Halfway through August

So I’m back in the city and work too, it begun last Monday and I’ve been so busy with everything.  Youngest one’s school begun on Thursday too.

The cottage weeks went quickly and I enjoyed time with my eldest and youngest son and Sirius. Middlest son visited for overnight as eldest picked him from the city and then gave him a lift to the garrison which is an hours drive North from the cottage. I did some foraging in the forests and picked berries and mushrooms. We had some encounters with wildlife, i.e. bats, and one day we drove to Jyväskylä to meet my cousin and one of my local friends popped by for a coffee. Very relaxing and nice two weeks.

Here at home besides work I’ve been busy sewing masks for myself to use in public transport as it was finally recommended by the authorities. There’s still a lot of people not wearing masks.

I’ve also been washing laundry from the cottage and also from the clearing I did here at home. I’d still go through my clothes to see what to put forward and what to keep. I have less clothes to wash now as middlest son is in the army, he used to change his clothes so often that the basket was always full.

On Friday evening I had coffee date with my friend and we decided to visit two art museums in Helsinki which was nice. The other one has great cafeteria, so after the first museum we then decided to have dinner at this one and checked the exhibitions too and afterwards had coffee and cake. It was nice to catch up with her too.

On Saturday hubby went to buy us more firewood and it was a bit hot weather to put them into the shed later but I love doing outdoors things in good weather. Today we watched middlest son give his oath via live-stream so now he is finally a conscript and not a rookie. Usually they get a vacation after the oath but these days the vacation is postponed still two weeks. In his speech the general said they haven’t had any of the boys sick with Covid19 since spring which is really good.

I’ve finished knitting a scarf, I finally got more yarn on Tuesday. I visited my dentist and afterwards went to my hairdresser and as I had a spare moment I did a quick visit at the yarn shop near her place. Oh and my dentist suggested I’d get braces as now my back teeth are getting too much pressure so I’m going to have a consultation made in mid-September. There’s always some moneypit one can throw her earnings.

This is about all from me for now. Pics in instagram and read books in Goodreads on the right side sidebar.

Cleaning, books, baking and movie

I’ve been mostly offline, mainly because I begun to clean my bookshelves last Friday and it spread a bit. It took me three days to clear the books and organize the shelves and then I had to clear my writing desk and the chests underneath in order to get everything out and re-organized. It took two days..

Today I’ve been cleaning the ”boys room” which used to be first eldest and middlest son’s room and then middlest and youngest one’s room and now it just middlest’s. But since there were so many layers of history to go through it takes time to clean.

But now it’s all done! Now I only need to take the overflow books to the second hand center (for a big 2nd hand shop retailer) and get some clear plastic boxes for all the myriad of playing cards we have obtained from our travels… There’s some jigsaw puzzles too which some I’m keeping and some I’ll give to my cousin’s little boy. I used to do a lot of puzzles before we had kids but now the cat likes to sleep on them so it’s a bit of a hindrance.

I managed to listen to all of the Alexander Gregory stories by LJ Ross. The first two were read by Hugh Dancy and they were good but I must say that RA’s reading is on a different level all together. (Or maybe I’m just biased.) I also listened to a podcast about opera made by a Finnish actor Antti Holma. He is very funny and he lives now in NYC because his husband is one of the harpists in Met so he made a podcast of how to opera.

I also started the Sandman audioplay (that’s probably the best word for a comic turned into an audiobook) and it’s very good. I love Neil Gaiman’s voice as the narrator, he was so good in reading ’The Ocean at the end of the lane” too which is one of his best novels imo.

On Monday when it was a bit less windy and more sunny I managed to finish ”Milkman”, a novel by Anna Burns sitting outside. It was a hard read. Actually in the middle I just leafed it through so I know what happened. I seldom leave a book unfinished because I think you can always get something out of a novel but boy this one was hard.

As middlest son left to the army I inherited his root. First he said he’d dry it but I said I’d try to bake some bread with it and so I did. We went to movies on Friday to see ”Parasite” and I bought a book about how to bake with a root. On Sunday I took a bit of the root and on Monday evening I finally started the dough and yesterday baked a lovely sourdough bread. It’s so good I’d eat it all alone.

