Posts Tagged With: fun

Inspiration Tuesday: Nine in the Afternoon

I’ve always wondered if the Panic! At The Disco’s song “Nine in the Afternoon” was inspired by the Finnish summer.

9pm on a summer day in Finland.  Yes, really!

9pm on a summer day in Finland. Yes, really!

And for your listening/viewing pleasure:

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This or That: Chocolate or Vanilla?

You must choose one, and you must explain why. But you can put whatever spin on it you want. (Ice cream, pudding, cake, dessert, ideas, relationships, or whatever else you think breaks down into those two categories.)

Personally, I choose vanilla. A lot of people think vanilla is boring, and people who choose vanilla are uninteresting and unadventurous. I argue the opposite. Vanilla is a base. If you have vanilla ice cream on hand, but want something chocolaty, you can add Hersheys syrup. Want strawberries? Add them. In the mood for cinnamon ice cream (my personal favorite, but usually not commercially available), just add cinnamon. Add blueberries, raspberries, lingonberries. Mix in fudge or chocolate chips or crushed up cookies. A world of flavors in one tub of ice cream. And if you’re in the mood for vanilla ice cream? Well, there’s not much you can do to make chocolate ice cream vanilla.

So what’s your choice, Chocolate or Vanilla? (And remember, it doesn’t have to be nice cream!) Let me know in the comments – everyone who comments within the next week will get entered into a drawing to get a lovely postcard from Beautiful Finland! ūüôā

 

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What are you searching for?

I find it interesting to see what search terms people use to find my blog. ¬†I don’t have a lot – most of my blog readers come straight here to read, as opposed to searching for something and finding it here. ¬†But I still have some interesting ones:

  • how to pick up tallinn girls
  • embrace curtains
  • hey give me a break blog
  • heard a pop in a dimmer switch now it doesn’t work
  • the hottib an exepected jourby
  • nothing-butt-sexy
  • verbs in english need reuse inspire pull deliver weed
  • i drove my husband to have a mini breakdown
  • renaissance and medieval faires huge boobs tumblr
  • slutty
  • flung infection in brain
  • bzzzzzzzzzzzz

I can see how some of these terms may have come to me, but others?  Not so much.

Are you a blogger? ¬†What are some funny search terms you’ve gotten?

Baby J update ‚Äď 14 Days to go!¬†¬†I‚Äôm blogging every day until I give birth, so you‚Äôll know when the baby is born!

 

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Twist

There I was, walking through the garden at Skansen open air museum in Stockholm, when I stumbled across this gentleman:

Statue holding a flower

Down on bended knee, proposing to any person who walked by.

 

Baby J update ‚Äď 21 Days to go!¬†I‚Äôm blogging every day until I give birth, so you‚Äôll know when the baby is born!

This week’s photo challenge from WordPress is “Twist” – “…something unexpected that surprised, shocked, or startled you.”

Oh, and hey, this photo is available on products in my Zazzle store!  (Yes, I still have one!)

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Random things making me happy lately

