Friday, 31 August 2007

Creamy stuff

The government budget talks have now agreed upon a cutback on the VAT on food in October 2009 with 5 % of the current rate of today’s 17 %.

I really wonder if that makes any difference to the consumer retail prices anyway, the shops and supermarkets tend to hike the prices up before such changes in order to be able to afford the prices going down with the tax reduction. Another thing that recently has been up for discussion is the origin of food, what it contains and where it comes from as many producers just refine what they have bought elsewhere and mostly not even locally or nationally.

Just recently one of the Finnish dairy manufacturers had to withdraw one type of food cream, which is a cream with lower percentage of fat than average cream, from the supermarkets. This cream in question was not even real cream made out of cow’s milk but instead a concoction made of vegetal fats with preservatives and other additives making it cream-like and said to be healthier than ordinary cream as it contains more vegetable oil, thus also containing more unsaturated and healthier fatty acids.

The reason for the manufacturer being obliged to withdraw the creamy stuff was that the guar gum used as emulsifier in the product was discovered containing too high levels of dioxin and according to the cream manufacturer the dioxin containing guar gum in question originating from abroad as it does of course not grow in Finland. Even when food is made organically, grown locally here in Finland, how do you know it is not grown next to the most trafficked roads in the country, right in the middle of a big city or next to a chemical plant? Even though the food is grown without fertilizers and pesticides, according to my logic it is not organically grown with nearby sources of pollution.

Where does our food come from originally?
How healthy is it ?
Anyway, it snowed yesterday in the most northern parts of Finland and snow is quite rare this early in the year and up in the north people woke up with 5 cms of snow that had fallen during the nightIt is currently colder than it usually is in the rest of the country as well and the fall is well on its way. Funny you always look for the migrating birds to arrive in the spring and especially for the swallows to return to Finland, but you hardly ever see them leave, they just disappear every fall over night like they have done it one more time. Of course you see the other migrating birds flying to the south for the winter in long rows, singing as they leave.

Thursday, 30 August 2007

Whether to or not to?

Nicotine chewing gums and pads to aid quitting smoking were in February last year released in Finland to be sold in supermarkets, petrol stations and shops in addition to having earlier been available in only pharmacies.

The sale on cigarettes has gone down less than expected and it seems that it has had no effect on decreasing smoking as the nicotine products now are used in addition to smoking cigarettes when smoking is either prohibited or not possible out of one some reason. According to recent a Gallup 26 % of persons between the ages of 15-79 are smokers and 7 % of them are using nicotine products in addition to the smoking.

So the question seems to have become “when to smoke or not to smoke” instead of the “if to smoke or not to smoke” as “Big Brother” obviously wanted it to rather have been.

Still I am personally thankful that my dear spouse has sticked to his non-smoking line this long as his health has been better than it used to be when he was smoking. I can not quite understand anyone having been smoking for 30 years, always tasting like an ashtray in your mouth as I have only been “on and off” more kind of party-smoker and not an accustomed smoker for longer periods of time.

Anyway, now it seems that we finally might be moving, and that quite soon within the next week possibly as we are going to see an apartment this afternoon that at least on the sketch might be working for our family. Now we just have to see the place in reality so we can determine whether it meets our needs, whether the location is approved by the offspring or not and if it feels right, if you know what I mean. I am thrilled by having a new place to furnish and decorate but at the same time I just hate the idea of moving. I hate the to having to pack everything into boxes to be transported to the new place in order to be unpacked again, hate everything needing to be washed and cleaned, curtains, rugs… God, I wish I could just throw everything out of the window and just buy new stuff! On second thought, maybe not a good idea after all as I do not like shopping like some of my girlfriends do and maybe the fact that I actually like most of our stuff, but perhaps some things might kind of accidentally break when moving and needing to be replaced with new ones?

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Third most guns in the world!

Apparently firearm ownership in Finland is the third highest per capita in the world, according to The Small Arms Survey 2007 done by the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva.

It is said according to the study that there are 90 guns per 100 people in the US, followed by Yemen with 61 per 100 people and coming third with 56 guns for every 100 residents in this country!
According to the
Geneva based researchers, “gun violence often occurs in urban areas rapidly growing with extreme poverty creating lawless areas without effective policing”. I wonder how that applies to Finland, the urban areas with extreme poverty. I had no idea the Finns were this gun prone, but it sounds quite a lot to me. Anyway, I guess it is one person owing more than one gun, and this was not just handguns in the survey I gather, hunting rifles and shotguns must have been counted as well and there are a lot of people hunting here in Finland.

The most annoying thing has occurred, I have come down with an eye infection in only my left eye, and my left eye is swollen and it hurts to just keep it open, which would be the normal thing to do when being awake. This is an odd thing that happens to me now and then and it is only the left eye that gets infected and swollen. Guess I now have to think about getting a doctors appointment for this afternoon to sort this thing out before it gets out of hand and affects my eye sight permanently.

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Is coffee good or bad?

Just last winter Finnish research suggested that coffee has beneficial effects on our cholesterol-levels also reducing blood-sugar which would mean less heart-disease and diabetes but now according to this latest Finnish research suggesting the consumption of coffee can lead to hypertension in no concordance with the consumed amount of coffee with one out of 10 commencing an anti-hypertensive drug treatment from the test group.

So, is coffee good for us or is it bad?

Who is to tell if the test group in the latest research would have had to begin the drug treatment anyway even if not drinking any coffee ever? It seems to always be the same, you have to make up your own mind whether to and what, just if and with moderation. Same thing about alcohol, good for you in moderation, especially red wine with it’s’ health effects, but bad for you when over doing it.

