Monday, December 08, 2008


We have seven days left in Finland before returning to the United States. Next Monday (December 15th), we fly away with no immediate plans of returning. I am excited to see my family (and the Sun) again. But, I'm also going to miss Finland. It has been a peaceful and productive visit. The Finnish people have been very generous and welcoming to me, and I will definitely miss living here.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Knitters have amazing powers

Neil Gamon wrote a dark children's story called Coraline about a little girl who discovers an alternate version of her life through a secret passage. The story is being made into a 3D stop animation movie, which I am really looking forward to seeing. Here is a trailer to watch if you are interested:

The group creating this movie at Laika impressively crafted everything by hand. They are also creating a buzz around the movie by sending out mystery boxes to bloggers they admire. I found out about because Amy at received a Coraline mystery box (number 8 our of 50 handmade personalized boxes). You can see the contents here.

However, I am writing this blog to point you to a short video about the creation of tiny knitted sweaters used in this movie. Go here and type in the code: sweaterxxs


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Cats have amazing powers

I think these will be all the rage this Christmas! Maybe I should get one for my nieces and nephew.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I have to preface this blog with a short note. I am doing an experiment with my friend Mambinki and other bloggers. We are all going to blog on previously chosen subjects as an exercise. You can read about the experiment here. It will be interesting to see how we all interpret the subjects. This week's subject is 'Aruguments'. Well, this immediately brings up a lot of stressful thoughts in me. So, be warned that this is a serious blog. I don't want to bum anyone out, so read only if you wish.

Arguments are source of learning and growing for me right now. As a child, I watched my parents fight very actively and loudly. I remember being tense and frightened by it all. This has translated into an adult who avoids confrontation at all costs. I adapt to most situations and people. I don't argue with or confront people. In the rare case I do argue with someone, I usually cry a lot b/c it is just so stressful and it is a big deal for me. But, normally I just keep my mouth shut. I am slowly learning the importance of standing up for myself and for others. One of the most important issues for me is building my sense of self and my self esteem. I adapt so much to others around me in order for them to like me and in order to keep arguing to a minimum. The problem with this tactic is that I have no real sense of my values. I stand upon a shifting foundation. I am easily manipulated and influenced, and I don't value my own opinion. I certainly don't think I need to thicken my ego and start yelling at people. But, I do need to build a solid foundation of values and stand upon it without fear. Fear drives too much of my life, and I hope that will change. Of course, I am trying to sort all of this out through meditation. My first goal is to understand that my perspective is valid and not to be afraid to share it with those who don't agree. Even writing that made me feel tense. Arguments. Fear. These are important tools in my life right now. I am grateful for them as tools for me to develop myself into a wiser person. Ultimately, I hope I would be able to stand up for those who can't stand up for themselves b/c this issue is bigger than just me and my self esteem. I think about what I would have done in the times leading up to WWII. Would I have stood up for anyone? Sadly, I know the honest answer to this, and I am not comfortable living with that reality. And the wonderful thing about this life is our free will. I chose to work on this issue and to change so that my mistakes from the past won't be repeated in the future.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Snow Globe

I had a fun weekend. I really enjoyed watching the snow which fell for hours Friday night. It was an adventure biking around in all of that fresh powder. The worst part was getting snow in my eyes while biking. It felt like icicles stabbing me in the eyeballs, and I needed ski goggles.

Anyway, here are some photos of the snow.

With all this beauty around me, can anyone explain while I'm feeling down today? Emotions are funny things. But, like the snow, they can not persist forever. They too will melt into new emotions soon enough.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Breaking News...

It's snowing!!

I only took a couple of photos. It started snowing about 2 hours ago. It is now snowing crazy-like, and I think I will be able to take some pretty nice photos tomorrow. yay! snow! It's a novelty for me, so I love it!

Southern Finland -- Part II: Helsinki

This is part 2 of our trip to Southern Finland. These photos were all taken in Helsinki. We spent a Sunday afternoon and a Monday morning in Helsinki. It was rainy and cold, unfortunately. We couldn't use our umbrellas b/c the wind was knocking them around too much. It was quite comical, and we had to put the umbrellas away.