  • Love, love, loving this New Orleans style cover of “Sweet Child of Mine,” complete with clarinet:
  • This one has made the rounds online, but it’s a video of magician (Finnish!) making dog treats disappear. ¬†I love the ones where the dog looks at the camera/owner, like, “WTF?”
  • Another Finnish related video – this Jimmy Kimmel commercial break cracked me up. ¬†He talks to a couple of Finns in his audience and finds out they’re not the most chatty of guys. ¬†Q: “What do you do [in Finland]?” ¬†A: “I work. ¬†I live.” Q: “You have short conversations?” ¬†A: “Yeah.” ¬†Well, he answered the question…. ¬†(I was seriously giggling so hard at this! ¬†“That’s just how Finns are.” ¬†Indeed!!)
  • Thanks to a friend notifying me about it, I got to take an online seminar last week about giving birth in Finland. ¬†It was geared towards foreigners, focusing on the way pregnancy and childbirth is done here that may be different from other parts of the world. ¬†The class was run by a doula, Finnish by birth, who had spent some time in the US, and come to find out she does online childbirth classes in English! ¬†I was already looking into online childbirth classes, because while they do have classes locally, they are not in English. ¬†When I found out this doula did them, I jumped on the opportunity. ¬†Much better to get a more local understanding of childbirth than a US based class could offer.
  • Speaking of, I’m officially in my third trimester! ¬†Baby J is getting stronger, and he’s still fairly low. ¬†I tend to feel him moving primarily below my belly button, with occasional kicks on the upper right side. ¬†I never feel him on the upper left. ¬†I also often feel something knobby about a quarter inch directly above my belly button – a knee, perhaps, or an elbow? ¬†I wish I could figure out how he’s situated in there. ¬†I’ve started getting more pregnancy symptoms – swelling legs/ankles/feet, mild heartburn. ¬†As long as the kid stays off my bladder, I’ll survive. ¬†(I think he was sitting on it last week like Miss Muffet on her tuffet. ¬†For two days I couldn’t go ten minutes without needing¬†to pee.)
  • The weather is getting warm again – it was almost 50F today, I think. ¬†We may need to take the down comforter off the bed – we already sleep with the bedroom window cracked open at night, and I’ve had it open over the last couple of days, as well. ¬†The afternoon sun streams in the windows from about 2-7pm, and it really warms the place up.
  • I’ve got some baby projects in the works, including burp cloths and washcloths and a diy-Moby wrap. ¬†I asked my mom to get me some fusible fabric, the kind you can run through your printer and iron onto clothing. ¬†I’ve “made” a few onesies, and I have to say, they are so darn cute! ¬†I’m totally geeking out, have plans for Firefly and Dr Who and Buffy related designs, but here’s one that’s not a total copyright infringement:
  • Onesie with bird and worm

What’s making you happy lately? ¬†Any fun videos or blogs or events in your life?

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Sum Sunday, June 30, 2013

Thoughts:

  • Stephen’s parents arrived on Monday, and we spent a few days around Rauma before taking the ferry to Stockholm, which is where we are now. ¬†Leaving tomorrow morning for Helsinki, looking forward to more good times!

Writing Progress:

  • *snort*

What’s Making Me Happy:

  • I went out to the Woodland Cemetery in Stockhom yesterday and spent a few hours walking around. ¬†I was at the top of this hill and I saw a deer walking through the headstones. ¬†I didn’t have my zoom lens with me, so I took a photo, hoping I could crop it down if I needed to, then ran down the hill and over to where I saw the deer. ¬†I walked through the hedges, took a photo. ¬†Took two steps, photo, photo. ¬†Three steps, photo. ¬†I figured I’d do that to get as close as possible without spooking the deer. ¬†As it turned out, I could get pretty close – I could have probably gotten closer than I did, but I didn’t see a need to. ¬†He kept his eye on me, but continued munching on the flowers on a grave. ¬†It was very cool.

Deer in Cemetery 1

Deer in Cemetery 2

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Sum Sunday, June 23, 2013

(A few days late, because our internet wasn’t working so well…)

Thoughts:

  • I’ve really sucked at blogging lately, haven’t I? ¬†Which is sad. ¬†I have a couple of Sicily blogs half written, at least 3 kitchen challenges to post, a couple of crafty posts, and I still have half written posts from our trip to France and Ireland (a year later…). ¬†I really need to get to posting…
  • I did an image search for “bread aisle” this week (another weird writer search) and this guy “Asher Roth” kept coming up. ¬†Who the hell is Asher Roth? ¬†According to wikipedia, he’s “an American born rapper from Morrisville, Pennsylvania.” ¬†His debut studio album is titled “Asleep in the Bread Aisle.”
  • Is the use of third person pronouns in front of the person you’re talking about rude? By this, I mean something like the following scenario: ¬†You and your spouse are eating dinner with another friend. ¬†Friend says he likes your favorite TV show, which your spouse doesn’t like. ¬†You turn to your spouse and say, “Now, see, he likes that show.” ¬† I watched the MSNBC interview with Russell Brand and read several comments about it, and some people say that yes, this is very rude. ¬†I do it all the time, and I’ve never considered it rude. ¬†I’m wondering if it’s an American thing? ¬†Or maybe it’s just a case of it being rude because you invited this person to the studio to interview him, and instead of talking to him you’re talking to other people. Please log your view on the poll:

