Twas the night before…

…we were to leave for Oulu. Hah! Bet you thought I was going to say something else. 🙂

This morning’s picture:

December 21, 2014 around 9:10am

December 21, 2014 around 9:10am

Today dawned rather nicely, with blue skies interspersed with grey. The weather was mild, so much so that I pretty much just wore my sweatshirt and lined windbreaker out to walk Shiva and was perfectly comfortable. I even forgot my scarf and gloves, and it wasn’t really a bother.

We did some major exploration this morning, walking up and down and all around, until we found the dog park that we had found a few days ago. There was a large German Shepherd already there, but he was friendly, and his owner spoke English, so we talked a bit. Apparently, this dog park is rather popular, and he told me that some evenings there can be upwards of twenty dogs and owners congregated there. By the time I left, we were joined by a young Doberman, a terrier mix, a large mix with a shaggy coat that was a guide dog for an older blind lady who came around (totally makes my excuses not to get out invalid!), and a sort of Akita mix. It was a lively bunch, and all the dogs seemed to have a good time.

Dogs in the park!

Dogs in the park!

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Here is my map for today. We walked over two miles today!

21.12.2014

21.12.2014

After we got back, it was time to head to the City Center and get some shopping done that I probably should have done yesterday. As we were leaving, big snowflakes were coming down from the sky! It was quickly sticking to the ground and creating a white sheet over everything. While walking through the city, I got to thinking about just how happy all the snow made me, coupled with the twinkling lights, the music playing from the stores and the street musicians, and the general holiday spirit. The crowds didn’t bother me; I actually felt like they added to the excitement of it all. It made me realize that it’s important to hang on to the feelings of happiness, to hug them close, and to totally revel in them when we have them. I think too many times we tend to dismiss them, as if too scared to enjoy them for fear of them being whisked away by the next ‘bad’ thing we can think of. Sure, the vendor that I wanted to buy some Christmas bread wasn’t there, but there were others, so no harm. Still happy! I was with my husband and so still happy! Going to be visiting family and see my daughter in less than a week. Still reasons to be happy! Things will come along to get us down, but I think that if we learn to really love the moments when we are happy, and not feel like we don’t deserve them, or that they are too fleeting, then they will become part of our outlook and help lift us out of the doldrums that much quicker.

Downtown Helsinki looked quite festive, even though I couldn’t really capture it in pictures. But I did try:

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We took a ‘shortcut’ through the Kaisaniemi Metro station tunnel, which looks pretty cool. The walls are fashioned as if you are within a cave, with ‘cave paintings’ along the walls. When we entered, there was a fellow playing a violin, and the music echoed hauntingly off the walls, sounding so beautiful.

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While at Kampii to visit Musti ja Mirri to get Shiva some dog food for the trip, we went into the chapel of silence, Kampii Chapel, there in the square. It’s built completely out of wood, and was designed to be a place of silence in the center of the city. It was very quiet, and I could see going there to simply sit and unwind during a hectic day. Besides the pews, there were these great woolen ‘rock’ pillows all around that you could sit on or just hang on to. Very cool.

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And, of course, to finish up the night, after getting home, there was the taking of the Shiva out for her walk. This was a bit more snow than her first time, but it still didn’t phase her. If it wasn’t for her butt, though, might lose sight of her against the snow! I’m worried about seeing her in Lapland!

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Day 21 Challenge Question: What feelings does twilight arouse in you?

I am beginning to love twilight! It is the winding down of the day (even when it happens at 3pm!), and the beginning of wrapping it up, slowing down, and starting the ritual to get ready to rest and rejuvenate. It’s the time that I can cuddle with my hubby on the couch and watch our television shows, or cuddle with the Shiva-dog, or just slow down and let my mind wander. Of course, with twilight starting so early in the winter…well, I am getting more than enough rest and rejuvenation to last me!

And with this blogpost, I am probably incommunicado until the day after Christmas, maybe two days, when I return to Helsinki to get my daughter. And then from that point…probably out for another week. But, if I get internet access and or access to a computer, I might be able to update! And I might try out the mobile app…so be forgiving if you see some odd-looking posts here over the holidays.

