Posts Tagged With: weather

This or That: Blue skies or grey?

One of the few things that gets me through the winters here is the prospect of Finnish Summer:  two to three months of bright blue skies and damn near perfect temperatures.  But this summer has convinced me that I could never live in Seattle.  It’s mid-July, and I think I can count the number of good days we’ve had on my hands – and I missed half of them while in Croatia.  It’s been grey and rainy and cool.  I don’t think we’ve even made it to 70°F where I live (except for those days I missed).  Even with the Croatian break, and the upcoming trip to Barcelona, I’m dying a slow death here.  I’m done with grey!!

But I know some people love this kind of weather.  Some people don’t care for blue skies.  Are you one of them?

Let me know in the comments below, and you’ll be entered to win some poppyseed soap made by yours truly! (Scent TBD – I have to see what scents I have available.) I made poppyseed soap as wedding favors when we got married, and I’ve had quite a few requests for more from family and friends since then. Time to make a new batch!

Photo by Nicki Thatcher,

Everyone who comments on This or That Thursday in the month of July will be registered to win homemade poppyseed soap. Winner will be announced in August.

Categories: This or That? | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

This or That: Cool Weather or Hot?

Which do you prefer?  In mid-June, would you prefer to live in a place where it is 50°F or 90°F?  In mid-January would you prefer it to be 30°F or 50°F?

This week’s This or That brought to you from 50° Finland.  (IOW, I want it to be summer already, damn it!!)

In case my position needs further explanation, I like heat.  I would far prefer to be in a warmer climate than a cooler one.  While I absolutely love the typical Finnish summer with perfect mid-70° days, I love a good 90°+ day (assuming you have working air conditioning to go along with it).  I love the feeling of being in a cold, air conditioned building (mall, office building) and walking out into the heat of the day.  I always feel like I’m thawing out.  I miss that feeling.  Although, I will admit that I don’t miss burning myself on the seat belt or the steering wheel…

So, what about you?  Let me know in the comments below, and you’ll be entered to win a 4×6 print of this photo:

House by the Sea

All comments for This or That in the month of June will be eligible for the giveaway!

Categories: This or That? | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment


We had quite the warm front this weekend.  It was probably about 80F outside, but there was no breeze.  So the apartment, which of course doesn’t have air conditioning, was a sauna. (Ha, a sauna! In Finland!)

Anyway, I spent most of Thursday and Friday, and all day Saturday, trying to stay as still as possible.  Sewing made me sweat.  Washing dishes in hot water was torture.  I covered different parts of my body – shins, thighs, arms, chest, neck – with a cold washcloth, then removed it, enjoying the feel of evaporation.  We had fans going, windows open, and I was miserable.

So miserable, in fact, that I broke down Saturday night around 8pm.  “Please, Stephen, it’s so hot, make it cold!”  I was crying.  “I’m sorry I’m crying.  I know it’s stupid, I know I shouldn’t be crying over this, but I’m so bloody hot.  Please make it stop.”

Hey, I’m pregnant, I’m allowed to cry over the heat, okay?

Stephen, meanwhile, was like, “It’s not that bad.”  He blamed my overheating, as well as the tears, on the hormones.  Whatever, I don’t care.  Blame it on whatever you want, just make it cooler!!

Thank God, it got a bit cooler yesterday.  Temperatures dropped a bit, we got a breeze, and it was tolerable.  Then, last night, a COLD front blew in.  Saturday night I’m sleeping naked without even a sheet, and last night Stephen closed all the windows, cut the fan off, and covered the bed with blankets.  So, yeah, local people?  You can blame me for the cooler weather.

According to, the high on Saturday was 84F. Today it was 59.  It felt so freaking good!  We have a fan in the living room that shows the inside temperature.  On Saturday it read 29C (about 84F).  This morning it read 17C (about 62).  The temperature in our living dropped 22 degrees Fahrenheit in two days!

Obviously it’s silly to have air conditioning in Finland.  Sure, it occasionally gets warm, but it normally only lasts for a few days, then it’s tolerable again.  If you had a/c, you’d probably use it less than 10 days total for the year.  Still, I wouldn’t have minded it this weekend!  I can handle a day of it, but after the second day I actually start getting ill – headache, nausea, etc.  It happened last year in Sicily – one of our hotels had no a/c and a single window that opened into what can only be described as a heat well.  After two days, the only thing that made me feel better was getting in the car and turning on the a/c.

