Around Christmas

Old student house Helsinki Christmas sale in Vanha Ylioppilastalo (Old student union house in Helsinki) just few days before Christmas. As you can see, it was growded. I bought some candles.


Pinja (my husband's niece) had
her first birthday party. She
seemed to be happy with her birthday

Ilmajoki Finland

The beautiful sunset in Ilmajoki in Boxing day (26th December). It was nice to have a white Christmas after all.


Funny things

The concert went fine.
All hesitation and excitement dissappeared at the moment when I came to the consert hall. Everybody was in a good mood, the singers and the audience.

This week I've been wrapping Christmas presents. My husband has seen the huge package I've bought for him, but he doesn't know what's inside. It's something practical, as always. That much I can reveal but not more - just in case that he happens to read this.

The funniest thing is that our dog Jekku has already find all his Christmas gifts.

We had bought him a soft toy (he loves them). One day it just lay on the floor, all wet and dog was behind the chair hiding.

Some days ago my husband's brother gave us his presents in a plastic bag and Jekku's gift was on top. The bag was lying on the floor and as we arrived back home, we saw that he had opened the grey coloured wrappings.

A small plastic bag full of little artificial bones was in the middle of the floor, one side open and you could see that several bones had faced their destiny....
Poor little dog with an upset stomach.

Well, it's nothing that a carrot casserole (porkkanalaatikko) wouldn't cure.


Choir's concert

After half an hour or so I should be going to my choir's concert. It's not the first time I present my singing to the growds, but anyway, I'm a bit worried.
I haven't practised that much.

I'm dressed in red as instructed. I have put my notes to the black folder. Everything should be in order.

I wonder how many people will come to listen to this women's choir singing Christmas carrolls?
I secretly hope that it won't be many.


Finding Christmas presents

Why couldn't the adults write to Santa Claus and make a wish list?
Every Christmas it's so hard to come up with good ideas what to buy for your husband, parents, the in-laws, brother, niece etc.
And when you ask, they say "oh, we don't need anything".
I said to my mom that, "haven't I bought you a gift every year during 20 years? - What makes you think that I wouldn't buy one this year?"

People are strange.


Making cakes

It's Sunday and I should be cleaning.

Well, I'm going to make the cakes first. My mother gave me a good recipe. I'm going to make blueberrypie and a nice cake for Christmas. Blueberry pie is for the independence day 6th of December. Some friends are coming over and we are going to watch the presidents ball.

Earlier today we visited Christmas sales which were held in Immersby, Sipoo where a relative of my husband lives. His wife Kerstin makes handicrafts. We drank some "glögi". It was a crispy weather, so it was nice to drink something warm.


Self-Portrait Meme by Sedis

Sedis would like all of us to join the Self Portrait meme: It has to be a portrait of you, either a drawing or another type of portrait. You can see portraits of Sedis and Anita K here.

It sounds very nice, so I will add mine with a big nose and all.
codaqueen self-portrait Helsinki

It's Monday, but I have to be at work so late as at 11 o'clock. I had a dental appoitment this morning at 8, but it went very smoothly.
Yesterday my brother-in-law and his wife gave me their keyboard for a little while, so I can see, if I need to buy one.
Being in the choir and all, it would be nice to learn the tunes by playing them and singing along.


"1-2-3-4" meme

Pinseri has started (28th Oct) a new meme "1-2-3-4" - he orders everybody here in Blogistan do the following:

1.Go immediatly and read four different blogs where you haven't been before.
2.Write a comment to three different blogs which you normally don't comment.
3.Write a message in your own blog including links to two different blogs (where you haven't linked before).
4. Order to your blogilista (List of Finnish blogs) favourites a new blog outside top 100 list.
5. Spread information about this meme.

New blogs - OK. I went to see C's blog. It had a nice photo of Virginia-creeper (villiviini).

Then I went to see a blog called "Life between the shoeboxes". The writer of this blog lives in Sydney -- oh, it looks so warm there! The view from her new balcony is very beautiful indeed.

I read some of the stuff Zeta had written in her blog. She used a nice, maybe self-invented Finnish word for a dog "hurttimus".

Then finally I ended up in Randomfire's blog. Not necessarily my piece of cake, but he seems to write an other blog called the life of Jalo (the dog), which was a nice photoblog.

Linking - I actually did that in the first task. But I could add a link to the new Helsingin Sanomat dogpage - where the dog owning journalist write about their dogs. Finnish Lapphund

Why don't we have something similar in my working place? I spoke about blogs with my boss. He didn't seem very interested.


Great Fadista and other stuff from Lisbon

My trip to Portugal was very nice. I liked Lisbon with its hills, not so polished houses and very friendly people. We visited the monasteries, the Sao Jorge castle and did some shopping. We also went to see the biggest oceanario in Europe. Sharks and all..
At evenings we went to Bairro Alto to have dinner and heard some good fado music.

The highlight of the trip was Mísia's consert in 28th Oct in the Teatro Nacional D. Maria II. It was truly amazing. Dressed in little black dress with black scarf and red gloves, extremely high heeled shoes. And she sang with the voice, not of an angel, but with a dark deep voice of a woman who has seen the world and knows the sorrow. I had this feeling in my neck as I usually do when somebody sings with very pure voice and tears came to my eyes even though I don't even know the Portuguese lyrics. In her concert she also sang in Spanish, French, German and English. To listen some of her music press here.Mísia

She is one of the next generation of fadistas after Amália Rodrigues. The other ones are Mariza, Christina Branco and Dulce Pontes.

