Wednesday, 28 February 2007

New neighbours

How delightful is it not to get new neighbours? And to find out the ingenuity of your new neighbours on waking you up in new ways as early as possible in the morning, especially in the weekends?

So far this week I woke up with a bad migraine by repetitive banging on the wall just next to my head, baby crying for hours and hours (why didn’t anyone do anything about it, I almost went to ring on the door) and a dog howling for hours. Today I was woken up by just gentle tapping on the wall and not banging. And there is absolutely no use in complaining about it to the neighbours, (they’d just get annoyed at you) and not to the Board of the apartment building either. You just have to put up with it or move or hope they soon will. Why is it always that the ones behaving nicely have to suffer silently? What happened to the happy ending “And they lived happily ever after”?

Tuesday, 27 February 2007

Crime against human rights?

The State of South Korea has filed a complaint against the Finnish police for crimes against the human rights for their treatment of two South Korean diplomats.

The diplomats arriving on the train from Russia locked themselves in to their compartment and refused to come out. I do not know what the disagreement was about from the beginning, but is this not ridiculous?

Anyone arriving into a country denying showing identification to the customs or in some other way refuse to co-operate with the authorities, is that not a crime in itself, no matter if the persons in question happens to be diplomats or just ordinary citizens? And they can not stay on the train in their compartment for ever and after either, they would have had to come out eventually anyway. Or did they think that?

Foul play

Finland has in recent studies been one of the top countries with the least corruption, but still many Finnish companies have recently faced both charges and convictions about forming prize-fixing cartels and taking advantage of monopolising the market making secret agreements with their fellow competitors.

The latest now is a Finnish elevator manufacturer that has been fined to pay 142 million euros by the European council for having formed a prize cartel together with a couple of other elevator manufacturers in the European countries. Earlier, last year, a Finnish paper mill was charged in the US for fixing prices on glossy magazine FrontPage-paper.

Guess this is not bribing but foul play anyway, is it not?

And as it happens among Finnish companies that are supposedly uncorrupted, how widespread is it really in the real world?!?

Now with the globalisation of business?

Monday, 26 February 2007


One peculiar custom I can not stop wondering about is the discussion of this or that virus causing the flu here in Finland.

They talk about the A-virus or a ROTA-virus and it is that virulent this year and it causes these symptoms. Just like they were old friends, which they are not. So now we live with an A-virus flu to come this winter, and it is said to be a milder variation of the same circulation amongst the population last winter and if you are lucky you had it then so you will not catch it now. Or you have it like I do; it never really hits you for you to have to stay in bed to cure yourself, so you just keep on going when poorly and half ill and for a long, long time.

Hey, this is viruses we are talking about, they change all the time and there is no cure for them before you get immune to the variation you have been infected with. Or is there?

Saturday, 24 February 2007

Skiing accidents

In the times of the ongoing winter-hollidays and skiing season being at its’ heights more accidents are reported. Especially the young tend to injure themselves and more seriously than before, even as they wear more safety helmets than earlier. The increase of injuries is said to depend on people showing less respect and not taking other skiers in concern on the slopes, and also the use of snowboards with more jumps and rails are said to contribute to the growing seriousness of the skiing accidents of broken wrists and knee injuries.

Well, with our annual week of skiing holidays I still have the same skills as I acquired years ago, I take it slow downhill and am just happy to sometimes still be upright when arriving at the bottom by lifts which the off-spring make jokes about.

At least I do not get injured that often, even though I am quite accident prone.

Friday, 23 February 2007

Scary advertising

According to statistics 50% of the Finns die of heart related illnesses, and to make people more aware of the fact some quite disturbing advertising has been shown on the TV. Four people getting strapped in for a ride in an amusement park, but only two of them get their safety equipment strapped, and the other two just disappear during the ride. Well guess that is in a way true but quite awful to show it anyway.

And a Finnish electricity company has made an ad about global warming, showing a fictional weather forecast from the future with tornados and the disappearance of the Ă…land archipelago as a result of flooding, asking what your electricity company does do to minimize their contribution to it. And here we are now living the coldest winter after the longest and warmest summer I have experienced in Finland so far.

Wednesday, 21 February 2007

Coffee good is for you!

I just recently heard that coffee is good for us in several ways, not just the social beneficial effects of having a good chat among friends or the well known effects of caffeine.

To my surprise coffee contains many substances beneficial for our health, with a moderate use of coffee for a healthy person being 4-5 cups per day. Filter-brewed coffee is best as the harmful substances stay in the filter which means good news for the Baristas. Espressos and Lattes are here to stay!

Coffee is said to have beneficial effects on your cholesterol-levels and to reduce blood-sugar which means less heart-disease and diabetes. Coffee also according to the latest research slows down the advancement of Alzheimer’s having good effects on the proteins in the brain and preventing the nerve tissue from damage in Parkinson’s disease. Maybe I should switch to coffee instead of my accustomed tea?