We started the visit Sunday by visiting the rock church:

I don't know why it looks like people are running for their lives in this photo. The church was beautiful and very peaceful.

The church view from the balcony:

This was my favorite part, lighting a prayer candle.

Here are some photos of the hotel room:

wait a minute. I thought this guy was the gardener at Turku castle. How'd he get into my room?

We spent most of Sunday inside the National museum, but I only have a couple of photos from that excursion.

A throne:
A brief moment to pause and pitch some tightly clad royal booty.

I don't know why we only have a couple of photos from the national museum. It was packed with fascinating objects. Maybe the lack of photos reflects how exhausted we were from all the sight seeing. That night we ate some very good Nepalese food and went back to the room. I stayed up too late watching French news and bad reality TV. It was fantastic. The only horrible part was watching a french news reporter interview a man from Iowa (or maybe it was Kansas). The farmer called Obama the 'n' word, and I was shocked! shocked! The farmer said he was a life long democrat, but wouldn't vote for Obama b/c he "can't stand n!@@*rs". WTF?!!

Okay, on to the next day....

Monday wasn't as rainy as Sunday, but the day was still very grey. This means the photos look kind of gloomy, but Helsinki was a very beautiful city. Here are some photos as we walked around visiting churches and just generally ogling the city.

The massive Lutheran church.
I like this photo b/c Patrick's noggin is floating around the bottom.

The above photo is theview from the top of the stairs to the Lutheran Church.
Inside the Lutheran Church.

This photo above is the Orthodox Church. We didn't get to go inside, sadly, but it was an impressive building none the less.

This is the view from the Orthodox church. They could flip off the Lutheran's on their way to mass.

We also walked around the market square of Helsinki where they sell handicrafts. It was pretty nice, and I bought a little wooden block puzzle for my nephew.

So, overall, we had a fantastic trip. Helsinki was wonderful. Turku was unbelievable. I loved the trip and wish we could've stayed longer.

Back from Southern Finland -- Part I. Turku!

Hello all. Patrick and I have returned from an ESO meeting of Finnish Astronomers and Scientists in Turku, Finland. The meeting was held at Tuorla Observatory. It was a 10 minute bus ride from the city center to the observatory, and it was lovely out there. I forgot to take photos until we were waiting for the bus to take us away. Unfortunately, the sunlight was directly in front of me, so the photos aren't that great. But, I think you get the idea.

The entrance to Tuorla Hostel

This photo shows the main house at the Hostel/Observatory.

Another building on the property...

across the street from the Hostel

It was very pretty. The meeting was a good one. The group was small, which meant more interaction with individuals. I even made a contact with a scientist in South Africa who published a paper on similar stuff that I'm doing.

After the meeting, we stuck around to do some sightseeing. We spent Saturday in Turku walking around and visiting Turku castle. Now, I'm going to post a bunch of photos of Turku for your viewing pleasure. Click to embiggen them, as you wish.

This is a beautiful church in the middle of Turku. This driveway/courtyard has a nice slope to it. We watched a man chase down a runaway buggy stuffed with two kids on this driveway. It was pretty funny, but don't worry. No children or fathers were harmed in the making of this photo.

A view of the river.

A beautiful park near the handicraft museum. Sadly the museum was closed. So, we strolled through this park into an open air market and onward to Turku castle instead.

It was a cold day, and this bird is nicely expressing how I felt. I too would refuse to get into that freezing water. screw that!

Patrick and his new toy.

A pretty view outside of Turku Castle.

This is Turku castle inside the walls. Look, I think that is one of the staff. I forget his name.

That's me. Can you hear what I am saying?
"Get off my lawn before I call the cops! You peasant!"

St. George defending the maiden and killing the dragon. I like the shadows cast on the wall.

Virgin and Child. There were so many incredible carvings from the 15th century in Turku castle. amazing.

Arched ceilings...It's how I roll.

Patrick looks comfy.

okay. Maybe he's getting a little too comfortable on the king's privy.

That is all I am posting for now. I have to get some work done today! Stay tuned for Part II -- Helsinki.