Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pride and Shame

June 28, 2011.

Outside my window...a beautiful sunny day. Rain earlier this morning, but the rest of the week should be beautiful. I’m off work all week.
I am thinking...so it’s Shame Week in Toronto again. They’re giving the Mayor a hard time about not promising to go to their parade on Sunday. They try to pressure you to not just tolerate them, but to sanction and even promote their behaviour. I think he can follow his conscience and not go if he feels strongly against it. I don’t expect him to show up at Caribana, the Jesus parade, or the Santa Claus parade either. What does it matter? Also, they misspent their funds and are demanding the city keep this thing running. No other group gets that kind of treatment. If they are not self-sufficient, they should scrap their plans. Caribana had to revamp how they do things when the same thing happened to them. Also their flag should not be flown at City Hall. Again, it is showing preferential treatment for one group.
I am thankful for...my Mom being okay. She had some dizziness yesterday and we spent 3-1/2 hours in emerg as they checked her out. Her heart was fine, and they wondered if it was a sign of a stroke, but the CT scan was fine, too. Also thankful for free healthcare.
From the kitchen...we’re eating at Red Lobster before my niece’s high school graduation.
I am wearing...beige capris, and a red tank top and red short sleeved button down shirt. I’ll change into something nicer for the graduation.
I am reading...The Winter War: a novel by William Durbin, about the 1939 invasion of Finland by Russia. It is the same concept of one of my projects. He even used two of the examples I was planning to use. Snap!
I am hoping...to have a productive writing week.
Around the house...my eldest is up at camp working, and my youngest left for Pennsylvania for a week. She is attending Creation, a week of Christian concerts and camping. We need to try to find a kennel for Kody for part of the time we’re in Europe. He’s too difficult for my youngest to handle on her own.
One of my favourite things...eating out. Food always tastes better when it’s prepared by someone else.
Some plans for the week...take the dog to the off leash doggie park we discovered near our home, daily, and write a few hours a day, graduation, prayer meeting, and friends over on Canada Day. Perhaps a beach day. My daughter comes back on Sunday evening.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

How to Sauna Like a Finn

The sauna is the greatest Finnish invention. It cures insomnia, relieves stress and gets you cleaner than any other means. First, it's pronounced "sow-na" not "saw-na". Pretend you're being pinched.

As for the proper clothing for a sauna, ask yourself if you shower or bathe with a bathing suit or towel on and you'll know the correct answer. But being a Christian and considering the sensibilities of those I invite into my sauna, that can change. In summer at a cottage, when you're running between the sauna and the lake all day, or in mixed company with someone other than your spouse, bathing suits are expected. But when I was growing up, if me and my girlfriends went sauna together, we were all naked. But that was okay because we were all Finns.

The sauna must be hot. Hot for you might be cool for me, but usually you want to feel the difference when you step in. You must have water to throw on the rocks. There is no such thing as a "dry sauna". It's a myth, made up by non-Finns who operate public saunas because they don't understand that even though most sauna heaters are electrically powered, there are not live wires in there. We have a genuine wooden bucket and wooden scoop but a regular pail will work.

Throw a few scoops of water on the hot rocks. You know the sauna is hot enough if the water evaporates right away. Watch the steam rise and creep across the ceiling towards you. The best place to sit is up high, and diagonal to the sauna heater. That's the hottest corner. As the wall of heat settles on you, squint to keep the sweat from getting in your eyes, bare your teeth and breathe through your mouth. Do it again until you need a break. Step outside, take a drink, or swim. I've rolled in the snow only three times in my life, and only to say I did the crazy Finn thing, but I've never been brave enough to dip in a hole in the ice. I'm not that crazy!

Another aspect of sauna that outsiders raise their eyebrows at is the use of the "vasta" which is a bouquet of birch leaves. The vasta is made in summer, then hung upside down to dry. Throughout the winter, during the sauna you can gently slap it against your skin. You can also do this for your sauna buddy. It's very invigorating. My mom said when she was a kid growing up in Finland, she and her friends would assemble vastas to sell. The Finnish equivalent of a lemonade stand, I guess.