Writing Progress:

  • Not much to report this week. ¬†New story idea popped into my head, and I’m trying to decide what direction to go. ¬†I know it’s wrong, but we have family in town the next couple of weeks, so I doubt I’ll get any writing done, mostly because my head is too busy with other thoughts. ¬†We’ll see.

What’s Making Me Happy:

  • Is there anything in the world more uplifting than a baby (or two) shrieking with laughter? ¬†These two are having entirely too much fun with their new found “toys”:
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Rauma Water Jumping World Championship 2013

As I mentioned in my last post, we spent Sunday afternoon at the¬†Water Jumping World Championships here in Rauma. I had seen this event listed online a few months ago, and I knew I would have to check it out. I mean, people on bicycles jumping into the Bothnian Sea. It’s just one of those random things you rarely get the chance to see, you know?¬†Apparently there were big name BMX people here, not that I would know any of them…

It was a fun day, we met up with some friends and watched a good show. I stuck my feet in the sea, and the water temperature wasn’t too bad. It’s probably getting close to 60¬įF. My feet weren’t immediately ice, which I took as a good sign, but I didn’t test it by going any deeper. Although, a few people did…

They had this cool…I don’t even know what it was. Like a Water Tron or something. Your feet and arms are strapped to these water jet packs, and a hose is hooked up to a jet ski, and when the jet ski driver revs the engine it provides the water power to propel you out of the water. It was apparently pretty difficult to master – we watched one girl struggle for 10-15 minutes before she was able to get up out of the water. I couldn’t help but wonder if my wakesurfing abilities would come in handy if I tried it, but for ‚ā¨200, I wasn’t going to find out.

AquaTron - coming soon to a theater near you...

AquaTron – coming soon to a theater near you…

Finally getting out of the water a bit-

Finally getting out of the water a bit-

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After a cold dunk in the sea, a warm dunk in the hot tub.

After a cold dunk in the sea, a warm dunk in the hot tub.

 

 

Categories: Finland | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Sum Sunday – June 2nd, 2013

Thoughts:

  • Why do people agree to correspondent interviews on The Daily Show when they know they’re just going to be ridiculed? Do they not know what The Daily Show is about (and which way they lean)? My favorites are the ones where the interviewer feeds the interviewees rhetoric back to them, and they do the whole “…*blink*…that’s not…I mean…What I mean is…”, and then they double down. Seriously, this show has been around long enough for them to know better. Unless they’re idiots. Which most of them probably are….
  • Those who know me know that I have a very odd, very specific fear. I’m afraid of driving over bridges over water. It’s not a fear of heights – heights don’t bother me. And I don’t know that it’s necessarily a fear of bridges, because highway overpasses and “mix-master” type bridges don’t bother me. But driving on a bridge over water – an expanse of water more than about 15 feet – is my irrational fear. Walking over it – not a problem. The water itself isn’t a problem – I love being in and on the water. I recently read an article that actually named this phobia – sort of. Gephyrophobia: ¬†a fear of bridges. Now, to be clear, I don’t go out of my way to avoid them. I don’t have to take a tranquilizer to go across them. I don’t have a panic attack, at least not in the truest sense. I just get really tense and freak out a little, inside. It’s worse when I’m driving – I do better when someone else is driving. Probably because I can just close my eyes and not have to see it. The main problem, again, isn’t the height – it’s more a fear of being trapped in a car that is going under water. Is there a named phobia for that? Until there is, I guess I’m just a Gephyrophobic…

