Limerick

We (me, my colleague and the head librarian Sari and our media teacher and education planner Mikko) visited the Further Education and Training College in Limerick as an Erasmus+-mobility project and it was very interesting. We got to talk with the teachers and visited different campuses and took part to the LifeLongLearning Festival they had on just that week. Here is a short video from the Multicultural day, look closely and you may see me there too, just try to spot the hot pink jeans 🙂

We had tight schedule and got so much information that I think we are still processing things. We had interesting talks with people and enjoyed seeing different campuses and also met one teacher originally from Finland with whom we had a long chat about how things are in both countries. One theme for our visit was media literacy and how it’s taught in Ireland and in the end one of the teachers said that they can see how much they still need to do in order to teach it to their students so I think we all got something out of this visit.

All days were so full scheduled that we had to sneak away on Thursday in order to get to see the King John’s castle which was very nice. We also visited St Mary’s Cathedral which was very interesting, there was a chamber choir just rehearsing for their evening performance and it was absolutely beautiful.

I didn’t manage to do any kind of shopping since all shops closed so early, I only bought some trousers from Dunne’s where I did some grocery shopping in the evening and their clothes department was on the same level as the grocery side.

The people were awesome and made us feel welcome. We had a nice informal dinner on Thursday night and made friends and talked about everything more easily than on the campus. One very kind lady called Máire took us for a car trip all over the county on Friday.

We drove from Limerick to Burren National park where we did a short walk. From there we drove to the seaside so we’d see the Cliffs of Moher (we didn’t go there since it was a tourist trap) via Aillwee cave (where we bought some nice cheese and didn’t get into the cave at all) and Fenore beach. From the roadside we’d see Moher very well and took some nice pics and then Máire drove us all the way over the peninsula so we’d see the other side too. Then in Clahane shore Mikko went for a swim in the Atlantic ocean and afterwards we had nice dinner in Lahinch village and later ice cream stop at Liscannor before driving back to Limerick. Then we took the train to Dublin and were quite tired after all the excitement of the week so after we found our hotel we just bought some sandwiches from a shop next door and went to bed.

Cranesbill. We have it in Finland too, it’s called cranes knee here.
Turlach
Carron church
The Pinnacle Well
Sea shells? Can’t remember their name in English

Okay, here was the Limerick part. I’ll try to write the Dublin part this week too.

Just a FYI I’m over Covid19 now, I only had fever for two days (38,5C degrees) and runny nose last week, I went back to work on Thursday and Friday and now I’m feeling quite myself again. I was very tired during the first weekend of June but day napped with Sirius on the balcony and it was good.

Daytrippin’ yeah. Again.

I feel like I mainly post about my day trips and I don’t even do them so much. So funny!

Last Saturday we (me, DH and youngest one) drove to Jyväskylä to inspect middlest one’s new flat which was very nice. It had many cupboards and the rooms were spacious and the balcony was lovely. While the men assembled some Ikea furniture I unpacked the kitchen things and uploaded the dish washer with the new dishes. We made a list what middlest one should still buy, i.e. dish washer tablets and so on and then we had dinner in the city centre. I called my cousin and we decided to go to her place for coffee and bring something to go with it.

My cousin’s little boy (5) got a bit scared when we showed up as they have been low contact with people since he’s a ’heart child’ with HLHS. Luckily he got over his scare in a short while and later played card game with youngest one while we chatted with my cousin. It was nice to see them too 🙂 Afterwards we drove middlest son to pick up his car from the garrison and left for home via the local chocolate factory shop.

At work the week (three days) was hectic as we have a strike looming ahead. It was supposed to begin on the Tuesday after Easter but it was postponed two weeks. I’ve never been on a strike, they’ve always been cancelled for different reasons so I find this very interesting. I’ve promised to go to my old work place as a picketer for a day with our head shop steward.

On top of these strike news I got news that I was selected with my colleague and our Media teacher for a Erasmus+ for a week in Limerick in May. I’m flabbergasted to say the least, I never expected to get chosen but my lovely boss said I should apply and I did and here we are! I’m so excited!

DH had one of his summer holidays still left and as they are lost if not used at the end of April we took a one-day cruise trip to Stockholm. I got a day off and youngest one too and on Wednesday evening we went to the ship, ate well and did some shopping and in the morning we woke up in Sweden. After breakfast we walked to the Viking museum in Djurgården which was very interesting. Afterwards we took a ferry to the Gamla stan where I did some book shopping and then we had coffee and cake (”fika”) and then we slogged back to the cruise ship. The weather was smutty, drizzling but okay. Back at the ship we had dinner and this morning we were back home.

