The Not-So-Grand Tour

I mentioned that I would take pictures once things settled down, but got so caught up in getting through my backlog that I didn’t get around to it until now. So yes, let me welcome you to my new Finnish kitchen… View from the doorway off of the entrance hall. That little white box to the bottom right is our freezer. The box taking up the edge of the left side in the photo is a refrigerator with a giant crisper section at the bottom. Between those two machines and our cold cellar, I’m wallowing in far more food storage …

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Viili Viili Good.

So one of the great things about Finland is that they’re big on lactose free and reduced lactose dairy products. While all I could get in the States was milk and maybe some vanilla ice cream if I was lucky, practically every dairy product here comes in different lactose gradients. Considering that I’ve spent most of my life working around the dairy problem, the variety here is almost mind-boggling. It’ll take me a while to work my way through everything, for sure. In addition to the above, the dairy section also includes a ginormous aisle of yogurt and yogurt-related products, …

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Pierydys vs. The Joys of Line Drying

So, talk about living in a land that balances new technology with the Old World. Moving to a new place meant buying new appliances, and I was finally able to get my mitts on one of those fabulous steam washing machines that’s been featured in so many ads over the last few years. This more than helped to soothe my disappointment over having to leave behind my steamers due to electrical incompatibility issues. My LG 8kg direct drive steam washing machine! It has a rather intimidating control panel with all kinds of colored lights and switches, and it makes little …

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Get me my hangin’ rope…

So this new place. It’s great! It’s spacious, big windows, full of light, the appliances all work great… and then, there’s the bathroom.

Specifically, the bathtub.

More specifically, the shower head.

It’s this long, limp tube with a spray head attached, you see. And it just… dangles. From the faucet. With no hardware on the wall so we can slot it in and… well, take a shower. You know, the kind where water comes from above you. So you pretty much have to wash yourself one-handed while holding the spray head, or else prop it carefully against a tiny ledge in the wall at about chest level, then stoop and crouch under it, hoping it doesn’t fall down and smack you and spray water everywhere before you can catch it. We talked about installing a holder, but never got around to finding one at the various stores we went to. Of course, we also don’t have any nails or screws to put in the walls, so that might have been an issue, too.

Finally, in the middle of shampooing my hair today, I had enough. Forget the hardware. Forget fancy tools. How would the settlers of old have handled this conundrum? “Baby,” I shouted from the bathroom, “get me some rope.” I don’t care how many centuries of civilization have told us that there are specific gadgets meant for every purpose in life — there’s almost nothing that can’t be figured out with rope, duct tape and safety pins (or some combinations of those three) if you’re desperate enough. Long weeks on location running a full department out of dusty tarp tents have taught me this. Interior decorating and Martha Stewart be damned, sometimes you’ve just got to make it work.

So hearkening back to my (very brief) Texas roots, I tied some sturdy knots, made a couple of nooses for the head, and hung the damn thing.


Then I had my first genuine shower in two weeks, and it was good.

Starting Anew.

So, this is our first week here in our new Finnish digs and I’ve got an entire kitchen to stock. Just about the only things on the shelves were sugar, salt, and half a packet of vegetable stock cubes. Sigh. I was trying to explain to the boy this morning how tedious and expensive this can be — of course, I did all the shopping for our last pantry so he never really experienced that particular pleasure. Still, I do look forward to being more selective in my purchases so I don’t end up with those inevitable bottles of crap …

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Memorable License Plates.

I understand the appeal of personalized license plates, I really do. I’d just never want one myself. The point is to make your car more recognizable, right? Which could be really inconvenient if you were trying to, say, escape the scene of a crime. Not that I do lots of things that would require a quick getaway, mind you, but I like to keep my options open. Heck, I’m still trying to convince the mechanic that installing a mounted rocket cannon, ejection seats, and an engine scuba attachment on my CR-V are all feasible everyday requests. This is NOT, I …

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When in Finland…

Hyvää Joulua (or whatever choice of holiday is appropriate for your particular situation), everybody! Hope you are surrounded by family and friends (that you want to be around) and good food (because it’s all about the food). A bit belated, but I always claim the full 12 days of Christmas for the sake of extending my shopping time. 😛 There hasn’t been any snow or reindeer sightings yet, but we’re here until New Year’s Day and I remain hopeful. 🙂 *mwah*

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Today I waded in the Baltic Sea, snacked on freshly-picked currants and hiked through a backyard forest. The biggest worry of the day was whether or not to bring a jacket in case it got cloudy. Tomorrow, I am headed back towards the land of smog, traffic and recreational plastic surgery. Complete with a huge backlog of homework, bills and work orders. Sigh. These times always go by far too quickly.

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I think I’m going to stop with the day numbering because the almost-continuous daytime and lazy summer vacation atmosphere here in Finland is making it hard to remember what day it is. A nice change, though something of a shock for my frenetic metropolis-raised mind to handle. The idea of automatically getting up to 5 weeks off from your job just does not compute. I apparently come from a country of masochists. Then again, we knew that the minute we elected… ahem. But yes, Finland! Still learning to stay asleep despite the early daylight. Still finding the in-house sauna thing …

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