Writing Progress:

  • I spent a lot of the week working on the concept for the new book, working out the characters, the main plot line, doing a bit of research. I also wrote a short story that I really like, and it gave me some confidence again in my writing – something that I will admit had faded this year. I’m thinking about working on a novella, and self-pubbing that through Kindle Singles. Just a thought swirling around in my head right now, nothing more…

Photo of the week:  

  • Stephen and I went to the Rauma Water Jumping World Championship today out at the nearby campground. Bicyclists rode down a ramp and jumped into the sea. It was fun to watch, and I’ll be posting a few more photos later this week. Here’s one for now:
Rauma Water Jumping World Championship 2013

Rauma Water Jumping World Championship 2013

What’s Making Me Happy This Week:

  • GeoGuessr. It gives you a random photo from the google car, and you try to determine where you are. Some are easier (photo shows a “Welcome to Melbourne Australia” sign) and some are way harder (surrounded by trees). The higher your score, the better you did.¬†I’m completely addicted.
  • Russian dashcams provide unlimited entertainment, but it usually involves scary crashes or meteors flying across the sky. I came across a different one this week, though, and it’s the “softer” side of Russia. I *love* all the big burly men stopping their car to help little old ladies and animals across the road (although the bit with the baby in the road freaked me the hell out!!).

What’s made you happy in the last week?

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Kayak in Sicily (Sicily, Part 3)

I really wanted to do something different on this trip, something other than simply sightseeing. Since we were going to Italy, I immediately thought of doing a cooking class with an Italian Grandma, but I looked for other options. A special tour? Surfing? Kayaking?

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A company called Sicily in Kayak got rave reviews on tripadvisor. 54 “Excellent” reviews, 3 “Very Good” reviews, and no reviews below that. It had the added bonus of being in the Aeolian Islands, a place I really wanted to see on our trip. I contacted the owner, Eugenio, via email and set up a half day trip.

You guys, I can’t even tell you how absolutely spectacular Eugenio was. Spec-Freaking-Tacular. He responded almost immediately to my trip request, and it was set up via email with minimal fuss. He met us at the dock in Vulcano with a cheery smile. We ended up opting for a full day trip when we got there, so we went to a local market to pick up some sandwiches. Eugenio knew almost every person we passed and greeted them with a smile, a wave, a buon giorno or ciao. On our way to his kayak hut, he pointed out some spots on the island, including the old¬†sulfur¬†mines and the sulfur bath, where several people lay soaking in the mud.

Once we arrived at the kayak put in, Eugenio explained how the island of Vulcano was formed by four volcanoes, explained (with the help of a map) the geologic makeup of the island, and showed us the route we would be taking. He also offered to take some photos for us, which we took him up on because there was no way I was taking my camera on the water. He joked that he would take more photos than our wedding photographer, and he wasn’t far off!

Seeing the different rock formations from the different eras and volcanoes was really interesting. We went through a few caves, which was really fun. At the main beach area there is a vent in the water from the volcano, and it bubbles up to form a natural fountain. Oh, and there was this cave where the water was really warm from the volcano, but the sulfur smell was almost unbearable!

The natural fountain formed by an underwater vent.

The natural fountain formed by an underwater vent. The only active volcano on Vulcano is behind us in this photo.  Photo by Eugenio at Sicily in Kayak

Coming out from under a natural arch

Coming out from under a natural arch. Photo by Eugenio at Sicily in Kayak

In a cave, island of Vulcano.  Photo by Eugenio at Sicily in Kayak

In a cave, island of Vulcano. Photo by Eugenio at Sicily in Kayak

We stopped mid-day for lunch, munching on our sandwiches and talking with Eugenio, getting to know him and the island better. He opened Sicily in Kayak on Vulcano, in the Aeolian Islands, five years ago, but he’s been kayaking much longer than that. He’s from Messina, Sicily, and moved to Vulcano to follow his passion. We talked about our trip so far, then Eugenio brought out these fabulous cookies and made some Italian coffee.