And fado - it's the same for Portugal as flamenco is for the Spain, or tango to Argentina. The essential element of fado music is “saudade,” a Portuguese word that translates roughly as longing, or nostalgia for unrealized dreams.


Greetings from Cascais, Portugal

cascaisWe are now here near Lisbon in Cascais, Portugal.
The weather is a little bit cloudy but warm enough +20 degrees.
Last evening we hear some fado and went to see a lot of sights in Lisbon. Today we are in Cascais - a fishing village and Estoril - the beaches.


5 good stories meme

I got this Friday/Saturday meme from Kukkahattu.

1. What was your goal when you started your blog? - Mikä oli tavoitteesi kun aloitit blogisi?
Well, I started two blogs. With this one I wanted to write a sort of a net diary which is in English, so that it can be read by friends or strangers abroad as well. The other one Sukututkimus is clearly a theme blog - the purpose was to tell about my discoveries and give good hints for other family researchers.

2. Has it changed since? - Onko tavoitteesi muuttunut tähän päivään mennessä?
Not really. Of course I wanted to post here more often, but it seems that I only have time for once or twice a week.

3. If somebody would like to read only five stories in your blog, which ones would you recommend? - Jos joku haluaisi lukea vain viisi juttua blogistasi, mitä suosittelisit?
In this Daydreaming blog - I would recommend the stories which tell about my dog Jekku
-Dogs and Cats
Brown hare makes the dog cry
Our dog has more toys than a normal child
Goodbye neighbour
Seeing a lot of dentists

4. Is there a blogger, who has succeeded exceptionally well? Onko ketään bloggaajaa jonka blogi mielestäsi onnistunut erikoisen hyvin?
I often read Veloena.


Surviving back pain

This week has been dull. I've been suffering of backache or should we say lumbago (noidannuoli).
Lumbago is defined as mild to severe pain or discomfort in the area of the lower back. In my case you can talk about pain.
I guess it was that onion planting last weekend in cold and windy weather which caused it or the last week's gym exercise.
Anyway, I've been a good client in the pharmacy store.
Now I'm taking it easy and not doing some heavy indoor cleaning or sitting too long hours by my desk at work.


Genealogy event

It's Friday. Thank heavens. I'm still at work. Waiting for an aswer to my e-mail.

I should go to my work collagues going away party but on the other hand I have a dog at home who waits to get out. Maybe I go there for few minutes and then hurry home. And this is, if this Mr Big Boss will do the replying - let's say in 10 minutes.

clematisTomorrow I shall have a nice day. I'm going to a genealogy event in Vantaa.

On Sunday I should finally put all the tulip onions etc in the ground.


Playing with the camera

I've been a sort of fed up with the fact that I have taken most of my photos abroad.
I have very little photos of Helsinki, the town I live. Today I decided to change this and took some photos all around where I walked today (which is little because I was mostly working).

And I played a little with my camera, took some photos about the details I saw.october This photo on the right represents well the warm autumn weather we've been having here in Finland this week.
Sun is shining, paving is grey and the leaf is alone.

I've felt myself very busy this week, I've been running around some meetings and seminars and almost missed some dead lines. I'm glad that today is Friday and I can start to relax.

If this good weather continues I think we will go again to the forest to pick some mushrooms and this time we are going to take some of ours friends with us.


Santas arrived

I have been writing with my brother today with messenger. I asked him what he would like me to write to my blog and he asked me to tell about my birthday presents.
Well, to disappoint you, I'm not going to do that -
but if any of these female santas that visited me last weekend happens to read this I want to say a big - a huge thank you!!!!
OK, I can reveal something. My husband bought me a watch. Which was a very nice thing to do. My old one - I've seen too much of it...
This new one is nice, silver and gold coloured stainless steel.

About this messenger. It was the first time ever I used it. I was pleasently surprised. It seemed to be a rather handy way to communicate. I don't think people use it so much here in Finland as they do in U.S. My collegue at work told me that it seemed to be very popular especially among teens in USA when she was living in NY a couple of years ago. But then again, the SMS's aren't so extremely popular in the USA as they are here in Finland.


Birthday girl

Natal ChartMy astrological chart

"When you are old and grey and full of sleep...." Right, it's my birthday. And I'm thinking about Paul Auster's interview which I saw on tv last weekend. This New York author was aswering to the question: "Are you lonely?"

And he said something which I feel is becoming so very true in my life as well: "People are never really alone, we all have all these memories of other people around us. Nowadays many of these people are dead. So I'm living among the ghosts all the time"

So, that's really what the ageing is about, accepting that you are only partly looking forward in life and most of the time you think about the past and the ghosts around you.

And because it's my birthday I put a picture of my natal chart here. I don't know so much about astrology - only that my sign of zodiac is Libra, ascendant is Sagittarius. Libra means that I have a communicative nature and I seek harmony. Sagittarius makes me extroverted, demonstrative and passionate. True or false, who knows...


Pictures on the wall

A future office, what will it look like? A couple of weeks ago some people that are in real estate business said that in future office you won't have your own room, not even your own desk.
You only have some desks to which you and all the other peole can dock. Perhaps that's possible in some professions.

I think they are forgetting what people are really like. We want to have our own territory. And we are like dogs or cats, we mark what it ours. Not by peeing all around, but by personifying our space.

