Fall holiday’s over

I’ve been on holiday this week. As I work in the City Education organization we’ve got the same holiday schedule as schools and so I took the whole week off and it’s been nice. I haven’t done much but that’s all right too.

View from my kitchen window

Last weekend me, hubby and youngest one took a long awaited cruise to Stockholm. We have these huge ferries that sail (run?) from Helsinki to Stockholm and back during the night and then you’ve got a day in the city there, for us Finns it’s Stockholm and for Swedes it’s Helsinki. They are called shopping cruises bc the ferry has a huge tax free shop and people buy a lot of alcohol from the ship. We buy a lot of candy and some cosmetics. I linked our ship Silja Serenade there, it’s been about ten years since we last took a Silja Line ship bc we’ve been using Viking Line since hubby did some work for them and got rewards.

Helsinki in horizon

In Stockholm we visited the Abba The Museum in Djurgården, it’s such an awesome place for one who has grown with their music. After the museum we took a ferry to Gamla Stan (Old City) which has one of the best scifi bookshops in Europe and it’s on our ’visit every time’-list. I bought only three books this time and one dvd. Oh and a wall calendar for next year. Then we walked to the newer city centre, the main shopping street has a nice candy store where you can buy traditional Swedish polkagrisar (= peppermint candy).

Since I had already told hubby I wanted to have a coffee (fika) at Mr. Cake cafeteria we went there and luckily managed to enter at a time the queue wasn’t very long (a short while afterwards the queue went out of the door to the small square). From the cafeteria we walked back to the ferry and were there in good time, about an hour before the departing time, which was nice.

Hubby had Monday off work which was nice. After we had come home and let the cat out we unpacked our bags. Middlest son had left on Sunday to Tikkakoski for a flying thingy and came home on Tuesday. On Tuesday I did a short walk in the forest as we had walked about 15 km during the day in Stockholm and my legs were a bit stiff. On Wednesday it rained all day and I read all day, I finished ’The Shadow of what was lost’ by James Islington and felt sorry I had even started the book. I can’t recommend it to anybody. Oh and I did bake cinnamon buns, they were good.

On Thursday my friend Mareetta and I drove to Tammisaari again. On our way there we did an expedition to a funny little shop called ’The Greenhouse effect’ which has all kinds of awesome stuff to buy and then we drove to Fiskars village. We had a very nice lunch in Tammisaari and then drove back via Fagervik (it dates back to the 17th century) and Kirkkonummi new library, only we didn’t go in this time. It looks like I’m going with Mareetta to Gothenburg in mid-November, it’ll be nice.

On Friday we had horrible weather, rain and very windy. I had my osteopathy therapy session in the city centre and then I met youngest son in the Eastern shopping mall, he needed new clothes and he wanted to buy new cell phone with his gift money from the confirmation day. In the evening we watched couple of episodes of Buffy with him.

View to Tammisaari historical centre

Tomorrow I’m putting some bulbs on the ground so we’ll have tulips and crocuses next spring too.

September started

I’ve now been a month back to work and it feels like I had never been on holiday. Well, mostly. I don’t know why but I feel a bit blue, I think it may be the current situation and also that the summer has gone and even the weather is very fall-like already. Cold and wet and it doesn’t feel good in my joints.

Last Saturday we celebrated youngest one’s confirmation. We had most of my siblings, some godparents and some friends over and it was nice to see everyone. As usual we had counted for more people to come so we had cake all week. Also the flowers are still beautiful, except roses that I put to dry since youngest one wanted. I have a nice fragrance here where I sit typing this.

My pilates lessons have started and I’ve been to an osteopath, she does wonders to me and I always almost fall asleep while there. She is lovely young lady and loves cats 🙂 I also enrolled to Yin yoga classes, I hope it’ll be good for me.

Since I haven’t updated in a month I think here’s also a short video I shot at the cottage. I was sitting on the jetty/small pier in the lake shore and this little Mourning cloak (Nymphalis antiopa) comes to sit on me. It was tickly.