One thing lately widely discussed has been whether to treat smokers in the public health care as they have inflicted their deteriorating health by smoking, but years ago no one knew it was bad for you and the same government that now is limiting and prohibiting the smoking in every possible way actually gave away cigarettes for free during the wars to every soldier whether smoking or not smoking! It was back then every man’s right and I know for a fact that in many homes parents smoking indoors with the children present still was every day life in the 70’s here in Finland!

There are nowadays warning texts on every cigarette pack sold in the country and currently is discussed whether to place pictures on the cigarette packs in the future. Like with everything, when it becomes the ordinary every day you don’t even notice it anymore, like the warning texts, and in many ways you rebel against too much of “Big Brother watching you” mentality and now it seems we are to quit drinking coffee as well.

Well good for me as I only drink an average of one cup a day of coffee just for company’s sake and have stickled to my accustomed tea for decades already but guess it will be banned as a health risk too in the near future.

Monday, 27 August 2007

The creeps

Yesterday was spent on an ex tempore mushroom picking trip into the woods. The picking was quite fun as there were so many different species for gathering and the challenge was to keep them separate as they need to be prepared in differing ways. Some to be cooked in salted water, some to be fried separately according t species and some to be dried in the sauna. As we do have a sauna I use it for drying mushrooms and some herbs as it is a space readily available and mostly empty unless when heated up for having a bath and it was not Saturday yesterday which is the traditional day for having a sauna.

Our trip was great fun and I got some smashing photos of the mushrooms collected, some berries and other stuff growing in the wilderness and the collectors picking mushrooms as well. The day was spent in splendid sunshine with none of promised rain showers in sight although it has cooled down a bit from previous days.

There was one thing that really did annoy me in the woods, I mean spiders there are anywhere so them I just have to cope with but this nuisance is fairly new here in Finland, the elk fly. Much has been told about them in the media and they most certainly have arrived from the east and have now spread all the way to the Åland archipelago but I had not quite understood what they were about until googling them after arriving home yesterday. The elk fly is a species of flies that suck only the blood of elks and lay their eggs into the hide of the elks, although some stories have been told about them possibly also be interested in reindeers as well, but this I have not got confirmed as yet.

I thought they did bite humans as well sucking our blood and was weary about having them crawling around on my person. The elk fly land on elks or in this case humans and, loose their wings and begin to crawl around to find a place to suck blood and lay their eggs. They are quite flexible even though they have a hard shell like most insects, and they are almost impossible to squish to death, they just keep on crawling on you over and over again after you think that you surely by now have killed them.

After yesterday having googled the elk fly I found out that they hardly ever bite humans and are in no way harmless to us unless you happened to be allergic to them and they accidentally bite you. I really do no understand why people buy special hats to avoid the elk fly bites as they do not bite and why there would need to be an elk fly repellent. What’s the point of having a repellent if it does no harm to you?

As it happens, the elk fly is a master of hiding and still hours after quitting the woods we still found some crawling around in our clothes and hair back at home even though we thoroughly went through all our clothes when leaving. It still gives me the creeps just thinking about an elk fly crawling around on me!

I am quite with the Internet; having the information needed, freely available ready at hand when needed; now there are just annoying mosquitoes, elk flies, spiders and ticks to mind when out in the woods just annoying but nothing dangerous. Well one occasional and nowadays quite rare poisonous viper. You hardly ever come across anyway as they tend to avoid us humans, we just accidentally step onto their territory or on top of them in the worst case.

Anyway, I am quite pleased with yesterday’s catch of mushroom now we are stocked up with most mushrooms we are able to eat in one year. Maybe we should do one more trip as you never know if there next year will be any mushrooms, as some years have been exceptionally dry summers, like last year.

Saturday, 25 August 2007

Going off

One thing I have been wondering about is that everything and anything is marinated in the supermarkets here in Finland.

When walking through a supermarket there are chopped, sliced whole or diced chicken, fish mostly salmon, meat chopped, sliced whole or diced and chopped, sliced whole or diced poultry and they all come in several different marinades and packed ready to just fry in a pan.

Then there are the unseasoned ones, the same fish, beef, pork, chicken and turkey but without any spices that is more expensive than the marinated ones. And what do they put into the marinade that makes them less expensive than the plain, unseasoned meats? Or has the plain meat after the best before date has run out been re-packed and shoved into a spicy sauce to conceal it not being as fresh as before?

And what is in the marinades anyway as there are plenty to choose between the tangerine, garlic, herbs and barbeque ones only to mention some for each of your chopped, sliced whole or diced variety of chicken, turkey, pork and beef?

This is said to be a development during the past few years as people have less time for cooking, well how hard can it be to season it in your own way and being sure of its’ freshness and how it tastes without the spices to cover it if being slightly off?

Anyway, the strangest things begin to happen with people when they fall in love, their personality alters and the younger the person is, and the unsure of themselves the persons are, the more they try to match their partners, their boyfriends and girlfriends. And as you begin to date and go steady, you want to see the other half as much as possible and the time is limited if you are going to different schools and do not share a hobby.

Now the latest turmoil in our home had been discussions about all of a sudden quitting about a hobby that has been around since early childhood, which during the years has become a way of living, and it would be hard to be without it as much of the excessive energy is used that way, and I think it would be the wrong thing to do right now.