Everyone have a wonderful holiday, and at the very latest, I will see you again in the new year! Remember, life is an adventure…live it! 🙂

#500words

Walking, walking, walking

One of my daily goals is to get 12,000 steps a day, per my FitBit. I have been nailing it almost every day! I started using the MapMyWalk app, mainly so that when I return, I can show my route to Wellu and be able to say, “This is where I went…” because I sure as fuck can’t remember when I get home! “Uhm…it was down the street, up a hill, down this muddy path, through some woods…yeah, I just made it back by sheer luck.” Here’s today’s path:

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A little over two miles. Slow miles, because you-know-who has to sniff every freaking bush and pole and rock and clump of dirt or ice or snow…but still, two miles is a goodly distance for me these days.

Today actually was a pretty day, and here it is, past mid-December in Helsinki, and I was sweating under my coat. I had it unzipped when I got home, and I was just steps away from actually taking it off. But then I would have had to haul it around with me.

December 20, 2014, nearly 9:15am. Look...blue sky!

December 20, 2014, nearly 9:15am. Look…blue sky! Sorta.

It’s hard to see in the picture, but there was blue sky there, and by mid-day, there was a lot more of it showing up, too.

Here’s some adorable pictures of Shiva from our walk for you to enjoy:

Cave exploring Shiva!

Cave exploring Shiva!

Watching the other dog from the relative safety of the table top

Watching the other dog from the relative safety of the table top

Last night, we snacked on some of the best wild boar…yum yum!

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That’s some smoked wild boar ham, perfectly aged white cheddar, some Marie Kulta crackers, served up in a cute Moominmomma plate, next to my Moominmaid notebook, on top of my Moominmomma placemat. Too bad you can’t see all the other Moomin goodness on my desk, too. Too bad you can’t taste that wild boar goodness, either. Sorry, not sorry.

We went to go visit some friends near Itäkeskus, and took Shiva with us. She behaved very good, even around their five-year-old, and only barked at his mom a little bit. Until she was petted, and that seemed to appease her. She’s so easy. We had pastries, then we bundled up and headed out to the dog park for a bit. There, she played with a huge old Husky mix named Brutus and a hound dog puppy named Major. I would have taken pictures…but forgot my phone. Oops.

Tomorrow, we head to the Forum to run some errands, then we have to pack! Then on to Oulu Monday….then I return on Friday to get my daughter on Saturday and we take the train to Lapland! OMG….can’t wait!!!

Day 20 Challenge Question: Describe someone whom you’ve lost in your life and the sadness that you feel.

Wow, can’t do this one today. Today is too happy of a day. So let’s just change it to: What makes today a happy day?

Celebrating my middle daughter’s 21st birthday!! OMG…she’s a grownup!! Now she can legally order drinks! Check out this cutie pie!! It would only better if I could be with her.

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My middlest baby, today!!

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It’s raining, it’s raining…

It’s just been raining for the past…forever. Okay, not even raining. Just…wet. Everything is soggy and sloshy. The bright spot? I get to slump around in my brightly colored wellies, and that does make me happy. But even those are starting to feel a bit old.  This morning’s picture was taken at nearly 9:30am…I just did not want to get out of bed! But when a doggy’s gotta go, a doggy’s gotta go! And momma has to take her!

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Today’s plan was to just go to the Kumpulan Kampus stop, to the Arabia mall and buy some exciting things: light bulb, batteries and a long-necked lighter. Woo…living in the fast lane! I did get all those things, then headed back home (congratulating myself on a lower carbon footprint with my outings these days), and starting some ‘decorating’. I made the bed (no, that’s not part of the decorating, silly!), then got everything cleaned up enough to light candles. Man, I light candles all over the foikin’ place! I guess I’m lucky the smoke alarm didn’t go off (of course it didn’t, I wasn’t trying to cook!).

Okay, I admit it. I didn’t do much else, given how the drizzle just seemed to drain the energy from me. Even Shiva spent most of the day on the couch, sacked out.

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Funnily enough, the energy seemed to come back after dinner. Shiva and I took a trip to the grocery store, then after we returned and dropped stuff off, we went back out to bring in some of nature. See, I got all inspired by a friend’s house, and wanted to add a bit of decor to mine. To be fair…I think mine turned out more like one of those Pinterest fails, but hey, we got out in the fresh (wet) night air.