Both eldest and middlest son were home so we had dinner together and I baked a Key Lime pie which was very good.

I’m trying to find us a summer cottage where we could be as we want to. I don’t get along with my SIL and it’s getting harder summer by summer to stay civil, not that we ever see but my brother is the in-between-man and I don’t think it’s fair, besides the boys are getting frustrated too as they’d like to go to cottage more than they now can. I found one place which would be in my price range and contacted the seller about going to visit the place next week but he hasn’t answered yet. It’s a three-hour-drive but it looks promising. I’ll be going there with eldest one to inspect.

A summer cottage right outside Helsinki, behind one of the most famous Helsinki summer restaurants called Klippan
Small island Lonna and behind it Suomenlinna (Sveaborg), the church tower is light house too
Sundown on sea near Estonia
Youngest son’s breakfast desserts
Nice Easter flower arrangements outside Nordiska Museet
A viking helmet
Carrot cake at Sten Sture cafe
Coming home, Kalasatama high rises
View to east.
Easter flowers and witch

I don’t seem to get pics to gallery mode anymore and now I’m too tired to look into it. Maybe it’s all right as it is. Here’s a song for you, I really like Ben Folds but then I kind of forgot him for a while.

Some March musings

Today it’s the 6th anniversary of my Mom’s passing. Today it’s also the day Middlest one moved out of home to the NDA dormitory first and next week he’ll be getting a flat in Central Finland. So it’s not always the sad memories to go by.

Middlest son is going to move to a ’right of occupancy’-apartment. Since we haven’t been able to travel these past two years we’ll loan the needed money to him and then he’ll pay it back in some years. The apartment is about 49 square meters, has sauna and balcony and is located next to a lake on second floor. He’ll have about 1 km to the city centre via the bridge. I’m glad he got the place (since I found it) but we’ll need to buy everything starting from bed sheets. We’re planning to go see the place around April, before Easter weekend.

DH is getting better, he’s in not so much pain anymore but he still naps some hours per day which is good. I had to go to talk with a nurse at my work health care since I begun to feel so overwhelmed and it was good I did. I feel much lighter.

Youngest one had the enrollment to high school and he applied first on the Middlest one’s school. I hope he gets in as it would be a short biking or bus route to take and also Hubby works next door so he’d get a ride every now and then too. It’s one of the hardest ones to get in to, a sort of elite school, because it’s the University training school for teachers but it’s also top rate studying. The final results come in Mid-June.

Last week I went to movies with youngest one to see Moonfall. It was so much fun, no logic and totally unbelievable but very good for relaxing. We enjoyed it a lot.

I also went for a ride with my friend Mareetta, we drove to Tammisaari and then watched the sun down in Inkoo harbor and the moon rise at Kaivopuisto in Helsinki. We had lovely day in wonderful spring weather and great food.

January gone

It’s already February and I’ve been lazy updating.

I’ve been at work since Jan 10th when my holidays ended. We’ve been in the closed down house alone with the janitors and some teachers. The Helsinki city Education decided that all adult hobby groups go teaching ’via net’ except Finnish for foreigners and so the kids schools have been open but elderly people have sat at home, most of them vaccinated too . We (me and my colleague) have been giving digital IT help via phone and also helped teachers with their lessons and other stuff. I must say I’ve been on the verge of depression due to this last closure and some of our clients said the same.

Luckily since Feb 1st we are open again and the teachers can decide themselves how they want to keep their lessons. On the beginning of March all classes will return to classes.

Hubby had a small infection in his tubes (due to the kidney stone) and he got meds for it and is now better. The tube is bothering him a bit and it’ll be operated on Feb 18th as both of the doctors who knew the procedure were sick which delayed his operation.

Eldest son was skiing in Lapland two weeks ago and managed to break his wrist. As it was Sunday he had to go to the private clinic there which did a good job but it cost 720€. He paid it with his student loan and we gave him the money afterwards. The private clinic had said he needs to show the wrist to a doctor here and last weekend he had been in the HUS hospital twice for X-rays and then on Monday he had seen the surgeon. The surgeon had said the plaster isn’t enough to keep the bones still so they operated his hand today, he got metal plates inserted and they’ll probably be permanent.

