Sunday, 30 September 2007

Optional food

The day was again spent on an expedition out in the woods picking mushrooms, this time baskets full of Suppilovahvero, Cantharellus tubiformis, a kind of tube formed chanterelle that is brown on top and yellow underneath like the ordinary chanterelle.

The catch was big even though the season for them mushrooms is not quite yet with the recent warmer than usual weather, so I expect to be going out again later on when the weather has cooled down a bit, just before the winter hits with snow is normally the best time as night frosts do no harm to this species.

We also found surprisingly many ordinary Chanterelles, Cantharellus cibarius, which is quite unusual for this time of the year, but that must be due to the lack of night frost. As the day’s catch was fairly big dear spouse of mine had the good idea of going for a second walk into the woods looking for a third species of Chanterelles, the black tube form chanterelle, Cratellus cornucopoides, but fortunately he found none as he would once again have overdone it. We already, that means me, had loads of mushrooms to clean, some for drying which is where the sauna comes in handy, and the rest to cook with a portion to be indigested right away at dinner time and the rest to be stored in the freezer for future culinary experiences. Just after having put the rest of the tube formed Chanterelles away I read a recipe for mushroom pie I feel an obligation to try so I am looking forward to the next trip to the woods.

Surprisingly many elk flies were still around, but as I now know they do no harm to humans, they are easier to deal with than on our last mushroom expedition when I had not yet googled it.

It is strange how the offspring whom used to be so fond of food in their childhood and now with having grown up and heard the opinions and theories of their friends’ opinions on certain foods, their taste has deteriorated. Some foods that used to be considered as happily savoured are now turned down. Like blue mould cheese, Stilton, Roquefort and Gorgonzola for instance used to be a favourite and now it is over the line detested.

At some point I had to keep in mind a list of fish, that were concerned as “white fish” and there for edible, the same went with mushrooms, some were digestible and others were disgusting, and still very much remains so they are the food optionals, the ones we could do without according to the offspring that is. One thing though that has strangely enough not changed over the years is that broccoli is edible and that is rare, most children hate their veggies and especially broccoli. At one point the offspring even planned to build a house inside a huge broccoli to live in when older, and a second one made out of a huge tomato. Must have been some odd advertisement seen at the time.

Anyway, our palate change over the time and I am not anymore fond of the same things as I earlier used to be, learning new foods is an exciting part of life, at least of mine that is. And here in Finland I never cease to find surprisingly new and innovative ways to cook food.

Friday, 28 September 2007

Technical problems

Moving my Blog here seems to have been a success, many readers have followed the link here but I had technical difficulties with getting into my account, not out of bad memory, forgetting my password, but with accessing the Net. Nothing wrong with the cords, the adapter or the PC, just the socket to plug into for accessing the Net.

After awhile of trying various combinations to find out which was causing the problem, changing the socket did the trick. Strange, one moment it worked and in the second the connection just went dead so now I have to call the janitor about it.

Anyway, there are a surprising amount of small beer and cider breweries around Finland.

Wait a minute, do you brew cider?

There are also some restaurants that brew their own beer, lager and stout and it has grown quite big here in Finland. I think this is nice even though I am not personally into beer, am more of a cider woman.

Anyway, both bars and supermarkets nowadays keep in stock many differently flavoured ciders and I am especially fond of the light ciders as I am no huge fan of sugar and sweet things and a long the years I have come to taste many excellent ciders to remember but astonishingly much awful stuff. My personal favourite has for many years now been the Vanilla light cider which at first only was sold in the Christmas season but now is available all year around. Two to remember to avoid are the blueberry cider together with the lime flavoured cider. I have never really tasted dishwater but I remember blowing soap bubbles in my childhood and the taste was similar enough. A Salmiakki cider also comes in mind as not being good, at least according to my taste that is. I think it is good that everyone has something to their taste and I enjoy trying new things, new flavours even if I might not like them.

Learning new things and getting new experiences makes life worth living.

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Cutting edge

A Finnish citizen has brought suit in a Russian court seeking the return of family property in former Finnish territories of Carelia annexed by the Soviet Union following World War II in the first case of its kind. Since a decision in this case is expected to set a precedent, the court proceedings are expected to be lasting at least a year and the case will be pursued as far as the Russian Supreme Court by the plaintiff.

The disputed property is a plot of land originally owned by the man's father in the city of Vyborg but Monday it was still undetermined whether the defendant is to be the City of Vyborg or the local district.
One problem that comes to my mind though, this is not the
Soviet Union we are talking about anymore. Russia is a completely different country today and I really wonder what difference this case will make. No other countries have to my knowledge given back any land territories acquired in a war when sued in a court of law anywhere so why should it be the case now when it was not the same country then that it is today?

