Monday, 21 December 2009

White Christmas

This year we will be celebrating a white Christmas here in Finland, and as it looks the same goes for many places elsewhere as well.

Heavy snowfall and blizzards have delayed air travel and caused many road accidents also here in Finland. It is hard to fathom that the climate is warming up watching the news when heavy snowfall has hit areas where there normally is hardly no snow at all.

It is sad that the Copenhagen climate summit did not turn out well and result in anything substantial, like a treaty or something similar. Yes the industrial revolution and the Western world is to blame for most of the global warming, but who knew back then what would come out of it? That the resources were not everlasting and that nature could not cope with anything? Should then the developing countries be repeating the same stupid mistakes now, today, instead of doing something differently?

People always tend to try to figure out who the culprit is, which in this case is a huge waste of time. We might not have another year to waste until the next climate summit in Mexico next year...and we should everybody begin to do something for it...but what?!?

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Ham or not?

Traditionally ham is eaten at Christmas in the Nordic countries, so also here in Finland.

At this time of the year the supermarkets are full of hams in all sizes, ecologically grown and traditionally grown from various manufacturers salted in different ways and the prizes may vary quite a bit from where you live and which supermarket you shop in. This year the prizes may drop even more than previous years as we get closer the Christmas.

All that is Finnish has been considered as better, cleaner and safer than anything imported from abroad and so far that has been the same with the traditional Christmas ham. This year it is not discussed whether or not to glaze the ham or in what way to do it but whether to get a ham or not and many hams might not be sold at all as Finnish pig meat, or the pig farmers have lost their good image.

An activist group called "Justice for animals" secretly filmed Finnish pig farms two years ago publishing their filmed material, which was not nice to look at. The condition of some of the pigs were, well, I'd rather not mention it here so I guess you get the picture. I am sad to say I do not anymore recall what, or if anything came out of their action then, as I doubt the details of the farms in question were ever made known to the officials. But when doing the same thing this year again the Finnish Food Safety authority did inspect the farms in question and found major
negligence in half of them.

Anyway, protests are rare in the middle of parliamentary sessions here in Finland, but earlier this week one took place, and this when TV was broadcasting the discussion that was taking place at the time. Two persons hung a streamer from the second floor balcony stating "Is this what we want to do to the animals?" together with a picture of a pig lying down for all the world to be seen.

Strangely enough, the pig industry was granted government funds to clean up the image of Finnish pig meat not too long ago...and this prior to these incidents as far as I know. So the funds might come in handy for a campaign for improving the image, but what I am really concerned about is the conditions of the pigs...not the farmers that treat them badly.

So the big question in Finland this year is not whether to get an ecologically grown ham but if to get a ham at all for Christmas...

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Sunset all day long

Only one week to go before Christmas, and you can tell that when shopping, all shops are filled with shoppers and there are long queues at the check outs.

At least the pre-holliday panick has not yet stricken, that is normally not detectible until next week, the day before Christmas Eve itself, and on Christmas Eve morning, the last desperate rush before the shops close for the hollidays. Spouses who have forgotten to get the other half anything, or just late shopping as in not enough time.

I have luckily been able to get most of my shopping done already, just had an item to get for Saturday's birthdays party. Sad to be born so close to Xmas especially when a child but we all have to be born sometime.

Until recently the skies here in southern Finland were overcast for weeks, it was wet and murky which made me sad and depressed. Now with the weather colder, actually colder than normal for this time of the year in the whole country, when one gets to see the sun and sky makes one, at least me, much happier and more content with life. It is nice to know that on Monday the light changes and we will be having more daylight time every and each day, as now it looks more like it is sunset all day long.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Strikes in season

Apart from the ginger bread and mulled wine this year's holiday season seems to have a new thing that is trendy and that is having a strike.

Not like going bowling but as in walk out from your job.

The financial industry is planning to begin their next week, as they want their fair share of the companies' profits. The union says that the cash machines will be running and that the wages and pension are to be paid to their due accounts despite their possible strike if the transfers are made before hand. Remains to see the result.

Last week the aviation baggage personnel walked out of their jobs at Helsinki airport in protest with it resulting in flights being cancelled and a luggage clog up with thousands of suitcases still to be sorted out .

The employees of one of the mobile phone operator walked out today and the IT sector have been negotiating for some time now about a pay rise.

Maybe this is a new way to get more time off before Christmas for them who have jobs as they are envious of the others who have been being laid off and made redundant?

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Reckless drivers

Traffic accidents with young adults have lately been on the rise in Finland.

Alcohol is unfortunately all too often involved in the serious accidents involving younger people and sadly enough you too often read or hear about accidents with young men as drivers. Young men with fresh driver's licenses here in Finland, at least according to statistics, seem have a knack for driving fast and recklessly. Therefor it now is discussed whether or not to, reinstate the 80 kms per hour limit with a label about it on the rear window that used to be the standard for fresh driving license holders in this country.

And the pro's and cons for this seems to go on endlessly. I am told that some driver's used to get a compulsion to overtake cars with these speed limit labels on the most dangerous road stretches, and that many did not bother to keep their sticker on the window of their cars.

But then on the other hand, more experienced elder drivers are no safer with impaired eye vision and longer reaction time.

New flagging day

The Finnish composer Jean Sibelius was born on the 8th December in 1865, and from the year 2011 this will be a national flagging day to commemorate his birth.

Sibelius composed many music pieces inspired by the Finnish national epic Kalevala, as many of the artist of his time. His most famous work is Finlandia which by many Finns is considered to be the real Finnish anthem. Finlandia was apparently from the beginning called "Finland awakens" and strangely enough, it seems to even have been the national anthem of some African nation for some time in the late 1960's, or so I have heard.

