Life 2.5

Throwback to March 19, 2010, via Facebook:

I pushed the red button. It sort of formatted my whole life. Now re-installation in progress, upgrading from Life v.1.0 to the new and enhanced Life v.2.0. Hopefully it is a bit more bug-free software. Wonder how modifyable it is, since there are quite a few const-type fields with set values. Nah, so far so good, the software seems to have quite a lot of possibilities. Been tapping all them radiobuttons during the installation wizard but still I feel that a lot is left to be modified later on along the way.

I installed Life v.1.0 quite a few years ago. It was good, can’t say it wasn’t. I made my choices while installing and they sort of set the path and the direction. Sometimes I felt like a passenger in my own life, drifting along the river drawn by my earlier choices. I was basically happy, though sometimes longing for somtehing I just couldn’t make happen, but for most of the time, very contented with my life.

Up until the river became murky and muddy. And my Life software began to corrupt and crumble from all the bugs in it. For a time there I tried to patch it, run service packs and install accessories. My harddrive became full and I needed more RAM – but it seemed to be out of stock for couldn’t get any. My Life became more or less dysfunctional since it could process only a limited amount of operations and kept crashing with certain ones.

It was time to reboot. And not only reboot to the old Life v.1.0 with all them bugs, for it didn’t fix any of the problems. I tried that too, but operation failed over time. Just like after any reboot, things seem to work fine for a time but then eventually after running buggy operation after another, all the old problems return and the system starts to fail and crash all over again.

So came the time to press the red format button and re-install and upgarde. The installation is still in progress, but one by one the configurations fall into place and Life v.2.0 will be up and running. Hardware is the same old, so some memory problems probably occur still. And the installation in itself does use up quite a lot of the available RAM so it really goes one configuration step at a time. It’s a slowish process when you look at it on a daily view, but as for the big picture, not so slow actually.

Sometimes this whole upgrading business feels like speeding head on to the unknown on the highway of life. Even though I can and need to make choices every step of the way, I can’t really know what each different configuration choice does and means in the fully installed Life v.2.0. But I believe in my future and cherish the good in the past. I’m not formatting my Life database, ofcourse not! Life v.2.0 needs it to build the basics of the system.

Leave it to a nerd to describe major life changes like divorce, new relationship, new home, new job… with an IT analogy.

In recent months my life has again been in a sort of a turmoil with winds of change blowing and often times I’ve been engulfed in a fog, not able to see the way. All of it is just part of the process of a life upgrade again, to Life 2.5. I’m not changing jobs or getting divorced or anything like that, but there’s new features to install.

One of the major changes was last of the kids moving out. In the beginning of September last year, we became empty nesters (with three dogs). This in itself forced new dynamics upon us. I admit that I like it this way. We are all a bit broken and fare better with our own spaces.

Some of the stuff that’s been going on is of such a personal nature, that I will leave it out. It has, however, had great impact on our lives and even though a lot of it is for the better, even that is a stress and causes anxiety and the need to adjust and learn new ways. Especially mixed with the stuff that wasn’t exactly positive. A lot of things, a lot of emotions. When it rains it pours.

The upgrade process is a lot of recalculation of old features, installation of new features, cofiguration of it all, and making choices of what to keep, what to remove, what to install, what to leave out. Sometimes anxiety takes over bigtime, when I feel I need to be making all these decisions right now. Like playing chess with life, trying to guess its moves five steps ahead in order to make my own move. It’s a little bit easier, if I remember to take it one step at a time and see where that takes me before panicking about the steps that are still days, weeks, months away.

Finding myself and especially updgrading my life, means more tattoos (and piercings) for me. This process so far has already resulted in three new tattoos: two orchids on my back and a bracelet on my right arm. My tattoos are all heavily symbolic, some more easily deciphered, some less. These orchids hold a promise of blooming, a memory and a hope. The armlet’s dreamcatcher hold a dream caught – one of the new features in my Life v.2.5.

The new coronormal

Tomorrow marks the anniversary of our Finnish #coronageddon. Tomorrow last year our government held a press conference where they announced all those temporary restrictions that have become our new normal – at least for the time being. It marked the start of an era that has yet to come to its end. We all thought it would be a few months, but here we are, a year later, waiting to get vaccinations that may or may not end the pandemic. Sometimes I think this stuff won’t be over until those who’re going to die of Covid-19 are dead, and the rest survive together with the virus.