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I’m probably going to find out that snipping greens and berries are some sort of punishable offense.

Funny thing I noticed on our walk tonight. Now, obviously, I’m not doing a whole lot of driving in Helsinki, but it seems to me that not many of the streets have any stop signs. Can’t say that I recall even one. You get to the end of the street and if it’s clear, you just go. Vrooom! At least I don’t have to perfect my California roll here.

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See? No stop sign at the end of the street, and none at the end of any of the others we pass.

Day 19 Challenge Question: When was the last time you encountered unexpected beauty?

Don’t expect anything too deep here. But it was the other night, walking along and watching the grass sparkle. And while I’ve been here, having the opportunity to walk in the woods, and just enjoy the solitude (even with the city a shout away), I’m seeing beauty in so much here. I am awakening to a whole new appreciation for the life around me.

OMGMYDAUGHTERWILLBEHEREIN8DAYS!!!!!!!

Wow, what a day!

Today was a whirlwind of activity, the day starting late, unfortunately. Woke up at around 9:30am, and took the Shiva-dog out for her walk. And here’s the picture of today’s view through the window. More light, since this picture was taken an hour later than I usually take them! Late, I’m late!

December 18, 2014

December 18, 2014

I had my life coaching meeting today at the Pasila library at 1:00pm. I hardly had time to get Shiva back from her walk, clean up and then head back out the door! I managed to catch the bus and the train with no problem (damn, I am getting good at this!), and headed up to the library. I had to admit that I haven’t opened up the page on my blog yet to detail this little project, plus I hadn’t journaled for two of the days. We did some exercises to help with the focus, narrowing it down. I gave them some feedback on the process, and we parted ways.

I checked out my very first books at the library!

barcode

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I haven’t checked out books at any library in ages, but it was really easy here. There’s a touch screen that allows you to read the images in English, then you insert your card in the reader. Each of the books has a barcode, and there is a tray that you slide the book into, and a scanner reads the bar code. I would have taken pictures, but there were people in line behind me. Just trust me when I say that it’s really easy! After you’re done, you can have it print a receipt, which will give you all the due dates for your books. Easy-peasy!

After this, I hopped back on the train and went to finally go visit a fellow American, Tracie, who writes the blog Beets + Birch (see link at the right). Wow! She is even more amazing in person than she is via her blog! Her apartment looks like something out of a magazine, but comfy and inviting. We spent about an hour chatting about this and that, and we will definitely get together again. I had to leave as I had yet another obligation to get to, but she sent me out with this lovely gift of cookies!

wrapped so pretty!

wrapped so pretty!

deliciousness inside!

deliciousness inside!

the red string now adorns my sad xmas tree

the red string now adorns my sad xmas tree

Upon leaving, I was digging in my purse for my bus pass, and found the chocolate bar that I had brought to give to her. So there in the parking lot, I unceremoniously thrust it in her hands. Sorry! But thank you so much for the cookies and hot chocolate, totally yum!!

I had to leave to get to the apoteekki before they closed, as I had ordered my meds and needed to pick them up. Because my ‘B’ certificate hasn’t been approved yet (the queue is loooooong, apparently), I had to go ahead and pay up front, with plans to get reimbursed…to the tune of over 1880€! Ouch. Tracie’s cookies made the sting a little less painful!

Day 18 Challenge Question: Have you ever experienced kindness from a stranger?

I have, many times. From the simplest acts of helping me pick up a spilled purse, to holding one screaming child while I dealt with another, to waving me ahead of the line when I only had one item…I’ve been fortunate to be on the receiving end of many kind acts. The one, however, that sticks out in my mind the most, happened nearly 19 years ago:

My youngest daughter has a congenital birth defect. When she was less than a year old, her dad and I were flying across the country, from California to New York, for her to have some reconstructive surgery. At the time, she had a colostomy bag. Not sure if you’re aware of what happens to a colostomy bag on a flight, but suffice it to say, we went through all the diapers we had at the time. And then the plane was diverted to another airport during a storm. This airport was deserted, but there was an older lady from Long Island with us, and in typical New Yorker fashion, she ordered some poor flight attendant to leave the airport and go find diapers, which she paid for, refusing repayment. Then she proceeded to hold the littlest one while we rested, and she became our fairy godmother for the rest of the trip. The next day, she appeared at the Ronald McDonald House where we were staying, and she stayed with us for the entire 12 hour surgery wait. She came back every day to check on Victoria’s progress, and celebrated her first birthday with her there in the hospital. This was before Facebook, and sadly, we lost touch, but I never forgot her, and still think about her sweetness to this day. Bless you, Ms. Jean.