Well so the celebrations of the Independence Day are over and done with, the TV repeatedly runs clips of the reception and media still relishes on who did what, and wore what yesterday, the same annual discussion and procedure as every year.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Two plates policy

Since Finland joined the European Union the president has been able to take part in the summit in addition to the Prime minister at her own request, and the number the plates laid has so far been two, one for each partaker, the so called "Two plates policy".

With the EU Lisbon treaty having been reinforced yesterday, a decision upon the issue has to be made as the number of participants has been specified to just the single one from each of the member states.

So the hot topic for the last week or so has now been about the two plates to be laid at dinners. Or rather who has the right to attend in the first place, the President or prime minister of Finland.

Here the President and the Prime minister seem to agree, on disagreeing on the issue.

The Finnish President claims she has constitutional rights to attend to the summits, and the Prime minister contradicts this in his turn in concordance with the constitutional committee that he is to attend. The constitutional committee has for some time now been considering changes in the Finnish constitutional law with this amongst other issues.

The problem was apparently vented, according to the media, when the freshly elected EU president visited Helsinki yesterday meeting with the Finnish President. His only comment was, that the issue it has to be sorted out between the two themselves.

Following the development of the two plate policy, and maybe even the end of it, will at least be some change from the pig flu news that has been on all the time and become a bore.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Get to see your doctor

I really hand another subject in mind when beginning to blog today but today's subject just took overhand of my writing.

I had a call from a girl friend of mine about her husband who had noticed change in his behaviour of passing water as well as he's "the right age" and that's when you should see a doctor and so he did.

Or at least he tried to. He called his doctor to get an appointment but could not make an booking until the next day (which is today so I still don't know the outcome) as the booking system could not give any appointments until today, the beginning of the month. And as it is not considered as urgent, (which it might not be but still might as well be very urgent) he probably wouldn't get to see his doctor for at least a fortnight, he was told. But how on earth can you not book appointments for more than one single month at a time?

What kind of stone age booking system is that?!?

According to my experience, men tend to take their time to get an appointment to the doctor even when concerned with minor things as a common cold, and when they think it might be something wrong, as in a case as sensitive as their prostate, even more so.

Taking in concern the threshold for a man to call about his prostate and being ready and willing to go and have it handled, maybe even tampered with, his most private parts, well that's completely another thing than the annual visit for us women to our gynecologist, the old usual bore, so I think it was urgent and should have been taken more seriously.

This worries me quite a lot, not his prostate, but the way the health care act. First they want to educate us about what to look out for, then when you notice what you hopefully should not see, then you act as you have been told, and the result still is null and void. So in the end, what's the use? Given a little time you get used to the nuisance and forget about it.

And this is just one single case, how many are there out there?

Yes, you might save your life if you get to see the doctor but you might die trying to see him.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Better crop but less?

This year's cereal crop in Finland is better than the average.

At least that is what the headline of the news. According to what I read, 2009 is the third year in a row that the crop is bigger than normal according to the preliminary statistics from the Information Centre of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in Finland.

Especially the wheat and barley crop were well above the average, but instead the rye and oat crops were below the average. So maybe the crop is better, but still is less than normal as well?

Anyway, the Finns consume 100 million tons of rye per year and most of the rye consumed as rye bread, as rye bread has been a necessary part of the Finnish diet for centuries and as the rye crop was as much as 31 percent less compared to last year and Finland will have to import rye in order to meet demands.

It seems to me, at least looking at the published statistics, that there is not enough rye growers is this country and instead of growing something else that is subsidized with funds from the EU, it would be better to grow more rye.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Sunday shopping

Now we have entered into the winter season's Sunday shopping, the shops are allowed to be open for business also on Sundays.

This year with the novelty that yesterday the parliament finally granted for the Sunday openings to be continuous from the New year on. Before the decision was taken a lot was discussed about the prices going up as the wages for the employees will rise, as Sundays are more expensive for the employer to use their staff.

I can only see a lot of advantages with the Sunday opening. Families are better able to plan their shopping and even make a day out of it, less produce for the supermarkets to waste as the shops are open every day, you can better plan the transports and probably don't need as much shelve space, and if we are lucky the food prices may decrease even more than they have done since the VAT on food was decreased some time ago.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Biggest in palm oil?

Sometimes the strain to go greener just gets plain ridiculous.

Changing from green house gas producing energy sources to more green and renewable energy source alternatives seems to be just moving the global problem from one country to another as big corporations always just are big corporations and that even in the Finland.

The major Finnish oil company plans to open two new bio-diesel refineries abroad and is also currently negotiating in several countries on palm oil and might soon become the world's biggest buyer of palm oil. This according to one of the major newspapers here in Finland.

Okay, palm oil for sure is a renewable source of energy so where lies the problem?

It is better to use bio diesel yes, but this bio diesel in question is made of palm oil, palms that more often than you would like to know about, is grown on land that used to be rain forests. Rain forests are felled for the palms to grow with the obliteration of the forests making about a fifth of the green house emissions.

Is this what they call globalization, shuffling the problem around?

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Shot or no shot?

Okay, so now it has happened, my first appointment that was cancelled because of the Pig flu.

The person in question will be getting back to me next week when feeling better. And if not feeling better by next week, then who am I to turn to?!?

I wonder if this Pig flu really is as dangerous as the media wants to make us believe. A pandemic it is that is for sure and some have died of it, but then some people die of the normal seasonal flu as well and any flu medication is a high seller at present, among tissue paper and anti-bacterial washes.