Maybe the purpose is just to make headlines, their “fifteen minutes of fame”.

Anyway, I just had my friend on the phone about a new revolutionizing knife that was advertised in TV shop, the Sonic Blade, an electrical knife with two moving blades that can cut through just anything.

I have trouble with ordinary knives, to keep my fingers out of the way when cutting and chopping so I just began to wonder how dangerous this Sonic Blade really can be, “cutting through just anything with ease” so my fingers would soon just be a memory. Cutting with plain ordinary knives requires a certain technique in order to succeed with the task at hand together with proper maintenance, that is sharpening them often enough to keep them at cutting edge and it is not really a question of raw power as they want make feasible in the advertisement.

I can only imagine the two moving blades of this lethal kitchen knife as there is no way one of them is coming near my kitchen or my hands for that matter.

So this girlfriend of mine is now enthusiastic about the knife and is considering buying one, which will be against my strong recommendations but then she has never before taken my advice against buying any junk from TV shop in earlier days. So I guess I better get her some band aids to store in her kitchen cupboard the ready at hand when needed as I don’t think this is a question of “if” needed in this case.

Monday, 24 September 2007

Parents behaving badly

An estimated 30,000 children a year have to undergo the divorce or separation of their parents each year here in Finland and the split-ups cause significant economic consequences for society with benefits paid out to single parents.

In the year 2005 such benefits were paid out to the amount of 420 million Euros and now the Finnish Family Federation calls for more efforts to prevent divorces and split-ups with more couples courses and psychotherapy services as help with the problems. Finland is currently rated third in European divorce statistics right after Belgium and Sweden. I just wonder if the commonly prevailing co-habiting that exists here in Finland is counted into these statistics?

At the same time Finns married to foreigners could have a more difficult time getting a divorce in the future, if the European Commission's current plan to standardise divorce procedures is approved. According to the new regulation, Finnish courts handling divorces might be forced to adapt to another country's stricter laws than their own and an expatriate Finn might not be granted divorce according to Finnish law any longer.

Well breaking up a relationships is never easy and it scars all the persons involved severely, some more than others but the kids always are the losers, but then you can not make pretend just for the children’s sake like some friends of mine did some years back, it all ended even more nastily than it would have had to as the situation got out of control in the end. We are here to live our own lives and no one is there to tell you about your choices. They might not always be the right ones for everyone concerned, but they are yours and you are the only one to blame.

They say the healing takes time, well I wonder if that works in all cases. One couple I know got divorced 17 years ago and they still get raging rows going, and both have been happily married since, well the other has actually been happily married several times since. Three times married actually, to be honest.

Even trickier problems seem to turn up when the kids grow up and you try to act civil with your ex-spouse and as parent you are expected to make an example with your own behaviour, well, some times you just wish the earth would split open under your feet as the kids are there to see and hear you behaving badly, especially against the weekend parent. It is amazing to see two normally sane adults act like insane, shouting in rage. Just one word might trigger the whole situation, so who are we to judge who is to divorce or stay married?

Maybe getting a divorce is too easy, especially when there are children involved but in some cases it is only for the good for all involved the ex-spouses never ever lay their eyes on each other again, not even to pick up or leave their children at the other parent’s house when using their visitation rights.

Saturday, 22 September 2007

Waterproof wrappings

Going for a drive out of town on a Saturday can sometimes be the strangest experience and as this Saturday was announced to be a car free day, which was not advertised especially well before hand. Many big cities had reduced their bus fare prices in order to get people using the buses instead of taking the car into town shopping, but nothing was anywhere told about the turn out of this campaign afterwards.

So our little planned trip out to the countryside became even stranger than it would have been on a normal planned Saturday drive in the countryside.

Anyway, getting out of a big city is always strange as the way people’s traffic behaviour gradually changes and every different town has its’ own traffic culture. The same rules and laws still apply in theory but not always in real life drivers act differently depending on if they are in the countryside or in a town and especially the parking is different, somehow more casual if not really peasant, sorry pleasant.

To really give you the picture of how our minds work, we act in different ways depending on if we are on foot as pedestrians crossing the street, cycling on bike or driving in our new car, it depends on your point of view whether you take the same chance crossing the street on foot or by car when the red lights are on. As long as nobody sees you, you are safe and sound; you have not broken any rules and can’t be fined for doing something nobody was there to see.

