September 28, 2011

As wordless as I'll ever get

Short post today, and about as 'Wordless Wednesday' as I'll ever get.

The in-laws are in town for a few days! Really excited to see them and show them around our town. After reading many other blogs and hearing stories, I've gathered that I am pretty dang lucky to actually get along and enjoy my in-laws. They are great, and I am rubbing it in your face :)

They usually visit us once a year over in Europe. They come to Europe 3-4 times a year for business and we get them for a couple of days during one of those trips. Glad they are here in this nice weather, because I have a feeling there isn't going to be much to see in a few, too short of, months time.

The town isn't so big here, so there isn't much to see. But it is nice that everything is within walking distance. As for our plans...

I'm sure we will go visit the neighbors

I've got to find them one of these magical things

We'll be spending a few of our evenings here
I promise that people actually come to the game :)

And, of course, trying not to fly over the road and into the water. Love this sign!
I feel like there should be a man in there going 'weeeee!'

Have a good Wednesday. I'll be back in full force by the end of the week.

And you know what?? It has been waaay too long without a Frackin' Friday, doncha think?? I will have to get on learning Finnish cuss words pronto.

Or send me a foreign cuss word to feature! Click the link above if you are unfamiliar, and get to cursing in a whole new language.

September 26, 2011

Just Another Random love it :)

Getting a late start today, but that's ok, because it is just another random Monday.

Lots to say, not so much content :)

Was I the only person on earth to realize what these hoo-dickies on a toaster are for??

Our actual, fancy toaster.

Ok, maybe they are more common in Europe. Gotta be honest with you, I don't even remember what a toaster looks like back at home.

Anyways, you just flip those bad boys up and toast buns or anything else too big to fit in the toaster.

And it works great!! I know, I know, you are stunned.

You're not as amazed as me?? Well poo.

Speaking of poo, wait, no, not like that. Still doing the no-poo thing. Well, not entirely. As some of you may remember, I started off with the typical baking soda and apple cider vinegar. It was ok to start with, but pretty drying to my hair. So after the 'greasy' period, which wasn't so bad (mix in a dry shampoo here and there), I am now onto sulfate-free shampoo about twice a week. Rinsing with cold water and if I feel like it, a dollop of conditioner on the ends.
My current shampoo of choice. L'Oreal Delicate Color Sulfate Free (source)
If you are thinking about going no-poo, I would highly recommend doing this instead of the baking soda and vinegar route. Start off washing your hair every other day. And as your hair gets adjusted, wash every third day and so on. And don't be afraid to put some conditioner on your ends, especially if you have long hair like me. Those ends always need a little TLC.

K, that's over, guys, you still with me???? :)

So one of the teams that the hubs played last week had me scratching my head with google translate. Every time I tried to turn to news article into English, it kept referring to the Miami Dolphins and the Detroit Red Wings. It was weird!

Until I realized that the opposing team had done a funny little trick with google translate. You see, google relies on readers input to translate some of the lesser known words. As you can imagine, Finnish hockey team names don't come default in the standard dictionary.

So some funny trickster from the other team 'suggested' new translations for his team. I get the Detroit Red Wings one, but Miami Dolphins??? Who knows, I guess what ever floats your boat :)

OH, and the hubs asked about why the translation had him 'putting it in his backpack' when he scored a goal. Remember that one?? Oh google translation, Finnish is really throwing you for a loop.

He asked around and it turns out that it was translated from 'he pulled a trick out of his bag' and scored. Ahhh, makes sense, I guess. Now if only we can figure out why they are always talking about mattresses and pancakes. No really, those are probably the two main terms that I cannot figure out.

Anyways, told ya'll it was random. I'm off to visit around. And you KNOW you want a feel good moment of the day. Don't lie, I know you do. Here is today's on Nobody Need Wait. But be warned, your might feel that much better and happier after reading. So proceed at your own risk ;)

Have a great start to the week. There is no other way to do it!

September 22, 2011

I'm stealing this too

So we all know that I am totally stealing the formula of the Lonkero, or Long Drink, and passing it off as my own clever idea when I get back to the states. That yummy, grapefruit and gin mix, perfect for hot, sunny days. Mmmmm.