At one point, Stephen said, “Just think if we were in Texas this time of year.”  My response?  “We’d have the air conditioning on!”

Baby J update – 20 Days to go! I’m blogging every day until I give birth, so you’ll know when the baby is born!

Categories: Random | Tags: , , , | 6 Comments

Seeking Warmth

Big surprise coming:  It gets a little cold in Finland.  Shocking, huh?  After a lovely but mild summer (the average high was in the low 70’s, I think), I felt like I never really, truly got warm.  I dreamed of a sandy beach with a warm sun and laying there all day in my bathing suit with occasional breaks for swimming.  I yearned to be warm.

I started looking at our travel options for traveling to a warm beach in December.  I picked December because it’s the darkest month – the perfect time to seek out some sunlight.  My requirements were a temperature of at least 80F, salt water that was not cold, and a place where I didn’t have to worry about anything, including walking to the bar to get my next drink.

I found that pretty much all of Europe was out of the question – there were parts that may be warm, but there was no guarantee.  I looked at the Maldives and Mauritius, but found most of the resorts to be just a tad out of our price range ($4000/week for hotel).  I did find one affordable, nice looking place in the Maldives, a small B&B type place on one of the non-resort islands that got good reviews, but after investigating it further, I found that alcohol is illegal on that particular island.  Needless to say, that one was definitely crossed off the list!  I figured the best possible solution would be the Canary Islands, but found that even there, the average temp would only be in the mid-70s – not warm enough for what we wanted.  We didn’t really want to fly west, to the Caribbean, because the flight was so long, but the only other option was Africa or the Middle East, which wasn’t really an option for us.

After briefly flirting with the idea of a cruise out of Miami, we ended up booking a trip to Riviera Maya in Mexico.  We did this mainly because we could connect through Dallas, and we could stay there for several days to see Family and Friends and do some shopping.  Plus, it broke up the trip some.  Of course, getting to Dallas still meant a three hour drive to Helsinki, a 2 hour flight to London, a 4 hour layover in London, and a 10 hour flight to Dallas.  (Quiz:  What’s the best part of a 10 hour flight?  The part where the pilot comes on and says, “We’ll be landing in less than 15 minutes.”)

While in Dallas, we ate Mexican food almost exclusively, with a break for one night of sushi for me.  We had a big party, did an early Christmas, stocked up on jeans and OTC meds and Twizzlers, and celebrated our 1 year wedding anniversary with dinner at Ruth’s Chris.  The weather in Dallas was great, in the 80s and sunny, and it was so nice to be warm!

1st Anniversary

1st Anniversary

Then, on to Mexico, where we stayed at an all-inclusive resort south of Playa del Carmen.

The resort was nice enough, and we enjoyed our stay.  The food was mostly so-so (the sushi was laugh-worthy, tiny pieces of fish on my nigiri), but the drinks were fruity and cold and they kept coming.  The resort didn’t actually have a beach – instead, it had a lagoon area.  We figured it would work out well enough – the water was still sea water, and it was on the coast, it was just that there was a natural sea wall of sorts that made the sea inaccessible.  However, we did miss having a real beach, so we know better for next time.  The room was nice, with a large shower and a whirlpool bathtub built for two that faced out onto the patio (which had a hammock – nice touch).

Part of the lagoon at the resort.

Part of the lagoon at the resort.

"Well, color me happy, there's a bathtub in here for two!"  (Movie paraphrase, anyone?)  Since we don't have a bathtub at home, I tend to actually use them when we travel, just for the luxury!

“Well, color me happy, there’s a bathtub in here for two!” (Movie paraphrase, anyone?) Since we don’t have a bathtub at home, I tend to actually use them when we travel, just for the luxury!

It was a great trip, and I got the warmth and sunlight I so desired.  Of course, it had to end at some point, right?  For us it ended at 7am Monday morning, at which point we spent the next 30 hours traveling.  (This is why we will not be flying home at all next year, the travel is just killer.)  When we left Finland, it was literally during blizzard conditions, and I think it snowed the entire time we were gone. We arrived in Helsinki to a car buried in snow, then had a small mishap on the drive home and ended up spending about an hour in a snowy ditch.  I was worried about the car battery after sitting in the freezing temperatures for almost two weeks, but it started up without a problem three times during our trip home…then died when we tried to move it out of the loading zone at the apartment.  It got us home, though, and we’re grateful for that!

This is what happens when you leave your car parked outside in Helsinki for two weeks in the winter...