Tuesday, 20 February 2007

Politicians showing the way

It is the time for the Parliamentary elections on March 18th, and last week was the last full session in the house before the elections. And now the politicians are running fulltime for the elections and they are seen all the time on the TV, having discussions with each other on different issues or being interviewed, but the strangest thing was to see them on the Helsinki Casino drinking wine and playing Black Jack and Roulette.

I wonder the point is, in showing them off in fancy dresses and surroundings? With several thousand people living out in the cold in the streets with more than twenty degrees below zero in the winter, and having no where else to go, not having any means to buy themselves decent clothes or food?

Guess there is a new elitist class in Finland after all, regardless of all talks about equality between citizens and the attenuation between the social classes. Even the socialist politicians are for the equality between the politicians and want better pay.

The sessions in the Finnish house of Parliament are often broadcasted on TV and when voting on different issues, even important ones I would think, not many of the representatives are present to place their votes. Why should they get better pay when they are never there doing their job?

Is this the elite showing how to behave, for the masses to follow their suite?

Monday, 19 February 2007

Nightwish seeks singer

The World famous hard-rock band Nightwish has now been seeking for a new singer since their previous singer Tarja Turunen quit the band.

Reportedly the band has received several hundred of applications, most of them from abroad and the band has now moved over to listening to the received Demos from the applicants. I wonder if it is as bad as the TV-program American Idol or the Finnish version Idols?!?

Or listening to some singers at a karaoke evening in a bar when some entertain you by sounding like they were trying to kill the cat?

Anyway, the band looks for a singer as charismatic and with as great voice as their previous singer has. Wonder if their next vocalist will be a female or male one? Guess their sound will never be the same.

But life goes on and we all have to change and adjust to cope with the changes of life.

Paper pushing

If you have lived in Finland then you know what it means if you have to do business with KELA, the place to contact if you are ill, retired, having children and other similar benefits.

Just filling one of their applications can be difficult enough and you also have to supplement with the right papers and get a neat pile to send them. Wonder how many papers KELA receive every day?

Anyway, trying to find out what happened a couple of years ago is impossible as you never get any answers from them and trying to make an appeal based on the answers they never gave you, well you might guess yourself. No way!

The problem with KELA is, with them running them selves; they also are to correct their own errors. What do you do with two completely different decisions on the same issue done the same day, by two different persons? Even worse is to get two differing decisions made by the same person on the same day about the same thing!

Where do you appeal to as there is no one supervising them?!?

At least not to the European Court in Brussels, no use at all as they have, at least to my knowledge, to this day ignored to correct several appeals against them won by the complainant.

So end of last week and this weekend I have spent digging in my own personal file of papers and trying to get an end to begin at, and I now have an idea of what really happened. But knowing what to do about ti is a completely different issue.

Thursday, 15 February 2007


Have you ever thought about the water that comes out of your tap at home?

What kind of water is it, is it potable or not? And what do you do with it? You drink it of course, cook with it, wash your clothes, do your dishes and you bathe and shower in it, in pure drinking water. Hey, we even flush it down the loo! Then we buy fancy bottles with foreign water as "they taste better" and are "healthier" for you.

What a waste of energy and resources!

A great part of the world's population has problems daily in getting decent potable water, and now with the greenhouse effect and the arctic ice melting, the weather changing and more floods predicted and the sealevels rising the shortage of drinking water is going to increase even more. What do you drink when your tap-water is contaminated by your own sewage water?

Is this something we should begin to take in concern in the western world?
Now? Before it is too late to do anything anymore like with the global warming?

Wednesday, 14 February 2007

Happy Valentine’s!

Here in Finland Friend’s Day is celebrated differing from the Valentine’s Day better known Internationally as Sweetheart’s Day. Here it is a quite recent the tradition, compared to France or Britain where St. Valentine’s has been celebrated since the 12th century. Here it is customary to send your friends a card telling them that you care.

You do not love friends, that would be too much in Finland!

Of course the restaurants and shops advertise with different Valentine’s Day “love” paraphernalia, and advertising is made on TV about buying your sweetheart flowers, but the same compulsory ” wine and dine” your loved one or spouse, is not, at least yet, widespread here. I just hope that my husband remembers to come home today, as he left an hour too early this morning noticing the real time walking to the car, then returning for some more coffee watching the morning TV and the news for an extra hour. Guess with that beginning of the day I can not expect him to remember to buy me any flowers, even if it is Valentine’s Day.

Monday, 12 February 2007

Saving the environment

We actually just had a discussion about what we in our family can do to do our bit for saving the environment.
As the experts point out, global warming is a fact, the question now is how we can minimize its’ effects.