So we visited this big shopping centre in a small town with the usual chain shops and a big supermarket. All the cars were parked in rows very far from each other and you could walk in between the fronts of the car hoods, which never would have come in question in a big town as the space is limited and you have to make the best of the parking space you get. There also is no politeness here as to who is next in line to park the car in the next free space as in bigger towns and parking outside of the marked car parks also prevails, parking right next to it right in front of the entrance blocking the pathway outside the marked parking area.

Also the queuing culture in shops and supermarkets is different in the small country town compared to the bigger cities, no queuing culture there, just walking straight in front of people in line jumping the queue at the cashiers in the supermarket.

Surprisingly many small municipalities have bothered to apply to become towns here in Finland even though they have no real town centres, just houses cluttered together in between the pastures of the farmlands. No real harm there but than name town just seems a bit off here taken in consideration.

The absolute highlight of the weekend must have been the big advertisement for waterproof tea-bags that we saw passing by in our car. At least these teabags are bound to preserve the aroma and flavour of the tea in the teabags, and as they are waterproof none of it gets into the hot water the teabags are to be soaked in. So what's the use of the waterproof bags? I have no idea, except maybe you can re-use of the unused teabags?

Then there are the dishwasher tablets with a soluble plastic wrapping, that now has been introduced on the market. What is the use of the plastic wrapping as it is soluble in water? What do they protect the dishwasher tablets of, getting wet as you do not need to remove the wrapping when loading them into the dishwasher?!?

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Global gambling

The Helsinki Stock market was bought by the Swedish stock market a few years back and joined into a joint stock exchange called the OMX consisting of the Nordic stock markets and some Baltic countries stock markets.

Recent takeover battle is for the OMX is finally at and end after an unexpected twist that the OMX board has given their okay to. The two rivals NASDAQ and UAE-based Bourse Dubai first competed of total ownership but they have now teaming up and sharing the ownership of the OMX.

NASDAQ buys OMX to join it as a part to itself and Bourse Dubai becomes a big part-owner of NASDAQ with fifth ownership. This also means that Bourse Dubai also owns a great part of the London stock exchange. According to the CEO of NASDAQ this is a one of a kind deal and the world now has a leading super stock exchange dealing in all market areas.

Well I wonder how it will affect us all, globally, when economics begin to slide like for instance the depression in the early 1900’s or the UShouse loans market has done recently. This begins to remind me more and more of hazardous global gambling as every stock exchange now is interlinked with each other and I guess then the s*** really hits the fan then.

Anyway, I never cease to wonder about al these pageant competitions and just the other day spotted a new one I have not yet laid my eyes in one of the Finnish magazines on so far here in Finland. A Miss grandmother pageant. Okay, miss is unmarried to my knowledge, and a grandmother is not supposed to be unmarried as she has children and grandchildren. I have not altogether not got why to compete in beauty and looks, it’s like cattle on the market lined up to be sold to the biggest bidder. I can understand the point of wanting older women to accept they are not twenty and something anymore, I mean I am forty something by now and I do not feel dead and buried yet as fashion magazines have tried to brainwash us women to believe.

I was yesterday horrified when watching a TV programme about plastic surgery in Hollywood. I mean plastic surgery done on the most private female parts, is there any part of the body that they can not change the looks, or as in this case the feel of? How superficial can people get, are we just about how we look? Chasing the perfect body, face, liposuction on this, lifting this, botoxing that and in the end you have no family resemblance.

I do not consider myself the beauty queen, I guess I am more the ugly duckling that grew into a swan when growing up, but I consider my brain capacity more important than my looks. And there is a great difference between mum at home, mum going out shopping or appearing on social occasions but I still am the same person underneath the make-up.

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Finland rocks!

Finnish rock music is doing well at the moment on the rock-singles list in the UK this week.

The band HIM is on 1st place with their song “The Kiss of Dawn” from their album “Sire” closely followed by Nightwish on 2nd place with their song “Amaranth” from their album Nuclear Blast. Nightwish also has a placement further down on the same list on 18th place with their song “Nemo” from the same album. I wonder if that ever had happened before, two Finnish rock bands on the top of the rocks.

I can’t say either of them is a favourite of mine, they are as good as I listen to their songs when played on the radio but it is nice to see that Nightwish is doing so well as they just got a new lead vocalist and that always changes the sound of a band.

Also Finnish film is doing well, they might be a bit off stream compared to Hollywood but the Finnish film director Aleksi Salmenperä has just been nominated for the Academy Award, an Oscar nomination for next year in the 79th Academy Awards for the his film, “Miehen työ”, A mans work. Guess this is not the first time a Finnish film has been nominated, nor a Finnish film director getting nominated and at least one Finnish producer has actually won an Oscar, but according to my knowledge some Finnish film directors have refused to take part in the Academy Awards out different political issues during the years and then gone on winning awards at other Film festivals like the annual Cannes Film Festival that has been around almost as long as the Oscars.

