Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The United Nations of Knitting.

Thank God for the interweb -- the evil creature that sucks away my life and gives me a life all at the same time. As I mentioned before, I am a member of Ravelry, which is an awesome community of knitters and crocheters. I did a people search for Oulu, Finland and up popped 2 pages of people. yay!

I picked an avatar I liked (Marika) and e-mailed her asking for locations of good yarn shops with my fingers crossed. She was so friendly and immediately took me under her wing. I am so grateful. I had no idea how I was going to find shops or fellow knitters since I am too shy to approach people in English.

Well, the knitting group here seems large and lively. We had an impromptu gathering yesterday at Sanna's house. I am kicking myself for not taking a photo, but I did forget. We sat in the garden with a beautiful spread of cake, cookies, tea, and coffee. A total of 9 of us ( and two wee ones ) sat in a sunny garden and knitted away. I am in between projects right now, so I didn't really have anything to work on. I fiddled with my yarn a bit while I chatted and admired everyone's skills.

I have to say that I think I will be learning a lot from these ladies. They have mad skills and make BEAUTIFUL socks and mittens and cowls and sweaters. I was, honestly, pretty embarrassed about my knitting level in comparison. I tend to make silly toys and big goofy scarves. But, I look at it as an opportunity to learn from some experienced knitters. And the best part of it all was that I really felt like I clicked with them. They were very chatty and made a big effort to include me into the conversations. I am looking forward to the next meeting.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Downtown Oulu and Qstock

Here are a few photos of the scenery that we see on our bike ride to downtown Oulu. It is a beautiful ride through neighborhoods, over a bridge, and through a park. I love it.

This is the local cloud factory. They also manufactures baby toes and kitten whiskers.

Patrick says these are steps for the fish to swim upstream

These are the statues outside of city hall.

Friday we biked to downtown Oulu for a music festival called Qstock.

We stopped off at a local pub to enjoy a beer and the scenery. The downtown area was jumping. Lots of people were showing up to see the bands.

I have no clue what bands we saw, but we tried to stop by every stage.
We went to the Techno tent (my personal favorite).

We also watched some heavy metal bands.

There were a lot of photo ops that I missed. While the sun was up I wasn't thinking about photos for some reason. Let's see. What did I see of interest? I saw 3 people passed out. One guy was on the beach. One guy was in a chair, and the third man was on some steps. Each time, security came up and woke them. I met an adorable girl with a Finnish-Irish accent who lost her friends.

A couple of things I noticed were 1) people politely stand and listen to the music. There weren't any mosh pits or rough housing even though the music was pretty hard core on some stages. 2) Everyone wore ear plugs, which I found smart. And 3) People near us would get real quiet and listen to us speaking in English. If they were brave enough (read: drunk enough) they'd say something and be friendly. It was a little unsettling though when you can tell the people around you are eavesdropping.

Another thing I failed to photo was the pee-dome (I wouldn't dare!). A plastic dome with 5 or six holes cut out about waist high. Guys would walk up to it and pee while trying not to stare at the person across from them. The port-o-potties for the ladies were light pink and light green. They were soooo pee on the seat covers. At the end of the night, most of the stalls still had toilet paper. I couldn't believe it. By that time, in the US, at least 1/3 of the stalls would've been pushed over or thrown into the water.

Overall, it was a fun day/night of beer, nice people, and rowdy music. I had a blast and met some really cool people. The bike home was interesting since I was tipsy and my bike is too big for me. But, we made it safe and sound!

The Hallow-Holy Crap!

I finished the Hallowig. If you recall, it is supposed to look like this:

Mine was too small and pretty hideous. I never bother to check my gauge, so I usually knit objects smaller and much tighter than necessary.

You probably shouldn't look directly at it, but here it is if you are curious. I forced Patrick to model it for me. Enjoy at your own risk:

P.S. The string is hanging there b/c I didn't have the strength in me to weave in the ends. Why bother, hunh? lol.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Family Circus

I've been procrastinating all day. The sky is clear and blue. The temperature is perfect, but I am sitting inside wishing I were out there. :( So, instead of working, I have been looking for knitting patterns. I've finally picked up the knitting needles again. woo hoo! I'm falling in love with knitting all over again.

I'm almost done knitting the Hallowig I started a looong time ago. It looks like this: And the pattern can be found on the Knitty website

I will post a photo once I am done. It looks like I knitted it a little too small. Maybe I will send it to my sister and force her to put it on my nephew for a laugh. That's mean, but we have to have some photos to torture him with when he's a stinky teenager.

Anyway, I am so close to being done that I am already looking for my next pattern. I am a member of an awesome knitting website called Ravelry. I have found so many patterns for adorable toys, hats, mittens, scarves, etc. You name it. They've got it.