Repeat twice, then wash. The heat of the sauna opens your pores to let the dirt out. You'll be uber clean. You'll have a pink cheeks and a healthy glow. It's usually a social event. Friends invite you over for a sauna, so be sure to thank your host for the sauna. Say, "Kiitos saunasta." (Key-toes sownasta).

Monday, June 20, 2011


June 20, 2011.

Outside my window...a beautiful sunny day; but rain is forecast for the rest of the week.
I am thinking...we met my eldest daughter's boyfriend yesterday. He came over for dinner. A very nice guy. We joke that you'd think he was coached because he liked all the right things. He listens to the same Bible on CD that my husband does; he also listens to Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology, which I've read, and he reads the Puritans. He shared his testimony and told about his family. He got the stamp of approval from us, but then I wasn't really worried. I trust my daughter's judgment and her commitment to Christ.
I am thankful for...my youngest daughter getting a job. It ends up being at the same day camp she has worked at the last two years. Nothing else was turning up and they called again to offer it to her. She had a Jonah moment because she really didn't want to go back there because of her boss; but she knows that's where she's supposed to be. I told her we all have to work with difficult people at some point; and just think of the hardship stories she can tell her kids. A bonus is that with this job she can still go to Pennsylvania next week before work starts.
From the kitchen...leftovers.
I am wearing...my uniform. I'm at work.
I am reading...The Perfect Blend by Trish Perry.
I am hoping..to get in some serious writing time when I'm off work next week. My youngest will be away and I'll have the puppy, but it should be fine.
I am hearing...silence. It's quiet at work tonight.
Around the house...I'm starting to finally prep for our trip to Europe. We leave in a month. Usually I'm more organized than this. It's going to sneak up on me. We went to Medieval Times on Friday for my husband's birthday. Since he had cancer 13 years ago, he never complains about ageing. Not everyone gets that opportunity. It was fun there, even though it's a little hokey with paper crowns and eating with your hands, but we played along and cheered for our Knight. My husband's favourite part was the falcon.I can't see why you'd go there more than once, but we had fun as a family. Saturday we went to a bbq at my brother-in-law's house. He's 44 and married, and has had a motorcycle for eight months. He finally built up the courage to tell his Mom, who is an ER nurse, about it. She took it okay, considering she has always warned them off them. My eldest started work today at camp north of the city. Kody got his cone of shame off on Friday and wanted to put it back on. Silly puppy!
One of my favourite things...veggie samosas. I'm on a food jag with them right now and I found a place nearby that makes them fresh and tasty for only 25 cents apiece.
Some plans for the week...work four nights, then I'm off for ten days! I wanted to enjoy some summertime weather before we go to Europe; hopefully get in a beach day or two. Once we're in Europe we'll be on buses and playing tourist instead of lounging on the beach.

Monday, June 13, 2011


June 13, 2011.