Even sadder is that the offspring has good chances of becoming a professional in it, if not even real world class champion but surely to live of, and many others would give their right arm for being as good as that. Well maybe not, they would not be able to without the arm but you get my drift, so now we are trying to talk calmly about thing and explain that too much time together might even be bad for the relationship as you have to be an individual, to know who you are yourself, before you can be joined and one with somebody else.

At least that is what I have learned from life. Maybe it is some kind of marinade this love thing too, you just don’t see it yourself while being in the middle of it and too much company might also sadly enough make relationships go of prematurely.

Friday, 24 August 2007


A fifteen year old adolescent here in Finland has been fined for posting a video of his teacher singing on YouTube, declaring it being from a mental hospital mentioning the teacher’s name.

The District Court of Nurmes determined that the adolescent was of age to understand the consequences of his actions and how it would affect the authority of the teacher in the school. The adolescent got fined by the court with 90 euros for defamation together with 800 euros for suffered damages together with having to pay about 2.000 euros for the court proceedings.

The story has one good point in all its’ sadness, you can not publish photos or film clips without the approval of the person appearing in it if the face is to be recognized. That is why I so rarely take pictures of people or in public as they are not always applicable in any way. Take a photo in the town square for instance and post it somewhere and someone is in the wrong place with the wrong person they are not supposed to be there with at that time, then you are in trouble.

This is the reason why I strictly stick to photos of friends and family, and hardly ever publish any recognizable faces on the Net, to avoid getting into any trouble.

Anyway, now the southern most Finland has been pestered by heavy rain with thunderstorms during the mornings. Lightning has struck in people and aerials affecting the national TV and radio broadcasts and the train connections have been on and off standstill in various directions around the capital area, hindering commuters getting to work. Buses and coaches seem to have been the safe way of getting where you have planned to arrive at a given hour these last few days if you have not had your own car to rely on.

Now the weekend finally is here and a bit colder weather is expected together with rain in most parts of the country which should be nice for a change.

Thursday, 23 August 2007

One of those days again

The libraries in Finland are suffering from staff shortages and there is a lack of especially educated and experienced librarians as new employees often lack the education needed for their position.

This might once again be an attempt to cut down costs of the municipalities, which is sad as the libraries in Finland are an excellent institution and the Finns continue to be active book lenders as it is free even though you sometimes must wait to get your hands on a hot copy of a bestselling novelty but you get to read it in the end.

Anyway, finding a new apartment to live is not as easy anymore as it used to be “in the old times” with teenagers involved and wanting to have a say in the choice of the new habitation and everyone has to be pleased, or maybe I should just please myself and leave all with a fact, this is it?

There is the location to keep in mind, to be able to see and keep in touch with their friends, and the apartment itself must meet all required standards of the offspring. How the apartment looks and is equipped, the colour of walls, the size of the rooms, is there a sauna, a balcony or a garden and the list just goes on. On top of all this, it seems that this is the wrong season to do it as it now is the end of the summer as many relationships that bloomed during the summer now has born fruit and couples are moving in together. And there are always the new incomers every autumn moving to town to study, from somewhere else needing somewhere to live so I guess we might be lucky to have a new place at Xmas to move to when these new relationships begin to come falling down a shambles. I personally would have preferred to have moved during the warmer period of the year, but then it might have been raining anyway with my luck, and today has been one of those days again.

Some days everything just seems to go wrong. Like when I was at the hairdresser’s earlier today to get a haircut, I walked into the coat rack and got my mp3-players cords entangled in it knocking it over my feet. Later when at the local shop getting some milk for my tea I to my delight spotted bagels, and as they are a special favourite of the offspring I got some, as they normally just have them on Fridays out of some peculiar for me unknown reason and I thought I’ll get some cream cheese to go with them.

Arriving home I to my disappointment discovered that I had apparently forgotten the cream cheese in the shopping basket as I do recollect having picked it off the shelf and it was not specified on the receipt I got. So here I am having a nice cup of tea and there are bagels but no cream cheese, and what is a bagel without cream cheese? Like carrot juice, tastes like carrots but is not crunchy and chewy as I prefer to eat my carrots and dietary fibre is essential I have heard. And they say this is probably going to be the last hot day of the summer for this time, well, this mind of mine is beginning to worry me, as the cooking of my tea did not turn out well. Putting the kettle on but forgetting to switch it on, well that is a major error in tea cooking, the hot water. Bagels I have but no tea. Yet.

I really wonder who will be doing the cooking today as I ma not sure whether I dare to as things just go wrong some days and this is certainly one of those days I should not be near anything hot or sharp as a knife. A salad would of course rule out the using the stove but not the knife, and there are some nice and fresh salad ingredients in the fridge and it would suit the weather, wonder who I can trick into making it as I am continuing to read the book I just have begun reading yesterday and will go on doing it for the rest of the day to prevent myself from any serious corporal damage.

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Senator suing Finnish newspaper?

According to the morning news, Russia is said to in the 1990’s have proposed to sell back the eastern parts of Finland, Carelia, which was ceded in World War II.

Now the a former Russian State Secretary and First Deputy Prime Minister stated in the story, who currently is a senator in the upper house of parliament, has threatened to take legal action against the Finnish newspaper that published the story “if he feels Russia has been insulted”.
According to the story, which was published in last week Finnish newspaper, “
Russia was in the 1990s fighting financial problems and considered selling the former Finnish regions of Carelia back to Finland”. The paper continued by saying that the senator, an aide to the then-president Boris Yeltsin, “was to speak to Finnish leadership in the matter”. The story has now been denied by the senator saying that “no Russian leader has ever promised to return any land back to Finland in any way”, saying that “the claims were probably based on internal discussions within Finland”.