The major discussion topic among people here in Finland now seems to be whether to or not to, take the flu shot, that is. And there are pro's and con's in both choices.

Getting the vaccination, well there are side effects and the queueing, as people have waited in line for hours for their shots. By the way, how are you to know when it is your time? Does anyone tell you when to go? Still it takes about two weeks for the antibodies to form and you getting a resistance for it, maybe, for the flu in question as this is a viral flu, and as you might have heard viruses do constantly mutate. So in a worst case scenario there might be no point in taking the shot, as it has already changed and does not work against the new strand of the flu.

Okay, what about not getting the shot then? Well, I guess keep it your own secret, you better not tell anyone about not having it to avoid getting ostracized.

Anyway, a quite big school in the vicinity of the capital had their flu shots, and this against the general guidelines of the flu vaccinations from the health department. As there are guidelines on who is to get vaccinated first, elder people, young children etc. One can wonder if there maybe might have been some children to some prominent politician, or maybe even in plural as in politicians, attending to that very school...

Monday, 9 November 2009

Who's in charge?

I have been quite satisfied with the Finnish health care system, especially the use of family doctors.

Instead of seeing someone else every time you go to see a doctor, like when I first moved here, you today get to see the same one who already knows you, and about you, and you don't have to "tell everything from the beginning all over" about yourself. And there is of course the language question, being a foreigner, I am very comfortable with my "old" doctor.

So, when moving, if you do not choose your new address well, you have either change doctors or take charge of your affairs, which is not easy I tell you, and me having moved again of course imposed new stress to the system, but as I am now quite well schooled in paper pushing Finnish style I got to keep my old family doctor, which was a major achievement I tell you. If anything, it takes faith to stick to your guns.

When trying to get something done in Finland, bureaucratically I mean and this seems to apply to everything, the hardest thing normally is to find the person who is in charge. And according to my experience so far, this applies to most of municipal and governemental authorities. Everybody you talk to, you have to explain the whole thing, and then they just pass you along to someone else and you have to go through the whole story once again. Seems like the whole idea is to wear people off.

Doing these inquiries by phone seems to be the most reliable way to go on about it, as turning up in person, the person you want to talk to might not be available at the time present, and you will definitively have to return later. Letters take ages too long to get answered, sometimes even months if you are lucky enough to get an answer in the first place, and e-mail inquiries are not always even answered "as safety precaution", anyway, that is the reason you never get an answer by e-mail. There is actually an "accustomed time to answer" according to Finnish law, but I have yet not been able to establish the exact durance of it.

So, you have to get past your language problem, and it is much easier to get by in broken Finnish or even bad English instead of trying the "second national language". Take it from me, I have tried, and it is a great disadvantage, you just get passed around from phone to phone as nobody wants to talk to you until you get tired and hang up.

So first, various inquiries to the authority in question are needed to find out who to turn to. Then finding out what kind of paper work you might need filled in is a completely different matter. If you're lucky there might be some form you can fill in available on-line and print out.

Now having done all the required questionnaire answering, or letter writing and signing it, you then hand in, or post it, to the authority in question, and wait. The longer you wait the more important the authority seems to be and if you're lucky your request is granted instead of being turned down.

If you are not satisfied with the outcome, you can always appeal against it, and that takes years, or at least so I have heard. Makes you wanna give up to begin with.

Anyway, about a month ago, the President of Finland and the Finnish Prime minister apparently both were surprised to on the news learn about the Finnish UN peacekeepers coming home from Afghanistan.

This incident was in the media called a "lapse in information". The President and the Prime minister had apparently not been properly informed in the matter by the minister of defense, as they were "left out in the cold" and learned the facts the hard way, something unheard of anywhere else but in Finland. Well, in this case the Finnish foreign minister was diplomatic enough to take most of the blame.

But still fact remains, Finland is in a unique situation constitutionally, as the foreign policy is not in just one hands but divided between the responsibility of more than one and maybe some clarifying in who's responsible for what is needed, to know who is in charge.

Or else the right hand does not seem to know what the left hand is on about and we're in for a real hot stirred up soup, sooner or later.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Beware of removing tattoos

Body art such as tattoos and piercings have become very popular here, and also with it the removal of permanent tattoos has risen. The piercings you just leave without attention and it heals itself, I guess.

Anyway, the easiest way is to remove a tattoo is by laser, which vaporizes, or rather dissolves, the colour of the tattoo in the skin layers. Many beauty salons now offer this service and normally it results in a skin burn wound that heals in time.

But the laser has to be powerful enough, a so called class 4 laser, to get into between the skin layers to be able to make the tattoo disappear. Now the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority of Finland recommends that the removals only is done by either doctors or medical staff under the supervision of a doctor, as removing a tattoo wrongly or on a person with very sensitive skin by unskilled and not properly trained personnel, can cause permanent skin damage.

So I guess I´ll better stick to my henna tattoos also in the future.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Bathroom covered in sludge

I have always hated moving, the packing of things is a bore, the moving the stuff itself hell and the unpacking and sorting things out a stressful anti-climax.

In the new place you never know how things work, as they are supposed to work and also do that most of the time. But here I am now waiting in the cold for the plumber to come around, as the janitor was not able to fix the radiator of the living room.

Boy am I glad it is not many degrees below freezing point outside, yet, but already one plant has taken cold and withered and died. Of course it was the pricey and rare chili plant I was worried about in the first place that croaked.

If that was not enough, the shower is also scolding hot as the stopper of the heater is dysfunctional, so I almost burned myself with it yesterday, and washing for the first time in the new apartment turned out hell, as the plumbing was not working properly, the pipes being full of itself, and the water ran from the sink down into the litter box, flooding the whole bathroom floor with a grey sludge of cat litter mixed in water with washing powder in it.