Like me, I have my pictures and photos on the wall. My own tea cup on the desk. All these little things say: "This is me, this is mine!"

Examples of my pictures and photos:
- My family gathered down by the table in the garden
- My husband and my dog
- A comic strip that tells how much power the press has
- 4 photos taken during our trip in Sweden
- A photo of me, taken by my husband
- My dog sulking under the table (you know, just to make me quilty)
- An old photo of my grandmother's farm house from the beginning of the century (probably 1900-1905).
- Some invitations
- A photo of last Vappu (1st of May)


Curls or no curls?

I'm going to the hairdresser today. I should actually leave in 15 minutes or so. It's some new guy and I'm wondering what I should tell him to do.
Curls or no curls?

I used to have curls when I was 19 and 20. Perhaps my willingness to take curls has something to do with the wish of going back in time. Just once again, be young and have a future so totally open for you.

Well, I can't go back, I have to be what I'm now with straight hair and all.


Last Sunday we went with our dog to pick some mushrooms in Sipoo near Helsinki. We ended up to the shore of this beautiful forest lake Hältingträsk, which is situated near Östersundom. We found some trumbet-shaped chanterelles (suppilovahverot) and some rufou milk caps (kangasrouskut). I prefer chanterelles, because they are much easier to use than milk caps. Those milk caps you have to cook.
Hältingträsk Sipoo
Our dog was truly enjoying himself. Weather was nice, warm and sunny, so it was quite perfect way of spending the Sunday afternoon.
On Sunday evening I went to see a movie called "The Crash" with my friends. I was a bit reluctant at first, because it's not the sort of film I usually like to see. But it was much better than I expected.

Lady in distress

Guess where this lady is!

More information about sculptures in Helsinki you can find here!


Visiting a manor house

I visited this Kotkaniemi manor house on Tuesday. House was built in 1836. It reminds me of the works of Carl Ludvig Engel, who designed the Cathedral of Helsinki and lot of other stuff. Apparently this house was designed by his apprentice.

All in all, this has been a busy week. Now I'm waiting for a relaxing weekend. I just hope I will get one.


Yle strikes

No half past eight o'clock news today. Finnish broadcasting company YLE's personnel is going to march out and they will be no sendings between 2 PM and midnight today. YLE plans to reduce its current work force of 3600 employees by more than 400 in the coming years.
I wonder what they are going to show in the TV today? Test card??? and radio? Well, we will find out pretty soon - after a minute or so.


"If I were" meme

I thougth a meme would be nice for a change. I got this meme from Tuleva Kätilö.

If I were a month, I would be: September
If I were a day of the week, I would be: Friday
If I were a time of day, I would be: 11 PM
If I were a planet, I would be: Mars
If I were a sea animal, I would be: star-fish (Meritähti)
If I were a direction, I would be: right
If I were a piece of furniture, I would be: chair
If I were a sin, I would be: pride
If I were a liquid, I would be: sea water
If I were a stone, I would be: granite
If I were a tree, I would be: oak
If I were a bird, I would be: hawk
If I were a flower/plant, I would be: day lily (päivälilja)
If I were a kind of weather, I would be: light rain
If I were a musical instrument, I would be: cello
If I were an animal, I would be: lion
If I were a color, I would be: red
If I were a vegetable, I would be: aubergine (munakoiso)
If I were a sound, I would be: wind whistling
If I were an element, I would be: air
If I were a car, I would be: Old Chevrolet from 1920's
If I were a song, I would be: Seasons of wither by Aerosmith
If I were a movie, I would be: Dersu Uzala by Akira Kurosawa
If I were a book, I would be written by: Margaret Atwood
If I were a food, I would be: tiramisu
If I were a place, I would be: Porvoo in Finland
If I were a number, I would be: nine


Visiting Vaasa

Mustasaari churchMustasaaren kirkko Mustasaari church 3rd September 2005
I visited Vaasa (Finnish town in the west coast) on Saturday with my husband and his friend Juha. We left the dog to my mom. I wanted to see some culture, so we went to this art museum called Tikanoja Art Museum. They had an exhibition about orientalism in the art. It was nice to see their Matisse. I'm very fond of the works of the Finnish painter called Eemu Myntti. He was a Finnish expressionist and lived many years in France. Tikanoja Art Museum was a former home of a business man called Frithjof Tikanoja. He was the brother-in-law of the painter Eemu Myntti. Mr Tikanoja and Josef Lassila founded a company called Lassila & Tikanoja in Vaasa in 1905. First it was a wholesale business. Nowadays Lassila & Tikanoja is a Finnish public listed company specializing in environmental management and property and plant maintenance throughout the Baltic region.
We also visited the old Vaasa and Mustasaari (=Korsholm) church. It was built in 1776 as a Court of Appeal by Kustaa III (Gustavus III). The old Vaasa was destroyed in the fire in 1852 and they transformed the court house as a church. The new town of Vaasa was then built on the coast six kilometres from the old town.


Dogs and Cats

I've been telling so much about my dog Jekku in this blog, so I thought it might be appropriate to reveal that I used to be a cat person before.

The first cat I ever fall in love to was a cat in my grandmother's house. At the time I was six years old. The cat was called Elvis. A black-and-white cutie.
He lived in a farm and chased mouses and rats.