Nothing to worry about, Finland already got back some parts of Carelia from the Russians, even though it was to be inhaled in small particles by most Finns last summer during the many forest fires that kept on burning for weeks on the other side of the eastern border.

Still, the border between Germany and France has been moved so many times during the centuries that the citizens of Elsass, or Alsace are more or less both French and German never minding where their passports are issued, and Britain and France are still at war since the times of Joan of Arc as no peace treaty was written back then if I remember it correctly.

But as Carelia was such a big part Finland with large crowds of fugitives having to flee leaving all their property behind only to be relocated in Finland with no property at all, it is hard for many Finns to accept the fact that Carelia still today remains Russian and is not joined back with the rest of Finland.

Today with all that has been going on in the St Petersburg and the surrounding areas with building and construction, the modern Russia of the 21st century having invested too much economically in the recent years to just let go of it, it seems most unlikely that Finland ever would regain Carelia, according to most Finnish experts specialised in Finno-Russian relations, and this to the great disappointment and being a hard fact to accept for many Finns both with and without Carelian heritage.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

With a bang

Well the annual bear hunting season sure got off with a bang and it was covered in the media in a bigger way than normal here in Finland as one of the hunters was attacked by the bear he had just shot and ending up in a wrestling competition with the bear. Luckily the hunter he survived without any severe injuries and the bear finally died of its’ wounds. Quite strikingly the place where it all happened is called Kontiolahti, which would be translated into about “Bear Bay” if I have got it right.

The warm weather continues even though the night now are beginning to be chillier and there is more moisture in the air as it is turning towards autumn, now I am just waiting for the leaves to turn into all these beautiful orange, red and yellows to get some beautiful photos again. My favourite season definitively is autumn, not only because of the colours or the freshness and crispiness in the air I love so much but mostly because we all get back into our normal routines again after the summer vacations. The normal daily rut continues as always before and I can change from this cold salad food into making more soup which I just love, and I can not eat hot food ion warm weather, so hot soup requires cold weather, or at least some rain.

Anyway, I am quite proud that a few of my photos have been published on the net in other people’s stories. I guess my writing still has some way to go before I can call myself a writer but I am working at that all the time.

Monday, 20 August 2007

License to kill

A 26-year-old nurse was to begin with last week arrested for two suspect deaths two at an institute for mentally disabled in Ylöjärvi, Finland.

The nurse denies any guilt and the investigations have now expanded to seven suspect deaths and two attempted murders. The National Bureau of Investigation has expanded their investigations into a series of suspect poisonings in the area around the city of Tampere. As all the deaths at the nurse's previous workplaces are looked into. They are also investigating if any insulin is gone missing from the premises where she has worked as an eight-month-old child was found with unnatural high levels of pharmaceutical insulin levels.

So far no reasons for exhuming the bodies of the investigated deaths have been found.

Wow, now it seems that there is on serious serial killer and a woman for that matter here in Finland, quite unusual according to the statistics, the serial killer being a woman I mean and quite young for that matter.

Anyway, the hunting season for ducks and bear was opened today and today is expected to be the busiest hunting day and you need a licence to kill. I wonder how many accidents happen on the first day you are allowed to hunt, sitting around excited waiting for the first legal bird to shoot to fly by you. Or the first legal bear to pass by you missing to see that it is your neighbour out picking mushrooms or berries? Even better if is the annoying neighbour you want to get rid of instead of the ducks.

Saturday, 18 August 2007

A no gain situation

Nokia is the world’s 5th most valuable brand. It is trademarked and almost everybody in the world probably knows that Nokia is a manufacturer of mobile phones, but how many know that the company is Finnish and that t is the name of a city?

Nokia is a little city right next to Finland’s second biggest city, Tampere in south-western Finland, and the company Nokia began once by manufacturing Wellington boots and car tyres. The city centre of Nokia still today smells of rubber from the still running tyre factory and of course of the fumes from the paper mill. Traditionally the reason for situation of old industries has been waterpower in the Nordic countries and in Nokia it was the same, the rapids supplied for the power and later on for the electricity for the whole city.

Beggars in the streets have not been as common a sight here in Finland as in other parts of Europe until in recent years.

Of course every part of town has their own originals and the usual street musicians play their music in their accustomed places, some more foreign street musicians occupy their spots during the summer and they get their fare share of pennies but to get back to these beggars again.

The reason why the street begging never will be a success here in Finland is quite straight forward, those foreigners, as they are never Finnish these beggars, they obviously are outlandish according to their apparent way to dress, probably from somewhere from eastern Europe I would guess. According to most Finns I have spoken to the Finns think that the beggars only came, they had to have money to get here, so they must have the means to get out of here.

Today when walking down town for the weekend’s groceries as we normally do, dear husband of mine and me, there was this woman who was standing on her knees praying like for her absolution for her sins in a Catholic Church, begging for money in the street. Quite theatrical and a new way to do it I have not previously seen in this country before.

There are the ordinary winos begging for money for food of course, the kind that gets mad at you when you offer to buy them food as they really wanted the money to get some more booze to pour down their throats but that’s about it.

