Thursday, April 29, 2010

before & after

and in between.
the before shots:
P1030341 P1030342
While Pepsi was at the groomer’s, Sofia, Joel and I hit the mall:
P1030343 P1030344_edited-1 P1030345_edited-1
the after shots:
P1030352 P1030353_edited-1
Although it’s not the best grooming she’s ever had, it was SO worth it that the groomer was VERY friendly and pleasant to deal with.
And, she can actually SEE now!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

when you have nothing else to do . . .

. . . pick up rocks.
Now that the snow is gone, we have lots to clean up . . . Our “lawn” is covered in rocks that got pushed there from the driveway during snow-plowing this winter.
We started Friday night .  . Joel got 1€ for every orange bucket he filled. Sofia’s brown box was worth 25 cents . . .  Sam had been using an old backpack (worth 2€).
It was even harder than it looks because we’re trying to make sure to only get rocks – no dirt, grass or leaves – so we won’t have trouble again with the driveway settling after it’s paved . . .

Friday, April 23, 2010

sweet relief

What a load has been lifted from my shoulders.
Pepsi needs a haircut again.
Yesterday, I decided to “bite the bullet” and phone the lady who has been trimming her for the last few years. I think I posted about our last visit there . . . the woman had me in tears when I picked up Pepsi. She had asked me if I considered finding a new home for Pepsi since I couldn’t look after her coat properly (seriously, she didn’t have that many tangles). But, I didn’t know who else to call.
The conversation went like this (only in Swedish):
Me: Hi. My dog needs a haircut.
Her: What kind of dog is it?
Me: She’s a Bichon Havanese.
Her: Oh. We don’t that cut that breed. It destroys their style.
Me: Well, you’ve already cut her hair about 5 times.
Her: What’s her name?
Me: Pepsi.
Her: (checking her files) Oh yes, since 2007.
Good grief! This woman drives me crazy. Way back in the beginning I was happy with her because she does a good job on Pepsi’s coat, but it seriously drives me crazy that she never remembers us – in person or on the phone. How many customers does she have that speak poor Swedish (her first language is Finnish)? How many have a Bichon Havanese (a fairly rare breed here)???  In the fall, she had to cancel our appointment because her dog was having puppies . . . she sent a text message in Finnish . . . . I didn’t understand the message of course, and it didn’t help that she called Pepsi “Pansy” in the message . . .
Anways, after much fanangling, we settled on a date 3 weeks from now (the first day she suggested I was out of town, the second I was working . . . then I suggested May 13th and she kept telling me it was a Sunday . . . my (Canadian) calendar said Thursday . . . oops, cultural miscommunication – in Finland they refer to Stat Holidays as “Sundays” . . .
I felt just horrible about the whole thing. I didn’t want to go back and see that woman. But, what other choice did I have? The only other dog groomer we know about did Pepsi’s first cut and I had to hold Pepsi throughout it – what a disaster!
Later in the evening I told Stefan everything that happened . . . He remembered seeing an ad in the paper for a dog groomer . . . So, this morning I dug out the old newspapers and began looking for the ad. I found it in the first paper from a week ago!
About 10 minutes ago, I got off the phone from talking with this very pleasant woman. Pepsi will go in next week already. I have a good feeling about this!
Now, I’m off to send a text to the other one. I think I’ll do it in English . . .

Sunday, April 18, 2010

party do

We went to a cousin's birthday party today, so I convinced Sofia she should have a fancy hairdo - not the usual school-hair (braids, ponies or a headband).

This is what we came up with (forgive the messiness - I took the photos at the end of the day, after she'd been outside with a toque on {that's a woolen cap for those of you who don't speak "Canadian"}):

Thursday, April 15, 2010

still here

I got an email a couple of hours ago from an IRL friend, "Noticed you haven't posted in a while??? Hope you are doing well and that the weather there has smartened up. Keep smiling and BLOGGING."

It was exactly what I needed.

Lately, I've been questioning myself about why I blog . . . I've started feeling like I need to get more readers, more followers, etc. Everyone else does. I'm getting emails from discussion groups - discussions re: what's your niche, etc.

I don't have a niche. Actually, I don't want one.

I started blogging to keep family and friends informed about our life over here, halfway around the world.

Along the way, I have "met" several ladies who now mean a great deal to me.

I have also found many blogs that I enjoy reading - some give me a chuckle, some have provided us with delicious meals from great recipes and some have offered much-needed advice.

However, in the midst of it all, I have found myself spending way too much time reading blogs, clicking links and surfing the net. I'm missing some of my own life that's happening around me.