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

So sad

It is a terrible thing to go on the last trip with your beloved pet to get it cremated. The trip to the crematorium was one of the longest ones I have ever been on, not in miles but in time and emotion, having to leave her there to never see her again. Guess the funeral wont be any less easier than this drive was.
And our other now orphaned cat is expressing his feelings of missing his mum by meowing loudly all of a sudden, waiting by the door for his mum to reappear from somewhere.
How sad can life be?

Monday, 17 September 2007


One of the saddest things in life is loosing friends in what ever way it may be, but even more sad is when you have to let go of a dear family member, in this case you dear, beloved cat. The last ride to the vet can break your heart, not forgetting to mention the turmoil of feelings, the amount of tears you shed and the sadness that comes out of it.

Euthanasia is a good thing, and it is an act of love. We now know that our cat Sara Matilda had a terminal disease, FIP Feline Infectious Peritonitis, and there was nothing more that could be done for her, we had to let her go as she was far too long gone before it was discovered and there is nothing really you can do about it anyway. FIP is cat aids, a contagious inflammation of the peritoneum, and cats can be carriers of the virus since their birth without showing any symptoms. It is not the virus itself that causes the illness, it is the cats own defence system against the corona-virus that in the end attacks the whole body and causes inflammatory degeneration of all organs, especially the peritoneum collects fluids compressing the lung from the bottom making it difficult for the cat to breathe. FIP is very contagious and you can bring the virus home with you infecting your beloved pet.

I will always be missing her, and so will the rest of the family but especially her son will miss his mother and this is now the first time since his birth 13 years ago they are separated and my heart aches for him. We now have and orphan cat.

The problem with FIP now is that he might have got it from his mother, so in a worst case scenario I will have to be visiting the vets again soon, and it is not one thing I will be looking forward to in any way. In the best case he is not even a carrier of the virus and lives a healthy long life.

Having pets is nice, they love you unconditionally no matter if you are fat, ugly or have a bad hair day, and they just love you.

I can not imagine how my life would have been or how it would be without any pets, but still when having to put them down you think; never ever again.

Saturday, 15 September 2007

Helping out

A strange thing I have noticed here in Finland is that sometimes when you are asked to help you are out of some peculiar reason meant to ask when it is convenient for the help you have promised to give. Like for instance when a friend needed help with help with babysitting a toddler with chicken-pox in the early feverish stage just to run a couple of errands on her own like the pharmacists and so on. She never managed to ask me when it was convenient for me to baby-sit, or whether I could baby-sit at a certain time she wanted to go out. In the end she got angry with me as I did not understand that I was expected to have an opinion when she wanted my favour so in the end she told me off by phone in not a very nice way.

How was I supposed to know what she wanted without her either telling or asking me? It’s like when moving your friends don’t arrive to help you with carrying your furniture until the next day when you’re packed gone and unpacked in the new place.

The weather was supposed to be raining all day with intermittent rain showers and as thus the day was completely wrongly planned as most part of this lovely sunny day has been spent indoors cooking after a short shopping trip down to the market when the rain was pouring down earlier this morning.

After a lot of peeling of carrots, beetroots and onions a great deal of chopping were made on the peeled carrots, beetroots, onions and cabbage for the annual bortsch soup. It has now been simmering on the stove in a large saucepan for hours to obtain the right taste. Bortsch soup has one advantage before many other soups, it gets just better for every time you heat it up and most part of it goes in the freezer to be savoured on cold winter nights together with some soured cream. I also managed to get a medium sized pumpkin as pumpkins tend to come in an oversized format, too big for me to handle on my own. So some pumpkin has also been simmering on heat for the traditional pumpkin pie and a very nice pumpkin pickle I learned to know here in Finland and have become very fond of.

Tomorrow is supposed to be a sunny day so the plan is to go mushroom picking but as the weather turned out to be this nice today I wonder if the weather Gods will be gracious enough to let us go out in the woods without getting wet all through.

Friday, 14 September 2007

Passing it on

Ever since the first portable telephones arrived for the public to use an endless discussion about the health hazards of mobile phones has been going on and just recently one more Finnish study discovered no health risks from the electromagnetic radiation of the mobile phones.So no health hazards there.

