Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Coleslaw?


My “favourite” morning TV programme, Ruokala, “The Diner” is now back from its’ summer break and yesterday morning they began their cooking with bold new twists and turns in international cooking. I guess their ambition to make people here in Finland experiment with their cooking trying out new things.

It is a nice try but it just remains that, a nice try, as the outcome is not what they advertise using the names of their dishes or is this just a poor attempt to "Finnocise" food?!? (That would mean to make food more Finnish)

Well, coleslaw may not be a trademark and I have seen recipes with thinly shredded fennel in it, as I have seen apples julienne in it but the basics have always remained the same; finely shredded cabbage with thinly sliced onion and carrots Julienne with a mayonnaise sauce seasoned with salt and perhaps coarsely ground black pepper. And the choice between red or white cabbage is not a major one as they taste about the same, just differ in colour.

On morning TV they made a coleslaw with shredded cabbage, carrot, thinly sliced apple, thinly sliced red sweet peppers, parsley, leaving out the thinly sliced onions, seasoning it with salt and left it to season for a while, preferably for a couple of hours with some fresh lemon juice. Then after a while a sauce is to be made to go it out of mayonnaise and soured cream to make the sauce a bit lighter with a dash of Tabasco for added flavour.

It is like making a sauce beetroot soup but leaving out the beets and using peas instead, you get something completely else. Why call it coleslaw as they did not make coleslaw, they made something that remotely reminds of coleslaw.

Or making a Béarnaise sauce adding some Stilton cheese to it. Which might not be a bad idea, the taste might be magnificent or extraordinary but it would not be sauce Béarnaise anymore.

Monday, 30 July 2007

What is too much?


A quarter of million people in Finland are considered to be risk consumers of alcohol, that is they still today can stop drinking if they want to, they do not think they have a drinking problem and they sustain a job and family etc.

Another quarter of million have problems with their alcohol consumption, they drink too much too often at can not stop. All this according to some new statistics.

Well well, how do you measure this at risk to have problems with alcohol or if you can stop drinking or not?!? And if you deny having a problem yourself, who makes you eligible in the problem group? And what is "a problem with alcohol", if all you want to do is die and you drink as you can not commit suicide and drink in order to some day die sooner than you would otherwise do, where lies the problem? Maybe the 1000 people that died of liver cirrhosis here in Finland last year only wanted to die and did it in their own way of choosing, who is to tell? And what exactly is "too much?"

It is this turning of numbers that sometimes bugs me quite a lot. Twisting the same numbers you can say just the opposite and as not all the facts are taken in concern interpreting the data the turn out can not be true.

Anyway, biggest part of the day today has been spent with choosing between good and bad photos and sometimes when looking at your own photos, I mean photos taken by yourself, there is something in the photo that feels good even though it does not look as good as it feels. They just remind you about something nice that once happened, just ordinary snapshots, and they are the hardest to discard when thinking about what to publish. Now I have the worst backache since forever and have to go get a painkiller. Sitting and playing with your PC most certainly means bad business for your back!

Or maybe I should go get myself a drink or two?

Sunday, 29 July 2007

Swamp football


As the planned mushroom picking trip had to be postponed due to the rain showers with hardly no intermissions between, it has either been raining heavily or pouring down biggest part of the day has been spent in front of the TV again, this time watching the word championship in Swamp soccer on the sports channel. And is that indeed a sport with needed stamina and patience.

Most of the rules seem to be the same as in ordinary soccer or football but kicking a ball in a swamp makes it really interesting. Once when young and having been dating an absolute sport idiot I once swore I would never ever watch football again as I got more than my fair share of watching that sport back then from the passenger seat as the remote control was always taken over and a sports channel chosen, well guess no wonder why that relationship did not last in the long run.

Anyway, back to the swamp football, imagine these guys trying to run around in a swamp with the wet peat up to their knees or above at some places of the playing field, trying to kick on a football and make a goal.

You can never be sure which way the ball bounces off to, but, you can of course hit it with your head when down on all four in the swamp as you are not allowed to use your hands here either.

This game requires great stamina and endurance and of course patience as it takes time to get the ball in the direction it should go, preferably towards the opponent’s goal, and you can’t loose your temper as there is no time for that. It is a great laugh to watch anyway.

The bad thing about rainy days is though that someone is always accessing the net which normally leaves me with no access at all day long. Guess it is okay to be able to blog anyway but it is the not getting to post them in my Blog that bugs me! Guess I would not be good at swamp football as I probably lack the required patience.

Saturday, 28 July 2007

Jam this time

The latest stirrings of the soup are if I have not got it wrong; the Finnish ministry of internal affairs in considering an audit done at the security police about the files kept secret and also denied having been misled by the security police and said that she has full confidence in their activities. She is also considering an investigation about the allegations of her having been lying.

The president in her turn has asked for the secrecy and covering up of the former DDR security service Stasi case. And the president’s chancellery denies the earlier published about president having been mislead by the security police announcing it having been an error, that there are two different cases with Stasi papers that have been mixed with each other. Then the prime minister finally has a say in the matter, he announces that he thinks it best for the security police to find out how the files from the Stasi concerning Finland could be opened for research use and now as the security police gets a new director it should only be natural to do so.

It is currently high season for berry picking here in Finland and there are pickers all the way from Thailand, The foreign berry pickers have usually from neighbouring countries like Estonia and Russia and as berry picking is tax free, no additional VAT or social costs to pay as the pickers are not employed by anyone, it is good money for all concerned.