ms. jean in the leopard print blouse on the left

ms. jean in the leopard print blouse on the left

Lazy, lazy Sunday

I love lazy Sundays. Except for when I feel the guilt of not getting much done. I’ve only recently reached that point in my life where I can roll out of bed at whatever hour I want, and be lazy. Well, I do need to walk Shiva, but that’s okay. Speaking of which…she had some kind of morning. First off, she hasn’t gone #2 for two days, which I figured was a bit too long (more on this in a bit), so I took her out for a loooooong walk, figuring that we were not going in until she did her business.  We walked over to the ostokeskus to mail a letter, then around towards the bus stops. Understand, the slush has frozen into a patchwork of ice, so I was having to walk like a penguin as to not fall, so the going was slow. And hilarious to onlookers, I’m sure.

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Anyway, she kept going between trees and under brush and up the side of a hill…thanks, Shiva. She flushed a rabbit, which had her going ape-shit for like fifteen minutes, trying to pull me down the side of the mountain on the ice to chase it, until something else bright and shiny caught her attention and she went on to investigate that. Those tracks are not rabbit tracks…I got totally lost trying to figure out where the damn thing came from and where it went (it was fast!), and I couldn’t find the tracks to photo them. So enjoy these bird-like tracks instead.

In any case, Miss I-Dont-Wanna-Poop spent another half hour sniffing everything she could get to, until FINALLY, we had poop. Success! I’m thinking that since I am feeding her better dog food, along with some real meat treats (this stuff called B.A.R.F., which is amazing, at least to her), she might be processing it so efficiently that she’s only needing to go every other day or so. Any dog people who have knowledge in this area, let me know what you think.

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The rest of the day was spent just lazing around, chatting with the youngest on Skype. It was really nice seeing her, and her new glasses look amazing (didn’t get a screen grab, sorry. Just trust me!). Finally, around 5ish or so, we bothered ourselves to get up and head to the Senatatori to go see the carolers. We brought Shiva along for the experience, as we were under the impression that the singing would be outside. Must have misread something, because instead, the singers were inside the cathedral, and there were big speakers on the steps, which were broadcasting the music. The singing was pretty, but I had hoped to actually see the choir. Bummer.

The Christmas market in Senate Square as seen from the top of the Cathedral steps

The Christmas market in Senate Square as seen from the top of the Cathedral steps

Shiva checking out the door of the bus, waiting her turn

Shiva checking out the door of the bus, waiting her turn

We climbed the steps, looked around at the pretty city lights from that vantage point, then headed back home. We stopped by the ostokeskus to go atm some money, only it was out. First time I’ve ever encountered that, in the US or here. Wellu decided to pop into the SMarket since we were there, so I stayed outside with Shiva. While outside, we met a very beautiful husky/wolf hybrid named Sepe (and his human, Lea). Sepe and Shiva got along great, and Lea, an older Finnish lady, was petting Shiva and telling me that she was pretty. Of course she is. Then, she asked me about going to the dog park tomorrow so that Shiva and Sepe could play together. This was all in Finnish (as apparently she speaks no English), but I managed to work it out, and so we have a “playdate” for tomorrow at 2pm! I was so proud of myself! Just to be on the safe side, we confirmed it all when Wellu came out of the store, but I did get it mostly right. I didn’t get a chance to take a picture of Sepe, but I will for tomorrow. He’s a magnificent looking dog.

I have my TE integration interview tomorrow, so I am going to head to bed early, so that I can be fresh and alert for that.

Day 14 Challenge Question: Do you remember a time when you felt lonely? Can you describe it?

I had to sit here for a while and think about this. While I know that I have, my life has been so extraordinary these past few years, that I can’t remember any time in particular to recount. I’m going to take this as a good sign. Or a rather poor memory. Take your pick. 🙂

#500 words, yo.

First snow!