Now as we run towards the colder weather of autumn and the returning of winter in a few months time the influenza and the colds hit the population. There always is someone who knows best how to treat it and the treatment vary with the country they originate from and you try them out with great disappointment. Some say a hot bath and a brandy does it, well I have tried, was warm and nice and I got tipsy enough to have fun but it did not really help the flu I was coming down with. Some garlic boiled in milk served together with honey, well the cough just got worse with the slime the milk produced. Chamomile tea with honey is not a bad idea, it has been tried so many times in our family that we know it does the trick but it is not fast enough to stop an oncoming flu or cold.

Echinacea Purpurea is an herb that has proven good effect and when using it, the worse it tastes, the better you need it. Sometimes it kind of burns of your tongue when taking it as it is to be taken orally, and other times you don’t even feel a anything, not even the slightest sting.

Anyway, at last but not the least to cure a cold is by far the funniest way according to me. By the time of Beaujolais Nouveau arriving in the liquor stores on the third Thursday of November every year you buy all the sorts they supply to try at home, which here in Finland normally is just the two. Invite al your friends to try the wine in good company with some good food, then you at least have a nice time but it rarely does anything for your cold, except you passing it to your friends as a present. They still would have gotten it anyway, just rarely maybe not all at the same time and you all had a good time.

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Three months vacation

Yesterday the Finnish Parliament met for its first autumn session after a summer break of nearly three months that is even a longer vacation than the school kids get every year. Quite a long vacation I gather so I really hope they all are well rested by now and ready for some action and have lots of improvements and changes in store for all of us living in here Finland. I guess we all could do with a three month vacation a year.

The Finnish ice-hockey championships also began yesterday for this season with a match between HIFK and HPK with a 3-2 win to HIFK. I don’t even know for sure whether the championships are held annually but I guess so as there always seems to be some hockey game broadcasted instead of one or other of my accustomed TV shows. I wonder how long vacations the ice-hockey players get?

Being totally ignorant in sports, except my newly discovered interest in the fun art of swamp football, or swamp soccer as it also is called, I got curious and checked out both hockey teams’ homepages.

And surprise, surprise, only one team told what their real name is on their pages, what their abbreviation stands for. I still don’t know what HIFK means, but from the advertisements on their pages I guess they come from Helsinki which means that the H stands for Helsinki but what the rest is I have no idea if it is in Finnish. If the IFK is in English I do know it. HPK actually told their name on their homepages, Hämeenlinnan Pallokerho so there I am wiser today than I was yesterday.

One thing that bothers me over and over again here in Finland is this corner-patriotism that exists, that everybody is expected to be aware of certain things like where cities, places, businesses and shops are. In advertising their products the Finns leave out mentioning the address of their business and their phone numbers as everybody is to be aware of who and where they are and the advertising doesn’t really change from one media to another, it’s the same missing info in the papers, TV and radio. At least one can always google things but that takes time and effort and I bet they loose a lot of business through that and not all companies have as yet bothered to get their own homepages with more info than just the address and phone number and me being curious I would like to know more.

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

In favour of fistfights

According to a recently done Gallup one in five did feel that the threat from Russia has increased and young people less likely saw Russia as a threat than older people do. This survey was of course done before last week's controversial speech in Washington by Defence Minister Jyri Häkämies, in which he said that Russia was the greatest challenge to Finnish security.

Yesterday the Russians finally expressed their puzzlement publicly in the media about the speech in question, they were wondering if the Finns were to change their policies as they now consider Russia being a safety threat. The word used in minister Häkämies speech was in Finnish challenge but was translated into threat in Russian.

The Finnish defence minister was this morning interviewed on morning TV and answered some questions that had been sent in by the audience. One thing was sure, the defence minister is standing for what ha has said that there is no one else to blame as he kept repeating the same meaning over and over with changing the words. Well that is quite brave and straightforward, but as a representative of a whole country and all its’ citizens one might think a bit more about what to say, when to say it and where to say it. When answering to the question whether he would have kept the same speech in Moscow the answer was a non-committal one, simply with that it is entirely another issue, what he would say there, but he kept on repeating that it was his responsibility and no one else’s.

The defence minister is later this week to meet with the president when he might get slapped on his wrist for being a bad boy, maybe even told to be resigned, but then politician have survived through big lies and cover-ups instead of speaking their honest, true mind, which is refreshing as a change.

Anyway, today is 11th September and 6 years since the World Trade Centre in New York came down and Osama bin-Laden is expected to release his latest video speech today, the second in one weeks’ time if it is true together with the legacy of one of the terrorists participating in the hi-jackings of the planes back then.