And while I'm not so sure I will bring back salty licorice or the idea to sell dirty magazines in public flea markets, I have already jumped on board with this next idea. (if you are pretty confused after this statement, go back and at least read yesterday's post)

So, idea number, hmmm, 500 or so I am stealing from the Finns:  
Müsli as a salad topper.

WAIT, come back, it is awesome and not gross. Maybe some people out there have already been doing this, but I had never seen it before coming here.

There is a place close to us with a great salad bar. They have the usual toppers like croutons or fried onion bits. But I saw a huge bowl of Müsli and thought for a moment that they for sure had left it out from breakfast. So I of course did what any good American would do, and asked "Really?? Ya'll put this on salads??" I'm very articulate like that.

The lady working there assured me that I would like it. So I dumped a few spoonfuls on top of my salad.

It. Was. Amazing! Crunchy, oaty, slightly sweet. It made the salad just that much better.

And to be clear, I'm not talking about American style Müsli. None of that mostly flakes and corn syrup concoction. This is European-style Müsli. Toasted oats, raisins, dates, nuts, dried banana chips, sunflower seeds and a few corn flakes here and there.

Yum! And pretty (source)

Yes, on regular, everyday salads. Although it is good on fruit salad as well.

So, do yourself a favor and try this on your next salad or at your next family dinner. Everyone will be surprised at how great it tastes.

Has anyone else heard of doing this already?? (I couldn't even find a picture of it online, have to get one here)

Thanks for the idea, Finland. Now to pass it off as my own once I get back stateside :)

September 21, 2011

I was that creepy person who took a photo...again

So I have been loving the random flea markets. Not only do they kill time, but there has been some good, cheap finds as well. Nothing too special, but as I have mentioned before, hardly anything is 'cheap' up here, so I am taking advantage!

Although, in true European, liberal style, there was a unique section in the open flea market.

A porn section. Yep, used video tapes (no, not DVDs, that would have been too high tech) and magazines.

Think I am kidding?? Well I was afraid of that, doubters, so I snapped an oh-so-creeptastic photo.

The sign at least is trying to set boundries by telling the shoppers that that bookshelf is only for adults 18 and over.

Nice, right!? Gotta love it. Hey, even those on a budget need to have options for dirty magazines and videos.

Wow, what hits am I going to get after THIS post?? Keyword power.


On a completely different note and feel, there is something else to share with ya'll today. I've been working on a new site the last week or so and am ready for it to go public.

If you like this blog, give this other one a try. It's called Nobody Need Wait and (hopes) to feature good Samaritan, feel good, and random acts of kindness stories.

Clicking the pic will lead you there.

I am hoping to make it an open platform for people to share stories or experiences that make them smile. Maybe just for entertainment purposes, but maybe also to inspire.

Think about how much better your day could be with 
just one, single act of kindness.

After all, everyone needs a feel good moment, absolutely everyday.

September 19, 2011

The More You Know Monday: Licorice, nasty nasty licorice

Hey, real quick, thanks so much for everyone who linked up to Storytellers this weekend. Another great turn out. I love seeing who all joins in for hop. I have lots of veteran readers (sounded better than 'old readers', ha) that are always great, and I usually have a few new reads that even I am unfamiliar with! Love it, so diverse.

A big welcome to the new readers, hop you enjoyed the hop, and thanks to all of you old timers that are always great about participating.

It's Monday and I haven't done one of these in a few weeks. So get out your thinking caps and get ready to be learned.

It's The More You Know Monday! Yippeee!

Don't roll your eyes at me. You get excited to learn about something so random that will most likely never come in handy unless you are on Jeopardy one day and and ask Alex "I'll take 'random things no one has interest in' for $1000, please". So there.

For all that I am loving Finland for, there is one itsy, bitsy little bone I must pick with their taste. No, not taste in clothes. I'm all for the skater punk, semi 80s look, complete with the comeback of the mullet. Yes, posting soon about that. Not in music, I've already told you my love of Finnish Reggae.