Maritime museum and movies

This week we were expecting a bit cooler weather so we decided to take youngest son to the Maritime centre Vellamo in Kotka on Monday and it was fun.

Kotka is a city near Helsinki, about 90 minute drive from our house and I’ve never been there in all my life. My mom’s grandmother had a workmen’s dinery there in the early 20th century which is my closest connection to the said city. Kotka used to have a lot of paper and pulp mills and also an important sea port which is still one of it’s biggest employers. BTW Kotka means eagle in English.

We had first thought to visit Vellamo and then walk in the city which is now famous of the renewed parks, it’s said people drive annually to Kotka just to visit their parks but since it took us five hours to go through the Maritime centre we decided to save the parks for a later date.

The Maritime centre Vellamo was huge and very interesting. There was a nice exhibition of the great battle in Svensksund in the Russo-Swedish war in the late 18th century. We also got to visit an old ice breaker Tarmo and the Finnish maritime history including old cruise boats like Finnjet. My brother Kimmo was an ordinary seaman on a large Finncarriers carrier before he changed career due to raising a family so it was interesting from that point of view also.

In the museum there was a lot of all kinds of ships and such and of course there was also a part of Estonia shipwreck. Youngest son asked about it and I noticed it still makes me cry to remember so hubby got to explain the disaster to him. You can watch videos in YT if you want to know more, just put ’Estonia 1994 news’ on the search bar.

On Tuesday I had a meeting with my osteopath and it was awesome. Later I walked to the city centre to meet Heidi and we went to movies to see Mads in Drunk. It’s a story of four teachers who decide to do an empirical test based on a study about a human functioning best in 0.5 ‰ drunk. I think you can guess how well that goes down.

I’ll embed the last scene of the movie underneath just because Mads was a dancer before his acting career and the scene reminds me of the old fandom phrase ’You can take a man out of dance but you can’t take the dance out of a man’.

Then on Friday I took youngest son to the movies to see Black widow and it was much better than I had thought. Of course one of the highlights was to hear one of the Widows speak Finnish too. It was fun I must admit.

Middlest son got a call from his Captain and he now has place in the ND Uni and will eventually become a fighter pilot! Yay! So he’ll be living here with us next winter and then he’ll go where they tell him to. I’m glad he’ll be able to do what he always wanted to as work, it helps.

Tomorrow me and eldest and youngest are leaving for summer cottage for the next ten days. Hubby has to go back to work and middlest son maybe comes for a couple of days, I don’t know and neither does he. This time we are leaving Sirius the Cat home since I fear some fox or supikoira (European raccoon) will eat her. Also she doesn’t like car trips and we all know that (eww).

Here’s a pic of Helsinki from Tuesday when I walked from Kallio to city centre. The big red brick house on the far right side is the University’s Education theory building, for the teachers-to-be. The left side bank is called Säästöpankinranta (Savings bank shore) because in the late 19th century there used to be a very popular bar and the reason for the name was that poor students could drink there for credit. Hence the name 🙂

Lunch dates and road trips

The beginning of my summer holidays has been busy. I’ve met friends over lunches and dinners and had lovely massages. I’ve also been swimming both in the Baltic sea and the public pool. We’ve had great weather, sunny and over 24 C degrees. Me like.

We celebrated Midsummer just at home. I bought five kilos of strawberries to put in the freezer for winter. We also ate about three kilos before that, the strawberries are so good now and they are all ripening now. I haven’t frozen strawberries for years but it’s a kind of civic duty here and people discuss where you can find the cheapest berries.

I’ve also seen some art exhibitions.

On Monday I, hubby and youngest son visited the Serlachius museums in Mänttä which has a Banksy exhibition. I reserved our entrance in good time already back in May. Since it’s an 3-hour-drive I was sure to get us booked in the afternoon and it was a good decision, we got to sleep and eat breakfast in peace without rushing (well almost.. teens you know) and then had a coffee break on the way. The exhibition was free and it was quite nice. We also took a round around the other exhibitions there and enjoyed them too.