As if I did not have other things to do, like having a stiff Dry Martini dreaming about having my own butler unpacking my stuff, instead these incredible little accidents occur to me, and never to anyone else but me.

At least no one ever tells me they happen.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Confusing clips on TV

I can only assume that people's behaviour has been deteriorating here in Finland lately, that people are no longer as considerate, as they once used to.

This I can only assume as the TV intermissions for the moment, or commercial breaks, currently on one of the Finnish TV stations begin with a clip of an anonymous red figure doing something wrong or rather not nice to grey figures, and then the show continues after the intermission with the correct behaviour.

What has been quite puzzling is, that normally the figure behaving badly is the red one causing distress to the grey figure, or figures, but in some of these clips it is the other way around. Maybe the colours should be consistent to clarify what is really going on, as this is not a hard thing to correct using the computer technology the clips apparently have been made with.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Hair fashion trend

When you are living in Finland you are actually here to see what is going on, and one thing this country has been renowned for is its' blonde beauties.

Well, knowing more about the facts of life, and how things actually work, you learn to know that naturally blonde hair tends to darken with age forcing so many "once used to be naturally blondes" wanting to stay blonde, having their hair either highlighted or dyed blonde.

I have now caught up another trend, about hair colour that is.

In the summer there are more blondes than in the winters. At least it looks so, and judging from the shop shelves, in the summer all the do-it-yourself blonde dyes are out of stock, and in the fall the blondes seem to disappear and more brunettes and redheads are seen walking in the streets.

That must then mean that many women dyed their hair blonde for the summer, maybe to be more attractive in the summer months or to "have more fun" as they say blondes have. Maybe it is better to go back to normal daily routines for the winter and dye the hair brown in the fall, maybe dyeing it flaming red for the winter to brighten things up a little at Christmas.

Anyway, the seasons show in the way people dress, well, at least how the women dress. In the winter more sensible clothes and shoes are sought for, to keep dry and warm, and when the sun comes out in the spring, the heavy winter clothes are shedded showing all legs and bosoms and women turn blonde all of a sudden to match it.

Is this a new fashion trend I have spotted?

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Too cheap realty prices?

Finland has too cheap housing they say.

That is at least according to news reporting about the list compiled by IMF, the International Monetary Fund. The last has taken in consideration various factors such as expected growth of income, the number of working age people in the population, the average mortgage, loans and cost of building. Finland actually was the only country of the 16 countries on the list that has under prized housing.

This seems a bit strange, as housing has always been, well at least as far as I have been told, considered as expensive with families living cramped in apartments and houses for years in order to be able to get a bigger one later on. It has been considered as over-rated as a matter of fact, taking in what you actually get for the money. This of course depends on the city and area, but the prices have been considered a bit over the top and one of the most expensive realty countries in the world, or should I say upper side of the list?

Anyway, off-spring has finally moved out so now I am packing again, and moving into a smaller apartment than this previous one. And I just hate moving so much, the sorting out of things, discarding of some, packing and unpacking and re-sorting them into their new places...

But then, moving always is a sort of new beginning and life does go on.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Tickets released before time

A good way to obtain tickets to venues, concerts and happenings has been the Ticket office.

The good thing is, that you can either shop on line or call them direct and get the tickets you want for just what you want. Or so it at least has been.

Since I moved to Finland more and more of the big world famous artist have found their way here playing concerts, making the supply more varied and better available to the commoner, as you do not have to travel abroad to neighbouring countries.

Now the tickets to the most wanted concerts are sold out in a short time, like in the case of a famous, or rather infamous, rock band, with a number one hit on the Finnish top-ten list with an x-rated video. They are coming to Finland next year, and the tickets to their concert were sold out in only 6 minutes. Here I must sadly add, that the tickets seem to have obtainable at the Ticket office before the time they were supposedly to be released, at least according to the rumours.

Anyway, this band will only consider this as good press, as they are very good at bending the media in their purposes. Guess their motto might, perhaps, be: "Any press is good press".

Who knows, maybe we are lucky enough to look forward to a second concert.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Eating on the bus

Public transportation is quite good in this country, and I enjoy this facilities quite often.

Buses normally are on schedule, and so have the coaches been as well, but the trains seems to be in a struggle on and off and not long ago people got refunded for the trains having been late. Anyway, there are certain things you are not allowed to do on the train or the bus and this you are normally informed by with signs, like eating on the city buses.

Some people just don't seem to bother anyway. I mean, fruit is good for you," an apple a day keeps the doctor away they say". Well, someone having an orange on the bus, makes the migraine hit the top of your head.

Sorry, I am no good at poetry...but the smell of the orange peel it did ruin the rest of my day.

Wednesday, 30 September 2009


Following wildlife is strange, and you who have been following my blog have read about the hedgehogs outside my window.

They have been fun to watch and they had big gatherings early in the summer but then all of a sudden they all disappeared in August, just one single hedgehog was then seen a couple of nights and since then nothing. Not one single sighting of a hedgehog. They just seem to have disappeared.

Is this maybe a seasonal change in their behaviour I have not yet been able to determine, or did some disease kill them off all, a pandemic spreading only amongst the hedgehog population?

I can not believe that all 12 of them would have been road kills, that would be too improbable. Or was it the neighbour who fed them dry cat food, pouring it straight from the box on to the lawn in a heap, the poor hedgehogs eating too much of the dry food, not knowing the need of water and not finding enough water to drink and dying of dehydration?

