Parallel.

Art, nature, Picture a day

I had to wait for my 35 mm film scan, and then jigged a little when I finally received the link to the scans. I won’t bore you with pictures of L. aka the most photographed object since may 2018. Instead, I chose these straight lines. I say, how exciting.

Beach bushes in making.

These *plant* (sorry, I paid zero attention to the species) had so much energy inside. Having felt the spring sun, they quickly grew upwards following a nearly perfect straight line. One by one, side by side. I loved the sight, it was so relatable, so juvenile and honest.

Today I noticed that I hardly ever write when feeling a spurt of energy, rather, I “wait” for a post-migraine palsy or a depression bit or 11pm after another toddler day or those 5 minutes I have before needing to run to the nursery. See, it is a form of a therapy, or effort to normalise my situation and feelings as it stands. Well at the moment I’m riiight in the middle of one or more of the above-mentioned and am now enjoying my flimsy wings that will carry me out of it. At least half-way.

In the memory of Mauno Koivisto.

Blogroll, Helsinki, nature, Picture a day

Today has been a particularly weird day. Former Finnish president Mauno Koivisto was buried today, the state funeral was aired and everyone has been feeling kinda under the weather. The emotions, once again, just hopped on the others – or maybe it was just me.

A nice BLT sandwich and a few hours outside around Ruukinranta in Espoo (that’s where Galen Kallela museum is!) did it for my part. And close to the port I found these buttercups and they are for Mauno.

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The port, yeah, well there were some boats and buoys, and I guess this diesel pump has had it 😀

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There are some lovely Villas around Ruukinranta, something like old Westend, but much more picturesque. More wood and more soul. And more houses for sale with “minor roof damages” – but with amazing tile stoves or wooden furnitures! Dining table, I’m coming back for you 😉

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The downsides of the area are bad collective traffic connections and the omnipresent humming noise from the nearby highway. I’m sure the locals love the Turku motorway.

A short walk from the port and Villa Åkerblom, a popular event venue dressed up as a humble wooden villa, is the famous Villa Elfvik. It is, in fact, a nature education centre with a cosy café, several children- and wheelchair-friendly nature trails, a bird-watching tower and… nature diversity. It was remarkably awesome! Seriously, a lovely Espoo surprise. We’re coming back on bikes, so expect more pictures within the next weeks!

So, this is the main venue, Villa Elfvik…

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… a garden gazebo… MIU_5907

… and the nature trail!

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There were birds nesting. Apparently.

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And this is Otaniemi and Aalto University.

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To the sea.

Blogroll, Finland, Helsinki, Picture a day, Traveling

And beyond. In my efforts to escape the temporary (!) inability to interact, work and create I somehow managed to get myself beyond the boundaries of everyday life, flat, worries – it does work. After an active and no-pressure-on-performing weekend life feels much better.

First I got lost on the way to Paavolan Tammi, the Oak of Paavola. This mysterious-looking oak is located close to Lohja, about 1 hour away from Helsinki, and I managed to reach another Paavola – well at least I got to pick some tussilago flowers in the afternoon sun (!).

The tree is pretty cool – apparently 250-300 years old, trunk circumference 4,7m, and it looks very decorative. It is the only broadleaved tree on the spot, it sits on a kind of a hill and for the effect and kicks the surrounding trees have been cut down. Well why the heck not, we all need a mysterious place like this now and again!

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Yep, I know, I did not take the right lens. Also, the place was busy – swarming with people clutching phones in their hands and taking all kinds of instapictures – #paavolantammi anyone?

And… and on Saturday my dream might have almost come true! A private tour around Helsinki archipelago (read: we launched a boat and took it from one port to another, that is). I was not of much practical use – besides, like, holding onto some ropes and attaching them to slings and commenting on the visual aspects of the kitchen and cabin, but then I celebrated my 20 seconds of glory and steered the boat, ha! Also, it was windy and there were no ducklings or swanlings around yet.

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Setting off from Jollas…

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… not fitting under the Hevossaaren bridge, fortunately we only got to wait about 3 minutes for the show…

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… and back in Helsinki centre again!