About ”Parasite”: I really liked it. It’s one of those that sink in later. A great movie, very Oscar-worthy and a globally touching story. In the movie theater we had our own row, there were some people on other rows but you’d only buy tickets for two people and then there’d be two empty chairs between other people but since we were just three and there were not many people we sat together. (Sorry for the confusing text.)

Now I’m going to watch some tv. I started to watch ”Stateless”, an Aussie serie in Netflix and it’s very good about paperless immigrants and a woman who’s escaping a cult ends up in the same detention centre. It’s very interesting and it’s also got Cate Blanchett in it who I think is the most beautiful woman on Earth and my fave actress. Some of the New Zealand-made Netflix series have also been very good, I especially liked ”Wanted” and not only because of Deano (*blushing*). He was also very good in ”The Bad seed” but I don’t know if that’s on Netflix since I watched it via our public broadcast company YLE.

But now Sirius needs some scratches and I need coffee and knitting and tv 🙂 CU.

Immersed

I was spending about all of my waking hours in the Rain Wilds last week. I was rereading the Rain Wilds Chronicles by Robin Hobb and during the night I dreamed of them. I love Hobb’s novels and I’ve been slowly rereading all of them and it’s been a real pleasure. It’s always been like this for me when I read her books, I get so immersed it’s hard to do anything else. I don’t get just as deep with Tolkien or other fantasy realms but the Six Duchies touches my soul differently than others. Maybe it’s the dragons; I’ve always loved Hobb’s dragons, they are like cats, very independent and selfish but in need of servants.

We’ve had horrible weather ever since last Tuesday. The wind blows like it was Autumn and the rain sloshes down at every hour (except right now). In June I was worried the plants would die from drought and now I fear they’ll need a lifesaver so they don’t drown.  I can’t even go to the forest to walk because the ground is so wet and since it’s so blustery cycling is hard. On Thursday when it didn’t rain until evening I visited a friend by bike and my knees have been aching ever since.

I came home via the graveyard where my father’s grave was, we gave the lease up since none of us (me and my siblings) didn’t much care about the grave site. Me and my sister agreed that we can just as well light a candle for our father in the remembrance site in the graveyard. In Easter me and hubby visited the grave and then the stone was still there but now they had already taken it off.

Middlest son left early this morning to the Air Forces base in Central Finland. He’ll be there 11 months and due to the Covid19 we don’t yet know when he’ll going to come home. I guess we’ll hear about the off-weekends later this week. Yesterday we had eldest son for dinner and since tomorrow would be middlest son’s 19th birthday I baked a cake and it was all very good but now it’s very quiet here. Just me and hubby and youngest son. Luckily Sirius meows every now and then.

I started to knit a shawl but had to change the yarn. The first yarn was a very nice yarn and I loved the color but since it was handpainted it kind of lost the brilliance in lace knitting and vice versa.

 

 

Winter pelt

Here in Finland we call the first swim in nature waters after winter ’throwing one’s winter pelt’ and since it’s been quite warm weather these past days I got rid of mine. The sea was wonderfully warm, I was expecting the water to be colder and was surprised when it wasn’t. I could have stayed in the water for all afternoon yesterday but.. Hubby doesn’t like to swim in ’cold water’ as he says and youngest one wanted to skim the stones off the water surface.

We’ve celebrated the Midsummer just being at home and enjoying it, I’ve read outdoors and already have nice tan. Middlest son has been mostly with his friends since he is going to the army in the early June. His friends cut his hair, it was to his shoulders but now it’s shaven 1mm long. He looks so much older it makes me a bit weepy.

Tomorrow is my first official day of summer vacay but I took Thursday off already and it feels like I had already been several weeks away from the office. Our new work desks came but they can’t be put on place yet since the acoustic wall-to-wall rug must be washed during summer. Well, it’s nothing we can do so we’ll just have to wait and see.

