Early Start to Christmas: Food!

Food & Drink, My Spaces

Usually we’re not ready for Christmas by the time December rolls around, but this year has been different. We sung our first carol – in Finnish, for which I give full props to Husband! – at the end of October. I pulled out the ornaments before Thanksgiving, and Husband brought home the first Christmas foods just afterwards.

I really like my Finnish Christmas food. When Husband and I got married, we had to fit our respective customs together into a combination that included both of our favorites. Fortunately that turned out very easy, because his New England family traditions and my Finnish ones are quite similar. Instead of turkey and cranberry, we make ham and prunes with various sides. They tend to vary from year to year, but always include some form of potato. 🙂

And the desserts! We decided to include a small amount of a wide variety, so there’s space for both traditions. When I can’t get Finnish gingerbread cookies, I’ll choose the Swedish brand Annas pepparkakor. We’re also stuffing ourself with clementines.

Xmas Foods Annas pepparkakor

Xmas Foods Clementines

I’ve really grown to like eggnog a lot. Due to my lactose intolerance, we tend to look for non-dairy alternatives, though. This new-to-us nog turned out pretty yummy.

Xmas Foods Non-Dairy Nog

I like the fact that this one is only lightly sweetened – the only place I prefer lots of sugar is in my alcohol – but I felt it lacked some creaminess. Quite nice, however, especially with a splash of vanilla soy milk.

I’m also looking forward to making and eating joulutortut and rice porridge (rice pudding).

Joulutorttu

Christmas Rice Porridge

What are your favorite end-of-year holiday foods?

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Three Scenes from My Halloween Weekend

My Spaces

The Halloween weekend in our corner of woods has offered all kinds of fall weather, from bright and breathtakingly glorious…

Morning Sun Hits Yellow Leaves2

…to grey and bland, to rainy and windy, and everything in between. One day we quite unintentionally had appropriate Halloween effects delivered by nature (with an assist by us):

Halloween Spider Decor by Garden Canopy Frame

We’ve stripped our garden canopy for the winter season already. If the sun’s just right, we get the shadow of a huge “spider” cast on our window.

We also witnessed an attempted murder…

Attempted Murder of Crows

…but the two crows in question never found enough flockmates to complete it. #BadPuns

Happy Halloween!

Random Beauty: New Monstera Leaf Uncurling

My Spaces, Random Beauty

There’s a new “baby” in our house! The monstera plant grew a new leaf:

New Monstera Leaf Uncurling

I find the new, uncurling leaves of any plants fascinating – the shapes and colors change almost daily, and the shape, especially, can get very ornate. Beautiful.

P.S. I won’t be blogging on Monday due to Labor Day. Hope my U.S. readers have a relaxing long weekend!

Back on U.S. Soil

Behind the Scenes, My Spaces

We’ve returned from a great trip to Finland and Worldcon 75.

Suitcase w Fin Flag Luggage Tag

I’m not only jetlagged, I’m exhausted from meeting so many people – to borrow a word from Finnish, I’m rag tired, meaning ‘limp-as-a-wrung-rag tired’ (rättiväsynyt). I suppose the closest equivalent in English is bone tired, but it feels like I don’t have the bones left for that!

I confess the only way for me to get through the last days of the con was to fake it in a grand way:

Catching Fire Eyes Bright Chins up Smiles on

Screencap from the movie Hunger Games: Catching Fire.

“Eyes bright. Chins up. Smiles on.”

I’m not an extreme introvert for nothing! 🙂 I loved the trip nevertheless. 😀

Now it’s nice to be home. After settling back to my routines, I’m looking forward to getting back to work!

I’ll open my shop again on Monday (August 21). See you then!

Cell Phone with Jesus Rays

Arts & Crafts, Geek out!, My Spaces

Some time ago, I drew a simple cartoony sun with a smiley face for A Thing. It sat for a long time on my desk, covered by whatever I was working for afterwards, until I cleaned my office. The other day I happened to set down my phone on top of the sun just in the right spot to make the phone have jesus rays. 🙂

Cell Phone Sun

And, being a linguist and a non-native English-speaker, I had to check whether there are any other terms for the phenomenon, since jesus rays is the only phrase I know. Apparently jesus rays are more scientifically known as crepuscular rays. Crepuscular (from Lat. crepusculum ‘twilight’) is a reference to twilight hours when these rays often occur.

The intriguing thing is that there are also anticrepuscular rays or rays that seem to converge from an antisolar point, for example the horizon opposite a sunset.

Isn’t the world just amazing?

 

 

Signs of Spring

My Spaces

The weather’s turned from end-of-winter to definitely-spring, with flowers in full bloom and leaf buds either out or starting to emerge, in about a week flat. There are other signs of spring, too:

Bumblebee on Window Screen

A bumblebee visited us the other day. And I went out barefoot!

April First Time Bare Toes

I usually get cold very easily, so this is indeed a minor miracle at this point in April. 🙂

Prolonging the Life of a Torn Bag

Arts & Crafts, Fabrics & Materials, My Spaces

I love my blue Marimekko unikko (poppy) bag to bits – literally, I’m sorry to say. Something had to be done.

Poppy Bag Damaged

Ta-dah! Reinforcing the torn edge with buttonhole stitch should give it a few more years.

Poppy Bag Fixed

I used regular cotton embroidery floss, since that was the best color match I had. I know it’s not the most durable of threads; I’ll have to see how well it does under the rigors of everyday life.

Very Snowy Weekend

My Spaces

So far, this winter has been odd. There was barely any snow in December and January – enough to say that there was snow – but it didn’t stay. Now we’re getting it all at once, it seems: last Thursday’s storm brought about 9” / 22 cm in our neck of the woods.

Snow Toes

Then, on Sunday, we got another storm that continued into today.

2017 Mid-Feb Forecast

Although a cold makes this sudden slew of shoveling difficult to cope with, the woods look really beautiful and I’m glad for that.

Book Treat to Start the Year

Books & Mags, My Spaces

Finally arrived a few days ago:

Maria Turtschaninoff Maresi

Yay! Eagerly expected, and apparently also eligible for a 2016 Hugo nomination:

Turtschaninoff is a fellow Finn, and Maresi comes highly recommended by a friend of mine who read it in the original Swedish a few years ago. Since the Hugo nomination period just opened, I think I have to move Maresi to the top of my reading pile!

P.S. I found Brit Mandelo’s review at Tor.com interesting.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.