Middlest son came home a week ago, he was camping with other army guys in forest for three weeks in Northern Finland. Since then he’s had one day at the garrison. On March he’s moving to Central Finland as his pilot training in the Air Force begins. We’ve been searching for flats there, mainly ’right of occupancy’ apartments as it’d be better for now as he’ll be there about three years and so he made a request of one which looked really nice. I said to hubby that I’d like keep the flat as a summer residence if we won’t sell it when middlest one leaves the place.

Youngest one turns 16 next Tuesday and we are thinking of going out to dinner next weekend with the whole family. Due to hubby’s condition I don’t think it’s a good idea to ask people to come to our house right now, we can have cake later with youngest one’s godparents at home.

Youngest son is trying to decide between high schools as the enrolling time gets nearer at the end of this month. We have managed to get him to apply for some schools nearby that have great reputation, the final results come back on June which is still far away. I hope he’ll get into the first one (which is the one middlest son went to) but the rest are not bad either.

We’ve had a real snow fall last weekend and this weekend. Me and middlest one have done the shoveling and Sirius enjoys playing in the snow, she’s so funny.

I’m so relieved that I finally received the Christmas gift Michelle sent me on Dec 14th. I was worried it had gone missing so I asked an old acquaintance (a message board friend) who works at the Postal services if he’d help and then the package was found and I got it yesterday! Thanks Michelle, I’m so happy ❤

Highlights

from this past month.

Just a couple of days after my previous update we had our team meeting. For my surprise I got flowers and a gift from the City since I’ve now worked 30 years in the different libraries for the City. The gift was five days of paid vacation, I got to choose from actual money (of which they would’ve taken taxes) or two night stay in a spa hotel or this. I think this is the best gift for me, I get to choose when I’ll keep the days or if I want to take one day off at a time so prefect!

In the evening I went to movies with youngest one and hubby to see Ghostbusters: Afterlife which I greatly enjoyed. Paul Rudd was very good and all the old ’Busters’ were there too. It was so much fun! And of course the little marshmallow men really stole the game 🙂

We had very cold weather for a week, around -15C degrees. Sirius wanted to go out but came back in right away. Silly girl.

In the beginning of December I had my dentists appointment. First I was supposed to go on a Tuesday morning and just as I was waiting for the tube to arrive their office lady called and said that we need to reschedule (again) as my dentist had called his car tire had blown on the way to his practice so we moved it in Thursday. I had to make the hours in as it was in the middle of the workday but finally I got four new crowns (and it cost way more than I had thought but now its done). Luckily I have a savings account…

I’ve been working long days but on Tuesday I decided to go to movies to see The House of Gucci. I went alone as none of my friends were able to come but I didn’t mind. As a teen I used to mostly go to movies by myself (at least the company was good) so it’s no biggie for me. I enjoyed the movie. I’m not a great fan of Lady Gaga’s but she was really good as Patrizia Reggiani and Adam Driver was so hot… Jared was great as Paolo and I really liked Al Pacino as Aldo Gucci. The scene with the two latter ones at the airport was so good, both sad and funny. The soundtrack was awesome too. ( I flove this pic of them.)

On Wednesday as I was walking towards my workplace I stood to watch that there was indeed a firetruck outside our building door. Gladly it was such early that there were no clients and all classes are finished already but still. So I go to the inner courtyard and ask one of the office ladies who always comes in early what’s the problem and she said one of the doormen had forgot to turn off the stove after he had cooked porridge, luckily there was nothing on top of the stove so when we got in finally there was just a god awful reek in the lower floors. We are also lucky to have the fire department right on our backyard (we go there for lunch). That one doorman has a drinking problem and we are a bit concerned of him, his bosses have had a talk with him already but it remains to be seen if he can continue working for us.

I’ve also been preparing for Christmas by baking gingerbread cookies and I’ve bought all presents too already. we’ve done grocery shopping and hubby got the tree from the Uni forest students near his workplace. Youngest one wants us to bake more gingerbread cookies and try to built a huge house and I kind of said yes.. I’ll take pics if it turns out okay.

We had our library teams Christmas coffee at the nice cafe next to our workplace on Thursday, it was nice. There’s just three of us so it was pretty low key.

So this is news from my corner for now. Here’s a song for you!

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 ❤

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.

Spring is just around the corner

At least I hope so. Today we are getting more snow but it should melt next week as the temperatures rise over 0 C degrees. On Wednesday it’d be as high as +5 C degrees already.