Yesterday’s fishing trip took long but then the catch was not an ordinary one, the guys got tired of just sitting around in their boat and went on for some berry picking on a nearby swamp. They came home with some cloudberries and of course the compulsory mosquitoes bites, which meant some jam cooking for me first thing this morning. Nice with some home made cloudberry jam even though the berries were on the edge of being overripe as the season for them is at its’ end here in the south. Only two glass jars, but still jam, and the blueberry season is not yet over and talks were about cranberries, but I gather they are not yet in season as they were just in full bloom a couple of weeks ago when I got some pictures of them.

Friday, 27 July 2007

Stirring the soup


The Finnish security police have apparently been misleading the president concerning these secret spy documents according the media.

If I have not got it all completely wrong following the Finnish media; The president announced her open line 7 years ago and acclaiming the documents to be made publicly available when the information about the Finnish spies would to arrive in Finland, but as the documents in question were already in the possession of the security police at the time, they stayed in safekeeping, the security police has apparently not been acting according to the set open.

The German head researcher of the Stasi-archives earlier called the Finnish investigation of the Finnish president’s aide amateurish and a major cock-up as it has resulted into the former presidential aide having been accused of spying on false grounds.

The Finnish Foreign business- and development minister emphasises that the government is to pay compensation for it at the same time admitting the misuse of the Rosenholz files. The court proceedings about compensation to be paid begins in Helsinki in august and the former presidential aide, today the itinerant ambassador of Finland in the western Balkan countries hopes to win the case and be paid compensation for the personal harm of being falsely accused as a spy.

The Finnish prime minister has so far not made any statements in the matter as has few other ministers of cabinet but it being July and in the middle of the holiday season in Finland should be as good excuse as any other.

A strange coincidence though seems the announcement of the senior police commander in office of the security police about his resignation out of health reasons at this time after having been on sick-leave already for some time, claiming it having nothing to do with the spy business scandal currently at hand.

Thrilling will be to follow the suit, all different stories told and developments after all the stirrings of this soup to come in the near future. Who says what and denies saying so right after.

Thursday, 26 July 2007

What do they know?


The possession of some secret material seems to be the biggest news today so far here in Finland as the Finnish Security Police seems to contradict itself about the possession of intelligence on spies.

According to the news, both the Foreign Minister and the Interior Minister were informed by the Security police that SUPO is not in possession of the so-called Rosenholz material which is said to contain data gathered by western intelligence concerning agents of the former DDR Stasi secret police, with some Finnish names among them.

The Interior minister, when interviewed early this morning on Morning TV, confirmed that SUPO does not have the original files in question but other documents with similar content. She also said that the information would have to remain classified.

The state attorney has however noted that the Security Police claimed to have had access to the material at when being heard during court proceedings against former Presidential Advisor (who was freed from all charges in the end) some while ago.

You know that they do know, but can’t say they know. They know that we know and in the end you do not remember what you were not supposed to know!

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Tents going up and down


The world championship in beach volleyball has its’ first tournament in Gstaad, an old ski resort in the Swiss Alps. Where’s the beach…skiing slopes…maybe rained that much that there now is a beach, along the river? Somehow I always have thought if beach volleyball played on the beach in seaside resorts, but hey, they just recently played beach volleyball in the middle of Tampere City square here in Finland, and there is no beach there even though it is in the vicinity of the Tammerkoski rapids.

Summer is a very strange season here in Finland, during the winter people are more withdrawn and stay indoors most of the time but with the sun showing in the spring it changes completely. People are more open and go out a lot more and there are all these festivities celebrating different things, open air concerts in the middle of town squares and annually recurring musical festivals around the country.

It is a strange occurrence to see various tents go up on the town square, and then become taken down just in time for another tent for a second festival of some kind. Why not just use the same tent all summer along instead of tearing them down and being replaced by each other? I wonder how many times the same tents turn up on the same town square during the same summer?

I guess the weather has not been as favourable as last summer for all the festivals but at least there can be no complaints about the water levels sinking this year as the previous ones with hardly any rain at all. Even if electricity is less expensive at present than during the winter I guess that is nothing that will be noticeable in consumer pricing of the power we use anyway.

Have you ever tried smoked pike? If you have the chance do so, it is a delicacy I have never come across previously and I have not seen it sold anywhere, but we just received some as a gift from the fishing colleague of my husband’s. Being a bit prejudiced I have always thought that you should only smoke fish with high fatty levels, not dry as pike but it turns out really delicious and now I know of one more delicate way to prepare pike.

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Racism?


Finland has received asylum seekers from Somalia for some time already and the Somali population is more prone to commit crimes than the average Finns are themselves. Now more than a dozen offenders are facing having their asylum applications rejected and being sent back to Somalia. The Somali population now is wondering what went wrong in the way they were received here in Finland, how they were and still are treated by the natives. Well I see no harm in sending criminals back to where they came from if they do not behave like they should. If you move to a new country you should learn to live how the life is in that country, the new country has no need to adjust to you. You take the spoon in your hand and begin to eat what you are served.

Of course there are Somalis that behave well as there are Finns and people with other ethnicity that commit crimes, it should not be the ethnicity that decides how you are treated, and everybody has a right to be treated equally according to the law. When white Caucasians move to Somalia they face the same prejudices and problems as we immigrants do face here in Finland. I am just lucky that it does not show I am a foreigner but I still got rejections when applying for a job. And what really is racism but protecting your own ways against the unknown out of fear?!?

