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.

 

 

School’s out

Yesterday was quite different than I expected in January. We were supposed to have a big graduation party for middlest son but now we only had nice dinner with all of us here and it was okay too. Some of our relatives and friends are coming here on June 13th to celebrate him so it’s all right.

I did a test-cake of rhubarb and strawberry filled cake with meringue-cream icing and it turned out pretty good. I’ve never made meringue icing so it was interesting to learn that too.

Youngest son begun his summer holiday yesterday and he got good grades too. Both of them went to school to get the paper and later in the evening middlest son went to his friends house and came home in the afternoon.

As I said to Rachel we have my MIL’s old recipe booklet for pizza from the early 80’s. It’s got recipes for all kinds of pizza’s, i.e. one with liver and another with kidneys or anchovies and European cisco (fish). Eww. Here is a pic of Pizza with Sardines, the lack of other pics is due the fact the booklets didn’t have nice pics. They looked more just mushy and were not clear enough for photographing.

There’s a bonus pic of Sirius. I was reading on our balcony and she came to sleep on me. I love when she does that because our old kitty Sysi was much more reserved after being in a shelter as a small kitten and hardly ever slept on or with anyone. Sirius was born on an pony farm which had puppies born at the same time and she is a bit like a dog, i.e. she comes when you pat your knee and some other small things too.  I really loved Sysi too, don’t get me wrong, she was an awesome kitty and was very protective of our boys when they were babies but she was shy. Only when she was old (18-y-o and forward) she slept on my lap in the evenings. But as a cat-person I love being a cat-mattress.

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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.

 

 

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.

Halfway

through January already. I feel like time is going faster but it might be because I’ve had busy times again.

At my work the courses have begun again and so we’ve got lectures and classes in the library almost every day too. Also finally on Tuesday they called me from the University Hospital about my thyroid and I had an appointment on Thursday with the surgeon. She said they’d like to operate it during this spring and I said that suits me well. Then the nurse interviewed me and I told I’m available for cancelled times so it may be I’ll get the operation quickly but latest in June. She praised me for having filled the pre-questionnaire very effectively and when she asked my BP I had it ready on my journal since I’ve been trying to keep track of it and she was so happy. It was funny. The trip to the hospital isn’t funny because it’s on the other side of the metropolitan area and it takes about one hour and a quarter to get there by public transport but luckily now I can at least take the underground train half of the journey.

On Friday I had two meetings at work, first was for all of our full-time employees and later I took part to the Union reps meeting where I signed the papers to be available in the reps elections. I had thought not to take part but otoh I find it interesting so I said yes when they asked.  After the meeting I met my friend Heidi in the city centre and we had nice coffee and cake.

On the next Friday I’ll be in London to see Uncle Vanya. I’m already so excited that I try not to think about it so I can sleep during the night. My friend said just the same today as we talked about the trip. We’ll be in London only one night but it’s nice to have a mini-holiday. I already have plans for doing a bookshop-run and also some clothesshopping.

I’m knitting a pair of socks to give to Toby Jones, I really liked him in Marvel movies. I have already knit a pair for RA and he has said he doesn’t want them anymore which I can well understand. He only has two feet after all. I’m thinking about buying a copy of Uncle Vanya in Finnish and take it with me to London and get RA’s signature on it, it’d be nice since I have his signature on my The Crucible too.

I’m watching Money Heist while knitting, it’s very good. Only I don’t like they’ve dubbed it in English because their faces don’t match the sentences and it bothers me. We are having dinner soon, I’m so glad middlest son and hubby are cooking because I don’t have the energy right now and middlest wanted to do chicken curry which is his fave dish to cook and he does it well.

 

 

Merry Christmas

I just wanted to say Merry Christmas to you all since I’ve been so busy. Now I’ve got two weeks off, I get back to work on January 7th which is wonderful. Hubby’s work and boys’ school begin then too.

Here in Finland we have Christmas dinner and  exchange gifts on Christmas Eve. Since we are just with our own family now (me and hubby and two sons) we’re doing these a bit later, our dinner will be served in about an hour and then we’ll see who’s been naughty and who’s been nice. I’m thinking about watching a movie later, now I’m throwing dice between Die Hard I and Fantastic Beasts but I may still change my mind.