Outside my window...overcast. Lousy spring and summer’s just around the corner.
I am thinking...I'm not really a fan of prophecy. I'm glad our Pastor is at the end of Revelation. The last two chapters will be better, because it's the happy ending, where we see Heaven.
I am thankful for...a good weekend. We bought the crv on Thursday, then went out to dinner to celebrate. My husband was given a gift card from his co-workers so we went to Milestones and it hardly cost us anything for a steak dinner. Friday we went to dinner at the home of a couple from church. They are Dutch and we had a nice time. Saturday the men went to a Jays’ game and I had eight women from church over for a bbq. It went well, even my message on the cities of refuge, which was one of my sections from the non-fiction project which is my work-in-progress.
From the kitchen...Atlantic salmon, grilled veggies, hassleback potatoes.
I am wearing...jeans and a navy print top.
I am reading...Yesterday’s Tomorrow, by my friend Catherine West. It’s her first published novel, a Christian romance set during the Vietnam war.
I am hoping...Kody can have his cone of shame removed soon. The bandages come off on Wednesday. He didn’t end up having any baby teeth to remove, so just neutering, microchip, and four dew claws removed. I feel bad because he has no sense of time and we can’t explain to him that the cone is a temporary thing. Poor thing.
I am hearing...an 80’s channel on the t.v. Yes, I’m in a time warp.
Around the house...we will leave the van to my eldest even though it costs a lot to insure it and she has to pay for gas, which is just a ridiculous amount. My youngest will be going to Pennsylvania at the end of the month for a Christian concert called Creation. It’s like Christian Woodstock, where thousands camp on the rolling hills. I know she doesn’t have a job yet, but she needs to have something to look forward to.
One of my favourite things...books, but you knew that, didn’t you? I just read six books on my Kindle. I also received a package of books from chapters. I just can’t read fast enough.
Some plans for the week...work four nights, go to Medieval Times on Friday night with our family for my husband’s birthday. The selling point, according to my daughter is, “You can eat half a chicken with your BARE HANDS!” Then, Saturday, cleaning and shopping and a family bbq at my brother-in-law's, and Sunday night, my eldest is bringing her boyfriend over for dinner. We already met him a few weeks ago, when they were just friends. Now that they’re officially dating, we would like to get to know him. We knew this day would come eventually.My husband doesn’t have a shotgun. Will a fishing rod be as intimidating?

Monday, June 6, 2011

New Car Smell

June 6, 2011.

Outside my window...finally, some sunshine and heat. 26 C.
I am thinking...mammograms are another necessary evil. I had mine this morning. I hate them. They hurt. But because I have a family history of breast cancer, I have to get them done once a year. Always glad when they're over.
I am thankful for...good news from the ENT. No signs of malignancy in my throat. Still don't know why it's been sore for three months, though. My poor husband. It's not easy being married to a hypochondriac. Everything is always worst case scenario. When I think of all the dread diseases I thought I had over the past few years, it's an impressive list. But I warned him, it would happen again. Not only that, but one day I'll be right. Because we all have to die of something. The hypochondriac's tombstone: I told you I was sick. So no dread disease. Praise God and carry on.
From the kitchen...beef pot pie made with leftover roast from yesterday.
I am wearing...navy capris and a new navy print top with ruffles, and a teal short sleeved cardigan.
I am reading...Just Between You and Me, by Jenny B. Jones on my Kindle.
I am hoping...my youngest finds a summer job. She'll be depressed and bored with nothing to do. Not to mention, broke.
I am hearing...a neighbour cutting his lawn. If I was strong enough to start the mower, I'd do ours, too. But, I'm weak.
Around the house...both girls were home last weekend, with friends, so really, they were out. Juggling vehicles with so many people with social engagements is a challenge. We had a baptism on Sunday of a young woman who grew up with our girls in church. We've been praying for her for years, and it's such an answer to prayer to see her saved and taking this step. We also went to a dinner party with four other couples on the weekend. We've all been married between 24-27 years. They were a fun bunch.
One of my favourite things...that new car smell. Thursday night!
Some plans for the week...work three nights. Take Kody to the vet tomorrow to be neutered and micro-chipped. He may also have his dew claws removed and his last few baby teeth. He's going to be sore all over and wear the cone of shame for 3-5 days. Right now he has the three t's against him: teenager (in dog age, teething, and testosterone. Tomorrow, we'll do something about two of those things. He's six months old and 50 pounds. Not sure how much bigger he'll get. He seems to be over his growth spurt and is eating less. On Thursday evening, we're picking up the new vehicle. We plan to keep the old van for the summer, so my eldest can drive it up to her work at camp. The a.c. just died, so the timing of the new vehicle is good. Friday evening, we're going to another dinner party. Saturday, the men from church are going to a Jays' game and I'm having the women over for a bbq. I'm speaking on the cities of refuge. Sunday;church.