Walking on sunshine…


hahahaha…I wish! Haven’t seen sunshine in a long time! But now you have an earworm. Enjoy! 🙂

This has been a pretty good week so far. Nothing really to pinpoint, but just generally going well. I feel like I am finally getting the hang of some itty-bitty part of the language. I still have CRS (Can’t Remember Shit) when it comes to recall, but my pronunciation is getting better, and I’m actually understanding some of the grammar rules, which is more than what I could say about the rules of English grammar. We get to do fun things in class, too!


Tracie and I have been hitting the trails every morning so far, and we upped our distance so I’m reaching and surpassing my step goal each day. I even raised my goal by quite a bit. So I feel really good about that! Being outside in the morning is really a great way to start the day, and the scenery is beautiful, and it gets Shiva out on a longer walk for her to explore all manner of new landscapes.  Plus, I get to vent with another expat about all sorts of things!

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I was wandering around a store the other day, and remembered Wellu telling me that Valentine’s Day is not a big deal in Finland. Of course, in the U.S., it’s huge (for the candy makers, the card companies, florists, etc), and the aisles are festooned with red and pink for as far as the eye can see. So, this is what I see in the sort of place that back home would be gaudy with the season:


That is it. The extent of the offerings. I guess I’ll just have to be content with a trip to a resort in Antalya, Turkey for Valentine’s Day (or Winter Holiday). 🙂

These are my notes from my classes today:

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In addition to Finnish lessons, I took advantage of my international classmates and learned how to say greetings in Japanese, Turkish and Arabic, and I learned how to write my name in Arabic:


I think that’s it for now,

Nähdään huomenna!




These boots were made for walking…

Actually, it’s my sneakers. Tracie (of beets+birch fame) and I have walked every morning this week. We tend to do about ~3 miles, mainly because my of my knee, and take our time. Not exactly a stroll, but not a fast-fast pace either. I really appreciate her taking it slow with me, and putting up with Shiva doing all her side-to-side sniffing and stopping. And then she ends up power-walking with her hubby each night, too. Fierce, woman!

In any case, we walked a little over 5 miles this morning. It was snowing lightly, she showed me another dog park, and the scenery along the walk was so serene and pretty. She says that in the spring/summer, it is especially breathtaking. Can’t wait!


When did I decide that -4° was a decent, comfortable temperature??? I can remember bitching about needing to take Shiva out when it was 40°F. I don’t think I’ll be complaining about that again! The key is to dress appropriately, of course. But -4 without wind is a lot different than -4 and the wind blowing. Fortunately, we haven’t had too much wind, so it’s actually been pretty pleasant to go out and walk each morning. I took these snapshots of our walk this morning:

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Tracie brought me some of her ‘fancy ass carrot soup’, which I totally meant to have for lunch today, but forgot about lunch today until it was really too late to fix anything. So I may have it for dinner or lunch tomorrow. I love having choices. 🙂

Something about walking in the snow…people can sneak up on you! I don’t mean in a creepy, stalkerish way, but you’re walking along and think you’re the only one around so you ‘shift lanes’…and bam, you’re cutting someone off! I’ve finally started to glance behind me, just to make sure now. Cray-cray American walkers.

This has, overall, been a pretty good week. Even with the way it started, with the leaking incident, everything shaped up. While I feel like I’m still not learning anything in class, I do feel like it’s less not-familiar, if that makes any sense. And if I think about it, I can say more now than I could a week ago, so that’s something. Not enough to carry on a conversation, but maybe one day. In my mind.


Moi moi!

Nähdään huomenna!

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:


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!


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.


My middlest baby, today!!

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A bit overwhelmed…

Ever had one of those days where everything seemed to go wrong, even though when you looked back, it really wasn’t as bad as you thought? Yes? Well, yesterday was one of those days for me. I felt like nothing could go right. I would go out and realized that I forgot something. I didn’t get done half the things I wanted to do. My mother-in-law’s present was lost by USPS, and since it wasn’t insured, I’m out the money for it and there’s no time to replace it before the holidays. And hubby is out of town for a job interview so I am all alone for two days. Poor, pitiful me. And so last night I didn’t even write. 😦

Dec 17, 2014 (at 8:15am)

Dec 17, 2014 (at 8:15am)

Looking back, it wasn’t really that bad of a day. The weather was actually quite nice and clear. I made a long walk with Shiva and found two new dog parks! I attended the Family Club’s Christmas party with my Rice Krispie treats, which were a hit, and I was even asked for the recipe multiple times! There was music from all over the world, which is a really neat thing about being an expat, and that is being with so many other people from exotic (to me) locations all over the globe!


She played Armenian music and also sang a song in ancient Greek.

Music from Africa, as well as Finland. Quite a mix!

Music from Africa, as well as Finland. Quite a mix!

This morning, Shiva and I got up and headed out to the ridge, which a reader had suggested to me. The weather is clear, although the ground is wet, so I wore my colorful wellies, and we did some walking and some climbing and saw some beautiful views from the ridge.

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The rest of the day will be spent cleaning and putting up things on the wall. The Command Strips that I am using are not holding up as well as I would like, so I need to find some alternative means of adhering things to the walls. Of course, if he gets this job in Germany, it will be for naught and I will be flooding Facebook with tons of items for sale! 🙂

I missed a challenge, so I will put it here, too.

Day 16 Challenge Question: What was your comfort food growing up?

That is a tough one. I’m going to have to go with mac ‘n cheese. And sorry, foodies, but it’s that Kraft in the blue box stuff. Powdered neon cheese and all. I can remember that my sister used to take a second box, pour out the macaroni and use the second packet of cheese in it when she would make it. It was easy to make, and tasted good. Maybe not the same kind of good that some shells and Gruyere cheese blend might, but it was still good.

Day 17 Challenge Question: Who was your best friend in primary school? Describe him or her.

These are some hard questions. I was an Army brat growing up, and so we moved around a lot. In primary school, I was mostly in the Panama Canal Zone. Notwithstanding that it’s hard to remember back 40+ years, I still remember Janet Lang. She lived two houses down, and was a year older. I remember when she got the white go-go boots. I was so jealous. She and I used to run around together. Back then, it was safe to do so. Next to her, it was probably my horse, Little Bit. 🙂

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This isn’t Little Bit…this is Perdita. Back in my English riding days.


Me as a young’n

Me and Little Bit!

Me and Little Bit!