I would hate to live next door to a hedgehog mass-murder...

Anyway, I have been to the licquor shop Alko buying wine and debited it on my credit card, and paid in bars with it. So is this right or wrong then?!? As according to the law selling alcohol on credit is prohibited here in Finland, at least so I have been told.

My neighbour, the one I suspect of hegdehogecide, seems to have had an awful long summer vacation this year, have not seen him sober one time since, well, ever actually. Wonder if he gets his drinks with cash or on credit...

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

To fund or refund?

The election campaign funds are currently the hot topic here in Finland.

The topic hit off with the last parliamentary elections but has stepped back in time even to the last presidential elections and "to dare to fund or have to refund is the question" so to say.

So far there seems to have been few rules and guidelines to apply to in Finland and since the last election the topic has hit the roof turning even ridiculous. The hot potato is the reform for the election fund raising on its' way, what to change and what to allow and which party, or who personally in so many cases, has to refund what money and to whom. Someone paying for you birthday bash or a vacation trip abroad for that matter seems an awkward bit too much like bribery to me.

I personally can not see why money donated years ago should be paid back now, unless there was something illegal about it back then. The persons in question having made the mistakes, giving donations wrongly should take the fall. Nor can I see the for reason it being mandatory to find out about the donor when receiving money. Until now you have been able to anonymously donate funds, at least up to a certain amount of money, if I have not got it wrong.

If a state owned corporation, or maybe a charity fund, donates money to some politician for their campaign, and the politician in question happens to be a member of the board of the corporation, or charity fund in question, it should be illegal. Which it seems is not, at least not yet, and money has been refunded to where it originated from at the same time resulting in some members of parliament resigning from their posts.

Logical would be for worker's unions to support their parties, which, at least presumably, should be some parties on the left wing of politics, and for employers to support the right wing of politics in correlation to their political interests. This might be illegal too soon, as well as banishing private donations...

So what way would there then be to support your party, if you're not personally involved in politics here in Finland?!?

One thing is for sure, all donations should be public for anyone to see, who paid what to whom and when.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Lay offs and re-hires

The worldwide economical decline is said to ease next year but still people are being made redundant or temporarily laid off but in some lines of business they are still going strong and just hiring more workers.

People are still needed and apparently hired in the social services sector, well, that's only a matter of supply and demand. As people get laid off and redundant from their work their accessible funds decline, resulting in less purchasing power. In sad cases it means having to rely on social welfare to get by in daily life, this resulting in more paper pushers to answer to the demands as the current time of handling applications of living allowance in most municipalities is longer than the given time according to the law.

The health services of course need more people, and are hiring more staff. People are more prone to depression in a economical depression, and then there is the coming of the flu later on in the fall. Is it the "Pig flu" or the "Swine flu"? I do know that it is called the "Mexican flu" in Muslim world. Anyway, as the flu is expected to hit the health care personnel first, there need to be more personnel to step in when the big flu wave hits the country. Currently there are 176 confirmed cases of the flu. The number is likely to be higher as many cases are so mild they have not required any medical care and are not accounted for.

The paper industry in Finland has been having hard times lately but now finally there seems to be a glimpse of light, a sun ray, to see through the cloudy skies. A mill that was closed down about six months ago is to begin running again as the demand for their products is on the rise again and the workers laid off will get their jobs back, if this is on a temporary basis or not I do not know.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Instant misery and poverty

Instant loans became big business a couple a years ago here in Finland.

You could, at the beginning when these cash loan firms established themselves on the market, apply for a cash loan, instantly paid to your account in the middle of the night sitting in a bar to settle your check.

This is no more the case, now there are some rules these instant cash loan firms have to apply to, but it seems to me these loans are more like tickets to instant bankruptcy, as the the interest rates are higher than they should be allowed to be, at least according to the law, as profiteering is not allowed here in Finland. You lend 100 Euros for a month, that is 30 days, and you pay back 144 Euros. And what is that in yearly interest rate?!?

At least according to me that makes very much a bigger yearly interest rate than I would even want to think about, just a waste of money...and lending once and not being able to pay it back, you have to lend more to pay and there it is, instant misery and poverty and you did have fun, once long, long time ago.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Smoking prohibited in your own car

Finland is going to prohibit smoking in cars when children under the age of 18 are present some day in the near future.

This has already been done in some other countries I do not remember currently, which seems fair enough, we have to protect our children, but what bugs me about it is that you won't be fined or charged with anything if you smoke in your car here in Finland

Prohibiting smoking in cars will be just as useless as talking on your mobile when driving, which also is prohibited by law, but who bothers to use a hand-free appliances when driving anymore, as nothing is done about it?!?

Smoking in restaurants just was banned, you are not allowed to smoke on the premises anymore but still when you are in a restaurant, you are still allowed to smoke in the outdoor decks and terraces. Or is that not on the premises?

Just another useless law, just ordinary paper pushing again to keep the politicians occupied. People will still smoke in their cars, and talk on their mobiles, when matter whether it is against the law or not.

At least they have not been able to ban people to smoke on their own balconies yet here in Finland, but seems likely that day will come too.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Nothing on TV ?

There just ain't nothing on TV ever.

I have so far not lived nor visited a country where the citizens have been fully satisfied with what has been shown on TV. And when something interesting is on, of course it is on at the same time as something else you would like to see. Of course you can record, or save it on your hard drive, the other program I mean and if it is a series this will continue until either series is discontinued, which quite often happens here in Finland, or the series ends.