I’ve been working at my ’own’ job and continued at the packed lunch distribution. On top of that I’m now supervising matriculation exam students at my old high school. It’s been 32 years from my own exams and the school has undergone some serious renovations some years ago when it changed from middle grades and high school to just high school but the main part was familiar so I found places easily.

I was there last Tuesday and I’m going there again on next Tuesday and Thursday and then Monday. There were over hundred participants on the exams and we have to check their laptops and packed lunches for notes and then walk with them to the bathroom breaks and back to the exams room so they don’t get to sneak on their phones or something. The whole thing reminded me and my colleague of an airport; first the check out and security and then the lavatory queue, it was funny.

I still haven’t gotten my grade from the Organizational communications exam I took part last week. The book was quite a hard read and very USA centered which made it a bit difficult and tedious at some times. We had also a group paper to deliver and it took a bit of effort but we had a good group and it turned out good.

I’ve also knitted, I’m in the first sleeve of another Riddari sweater and from one other sweater I need to fix the collar. I also did some more masks to use with my woollen cap and some for hubby when he goes to the grocery shop.

Since I’ve mainly been a couch potato after work I’m adding the fandom fun Michele and Rachel already did.

1.Your favourite John and why:

Porter. Because he is loyal to the end (like me).

2. Your favorite Richard action movie and why:

Captain America. I may have a crush on Chris Evans too *blushes*

3.Your favourite pairing of Richard and ____

Oh dear, this a hard one.. but I’ll go for Martin Freeman and his perfect Bilbo. Their roles as Thorin and Bilbo complement each other and you get the feeling there’d be something more than friendship you know. And it makes me so sad in the Five armies when Thorin dies. It’s just heart breaking (which is why I didn’t put that on the pic).

4. Richards best trait is his ________

Well, I don’t know him but he seems to be kind and considerate and that’s always charming.

5. What one question would you ask Richard about his roles up to now?

I truly hope we don’t need to start a campaign for his roles to die always like the campaign Save Sean Bean had. Do we?

6. If Richard ask you to dinner and where to eat what type of restaurant would you take him to?

If he came here I’d probably take him to one of our Finnish cuisine restaurants. More likely I’d cook him some nice salmon for dinner and blueberry pie as dessert.

7. What song comes to mind to describe his acting career?

I think the lyrics match well 🙂

8. What board game would you play with Richard during another lockdown ?

I’m not so into board games so I think we’d play cards, a version of Rum or the Spanish Canasta.

9. What two fandom items would you give to Richard as tokens of appreciation?

Umm.. none? I don’t think he’d like them. For some reason I think he’d be embarrassed. Instead I’d knit him a pair of socks. Oh but I did that already, do they count? 😀

10. Complete this sentence: “Richard you are the ________ to my __________.

Chocolate to my ice cream. Is that too racy?

Congrats! You made it to the end! Have a piece of cake 😀

A musical update

As most Europeans I too follow the Eurovision Song Contest, at least half-heartedly. I used to watch them as a kid since there wasn’t so many music programmes in TV but then I had many years I didn’t watch the contest at all. After Lordi brought Finland our first and only win in the ESC I’ve had just a cursory glance at the songs we’ve sent to the contest. The main reason being that I don’t like most Finnish contemporary music nor musicians.

Finns love heavy metal, it’s said we have the most metal bands per capita in the world. I just recently read an article in which the studies said that metal music lowers the blood pressure and calms nerves. When I had more migraines I noticed that listening to heavy metal (especially Rammstein) helped the pain so I can believe the results.

This year I listened to the finalists (at least half of them) and I had some hopes for the winning song although I never thought it’d grab the most votes being hard metal. But it did! And now we are sending Blind Channel to the ESC. Here you can read more about the contest from last night.

Here underneath is the participating song, I quite liked it since I love Linkin Park. Under that it is a compilation of the songs Finland has sent to the contest over years which is quite funny imo.

Onto other news; I’m having next week off since it’s the school’s winter holiday and we have only so much work to do atm, we are trying to stretch even the most menial tasks for days. My gig at the packed lunch bags distribution is also finished now as the high schools and vocational schools are going back to studying in-situ with safety regards on place (just half of the students in class per day, others teleworking at home). We’ll see how that goes, our PM Sanna Marin wasn’t happy about the Helsinki Metropolitan area mayors’ decision.

So I’m going to study and have some free time too. My Communication Sciences studies are going well but there’s only so many hours in a day and during working week the weekends get really short really fast.

And to end in heavy metal here is a trailer to a Finnish comedy about a heavy metal band. It was hilarious.