I remember when it happened, I was at home and as there had been a power cut earlier so our bedroom TV-set switched itself on automatically, as old ones used to do, and there it was, the collapse of the twin towers. I can only try to imagine the terror and fear of the trapped people when realizing there is no way out of the burning building, to know that you are going to die or the desperation that caused people to jump out of the windows high up from the buildings.

I have to get back to this thing about killing innocent people, what is the sense in killing mere by-standers, people that have no say in matters of state, that count as nothing. Why? It does not change things to the better, only for the worse.

Why not revive and old tradition instead, let the politicians themselves fight their wars when they disagree upon things, leave them alone in a boxing ring until no one stands, fighting fist to fist to the end. At least that would make good TV broadcasting the fist fights and it would fair on all us others, no one innocent would get hurt.

Sunday, 9 September 2007

Upper hand of judgement

During his official visit to Washington D.C., the Finnish Defence Minister Jyri Häkämies told in a speech held for an audience at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies that "The three most important security challenges from Finland's point of view are Russia, Russia and Russia."

Since then the Finnish president Tarja Halonen, and the Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen have both been apt to publicly take distance from the defence minister’s comment. Even though the presidents’ chancellery actually had received a copy of the speech held by the Defence minister a week in advance it was to be held, the president’s chancellery obviously now seems to either have been pressed for time in order to attend to more important issues of the state or just considered the defence minister’s speech not important enough to bother to read through. The former Finnish foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja also expressed his opinion about the mentioned statement “showing a lack of judgement”.
The defence minister Häkämies refuses to step back on his statement insisting that he does not see where his views differ from those held by the President and the Prime Minister.

Well this probably is true, but even I who am not a Finn do know that these things are not spoken about in public. Everyone who has been living in Finland for some time realises that the threat for Finland’s security in any way does come from the west, nor from the south. And this is how it traditionally has been for centuries ever since Finland was a part of the Swedish kingdom, before it became an autonomic part of the Russian empire or got its’ independence in the early 1900’s. So what is new?

It just seems that this really is a question of lacking plain common sense and severe lack of judgment, there is of course the always prevailing of marking your territory, which politicians seem to have even a greater need to do than ordinary citizens have, especially when having fairly recently stepped into office as the defence minister just has earlier this spring which might just have taken the upper hand.

This all seems quite small and is of no important at all in a hundred years time, as everything does, but what surprises me is the lack of the Russia’s reactions, especially now with the presidential elections being held in a year’s time. What will they say, how will they say it and when?

Anyway, at least it now has been stated by and official Russian source that Russia really were considering selling Carelian back to the Finns in the 1980’s and even a price was mentioned but the proposition just never left the planning stage and was never presented to the Finnish officials at the time.

Friday, 7 September 2007

What bride?

Finland has received its’ first Islamic political party.

Currently the party still only has a dozen members but they aim to collect the needed 5,000 signatures by the end of the year in order to get registered as an official political party here in Finland. The Islamist party will be working for the removal of alcoholic beverages from supermarkets and to achieve exemption for Muslim students from subjects in school considered to be opposed to the Islamic values. The party also intends to have candidates ready for the next parliamentary elections in four years.

I can understand that you out of religious reasons are not allowed to eat drinks foods or drink certain beverages, but I am not sure whether you can demand to be excused from certain school subjects as they are part of the required subject to be taught and you need to have the knowledge in order to get a diploma or your grades. Maybe alcoholic beverages are not so important to be sold in every corner shop, but we still have to bear in mind that this is Finland and we immigrants should adapt ourselves into the rules and ways of this society and not the other way around.

Anyway, one silly thought came to mind, when you get married the official, whether the clergyman when getting married in church or the official at the registrar’s office, they declare you man and wife and then saying “You may kiss the bride”.

What bride?!?

There is no more a bride as she was just declared to be the wife of the man she married! How stupid, and this has been going on for centuries and no one has noticed anything strange with it.

I wonder if the Muslims say the same when they marry.

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

The end?

Shoplifting is more common in Finland than average in western European countries and most of it is done by the employees according to the newspapers. Finland is at the same time ranked high with low corruption according to research, I just wonder where the logic is. You can steal but not take bribes; do what ever you want to as long as you are not caught?

I have spent the most exhausting time at the vet’s with the elder of our cats and the prognosis is not a good one, possibly we might be with just one single cat this time next week but seeing your loved pet as poorly as it is at this time just makes your heart ache, you do not want to inflict them any more misery or suffering than necessary and an act of love is to know when to let go. Sometimes I wonder about euthanasia, we are allowed to help our beloved pet animals to go when they suffer, but if we ourselves when sober and at full mental capacity declare that we do not want to be kept alive artificially by machines then nobody takes any notice of it anyway.