So the discontinuation of a catching series becomes then a problem, if you get addicted to watching it, as might happen to even ordinary sane persons, like me for instance, hypothetically of course. You look for the series elsewhere, get it and watch it. Then, after having seen the whole series you discover that there is a second series that was aired at the same time with the other one. And that one you have not got of course, as you had no idea about it even existing so you have to have that one as well, waiting for it to be sent to you, collect it...

Yes, I do understand people might download things, even illegally, over the Internet...

Friday, 18 September 2009

Joys of workmen

Well ain't it grand to wake up early in the morning to the sounds of workmen banging on nails and carelessly sawing wood with electrical saws?

Is there really any point in having rules in housing associations as they are never kept in the end? You can complain about your neighbour playing their music (that probably would be me) too loud in the middle of the day, but they can begin their re-decorations and renovations in the middle of the night, even before the Kindergarten next-door opens their door! I really feel like going down there and nail the neighbours feet to the floor, or maybe saw off a head or too!

In the rules it is said that silence should prevail between the hours of 10 p.m and 7 a.m, and no loud work is to be done after 8 p.m. So how it is okay to begin them half an hour before dawn? I really think that at building sites it is okay to begin earlier as the houses then are not lived in, but lived in housing apartments work should not be allowed in until at the earliest 8 a.m.

I really hope nobody messes with me before I have had myself a nice cup of tea!

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Teachers missing table manners

With the economical downfall everything is done to try to save some money by cutback, both in companies, the state and municipalities.

It has so far been customary in Finland for the teacher's to eat with their pupils in the lunch room, at least when they are in an early age, a meal that has been a taxable benefit for the teachers, and thus considered as work as they have been advising and teaching their own class how to behave properly at the table and how to eat.

Now the city of Tampere has decided to cut back on the teacher's lunch benefits resulting in teachers having their lunch in the teachers lounge in future.

Well, I personally think they could do this more commonly, as the off-spring has only been corrected in faulty ways by teachers resulting in many disagreements home at the dinner table. Or the teachers should at least themselves be taught how to eat and hold a spoon properly!

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

"Chicks not ground alive"

Yesterday you could read in the newspaper that male chicks ground alive, as they are of no use in the egg industry.

Today the Finnish poultry farmer union denies that they are ground alive, as the chicks are first stunned with carbon dioxide gas. Well, according to my knowledge they are still alive.

Bottom line still is, it is completely legal to grind chicks alive here in Finland. No wonder people turn vegetarians as animals are not treated humanely when grown industrially as livestock, for food.

Anyway, as animals are not human, so then why should they be treated humanely?

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Chicks ground alive

We all eat eggs, but do we know where they come from?

I just read that little chicks if they hatch before the eggs are packed for distribution and selling, the chicks are ground alive to become animal food. This also happens here in Finland, and there is an outrageous video to see how it is done in the US.
The Finnish bureau for food safety is aware of this, but claim to never have seen such machines, but states at the same time that chicken also are ground alive after first having been stunned unconscious.

I am absolutely outraged, or maybe mortified, just to try to define my feelings...
Where can you find chick friendly eggs?!?

Here is a link where you can watch how it is done:

Monday, 7 September 2009

Municipal re-elections

In the last municipal elections this spring some of the municipalities were test pilots in e-voting, that is voting on-line on the Internet, but as it turned out to not work in the expected way, the elections were voided and the polls were carried out again last weekend.

Candidates were the same as in the void polls previously, but it seems that the interest in voting again were even much lower than earlier. This has been a sad trend, the only voring you could actually make an impact in are the municipal polls, as you pay most tax to the town, or municipality you live in, than to the state.

At least one valid reason to vote in your home town.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Finnish Catholic bishop

Finland got it's first Finnish catholic bishop this year for the first time since reformation, and he was inaugurated this Saturday in Turku Cathedral. And for the first time since the reformation the Cathedral was used for the purpose it was built, for catholic mass.

Having only the opportunity to watch the festivities on TV some things came to mind, the clapping of hands felt a bit strange even though it is considered as a sign of acknowledge and of joy. The catholic church consisting only of male priests it felt odd to see a female Lutheran priest wait in line to be blessed by the new bishop as non-Catholics are not allowed to partake in the catholic communion. The TV broadcast cut just there, so I had no chance to see what happened. Would just have been interesting to see what happened and how much wine they must've had in store to serve all.

Anyway, I really wonder about how people were let in to the church, as not all had the room to enter the cathedral and some priorities must have been made among foreign dignitaries and of the state, guests of honour from other churches in an ecumenical spirit, devout Catholics from the Finnish parishes and common peers just wanting to see...

Friday, 4 September 2009

Hard time for women

The sales manager of a foreign made car has resigned since he made derogatory remarks about women in general in an interview for a women's magazine, his resignation having been the right thing to do according to both his superiors and the Finnish minister in charge of equality issues.

And poverty in Finland has increased, but as poverty in terms of income has not been defined it really depends on how you count. Today more than 700.000 people earn less than 1.100 Euros per month, with a third of them being single moms.

Now having in mind that women together with minorities are treated unequally in working life, according to freshest report on how human rights actually are carried out in Finland, it is no wonder that most women retire out of working life for health reasons with the main reason being depression.

Conclusion, this may not be the easiest of countries to live in, especially if you are a female and a foreigner.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Running out of paper?

Many blogging ideas have popped into my mind lately, but I have not had the real urge I used to have earlier to get them posted, still some ideas have been bugging me for some time now and I guess they'd better get posted, or I'll die with them spooking around in my mind.

In the very early days when I first started blogging we had this long paper Union strike in Finland, a strike that has over the years showed having huge impact on the paper industry as well as the forest industry in general in this country. Of course other things such as the worldwide recession also has paid its' respects to running down the industry in question.