Anyway, there are some things that work in some countries, and just don’t work in other countries and as a fact it is not always about getting any money the begging is done for, just out of a habit sometimes. I happened to know a pair of women that have been living in a cardboardbox in the same streetcorner for twenty years now, and they refuse to budge. They have been replaced by the police for countless times but they always turn up a in the same street corner where they probably will stay until they die, even the police nowadays has resigned and the only trouble they get is when some fresh policemen want to make their mark on the territory. And for the record, for them it a way of living in the street, they do not even want anything else. They have been there to stay for two decades already, everybody knows they are there, and they will stay. And they get no money form the passers-by as they know they have always been there.

It is a no gain situation.

Friday, 17 August 2007

Visits in vain

Antique icons of the Greek Orthodox Church are much coveted and sought after as they are as beautiful as valuable and yesterday one Icon from the 18th century was stolen from the Helsinki Uspenskij Cathedral. The icon in question was stolen during the church’s’ opening hours with tourists visiting the church premises at the same time. It was not until some time later was discovered that the icon was missing.

Quite a daring way to steal something, daring to do it with all people around but seems strange it has been done totally unnoticed.

Anyway, the Finnish public health service is world renowned for being good and efficient; well my opinion of having the experiences I have had and heard of others’, the health service is badly overrated. If you make an appointment with the doctor through the public sector, tell what you want to see the doctor about and if it happens to be something out of the normal routine it all goes wrong as you get to see some locum instead who is there just for the day and is not even allowed to take care of more than standard routine acute cases. So there was one more useless time that you saw a doctor just in vain and as the matter in question has to be taken care of you have to go see another doctor later on, what a waste of resources and money!

Another thing that bugs me with the health care is that if you get referred to a specialist they only search and determine what you were referred to them for, they do not see what causes it and this sometimes makes you have to visit hospitals and specialists many times before the right diagnosis is made, if ever, as instead of finding out what is wrong you just shuffle people around in hospitals from one clinic to another and in the end no one knows who started it. At least you have seen several specialists and hopefully had nice chats with them but it still does not get to the point, why you are ill with the symptoms still prevailing as the disease has not gone away and you still know no more than before.

So there is another way to waste the excellent resources by inefficiency, not making use of what you have got.

There is a so called health guarantee, that you in the national health care shall get to see a specialist, or a dentist for that matter, but it does not always work the way it should, you just get to wait for months, and in worst case for years over the given time limit anyway.

The acute part of the health care here in Finland is mostly excellent, when breaking a bone for instance, you are expertly and efficiently x-rayed and plastered in hardly any time at all but having something more diffuse like an unusual thyroid condition for instance you are mostly treated as a hypochondriac until someone finally really reads through your case file and thank God you are saved just in time!

It is sad that the doctors here in Finland do neither have the time nor the ability to listen to their patients properly instead of writing them off before time and making presumptions. One good thing though, you usually get your migraine medications if you just remember to refill your prescriptions in time before the next attack hits you hard. Guess this is one thing that keeps me sane.

Oh, and there is someone very dear I must not forget to wish a happy birthday today!

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

World record in karaoke

World record in continuously singing karaoke was on Tuesday night done karaoke singer in a bar in Kouvola Finland. They broke the previous record from China of 145 hours late Tuesday night and The Karaoke Club of Kouvola is still going strong keeping on going until Sunday if only possible having clocked 240 hours singing!

I sure hope they sing better than some contenders in song contests but guess here it is a mere question of voicing out words aloud and not the quality or standards of the singing that counts, as it is the length of the performance that is at stake here.

What more can I say, this is definitively the country of odd world records and world championships.

Anyway, most of today has been spent once again choosing the photos that have turned out well and discarding the bad ones from my harddrive, quite convenient to do that when you have the time, just chuck them in your PC and leaving them be until time and not having to develop anything right away before the film gets bad or something. Weather has been nice so it is a bit shame to waste the good weather but you can not stand more sun than you can support and I think I have had my share for the time being.

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Bread and mayonnaise

I am a huge fan of low carb eating, not the in the way that I just eat animals fats and leave out all the carbs as suggested in various low carb diets. I try to keep in mind what fats are healthy and make sure I get more of them than the saturated fatty acids and I try to get more fibre into my diet by eating a lot of vegetables, like salads and stuff. My main failures maintaining this kind of eating step in when visiting or having been invited for a meal. Here bread comes into the picture and I used to be quite fanatic about my sandwiches when younger. Even when pregnant the only way I changed my eating was to add one sandwich more in the evening as I did not get any other cravings at all. The problem with my sandwiches usually is the mayonnaise it has to have on it, and having made my own mayonnaise for over a decade made it easy. Home made bread fresh from the oven with mayonnaise, lettuce, tomatoes, smoked ham and a touch of Dijon mayonnaise.

Carbs combined with the fat in the mayonnaise is no good for you eating in any way, not when having it for days or weeks or even years and as it turned out I who always used to be slender, even when pregnant, was suddenly weighing more than 30 kgs more than I should have weighed. Loosing all those kilos was no joyride even though as the low carb way made it a lot easier as it is a matter of choice, to choose what you eat, instead of limitations of the intake by reducing calories.

During the year even the mayonnaise turned healthier than it used to be in the original recipe I began from by adding cold processed linseed oil in order to get some more omega 3 fatty acids than we do not get enough of to balance our intake of saturated fats. The linseed oil itself tastes quite awful but adding a bit more of mustard than you should make the mayonnaise it reduces the tanginess of the linseed oil.