So we sat down all of us, and guess what, teenagers are not that concerned about doing anything for them to have an earth to live on, the two things they thought of to save on is the one thing they will not do less of!

There was a unanimous no to shorter showers than half an hour to save hot-water.

Okay was to turn off electric appliances from their stand-by power, or to take the bus instead of making mum drive them and buy more local produce or Finnish products to reduce wasted energy on transports. Another thing was to switch off electricity that was not needed, turning off lights and even to use more candle light, as if making candles would not need any heating at all.

And to do my bit I avoided to washing and heating up the sauna during the cold, even though we also have picked up the custom to have a sauna on Saturdays as most Finns.

If everybody did small things they would all add up to a bigger saving of power and electricity, but hey, how many more apart from us even thinks about it? I mean even here in Finland, which is one of the highest educated countries in the world and also doing quite well economically and also considered to be environmentally counscious?

Anyway, now with the temperatures rising to only about -10 degrees instead of the -30 degrees last week, at last I now can get back to my normal household chores with good consciousness, as they tended to pile up during last week.

Saturday, 10 February 2007

Opening hours?

I always have difficulties to remember if the shops are open on Sundays or not here in Finland. In the summertime they are and then also at Xmas time, but why they are not open rest of the year evades me completely. And why do the shops and supermarkets close at 6 pm on Saturdays? Weekends as it happens is the time people are free, so they can do shopping, spend their money in the supermarkets.

Another thing I keep wondering about it the logic in lunch-hours, and this applies not only it Finland. If you work fulltime the most convenient time for you to run some errands to the post-office or the bank for example is many times exactly when there is just one person to take care of your business. Of course they do have to have lunch-hours too, but hey, are they not in customer care so where is the logic here, least personnel available when most customers? Should they not be there when the customers are able to come? Get some extras to come during the lunch hours, many people would be happy to have a halftime job. One comes in for the morning, the other for the afternoon and they both are present during the lunch hours.

Thursday, 8 February 2007

Raised taxes

A few years back the taxes on hard liquor like Whisky, Vodka and Koskenkorva were lowered here in Finland and became more affordable than other alcoholic beverages such as wine, beer and cider.

Which I found quite bizarre already then.

Maybe it was good the government with an increase in the tax-income as most of it came from liquor manufactured in a distillery owned by the government, as it also happens to be the preferred alcoholic drink in this country.

More money for the politicians to spend on things like the Parliament Centennial celebrations. Or maybe the politicians tried to save some money with the cheaper booze?

Anyway, now the politicians finally have begun to rethink the whole thing as there has been an alarming raise in alcohol related health problems during the population and especially among youngsters. There has been a lot more hospital admissions due to alcohol intoxication and various other injuries inflicted under the influence as well as an increase in many diseases related to prolonged alcohol consumption. More money needed for the public healthcare.

So good news now is, that there is a proposition to attach labels on all the packages of alcoholic beverages, just like the warning labels on cigarettes such as ”Smoking deteriorates your health” and the advertising of alcohol is also to be restricted.

And the taxes are going up again.

Tuesday, 6 February 2007


It is right now it is colder than normal after a warmer than usual summer and autumn. This might be the winter with the coldest weather so far as long as I have been living here in Finland!

In the old days when the most of the houses were wooden most homes were lost in raging fires in very cold below zero in February, normally the coldest time of the year hence the term “tulipalopakkaset” which would mean fire-freezes in English. The reason for the bigger incidence of fires when it is very cold is that the cold dries up all material and fire was easier caught if not handled careful.

As it happens I quite recently read a book by one of Finland’s most famous writers, Aleksis Kivi, “Seven brothers”. (A must if you want to get to know more about what makes Finns Finns, by the way.)

Anyway, in the book the boys had trouble getting back to the village from the way back woods barefeet in the cold and deep snow when their house was caught on fire during the fire-freezes. They were quite a bundle of boys, these seven brothers in many ways.

Today with the temperatures creeping well below zero, I am free of doing any washing just to save some electricity, at last one good reason for not doing any housework!

Monday, 5 February 2007

Condensed friendship

Do you suffer from migraines?

If you do not then you will probably not understand why I have not been able to post lately. Migraine is something I do not even wish my worst enemies, that is if I had any.

I sometimes wonder about people who do not suffer from headaches at all, imagine, there actually are people who do not have headaches, so how would they understand if your head hurts like the only thing you wish for is to die? And that you would do just anything to die when a real bad migraine hits you?

The closest I can come to think of to explain migraine to anyone whom do not suffer from it would be giving birth to a child, but hey, how do you explain that even to your own husband?

Well, as it happens my husband has migraines too so he gets the idea. As a matter of fact he used to have worser spells than I and he also suffered from the more often than I did. One thing that is good with getting older though, you dot not get your migraines as often as when younger.

I am happy to grow old!