But their taste in candy. Oh the Finns LOVE their sweets. But, unfortunately, they have some crazy love affair with black licorice. Nasty, nasty, nasty, licorice. IMHO.

No, those aren't rocks, that is the candy (source)
Ok, to be fair, I have never loved licorice. Just recently got myself to even eat red licorice, which in my book doesn't even really count. I was the kid that when I accidentally ate the licorice jelly bean at Easter, thinking it was a grape one, ran around spitting it out. You know what I'm talking about.

But not here. They love the black, salty, super strong and potent licorice. It is by far the most popular candy in the country. It comes in hard forms, in soft forms, in drops, in gum form, in ropes. You name it, they got it.

They even have SM-Liiga (the hubs' hockey league) licorice candy. I thought that was pretty funny.

You leave a restaurant, you don't get mints or sweet candy, you get licorice. Go to a friend's house, a dish of licorice is out. Gum, yep, even gum is licorice flavored. Gag.

I picked up these candies called Salmiakkis. Finnish salty licorice. Salt should never ever be in a name for a candy. (exception: Chocolate and sea salt is yummy, thanks Jordan!)
Don't be fooled by their cute little shapes (source)

I wanted to do a video where I ate them and you saw my reaction. But I couldn't wait after I bought them. I wanted to try a piece, and was hoping that I liked them. Ended up rolling down my window on the way home, and spit out the candy, while scraping my tongue in a very dramatic way. Yes, it was that bad.

Although, I do know a lot of people really like them, so more power to you guys. Just don't breath on me. Even the smell makes my stomach turn.

In honor of the Finns love for the candy, a love I can respect although most certainly do not reciprocate, here are some fun facts about licorice.

· The licorice plant, a shrub, is officially a weed. It is about four feet tall with purplish flowers and grows in hot, dry places. So definitely doesn't grow here, so why eat it?!

· Licorice helps relieve the pains that accompany certain types of ulcers, and it is good for the adrenal glands.

· Manuscripts from 360 A.D. talk of licorice helping eye ailments, skin diseases, coughs, and loss of hair. Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar are on record as endorsing the benefits of eating licorice. Since the 14th century, it has been used to soothe coughs, colds, and bronchitis. It contains a chemical that has cough-suppressant properties. GREAT, looking forward to cold season. Blech.

· Salmiakki is a variety of licorice that gets its name from the relatively large amount of sal ammoniac (Latin traditional name for ammonium chloride, a salt of ammonia) that it contains in addition to the liquorice root extract, sugar and starch or gum arabic that constitute regular liquorice. Ammonium chloride has a spicy taste that vaguely resembles that of sodium chloride (table salt) with a hint of ammonia smell.

Wow, don't think I want ANYTHING that has these compounds in them.

· A study conducted by the Oxford Journal of Medicine took a sample of over 1000 Finnish women who had just given birth. They were trying to see if licorice, more importantly the main sweetener ingredient glycyrrhizin, affected birth weight in humans. While babies exposed to heavy amount of the sweetener were not significantly light at birth, they were significantly more likely to be born earlier.

· And last, but certainly not least gag worthy, the Finns, love them, have come up with a Salmiakki flavored liquor. It basically the exact taste of the candy in vodka form. I almost threw up typing that. As you can imagine, it is by far the most popular shot to order in the bar. I don't like shots, and I definitely don't like this one. Dare I say, it is even worse than Jägger. Now THAT is saying a lot.

Why yes, nothing sounds more interesting at the end of the night than a shot glass full of thick, black liquor. (source)

Basically, it all boils down to this. If you love licorice, Finland is the place for you. I can just imagine that as the new tourism slogan now! And I respect you Finland, and your undying love for the candy. I get it, it is a national treasure.

But please please please, if you see me out one night, do not buy me a shot. My patience for pretending I actually like these things is wearing out.

Have a great Monday, a great start to the week!

September 16, 2011

Storytellers Blog Hop: September 2011

I don't believe in peer pressure, but all the cool kids are doing it, so you better too :)

It's the Storytellers Blog Hop!!