What surprised me though, is that the same company, one of the major companies in Finland, that has plants and mills in other countries, has been running down mills and cutting down on personnel, is doing so well abroad their mills running on full around the clock.

I read somewhere some statistics that most magazines and newspapers are now printed on Russian paper as it is more cost-effective. Well, using the same wood must be cheaper and turning it into pulp and paper in Russian, instead of importing them to Finland and having to pay import-taxes on the wood on top of the higher costs in wages and transports in and to Finland
is much cheaper so the paper industry, that used to earlier be so important for the Finnish economy, seems now threatening to die out completely.

One comes to wonder about ulterior motives though, about what trade unions really are about, when one hears that leading union representatives are members of boards in companies, that own parts of the companies they are union representatives for, the same companies that now are closing down.

Monday, 31 August 2009

Being in the game

Statistics have for long been one of may favourite subjects, you can tell anything by just twisting the same facts around using different words and saying them in another order, giving them another meaning.

The Finns use 54 Euros per year and person gambling. This is a fact and published by the Finnish state owned gambling company, RAY. As gambling is only allowed on some machines generally displayed in cafes, bars, supermarkets and so on, and at special authorized betting agents, here comes what I have been wondering about.

Is this divides per citizens meaning all citizens including babies and children, this 54 Euros per year? Or is it per persons over 15 years old, who are allowed to gamble on these gambling machines? Or are they just counting adult persons over the age of 18 years?

Anyway, I have always been bad at gambling, the main reason for it being forgetting to get my my tickets registered in time to partake in the game, but now there is this wonderful new invention, on-line gambling, that you can use and I have actually managed to have a valid Lotto ticket for months, and as a matter of fact even have had some modest earnings deposited into my gambling account.

Not as big a win as the Italian 150 million Euros, just pennies, or maybe I should say Euros and cents, but it keeps me in the game for the time being.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Cheapest phone bills

Here's some good news for all them who complain about their mobile-phone bills being too high; Finland actually have the cheapest mobile-phone charges according to a comparison made of the OECD countries in august 2008.

Wonder what the situation is today? The cheapest phone operators still seem to have the same prices to offer as last year, just with new advertising campaigns. Anyway, the cheap phone bills will come in handy to the people in Finland that have volunteered to be involved in a big study about the safety and health risks of using mobile phones.

The same study is simultaneously carried out in Sweden, Denmark, the UK and the Netherlands for better correlation. The choosing of Finland as a participating country for this survey is excellent. No matter where you go there always is someone on the phone right beside you, and by the sound of it you might think that the volume is not adjustable.

Just the other day I was waiting at the bus-stop to get home and a lady was shouting Thai right into my ear. When turning around towards her she said she was on the phone...
When I commented "Yes, and you are shouting right into my ear" she excused herself and hang up looking quite embarrassed. Well, at least she had the good sense to quit, the shouting I mean, not the conversation.

Mobile phones are handy but maybe some more consideration to other people around you might be cautioned for.

Friday, 26 June 2009

Urban wildlife

Having spent the highlight of the Finnish Midsummer in pouring rain we are now living summer in hot sunshine.

Today for the first time this summer I saw people down the beach, in the water, swimming and the water temperature has not been the topic this summer yet, until last week.

We have about ten hedgehogs visiting the yard every night, about as the number might be even bigger but ten is the largest number having been present at the same time. At the same spot many squirrels also feed together with small birds and a couple of hares, and in the winter I even spotted a fox one night. So maybe the urban elk in Turku was not so strange after all.

Talk about urban wildlife!

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Died passions?

How can one thing that I used to be so passionate and conscientious about just die?

No interest in blogging anymore it seems even though the occasional ideas keep on popping up...What is it that make routines, that are safe and sound and keep us going, one day turn into a boring compulsory thing?

I mean, I love to write and to tell stories and just looking out the window I come to think of at least three things to blog about. Watching the news is even better, especially on days when nothing major has happened in the world and the news are filled with little things just in order to say something, just anything.

Like the other day when an elk was loose in the middle of Turku with hunters and police looking for it all over. Well, they never found it as it just vanished from sight, probably into the woods to never make the same mistake again.

See how easy it was, still it seems so hard to get it done...

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Crimean war fought also in Finland

The spring is here and a lot of things have lately been occupying my mind but none of them worth to blog about really, nothing to keep me ticking.

I was just surprised to hear about that the beginning of the Crimean War in the 1850´s actually began here in Finland with the British fleet supported by the French fleet entering the Baltic sea attacking various cities on the coast with a lot of shipyards were destroyed by fire and some Finns also getting killed. But then Finland was a part of the Russian empire and thus considered the enemy.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Updating family history

Well, I am finally trying to get back to normal routines after my father's memorial.

After an intense meeting with long no seen relatives and an update on who's who in your family at the memorial seems kind of surreal and getting back to normal seems almost impossible. So many things were stirred at the bottom of the profound seas of long ago lived lives of dead relatives as well as just recently lost father. The compulsory polite chatting with coffee and cake can sometimes be quite ennerving.

To tell you the truth his death has not as yet affected me in any way, just a minor out burst of tears all of a sudden, as somehow I feel I already lost him three decades ago when he left to work far from home and the father I knew as a small child never returned home again. Of course he was still there for me, but never in the same way as before.

I wonder if his death ever dawns upon me ...he just kind of left on a vacation that will last until the end of my own days.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Grieving father's death

Life has its' own strange ways, my father just died early Sunday morning, and being abroad he will be buried there so there will be no burial service back home.

Kind of sad, realizing that you can die any time.