This is what happens when you leave your car parked outside in Helsinki for two weeks in the winter…


There were wild spider monkeys on the grounds of the resort.  If you look just above the curve in the branch at the middle of the picture, you can see the monkey's face.

There were wild spider monkeys on the grounds of the resort. If you look just above the curve in the branch at the middle of the picture, you can see the monkey’s face.

Monkeys!  They were so adorable!!

Monkeys! They were so adorable!!

I’m playing catch-up with blog posts – I’ve been terribly bad about posting, I know, but with NaNoWriMo (future blog post alert) and Thanksgiving (future blog post alert) and the trip to Dallas/Mexico, I fell a little behind!  Look for more posts soon!

Categories: Travels | Tags: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

First Snow

We’ve had our first snowfall here in Rauma, and man did it snow.

It started on Friday with these cute little snow pellets – they looked like little pieces of styrofoam.  Pea-sized hail, except it wasn’t hail, it was snow.  Some research revealed this to be graupel.  So there’s my something new learned for the day.  It melted fairly quickly, but we got some more overnight.

Snow covered roofs of Rauma, Friday morning.

Then on Friday, it snowed off and on all day.  When it snowed, it snowed, like a heavy downpour.  The streets were soon covered, and I could see several cars slipping and sliding and struggling to get up the hill.  I started to worry about Stephen driving home, since we haven’t put the winter tires on yet.  We have an appointment on Monday – not soon enough, evidently.

I took a walk in one of the heavier downpours, excited to try out my new boots:

When I got back there were some guys out playing soccer across the street, and from the sounds of it they were having a grand time, whooping at every goal scored.  It was highly entertaining watching them slipping and falling on the snow, and they were enjoying it, too – I swear I saw one making a snow angel after he fell.  It was especially funny when they ended up against the boards, three of them kicking and struggling to get control of the ball.  I was suddenly watching hockey!!

Snow soccer

The leaves on the trees suddenly realized they were late, and immediately corrected the situation:

“Oh crap! Fall, fall!!”

As I looked out from our apartment at the white blanket on the city, I realized that this is what my view will be for the next six months or so.  In a few months, I won’t even notice the snow, but for now, I’m an American from the South, and snow is still a novelty!

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Random Update

  • Stephen and I have been watching West Wing on DVD.  For whatever reason, I never really watched it when it was on TV.  I saw maybe three episodes.  So I went in not having seen…anything.  And I wonder…WHY THE HELL DIDN’T I WATCH THIS WHEN IT WAS ON TV?  I’m seriously enjoying the hell out of it – it’s funny, intelligent, and interesting.  Especially going into an election…Can I vote for Bartlett?
  • I made chicken fried steak for the first time ever the other night.  I was going to make mashed potatoes, too – another thing I’ve never made.  Stephen was shocked when he found that out – “You’ve never made mashed potatoes?”  Here’s the thing – I don’t really like mashed potatoes.  I only ever eat them as a dip for meat, with, of course, gravy.  So Stephen made the mashed potatoes.  I also made gravy for the first time ever.  All in all, it was a great meal.

    Husband Approved

  • I received a notice a couple of weeks ago that I had a package to pick up at the post office.  I had no idea what it was, I wasn’t sure the size of the box, thus I wasn’t sure it would fit in my bike basket, so I had to wait until I had the car to go pick it up.  It turned out to be a gift from my mother-in-law: two crocheted baskets.  They’re super cute (made out of Target bags!), and after a few days I determined how would use one of them – it makes a perfect clothespin holder!
  • I went for a long bike ride last Thursday, about 13 miles.  I thought I was only going to go 8 miles, but then I decided to get a little lost (on purpose) and see what I could see.  It was a nice little bike ride, I went past….lots of woods…and fields…because that’s what Finland has a lot of… 
  • Took another bike ride on Sunday to the coast.  I found this lovely little secluded area, and watched the rain off the coast.  I think I’ll go back soon with a book. 
  • It was overcast and rainy for most of last week, and I was feeling correspondingly down in the dumps.  I want my warm, beautiful Finnish summer back!!  I did get a bit of it on Friday and Saturday, thank goodness, but why can’t it be like that all the time?  Rainy again today, but I can’t be too sad – I’m about to go on a Girl’s Trip!  Info and photos to follow…
Categories: Finland, Random | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Spring? Spring!