Monday, 23 July 2007

8th in honesty


According to a test performed worldwide by the Readers Digest Magazine the Finns are more honest than the average. The level of honesty was tested by leaving 30 mobile phones well seen spots in public places in the biggest city of the country and the Finns made it to the 8th place in honesty with Slovenia being the most honest country as almost all the mobile phones was returned in the city of Ljubljana in the limited time set for the test. The least honest turned out to be Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur where least mobile phones were returned.

Today the sun is shining from a clear blue sky and the weather is supposed to be quite warm without any rain in sight which has not been the case in many other European countries. The crayfish season just began and I have been wanting to have a crayfish party for a couple of years now but as nobody else is keen on these red little crustaceans in our family I never get to have my party. I have even suggested other food for the rest of the family to eat but my suggestions have not so far been received with any enthusiasm at all.

Sunday, 22 July 2007

Pygmy chanterelles and blueberrypie


Today the Finnish driving license has its’ 100th anniversary as the regulation for automobile traffic was announced today in 1907. The first driving licenses were granted a month after the decree was made public and according to it everyone who aimed to conduct an automobile should get a permission to drive. From the beginning the requested competence of the drivers varied with each municipality but since 1923 the guidelines were coordinated into the same guidelines for the whole country. There are today in Finland 3, 4 million holders of valid drivers licenses of three different lay outs.

I was saved form the babysitting of the colleague’s wife by a migraine, and this time not my own, as yesterdays hike to the national park was postponed indefinitely.

Instead I was pestered by chanterelle mushroom and blueberries surprises during the day. My husband first went off for a walk about middayish and happily returned home bringing with him freshly picked chanterelle mushrooms a couple of hours later. I love freshly picked chanterelles, it’s not that, it is just the cleaning of tiny, little mushrooms that puts me off and having to brush off all dirt from every little needle pin sized mushroom takes ages and they just shrink even more when cooking them, the taste of course is absolutely.

Later in the evening he went for another walk and once again returned home with pockets full of, not chanterelles this time, but blueberries so I had to make a blueberry pie that was not ready until 11 o’clock in the evening. And knowing my husbands history I just had to make the pie then as he would not have ceased pestering his mother in his youth if she did not make him the first blueberry pie straight away when he brought home the berries, as he would not have me either. At least he had the decency offering to clean the berries for the pie himself, I bet he did not do that in his youth.

I guess someone else might think it is nice if your husband picks berries and mushrooms, I quite enjoy doing it myself too, it is just the annually recurrent cleanings of these infinitesimally small pygmy mushrooms that I hate that keeps repeating itself until there is no more mushrooms anymore sometime in September October, depending on the year.

Saturday, 21 July 2007

Healthcare guaranteed


According to research from an ongoing study at the universities of Tampere and Helsinki based on material gathered from five Finnish-language and two Swedish-language newspapers, four magazines and five television channels in Finland the covered side of Muslims is mostly linked to terrorism and political violence abroad and there is almost no coverage on Islam as a religion or a culture. Does anyone ever make any research how the Muslims cover the Christian world, what they write about the rest of the world? Are all so called western countries terrorist countries according to their newspapers or what?

We always only see the one side of the matters that we personally are on as we do not know the other side’s truth or living conditions. How much of how we react is a result of the culture we live in and how we were brought up and how much of it is really ourselves, a result of what knowledge we have acquired during our lifetime and based on own our freewill? How good is the Internet as there is no one censoring what is in it, who is to publish and what?

I am myself quite disturbed by all sex-related spam that turns up in my mailbox and sex ads that pop-up as windows visiting some site covering a completely different issue. Yes there are net guards to adjust for avoiding it, but running the latest scan with the filters even this Blog turned out as being offensive containing sex!!!

Where, what, who, why?!? Having content in another language than English twists the results even more it seems.

Anyway, with the new so called health guarantee here in Finland you are supposed to get medical care in six months time through the National healthcare. Same goes for dental appointments with the municipal dental health, and having been on the queuing list since September last year I have finally received an appointment to a dentist in end of august. This makes almost a year counting any way, making more than six months in all ways.

I have been very fortunate with my genes and my teeth have been in good condition, I have not had much work done on them apart from a job done more than two years ago by this particular dentist I am appointed to again. The tooth that was fixed then is still not well and took 9 months then to get to quiet down, nothing major just a small cavity filled but apparently not with enough care.

My problem now is that you have to go to the dentist you have been appointed to, you can not go to someone else, not one of your own choosing. I used to be carefree about going to the dentist when young, even a couple of years ago before visiting this dentist but now I am horrified about it and the thought of going to this particular one…When asking about how to go on about changing dentist the answer was that it can not be done. In the end it was admitted that I could contact this one person about the issue, well, July being on all offices in Finland are understaffed if not closed as the officials are on their vacations and having to get in touch with a person in particular, well that is impossible.

The person in question as it happens is the same person I had to complain about the dental job to, but time running out before my appointment and in the worst case having to cancel it, well the result will surely be another waiting time of six months, the guaranteed time to get help in, which already turned out to be eleven months, almost a year!

Friday, 20 July 2007

Refugee


The Lutheran Church in Finland has given refuge to asylum seekers, and this time it is the churches in Kuopio that has offered refuge to a Sudanese asylum seeking woman who currently faces expulsion from the country. According to my knowledge it is not common for the church to hide people from the authorities here in Finland.