And then we ate kebab, drank coffee, were happy – and picked up a new friend of mine. A Macbook Air. I promise I will treat it better then her previous owner, and I promise I will still love my big old Macbok Pro as much as I do now, but because the latter has to go to the service I needed a replacement (and a travel buddy). Material delights.

And today France devastated Finland in ice-hockey (and got a pretty swanky new president). God’s ways are mysterious.

 

Looking back: Vappu.

Blogroll, Finland, Helsinki, Lifestyle, Likes, Picture a day

As I said, I did not quite feel myself on May 1st, for obvious reasons I was fearing the day when everyone puts a hat on, meets friends, drinks a plenty, eats picnic and has to be jolly.

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Watching these freaks jump into ice-cold water did cheer me up a bit. But the drunk wife who blocked my views did not.

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The day before the official frolics we went to a contemporary music concert. Yes. That kind of squeaky music when you are waiting for one of the clarinetist to whack their instrument on the head of the pianist who is busy playing the piano using a microwave. I will post a report on this sooner – in Czech, ha, as a part of my blog new section 😉 very shortly: the concert was not all that bad! I actually liked it – am I really THAT old? – despite that literally all the pieces sounded like student film/psycho horror/experimental film soundtrack…

… the concert took place in Suomenlinna again – and I really liked these seagulls.

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Oh and we have had some sun recently. I’ve been exploring Taka-Töölö (Rear-Töölö) and focused on happy colours this time…

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… an on eating ice-cream on the cliff with some new friends. Being depressed does not mean that I don’t experience anything pleasant – but let’s not get into it now, let’s hope for the better and for the best and for… for… for better quality linopaint. I’ve had some big fails recently (today),

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7 minutes.

Architecture, Blogroll, Doors of Helsinki, Finland, Helsinki, Likes, Picture a day

Sometimes I like to play invisible. Unnoticed. One of the crowd.

It only takes to go out of the flat and shop for milk. Return a book to the library and have a smalltalk with the librarian. Or even to put on clothes (the basic bitch kind, nothing showing too much personality) and a kånken and get out of the flat. Just do anything as long as I feel like I’m surrounded by the anonymous crowd – and as long as people might think I’m one of them. Act. Get some life context. Pretend. 

That I have a decent (read: 9-5) job. That I’m healthy. That I’m tired like everyone else and looking forward to go home. Or to meet my imaginary friends. Or to go to a yoga course and then watch tv.

The reason why I’m trying so bad to blend in and be accepted and seen as a part of the grey crowd is the current mental state – I feel like I’m just way too odd, that everybody else is having a balanced, content life and I’m just flying by the seat of one’s pants. Having arty aspiration, working from home or profoundly alone, doing research, meeting people on my own, thinking and analysing on my own, far away from my uni, being a foreigner, currently not feeling well (spring depression anyone?) – you see, for a few minutes I was just the girl in the flower leggings sitting on the tram, stripped of my abilities, worries and fears.

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And two little Töölö details – I swear I did not have to photoshop these, or even use the polarizing filter: the sky really was this blue (but it was pretty chilly otherwise).

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Töölö doors. Töölö gate bars. Töölö atmosphere from when Finland was a newborn…

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(The heading of this post inspired by Michal.)

Block print rediscovered.

Art, Blogroll, Comments, Creations, Finland, Helsinki, Picture a day

This will be a quick one.

In a desperate attempt to break through as a visual artist I’ve been getting my hands dirty lately – washing printing paint off various surfaces.

These are some of the first results: Helsinki illustrated. There are more to come, these were in my eyes the most obvious things to start with for the moment: one of my favourite streets, Villagatan/Villankatu, and the messenger of spring, the elegant crane. Things get done faster when there are deadlines…

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Planned projects for the near future include coffee packaging, a card game and handprinted postcards. That’s the plan for the moment at least, while I’m still interviewing people and trying to make progress in my research.

Outdoors.

Blogroll, Helsinki, Lifestyle, Likes, Picture a day, Traveling, Winter frolics

Living near greenery calms one down – the peace and calming colours bring down the blood pressure, monotonous sounds soothes the busy and stressed mind and the overall abundance of non-man-made stimuli inspire the mind.