Regardless of the rainy week we’ve had (and rainy week we are supposed to have) around here, there are actually signs that Spring is upon us here in Finland.  Yesterday it got up to 57F!  If it had been sunny like it was supposed to be, it would have been a perfect day.  Crossing my fingers that tomorrow’s forecasted sun comes out.

Look! Things are actually budding!

The city workers, now free from clearing sidewalks of snow, are concentrating on making things look pretty around here, including planting flowers:

The canal is now unfrozen, so they put out the statues of the frog prince and the bathing beauties:

I’m enjoying being able to open up some windows and walk around without a knee length down coat on.  But I still can’t wait for summer!

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Spring Fever?

The last week has been moderately warmer…not 70° warmer, but it’s been hovering around the freezing point.  Actually, although it sounds great that it’s been getting above freezing, it’s actually been a bad thing – a high of 2C means things start melting, but the overnight low of -2C means everything refreezes.  It’s a lot easier to walk on frozen snow than on ice.  I’ve caught myself several times over the last week saying, “Oh, good, fresh snow,” because at least with fresh snow on the ground, you gain some traction.

Yesterday it actually got up to a whopping 39F, and the streets are really clear.  The sidewalks are hit or miss – those getting more sun are nearly dry, those getting less sun are great for ice skating.

Warmer weather and sun means *some* of the sidewalks are actually clear!

Today, the wind is crazy strong, literally rattling the rafters in the building we’re in.  Once, while out walking today, the wind actually pushed me across the ice.  I’m not kidding.  Crazy strong.  But the sun is bright, and everything is melting, and the streets were busier than I’ve ever seen them (in my whole three weeks here).  People out driving, biking, walking, a busy grocery store, and a jam-packed cafe – that’s what I saw while I was out today.

Of course, just like with every early warm snap, a hard freeze isn’t far behind.  After tomorrow, the weather forecast has us not getting above freezing for a week, with lows down to -12C.

The funny thing is, I’ve been getting really warm on my daily walks lately – sweating under my jacket, and even taking off my gloves and hat because I’m too hot.  I guess I’ve acclimated a little.

A bright moon

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It’s not like it’s freezing…except that technically, it is…

I am not a cold-weather kind of girl.  I am not one of those people who believes you can always put more clothes on when it’s cold, but there’s only so much you can’t take off when it’s hot.  I would far prefer to be in Texas in August (and I’ve spent many summers there, so I know exactly what that means) than in Alaska in January.  Sometimes, there are not enough clothes.  And certain parts will always be cold.  I would rather be hot.

So the fact that I’m moving to Finland, the northern half of which sits inside the Arctic Circle, is not something I ever anticipated.    Even after living in Colorado, I really have no expectations about the weather in Finland. 

Everyone thinks it’s so cold in Colorado, but it’s really not – at least, not in Denver.  It can be cold, don’t get me wrong – but so can Dallas and Charlotte and even Miami.  The wonderful thing about Denver is, it’s cold, it snows, and then it’s sunny and in the 50’s again.  Snow piled up six feet in the parking lot, but you’re walking into the grocery store in short sleeves.

Finland is another story.  It stays cold.  And dark.  For months at a time.  At least, that’s what it looks like – ask me again next Spring, when I know for sure.  Where we’ll be moving, on the West Coast of Finland, the average high/low in January is 27/18(F).  So yes, it’s cold, although not as cold as I expected.  I keep saying, “It’s not like it’s freezing,” but, of course, it is.  But I expected it to be around 0, and it’s not.  Heck, one day a couple of weeks ago, it was actually colder in Charlotte than it was in Helsinki – so, yeah, not as bad as you would think (although the high tomorrow in Pori is 11F).

However, we are well aware that we need winter weather gear.  I very specifically asked my family for some warm accessories for Christmas – scarves, sweaters, etc.  I also expected to get some stuff from others…but I didn’t realize there would be so much.

I got long john’s, and scarves, and gloves, and fingerless mittens, and a down comforter.  Hubster got a bunch of stuff, too.  I joked that I wanted to put on everything  we got and take a picture of us.

Long underwear, leg warmers, gloves, fingerless mittens, a couple of scarves, a couple of big sweaters, and some Strike a Fire Anywhere

Everyone else is more freaked out over the cold than I am.  Which is odd, considering my aforementioned (I love that word) aversion to the cold.  My friend geauxgirl realizes she’s probably going overboard.  “But I’m just freaking out that you’re gonna be cold.”

We probably will be.  But that’s part of the adventure!

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

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