Children growing up are nice in a way and a pestilence in other ways, like being late and going for a shower to find out that someone at present is living in the shower, happy and singing. No use asking politely if it is possible to hurry up, the singing is too loud anyway and shouting makes it even worse, then the shower is even prolonged from what was from the beginning intended. Teenagers are definitely waterproof; they can stay there for hours! Interesting is though that the new Harry Potter film was seen in the movies just yesterday but the book that is to be released tomorrow has not at all been mentioned and all the previous books had to be bought right at the instance they were available in the bookstores! Maybe this is another sign of growing up, is it?

Not worth discussing the issue either in vain, it just makes you mad and it is not taken in concern next time anyway as it is not of any importance when it is not them having to get ready in time.

A hiking trip has been planned for the weekend the weather allowing it, out in the woods to see a national park of special importance and beauty. I really enjoy walking especially in the wilderness having my camera with me. My husband does not understand this whim of mine to take photos of things even though he used to be quite keen on it himself in earlier times.

Anyway, the pick-nick part of the hiking is always my favourite, to plan what to bring along into the woods, how to cook and if to cook at all. In this national park you are allowed to have open fire in places designed for it and I was surprised to hear you are even allowed to fish there, which of course got my husband and his colleague’s interest. The only thing now is, husband off fishing in some of the lakes in the area with his friend, leaves me alone with the entertaining of his wife that I have only met about three times, all day long.

She is not into photographing as I am the wife, don’t know what she is into, at least I know it is not fishing. I am quite happy even on my own in the woods but having someone with me all day I do not even know properly, well that kind of makes me feel uneasy about it all.

Either we this weekend see if my knee is up to walking longer distances again or I have to use it as an excuse to stay home. Meeting new people is nice when done in limited time and conditions like when invited for coffee or dinner but hiking in the woods always brings the worst out of people if you are not used to it, especially if the weather is bad.
And there is no church to take refuge in if I needed there is just me and the wife the woods!

Thursday, 19 July 2007

Perfect recipe


Many elderly people are suffering from malnutrition in Finland, especially the ones living in care units about 80% are either malnourished or at risk to becoming so according to research published by the University of Kuopio and the problem seems to be even worsening.

Quite often the elderly first suffer from an illness that makes it difficult for them to either eat or decreases the appetite and in this way impeding the recovery. This is said to be a consequence of personnel with no nutritional education at all together with too few care personnel in the units to aid the aged.

Yesterday Finland had its’ share of gale force winds with trees falling over cars and lifting roofs of cabins.

It was a nice day to stay indoors and just lie around on the sofa watching some old favourite films. I have always been very fond of the films of Akira Kurosawa and I yesterday watched Seichi, the seven Samurais. Even it being a black and white film I am amazed by the views and the camera angle. It being a Samurai war film there are beautiful scenes with blooming cherry being passed and blooming forest with chrysanthemums but the end is always as sad. I can not remember seeing another film with as much rain falling down as this one; the muddy puddles are half way up to the knees. Sometimes I wonder how beautiful old films would have been if in colour. Kurosawas Ran is a masterpiece, not maybe in the story as it is a copy of an original play by Shakespeare, but the colours, the views, the whole visual world is absolutely fabulous!

Anyway, today there is gastronomic activities performed by the offspring in the kitchen again but this time I am going to have to make you all disappointed it is all strictly following a recipe this time. No experiments today, the sweet tooth was aching and as there already is a favourite recipe it is used, unfortunately in no need of perfection according to the cook in question.

If all the experiments that have been tried out in my kitchen, including both mine and the offspring’s, and they had to have been eaten, well guess we would be quite malnourished too in this family. Take home is very convenient when cooking turned out badly out of one reason or other.

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Maternal pride


The Tall Ships' Race is at present in Kotka in Finland where they arrived after visiting Denmark. There are about 100 ships participating in the race and they will set off for Stockholm in a couple of day’s time and the Race last visited Finland four years ago in Turku.

Having two cats you are used to taking them to the vet for vaccinations both at the same time, different things turn up when just one has an appointment like this morning. The younger one had to go see the vet and mummy, that is me of course, was all nervous about it. Mister himself took it with great dignity; he was easily caught and put into his basket without a protest heard of, carried off to the car all silent and calm as a cucumber.

When together in the basket with his mum there is a cat aria sung before you get out of the elevator and the reaching out of the basket with stretched claws begins right after the engine is started. Even the waiting at the surgery was quiet and nice, not even stupid dogs did disturb this little gentleman’s behaviour.

Mummy managed to get mister who was acting a bit shy out of his basket; staying calmly on the examination table and going willingly back into his basket afterwards. I am amazed, so calm, and so quiet no protests and they are just bonkers when his mother comes along! As there are no two children alike I guess it goes for cats as well, and it seems that your company effects you, and sometimes very badly.

I am very proud of my little one today.

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Bad temper


Filling in applications is always tedious if not really boring, and having a deadline makes it even worse.

Having the deadline as someone stupid forgot what was agreed and went on forwarding the document to the official to handle it instead of sending it to me. So here I am with a deadline which would not have to have been until September and with only this week to go! Hot weather always worsens my temper; one good thing is that I did not forget to have breakfast today as I sometimes do.

Heat and forgetting to eat, well that is not a good combination at all and makes me frustrated and loosing my temper too easily.

Sunday, 15 July 2007

No catch


Couples living together unmarried is a contemporary trend in life in Finland and reality for many Finns.

