Wild, wild west.

Early last week, an old friend and I were taking the little guy to Pan Pacific Park’s huge playground sets for a quick romp when we noticed this little drama unfolding in a tree close to us. Yeah, you might have to squint a little, they’re both well-camouflaged. It’s like those trips to the zoo where you spend 20 minutes at each exhibit trying to find the lizard in the foliage. See them now? Little grey squirrel at the bottom left. Hungry falcon (hawk?) at the upper right. I can’t tell what species he is, since ornithology was never my …

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Final Countdown

Saw these in a Bay Area mall and had to share, because they were the most entertaining and colorful voting posters I’ve seen in a long time. They are courtesy of the California Museum, so I guess it’s still backed by the state, but it’s refreshing after all the texty tabloidy stuff we’ve been steamrolled with this past year.

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Burritos and Boba!

A tribute to one of my favorite meals when in California, a calorie-laden multi-cultural mishmash that could exist nowhere else: a Rubio’s shrimp burrito and a Lollicup Thai milk tea boba. I highly recommend trying both if you are ever in the Southern California area! (Yes, we were briefly in SoCal last month. Longer post to follow about wackyfuntimes taking a 1 year old across ten time zones. o.O)

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On being “American” in Finland

Oh dear. I hate to sound like an unique American snowflake in the great socialist North, but here goes. I have been sent links to Tim Walker’s “Bad American Habits” listicle by a couple of people now. The first time, I just laughed at it and explained to the forwarder (non-American, non-Finnish, thought quite rightly that any writings by any Americans might amuse me) that while it was representative of some Americans living in this country, we came from countless different backgrounds and I happened to be from one that did not readily relate to all his points. Then I …

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The post where I talk about vaccinations.

No, this is totally not one of those posts where I weigh the pros and cons of childhood vaccinations. Because really, if you don’t know by now, I’m very squarely in the “yay, science and medicine!” camp. No question about it. Rather, this is the post where I share what I’ve learned about the differences in vaccination schedules between what my kids will be getting in Finland versus what they would have gotten if they were born in the US. Also, how that differs from what I got as a kid born in Taiwan. And then I show you guys …

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Hairy jumping spiders!

This gallery contains 9 photos.

These pictures are actually from summer of 2009, but I had to share them with y’all because I really do think this is one of the prettiest spiders that I’ve ever seen. And there are people out there who agree! I caught him in the doorway of our apartment and was going to let him go in the bushes further away in the parking lot, but took the chance to try out the limit of my camera’s macro settings first. I just love the crispness of its spots and the bright iridescent face. It is a Phidippus audax, or Daring …

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Automotive reminiscing.

By the time this posts, I will have my new Finnish driver’s license. Apparently, that will be valid until I turn 70, so no more lines at the DMV for me! 😀 I have to give them my CA DL, but that is due to expire next year anyway, so no real loss. Might just go get a new one next time I’m back in town, so that I have both options open. Did you know that teenagers getting their licenses here have to go through a series of classes and tests that end up costing $1K-$2K? Makes the few …

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Return of the ducklings!

As I’ve mentioned before, we live next to a large park where waterfowl of all kind like to hang out. Being a quiet, closed community with lots of water features, our feathered neighbors decide to take family vacations here pretty often. Last week, this mother duck and her brood of 12 showed up splashing about in the little creek that runs by our patio. We were watching them through the window from only a few feet away, and I actually went out to feed her some bread after taking these videos. Socute.

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