December 13, 2014 (8:30am)

December 13, 2014 (8:30am)

Shiva got her first taste of snow today! I took her out this morning, and snow had blanketed the ground during the night, coming stealthily to catch us unawares. She came off the stoop and sniffed around at the white stuff, not touching it at first, until she determined that it wasn’t anything to be concerned with. She did try to roll it in it once, like she does with grass, but as soon as her shoulder touched it, she was back up like a shot, and didn’t try again.

Shiva sees snow for the first time

Shiva sees snow for the first time

Shiva hides in the snow

Shiva hides in the snow

Shiva's first snow

Shiva’s first snow

She looked quite stylish in her sweater, but unfortunately, was not going to stay that way for long. We would have walked to the dog park this morning, but I had no interest in trying to navigate that steep path with the snow and slush on the ground, so we just walked around a different way. Along this route, she went exploring amid some trees, and eventually something in the underbrush got her attention. She got her leash tangled in the branches, and as I was trying to untangle her, she was digging like crazy after something (probably a hedgehog, I figure). When I finally got her away, she was a mess!

Shiva after her dig

Shiva after her dig

So home we went, and straight into the bathroom for a shower and her first bath since coming to Helsinki! She spent the rest of the afternoon napping, apparently.

I only know from tales, as I was gone shopping at some of the local markets with a friend. There’s one in the Forums, called Ilo Joulu, and there are two places for it, on the second and on the third floor. Lots of independent vendors set up inside with their tables and wares. I simply don’t have enough money, I can tell you that! I wanted so many things, but finally settled on a few small gifts for family and friends. Still, items of just 1€ or 2€ tend to add up quickly when you are buying for a half dozen and more people!

Example of some handmade boots

Example of some handmade boots

I want to pause here and give a shout out to my rain boots. My mom bought these for me from Amazon, and they are great! With a pair of wool socks, they are warm, they fit well and they are pretty comfortable to walk in. Even better, they seem to have decent traction in the ice and snow, and they definitely get through the slush very well! And the price is phenomenally better than most I’ve seen!

Amazing rainboots!

Amazing rainboots!

Slush.

Slush.

We left there and walked down to the Senate Square, where I had been last night. She was looking for a particular books dealer, which we found. She concluded business with him, and then we were feeling a bit peckish and cold, as it was drizzling a bit while we were out.

I met Santa!

I met Santa!

We decided to head in to Stockmann’s, experience the Christmas rush, and head up to the 8th floor to the Fazer Ravintola, and grab some coffee for her and hot chocolate for me. I was glad to do it, as my feet were finally starting to hurt. We had to wait for two cars of the elevators to come and go before we got there, and  then afterwards, you should have seen the line for the ladies room!

Hot chocolate and quiche at Fazer's

Hot chocolate and quiche at Fazer’s

Afterwards, she went on to a third market, but I was worn out, so we parted ways and I came home to meet my Wellu and Shiva, and tuck in. Except…it was only like 4:30pm, and I still need to take Shiva out for her evening walk! This getting dark at 3pm is for the birds!

On my way through the Rautatientorie to get to the bus, I passed a small group playing classical Christmas music right there in the hall. It was nice to stop for a moment and enjoy the music, and they played quite well, too. I’ve seen several street musicians (I think they call them buskers?) playing around the city. I tend to have a coin or two for the good ones. And most of them are quite good. (see video at the end of post)

Concert

Concert

Day 13 Challenge: How do you feel about the holiday season?

Because I don’t have to shop for anyone, I don’t feel the crushing weight of that responsibility on my shoulders. That means I can get in to the fun and joy of the season–the colors, the music, the lights, even the crowds. I’m not pressed for time, really, so the time is what I make of it, and I really enjoy looking at this time of year anew…almost like a child again, with no other responsibility than to enjoy it.

Enjoy a snippet of Christmas music!

Life Coaching

Today was a big achievement for me…I made the bus-to-train transfer solo today! I’ve done that with Wellu with me, but today I was totally on my own and I nailed it! For a country bumpkin like me, it was a big deal. All I could do not to fist-pump right there in the station. 🙂

Surveying her new home

Surveying her new home

This morning, I took Shiva out for a long walk, and we actually found the dog park near our apartment. I did go straight when I should have turned, so I took the ‘scenic route’, but eventually got there. It’s down a rather steep grade, so it’s probably not a place we’ll be visiting when there’s ice. The dog park itself (I think it is called Maasälvänpuiston koirapuisto) is rather nice, with lots of trees for her to sniff around. At 9:30am, there wasn’t another dog in the park, although we did pass several on the way there and on the way home.