20% of the couples cohabiting are parents but they do not have the same rights in the eyes of the law as married couples do, which causes troubles when splitting up from the relationship or in cases of death. According to the law cohabiting couples are strangers even after having been living together for 20 years and despite having children together. Now there is a bill proposition for legal rights for common-law marriages due for parliament next year.

I am glad I don’t have to think about this too much, it just makes my head spin.

Anyway, yesterday my husband spent all day fishing. The catch was seven different types of fish, and he even named then all but most of the fish were not ones you bother to cook or they were small enough to be thrown back into the lake Perch that our cats are so fond of, they only caught two little tiny ones and didn’t bother bringing home. Sitting in a boat for twelve hours and not even catching anything, well that goes beyond what is comprehensible for me. I like fishing but would not have the patience doing for an entire day, I need more variation. Now just imagine the disappointment of the cats when daddy comes home all smelling of nice fish and they get nothing!

Today is the birthday of one of my dearest friends and I had planned to join the celebrations but as vacation plans had to be altered completely I was not able to in the end. How sad, now I have missed the 50th and 60th anniversaries! A bit disappointing but hey, that's life for you once gain.

And if reading this my dear friend will know I am there in my thoughts. I did send an e-card along though, together with some love.

Saturday, 14 July 2007

Lamb or duck?


This year so far until the month of May 4.200 brand new companies were formed in this country with the help of Starttiraha, Starting-money, which is paid to facilitate for new entrepreneurs to get their businesses up and running. The novelty from the begging of this year is that now even employees and not only unemployed as earlier, that can receive this benefit.

I just visited a church that is famous for it’s’ murals painted by a famous Finnish painter.
I guess I can not deny the paintings were beautifully performed but the choice of what was painted I found very odd.

A big snake coiled up above you in the ceiling, a “garden of death” with skeletons and a blindfolded wounded angel carried by two boys and all painted in murky, musty colours. I have heard they used to perform executions in earlier times in the same spot where the church was built and apart from the horrible murals in the church the ambiance is quite awful, gives me the chills, and badly.

Being a Christian I think you should feel welcome and at ease entering a church but there you can only sense anxiety and depression. I could not for anything in my life imagine getting married or having my child baptized in that church, I even kept my visit to it to an absolute minimum. Where lies the joy and happiness you are supposed to feel entering a church?

A word of warning; beware of chefs who can not see the difference between lamb and duck, especially if you are allergic to the one or the other.

Yesterday, using some of my points having dinner at a restaurant I ordered duck medium rare and to my disappointment got lamb chops instead. Asking the waiter about it I was told that the order was for duck and not lamb so the plate of lamb was sent back into the kitchen. After half an hour of waiting when my companions had finished their meals long ago I got my duck.

Well, the duck was not medium rare as I ordered it, it was fried dry to a crust. The accompaniments were fine and sauces delicious but the whole meal was ruined because of the chef’s cock-up, even more disappointed I became when the bill was presented in full without any further excuses, not even with an offer to have coffee on the house as a comfort.

Well, one thing is for sure, we won’t be going back there again, not even with all my bonus points, it’s not worth it. I’d rather get the groceries and cook the duck, or the lamb for that matter, in my preferred way myself.

Friday, 13 July 2007

Finally Friday 13th


Finnish scientists have discovered a new amino-acid suspected to contributing in the transformation of healthy normal body cells into cancerous ones.

This new discovery is believed to help in developing new treatments and to cure cancer and the research results are published today in the “Cell” an international science journal where only five studies from Finland have been accepted so far for publication according to the news. I must confess I have never heard of this particular journal and I have read quite a few medical journals as I am interested in health issues, but then there are so many new journals popping up all the time.

Today is Friday the 13th once again, the unlucky day according to so many, a day to avoid. And how exactly should you avoid a day?!?

The photoshop owner just called back about a warranty check up of offspring’s digital camera. The camera was changed into a new and better one, once again. If you have been reading my Blog you know by now that this is the fourth camera in a row to be changed. I just wonder if this is good fortune or just bad luck, the old cameras were much better, you could handle them with much less care than these today.

I have always wondered about fashion and these silly little trends that pop up. For some time now Burberry has been in, and that I still can understand as their brand is not bad, even though Scottish tartans can be quite boring as there is not much to vary them with stripes forming squares in various colours.

The new thing this summer here in Finland are these colourful plastic clog-like shoes that come in yellow and blue. They look very clumsy and uncomfortable to wear but are said to be very nice to walk in, well so are nurses proper shoes to walk in, nothing to compare with a nice pair of high heels that you can wear on a nice, hot summer’s day and get sore feet.

I am going to spend some of my frequent buyer points wearing high heels even though the weather might not be good enough to be sitting on a patio sipping drinks. Still a nice meal with the family should be good to celebrate it is Friday today.

Thursday, 12 July 2007

No-use news


The news are sometimes most disturbing I think and have no sense at all. Now Finnish junkies and drug addicts are by the Finnish National Health Institute warned against visiting Stockholm in Sweden without bringing their own clean syringes to shoot their drugs with. And this is because there has been an increase in the occurrence of HIV infections recently in Stockholm and the junkies are now warned against sharing needles. Where lays the point in this?

I have had some friends that already when young turned junkies and died; well they did not care about anything but to get their fixes. And still today I have a friend that survived and quit, that has been clean for decades now so I have not exactly experienced it myself but know from reliable sources that one thing is for sure, you do not think about clean needles when needing a fix, you are just dying to do it, no matter what! So where lays the use of this news or warning from the Finnish Health Institute about syringes?!?