We drove back via hubby’s childhood summer cottage but since it was already a bit late we didn’t go visiting his uncle. Besides hubby has such horrible memories of the place he was happy just to see it from the roadside 🙂

Today I went for a lunch with my friend Heidi. We were going to see an exhibition at the AmosRex museum but then we just browsed the shop and continued to the Helsinki City Art Museum (HAM) nearby. It was nice, the free side had some Tove Jansson’s works and the paid ticket side had some interesting art made by Katharina Grosse.

We were both a bit tired so it was a bit short day today. I had a osteopathy massage me yesterday and he found some nice sore spots in my legs. Last week he did my cheek muscles..

Some piccies underneath.

Here’s a song for you too. I quite like her voice.

Summer!

Today was my last day at work before summer leave and boy is it needed!

Last week we had a tad of drama at home as youngest son was about to leave for Lapland for his confirmation hiking camp and his best friend said he won’t come on Monday. They were due to leave on Tuesday morning at 6am. On Tuesday morning I go to wake youngest son and he says he’s been thinking all night that he won’t go since BFF can’t attend and I say that it’s not an option anymore, that now he just has to jump so off he goes. I was a bit worried I must say but today he came back and he’s had so much fun and made new friends and the hills were awesome and so on. So I was glad I pushed him to go. They also had awesome weather so he is quite sun tanned now.

Also last week at work we notice the clockwork machine is odd.. It’s been counting our hours wrong all WINTER (since last August) and only now someone realized it. Then we get an e-mail, it says I have about 200 hours of time uncounted! Geez I was a bit worried. Then my bosses say they are trying to find the error in the system with HR and I e-mail my workplace steward who is very concerned and with her support the bosses and HR do the clearing a bit more speedily. Today we receive a message that due to a mistake made last summer (when our contracts were updated after a two-year agreement done by the employer and the trade unions) mine and my colleagues hours were updated by wrong contract so we need to go through all of the dates since August. Luckily that can be done after summer holidays.

Yesterday I got my braces off! I’m quite glad of the result and today I had a consultation with my own dentist Kai so we can plan what to do next. Some of my crowns are a bit worn out and the plan was to change them but Kai said he’ll need to replace about five crowns and my corner teeth need some work done too. So the project getting my occlusion fixed continues.

My studies are finally about to finish, the final exam is on next Monday. I’m glad I did the essays in good time and now I have four and a ½ days to read three thick books in English about freedom of speech and social media. Yay. I’m so done.

Some piccies underneath, mostly from my garden. Hope you enjoy.

Also a suitable song by Lenny Kravitz since I have five days til summer. Boy I miss live music, Lenny was awesome ❤

Day tripper

Yeah! Me and my friend Mareetta did a Sunday trip to a nearby city called Lahti today. We left at 10 am and I just got home an hour or so ago. We had fun day.

First we visited a second hand store and then an outlet shop of an Finnish brand where I found one nice t-shirt and a light skort (skirt and shorts combination I really like, awesome for i.e. bicycling). Then we drove to the city and had a nice dinner at a local restaurant and afterwards we did some light shopping at a department store next door. From there we drove to a shopping mall a bit further since they had a lovely waffle cafe. After that we were about to drive home but decided to take a turn at the lakeside in the city next to the famous ski jumping hills. You may have heard of a Finnish ski jumper Matti Nykänen, these were his home grounds.

Since it’s been a holiday week again (a day off on Thursday) the motorway was so packed with people coming home from the summer houses that we decided to drive back via the old highway and it was nice. We watched the local houses and farms and enjoyed the scenery.

On other news; I’ve enrolled to my last Communications Science course which is a bout the freedom of speech and it’s okay I guess but so much writing. I need to write a paper of the lectures after I’ve listened to them and also I must read five books, of two of them I need to write a paper of and three will be questioned in an exam. Whoo boy. I think I took a too large bite with this one. Well, at least the summer holidays will be appreciated.