While it was wet, it wasn’t muddy. The ground is some sort of gravel-type that isn’t dirt (yeah, I know, very precise of me), but the main thing is that it doesn’t turn muddy in the rain, which has been going on for some time.

My reason for the bus-to-train transfer today was that I had my first ‘life coaching’ meeting. A gal on Facebook is looking to get her certificate, and in order to do so, she has to get in so many hours of holding meetings, so she asked for volunteers. You know me by now, I look for reasons to get out and try new things, so of course, I volunteered. Amy and her companion Koag, were very nice, and we went over some questions and exercises to help me reach my goals.

One of my goals is to lose some of this weight that I’ve put on in the past year of being injured and not able to run. One of my exercises is to make this goal public. So, I am going to add a page for ‘Life Coaching’, and will be updating it with my progress. I know that I don’t know many of you, but please feel free to help keep me accountable. My big push will be after the first of the year (because it’s a great time to start, and it’s after the holidays, so no more excuses!), but I need to start getting my act together before then. So check out the page when I get it done in the next week, and help me out!

Pasila library

Pasila library

Oh, we met at the Pasila library, and while I was there, I got my library card! I feel so…together. I hear that the resources from the library are massive, so I can’t wait to take advantage of them. It was really easy to do — I just needed my Finnish ID card and I was in!

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Tonight we have the Astronomy Division Christmas gathering at Kuja Bar Bistro in Helsinki, so I need to go get ready. I’ll have pictures and an update on that tomorrow, of course.

Day 11 Challenge question: What do you look forward to the most on a Friday evening?

Wow, that’s a hard one. I don’t quite have a Friday night routine yet. My husband has an online game that he plays on Friday nights, so it’s a mostly quiet night for me. I tend to be busy during the day with the usual housekeeping stuff so I don’t have t worry about it on the weekend. I wish I could say it was a hot party night, or sauna, or that I wrap up in a blanket with hot chocolate, a book and my dog, all on the couch with candles around….hmmm, come to think of it, that does sound like a good tradition to start. I’ll let you know how it goes!

Day 10 Challenge

This morning’s picture. This is 8:45am, folks.

December 10, 2014

Went to class, came home, walked Shiva, went to IKEA, spent 3 hours in there…came home, ate dinner, walked Shiva…oh, an exciting day! Class had an interesting moment: we were talking about stores (kaupa), and we were talking about small stores versus shopping malls (ostos keskus), and so I was going to say that “Ikea is a big store.”, only she couldn’t understand what the word “ikea” was…which baffled me, because doesn’t EVERYONE know about Ikea? Only I was pronouncing it EYE-kee-ah, and she knew it as “Ee-keh-ah”. Silly Finns. 🙂

The holiday season is upon us. I found lots of nifty little holiday things to spruce up the place with at Ikea, and will get the house ready tomorrow. Then we have the division Christmas party to attend tomorrow night. Oh, and Sunday, we are going to head out to Senate Square to go visit the holiday booths and get into the spirit of things. I’m looking forward to it.

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Day 10 Challenge Question: When was the last time you cried, and why?

That’s an easy one. August 16th, when I left my girls behind in Louisiana to start the move out this way. I’m not a crier, but I did cry on the way to North Carolina. I knew I was going to miss them, and I do. 😦

Day 9 Challenge

Not much went on today, so here’s the challenge for Day 9: What’s something that you read today that made an impression on you?

Well, nothing much that I read today, as I spent most of the time updating files and enrolling in more classes and figuring out bus schedules and the like. But I did watch a video that had me misty-eyed. Does that count? Drunk driving video. Have tissues ready. With three kids of drinking and driving age, this subject is a close one. I think they are too smart to do something like drink and drive, but you want to make doubly sure, so I keep linking these.

In other news, found Viennetta ice cream. Used to be all the rage in the States when Breyer’s carried it. Can’t find it anywhere. Eat your heart out, sis!