Anyway, pizzas turned out nice, a little over thick crust, maybe slightly undercooked and too easy on the toppings and cheese but they actually turned out quite like normal pizzas would, no surprising new combinations like peanut butter and jelly on it. I do not quite consider pizza food as I avoid eating carbs but as it was done as a birthday treat it was acceptable even for me. The pizza making need to be practised into perfection getting a good routine together with some tuning of the fillings. And the day the culinary experimenting extends to making carb free pizzas, well then I am game!

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Trying pizzas


Drug testing is today becoming more and more common in many workplaces here in Finland and an increasing amount companies run routine drug tests on their new employees. The drug testing is most common in trades with safety instructions, such as driving motored vehicles or running mechanical engines but now even banks and insurance companies have taken drug testing of their employees into their policies and failing the drug tests might result in not getting the job or getting fired.

Today is one of the days I do not have to cook for dinner, still today it is troubling me a bit as it is the offspring with the culinary ambitions trying anything with everything that is doing the cooking. Normally the things are quite simple, and making pizzas should be just that, simple. Just simply making the dough, get some tomato sauce, grate some cheese is still harmless enough but what goes on top of it, the pizza is where I begin to get worried. I know the possibilities lying around in the fridge but what was brought home from the supermarket that might surprise me.

Suggestions so to go on top of the pizzas have so far has been ham, pineapple, prawns, tuna and that still sounds quite normal to me, nothing to worry about as yet.

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Wonders of the digital age


Digital photographing is so fun and easy, you just shoot and discard the ones you do not like or did not turn out well.

I also like the way to store the photos digitally and not having them all printed out and put into photo albums. I have also recently begun contemplating the possibility of digitalizing all the photos, even the paper copies in traditional photo albums and store them safely on CDs, the only thing about it is that is time consuming project and I like doing things quickly and having them done right away.

Yesterday was one the days I have enjoyed most in some time as I had the opportunity to get some serious photographing done again with many different things to shoot both static and moving ones. Kids and pets are the most difficult ones to get good photos of as they never stay still, they just move about even if you try to make them not move. Actually one of the best shots from yesterday is one that might not be the best technically, shot a bit off handedly and being a bit blurred but it shows real action as only a cat and dog together can perform. So the greater part of today is now spent copying and saving the good ones to save and just by a click discarding the bad ones. I used to develop some of my black and whites myself but I never even tried developing colour prints and now you can just push a button and they are printed at home on paper type of your own choice.

The owner of the photo shop keeps telling me every time I go there for one reason or another that their prints last longer than the ones printed out at home, but hey, you can still print out new ones after they might have faded, just like you could get new copies from your own negatives and still can today.

Monday, 9 July 2007

Spaghetti Bolognese


According to recently published research your genes decide what foods you like. We all inherit a disposition to either like or dislike certain foods; how they taste according to the “palate” you have inherited from your ancestors. I thought that maybe the environment also had something to do with it, getting accustomed to new foods and tastes.

Well guess this does not count for taste in clothes or style, there I am certain it has to do with influences coming from them you are surrounded by or maybe just some people are style blind, similar to being colour blind. Sometimes I find it hard to see my mum looking back at me in the mirror in the mornings, I somehow never seem to see my dad there even though I look much alike them both, just depending on which one of them I am compared to. So inheriting your taste you get half and half of your parents, we just have to hope they have a good taste. Can’t live on bangers and mash all the time, or can you? The same pork sausages and potato-mash every single day, how boring would that be?!?

I just yesterday had tacos for the first time in years and they used to be my absolute favourite once years ago. I really don’t know what I like most nowadays, it tends to run in periods and as I do most of the cooking in this family well the rest of the family gets a bit bored with some dishes sometimes, maybe it now is time to go for them tacos again for a while?

The offspring was quite keen on spaghetti Bolognese a couple of years ago and I thought that we will find out how long we can eat it every day as I got tired of the same routine answer when asked what was wanted for dinner. I got tired after 10 days and still the answer to my question what shall I make for dinner was; Spaghetti Bolognese. Well, I like it too but not that much, and not for some time after the 10 days of eating it. So maybe it does run in families after all.

Sunday, 8 July 2007

What is Goth?!?


Patriotism and nationalism are two different things and I always thought they were the same thing.

According to Wikipedia; Patriotism denotes positive and supportive attitudes to a 'fatherland' (Latin patria < Greek patris), by individuals and groups. Nationalism is a term that refers to a doctrine or political movement that holds that a nation—usually defined in terms of ethnicity or culture—has the right to constitute an independent or autonomous political community based on a shared history and common destiny. So how does this work with adopted children from other countries and cultures, having got the culture but not the ethnicity, you can still be a patriot and fight for the country you live in, but can you be nationalistic then?

Another thing I have been busy thinking about lately is this Goth thing. All these whitish, pale people dressed with dyed black hair dressing only black. Okay, so here it goes, my question, has anyone ever seen any coloured Goths?!?

As Goths seem to be about a way of living, and is not necessarily about listening to the same music. It is not a political idea as the punks were in their days, is Goth only all about looks or what makes you a Goth?

Can you be a Goth if you do not have the right colour of skin?

