Dare I hope…Spring?

It’s been a long damn winter, and I am looking for signs of spring every where. When I got back from Budapest a week ago, Helsinki was covered in snow again! Gah!

This morning, while out walking Shiva, I saw some hints that spring might be here…or at least peeking in the window. I have been told that Helsinki is gorgeous in the spring and summer. I am looking forward to seeing it for myself…assuming that this isn’t a false alarm.

But here are some pictures to prove that I’m not hallucinating:

The dog park the day after returning from Budapest (just a week ago!)

The dog park the day after returning from Budapest (just a week ago!)

These are pictures from this morning!

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In other news, I got in to see a physical therapist for an evaluation, regarding some issues with my MS and also about getting some rehab for my ACL surgery. Spent about two hours with her, doing all sorts of tests. Essentially, she is recommending some water exercises at one of the swimming pool halls, as well as relearning how to walk up and down stairs. Ugh. I hate exercising. Which is why I am like a fatted Christmas goose these days.

I have another few weeks of school left. My vocabulary has expanded, but I still can’t form sentences, which is a bit ego-deflating. I’ll take the summer off, then head back to another level 0 course for the fall. I’d do summer school, but we have trips to Greece, Italy, and France planned, so I am booked for the warm months. No, I am not complaining, not one bit!

Can’t shake this cold!

March 6, 2015

March 6, 2015

Well, in more ways than one. It’s still winter outside, in spite of the cleaning trucks going around and cleaning up the gravel. I had been assured that seeing those trucks out was a sign that spring was coming (much like that whole ‘first bluebird of spring’ malarky), but that same day it was snowing big ol’ snowflakes. So, winter is still here. I don’t think Finland has the equivalent of a Punxsutawney Phil — probably they just figure that spring comes when it comes, and they don’t need some rodent to tell them anything. Given how often Phil gets it wrong…

And I still have my cold. Sore throat in the morning, which makes me want to call the doctor, but by the time I get home from school, it’s been gone all day. Started with a cough though. That’s no fun. I figure this thing is going to linger for a while. I’m going through menthols, hot tea, and tissues like there’s no tomorrow.

I went and got blood drawn and an EKG the other day. I went early, and despite the fact there were like 30 people in the waiting area, it went pretty fast. Nothing really unique about the visit that makes it stand out from the States, except for not having to wait all that long. Got there around 8:15am and was out by 8:45am. I have my MRI set up for June, just got that letter in the mail. Then a doctor’s appointment for August, and another blood test just before that. At least I’m not having to worry about paying for these.

Annnnd. It snowed again today. I am hearing that it can even snow in May. Seriously? Ugh. I’m sorry, Finns, but I am really hoping for a warm summer. They’re short enough as it is. Put up with a bit of heat. 🙂 It won’t be like the Louisiana summers that last for nine months of the year.

The walking trails are starting to clear up, which is nice. Just a few spots of ice, but nothing to be too worried about. I know this area here is going to look gorgeous in the spring!


My crock pot arrive today! I am so stoked. I don’t cook much, but I am looking forward to putting some dishes together with this thing so we can mix up our meals some. First thing I might cook is some good mac & cheese….it’s been a while, and I’ve been having a hankering!

How to walk your dog at -12 (and even lower)

Today’s lesson is in dressing properly!

January 6, 2014

January 6, 2014

We’re going to start with the assumption that you have on knickers and a bra for starters. Next, tug on the first layer for the legs. Something that wicks away moisture…silk leggings, hosiery; my go-to is a pair of pajama pants that are made from a silky material that clings to the legs. Next a pair of short socks, and these can be thin, to tuck the leggings in to. These should be thin sports socks, maybe made of bamboo or other moisture-wicking material.


Then you’re going to pull on the next layer. I use a pair of knit leggings. This is where you can wear those tacky jeggings that you got for Christmas last year or bought in some misguided fashion attempt the summer before. You’ll tuck these into the next pair of socks, which should be a pair of regular knee highs.


Now, the torso (we’ll return to the legs in a bit). Start with another moisture-wicking first layer. See a theme here? I have some camisoles that do the job, so that’s where I start. Over that goes my fuzzy CudleDuds(c), and then over THAT goes a long-sleeve t-shirt. Whew!

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Now, pull on that balaclava that you most certainly have bought. You can add a hat over that, if you wish (I do). Now pull on your sweatshirt. Doing it in this order means the cowl of your balaclava is securely held down around the neck.

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Starting to feel warm yet?

Now, pull on your final pair of pants. This is a good spot for your ‘fat jeans’, or for a pair of sweatpants. Once you’ve managed to get those on, pull on a pair of wool socks, and tuck the legs in to those. You can also opt for a pair of snow pants at this point. I have them, but I try to save those for cases of ‘extreme cold’. And to my southern brain, -12 should fit that description, but that bar has been raised now.


You did make sure to go to the bathroom before you started all this, right?

Now, get the boots on. A long shoehorn really helps with this. Rubber rainboots are not a good choice if you plan to be out for a while, but for less than an hour, you’ll be fine. Sneakers are good for dry days, as long as there’s not ice. Always be aware of the ice! And walk like a penguin!

She thinks we're going out right now...

She thinks we’re going out right now…

We’re not done yet! Go pull out that insulated jacket with the hood on it, and slide that on. I tend to put my gloves on first, so that the wrist is secure under the sleeve of the jacket, but unless you have the kind that will expose the fingers, it’s hard to zip up the jacket. But if you can, do gloves first, then jacket. Silk glove liners are very helpful on especially cold or windy days and nights.

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Now, grab that long scarf, and wrap it around your neck. The quickest and secure way (and fashionable), is the ‘Sherlock Holmes’ method. Double your scarf, loop it around your neck, reach through the fold and grab the two loose ends and pull them through.

the sherlock

Now, you can put the harness on your dog, clip the leash to her, and waddle outside. You’ll be warm as toast. And probably spend less time outside than you did getting dressed! Although, I tend to stay out longer, simply because, dammit, I am going to get my worth out of all that trouble!

Winter is here! Snow!

I woke up this morning, went to the window to go take my daily picture, and gasped! Snow! At that moment, it was just a light dusting, but it got better (worse?) as the day wore on.

We had an errand to run this morning; going to pick up my replacement suitcase because my old one couldn’t be fixed. The snow was coming down, sticking to the roads and everything! For a Southern gal, this is really exciting, and more than a little bit scary. I was bundled up like crazy, so that Astrid had to ask just what was I going to do for winter. I figure I’ll just double up on everything I wore today!


High fashion!


It’s like a Finnish burkha.

I have another errand to run this afternoon, and as I look outside the window, the sidewalks and streets are white, snow is accumulating on the roof tops and tree limbs. I’m just amazed at how different the landscape looks, so quickly. And I’m worried about my ability to adapt to this snowy wilderness! I want warmth back already!

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In spite of all my whining, the outdoors isn’t really all that uncomfortable. The air is dry and the wind isn’t blowing, so it’s not too terrible if you’re bundled up. I can imagine that with rain and wind, it would get pretty miserable. In any case, I guess winter is actually here, and this is the beginning. My child was telling me yesterday that it was a nice high 60’s back home, getting to the mid 80’s during the day, and then back down. Those are the good days. 🙂