Here are some pics. The first one I took on one morning as I left home and was walking to the underground train station, I really like the colors. In the second is a mug of glögg and a star-shaped plum pie which is traditional seasonal treat here and in the last one is out Christmas tree this year. It’s a bit smaller than usually but it’s okay. The cat loves to sleep underneath the tree (the mat is hand-embroidered by hubby’s late mom) and later we’ll burn it as logs in our sauna stove.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday again

So another week has passed and we are in December now. Hubby put the Christmas lights up inside and outdoors which is nice. We’ve got a bit of snow so it’s pretty now but it’s supposed to start raining again next week. That’s Helsinki December, the sea is still open and the snow won’t stay on the ground.

On Tuesday I had my last Pilates lesson for this year but I’ve already enrolled to the next Spring and it begins in January. Now I just need to do something during this month. I have the hula hoop I bought in October and it’s fun and I can also do Pilates at home but I’m lazy and mostly don’t.

On Wednesday I went to movies with my friends Heidi and Kristiina, we watched ’Last Christmas’ which was quite okay. Funny and some romancing and good acting by Emma Thompson and Henry Golding (I’m not so keen on Emilia Clarke). It was nice.

Middlest son had the physical and psychological tests for the AirForce on Wednesday and it took all day, from 8 to 5 but it looks like he’ll get in, at least for now. The results come later this month.

On Thursday I was going to take part to a trade union meeting for library people but I really felt so tired and just wanted to go home so I did and it was good. I enjoyed a nice home evening knitting with the cat and telly.

On Friday we had a meeting at work, just for our ’unit’ which means me and my colleague and the language teachers and the social studies teachers which makes about 14 people. After the meeting we went to a local restaurant for a nice lunch covered by our employer the City and then we had two hours of bowling also paid by our employer. It was so much fun and we had awesome time.

Yesterday we had eldest son and his godmother Leena with her little boy for dinner at our house and it was nice too. We’ve last seen Leena and her son in August so it was nice to catch up. She used to visit us more often but now her son has started to play football so it makes the weekends quite busy too. We used to travel together when our boys were smaller and her son was just a baby, it was nice. She was my good friend in the Scouts when we were teens (here in Finland the Scouts have been in one organization about since the beginning so we don’t have Girl Guides and Boy Scouts).

Today I’ve read one Finnish novel and it was quite good. It tells a story about Ojibwa indians and the Finnish settlers near Duluth and the big lakes. Did you know there’s a word Findians? Also both Finns and Indians were forbidden to enter a saloon in many places because both get violent when drunk.

Book fair(y) and other things

I’ve got two friends named Kristiina, it was a very popular name in the late 60’s and my cousin is also Kristina, the Swedish version. These two Kristiina-friends I met when I was studying to become a library assistant in the early 90’s and we used to call them the tall Kristiina and the short Kristiina. Yesterday I met with short Kristiina at the Helsinki book fair like we do every fall.

Of course the book fair is not the only happening but there is also the Food and vine fairs at the same time. This time we were sneaky and did the Food-part first. Kristiina wanted to buy some chocolate from a certain chocolatier and asfter some time we found it. The examples were awesome and I bought a little bag too.

Then we went to the book fair and mostly just walked around. Since we both work in library it’s not so important for us to examine every book there. Earlier this fall I had asked an acquaintance from the City library (he has a small publishing company) if he had a book I wanted and now I bought it from him and I also got a small notebook as a thank you since I was their first customer that day.

Then we did some small shopping, Kristiina bought Christmas cards from her fave artist and just as I was collecting my coat I saw one of our class mates from the library assistant studies. I’ve seen her every now and then, we go to concerts sometimes but it’s been couple of years now since I last saw her. I went to her to say hello and we hugged and then she said that she was also leaving and I asked her to join us for late lunch but she said she was so tired as they had a very hard meeting last night concerning her son’s treatment (he is suffering of schizophrenia). I was so sad to hear that.

Well, I and Kristiina had late lunch at the just-opened new Tripla mall at the Pasila railway station. The food and dessert were very good and I had a mocktail which was delicious too. The service was good and waitresses really nice but the delivering took forever. They had probably too little staff in the kitchen because it’s only been a week since the opening and as we were leaving we noticed the other part of the restaurant was almost empty since they filled first the ’outside’ looking side. We were glad we had been early there since the queue was pretty long at the time we left.