The second time was when I was about 12 and found kittens in the stall. They had eye infections and I decided to save one of the from the evident (you know what sometimes happens in a farmhouse...)
I named her Rose-Marie Charlotte, because it was the prettiest name I could ever think of. She was a white cat but her tail was grey and she had a grey spot in the forehead as well. I was amazed that I could finally pursuade my mother (who hates cats) to allow me to take a cat to our home. So Rose-Marie Charlotte (or Rosi as we later called her) became officially mine.
Sometimes a life of a cat can be short. Rosi lived with me happily a couple of years but one day she was gone. I remember I searched for her two weeks. Then some ambulance guys told my mom that they had run over a cat near my home.

I took my second cat when I was 18. Her name was Katza and she had a lot of stripes ( I don't know if you call them in English stripes in this case). She was a fun loving cat - she just loved the cleaning days. She used to run on the carpet and then suddenly hit the brake so that the carpet was a mess. She also liked to wake me really early in the morning (like 5 AM). Unfortunately I had to give her to my great aunts Armi and Alli when I moved to Helsinki, but she lived a very nice life in the countryside. I quess it wouldn't been so nice in Helsinki in an appartment blog with allergic roommates.
Nasu kissa
This is photo of a cat called Nasu. She belongs to my brother-in-law. She doesn't like our dog Jekku very much. They don't understand each others languages - so I quess the best word to describe their relationship is the word "distant". They don't fight or anything - they can be together in the same room, but they don't go very near each other. Nasu is always very curious about what Jekku is doing and Jekku understands the Finnish word "Kissa" (Cat) well - he always starts to look around when someone says Kissa.

Chasing relatives in Ellis Island

I got an e-mail today from my relative Waino in Utah. He is the second cousin of my grandmother.
We found each other a couple of years ago - through internet of course. We have also met each other, he visited us in Finland summer 2003.
It was his grandmother Susanna who left Isokyrö, Finland over hundred years ago 1889 and travelled to USA. She married a Finnish man Jaakko Järvikorpi in Hanna, Wyoming in September 1892.

It's amazing what internet has done to genealogy. Finding your ancestors in church books online, tracking the descendants of the immigrated relatives.

If you are interested how to track relatives in USA, here are some websites which have helped me.

*Ellis Island passanger records
*Ancestry.com and US Census records
*Familysearch.org (Mormon site)

Tracking Finnish relatives in USA or Canada:
*Finnish institute of Migration (passport records online etc)
*The Genealogical society in Finland
Article by Olavi Koivukangas: Finns abroad


Seeing a lot of dentists

Last week wasn't great at all. I haven't seen so many dentists for ages as I did last week. It started as a small ache in the back tooth and turned out as a gigantic pain which didn't let me sleep at all. I'm so glad it's over, even though it ment a root canal work.

I have all these good plans, but I feel like I'm facing all sorts of obstacles. I begin to wonder. Maybe it's a sign. Maybe I'm trying to do too much.

suomenlapinkoira Jekku - Finnish Lapphund Jekku July 2005

I quess we could all learn from my dog Jekku. He knows how to live a relaxed life. At the moment he sleeps on his back, paws facing to the roof. Last month I took a photo of him while he was birdwatching near Vartiokylänlahti (Vartiokylä bay in Helsinki)


Janis and me

"Sittin’ down by my window,
Honey, lookin’ out at the rain."

This Janis Joplin song has always been my favourite. Somehow it's so sad, but there's this undercurrent of independency there like in most of her songs. Ball and Chain is my music for the melancholy moments, and the moments I'm remembering the past moments of melancholy. It reminds me of my first year here in Helsinki in a student flat, a small room 12 m2 and a window facing north. A rainy autumn - first autumn alone.

I don't really listen so much music nowadays. When I lived alone, I used to play a lot of lp's and cd's. Now it's just occasionally in the car. No wonder that my music taste has deteriorated. Not to mention that I would know what's hip or cool in the music scene. I don't. I'm turning into my mom and listening to old tangos.

*Lyhyt oli kesän ihana aika, muistot jälkeen jää*
This was from Finnish tango "Punaiset Lehdet" - Red Leaves

The dog is sleeping under the table, perhaps I should do the same and go to bed.


Sudden deaths

It always stops you, when you hear that someone you know has suddenly died.

Last week I heard that Mr Pentti Vainio from SAK (the biggest labour market organisation in Finland) had died in the helicopter crash near Tallinn. Today another sad message, a chief economist of Nordea, Juha Ahtola had died in cancer.

I remember Mr Vainio as a colourful person, who was very direct in his words. A true trade union guy.
I knew Mr Ahtola better, I shall miss him and his clear explanations and views of the near future of Finnish economy. Media lost a good commentator.


Helicopters and fears

A Finnish helicopter crashed today down in the sea in its way from Tallinn, Estonia to Helsinki, Finland. There were 12 passangers in the helicopter and now they all lie in the bottom of the sea.
A helicopter belonged to a company called Copterline. It was carrying 12 passangers and a crew of two. Six passanger were Finns, two Americans and four Estonians.

I've been always afraid of flying. I would never fly with a copter and I don't like aeroplanes either. I tend to keep my eyes shut during the landing or the take-off. This accident just proves the point. They can fall. They really can.


Car music meme

I got this meme from Elena. It reminds me of getting a new cd player to my car. My car (or ours) is a Volvo, which I really like.