At least he died, even though all of a sudden and without any warning in a heart seizure, lots stock and barrel, he went when he was ready as he mentioned to me in our last phone conversation...

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Less Northern lights

There haven’t been many sightings of Aurora Borealis in Lapland this winter.

According to the Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory, the scarcity of northern lights is due to very few sunspots. Last time the sun was last this passive in 1913, nearly 100 years ago. Apparently the sun’s activity runs sun in cycles, and you can´t predict the length of these cycles. Well, I can vouch for that, last week skiing up north I had no glimpse at all of northern lights what so ever. But the skiing trip was nice, getting a change from the normal routine.

Skiing, good company, good food and wine, some snow sledging and relaxing, that makes at least this woman fit for fight again. And eventually, dating.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Wham bam!

Well this dating seems to be an odd business here in Finland.

You go for a date, hit it well off and go for a second date with dinner in a restaurant and it still seems fine so you settle for a third date. He invites you to his place for dinner and he cooks before your eyes. You are romantically wined, dined and seduced and everything still seems fine the next day and you set date for a third date but then nothing, just a cowardly text-message saying he is really sorry but he wasn't really turned on. ?!?

He did not turn on? Why the romance then, champagne and all?
Just "Wham, bam. Thank you ma'am"!

Well, I guess I can not judge from just one experience but my female friends have told me the same story. A couple of nice dates then it all of a sudden ends, usually with no explanation at all. Are the Finnish men just players, or is it just me who tends to meet them? And I am not even a blue eyed blonde!

So, I guess I am still single but I guess I am not dating for the time being...

Monday, 16 February 2009

Sporty winter look

She is strange that little perfectionist woman that lives deep inside me, she can not stop re-writing my posts over and over again, and yesterday's posting she has come up with as many better variations that I have fingers to write with!

Maybe I will alter it, keep on writing this one little post over and over again until it is perfect and I am fully satisfied with it. I am not normally that unsatisfied with the outcome and that only when I write on line instead of writing it in advance before posting. But I kind of like this more spontaneous blogging as I never know how it turns up, nor do I know what I blog about. I mean, I have an idea I begin with but I never know before hand where the any posts lead to in the end.

Anyway, this lovely sunny but cold winter weather inspired me to take a long walk but unfortunately the slippery walking routes cut it shorter than I wanted together with the cold wind blowing, now I look like a cooked crayfish. The sporty winter look, red face.
It is actually the same look you always get after a hot sauna, more like a crimson red face. Having pale skin makes winters hard as everything you do outdoors has to be planned some time ahead, so the face is properly protected from getting too frost bitten and sunshine and cold temperatures is the worst combo, and if you forget to get your cream on for protection then you will know after wards you made a very stupid thing.

Not me this time, fortunately, only the slippery roads made an end to my walk as I pulled a muscle in my back.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Gray paper towels

Since having become a single again, I have occasionally been out with friends for a drink or two and never seize to be surprised by the lack of style in even more posh and expensive bars pubs and establishments. They have no serviettes to offer you!
If you ask when ordering your drinks in a bar, and as I am quite accident prone I always ask.
The closest they can come up with is gray towels from recycled paper. I mean the paper towels come good in hand when ever an accident happens, and you need something to wipe with fast, but I can under no circumstances see them as serviettes or paper doilies.
Anyway, I am still single and looking, so no luck with the bar hopping so far.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Finnish Grammy

The Finnish conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen was awarded the Grammy the other day.

He shared it with the best classical solo performer, the American Hilary Hahn. This is the third time a Finn has been awarded with a Grammy, the two previous ones went to the Finnish opera singer Karita Mattila in 1997 and 2003.

But this all of course depends on your point fo view, the music pieces in question on this album were composed by the Finn Sibelius and the Austrian Schönberg who emigrated to the US in the 30's. So in a way it is also an Austrian Grammy, is it not? And the orchestra conducted was the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, so in a way it is a Swedish Grammy as well?

This all depends on your point of view, and the reason I just love statistics, you can twist the same number5s over and over again without telling any lies.

Monday, 9 February 2009

Single and free

Even though absent for some time now and having been only blogging occasionally out of family reasons, I am happy to see you, my dear beloved readers, have not completely forgotten about me!
This gives me such pleasure and joy in times not for the better but for worse.

Strange thinking back to my blogging about the seven year itch almost two years ago and now knowing it was a fact, but I only recently discovered about it. Moving to this new apartment just before Xmas made a change. Dear spouse and I are now separated, his offspring having left with him and my own offspring currently planning to leave home in order to continue studies, so I will be alone with the cat in a while.

Suddenly being a single woman at my age, who would have ever been able to imagine that?!?
But that is my reality today and I just hate having to think about the dating scene. If it would not be hard enough to do it in your own home country where you know all the applicable rules and tours of dating.

What the h*ll, maybe my blog should be about this middle aged foreign woman getting into the Finnish dating scene?!?

It certainly also is an aspect of living in this country, and one I never thought I would get involved in apart from watching it from aside, my girlfriends doing it. Maybe a dating blog would be of better service and and more valuable to other immigrants in order to avoid too many feet in the mouth and mishaps?!?

So the first question to ponder about, where to meet these prospects of men?
Any ideas, as getting round my girlfriends old ones is not my theme, too many men I know too much intimate details about and therefor am not at all keen on dating any of them, no matter what the reason or occasion should the need for a companion arise. And besides using some one's already discarded man does not seem a wise thing to do. Too many know factors to try to try to juggle with, jealousy for one instance might turn up it's nasty head.

So now I single and free. Any suggestions, anyone?!? As I am now single and free, available on the dating scene!