It is strange how people are stuck ion their daily routines. Like when waking up in the morning before going to work, you just have your autopilot on, do the same things every morning in the same order and changing the order always makes you forget something. I always blog in the morning, best done before midday but when out of some stupid reason I have to be elsewhere before I have blogged for the day, well then I run out of ideas as my routines are disturbed and blogging at some other time during the day instead of the morning makes me feel awkward.

Saturday, 7 July 2007

7-7-7


Today is the most popular date to get married this summer in Finland.

In Tampere alone all churches are fully booked and about 50 more couples today are getting married than any other day this year with the Midsummer being traditionally the most popular day for weddings. The numbers 7-7-7 seems to be the reason. I just wonder why, the only thing I come to think of is that it might be an easy date for the future anniversaries for the spouses to remember.

Also the Live Earth concert is today, 7-7-7 the movement for a climate in crisis to improve people’s awareness about environmental issues all over the world. To make people more aware of what can be done to slow down the global warming and maybe the concert will help in making a change. The Live Earth concerts are held in 9 different cities in different parts of the world beginning in Australia early this morning Finnish time and the only free concert is in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. The concerts will be make an awful lot of carbon oxide and other waste so I just hope it will be worth it in the end.

The former vice-president of the United States Mr Al Gore is patron of the concerts and he seems to have become a huge cult figure after the release of his film, An Inconvenient Truth. I found the film quite shocking to watch as it made sense. Well, guess someone’s has to tell the truth even if it an inconvenient one or one you do not wish to hear.

Aerosmith is performing a concert in Helsinki today; it is 10 years now since their previous visit here in Finland. Having a concert 7-7-7 the show should have begun at 7 too, well guess you can’t have it all.

Those guys have been going strong for so many years now, how old does it make you feel if a band that has been around since the stone ages and that happens to be for almost as many years as you are old yourself?!?

Friday, 6 July 2007

Back problems


There are today 250 wolves in Finland and the population of wolves has tripled in recent years and most of the wolves live in the eastern parts of the country.

As for bears I have no figures but they are more common and you might run into one when out in the woods as they have once again regained the whole country as their habitat. A stubborn bear just recently was swimming to the southernmost peninsula of Finland, Hanko, and had to be shot not to cause any trouble as it was heading into town. but they never told where the bear was swimming ashore from on the news.

Today I had planned to go to the market early in the morning and get some fresh strawberries to make some jam; well a slight change of plans was needed as my back is not working properly. A bad back seems to run in our family but to tell you the truth I have had my own share in making it worse. A couple of bad falls during the years, a glider plane accident in my teens and a baseball bat in my spine when in my twenties have done the final touches to it. Normally my back works and I almost forget I have a bad back but now and then hell breaks loose and this is one of them days again.

I can move but not bend and even thinking of crouching down or squatting makes me twitch so the planned trip out to the cottage of a friend’s is out of the question this weekend.

Yesterdays fishing catch was mostly perch and they have gone down well, just tiny small fish but as they go down heads and tails, they are gutted but with their skin on and so happy they are the pair of them and offspring is now tired of helping me as I can not bend down, at least I have once more got a good excuse to make them do some things as I simply can not myself. Washing had to be done, dishes washed and cats fed. Too sad I still can vacuum and wash the floors if needed.

And our family has adopted a Finnish custom, the washing of carpets outdoors.

There are actually municipally run places where you can wash your mats and carpets outdoors here in Finland and it is especially popular on warm sunny summer days and most frantic the washing seems to be just before Midsummer festivities, you just have to get your home cleaned up for it. Warm weather is nice as you do not freeze washing them and then they dry up quickly afterwards. The smell of the Finnish liquid soap, Mäntysuopa, is very nice and it stays for quite long.

We have decided to go and wash them mats next week so I guess unfortunately for me I might have recovered fully and my back might by then be working properly again.

Thursday, 5 July 2007

Lavender biscotti


According to most Finns the pressure of high demands and the fast pace at work are the biggest problems in their professional lives. Finnish entrepreneurs only keep two weeks vacation per year but would like to have the usual four weeks employees usually have. And women still earn less money compared to men doing the same job disregarded their education, so what is new in the world?

Well, I was earlier today invited to go on a fishing trip tonight, then someone, and I bet it was dear spouse of mine, came to think about the amount of resident spiders in the boat to be used on this trip, a slight change of planes was introduced to my disappointment, but when hearing about the reason I was quite relieved and pleased of the outcome so I am not going fishing anymore tonight.

I hope at least the cats will get some fulfillment from it though, get full of fish that is.

I really am terrified of spiders to tell you the truth, no matter how small they are and I can’t help myself. It is such an unreasonable phobia and I might probably be holding the world record of height and length jumping at the same time if shown a big, black hairy spider!

So with the cancellation of my trip the offspring is soon to be disappointed as soon as it is announced that mummy does not go fishing and their party plans for tonight will have to be cancelled promptly as I am staying home making these lavender biscotti I have thought about trying for such a long time now.

Coming to think about it, going out walking in the woods then climbing into a boat with these feet of mine after yesterdays disaster choice of shoes might not have been a good idea anyway.

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Dangerous cooking


The International trade in recycling and scrap metal is growing and the recycling industry in Finland has grown by about 150 percent during the last few years. The one concern now is that the material is exported to countries where the material might not be handled with proper safety precautions and proper care.

Some things I just wonder why you never learn. They say that you learn from making your own mistakes and with experience you grow wiser but I wonder as some things I tend to forget about and do the same mistake over and over again and at least once a summer I wear the wrong shoes going to town.