Name three songs that remind you of a car trip you have taken.
* Judas Priest: Turbo lover
* Bonnie Tyler: The total eclipse of the heart
* Mari Laurila: Aja hiljaa isi (Mari Laurila's children song called Drive slowly daddy)

Name three songs that are best heard in a car.
*Nirvana: Lithium
* Michelle Shocked: Memories of East Texas
*Ozzy Osbourne: Dreamer

Name three songs with cars in the title or lyrics.
Tracy Chapman: Fast Car
Smiths: There's a Light that never goes out (including a double decker bus and a ten ton truck)
Deep Purple: Highway star


Art exhibition in Sysmä

We were in the countryside last weekend. The parents of my husband have a summer house in Hollola near Lahti. It was so relaxing to row on Vesijärvi lake and go to the sauna, which is heated with wood. On the Saturday evening we played a card game called Skibbo with my parents-in-law. I didn't win at all.
Sunday we went to this art exhibition in Sysmä called Suvi-Pinx.
There were a lot of paintings from a Finnish painter called Markku Laakso. We thought his style was like Akseli Gallen-Kallela meets porn magazine Jallu. A lot of naked women, men from Lappland, Elvis - all this in national romantic style with a a hint of socialistic painting. Interesting, but definately not our style.

My favourites in the exhibition were Esa Riippa and Matti Lampi. Matti Lampi comes from Liminka.


Difficult task from 1600's

I had free from work today. It's been interesting yet a bit stressful week. Working as a news reporter in tv is not always so easy.
The most interesting this week was a visit to Helsinki Olympic Stadium. The World Championships in athletics will take place in Helsinki between 6th and 14th August. I'm not so interested in sports but it was nice to see how well prepared everything is.

I have tried to read some old documents (mid 1600's in Isokyrö court). One of them talks about Matts Brühinsson (Matti Prusinpoika) in village of Napue, Isokyrö, Finland. He is dead and his children are discussing about the heritage. Language is difficult, it's old Swedish and written in old fashioned handwriting.

My dog tries to get some attention, I'm going to take him out and after that I'm heading to the library. I don't a have a clue, what I should lend this time. If anyone has good suggestions what to read, you can make a comment to me


Learning languages

I have good plans for the next autumn. First, I'm going to continue my Swedish languge course. My company pays for this course and it's very effective. Each week we gather with our teacher Christer to discuss together for 90 minutes. I think it has already made a difference. It's easier for me to begin talking Swedish whenever necessary. I sometimes even make interviews in Swedish.

The other thing I'm going to do this autumn, is take the same French course as my husband. I thought it would be nice to be in the same course. Perhaps we can later make another trip to France. Bretagne would interest me, I would like to see the stones in Carnac - which are as mysterious as those in Stonehenge, England.
Speaking French is still very difficult for me. It's the pronounciation - mine is just terrible!

And finally, but not least important. I've promised to my friend Irene that we are going to be fitter and take some weekly aerobic classes in some nice gym in Helsinki. I have to admit that it has been a while since I last attended aerobic classes. I've been of course walking with our dog and doing some nordic walking. My father bought me nice red poles from Finnish company Exel. In Exel homepages they tell that energy consumption increases when using poles by an average of 20% compared with ordinary walking without poles.


Blueberries in Sipoo

I went with my husband and my dog Jekku to pick some blueberries today. My husband told that he had seen them while jogging with the dog in Sipoo. And it was good day for picking some berries, the sun was shining and the forest in Sipoo was warm but not too hot.
Afterwards we watched a video film. Stepford wifes - it was quite funny with Nicole Kidman, Glenn Close and Christopher Walkman, Betty Midler etc.
It makes me think, do men really want such perfect wifes? I hope not.
My husband is currently reading The Handmaid's tale by Margaret Atwood and the film made him think of the book. You know, a woman is only known with a man's name. In Stepford wifes - all the wifes were just Mrs Walter Kresbys or something similar. The sad thing is that it's so true. And besides, why do we women change our last names when we get married? Well, at least I did.

This is the last day of my holiday, so tomorrow it shall be just all work and no play... you know what they say, it makes me a dull girl.


My memory meme

I happened to surf in Ally's
pages and she had this nice memory meme. So I thought I might do one myself as well.

What I was doing ten years ago - 1995:- July 1995 I was in Germany attending a seminar about UN in the university of Tübingen. We were there together with my friend Marita.
Later that year in September I started my exchange year in Tübingen university. This was an important year for me, I learned a lot of myself and learned to speak better German. I met some nice people during this year. Hello to Sandrine, Tuula and Helgi if you see this.

5 years ago - 2000.
I got engaged, moved back to Helsinki, got my degree, started a new job and rented a new appartment with my fiance(now my husband). It was a year of many ahivements.

1 year ago - 23rd July 2004.
I was in Helsinki packing for the 10 day trip in Poland. We went to Warsaw and Krakow. In Warsaw we stayed with our friend who is a history teacher

Yesterday - Friday 22th July 2005.
I was admiring my clematis (kärhö in Finnish) in my garden and I read a novel by Tuula Rotko about a woman who has the same first name as I and lived in 1715. Those tragic years when Finland was under occupation of Russia and they burned everything, killed many of the grown ups and took kids as their slaves.


Two ostrichs and a woman

I was able to amaze myself last week. I did something really spontaneous and bought a painting. The oil painting is quite large and there are two ostrichs and a farmer's wife in the painting. And a cat. I think it's quite humorous. It also reflects the changing of modern day agriculture and farming in Finland.

The artist is Mr Heikki Mäki-Tuuri and he painted this in 1995. Mäki-Tuuri has been born in Tuuri and lives nowadays in Ylistaro. You can see his curriculum vitae here.