I am interested in making a Jayne hat from the TV show Firefly:

However, I have been particularly interested in knitting the geekier patterns such as

crocheting the Lorentz manifold from a paper from Bristol University website. I think this might be a cool gift for my stepdad.

Another idea is to take a word or phase and convert it to binary code. Binary code can be translated into a knitting pattern by using purl for 0 and knit for 1. This way, you can knit a secret message into your scarf. I like that idea.

Or I could just these socks from Knitty

You wouldn't believe the cute patterns they have on Ravelry. hmm. Maybe you would believe it. Do you even care about knitting? lol. Sorry if you don't. I am just so excited to have the time to knit again. I didn't list nearly all the patterns I'd like to make. Others include the Bender Bending Rodriguez doll, sushi, a mushroom, a wonder woman sweater (way out of my league), and Shaun the Sheep from Wallace and Grommit.

So, why is this blog titled 'The Family Circus'? Because during my search for patterns, I ran across this Funny Cartoon poking fun at the family circus: It's funny to me b/c everyday as I lock the house, I step back inside to check that the coffee maker is off. I know it is off. When I turn it off I say to myself 'see, you turned it off. So, no need to check when you leave'. However, standing at the door, I am no longer certain I didn't say that yesterday. woo hoo...dontcha just LOVE developing OCD tendencies?! I don't! :D

Ok, back to work...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Moniker not monocle

Patrick and I biked to work today. As we pulled up to the building, I had a revelation which I had to share with Patrick.

I said, 'Patrick, I've decided that I want you to call me Rebecca. Uhhh, Dr. Rebecca. Make that Dr. Rebecca, PhD'

So, suck it! You all have to call me that too.

(note: First goofy image was 'borrowed' from while the second image was 'borrowed' from the wikipedia page for 'monocle')


Last night I had a weird dream. I remember it fairly well, so it must have been the last thing I dreamt this morning just before waking. So, let's start over.

This morning, I had the weirdest dream. In it, Patrick and I decided, impromptu, to get married RIGHT NOW!! It was an elopement of sorts, but we invited many people. We called and said 'come NOW! Hurry!' And they did. Everyone showed up. There was even an elderly Italian woman there. I think she was from Patrick's side of the family, except his family is German. My family is French. So, I don't know who that wedding crasher was, but she was sweet.

Anyway, the wedding was going to happen in a matter of moments. Everyone showed up at a beautiful church. I was getting really freaked out. The 'hurry up' feel was almost like 'hurry up so Becky doesn't bolt'. lol. Marriage freaks me out.

So, it is almost time. I am anxious and excited and worried about the seriousness of marriage. Suddenly, I get sooo upset b/c I realize that my legs are super hairy. I could have braided my leg hair. It was so gross.

But, why would it matter, you ask, if my legs are hidden under a wedding dress? It mattered b/c I was wearing my raggy and stinky yoga capri-pants. I wasn't upset about getting married in yoga pants, mind you. I was upset that I was finally going to take the plunge, and my entire family had to watch Sasquatch walk down the aisle.

I shiver just thinking about it.

Analyze that dream!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Long Pig

How many cannibals could your body feed?
OnePlusYou Quizzes and Widgets

It is fulfiling to know that I could potentially help out so many people. Makes me feel good inside, ya know? Gives me the warm heebie-jeebies.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Interesting tidbit

In Finland, when people move out, they take the light fixtures with them. When we moved in, we only had little wires hanging from the center of the ceiling to indicate there once was a light present. We had to borrow all of our furniture, cookware, silverware, linens, and light fixtures! That would make sense to me if the light fixture was a crystal chandelier or something, but many of them are plastic or glass... nothing fancy. hmmm.

okay, I've procrastinated enough. I'm gonna get back to work now.

Daily Life

Come along boys and girls as we follow Becky to work:

I wake up in here

Then I move into the living room for a little yoga, meditation, and e-mail check. I bought a yoga mat, and I am sooo glad I did.

After a shower, I eat breakfast with the dinosaurs

Then I am off to work!! Bye apartment! Don't burn down or call international numbers while we are gone! We live on the second floor, second balcony in from the left. HI!

Whistle while you walk.

Hey, I know that guy! Think he'll walk with me?

Look, it's Patrick's buddy. He hangs out at the library all the time.

Almost to work. Birch trees are so pretty!

I spy my office straight ahead. Who can find the telescope dome?

I then spend hours sweating, working, toiling, and slaving away producing the most amazing science ever known to mankind.

After the long day, I head home and...Sit in the Sauna! yay!

After the sauna, we may eat something such as chips. Many common products have funny words on them that reduce me to a snickering 3rd grader. Don't even get me started on the "shampoot". (by the way, "pussi" mean "pouch" in Finnish. Discuss the appropriateness of this amongst yourselves.)