Anyway, back to my bread making, the more fibre and whole grain you have in the bread you eat the better it is supposed to be for you, and having baked my own sour dough bread for almost two decades now I still have not found an ideal recipe for bread. Normal bread yes, there are several favourites of mine, but no really tasty low carb one and to day has been spent with experimenting once again. Linseed, soy flour, wholegrain wheat, wholegrain buckwheat and just the smallest amount of fine durum wheat flour to make the dough manageable has been left over night to rise and baked in a hot oven to give it a nice crunchy crust. Now I just have to be patient and wait until it has cooled down enough to be tasted. How many carbs there are I have no idea, but as I do not eat that much bread anymore, it is more an exception instead of the rule it used to be I am not that worried about the carbs in it anyway.

Fresh home made bread will be a nice surprise for the home comers later in the afternoon though.

Monday, 13 August 2007

Back to normal

I can not seize to wonder at the politician even though they are not fully back into office after their summer break, the retired part of the population has been promised by the government that their taxes will be lowered and they who get more than 13000 euros a year in pension will benefit from this.

So where once again did this go wrong? What about the retirees that have smaller pensions than that, why are they not taken in concern in this?!? It is the citizens with the little income than need this to be able to cope without having to go to the social services to get money so they’ll survive. First you go to work every single day for forty years and something and pay your taxes, then you retire and have to pay more taxes out of your already earned pension than you had to when in working life. See what I mean, you once already did pay our taxes now you have to do it once again.

And the pensioners with the lowest incomes are of course the mothers that had to stay home with their children as there was no other option back then. How many of these women really wanted top quit their job instead of having to quit back then? Then came back to working life after the kids grew up leaving a fairly small pension to live on, the husband divorcing remarrying a younger one, well then there is not even his pension to rely on for survival. Only one option remains, applying for social benefits. The money still has to come from somewhere and it seems that it is just shuffled around as show.

Anyway, with the more consistent than intermittent rain showers of yesterday some things than needed to be done finally got done. Like paperwork which I just hate, but as it was due to be sent off today the deadline was hanging threatening my peace of mind all the time. Then there was the rhubarb that had to be taken care in the afternoon of along with the picked redcurrants than needed to be cooked into jelly and the weekend’s catch of perch and pike. This time a couple of quite big likes to my surprise which will make a nice soup later when it is not as hot as it still tends to be.

Tomorrow for instance the forecast promised steaming rain showers as it should be 27 degrees hot!

And today school finally started and I can get back into my normal day routine with no one disturbing it!

Saturday, 11 August 2007

Problems washing

Washing your own mats and carpets is one thing people still tend to do and it is usually done by scrubbing your mats by hand with a brush using liquid soap and when warm and sunny weather hits most of the municipal washing places tend to be very crowded and people waiting in line for their turn to wash. The reason for washing when the sun is out is that your washables dry quicker than they would otherwise do. Instead of transporting them wet to your home to dry you can spend some more time gossiping and socializing, meet old friends and perhaps even make new ones.

The washing sites are also places to share all gossip so if you want to be well informed this is the place to keep updated on the local gossip as nobody wants to sit at the hairdresser’s anyway when it is hot.

This is all nice but recently the washing basins have been stolen in many sites around the country as the aluminium the basins are made of is an attractive and costly scrap metal and washing has had to be postponed to later date when new basins have arrived.

School is to begin next week so some school books had to be purchased as usual and are they expensive! And every year the teachers tend to choose new books so you always end up with having to buy new ones every year instead of inheriting them from your siblings. Guess it is good as the teachers then do not get as easily bored with having the same old routine every year but they have to keep up with their teachings constantly updating their knowledge.

The bad thing though is to get the books “out of their baby shoes” getting rid of all the faults and mistakes in the first edition and of course these books we had to buy were of the first not yet tried edition.

So another hot day was spent in town instead of just relaxing which I would have preferred.

Friday, 10 August 2007

Free to preach

The Speaker’s Corner in Hyde Park, London is world famous but now there is Speaker’s sermon in Tampere Finland.

Anyone could keep a sermon from the church’s pulpit in Tampere Old church on the evening 9th August about any subject that lying near their heart. The event was advertised with ”Say your word! Are you annoyed with what their sermon’s are about? Come and keep your own sermon in person”. The speaker’s sermon was one event among many happenings around town in the Tampere theatre summer festival and all the sermons to be held were pre-announced with some invited celebrities among the preachers. You were allowed four minutes to say you meaning with a jury of experienced preachers giving feedback and according to persons interviewed having attended the mass, the sermons were very much the same as usually done by the vicars, many were about faith and church and some were boring and just about the same old thing that the vicars preaching’s usually are about.

When the vicar himself was interviewed about the event he stated he had had high hopes and anticipated more boldness in the sermons and was a bit disappointed but thought it had been a good, refreshing experience all in all.

Heat has the strangest effect on people’s minds, when down on southern Europe driving always becomes more hectic and the honking of horns for instance is more frequent than normal as there seems to be more morons driving then. Or it is just the temper that gets flaming hot with the weather maybe?!?

Anyway, even here in Finland you can see a considerable change in people’s behaviour and especially men tend to be DTC, “D*** takes control” if you know what I mean. Being blond even enhances their reaction but ordinary brunettes get their fare share of it as well. Like yesterday for instance when most men around either stopped or were in danger on walking into something as ordinary me was hurrying over the street before the lights turned red for pedestrians. I have never before noticed having had such an impact on so many men before as I did yesterday in my little, red skimpy summer top with my skirt flowing up around my legs. I guess I only should take it as a compliment of still being quite good looking, and discussing the matter with dear husband of mine ha agreed with me that it must just have been the hot weather makes means brains softer and sinking to the region of their groin = DTC.