Due to the Covid19-situation the public swimming halls have been closed among other things and I thought that since hubby is working on Tuesdays and Thursdays now I’d go for a swim in the mornings since we can’t do any short trips until he gets off. I missed swimming during the closing, it’s my fave sport (pilates is another of my faves).

Since we are not traveling outside Finland this summer I have time to go through the cupboards I’ve used to fill with things when we get guests. I should also go through my book shelves and re-arrange them. Whoo boy.

 

Normal people

I’m watching the tv-serie Normal people which is based on a novel by Sally Rooney. I haven’t read the book and I doubt I will even thou the tv-serie is good.

It tells about a young couple, Marianne and Connell, who start dating in the high school and then their on-off relationship through college years. It’s been a bit of a task to watch because

  • it’s kind of too artsy. I mean the high art when you try to pretend to understand all the nuances and it gets a bit boring to reflect everything through the Deep Meanings (you know what I mean here).
  • there is too many sex scenes. I don’t know why but we are back to the 80’s now with all the official sex scenes in movies and tv-series. Sometimes less is more you know, it gets boring pretty quickly.
  • it hits too close to the young girl I once was, just as unsure and doing what I was told by my boyfriend. And I don’t want to remember the time nor the boy nor the girl I was back then. Of course I’ve changed and people do, they grow up but it’s hard to watch. I guess we’ve all been there.

So yeah.. just two eps to go. And a button strip to knit.

On to other things. We’re having middlest son’s graduation party next Saturday and I’ve counted that all together we’ll make about 30 adults including us.I’ve been cleaning the house and baking all weekend. I washed the kitchen windows today and I don’t think I’ll wash any others during this week. I still need to wash the floors before Saturday.

Yesterday I baked a bundt cake which my sister loves, it’s called Sandcake since it’s very dry and today I did some ’gentry cookies’, they are a traditional small cookie in weddings and other kin parties. Here you can see a pic of them, I cut them heart-shaped because I like it more.

Hubby has been cleaning our garden furniture and finished painting them today. One of our neighbours came to inquire where we bought them 🙂

At my work we’re waiting for our work desks to arrive. If we’re lucky we’ll get them this week which would be great since we’re off to our summer holidays on June 18th and come back on early August just as the clients arrive too. On Friday I got rid of all the music class books the teachers had decided they didn’t need anymore and it took me all day to shred the books off the covers. I was quite done afterwards.

Here are some pics. The music class pics show the state of Friday morning before and after lunch. Then there’s some Rhododendrons from my yard and the last pic is of a Finnish actor Jasper Pääkkönen, whom you might know from the Vikings and the BlacKkKlansMan. This pic was in an article and I was just thinking how here in Helsinki our (famous) actors can just casually bike around the city, nobody bothers you (much).

Now I need to get my beauty sleep 🙂

 

These times

On Friday I cooked some sort of tian, a Provencal veggie dish I found by accident when googling something else. I used eggplant and zucchini and it was so good! I also read ”Everything I never told you” by Celeste Ng on Friday and it was really great. I loved her novel ”Little fires everywhere” but for some reason this was better imo. I also finished listening to ”Patient man” by Joy Ellis, read by Richard, today and it too was very good.

Yesterday I was a bit down. One of my best childhood friends had her 50th birthday and we couldn’t celebrate them. We’ve known each other since we were 9-y-o and their school’s all pupils came to our school for the school year as their new school was getting built and on one of the first gym classes she asked to be my pair and now she’s eldest son’s godmother.

Since there’s no celebrations during this time me and some of our mutual friends gave her together a gift card for a pedicure and a bunch of flowers delivered to their house and it was nice to surprise her. I also sent a greeting card from our family.

My friend is  working as an X-ray nurse in the pandemic hospital which I must confess makes me a bit worried. I’ve also been a bit blue since on March 27th it was the 5th anniversary of my mom’s passing and this is always sad time for me.

Luckily we had good weather during the weekend and yesterday I made a 90-minute walk in the woods (and my legs ached all night), heard finches sing  and later helped youngest son to cook us dinner and dessert since it was his HE homeworks.