Finally, I curl up in bead to read. Currently, I am enjoying a children's story found in a local bookstore. I seem silly to fly all the way to Finland and buy french books. But, I am so impressed with the french book selections here. It is so cool, and I so badly want to buy more. I constrained myself to one, and it has already made me laugh.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

A moment of silence for the almighty garlic bulb

Before heading to Finland, Patrick told me that the people of Oulu gather together to have a festival in honor of the almighty garlic in July. I thought "awesome! I love me some garlic". I was really looking forward to looking at garlic lovers and trying new dishes choc-full of garlic. Sadly, the city decided to take a break from the garlic festival. no worries, though, the festival will return in full force next year. I was pretty disappointed. This weekend would have been the weekend of garlic, and the weather is just gorgeous for it. Too bad. so sad.

Even without the festival, our trip into Oulu's city center was perfect. wellllll, almost. It was almost perfect. The bike I have is too big for my short frame, and my ass is killing me. However, I think I will get used to it. We biked in (forgot the camera, sorry) and the views were gorgeous. The bike path was heavily populated today with bikers, walkers, runners, and skaters. Everyone was out trying to soak up the precious sunlight. Once in the city, we stopped at a local bar, had a pint, then biked back home. I love this kind of living.

Brief hello

After a few days of gloom and rain, the sun has come out today. yay! Patrick and I are going to bike to the city center to see how long it takes us. I'm looking forward to it. We are settling in nicely. Last night we used our sauna again, which was soooo relaxing. And, the neighborhood really is so pretty when I've had my coffee and the sun it out. :D

I hope to have pictures to post later. Have a great Saturday everyone!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

When did I become such a prude?

Seriously. Somewhere between age 25 and now, I became a true American puritan. Someone's ancestors would be proud, possibly even mine.

Back in the day, I used to love skinny dipping. I would still jump at the chance to jump into a hot tub or a lake naked. It is just plain fun to swim around without any clothes on.

Well, now I'm in Finland where nudity is apparently "no big deal" or so I have been told. They live for the sauna, and they hang out in the sauna naked. Patrick and I have our very own sauna in our apartment, which I think is pretty freaking awesome. We tried it out Sunday night. That's when he told me how it is done here -- naked. Hey, no problem I thought. Then my mind jumped to a story Patrick told me about "the guys" hanging out in a sauna one time. I asked him, "so, when you hang out with the guys, I guess I'll just chill at home, right?" Patrick said, "No, you can hang out too."

My uptight American brain snapped. I started visualizing a coed naked sauna. I stressed out. First thought was "I need to shave!". Then I started wondering if I could do it. Could I just casually hang out naked with a bunch of people? Swimming naked is one thing, but I was comforted by the protection of water around my body. The more I thought about it, the more anxious I felt. I kept reminding myself "nudity is no big deal here. It is only a big deal in my mind." I decided that I could do it if we were in a big group with many ladies present. I thought I could hide in the crowd that way.

Well, the very next night, we were invited for dinner, drinks, and SAUNA! There were 6 guys and me. They were all really nice. Nothing about the sauna felt inappropriate, but I was frozen. There was no way in hell I was gonna hang out naked at Sausage Fest 2008.

That's when I started to wonder when I became so uptight. Well, whenever it happened, it apparently has happened. I do hope to break through this and embrace the coed sauna experience. But, I am going to take baby steps. It would be a little easier to transition into the coed thing if I had a group of girlfriends here. I could hang out with them and have someone to talk to. I mean, imagine that you have to go to a party. You don't know a soul there. It can be intimidating to meet new people and socialize with strangers. Now imagine you have to do that naked in a really hot room. Geez louise. When did I become such a prude?

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Finland -- Where Finnish People Come From

Hello all! We made it to Finland without a hitch; although, our bags have a different story to tell. The bags didn't show up until Friday morning, and they won't tell us where they've been.

So far, I really like Finland. The people are very friendly. They don't scowl at me for not knowing Finnish. I've seen my office, which lacks AC, but more than makes up for it with having more than its fair share of awkward scientists.

Our apartment is much bigger than I anticipated. We don't have much in the way of furniture, but our boss and a friend of a friend are loaning us a couch, desk, TV, beds, cookware etc. We are pretty well stocked up. I will upload photos of the apartment another time. Here is a view from the kitchen window to hold you over:

We have freaking dinosaurs roaming outside. crazy.

Anyway, the night we arrived, we slept for 12 hours. nice! Friday night we went to a concert in downtown Oulu. They had 3 bands playing in a blocked off area of the town. I tried to take video of the first band, but it didn't come through very well. I do, however, have a photo of Oulu at 2am!

2am! soooo bright.

We had just left a bar called the .45 special, which I liked very much. They had "oldies" (e.g. Nirvana, Van Halen, Blood Hound Gang) downstairs, and a live band upstairs.

That's all I've got for now. More later!