I seem to be getting back to this ethics again, and the issues still has not become less hard to handle. At least now we will have one more week to prepare for the death of one of our family members, and looking from the brighter side, it might be false alarm as the vet made two different diagnoses with two completely different outcomes. Either it works with the treatment or it makes the situation worse and we will be going back to the vets for the final.

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Looong words

A Dutch pharmaceutical company has developed a vaccine against the avian flu and it is now to be tried on humans in Finland and there have been ads in the newspapers seeking volunteers for the trial in two of the biggest cities. The vaccine in the trial is said to be “dead” but it still might have some beneficial effects with making the participants in the trial immune to the avian flu.

Anyway, Finland is a country that loves long words and as there are no prepositions to describe how things are done are by attaching a suffix to the end of the word to express for instance; with, by, at, out of, below, on top of are.

In the Finnish language the words can become very extensive. Maybe there are more languages that have even longer words that I am not aware of, but the Welsh language also has a great deal of long words with massive lengths of words attached to each other to express names of places for instance. The Finnish language also offers great opportunities to form log words and the longest word in use is: lentokonesuihkuturbiinimoottoriapumekaanikko with 44 letters if I have not counted them wrongly. That would mean about “assisting mechanic of airplane jet motor turbines”.

The longest palindrome in the world, that is a word that is exactly the same read from both ways also is a Finnish word, saippuankivikauppias, which would translate to about “soap stone salesman” or woman as the word does not express the sex of the person selling the soap stones. I wonder what soap stones are…

Anyway, the longest name of a place ai have found so far in Finland is Kristiinankaupunki with its’ 18 letters , a beautiful place to visit on the coast of Ostro-Botnia if you ever are in Finland.

Monday, 3 September 2007

Gold medal

Finland won a gold medal in javelin in Osaka world championships in the weekend and Finland also won the first Eurovision dancing contest on Saturday. Finland was one among 16 countries to compete in the dancing contest and won for the first time as the competition was held for the first time ever.

But one thing for sure Finland will not get a gold medal or win a competition in is customer care as

Customer care and customer service is one thing that most of the times seem non-existent in this country, even in so called customer care profession.

There are of course exceptions but they are scarcely rare, sometimes I wonder how anyone gets anything sold or done in this country. The son of a friend being in his late teens went to buy himself a new suit, not his first but another one as he happens to be from a quite wealthy background. He walks into a posh and renowned men’s outfitter in town and began his look around the suits. Time went by and the salesmen were not at all interested in this young boy and after a while he got fed up with not being seen and went straight up to one of the salesmen asking him: “Do you know who I am?” with the confused man answering with an obvious:”No, I’m afraid don’t.” followed by his curious question of: “Who are you then?” expecting the young man to be someone famous he should know about.

My friends’ son answering to this by saying that he is a customer and that he wants to buy a new suit and could he please get some help. This quite accurately describes the situations you end up in sadly enough all too often for it to be good for the national economy of Finland and currently I am in just the same situation right now. The situation gets even trickier as there only is one supplier available for the service in question and as there are no one else to compete with there is no need to take care of your customers, is there? At least that is how it seems.

I have now been trying to get contact with this one guy in the company in question for two weeks, I have spoken with him on the phone twice but as he has not been where he should have been to read my e-mail concerning the items I am to order, he has been non-committal about it all. My problem now is that I have promised to do this as a favour to a friend who has to get it done but has not the artistic gift to go through with it together with lack of sufficient language skills but time is now running out as the items have to be ready for the occasion, and we are here talking about hundreds, not a single one, with hundreds more to come if it all works properly and is delivered in time.

I can’t promise a good deal in the future as this deal seems to have to be moved abroad in order to get it done in and the company in question’s name getting a real bad reputation among many people and missing the opportunity to do some easy business. So no gold medals in customer care to be expected to in this country for a long, long time.

Sunday, 2 September 2007

No more fish!

The law about fertility treatments has been altered here in Finland and from September 1st the children born as result of donated egg cells and sperm have a right to know if they want to, who their biological parents are when they come to age and the decision about the law has already resulted in a waiting time up to two years time for fertility treatments and the amount of donors to decrease considerably.

Some people are meant to be parents and have a hard time to become parents and at the same time completely unsuitable persons have no difficulties in conceiving children into their abusive and unhealthy lifestyles.