Hubby came to get me from the train and we did grocery shopping and then I remembered my hula hoop had arrived via post so we collected that too. I tried it already yesterday and it was so much fun.

Some news of family too. On Thursday Middlest one had the Army hearings as here in Finland all males aged 18 to 35(?) must go to the Army or Civil service and for females it’s voluntary.  Middlest son wants to go to Air forces but his basic training begins at Parola Armoured brigade in next July. His girlfriend has enrolled and applied to Air forces too which I find both endearing and amusing, it be fun if they were there at the same time.

Youngest son had baked cinnamon buns at the home economics class and they were so good! He said that the teacher had appointed him and three other boys to bake them since all the other kids just mostly sit there. What a waste! I and hubby liked HE and so did the elder sons too.

Well, now I’m going to do some hula hooping and then sit in front of the telly with the cat for the rest of the evening.

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Celebrations

Today is my birthday and I’ve been celebrating the whole weekend I think. I’m not yet over the hill but as my friend said tomorrow is the last time when I’m under 50 on October 1st. We had a good laugh out of that.

On Friday I had coffee date with my two girlfriends in a local cafe which has a cake buffet, i.e. you get a big cup of coffee and as many slices of cakes you can eat, starting with three slices. The slices are small but delicious and since I love their lime-flavoured cake I usually have two or more pieces of that.

On Saturday I and youngest one begun to watch again all of the Harry Potter-movies which was fun. God, I’m still having hots for Lucius.

On Sunday evening we (our family and middlest son’s girlfriend) went for dinner to one of the more historically famous of Helsinki restaurants called Elite. It used to be the place for artists, authors and actors to go to and they still serve dishes which were the people’s favourite, i.e. Tauno Palo’s beef. Tauno Palo was a talented actor and very handsome, he was the Finnish romantic lead on big screen.

We took the underground train to city centre and walked through my childhood playgrounds, i.e. the Rock church to the restaurant which was nice. The dinner was very good and company was excellent and interior very nice.

This morning I started my fall swimming again. I’d bought hand-paddles since I’ve got  osteoarthritis the breast strokes can be painful for my hands and the paddles were just awesome except now my triceps are killing me. Anyways I did my one km in 36 minutes which was pretty okay as it’s the first time since last spring.

Then I went to work and heard that our water supply had been cut for some reason, the whole house was in uproar and nobody knew when we’d get water again. The water was cut also in the two neighbouring houses which was good so there were more people complaining about it. We had to make bathroom trips to the other side of the street where is a sports center.  The water company was just as out of sorts as we and nobody there knew nothing… Luckily the water came back on in the afternoon so the cooking classes could be held and people could use the bathrooms too.

After work I had a massage appointment again and I’m glad I did, my neck and shoulders are better now. This time the masseuse was another visually impaired young man I had met earlier couple of years ago. He is very nice and plays in the Finnish Goalball team.

Finally at home youngest one made us coffee, middlest son had washed clothes and hubby had bought me flowers. All in all a very nice birthday Monday.

 

 

Fall is coming

Youngest son’s school begun yesterday, he is now on middle grades and at least two of his teachers remembered his big brother. His ’own class’-teacher teaches Finnish and her husband is the Math teacher who was middlest son’s ’own class’-teacher, they were nice and good teachers imo.

We are having an abundance of cucumbers and zucchini. I have tried to eat them but every day we get more so I barely make a dent in the numbers. I must check zucchini baking recipes.

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I’ve once again listened to audio books. I finished one (The Midnight Witch by Paula Brackston)  I started in May because it was such an annoying novel and I deeply disliked the female protagonist. After that I’ve listened to Kelley Armstrong’s Lost souls (Cainsville 3.5) which was nice and short and the reader had a lovely voice, especially when he narrated Gabriel. Oh my.

After finishing that I’ve once again started ’The Tawny man trilogy’ by Robin Hobb and totally dived into Six duchies again. It may be I’ll stay there for a while, except my work begins next Monday *sigh*.

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ETA Once again I don’t know why the Goodreads widget doesn’t show all of my read books, it’s really annoying.