Today I sorted the old cook books and recipes in kitchen self, it’s been on my to-do-list for ages. Did you know that in the 70’s it was recommended to cook pizza with liver or European cisco (fish)? I didn’t throw those recipe books to the bin yet, I’ll keep them as a curiosity.  Later me and hubby changed the cactus’ dirt and pots which has also been on the list quite some time.

There was an article about Finland’s stockpile of supplies in NYT if you want to read. There’s an old joke which goes: ”What does Sweden have Norway and Finland don’t? -Good neighbours” (neither Finland nor Norway appreciate Sweden as high as they could, sort of sibling rivalry).

Tomorrow I’m going to work for a few hours since my workplace health care is in the neighbouring house and I need to go there for some bloodworks (thyroid). Hubby will drive me there and also collect which is nice.

 

 

Working from home

I’ve been working from home this week. I thought I couldn’t because I’m an assistant librarian and there’s not so much for me to do from home but my boss had thought about it and suggested I’d begin to put up our library’s blog which has been a long-discussed project and so hubby drove me to my work last Monday and I picked up a laptop to go and then he came and drove me back home. We had a short briefing with my colleague (she lives quite literally next door) and I also had a chat with Tuija in the office, she was  the only one there. There was also four of our doormen since their boss is a d**khead and doesn’t let them do other jobs the city could use them for, so they sit in the empty house without anything purposeful to do.

I finally managed to get the blog together yesterday but I’m not happy about the look and I think I need to tweak it still. I think mostly my unhappiness with it comes from the point that I haven’t been able to show it to anyone and have been alone on it. It’s a collective thing and I feel awkward doing the basic outlook by myself, I need mirroring and brainstorming. On Thursday I was so frustrated with the whole thing that I did a longish walk to the grocery store, it took me over an hour all together but afterwards I was in a much happier place.

On the other hand there’s been lots of good things too since I’ve been learning something new every day. I couldn’t get the laptop into my workplace VPN from home but with a little help from one of my colleagues I managed to get get over it and do something else instead so now I can do most things like I was in the library on my own workplace.

I like to be at home but I miss my daily walk to the metro train station and it’s too easy to let the working hours spread into the evening by ”I’ll just do this quickly” you know. I have never been great on working from home and I still prefer going to the actual work place and after working hours to close the PC and door and get home. also I get less reading done since I don’t have to commute. It’s not easy to pick a book for lunch because I could more easily just work through the lunch time and eat a sandwich or something by the laptop.

Now the government has closed the most southern part of Finland off of the rest of the country because people were swarming to Lapland and summer cottages to smaller districts which have less capacity if people fall ill and need ICU. How idiotic can people be? Einstein said it right:

“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.”

Well anyways. This too shall pass. Meanwhile enjoy Richard in a nice jumper.

RA Daniel

One night in London

and the world’s your oyster.

See what I did there? A terrible earworm but wrong city. So our trip to London was quick but very efficient.

On Friday we landed at 9 am to Heathrow and then took the tube to our hotel near Tottenham Court Road. A lovely hotel I might add. We got our room right away and took a little respite to think about what to do.

Since my friend M wanted to go shopping music we took the tube to Shepherd’s Bush and found HMV in Westfield shopping centre. Oh my. I’ve never seen such a huge shopping centre and believe me I’ve seen some pretty huge ones in USA too. I was awed. It was beautiful and nice and there wasn’t the horrible background music everywhere (or at least I didn’t hear it).

In HMV I left M roam free the cd’s and browsed some BR’s and other stuff. I found Doctor Who 11th season and Prince collector’s CD box and when I had paid for them I also found the book about Prince I’ve been looking for.

After HMV was searched through we went for late lunch and then did a quick round in H&M and M&S since they were close by. On our way back to the tube we bought some nice supply of delicacies to our hotel room to eat before the theater. We had thought about meeting some other fans (R) but decided not to and rested instead.

After the play we came back to the hotel and collapsed. In the morning we had a wonderful breakfast (I’ve never had such beautiful breakfast in any hotel). Then we went shopping to Foyles and Forbidden Planet and Primark. I bought (only) six books and found some nice t-shirts and we had nice coffee break too. On our way to hotel we found another music shop and I bought two movies. Afterwards we had some fun times trying to fit all our shopping into our bags..