Also, I love skiing and running, picking berries, avoiding idiots, grilling marshmallows and taking pictures, so the general proximity of nature works pretty well for me!

As I advertised last time, we spent a week in Lapland. And it was quite nice, although for some reasons hard to comprehend not as nice as I would wish. Now, I actually did not take that many pictures, because I find carrying a DSLR on ski trips awkward. Also… how many pictures of snowy landscapes does one actually fancy looking at in April?

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Not that much of azure-blue skies, more silvery beige tones. Nah, I absolutely adore Lapland, but after a long and particularly gray winter I’m not that thrilled any more.

On a more spring-like note, a few shots from the short walks around parks and nature reserves in Helsinki area. As you can see, I got a bit carried away by moss...

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Do expect more photos tonight or tomorrow. So long, m’friends!

Lahti.

Blogroll, Finland, Likes, Traveling

Last week I received a free hug from a random guy (offering free hugs on one of the busiest squares in Helsinki). Of course I had to try it out, and, oh my, such a little gesture and it changed the whole day for me. It stopped my ever-stressing train of thought and calmed me down. Random acts of kindness work and are appreciated. If I were see the guy again, he is so much ending on this blog!

So, the weekend: yesterday we did some tree planting. Yes. We were renewing the local forest in rain under the supervision of (again, local branch of) Lions. It might be the age (I know, I’m either babbling about my age or the weather), but I really missed direct contact with earth and plants and such – hah, in no time you will find me digging in the ground all weekends! (Not.)

And Sunday was another museum day for us, this time we chose Orimattila and Lahti; a more thorough report will follow on my Museokortti blog. I never thought that Lahti was a lovely place, and well, it is not. Today is Whitsun, people should be doing something together, visiting weddings, eating out, sitting in the church – well no, Lahti centre was almost deserted and the only people to be seen were teenagers sipping on cheap canned beer and a bunch of lost souls.

Even so more I was surprised to find out that Lahti’s “main” church was designed by Alvar Aalto. It was open and completely empty – well why not, at least nobody was walking into my shots. Clean, simple, white – yet definitely not sterile or cold. I might have uttered something like “what a waste of a church for this place”, but I did not actually mean it. Of course.

In the line with Aalto’s angles and waves we continued to the ski-jump bridge area. The training bridges were somehow cute compared to the 170m tall monsters… Sadly the viewing tower (the actual main ski-jump bridge) only opens in a few weeks, but, errr, I think the view was lovely as it was.

Are ski-jumpers completely mad?

Seems so.

Saturday ping.

Blogroll, Finland, Helsinki

I’ve been feeling pretty emotional lately – too many upsetting things keep happening, some of them over and over again, and virtually all of them are so hard to change. If I could wish one thing for the humanity it would be for everybody to realize that although personal liberty is absolutely essential aspect in one’s life, the choices we make every day should be, well,  informed, or at least conscious. And not just informed in the sense that we’ve read an article on superfoods online, but more like… like that we all have a lot of responsibility to this planet and too the humanity. What we buy, what we say, what and how we dispose of, all this affects so many people.

Will we ever run out of excuses why not to take responsibility for out actions, for casting the blind eye?

*end of the melodrama nobody cares about anyways*

I’m well if you were wondering. Last week the weather was absolutely fantastic… Oh and I do know that I write about the weather in like every single blog post – but the weather affects me so much, and even so more since I’ve moved to Finland, quit all sorts of hormonal products, started listening to my body and appreciating living side-by-side with the nature. Consequently, my mental wellbeing has improved and I’m generally much more content. And don’t mind becoming “old” all that much.

Where were we… ah, the weather, the sun, the light, an absolutely wonderful week. And the two weeks before – since I last time updated my blog SHAMEONME – were not too shabby either, equally sunny yet slightly crispier. Either way: Finland in spring and summer equals paradise.

First, a set of lakeside pictures taken with my new-old camera. And I discovered my first shipwreck!