I personally consider egg cell and sperm donation equivalent to organ donation, and as you do not know who you are taking the donations from, what habits of eating, drinking, smoking or drugs and neither can you be sure what inheritable illnesses there might be it is all about taking a risk and not a calculated one as you have no idea what you are up against in the end. Is it not a waste of resources and knowledge these fertility treatments in the first place?

I can not understand the necessity of the forcing reproduction of you against the nature as there surely must be some reason we are meant to either have children or not to have children, and as there are thousands of children around the world in need, why not instead give a helping hand to those children in need a good decent home, love and care?

Why is the fear of mortality as prevailing as it is in humans? Why do we humans yearn for immortality, if not by our acts or work valuable to the humankind but in the need to reproduce, to get offspring?

Well life just is unfair, and we just have to make the best out of what cards we have been dealt and ethics have never been an easy subject.

Anyway, dear spouse of mine went on one of the last fishing trips for this summer, at least that is what he claimed, but by the sound of the wife of his colleague’s reactions to yesterdays catch, it might actually have been the last time this year. The reception of the jolly fishermen yesterday night was not a contended one at their house, at least not according to what I have heard. The words surely are not the same as repeated here in writing as some of the more colourful adjectives probably were left out by dear husband of mine but the content was something like: “No not fish again, I am tired of fish. I hate fish, and don’t you dare come home with any more fish again!” resulting in us getting the whole catch to the joy of our cats and I was not even asked to clean and gut it them this time, probably as a side effects of the previous reception of the jolly fishermen.

As the fishermen are used to going out I have suggested some mushroom picking trips and as their knowledge in mushrooms is limited I get to join them to my enjoyment and it certainly will make a change to the ever and always returning home with fish at the colleagues’ house. With the rain pouring down we will have to wait until next weekend anyway before going out checking some of my secret mushroom-picking spots.

Saturday, 1 September 2007

Fur coats and salmon

Yesterday about 2500 minks were let loose from a fur farm here in Finland. I do not agree with Homo Sapiens keeping animals just to skin them for their precious fur but using the hide of other animals we eat the meat of I think is acceptable, then you make use of it all instead of keeping these fur farms with caged in foxes, minks or what ever, fair would be to have to go out and hunt the animals you want for your fur coat.

Something for us ladies to think about maybe, first taking shooting lessons and going on hunting trips in order of acquiring our precious and sought after fur coats? At least it would be fairer to the animals as you just might miss your shot. And besides, then it would not just be money talking, you would have to do something yourself in order to get your fur coat also keeping in mind how the actual killing itself would affect each hunter. At least you would have to make an honest decision about being a murderer and not blaming it on somebody else and not taking the responsibility of it.

Letting the minks loose in the nature is bad for the environment with most of the minks never captured and as minks are notorious of killing everything and anything just for the sake of killing, considering the killing a fun pastime and do not do it out of hunger like other carnivores, the minks kill just for kicks the surrounding wildlife suffers for long time afterwards. The same effect some human hunters also just do it for the fun of shooting, not to eat what they have killed out on the loose in the woods. But are there ever as many as 2500 hunters out in the same woods at the same time killing everything they come across?

Luckily the minks were set free now and not in the spring with the birds nesting and other animals having given birth to their little babies in the spring time.

Anyway, getting a discount or having a sale has an extraordinary effect on people and so also here in Finland. Especially old people and retirees apparently have to time to drive from one supermarket to another in order to get the cheapest price available on their groceries, but has anyone of them even though about how much it costs in petrol driving for kms more than you would need, or the effect of the carbon oxide on the environment?

Anyway, today I experience chaos in the shopper’s heaven, in a supermarket. Norwegian salmon was on offer for a real bargain price but the salmon did not arrive in time for opening in the morning and still at midday when we went into this particular supermarket I am there still was no salmon. When we were there it was to arrive in twenty minutes, well we left without buying any as we weren’t there for the fish in the first place, but seeing all these people coming from a distance to get the cheap salmon and to their disappointment finding out there was n one, and the crowds that was built in front of the fishmongers, well you can imagine when people are promised something to eat and they do not get it. Many apparently decided to stay on and wait for the salmon’s arrival as the supermarket got more and more crowded while we still were in there.

Food that was promised and none given resulting in riots, does that sound familiar at all?

Well, that is how the French revolution began in 1789, no bread for the people. I doubt it would spark up a revolution here in Finland as people of today are way too well behaved. People just queue their time and then resign without complaining, even if disappointed when not getting any salmon for the right price. I personally prefer the wild Baltic Sea salmon with its’ paler meat from the cultivated Norwegian salmon that has been fed colorants to achieve it’s orange colour.