Friday, 29 December 2006

Just fine

Always at the end of the year all odd statistics tend to pop up.

Like that every inhabitant in Finland make 460 kgs of garbage. Or that of the total amount of wood used in this country 46% was burned up as fuel and only 24% was used into making paper or pulp. And that the weather has been warmest in Finland in 100 years this year being one in the top 15 with 59 days of summer temperatures above 25 degrees Celsius.

And did you know that your Dry Martini glass is either half-empty if you are of a pessimistic nature and half-full if you are of optimistic nature. Just depending on your own attitude and point of view.

So, statistically you are fine if you have one leg up to your crotch in freezing water with ice-cubes floating in it and the other leg up to your crotch in boiling water, as statistically you are not too cold, nor too hot.


Wednesday, 27 December 2006

Black Xmas

Sounds a bit ominous, like the black plague or something but that is the term for no snow-Xmas here in Finland. And that it was in most parts of the country except for way up north. It must then be good for all the homeless then, as it is not as cold as normally. I think it is strange that there actually are people with no homes here in this country, with the weather we normally have in the winter. For 100 years now the Xmas cauldron has been on the streets in this country to collect money during the week before Xmas for people without the means to have a Xmas, and I think it is a disgrace that it still is needed as much today as it was a century ago! I do not understand this talk about Finland as a state of welfare and social security not at Xmas or any other day! Several hundred people are sleeping outdoors as they have nowhere to stay. Maybe this should be the meaning of black Xmas?

Anyway, if something unexpected happened to you like losing your job or becoming ill, then it might take up to 3 months before you start receiving any money, so where do you go then?!? You might end up on the street yourself.

No food, no money for the rent, nowhere to store your things, you just loose everything! And the Finnish Lutheran mind is taught to cope on its’ own, without any help. So even if you would be eligible for social benefits to get by economically so many people do just struggle by, day by day.

Thank God I have a kettle and it is on. And there will soon be a nice cup of tea for me!

Tuesday, 26 December 2006

Difficult eating

Xmas is always a difficult time if you are into serious TV-watching as no advertising is allowed on TV at Xmas in Finland. How on earth ere you supposed to be able to get your sandwiches in between the programs if no ads in between?!?

Or my biggest Xmas problem being that Donald Duck is not on TV at 3 pm as every year before, so I have recorded it to have it on TV to get the Xmas going at the right hour!

Thank God for burning DVD’s and digi-boxes able to save the programs on their hard-drives!

If they did not exits we would not have to do any promises on New Year’s Eve that we do not keep anyway, as one of the most common one must be to loose some weight, at least after Xmas as it is the time for merriment and to eat. According to the Norse tradition you were to eat as much pork as possible and the midwinter solstice so the coming year would be as giving and plentiful in wealth and harvest as possible, so what we actually still do at Xmas, over eat, is an old pagan tradition, to over-eat!

Monday, 25 December 2006

Holy midnight-mass

Funny little protestant me had to move all the way here to Finland to get closely acquainted with the Catholic Church because of close friends happens to be Catholics!

There is quite a lot to be aware of when participating in a catholic mass being an outsider. For example you can’t go and have communion but you can join the others that participate in the Holy Communion and be blessed by the priest by holding your right hand over your left shoulder.

But the best part of it all is that the congregation keep its' parties together. Image how nice and cosy to go to the Midnight-mass on Christmas Eve and all gather for coffee and chats afterwards in the middle of the night, children and adults and elders instead of having to wake up early in the freezing morning to go to church. Well, this year it was not that cold but anyway.

So now I am considering converting to Catholicism as I prefer to sleep long in the mornings.

Sunday, 24 December 2006

Xmas cards

Every year 250000 cards are destroyed by the postal authorities due to wrong or incomplete addresses. They say that a little more attention is paid to tracing the recipient of other consignments such as letters and parcels.

Sad but true that your Xmas card might not arrive to the recipient if you do not have the right the postal code. And on top of that, if you have a common name, and the street address exist in many towns then you might not get all the cards sent to you. But, if you do have an unusual name, as a friend of mine, who received a Xmas card from abroad with just his Surname and the country. The card was delivered just in time before Xmas too, even though it must’ve been sent very late. That must be a Xmas miracle!

Friday, 22 December 2006

Christmas calendar for grown-ups

When we first moved to Finland I used to say that I must remember to buy myself a Xmas calendar lottery ticket, and as the years went by I always forgot to buy the calendar, then I couple years ago my husband remembered it and since then he always buys me one every December. It is ever so thrilling to every morning first I make myself a nice cup of tea and I scrape off the cover of that day’s door on the lottery-ticket and see what is in there. And every year I have had 8 Santa Clauses, out of 9 possible. If you have 9 you win 10.000 Euros, which would be great shopping!