Last Tuesday I was getting my braces tightened again and the dentist said I’ll get them off on mid-June right before my summer holidays. On my last day at work (the next Wednesday after I’ve got the braces off) I’ll meet with my own dentist and we’ll plan what to do next. I hope I’ll get everything fixed during the summer, it’d be wonderful. The money I saved during this pandemic by not travelling will be put to good use.

Youngest son is going to his confirmation camp on early June, it’s a hike in Lapland. He wasn’t very happy when I said he needs to go but it seems he’s adapting to the thought. His best friend is coming to the same camp so it’s alright. On Friday I took him to shop all the necessary stuff, i.e shell jacket and trousers, woollen set of underwear etc. I think he was most happy of the new Marttiini knife he’ll need there.

I guess this is all for now so have a nice Sunday evening and awesome next week! Here is Sirius sleeping.

Preparing for May

It’s been spring weather here. last weekend was very nice, sunny and warm with +15 C degrees. I raked all of our yard and the cat was outdoors all night (I slept poorly). Now we’ve got snow and sleet and the temperatures are just around +3 C degrees. So glad I didn’t get any summer flowers from the shop yet.

I received my first shot of Pfizer a week ago on Thursday. During the evening my arm got so sore I’d barely lift it and I also had muscle pains. Then on Friday I did a short walk in the forest and back home almost fainted.

On Monday we had youngest one’s medical examinations (=blood works and ultrasound) and when we got to the lab we found out the doctor had forgotten to send the referral so we agreed with the nurse we’d go first to the ultrasound and I’d try to call the doctor so we’d get the blood works taken while in the hospital. So I left son to wait for the ultrasound and went to the pediatric department where a nice nurse did the call for me and I met youngest son halfway back to get him and we went back to the lab and got all his tests taken. Doctor said she’d call us if there was anything concerning results.

I’m glad they examine everything but it’s been a bit of a bother as the hospital is over 20 minutes drive and since I don’t drive hubby has to take us there. Luckily it’s been good with his work schedule.

Well back to the header. The year is turning to May and we Finns celebrate the May eve and The first of May as a national carnival. Now as the current pandemia is raging the traditional celebrations are available in the Net second time around. In May eve the statue of Havis Amanda at the city centre is washed and then she gets a student cap at 6pm when it’s a sign for all who have passed the matriculation exams to put their student cap on. On May day people gather to the parks and especially to Kaivopuisto in the city centre for picnics. The traditional labour marches are not so popular anymore. You can read more of Finnish Vappu here.

Since Rachel asked I thought to share with you the traditional sima (Mead) recipe. It’s fairly easy to make and is a nice and refreshing drink in summer time too.

***

Mead

4 litres of water

250 g dark sugar

250 g caster sugar

1-2 lemons

small amount of yeast (about 1 pea)

raisins + sugar for the bottles

Take a plastic bucket or large glass jar (or whatever the liquid fits) and boil half of the water. Put the sugars into the bucket, add both warm and cold water. Rinse the lemons well and peel their skin, put the skin into the sugar water. Strip the white part off of the lemons (it makes the mead sour) and slice the lemons and add them into the sugar water. Stir so the sugars melt, add yeast (be careful not to put too much yeast bc it makes the bottles pop).

Leave the bucket to a warm place over night or two nights until it fizzes when stirred. Add a teaspoon of caster sugar and about 5 raisins to each bottle before the lemon water. Strain the mixture through a sieve to glass or soda bottles.

Put the bottles to fridge or cellar (if you have one) and let them be about 4-5 days. Mead is ready to drink when the raisins float on top. Check the corks every day since you don’t want the bottles to explode.

Finnish mead is slightly alcoholic and the longer you let it ferment the more it fizzes. My mom once found a bottle from previous year and it was like cider.