Many of you old schoolers have been around the block a time or two with this one. You know the drill. But for any noobs out there (oh yeah, I went there) here is the run down.

Storytellers Blog Hop is a hop that caters to blogs that primarily have content-based stories. Does that even make sense?? Basically, no giveaways, coupon sites, etc here. And no 'follow me, follow yous'. We don't play that game!

The hop is designed to hopefully introduce you and your blog to other writers out there. Isn't it always great stumbling across a fun, new read?!

So link up your site, or a specific post and read on. And the whole 'hop' concept works even better if you take the time to visit a blog or two. You never know what you might come across.

Have a great weekend stumbling around bloggyland and see you around this weekend!

September 15, 2011

First Game of the Season!

Well, it's here. The first game of the season. In just a few hours I'll be making my way to the rink to start yet another hockey season.

Don't get me wrong, I'm excited. I'm ready. But didn't this just happen?? Even this doesn't seem that long ago.

It's just that there is one little problem. I like to have a beer or two at the game. Or even a glass of wine if available. Who doesn't like to indulge at a sporting event??

I feel like when I bragged and rubbed it in that beers at the German hockey games were only 2 Euro, that karma was just waiting for me. And it has caught up with me here in Finland.

Six euros. That's a big SIX EURO for one glass of wine at the game. If I stick with beer, it would still be five euro. Just converted that to today's exchange rate. Costing me $8.50 for a glass. Might as well be at some fancy concert with that kind of dough flying around.

Ok, its not the end of the world, but still. I go to a lot of hockey games, if that wasn't evident. Kinda have free tickets and all. I know someone, wink, wink. So I guess that makes up for the price of wine.

Still, I'm a cheap ass.

And you want to know what the worst part is? You cannot drink alcohol in your seat. Nope, none at all. At the rink here they are all responsible and shiz. Unlike any hockey rink in Germany where the fans are so drunk and rowdy that it isn't too uncommon for a fight to break out in the cheering section. Love ya, Germany!

But here, or at least in our arena, things are a little more subdued. Still good fans that really love the sport, just not drunk. Or as drunk as they could be.

Which I get it. It's probably a good thing.

So, if you want a beer, wine or mixed drink, you have to make your way up to the closed off bar section. The view from there is actually not too bad. And you can sit at the window with stools and chat it up. OK, it is a pretty neat set up after all.

But have I mentioned that a glass of wine is SIX EURO!?!

I thought all hope was lost, until I remembered a perfect accessory for games here. An invention so trashy, slutty and genius all at the same time.

And I might punch you through the computer if you ask if that is me. (source)

Want one, get it here.

Really, does it get any better than big boobs and free drinks???

Nope :)

Haha, ok, I can just imagine someone from the organization stumbling upon my blog and reading this post. Just kidding guys.

But if it looks like I just had my boobs done, that is exactly what happened. Please ignore that straw sticking out of my armpit. It's a side effect from the surgery.

DON'T FORGET ABOUT THE HOP THIS WEEKEND! See you all here tomorrow to join in.

September 14, 2011

Maybe Kelly Kapowski Will Answer

It's been waaay too long since one of these...

So, this weekend the Storytellers Blog Hop returns, with a vengeance. Well maybe not a vengeance, but a pretty strong return.

New to the blog?? Then you gotta click on the button above and see what it's all about. And make sure to join in this weekend! The blog hop runs from Friday to Sunday.

What the heck is going on with my GFC list??? Can any of ya'll see it? It has been annoyingly absent the last couple of days. It should be at the top left of the screen under "The Best People on the Internet", 'cause you are ;)

Any suggestions or solutions?? I've tried different browsers. I've tried removing some of the extras on the page, but still no luck. Blech.

And speaking of problems, has the 'not able to comment' problem been fixed yet? Why is blogger messing with me?!

Moving on, with or without, blogger. Ok, with you, because I really don't want to switch to any other host. So let's just agree to get along, K?

Finland, why have you been holding out on these bad boys??

Saw these in a window front while walking around town.

A) How do I get one?