So, I will still be blogging . . . but keeping my eye on why I ever started: letting my friends know what we're up to in our neck of the woods.

Speaking of which . . .
  • Spring is finally making itself known over here. 
  • I went on a Ladies Bus Trip to Ikea in Sweden last Saturday with 20 other women from the area. I had a great time . . . also did a bit of grocery shopping for things we can't get here in Finland (Pop Tarts, Root Beer and Reece's Peanut Butter Cups).
  • My English classes in the evenings are now finished for the year. We went on 2 different year end field trips for the 2 different evenings (a dairy farm and a local museum).
  • Ballet is finished.
  • Soccer is now 2 times a week.
  • Track practice has started.
  • Gymnastics continues.
  • Violin (and theory) continues.
  • Our local Baptist Church has hired a youth pastor so all 4 kids are now involved in the various programs he is offering (the church has been without any pastor since before we moved here, so we've been church-hopping for the last 5 years).

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

is he allowed to touch that?

Sofia is wondering if her dad is allowed to help himself to the Easter candy sitting on the piano. “Whose candy is that?!?”
Sofia got some Moomin playing cards for Easter. She LOVES playing card games, has for quite some time. Yesterday I taught her how to play Solitaire, ya know . . . so she can play by herself . . .
While we’re looking at the picture . . . you can check out our lovely Easter decor . . . the farthest 2 jars are Joel’s and Sofia’s from school, the middle vase is flowers I bought for myself from the local store about 2 weeks ago and they’re thriving and the nearest arrangement is a gift I got from one of my English classes. Can anybody help me out with that? Those yellow ones that sorta look like daffodils . . . why have they fallen down like that? What should I do with them???

 . .

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

my new favourite movie

is “Up”.

Mattias got it in his Easter basket. I had never seen it before this weekend.

I watched it 2 times on Sunday.

I bawled in the beginning.

I laughed so hard at so many parts. It was written brilliantly, and the dogs’ dialogue totally cracks me up.

The Alpha Dog (Pepsi) is not happy that Max is laughing at her.

Max is trying to “high-5” the Alpha Dog.

Pepsi is getting her Cone of Shame taken off on Friday.

What’s your favourite “kid” movie?

Friday, April 2, 2010

meet cone head

Pepsi was spayed on Tuesday. It was such a difficult decision to make, and I felt sad thinking that she’s never going to have puppies, but it was definitely the best thing to do for her. I’m not convinced she’s got great maternal instincts (she’s a little nervous) and I don’t know if I’m ready for the responsibility of raising pedigree pups.
So, she’s been having a tough few days. The cone is completely freaking her out. She can’t eat or drink, or at least she hasn’t yet figured out how to do it . . . She usually eats pretty weirdly (I think she has a touch of OCD, because she always does the same thing) – she takes a kibble from her bowl and then throws it around for awhile before she eats it. She never takes dog food or dog treats from our hand, we have to put them on the floor in front of her (maybe she thinks she’s in the wild and she has to kill it first . . .) Anyways, for now, the only thing she’s eating is bologna or luncheon ham from our hands in small bits. As for water, I was worried about her getting dehydrated, so I was giving her bits of water with a syringe, but it seems that today she might have had something from her water bowl because there was water spilled around it (we had to revert to her old small bowl and have it sitting on top of a wide roll of painters’ tape so she can get the cone around it without the cone hitting the floor – I should’ve taken a photo). Her weird drinking ritual? She paws at the bowl before she drinks . . . I heard her doing it today but never actually caught her drinking anything . . .
The cone stays on until about next Thursday when she’ll get her stitches out.

The Holms

Denmark Road Trip

The outskirts of St. Pete

St. Petersburg

Saint Petersburg: Sankt-Peterburg, Russian pronunciation: is a city and a federal subject of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea. The city's other names were Petrograd (1914–1924) and Leningrad (1924–1991). Founded by Tsar Peter I of Russia on 27 May, 1703, it was the capital of the Russian Empire for more than two hundred years (1713–1728, 1732–1918). Saint Petersburg is home to more than two hundred museums, many of them hosted in historic buildings. The largest of the museums is the Hermitage Museum, featuring interiors of the former imperial residence and a vast collection of art. Celebrating the 300th anniversary of its foundation, Saint Petersburg was selected as the main motif in a recent Finnish commemorative coin, the €10 Mannerheim and Saint Petersburg commemorative coin, minted in 2003. The reverse of the coin features a view of Saint Petersburg, with the Peter and Paul Fortress and its three turrets. In the coin the words "St. Petersburg 1703-2003" can be seen.