***

I’m having a short working week. Since we don’t have clients and it’s pretty quiet at the place I decided to take Thursday and Wednesday off. On Monday is the last time we are sharing the foodbags as all the schools will open on May (youngest one is going tomorrow already) and on Thursday middlest son comes home again for a week.

I hope we’ll get decent weather so I’d get outdoors. I’m planning to open bicycle season too. In the pics some of my bakings and Sirius and my new Riddari sweater. I’ve also knitted a cap for a friend which still needs blocking and I’m currently knitting a light sweater for my cousin’s son.

Where did the chocolate eggs disappear?

I wonder where… Before Easter I was almost at the same weight as five years ago. After my mom died I gained some kilos and my thyroid acting up too made me gain weight. Now it seems the thyroid meds are in correct order and so I’m finally getting a bit lighter. During Easter thou it’s impossible not to eat good food and desserts which is good but luckily not every day is a holiday.

I had some days off during Easter, mainly because we don’t have much work as we don’t have so many clients. Since I last updated I’ve continued at the foodbag delivery and supervised matriculation exams at my former high school. It was fun to visit my old school, when we graduated it had middle grades and high school but it’s since turned only to a high school and now has about 860 students. At my time there was probably around 300 students all together. To house all of them there’s also been renovations done and built more space. Nowadays the high school specializes in media studies so the kids who go there can later find themselves working in some media career.

I have finished two sweaters, one is a Riddari and it’s very nice and the other is the Suolaulu sweater but it needs a bit tweaking still. I’ll take piccies and upload them around weekend (I hope).

Youngest son continues school at home. Now it’s decided that the middle grades go to school on schedule so that all the 9th grades are at school next week and then two weeks at home, then it’s the 7th graders turn and the 8th graders go last. Yay. I hope they all will be able to go to school on May.

Middlest son has been home from the army for a week since Saturday. He has done the single flying test and so can go flying alone when it’s allowed. He also applied to the National Defence University even thou he already has a place in the Engineering University. If he gets the place in ND Uni he’ll get to fly the new fighter planes when they arrive. I’m not so sure if I want to see that.. The ND University is located here in Helsinki, not very far from us and they have very nice facilities. His official army time ends in June.

Here are some pics. Yesterday I went to the forest for a walk but it was still pretty wet so I had to stay on higher ground and couldn’t get many pics. Here the spring is not as far as last year but then we had much less snow, almost none at all.

Oh and the definition for Easter witch is here 🙂 It’s a common tradition here and very much enjoyed.

Wintery times

We’ve got more snow and now the weather getting colder again, next week temperatures should drop down to -12C degrees. I don’t mind, I’ll rather take the rain in snow than in water during winter time, and the cat goes out anyway whatever there rains. Actually she really loves the snow, she plays in it and hunts the snowflakes too.

I’ve been helping at the teleworking students lunchpack sharing on couple of Mondays now and it continues next months too. The students are both from college and vocational school and there’s four schools they can drop by and get their lunches for a week. I’ve had a lovely group of people to work with, two are from my own workplace and one is a former colleague from the City Library, we have great humor too so the days go by quickly even if there’s all kinds of mixups and mess to clear up. For example on the first Monday the students name lists were not in alphabetical order but on the order they had enrolled to the service. It cased some serious queueing which is not very nice atm.

At work we’ve been doing some serious digital jumps again with teaching our teachers how to use Google Meet an such. We’ve also digitized some materials for the teachers so they can keep their lessons from home more easier and then there’s all the online-meetings.. Some days my ears are sore of the earbuds and eyes from too much screen time.

On this week some of my friends had their birthdays. On Wednesday I had dinner my friend M with who we saw Uncle Vanya in London last year. Since we haven’t met since November I gave her now the lovely wooden Christmas decorations made by Rachel and her SO and bought from the RA-fandom Christmas auction. She loved them and was very happy to receive them.