Or is this just a way for him to accept that men in town might have been mistaken about my attractiveness, make it easier for him to handle his jealousy? Or was he just pleased with having an attractive wife?

God I think I need a cold drink; this heat is getting to my brains as well!

Thursday, 9 August 2007

One hot meal a day

According to the newspaper Keskisuomalainen malpractice in the public health care by is becoming increasingly costly and they paid out around 27 million euros to patients in compensation for incidences of malpractice last year.

At the same time statistics show that around one percent of Finnish girls under the age of 20 had an abortion last year and in many cases it was not the first time. One in seven girls refuses the counselling that is offered to all women seeking abortions in Finland and this is suspected to be a sign of the general indifference and carelessness that has become ever prevailing and life just goes on and the emotions and feelings are just suppressed and the abortion itself is forgotten about and health care professionals fear the burying of the experience might have serious psychological consequences later on, especially having had several abortions done.

Anyway, home was still here when we got back this afternoon looking just like when we left it yesterday as husband of mine had gone off fishing in the evening leaving me with the gutting and cleaning of them for this afternoon. So here I am once again smelling fish with cuts all over my fingers from the perch I had to clean. Two cats were sitting on the kitchen floor making not so cheery sounds, more like demanding fish right now, “give me fish” meows if you know what I mean. And with this heat on I can not even think about what we are having for dinner tonight as it is once again the offspring’s time to cook today, Spaghetti Bolognese or something similar does not feel like my cup of tea, if you know what I mean.

That is one thing I can not quite understand with the Finns, no matter how hot it is, they want a hot meal in the evening. Like mashed potatoes and meatballs to mention one. I’m more for a nice, cool salad in the heat but I guess that will not be the case as the offspring has gone Finnish in this case, one hot meal per day it is.

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Off for the day

Today more and more foreign-born get employed here in Finland as the lack of workers has begun to show, where as in the 1990’s recession you could not even get a cleaning job if you were not fluent in Finnish. The biggest problem seems to be getting new trained employees out into the countryside outside the main city areas.

Anyway, now it is hot and the sun is shining from a clear blue sky and I am off to the countryside to visit some friends spending the day there with them together with the offspring so daddy will be home alone tonight. We will just see what state our home is when dear spouse of mine has been home alone with the cats!

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

One thing right

A new study that has followed children since the 1980’s a third of all juvenile crimes are committed by adolescents that are either bullied themselves or bully their school mates. The research also suggests these same children also have had a troublesome childhood in addition to be bullying and it is suggested that these troubled adolescents should be helped before their problems grow too big.

Most citizens nowadays have their own mobile phones here in Finland and the stationary telephones are getting more expensive all the time and as we have not been using ours we just cancelled ours. The problem is now that the phone company promised to disconnect our number on July 30th and it still is working today!

So if we now were moving, were we now to pay the phone bill for the next owners?!? I know it is summer but I think there is no excuse for such misconduct, an agreement ends on the date you have agreed upon and not when it is more convenient for the second part to end it and as it is today more a matter of computer programming than to actually disconnect the cables by hand, it should have been easy enough to have been done on the agreed date.

School begins already today in some parts of Finland and for some tomorrow as most do not begin their studies until next week and the offspring is off to the beach to celebrate this as they do not begin until next week. The weather is smashing, still to might turn out a bit too warm to spend all day in the sun but fortunately the water bottles have been early planted into the mind, no beach if no water brought with from home. Suntan lotion is another thing that I have always been reminding about and now has begun to show. Suntan lotion was already packed when mummy asked about it! So I guess this must be the other thing I have got right.

Monday, 6 August 2007


One thing that sure comes up to debate when socializing with the Finns is potatoes.

It is a question of which variety you are to prefer and the discussions sometimes tend to drag long as there always is someone with a different opinion form the majority of people present. There are the summers varieties of potatoes that do not keep well and has to be eaten right away and there are the winter potatoes that you later on can make potato mash of but the only variety I have never ever heard anyone in Finland preferring to anything else is Blue Congo.

And the name itself says it all, the potatoes are bluish purple in colour when cooked and it does really not resemble any other potatoes, may be the taste is the same but it feels odd with the colour of it.

Having finally established who likes which potato variety the next issue at hand turns always out to be how to cook them. It is not whether to deep fry them in oil into chips or make a gratin in the oven of them. Maybe what is best for mashed turns up but the main question is if you are to add the potatoes in cold water when cooking them or into boiling water? And naturally at the same time pondering whether cooking potatoes is to be preferred with their skins on or without it.

Most seem to agree about just brushing and washing the potatoes well in the summertime is enough as the skin is not as thick as in the wintertime but I just recently heard about a family that eat their boiled winter potatoes with their peels on just brushing them off then as well!

The reason for this potato skin discussion lies in that the most nutritious and healthiest part of the potato is said to be just underneath the skin but when potatoes are peeled the skin is thinner than paper and comes off easily and I have not heard any reasons for eating potato peel, I just wonder whether it is just pure laziness or maybe even ignorance about how to peel hot potatoes without making a mess out of it that makes them eat the skins even in the winter.

Anyway, I am not sure I really understand the necessity to always, every single day have to have potatoes. Not even though there are many varieties, it’s always just old, plain tatties.

But I guess it makes safe conversation at dinner parties.