My brother has an watercolor painting from him, which is also very nice.


Visit from Germany

Last week we had two friends of mine from Germany visiting us here in Helsinki. It was fun. One day we went to Porvoo to see the old medieval church and on the other day we made one day trip to Turku, the oldest city in Finland. We also spent some time in Hollola summer house, where our quests Verena and Uwe had the chance to go to sauna and row on the lake with the rowing boat. On the left is a photo of our quest Verena and my husband's niece Pinja.



I read through an old e-mail a friend of mine had sent called Nallepuhin päiväkirja (Winnie the Pooh diary). It was a sort of chain letter type of thing. I thought I could share some of the questions and answers with you:

1) My nicknames? Dallas
2) Parents' names? Risto and Maija
3) My hight? 167 cm
4) Color of my eyes? blue
5) Color of my hair? dark brown
6) City I live in? Helsinki
7) Favourite color? red
8) Book I'm reading right now? "A Nice Girl Like Me" by Abigail Bosanko
9) Favourite film? Dersu Uzala by Akira Kurosawa
10) Favourite flower? Day lily


Blogs reach media

Finnish online media Digitoday has this summer started a blog as well. I wonder how long it will take until they will start a blog in my newspaper?

Even Kesko's Pirkka customer magazine has its own blog. Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet has a blog and recently I read Washington Post's blog "Finland Diary"

What could we say, blogs - a trendy way to publish ?

Replacing violets

After 2 weeks in France plus one week in Western Finland I finally came home.
It's been sunny and hot here in Helsinki as well. Unfortunately my violets didn't survive without me. They were so very dead.

I had to buy some new flowers. It's nicer that way. Besides I'm having guests from Germany later this week. Don't want them to have only dead violets to see.

So I went to Plantagen store. There weren't much summer flowers left, but I did bought some Marguerite Daisy (Argyranthemum frutescens, Marketta), pink Busy Lizzies
(Impatiens walleriana, Ahkeraliisa) and blue Lobelias (Lobelia

House was a mess, so we are actually in the middle of the cleaning process. I did the toilets - as always.

The dog doesn't like the heat at all. He doesn't even want to walk very far, I don't blame him, his undercoat is just only starting to fall. And he has very thick fur as Finnish Lapphund ( Suomenlapinkoira ) does.


Memories of Provence

This church was in the village of Roussillon, famous for its red ocra.
The two weeks in Provence were just great, the landscape varied a lot in Provence and the whole trip was rich in experience.


Construction and bad reputation

I interviewed today an English professor who told me that people all over the world have a really negative view about construction. It's often typified as confrontational, lacking vision, risk averse and engaged in "cut throat" competition, exacerbated by a lack of trust, inappropriate contracts and poor communications. He thought that we should begin to think differently.

He might be right - without construction I wouldn't be sitting here in the posh open-plan office or have a nice home to go to.

I had nice weekend, met my friends, but I did't accomplish all the things I should have. I still have a lot to do before my holiday on Wednesday. Mainly washing some clothes. I watched two films, Amelie and Laws of Attraction with Pierce Brosnan and Julianne Moore.

So, I quess I won't be writing this blog for at least two weeks. Instead, I'm in Provence enjoying beautiful landskapes, tasty wines and relaxing in country atmosphere. We are going to visit Nice, Aix-en-Provence, Avignon, Arles, Nimes and Montpellier. It might be that we have time to go to Marseille as well.


First names in my family

My grandmothers: Elmi Helena and Helmi Sofia
My grandfathers: Viljo Johannes and Unto Johannes

My great grandmothers: 2 x Maria, Hilma Sofia and Sanni
My great grandfathers: Juho, Sameli, Matti and Eino

My grandparents' grandmothers: 3 x Susanna, 2 x Hedvig, Hedvig Sofia, Anna-Lisa, Helena
My grandparents' grandfathers: 4 x Juho (Johan), Salomon Henrik, Niilo, Tuomas (Thomas), Jaakko (Jakob)

It's funny that Susanna and Hedvig seem to be quite popular in my family, also Juho is very common. You might also notice that the name Sofia as a second first name is a sort of a tradition in my grandmother's family. Helmi Sofia's mother is Hilma Sofia and her mother is Hedvig Sofia.


Brother and maples

My brother stopped by today to get the maples from our garden.

He couldn't take them all because the roots were already so deep, so he only took some of the younger ones. It will be fun to see if they grow in the forest 350 kilometres north from here. But well, why wouldn't they.

The maple that grows here in Finland (Acer platanoidesis, in Finnish metsävaahtera) is not the same as in North America (Acer saccharum, in Finnish sokerivaahtera).

My husband travelled to Scotland for a conference and I asked him to bring us some single malt whiskey. He complained that we haven't drunk the whiskies we already have. This is because we very seldom drink any strong alcohol. Also the beer will be left untouches these days. We have become wine people, but not very sophisticated ones. I prefer warmhearted South African wines to elegant Bordeaux or Bourgogne wines.

So maybe he just brings some tea and lemon curd.


Gossips and Cleaning

Today at work I did a story about one CEO and his views of the future, but I quess most of my time I spent cleaning my desk. You couldn't imagine the piles of papers that are trying to collapse over me.
There was of course a good reason for this cleaning mania. I will start my holiday after one week and one of those "summer people" is going to invade my desk when I'm gone. I don't want to be responsible for the accident with heavy year reports.