B) I don't care if I have to sign up for a 20 year contract, I want to relive the Zack Morris days.

C) People will be so impressed when I pull one of these 2 pound bad boys out of my purse. It could even double as a dumb bell and I can jack up the guns.

No internet connection? No problem. No texting? I don't care. Don't lie, you want one too.

Last but not least for this random day. Just wanted to give a little shout out to a new blog that is trying to make a start out in bloggyland. It is called The Little Blog of Blogs, and the author is trying to build a blog data base. If you want, jump over and give her a visit. What's the worst that could happen? Blog exposure. Oh darn, no, we don't want that ;)

The Little Blog of Blogs

Have a good Wednesday, Hump Day, Keskiviikko...whatever you want to call it, make it count!

September 12, 2011

Helsinki For The Day

Dun dun duuuun!

It was the last weekend before regular season. The last few days of freedom before the crazy schedule takes control. I'm ready for it all. Bring it on! And I'm pretty sure the hubs is ready for it all too.

But before hockey could take over our weeks, we decided to take advantage of the weekend and head to Helsinki for the day.

I know, I know, we are pretty dang lucky. Exactly an hour train ride from our home and we were right in the heart of Finland's capital city.

And the weather was gorgeous! I feel like I am totally jinxing myself by saying this, but we somehow manage to always get great weather. Every time we plan to go somewhere, it seems like it's going to be bad weather. And then we get there and the sun starts shining and it all starts warming up.

That's it. We're probably getting thunder storms on every vacation from here on out. I'm ok with that. After this weekend's sunshine and clear skies, I'll take it!

We didn't have too many specific plans for Helsinki. We love zoos (yes, we are 7), so had to make sure we ended up there. And heard that the markets by the harbor were really nice, so we wanted to see them too.

Easy trip into the city, off the train and wondering around, making our way down to the water. Stopped by the Helsinki Cathedral, or the Tuomiokirkko. Beautiful and massive cathedral was completed in 1852 as a tribute to Nicholos 1, the Tsar of Russia.

In front of the cathedral is Senate Square, complete with a statue of Emperor Alexander II. He was the emperor of Russia, the King of Poland and the Grand Duke of Finland. Talk about an over achiever! And even though he was Russian, Alexander II is still regarded as "The Good Tsar" in Finland.

So of course I had to get my Alex (gasp, you found us out!) to stand in front of this Alex and do the same pose. I like to call it the "WTF??!?" pose. Looks about right, right?!

Sorry, hubs, hate me for this?? Note, the jacket around the waist was intentional, as in to be funny. Not serious. K? K.

The cathedral is literally a block away from the harbor and the Kauppatori, or market square. I am not sure if they have something every day there in the summer, but it was a Saturday and the market was hopping! Rows and rows of fresh fruit and vegetables, Finnish souvenirs, photographs and water colors, and furs. So many booths filled with pelts and furs!

I don't think that would fly back in North America. I can just see some crazy PETA lady running up and spray painting "Fur is Murder" all over these beautiful pieces.

That top funny picture is a shot of a bag of snow least that is what I called them. I'm so artsy, right?! Every booth was selling these peas by the liter. Practically everyone walking around had a paper bag of these things. They would snack on the sweet goodness while browsing. They were yummy. So fresh and so healthy!

While in the market, we stopped for a quick lunch. And yes, the hubs totally made fun of me for taking pictures of my food. There is nothing more I can't stand than people who take pictures of their food and post it in albums on facebook! Like, I don't care what you ate at that random restaurant last night.

But I had a good reason to take a picture with that plate. So I was allowed to take one :) That there on the plate is a reindeer bratwurst!! So I guess seeing my first reindeer was in casing and grilled to perfection. And boy, was it delicious. Tasted like a regular bratwurst, but with a hint of venison. Sooo good. You have to try one if you ever make it to Helsinki.

There is only so much time you can spend walking around the market, looking at fun but useless stuff before the hubs has had enough. Men don't do markets so well, haha. So we left dry land and headed for the zoo!