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Here’s a picture of Shiva waiting patiently for the elevator as we ride down to the ground.

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And finally, a rant. I tweeted to Liptons as to why do they have to wrap their tea bags in paper? Luzianne doesn’t, and that tea tastes fine. But this mess comes from just unwrapping what I need to fit in my tea tin for the next two weeks. And I have a lot more tea to go. Can you imagine the amount of waste this generates and the amount of paper they use for nothing? Grrr.

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That’s all for today. Thanks for tuning in, folks!

Want to learn Finnish?

I didn’t have much to talk about today. It was grey and cold, but not so bad. Took Shiva on a few walks via new paths. Oh, and she went to S-market with me, and sat outside and waited patiently for me. So that is going well.

December 7, 2014

This morning’s picture. December 7, 2014

I decided today to make this post a public service message by providing some helpful links on how to learn Finnish. I only wish that having these links did anything for my ability to learn the language, but it does appear that the requirement is that you open the links and actually study. Always a catch.

http://www.uusikielemme.fi/index.html Translates to “Our new language”. Very detailed.

http://www.fsi-language-courses.org/Content.php?page=Finnish This one is really cool, as it comes from the Foreign Services Institute (FSI) and was published around 1987. It contains links to the textbook and audio tapes. VERY comprehensive.

http://iteslj.org/v/f/ This one gives you tests. Very good to see what you really know.

http://www.101languages.net/finnish/finnish-flashcards/ I seem to have this obsession with flashcards. I just think they are a great way to help self-learn something.

http://www.uuno.tamk.fi/ This one has a lot of graphics, and is a bit fiddly to use, but could be a good supplement

http://www.dlc.fi/~marianna/gourmet/fin_glos.htm This isn’t so much about learning to speak Finnish, but is an indispensable tool for going shopping. I have it booked on my smartphone. It breaks down all the foods and gives you the Finnish names for them. It’s a 5-star!

http://www.digitaldialects.com/Finnish.htm This one has a lot of graphics, and since these are user-generated, I have found some mistakes on a few cards. Not enough to be off-putting, but you may notice them as you go through the cards.

http://www.flashcardmachine.com/ If you want to make flash cards to study with on the computer, you can use this program.

http://ilanguages.org/finnish.php A very basic course in learning a rudimentary level of Finnish. Still, more than I know yet.

http://quizlet.com/subject/finnish/ This also has user-generated vocabulary and flash cards. I haven’t been through this one quite enough to say how good it is.

I’d also purchased (when it was on mega-sale) the Pemsleur Approach CDs for Conversational Finnish. Yes, that is from the ads that you see popping up about the way to learn a language in 10 days and all that malarkey. While I need to listen to each lesson at least ten times to finally get any of it to stick (Teflon brain!), and the phrases seem pretty cheesy, I am finding that some of what stuck (and what I have forgotten but can recognize) are bits and pieces from every day conversation. I am probably going to dust it off and start off again. If you find it on sale (I think it was $24.99 on sale), it’s probably worth it to get.

My mom made me these flash cards from Avery business cards and lists that I sent her. I can put 48 of them in a 96 card business card holder (so that I can see back and front of the same card) and practice my Finnish words on the bus. Right now, I’m concentrating on common phrases, colors, months and days of the week, plus a few random vocabulary words tossed in. As I learn words, I can pull those out and replace them with new ones. I have about 500 other ones in the bag. I’ve got my work cut out for me!

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I’m sure there are more links out there. Let me know if you’ve found any that worked particularly well (or that you think look pretty, but haven’t gotten around to using yet…) 🙂

My girls!

My girls!

Day 7 challenge (I remembered!): What do you feel guilty about right now? What I feel guilty about every day…that I can’t bring my kids over here (yet) to experience what I am experiencing. It’s probably a variation on the usual “mom guilt” of not being there on the spot when they need me, that uncomfortable part of them learning to stand on their own two feet, of making their own mistakes and me not being there to help pick up the pieces. Skype and Facebook are probably enough in principle, but not enough for the emotion. I just comfort myself with the knowledge that I’ve raised great girls, that one is getting here for Christmas, the other will be here for 2016 (hopefully), and the third will come when she can. I know it will work out, but I can’t help but feel some guilt.