We, too, celebrated the May Day, and it was really nice. Spontaneous champagne tent invite extended to a circle of friends -> encounters of joy. After the celebrations in the Kaivoupuisto and after having suffered through 20 minutes in the toilet queue we proceeded to the market square (read: we wanted to sober up a bit and I craved some cotton candy). Just like in the previous years we found the guy selling iconic foam lizards, symbols of vappu/May Day for the previous two generations. The guy was still a bit reluctant to agree with an interview: “not quite yet.” – Well we will be back next year. At least I managed to take a sneaky pictures of him!

What else do we have here… ah, some snippets from Helsinki (Pasila concrete moments, Olympics velodrome and an somehow unexpectedly decorated window on the way to the city centre)…

… and from Turku. If you wonder what is so special about it, I’ll tell you: those were the first signs of leaves a couple of weeks ago. And scout lilies 🙂

From Tampere, with love:

 

The following set is from the botanical garden in Kumpula which I visited a tad too early. Most of the flowers are still waiting for the full bloom, but this magnolia seems to have already been through it a while ago. And that just added to its delicateness… those angles, those geometric shapes, those bright whites! I’m so incorporating these in my coming art/craft projects.

And what would a Finnish blog post in May be without a picture of blooming sakura trees of Roihuvuori? An obligatory social media haul, a cheesy background for your phone-portraits and selfies, well, at least I can say I did it the cool way – when *I* visited, around 9:30pm, there was only a handful of people, and a beautiful, warm evening light…

Disclaimer for my previous post.

Blogroll, Finland, Helsinki

Don’t expect any major confession in here, I just wanted to put you in the big picture.

So I was feeling a bit sad. It does happen sometimes, doesn’t it, and thought I’d just take a walk in the nature, get rid of the headache and the thick black spleen. I went to Nuuksio and had a blast. And on the way back I stopped at Koivusaari, one of these exceptionally interesting spots along the Länsiväylä (a very busy road for Espoo-Helsinki commuters).

Koivusaari is conveniently located only a few hundred meters from a metro-station-to-be-very-soon, and despite the vicinity of Länsiväylä it is quite calm. I’m sure somebody else noticed how conveniently located this island is, so unless the boat owners have some kind of a union, we might soon see the end of Koivusaari as we know it and get ready for yet another developers’ experiment.

I had no particular reason to visit the place, just because I wanted to see what is there…

.. well, boats apparently, and boat owners getting their vehicles ready for the season. I did not really fit in; my response to this identity misplacement was that I accidentally hit my head on that fin-like thing (you know, right, that thingy which goes under the water) of one of the pretty vessels. I hope nobody saw that.

In joyful moods (as joyful as my head bump was) I continued walking around the island – it is tiny and used solely by boat owners, occasional picture hunters and – quite surprisingly – boulderers (there are no cliffs, don’t get excited, just a somehow biggish piece of rock overlooking the sea).

I’m sure  you remember what the island looks like from my previous post: boats and innocent sea views.

Wait. Did you see that?!

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Look closer. Closer. Even closer. No, I’m not enlarging the picture for you.

Above that big rock is a pier and an army of naked Finns taking a dip after having obviously been to the sauna. One by one, in an orderly and natural manner. This sight made me giggle for a few long minutes…

And what else did I do today? Collected birch sap. It went surprisingly smoothly, and the result tastes very refreshing. We should have waited a few days or week though, the sugar content is still pretty low.

The plastic bags with our ca 1hour yield of sap from 3 different locations (hence the numbers). Looks plastic, tastes fantastic. And being

Ah, and a few snippets from a short with a tussilago picking mission in Nuuksio (especially love the blue flowers screaming here we are, at last!). The older I am the more and more I appreciate living in the countryside, alongside the nature. I live in the middle of the city and I love it here – and I absolutely adore the flat we are lucky to live in, I should show you why at some point, especially as we are due to move out soon. And I hate the suburbs and even so more those unlucky and antisocial satellite “housing projects” (collections of wanna-be-upper-class horrendous houses located some kilometres beyond the city border, either in the middle of nowhere or as a part of small villages or settlements which had respected traditional urban growth patterns).

It is incredible how the proximity of real nature has helped me to get over some rough times, it is not just the scene and the smells, it is the whole system, the immense power of the nature to revive itself over and over again.

Sob. Living in greenery. I’m getting old and I’m loving it.