Anyway, I think it is great that they have come up with this more grown up idea of a calendar, instead of chocolates for kids with this one you might win some money!

Wednesday, 13 December 2006

Surviving gingerbread-hell

One of our Christmas traditions has been baking gingerbread and most of the years it has always developed into hell making them.

Traditionally I make the gingerbread dough myself, as I am very picky about the taste and we have tried various doughs during the years, some were very tasty but almost impossible to make any gingerbread cookies of, others were easy to bake but tasted nothing like the gingerbread used to when I was a child.

Anyway, the off-spring normally has been making the cookies with various results depending on their age and ability. As long as this Christmas tradition has been going on it has always sooner (which means fighting about having to bake the cookies) or later (having fights with the dough been thrown around in the kitchen) become hell, at least for me.

Do you know what I mean here ?!?

Well, this year for the first time there was no fights, no tears just peaceful cooking activities in the kitchen! And only minor cleaning for me to do afterwards.

I must be getting old as it does not distress me as much anymore, or might it be that the off-spring has become older to behave better? Are they finally growing up?

Tuesday, 12 December 2006

A blended family Xmas

What about a blended family Xmas?

Is it possible to juggle together a nice, pleasant family Xmas if you live in a blended family with visitation rights? As more and more families live this parting and visiting as part of their everyday life, just trying to make it fit for everybody is hard, or is to impossible?

For example, a friend of mine remarried some years ago, (and a nice wedding it was, and what a hat I wore!) she has a daughter from her previous marriage and the father has visitation rights on holidays and extended weekends as he lives abroad, and her “new” husband has two sons that live with their mother and they are supposed to be visiting their father very other weekend, as also every other Xmas and other holidays as is customary here in Finland.

So can you plan when also taking in consideration your other family as well, as Finnish tradition is to get together with your family on Xmas Eve? It means that you visit your maternal and paternal grandparents at alternating Xmases together with your own siblings, (the aunts and uncles of your own children), and their cousins.

Guess this means Family Xmas here.

(And it can mean a lot of people if you have 7 brothers and sisters together with their spouses and children, as another good friend of mine has.)

Anyway, this other friend of mine has so far not had one Xmas that has worked out as planned!

Their children are supposed to be at “home” every other Xmas, every paired year like now 2006, both her own child and the husband’s children the same Xmas. Every other Xmas of these when the children are at home, they are to be alternating every Xmas Eve with her parents and his parents house.

So every other Xmas they are supposed to have a family-Xmas, and every other Xmas they are free, without any kids at all, like a honeymoon. Or at least they should be free and celebrating a new honeymoon. But always something has ruined their planned Xmas vacation in the sun.

Last year the daughter’s visiting got cancelled by her father, meaning cancellation of travelling plans to the sun. Or the Xmas before when the sons were on a Xmas-cruise to Sweden with their mother and did not turn up at all at their own grandmothers! How do you explain that to your old grandmother of 90 years? You just hope it is not one of her clear days and that she forgets about it fast.

So it seems that they have a Xmas tradition of not having their plans work out any Xmas.

I wonder if they do too much planning instead of go as it comes?

But I am a bit envious on her I have to confess, as I do not have any relatives to go to at Xmas here in Finland. My grandmother is dead and I would prefer to stay at home for Xmas anyway, so no harm done in the end.

Thursday, 7 December 2006

89th anniversary

Finnish independence of 89 years was celebrated yesterday.

MTV Finland has been around for about a year, and this Independence Day the 6th of December they had Finland versus Occupants, which means what?!?

As far as I know Finland never has been occupied by anyone, it belonged to Sweden for several hundred years, then was lost to the Russians in 1809 and was an autonomic, self-governed part of the Russian empire to become independent in 1917.

So anyway, who occupied Finland or which country did Finland occupy? As the songs played on this list were Finnish, Swedish, German and Russian.

The annual Independence Day festivities always culminate later in the evening in the reception at the President’s residency, The Castle, as it is more commonly called. This year the Eurovision song-contest winners the hard-rock band Lordi was invited to it. Well, no masked monsters in row to be seen to shake hands in TV with the President, so guess they were not able to attend. Anyway, this is the time when you get together to comment on people’s clothes as it the reception is broadcasted on TV. And the tastes vary very much from side to side.

Tuesday, 5 December 2006


My theory about having to be stupid enough to ski-jump has now been destroyed. There is a new kid on the block and he’s studying law, so I was wrong. I always thought you had to be stupid enough to jump with your skis on.

Tell you what, this is the only time I have ever been wrong about anything, ever!

So I guess my husband will rub this on into my nose for a long, long time.