Yes, the Helsinki Zoo, or the Korkeasaari, is located on one of the many islands that makes up Helsinki. The ferry ride out to the island zoo is worth the trip alone. You get to circle around the city's waterfront and watch the sailing lessons out in the water. Beautiful!

The zoo itself was also a treat. It sits right on the water, so not only do you get a great view of the animals, but also of the Baltic. And of course, we got to finally see the real deal. Reindeer!

These are actually forest reindeer. A little smaller and thin-legged than the bigger dudes.

Although I think he was a little camera shy. Or maybe mad because I just made a snack of his cousin or uncle or someone he knew. Sorry buds!

And after a good walk around to all the animals, we were back on the mainland. Walked down the Esplanadi, a central park/walking area that runs through form the harbor to 'downtown' Helsinki.

What a nice, green pathway through an otherwise big and bustling city. I could not believe how many people were out and about! Granted, I have a feeling that everyone was out taking advantage of what is likely to be the last nice and sunny day for a while, but it was still really crowded there. Like NYC crowded.

The Esplanadi. Doesn't really do it justice for just how many people were out in the streets.

The hubs and I finished off the afternoon by having pizza and beers at a local restaurant's patio. What?! Italian food isn't what you think of when you think of Finland?? Haha, we were craving it, so back off. :)

We weren't in the city too long, about 8 hours total. But in that time we were able to see a lot and really enjoy our day there. 

If you ever get a chance to come to Finland, you will of course find lots to see and do in Helsinki. It is such a neat, clean and vibrant city. Well, at least it is that way in the summer months. And you will not be disappointed by the friendliness of the people. That I can guarantee any time of the year.

And make sure to be super cool like me and get your picture taken in one of these good ol' touristy items.

Yep, I'm alone in there. The hubs just rolled his eyes when I ran up to the cut out. What?! I look good in my tradition Finnish outfit ;)

September 10, 2011

Back to my old self

I didn't really want to leave such a negative nelly post up all weekend, so here is a little something before we head to Helsinki for the day.

You know, I didn't have to learn European countries or capitals until I took a forgotten 101 class my senior year of college. First thing we had to do was take a map quiz over the countries and important cities.

Know how I remembered 'Helsinki'??

This is awful.

Because if you lived somewhere so cold as Finland, it must be hell. And with all that water around, you were likely to sink.

But it worked! I remembered. And I have a feeling that if you didn't, you will now. Looking forward to sharing photos from the mini trip. Also, got some really random but funny pictures from just walking around town here.

That's really all I got for ya'll today. Sorry! I know, I'll be back on point this next week ;) Until then, I'll have to send you off to some great links.

Want to laugh?

Want to cry and honor?

Want to smile and tear up? (think I've posted this before, just love it!)

And come on, you HAVE to check this out. Hilarious! 

Also, gotta get in on this action:

I know you have nothing better to do, so you're welcome :) Be back tomorrow to make my rounds!

September 9, 2011

Long Week, Short Rant

What a long week this has been.

I'm still feeling a bit numb from the tragedy on Wednesday. I didn't know anyone on that plane, but I am deeply saddened and mourn for the men and crew aboard. Any plane crash, natural disaster, terrorist strike is awful. None comes before the rest. But when something like this happens to a community that you feel a part of, it really hits home.


Same thing goes if teachers felt sad for something that happened to a fellow teacher. Or nurses for a fellow nurse. Police officers for fellow officer.

Citizen for a fellow countryman.

It is that 'community' feeling that brings us all together.

But with that being said, I feel there is something else I have to say. Something that will probably not apply to any of you, but it needs to be addressed.

If you have been around here for a while, you know I am pretty much always a happy-go-lucky kind of gal. I enjoy life, enjoy being happy and thanks to the hubs' great attitude, have learned to let things that upset me just 'go'.

So when I say I am worked up about something, you better believe it.

When I say I am royally pissed the hell off, you know my blood is boiling.

After the plane crash on Wednesday, the hockey world tried to take a step to come closer. Facebook and online forums that deal with hockey and hockey wives tried to do a good job of mourning those that were lost.