Sunday, 5 August 2007


There are several ongoing sports events in southern Finland, the Kalevan kisat which is the annual Finnish sport championships, a trotting event and the Finnish Neste Oil rally world championship race causing problems in the traffic as people are getting to and from the different locations. The strangest thing is that always when it is the time for the Finnish Neste Oil race more people than the average day get caught speeding.

And to tell you the truth jokes have been made already for years that there is a Mika Häkkinen, or Marcus Grönholm for that matter, living in every single Finnish man and this seems to be one of the times he steps out and takes control of the driving.

So far this weekend, and the race is still not over which probably means more are to speed today, at least 200 drivers got caught getting tickets for speeding with dozens of drivers having their licenses confiscated for having driven almost 100 kms more than the allowed speed limit on 100 kms.

The rally has also given the environmentalist something to do as yesterday demonstrators barricaded a street in the city of Jyväskylä to protest against the ongoing rally, even though the race itself was not even near the city at the time.

Now is also the beginning of the high season of mushroom picking and quite a lot of mushrooms exported to Italy as the Italians are very fond of their Porcini mushrooms, as I think they are called, and truck loads of them are actually picked in Finland and shipped to Italy to be sold and eaten there. So husband already went off to see about the Chanterelles so I probably have some mushroom cleaning to do later in the afternoon. And by the look in the woods yesterday when walking aournd the lake I want to get out and get some of these Porcinis as they are also delicious but for the time being our car is staying put parked.

Saturday, 4 August 2007

Cleaning fish

Why do women always eat for comfort in the middle of night in all movies and TV series? Do women really eat that much to make themselves feel better? I know that certain days of the month main interest is what is in the fridge but I do not eat in the middle of night if I am sad but then I do not entertain myself with TV shopping as any shopping for that matter either a women are supposed to do. I like getting new things yes, but I hate the “walking-around-shops” bit about it that i had to once again go through today.

And when having got something new you always have to wash it before wearing them anyway in order to avoid all the chemicals that are used when manufacturing clothes.

Fish was caught on yesterdays fishing trip so I had to perform some filleting of them in order to get the offspring to eat them as fishbone are not one thing that is considered fun to eat, just the cats who do not mind the aesthetics about the fish they eat, just that it tastes great! Perch is delicious but are a hassle to get them de-boned and filleted and my hands look just as cut as they always do after having cleaned fish.

Today an investigation was performed in the woods once again, to see if the Chanterelles are big enough to be picked as my husband has his secret picking spot and he does not want to go there in vain. The ones in the neighbouring woods were fine so tomorrow I am probably looking forward to doing some cleaning again, just hope the greed does not hit this time and that he only brings big ones home this time.

The weather has been excellent lately, warm and sunny and no rain in sight so I am looking forward to going out for a walk around the near-by lake tonight and take some photos of the surroundings. Kids swimming in the lake, flowers on the meadows or birds in the sky and maybe even a picture of a flamboyant sunset. Like the sunsets you only get at this time of the year.

Friday, 3 August 2007

Doing my homework

Reading Harry Potter has now for the past few days been my main occupation.

I have been reading the last book in the series after the offspring finished reading it, the deadly Hallows just so that I know what is talked about and got told almost half the story in advance by the previous reader spoiling some of the surprise turns for me. I have had to read all Harry Potters to keep up with what is talked about at home, they are not really my favourite fiction but not the worst I have read either, and as the interest in Harry Potter a couple of years back grew into an obsession and nothing else than Harry Potter was ever talked about I happened to know quite a lot about the subject. The strangest things you do for the love of your children.

Back then there had to be all the movies first ones as videos and now as DVDs, all the books in three languages, and various Harry Potter paraphernalia. Scarves and magic wands were bought, scarves and wands were made as well, playing cards, chocolate frogs you could buy in stores. Then there were the feathers to get for the writing with real quills and ink on parchment paper and even the acquisition of cloaks. I guess the only thing forgotten about was the brooms!

Fortunately nowadays the former obsession has subdued into a more normal interest in reading the books as fiction and entertainment instead of wanting to live in the fictionary Harry Potter World and Hogwarts.

The new books’ release was actually all missed until mummy told about it as dating had become more interesting than keeping up on Harry Potter news on the Net. And had I not watched the news that day I would have been as ignorant about it as the offspring was.

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Food culture

The is an ongoing debate in the current government budget talks about a general reduction of VAT on food in Finland from 17% to 8% aimed to take effect latest at the beginning of the year 2009.

And consumption of healthier foods might be made preferable for consumers by reducing the taxation on vegetables and low-fat products. The Finnish Minister of Agriculture and Forestry emphasises it taking at least six months before consideration of possible tax benefits of healthy foods and that this should not be mixed with the general VAT reduction on food.

Today on Finland also has received its’ first commissioner for Food culture after in recent years a couple of visiting foreign politicians having loudly expressed their demeaning opinions on Finnish food and the complete lack of food culture in Finland. Now the food culture commissioner has to enhance the appreciation of Finnish food and form a trend of food culture in this country.

As he was interviewed on morning TV this morning the Food culture commissioner emphasised that food has to look like itself, to be recognizable, instead of being fancily disguised, in order to be appropriately appreciated.

I have for long been along the same lines, simple food looking like what it is and no cross-over-cuisine, maybe that should go for the cooking on morning TV as well. I really wonder what this food culture commissioner thinks about their cooking and him being a former teacher in one of the best cooking schools in Finland, well wonder what grades he’d give for the coleslaw made yesterday for instance?

At least that Coleslaw would be eligible for the tax-reduction for the vegetables as well as for the light sour cream used in it.