Our picnic beach on Vulcano.  Photo by Eugenio at Sicily in Kayak

Our picnic beach on Vulcano. Photo by Eugenio at Sicily in Kayak

When we started back out, he told us it would be another hour down to the turnaround site, and then another hour to get back to the put in (you go slower on the way down to take in all the sights). About five minutes in, I knew there was simply no way I could make it another two hours. The sea had gotten a little rougher, the wind had picked up a bit, and my arms (and wrists, especially) were already worn out. So we ended up turning around and heading back early.

About halfway back, Eugenio started asking me if I wanted a tow. No, of course not, I’ll¬†persevere! But then he started taunting me –

Eugenio taunting me with the tow line.  Photo by Eugenio at Sicily in Kayak

Eugenio taunting me with the tow line. Photo by Eugenio at Sicily in Kayak

And eventually, I was so worn out that I gave in.

Getting towed.  Photo by Eugenio at Sicily in Kayak

Getting towed. Photo by Eugenio at Sicily in Kayak

Sadly, even towing me behind him, Eugenio was still faster than either Stephen or I could have ever been. And he just paddled along like he was out for a relaxing jaunt!

The weather was great the day we went, warm but not hot, and the water temperature was a little on the cool side. I didn’t care, I wanted to “accidentally” tip the kayak over and take a swim…until I saw the thousands of jellyfish surrounding me. I wish I could have gotten a photo of the mass of jellyfish – literally, I would put the paddle into the water on my right, look down, and see 6-8 jellyfish. Paddle in on the left side, look down, another 10. It was insane – and quite beautiful, really. But no swim for me!

One of thousands in the water that day-

One of thousands in the water that day-

When we got back to the put in, Eugenio shared some local wine – I can’t remember the name, but it was deliciously cold and refreshing. His business is just down the hill from a beautiful pool, so after our wine we were able to go up, shower the salt off our bodies, and enjoy the view. It was a lovely spot to relax and soak up some sun.

Now that's a view!

Now that’s a view!

When he drove us back to the dock, Eugenio asked if we had sampled granitas, a Sicilian specialty. We hadn’t, and he insisted on buying us a couple of them so we could try it. Granitas were originally made by bringing blocks of snow down from the mountains and packing it into cellars to keep for warmer months. Eugenio explained it in far greater detail, and I’ve unfortunately forgotten most of it, but the cold treat (I had lemon, Stephen had strawberry) was so refreshing!

Enjoying granitas-

Enjoying granitas-

One of the tripadvisor reviewers said their group had taken to calling Eugenio, “Eugenial,” because he was so genial. This is an absolutely perfect nickname for him. He was a wonderful host, an ambassador for both Vulcano and Sicily, and just a genuinely sweet man. His company, Sicily in Kayak, offers half day, full day, and multi day trips in the Aeolian Islands for beginners and advanced kayakers, and he offers both single kayaks and kayaks built for two. If you make plans to go to Sicily and enjoy kayaking, or if you’ve never kayaked and are interested in learning, I demand that you make a point of booking a trip with Eugenio. You will have a wonderful time.

Us with the wonderful Eugenio

Us with the wonderful Eugenio

Oh, and we were staying the night in Messina, where Eugenio is from, and where his dad runs a restaurant. We got the name and address (Al Gattopardo, on Via Santa Cecilia), and when we got to Messina we found out it was only a couple of blocks away from our hotel. We stopped in for dinner and said hello to Nino, Eugenio’s dad. It was such a great experience all around!

Be sure to check out Part 1 and Part 2 of our trip to Sicily, if you haven’t already!

Categories: Travels | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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