Yesterday I met two of my friends in Ekberg’s, one the eldest cafes in Helsinki, which is very classy and has delicious cakes. I bought some cakes home too since Juhana, middlest son, came home from the AirForce for the week and youngest one, Jimi, Has his birthday on Feb 8th and today we had Jarno, eldest son, on dinner too so it was small birthday party for Jimi like this.

I’ve been watching McLeod’s Daughters and now I’m halfway through 3rd season. It’s nice to watch something easy while knitting and I’m eagerly waiting to get on 4th season so I’ll see Deano soon. I’m also watching WandaVision from Disney+, it’s very interesting. Earlier this month I watched Midnight Sky, the new film by George Clooney and wasted two hours of my life for such a crap. It was horrible. I also watched one Finnish Detective series called Ivalo (Arctic Circle) and almost strained my eye muscles while rolling them too hard, it had so many twists that it’d have easily filled three seasons.

Well, tomorrow I need to concentrate on my studies at the Open Uni, I’m now doing Organizational communications course and it includes video lessons, a homework and a book exam of one very thick book. Aargh. Not to mention I’m reading some very good detective stories which doesn’t make it easier to start reading for the exams.

Oh! I bought an activity bracelet just to keep an eye on my steps and so far it’s been nice. I have also lost some weight as a consequence. Not bad.

Saturday and a Schrödinger’s cat

This week we’ve finally got a proper winter here in Southern Finland. We got about 50 cm snow in two days (Tuesday and Wednesday) here in Helsinki met area and on Friday we got freezing temps as they dropped to -22C degrees. It’s been interesting to say the least. On Tuesday the traffic was jammed because of the snow, luckily a lot of people were teleworking but still.. I had to go to my dentist after work as the braces needed to be tightened and I walked the three kilometers because I couldn’t rely on trams working in schedule. It was good excercise I can tell you. When I got home finally hubby said he had cleared the yard of snow three times. In this article you can see some pics of the snow storm.

On Friday I was teleworking as it was such cold day and I had a meeting starting at 8.30 am so it was easier this way. Me and hubby had lunch at a Nepalese restaurant in a nearby shopping mall, it was very good. Youngest was supposed to have cross-country skiing at school but it was changed to walking which didn’t please him as he loves cross-country skiing. He would have had ice skating at school on Thursday but he dislikes it so much that he refused to take part on the class and I had to message with the teacher about it. I hope he’ll get to cross-country skiing some time this winter.

Youngest one had school doctor’s appointment on Monday so I’m now officially shortest person in our family as he passed me by two and a half centimetres.

We also have a Schrödinger’s cat living here. Sirius doesn’t know if she wants to go out or be indoors and so mostly we are not sure if she’s indoors or outdoors. Luckily she knows to drum on hubby’s window to get in.

The first three pics are a view from our library to one of the most important roads to the city centre. I couldn’t find a pic I saw in the newspaper on Tuesday where there was a traffic jam just outside as several trams couldn’t get through the intersection due to snow and the rails freezing. In the third pic you can see the beginnings of a two-year-long tram rail and pipe renovations, it’ll be awesome (not).

Rest of the pics are from yesterday and today, on the first pic with Sirius you can see how much we got snow.

I thought to share with you a picture thing which was going on in FB. It was for celebration of grannies so here you can see me with my grannies.

In the first one I’m with my maternal grandmother Eine, she has some pond-lilies on her hand and I guess we are coming home from a nearby farm where we used to buy milk at our old cottage. Usually Eine had a sock knitting on hand, she also taught me to play cards.

On the second pic I’m sitting with my paternal grandma Augusta, she was a seamstress and has made both of our outfits. This is from my confirmation day which was a big thing. She also made the best pancakes and meatballs.

On summer time I used to be at the cottage after school year ended first with Augusta in June and then when my parents had their summer holiday we took Augusta back to Iisalmi, her home, and then as my parents had to go back to work at the end of July Eine would come with me to the cottage. Eine was born on 1901 and Augusta on 1904, they had both lived through the civil war and it was never discussed in our household (which is kind of a loss imo), they both lived to 90.