I also had lunch with a friend of mine - and oh, the amount of gossiping! Anyway, it was very nice to see her and have a chance to talk freely.

Pretty soon it's time to go to the French lesson again, this will be the last one. The course is very short, yet intesive. Suggestopedia has meant singing, sitting in armchairs and a lot of interaction with other people. I still feel that I should learn more. I think I will continue next fall and take the same course as my husband.


My Finnish Lapphund Jekku and his water bowl on our balcony Sunday 5th June Posted by Hello

French lesson ahead

My French lesson starts after half an hour. I took my grammar book with me, but I quess it's useless because they are using the suggestopedia as teaching method.
I wonder what it's going to be like. Maybe we learn the phrases.


Our dog has more toys than a normal child

Some of our dog's soft toys Posted by Hello
(Photo taken by RK - 5th June 2005)

Dinner with the cook went fine. We cooked salmon lasagne for him and his family. The weather wasn't too great - it has rained a lot. Beware of the snails!

The dog has brought all his soft toys outside to the garden. He really has a huge number of them. His darling is an orange coloured cat, he also likes the yellow duck that squeks. Now they all lie on the grass soaking wet.

I'm starting my French lessons tomorrow. It's been years since I've spoken any French

Stupid test - but nice results

Your Birthdate: September 30
Your birthday on the 30th day of the month shows individual self-expression is necessary for your happiness.
You tend to have a good way of expressing yourself with words, certainly in a manner that is clear and understandable.
You have a good chance of success in fields requiring skill with words.

You can be very dramatic in your presentation and you may be a good actor or a natural mimic.
You have a vivid imagination that can assist you in becoming a good writer or story-teller.
Strong in your opinions, you always tend to think you are on the right side of an issue.

There may be a tendency to scatter your energies and have a lot of loose ends in your work.
You may have significant artistic talent and be very creative.

What Does Your Birth Date Mean?


Little friend in my mother's garden Posted by Hello
(Photo taken by RK / May 2005)

The amazing thing is that the dog doesn't even bark at him. He just stares - what's that funny creature with those spikes...


Weekend plans - inviting a cook for dinner

Weekend is just one hour away. It's going to be interesting.

Tomorrow we are going to visit a dream house our friends have bought in Espoo near Helsinki. It's an old so called Terijoki villa with over 200 squere meters and three floors. It's going to be a nice home for them, their three children and two dogs.

Terijoki is a former Finnish town - nowadays in Russia, 50 kilometres from Saint Petersburg and called Zelenogorsk. It was famous sea resort before the war and it was known with its beautiful wooden villas. When the times got a bit restless after Russian revolution 1917 the owners started to take them (villas) down and set them up again in other towns in Finland. I could say this was fortunate, because later the most of the villas in Terijoki were destroyed in the winter and continuation war.

Friends' house in Espoo Posted by Hello

Sunday we have invited a cook and his wife for dinner. The cook is an acquaintance of my husband. It's sort of funny to cook for a cook. Let's see how it turns out.

My brother called and he is going to stop by. I promised to give him the four maples that grow in the wrong place in the middle of the rose bushes. He has his own forest, so he can plant them there.


My husband reading one of his favourites Posted by Hello

My first meme ever

You’re stuck inside Fahrenheit 451, which book do you want to be?
"Surfacing" by Margaret Atwood

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?
A handsome prince that rescues her princess. This was when I was very little and my beloved grandmother told me a lot of fairytales.

The last book you bought is?
Quino's comic book Mafalda 2

What are you currently reading?
Hongan tarina by Heikki Turunen. The book tells a story about Honkarakenne company.

Five books you would take to a deserted island:
"Satayksi" by Ilmari Turja (to give me some laughs)
Etelä-Pohjanmaan historia III (a history book, to remember my roots)
"Etruscan" by Mika Waltari
The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe (just to remember where I am)

Who are you going to pass this stick to and why?
I don't like teasing my friends, so I quess to nobody.


Raincoat or umbrella?

Which do you think is better, raincoat or umbrella?
I prefer raincoat, especially when I'm walking with my dog.
And besides, Helsinki is a windy city and I hate it when the umbrella turns upside down.
Today you really had use for them. We have had rain for hours. Well, the good thing is that the plants don't need watering.

I sense a problem . It's not there yet, but it's coming if this rain continues.
I'm talking about the snails (ariantha arbustorum). I'm pretty sure they are going to invade my garden.



Official summer season has begun. We took the summer furniture from the cellar and placed them to our terrace. Yesterday's weather was amazingly warm. A very good day for a baby visit. Our quest was Milla, a four-month-old beauty.

We learned what it means if a child is shy of strangers and how hungry a little thing like that can be. We know now how you do baby gymnastics and that she likes to hear some old regional folk songs.

And I quess this was her first encounter with a dog...


Visiting but not "visitera"

I started my morning with a company visit. It seems to be a big trend now, inviting journalist for breakfast, brunch or lunch to company premises.
How nice it is, depends of the quality and quantity of food and drinks. Rest is propaganda.

You have to be careful with the verb "visit" in some countries. Especially in Sweden, where "visitera" doesn't mean visiting but doing a body search. The wrong use of the word could of course cause some puzzled looks...

New Ibiza

Our trip to Tallinn and Saaremaa, Estonia last weekend went just fine. We met our friends and had nice time together.