We had nice late lunch at TAS next to our hotel and then collected our bags and left to Heathrow. In the tube we got so sleepy we tried to find the owls in the ad (below).

We had just enough time to do some quick airport shopping and sit a while until boarding and arrived to Helsinki around midnight. Hubby was waiting for us and we drove my friend M to her parents house and then came home and I went straight to bed.

A nice little trip to London, it felt like I had been there longer and I’m quite happy now.  I’ve always loved London, when I was 17 and visited it for the first time I felt like coming home.

Vanja-eno

Yes, that’s Uncle Vanya in Finnish. I always find it weird that English doesn’t have own word for different relatives since in Finland we have many words for different relatives, i.e. ”eno” is mother’s brother ( my sons have three eno’s :D) .

2020-01-24 19.13.28 - Copy

On Friday me and my friend M saw Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya in Harold Pinter Theater and it was just as good as people have said. Toby Jones was awesome as Vanya, Cieran Hinds was perfect as narcissist Professor and the ladies were great too, especially Aimee Lou Wood and Rosalind Eleazar. Richard was of course quite perfect as the melancholy and given up Dr. Astrov. The play was very Russian and also quite universally applicable just like Chekhov has meant his plays to be, showing the humanity through his characters.

2020-01-24 19.27.00 - Copy

A word of the theater itself too. HP was a bit claustrophobic imo, old house with small interiors and steep stands, even the stage was quite small but it’s an old theater so we’ll forgive all that. I’m glad the play wasn’t any longer because the rows of seats were quite cramped and I felt sorry for anyone taller than me (I’m of average height and even I had trouble with my legs).

2020-01-24 22.34.35 - Copy

After the play we went outside to the stage door to wait for Richard. We had a small gift for him: some Finnish chocolate and a contemporary Finnish novel My Cat Yugoslavia by Pajtim Statovci which is pretty good. First out came Rosalind Eleazar who was very sweet and thanked all us fans as we praised her performance (she looked a bit overwhelmed). Then came Ciaran Hinds ready to sign the hand programmes and he was very nice also. While we waited for RA to show up we noticed Anna Calder-Marshall to go to the other way not wanting to walk through the fans and other people waiting there. Then came Richard and he started from the back of the line which was really nice of him. He was very quick and we barely managed to thrust our gift bag to him but we got autographs and it was all good.

EPFQRMDXkAAjSi2

We had agreed with R to meet afterwards and we saw them in the queue after RA left and went to a nearby pizza place to sit and talk (and to eat late dinner).  I felt like I had known R for years instead of just reading her tweets. It was so much fun but in the end we really had to go get some sleep.

I’ll write another entry about what else we did on our trip to London.

 

 

 

Lazy days

are over and it’s back to work again tomorrow. I did absolutely nothing of the things I was going to and had planned to do all fall and just enjoyed reading, knitting and watching tv and movies. I’m a lazy one. On the other hand I think I needed the quiet time after the hectic fall.

Eldest son comes home from Japan tomorrow evening. I hope he has had good time with his friends there. His new studies into games coding begins right away, in fact he misses one day since he didn’t know he’d apply for the school when they bought the trip. Luckily it’s all right for the school too but I don’t know if I see him before the weekend.

Middlest son has the Army medical tests on Friday and I suppose they’ll too take few hours at least. If he gets through them we’ll probably have a pilot in the family. When he applied into the Air forces they asked if he’d be willing to do a career for 13 years onwards and he said yes. It’s always been his dream to fly a plane.

I finished watching GoT finally, the last season was available now on the Finnish Broadcast company’s site. Since I really loved the novels it took me three tries to get into the tv-series and I’ve never considered them as good as the novels, so much is left out and the plot goes dramatically different (on purpose) after third season. Anyways I thought the ending was good and done in the Martin-way. Now I just need to wait for the last novels to come out (one may hope..).

2020-01-06 13.09.45 - Copy

Well I should go pack my work things and lunch ready for tomorrow. meh.