But, just like anything else in this world, there are fools out there. Self centered individuals that thought it was ok to try to make a name for themselves or to give their selfish opinion on these forums. Made me sick. And mad.

I won't get into it too much, but I will say that I have no respect for anyone who tries to 'cash' in on a tragedy. Now is not the time to say what you have been thinking for a while now. Now is not the time to spread the word about your blog. Now is NOT the time to have a close-minded opinion about anything that happened in Russia.

Shut up and mourn. Sorry, that was harsh. But you know what I mean.

Its ok to write about how you feel. Its a good and healthy thing to express your sadness. But please do so on a tasteful level. Please. For the respect  and value of the families involved.

And I felt that this was maybe a little more relevant this week. Not only because of the crash, but because of the 10 year remembrance of 9/11 this weekend.

While I hope that most people are respectful of the day, I fear that others will jump on the opportunity to say something wild to make a name for themselves or their website. Again, sick.

Isn't the world tainted enough without all this extra mess?

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Free speech is a great thing. This isn't a war, and I'm not trying to start one. Just felt I had to get that off my chest.

Ok, rant over. Had to do it. And why not? A little something different for the site today.  I don't do it very often, there isn't too much that I get this worked up over.

But when I do get all hyped up, something wonderful happens. I get inspired. I get motivated to do something about it. And no, not just write a bitchy themed blog post.

So I have started the beginnings of something that I think can be really great. I hope to share it with you really soon.

One last thing on the subject, I just have to say that I have the greatest readers and commenters. And although I was not personally affected by this tragedy, your outpouring of support and well wishes was breathtaking. Thank you so very much. I truly believe that every little wish, every prayer, does some kind of good in the world.

NOW, I am done with this all. I promise.

And, if you stayed this far, you get a treat. Yes, it's Friday, and you deserve one.

Reason number 452 (or somewhere around there) that Finland rocks...

Beer cases set up like a giant tank in the grocery store. Those are kegs for the wheels. Awesome.

And I totally got busted by a few shoppers taking this photo. I was 'weird girl' that day.

Everyone have a great weekend!

What do you say to a storytellers hop next weekend??? Mark your calendars! More details to come on Monday.

Click here to see what past hops were all about!

September 7, 2011

Sad doesn't even begin to describe it

I had something funny and foreign all lined up for today, but it doesn't seem relevant now.

Sad, sad news in the hockey world this afternoon. I don't want to retell the story in my own words, but you can read it all here:

My heart and prayers go out to all the families and friends affected by this tragedy. This news makes my stomach turn and my mind race.

Life is such a precious thing, enjoy every day you have.

September 5, 2011

Quit asking me to update my blogger interface!

Which has nothing to do with the post...just annoying.

I'm tired, I'm worn out. Finland, you are kicking my butt! Ok, in a good way. How ever an ass kicking might be done in a good way. No such thing?? Well, not really. But you know what I mean. I don't mind being tired from so many fun and new things to do.

Here is what has been going on in September thus far.

- Still 2 more freakin' weeks until regular season. Ready for this show on the road!

- Friday night was supposed to be a chill night, no such thing here. Not that we have some crazy party life in town, but more so that we aren't good at controlling ourselves when a bunch of us get together.

- We are already late night regulars at the Kebab place. Super.

Why is this appetizing after a night out?! Ew. (source)

- Saturday was another team sponsored function. While other countries and organizations might have stuffy, formal affairs, the hubs' team hosted a great party with food, drinks and a totally awesome cover band that rocked to the likes of Bon Jovi and Van Halen. Needless to say, I was in heaven.

- Oh, and the hubs was 'initiated' into the team by eating an entire raw egg, including the shell, and then followed up with a warm vodka shot. Blech, still makes me gag thinking about it.

- With gorgeous weather this past weekend, we golfed on Sunday. The course is a member of the PGA European Tour Courses Group, and was one of the most beautiful places we have played.

And it really did look just like this yesterday (source)

- Finland is a wee bit more strict on Visas than Germany was. It should still be no problem for the hubs and I, but the waiting time could take up to a few months. Which means that I might not be able to work for some time either. Looks like I will be searching online for somethin' to do!