I have even ruined a whole vacation abroad by putting brand new, and as it happens, half a size too small trainers on, walking in them on a hot summer’s day around sightseeing a big town abroad getting sore feet with blisters that got infected when they burst. I was not able to wear proper shoes until late September that summer, luckily it was a warm autumn that year, and it was not in Finland.

I have had blisters on my feet in the most peculiar places, and I still tend to get them from shoes I have had for years. You know; if you buy good quality shoes you have them for a couple of years and still use them when they come in fashion years later. Shoes that are walked in, that are comfortable on your feet and you supposedly do not get any sores from anymore. Well I still do, the shoes I wore today had been walked in many times this year already, and they were not brand new and here I am again with blisters all over, even under my feet!

Not even acquiring new frequent buyer points I could go for drinks for on a terrace could interest me in going shopping tomorrow as I right now I feel like some scrap you could just throw away!

But I guess that someone has to cook dinner, or cut the salad ingredients and tossing them in a bowl together with some salad dressing.

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Bonus drinks


The Finns are flooded by various bonus and frequent buyer points in all department stores, restaurants, petrol stations, food chains and supermarkets.

For every chain there is a different card and the points earned are counted differently from each other resulting in thick wallets for anyone living in this country. A thick wallet has earlier been thought of as being full of money but in this country it is merely the amount of plastic cards, not even credit cards, resulting in it being thick.

Smoking became prohibited in bars and restaurants from 1st of July here in Finland and I have been out a couple of times since then but I have not noticed anything peculiar about it until yesterday when come to think of it.

As I am not a habitual smoker I do not tend to notice whether people smoke or not and being on a terrace basking in the sun while having a drink the other day, well to be absolutely honest with you, the drink being accompanied by a cigar I did not even reflect that I might be breaking the law. There were ashtrays on the terrace so I guess it was allowed there, but without thinking about it I might have been lighting it inside when getting it. Funny how you tend to forget things, it would just have been natural to have lit up right there at the counter in the bar with the matches I got for it.

According to latest facts today about 25% of the Finnish women are heavy drinkers compared to only 12% in the 1960’s. Why?

More liberal drinking habits or just equality in a stupid way between the sexes, women trying to catch up with men who are physiologically better equipped to handle alcohol or are just more women unhappy than forty years ago?

Or are these the same 13% women that were not drinking then but are now retired, no job and no kids at home more having nothing better to do with their time than to drink? How is heavy drinking measured, compared to you weight, your muscle mass, what you drink, how much you drink or how often you drink? There too many factors involved in this to make any sense in anything but I just love statistics as I always come to think of new questions and you can turn the same facts any way you want to still it being the truth.

Anyway, this having a drink now and then is a good idea to use some of the points earned I just found out by accident when asked about it by the bartender paying for the drinks being out on the terrace.

Well, well, does this mean that I have to do even more shopping than I currently am doing earning as many bonus points as possible in order to pay for all the drinks I am to have this summer sitting in the sun on terraces all over town?

Monday, 2 July 2007

Still need luck


A new revolutionizing treatment for threatening cerebral stroke has been invented in Finland and is to be published in a medical journal today.

The new diluting treatment is said to be less damaging on the cerebral blood vessels than the traditional ones .

The only problem is to know when you are having a stroke!

The blood clots usually form somewhere in our legs and then follow the bloodstream and cause a stroke corking up the oxygen supply to the surrounding tissue and causing damage to the same. If you have never had any previous symptoms, how are you supposed to know when to seek medical advice?

It’s like having an aneurysm, you most likely don’t find out about it until the aneurysm has broken, you either die or have a cerebral haemorrhage surviving it and there you need luck in order to fully recover. Well, if you are lucky enough to be in hospital you might get the right treatment, but hey, that‘s with everything in life, it all depends on your luck.

Anyway, I was surprised to hear that there are only about 200 proper post offices here in Finland with a population of about 5 million. To tell you the truth, there actually are 1200 more post offices that are combined with something else, like a supermarket or something, and they run the business for the postal service which in Finland so far has been governmentally run. I guess it is more convenient to go buy your groceries and at the same time get your parcels from the post even if at 9 PM when shopping for your groceries outside the post offices normal business hours.

Well guess this will not improve things for me anyway, still with more liberal opening hours I still need lucky to remember the opening hours for the supermarkets as they vary with the weekdays and the seasons!

Sunday, 1 July 2007

Tasty toasts


According to the Finnish Forest research Institute this summer's blueberry crop is expected to turn up better than average one which means good times for all the berry pickers. Last year’s dry summer with hardly no rain at all here in Finland, was no good for berry picking but this summer we have had some rain and it is looking good. Not as many Finns as used to in earlier years go berry picking anymore and today more and more tourist from neighbouring countries come here to pick the berries making “big bucks” compared to their standards back home.

And the strawberries are soon coming into season which means that there is some jam for mummy to make for the long winter months to spread on breakfast toasts. And come to think of breakfast toast, well this porridge cooking offspring of mine has recently picked up another breakfast habit, now it is toast with peanut butter, but as you probably might know the peanut butter itself is not tasty as it is not sweet enough, and having a sweet tooth with its’ cravings the varieties are tried out. The culinary experiments on peanut butter on toast has so far in our kitchen been cherry jam, strawberry jam, raspberry jam, apricot jam, applesauce, redcurrant jam, blackcurrant jelly and I thrilled to see whether the mint sauce or rhubarb jam ever turns up on the toast. Well, that would be the day!