Saturday evening we had dinner in restaurant called "Paat" in Viimsi near Tallinn. It's pretty unusual, like a ship turned upside down. I ate butterfish with cooked potatoes. Very good!
Later we went to wine bar, which in Tallinn are real unlike in Helsinki (In Tallinn you can actually buy bottles from there - in Helsinki, no way!).

There was some big growds of young British men walking around the city and making big noise like it was somekind of new Ibiza for them. This was something quite new. We heard that it's been happening ever since Ryanair started flights from London to Tallinn. The Estonians don't really like Finnish "beer" turists. They called us "poro" which means reindeer. However we were told that it might be that they nowadays dislike the British lads even more. In some restaurant windows it was written that "no big growds allowed" - I quess it means no Brits please.

Sunday we left with a bus to Saaremaa island to meet our former Estonian teacher. She had a lovely small villa and beautiful garden in Kuressaare, which is the principal town in Saaremaa island. We visited the local castle, which I would call in Finnish "Linna linna" - a real castle, where you could imagine some knights in armours and ladies in distress.

Well, after some fun comes work and no play. I have had quite much to do this week at work making the supplement about real estate. Producing means doing it all by yourself this time.
Afterwards I ended up searching some web sites and ended up in CB Richard Ellis web page. It's
the world's largest commercial real estate services firm. I noticed that their current CEO Ray(soon to be changed for a younger man called Brett) has a Finnish last name Wirta. It would be nice to find out if he really has some Finnish roots.


Tallinn and Black Heads

Mustpeade Maja, Tallinn, Eesti Posted by Hello
House of the Brotherhood of Black Heads, Tallinn, Estonia
Photo taken 14th May 2005 by RK


Trip to past - Estonia here we come!

I have an exiting weekend ahead. We are going to Estonia to meet old friends. We lived for a year in Tallinn (1998-1999) and I'm sure travelling there will bring back some good old memories.

You begin to see and sense the city differently when you actually live there, not just visit it as a tourist. You know where to shop, where's the best gym and which taxis are the most loyable and priceworthty. You know where to go and not to go.

I remember I used to watch the local police tv frequently, and I must admit I became a bit paranoid and afraid of potential thiefs and robbers. Nothing ever happened, not even in Kopli area, but I was still very cautious.

This time we are going to spend some time in Tallinn and then we are going to visit Saarenmaa island, where our former Estonian teacher lives. Let's see if I still can speak some Estonian, it's pretty close to Finnish language but has it's difficulties as well.

Before we go, I should buy some kind of gift to our teacher. Buying souvenirs or gifts to someone you haven't seen in many years is truly a difficult task.


Jekku, today's birthday hero

I have already written quite much about my dog, so I thought I must show him to you. Besides, it's his birthday today.
He was born 6th of May in Hämeenkyrö, Finland.

I remember well the day when we drove to take him home. The car trip was so difficult for him, we had to stop several times. We tried to avoid the highway and the trip, that normally would take us about 3 hours, took 6 long hours.
He hasn't been so fond cars ever since. One could say that he is pretty reluctant.

I just might buy him a nice bone today...

Are rooks evil?

It's quite late and I should be getting to bed. I just finished something I had to do for tomorrow. I could have done it earlier, but you know, when it's boring and for work - well, delaying is what you do. Mañana...

I think I hear some birds singing outside. They have their season of fun and games. I saw fieldfares (räkättirastaita) and some yellowhammers (keltasirkkuja). I live quite near the sea, so we have gulls and mallards as well. I'm not very good with this bird watching thing.

Few days ago I saw some crows. Or actually it was three of them and I quess there were two males competing over a female. Here are few jackdaws (naakkoja) as well, they look a little like crows.

I know a place where there are always a lot of rooks (mustiavariksia). It gives me the creeps. It's somehow like in some Hitchcock movie, rooks seem a bit evil.


Handkerchiefs and a slight cold

I resent working when I'm sick. I feel like I'm placed in the midst of a heavy cloud.
Well, I only have a slight cold, sore throat and that sort of things. Still, it's making me ineffective. And who dares to be ineffective in these days?

I sometimes wonder how things used be in the good old days. Was there a constant rush, did everybody had to-do lists which are almost immense? Or was it quiet and unhurried? Did the chief said that just take your time with this or was it "I want it yesterday".

I'm going to see my mother next weekend. We have a mothers day. I can't decide what to bring her. Maybe she would like a pink or light blue hydrangea (which we in Finland called "Hortensia"). Or then I could buy her a rhododendron. Let's see what I find.


Brown hare makes the dog cry

This photo was taken last summer on our back yard. You can see the brown hare in front of the rose bush. They somehow went away for the winter. As I understand it, the hares don't really fly to Africa for the winter :-) But, anyway, they were gone.

Well, now the hares are back again. Safe and sound.
The only problem is that the dog goes bezerk when he sees Mr and Mrs Hare. First it's the masculine "wuff" but then starts the wining and crying as if he were saying "I waaaaant to go there, pleeeeease let me go". Obviously he cannot.

Brown hare, last summer Posted by Hello

So, the weekend went just fine celebrating Vappu - the 1st of May. It was chilly outside but so incredibly hot in the Himalaya restaurant. On Saturady evening we took a cab from the railway station and said "to Himalaya please". The taxi driver was a bit amused. Evening ended "almost singing" karaoke in the Old Skipper's. On Sunday we went to see what was happening in Ullanlinna hill and had some picnic with friends. It was cold, but we had coffee and hot chocolate.