National Kalevala Day


It’s kinda like Flag Day (my birthday!), but a bit different. The flags are flying, and we’re all supposed to read the national saga (I have a kid’s version with dogs, so I hope that counts). It’s also known as Finnish Cultural Day, and it started about 180 years ago. You can read more about it here.


On Friday, I made my way (with the help of my guide, Wellu) to the Meilahden kampus, to go see the neurologist. Going to see the doctor in Finland seems to run a bit different than in the States. When you go to see your doctor in the States, you sign in, you wait in the waiting room, the nurse eventually calls you, takes your weight, leads you back to a room, takes your temp and blood pressure, then leaves you to wait for the doctor to eventually show up and spend 5 minutes with you. Then you pay your co-pay and leave

In Finland, you sign in, you go wait in a waiting area, and then the doctor calls you from the exam room, where you go in and talk with him or her. I’ve been to see a doctor twice, and no one has taken my weight or temp, and only this time did the doctor take my blood pressure. She spent over a half hour going over my history (of MS), suggesting future courses of actions, and then ran through the usual MS physical. After we were done, she took me down to another office and dropped me off with the receptionist to make all the appointments. Then I left without paying anything.

I don’t know if it’s a better system, but it sure seemed more efficient. My appointment was for 10:30, I got there at a little after 9am (just to make sure I could find the place), was seen by 10am, and out by 11am. So, I am scheduled for two more blood tests, and an MRI and eye test, as well as getting back on a physical therapy routine. Seems like we accomplished quite a bit. I’ll see her again in August, and she’ll call me to go over the results of the first blood test, which I do next week at the local clinic.

I am finally getting over my cold. My throat is still bothering me, but I’m sucking on throat lozenges like crazy. It’s worse in the morning, of course. But I think I am finally shaking it.

Shiva and I tried out a new dog park this morning. We rode the 79 to the park, and there were a few dogs there. She ended up in the ‘small dog’ side, because there was a male Newfoundland in the big dog pen, who weighed over 85kg, and the owner was afraid that he might hurt Shiva if he tried to dominate her. So she went and played with the terrier, and she and a large German Shepherd chased each other along the fence. I think I may stick to our regular dog park, though. It’s bigger and all one enclosure.


For the last two days, I’ve been thinking of all the things I wanted to write about, but you’ll have to bear with me for a few more days. My brain is just not up to it, and there’s little room room for pictures. So I am going through and scaling down my picture sizes, to make room. I didn’t realize how large the photos from my cell phone were, and it’s used up almost all the space I am allotted! Once I’m done, I’ll start bombarding you all with more pictures. Maybe by then, spring will be here, too!

And since I’ve been sick, I figured a little retail therapy was in order. I went out and bought myself something I’ve wanted since I got here and saw them everywhere. Now I have one, unique, like every one else! Don’t judge me. 😛


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!


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!

Autos, planes, taxi and now the bus…

20141204_125554Shiva had her first ride on a bus today! I guess it technically wasn’t her /very first/ bus ride, since she did ride the few hundred yards from the plane to the terminal on Tuesday, but we’re not counting that one.

We went to go visit Tammy and her dog, Oden, and go play at the dog park near their home.


Riding the bus under the seats!

Shiva was a wonderful bus rider! Unfortunately, I got on the wrong bus (going the wrong way), so we had to get off the bus and cross the street, then get on the bus going the OTHER way! She just laid down at my feet and waited until I told her that it was time to get off the bus, and Tammy met us at the stop.

The path to the dog park was lovely, with a very nice gravel path that wound through the trees. We even passed an outdoor gym!

Outdoor gym!

Outdoor gym!

And when I say gym, I’m not meaning for kids, but a real gym, with workout equipment and stuff! Pretty amazing!

We got to the dog park, and Ville (Tammy’s partner) was there with Oden, and the dogs got along great! Of course, every time I tried to get a picture, they would dash off just as the shutter snapped. They were good like that. They chased each 20141204_150645other around, humped for dominance, dug some holes, ate some cookies, and the humans just chatted and talked about them, like we were moms at the toddler park bragging on our kids. The third dog, a handsome fluffy white one, is Touho, and he came along later, but everyone got along wonderfully!

Prepping for the Russian invasion, I guess.

Prepping for the Russian invasion, I guess.

While we were at the park, there were lots of guys in military gear walking in the paths, carrying weapons and gear. I got a photo of a group of them on their way. I think they were thinking I might be a bit looney since I wanted a picture of them. We later passed their camp, somewhat camouflaged in the trees.

Looking out the window on the way home.

Looking out the window on the way home.

After a couple of hours, we walked back, and I got on the bus and we returned home, without anything eventful happening. She rode up in the seat and looked out of the window for a bit, then jumped down and laid at my feet. She didn’t bark or growl at anyone, and she even entertained a toddler with some face-kissies.

So, our first public transportation bus ride was a success!

Last night, I was unpacking stuff from the flight, and I remembered I had taken some pictures of the safety manual, because the ladies on the manual were drawn very scarily. Proof:

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Their limbs are just way too long and spooky looking. Like the one with the big red ‘X’ is trying to say “Arms like this not allowed!” And those long fingers and legs in the other two pictures. Shiver.

Cute photos of the Mitchell family. When trying to get a decent picture of my sister and her family, it always turns out like this:

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Oh, the ice rink is open in the City Center. I know that’s not a big deal to folks in New York or something, but to a gal from the New Orleans area, this is a rare sight, indeed!

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And finally, I remembered to take the morning picture this morning to add to my sequence of them.

December 4, 2014

December 4, 2014