine years away from my family, often alone, and they never featured eggs. Or decoration. In the lead-up to Christmas I hang one bauble in my house; that's the extent of my festive décor. Easter, nothing. I like to surround myself with beautiful things and good smells, but I have never really changed my house with the seasons, and I will never be the person with boxes and boxes of decorations that come out at different times of the year.

This year, this Easter, I miss my family a lot, even though I only saw them last week. I think it's because I know that they are all together, with cakes in the shape of little lambs and egg cracking contests, whereas my Easter weekend is in danger of being just like any other weekend. Suddenly I feel the need to mark different parts of the year and the seasons and observe family traditions. So this morning I made an Easter cake. And we went away for an overnight island trip on Friday. The cake and the island have reminded me that there are a lot of things that are good right now, in between the fretting and doubts and general anxiety of late.

For instance:

|  Slow baking (even though I ignored the one-egg-at-a-time bit). Grating orange and lemon peel by hand is much more fun than tearing open a packet, and while it may not be ideal when in a hurry, a bowl and a wooden spoon are sufficient for most of the things I make, and also a great upper-body-workout.

|  Snail mail communication about one of the illustration projects I am working on - since this kind of thing is usually done via e-mail these days, it feels extra special, and handwriting can convey that little bit more (I really want to send more snail mail to friends and family).

|  Edible reminders of a friend's visit - a bag of walnuts in their shells from Spain

|  Sketching, and carrying a sketchbook in my bag even if I don't end up using it (I have been relying on the camera too much).

|  Watching a sheepdog in action on Achill Island (and then fleeing as the sheep ran towards us)

|  Great flavour combinations - wild cherry tea and Tunisian orange cake in the cutest little café in town

|  Roasted buckwheat muesli almost every morning (I go through phases of the same meal for days or weeks in a row)

|  An almost effortless-seeming run and feeling strong (swimming, on the other hand, feels like hard work at the moment)


  1. Looks like you had a good Easter Marina :) hopefully you'll be able to see your family on Easter one of these days soon. Happy Easter!!

  2. Marina,
    What an amazing blog. I thank Keith above for introducing you to me through his place.

    I perused your blog and found it a joy. Wow. You are gifted. The quotes, photos and paintings you share are inspirational.

    I'm glad you had a good time with your family. I'm also glad to see Keith posting here. At first, I thought only women dropped by and commented.

    Please feel free to drop by and visit my inn. I'd respect your opinions on what I share.

    Btw, in my blog, I wrote a four-part series on giving hospice care to a cat I dearly loved, Alexander the Grey(t). I'm working with an illustrator, seeing about making it into a children's book.

    In one of your posts I saw a drawing of yours that captured his grumpy look, perfectly. Kudos to you!

    Wishing you a great spring,


    1. Hi Pablo, thank you so much for your kind, encouraging words; they brightened my day.
      I love the idea of a children's book about Alexander (love his name, too)! Please keep us updated.
      Looking forward to reading through the archives of your blog,

  3. I miss my family too on such days.

  4. Hi Marina... just stumbled across your blog... Looks like we have some mutual friends! :) I see Keith everywhere ;)

    Anyhow, lovely blog! I too would love to get into some snail mail... it's just finding the time it would take lol... I can't remember the last time I received a handwritten letter in the mail... that would be so COOL!

    Hopefully one of these years you'll get to spend Easter with your family! But in the mean time, it sounds like you're doing good... which is good!

    Your new friend,


    1. Thank you so much, Jacy! Yes, everyone loves receiving mail, yet so many of us don't write letters anymore - time to revive snail mail!