- And if all goes as planned at the Visa office and they don't have to take our passports, there is a good chance we might take a mini vacay over to Estonia this weekend. It is the last weekend the guys have free, so might as well take advantage of it. And why Estonia?? Why the heck not!! Or, if we are 'stranded' in Finland, maybe just a quick get away to Helsinki.

Looks neat, right!? Any suggestions on what to do?? (source)

Anyways, hope everyone is enjoying their long weekend, that is, if you got a long weekend. I'm off to savor the last bit of 'warm' weather this fall has to offer. I don't think it is here to stay.

I promise a more heartfelt post later this week. I have lots of funny Finnish stuff up my sleeve!

September 1, 2011

First Impressions of Finland: The Best of the Rest

Sooo, since I am running out of ideas and you are most likely tired of being fake interested in Finland ;) here is the best of the rest.

Some facts to clarify. There have been inquiries.

Finland has been a part of the European Union since 1995 and used the Euro since 1999. Loving that ridic exchange rate right now.

It is an independent country and the official languages are Finnish and Swedish. Which actually works out great for me in the grocery stores. Swedish is very similar to German in a lot of ways. So if I don't know the Finnish word for something, I can see it in Swedish and usually tell what it is, no problem. Plus, lots of things are imported from Germany, so thank you Deutschland, you are going to make my time here that much easier.

Finland is a representative democracy that is now mostly a ceremonial non-executive Presidency. Meaning that the parliament does most of the work, while the President is in the official head of state, responsible for foreign policy and works in cooperation with the cabinet. The 200-member unicameral Parliament of Finland exercises the supreme legislative authority in Finland.

They love Conan. And not just because he looks like the president. Not kidding, that is the president being compared to Conan.

Also, Santa lives here. He should be the president.

The Finns are crazy about hockey. They love watching it, supporting it and keeping up with hockey all over the world. It will be fun to play in a country where the hubs' sport doesn't come in a vast 2nd to soccer (cough, Germany, cough. Love ya!)

I have not done a real, traditional Finnish sauna yet. But I am dying to try one. And of course to write about it. Although, you might recall that German saunas were co-ed. Not the case here. There are (usually) separate cabins for men and women.

Can I go in a magical one like this?!? (source)

They love American infomercials. Or at least that is what I can tell, they play all the time on our TV. And the little girl next door melts down at least once a day.

Yep, that is about all you need to know about Finland.

Hope that cleared up some of the questions from readers. I realize that the majority of people don't know a lot about Finland. And I'm not judging you for your questions, at least not out loud :)

So I'll try to wrap it up quickly and tell you one last thing about Finland. Before I have to actually figure out more stuff to write about! Since it is Thirsty Thursday, I'll share with you the refreshing thing that is a Long Drink (or Lonkero). I've mentioned it once before, but here is the real run down and recipe. According to Wikipedia, here is the original meaning behind the name:

"The Long Drink: This terminology had fallen out of favor over the last decade or two, but is now enjoying a revival. A long drink will have a tall glass full of mixer and usually ice, perfect for warmer days, as opposed to a short drink, in which the liquor is the main ingredient."

Can you say 'perfect for Labor Day Weekend'??

If you are in Finland, just stop by your local grocery or liquor store and you will see row upon row of all different kinds of long drinks. Oh, but wait, that's just me. So here is how to make a great one at home. Don't let the gin take you by surprise. Even gin haters will love this one.

Yum! (source)

The Lonkero/Long Drink

You'll need: 
Tall glass, ice, gin, grapefruit soda (Fresca will work nicely) and club soda (optional)

To make: 
Take a tall glass and fill with lots of ice. Nope, even more. One more. Now, you are good.
Pour in one shot of gin and fill the rest with Grapefruit soda (like Fresca). If that is too sweet for your tastes, do a 50-50 combo of club soda and the grapefruit mix.

Now sit by a lake, soak up the sun, and enjoy the mild buzz of the Lonkero! 
And have a good long weekend, Amuurica :) Enjoy it for me!! No Labor Day here, but we will party it up regardless. Sound good?