Last year tomorrow Daughter was on her way to dance classa after school, for the first time in weeks, after being sick and sick again for quite some time. I called her two hours before dance class: “Sorry, kid. Come home. Dance school has closed its doors.” Everything closed their doors. Restaurants went into take-out mode. People stopped going to the office. Schools were closed. Everything became remote everything. Teams. Zoom. Something.

Year later, here we are still and again. After a less covidy summer the society started to gradually open up a bit again. Dance classes started again (though I did not attend and adviced my daughter not to attend either). Gyms opened. Restaurants opened their doors with limited seating. Most information workers I know still stayed mostly at home, even after the masks were finally introduced into our Finnish Corona fighting arsenal too, but I had started to go to the office in August, and just could not go back to staying at home all the time anymore. For reasons.

Now, after a half a year of using a face mask in public, it has become just a part of going out gear. No, I don’t don it every time I step out of the door, but I frequently forget to take it off when stepping out of the bus or coming out of stores. Once I was half way home from the bus stop almost 2km from home before I remembered to pull it off, when I started to wonder about the labored breath. I still have P3 (KN95) filters inside my cloth masks.

Another thing that has become a no-brainer already is avoiding to touch anything with bare hands out in the public. Pressing elevator buttons with cell phone, pushing doors open with elbow, pulling hand inside of the coat sleeve to pull a door open, leaning on escalator railing with forearm instead of hand, touching only what you buy in stores. And still using hand sanitizer at every opportunity.

Still, here we are, a year after it all began here, with Covid-19 case counts approximately at the same level as a year ago. Actually, there’s more registered cases, but there’s also a whole lot more testing. The amount of hospitalized people is still a tad less than it was at worst last year. And now things are being closed down again. Our government is thinking about curfews and other restrictions to people moving out and about – something they didn’t really do at all last spring. If you don’t count closing down the Uusimaa province as such.

The main difference is that people are not hoarding toilet paper. Or sanitizer. Even face masks are available everywhere, in all different formats. Cloth masks with and without filter pockets, surgical masks in every color, FFP3/KN95 masks with and without breathing valves, you name it. Last summer I bought this little purse with the idea that I can easily slip my phone into it, while otherwise just keeping it in my bag as a wallet, but now the space for the phone is taken up by a mask. So that I always have one with me.

I admit to living a rather normal life. I go to the office twice a week, I shop in stores occasionally, I’ve eaten in restaurants now and then, I get my hair done regularily, I have even had some tattoos and piercings done in recent months; my next tattoo appointment is tomorrow. Then again, otherwise my life is a boring life of a total homebody anyway. I walk the dogs, but as for hobbies, I’m fully content with my books.

Still, this time is taking its toll on me, too. All this everyone (erhm, husband) at home all the time. All this everything online (yes, certain things like trainings are immensely better done onsite, face to face). All this precaution. All this unease. The sheer understanding that we are living with an invisible enemy.

All these masks masking our faces. I do hope it won’t become a new normal. I do believe that a true smile can be seen in the eyes (even more than the lips), but still I would’ve wished that the old lady I helped off the bus would’ve seen me smile at her before I turned to walk away. That the other lady I helped on the bus a week ago when her groceries spilled all over the floor had seen me smile at her before I sat back down to stare out of the window, my mind blank again.

Then again, with the mask nobody can see my mouth agape when I sit dazed, lost in space, with music blasting through my AirPod, dulling my thoughts. So I guess there’s that silver lining in this.

Year 2020 stats and tops

Spotify was the first to release the year 2020 stats and top lists, so I’ll start with that. Oddly enough, Rush rushed to the top of the list, having been the band I hadn’t much even listened to, ever, until late last year (that would be 2019). During this year, however, it has become one of my favorite go-to bands, right there with Foo Fighters, Muse, and Linkin Park. And Morcheeba, the mellow moody music.

Books get to be next. Did not read quite as much this year as the year before: 35 books/13,424 pages (2019 46 books/18,919 pages), but last year was exceptional due to the binging of Harry Potters. This year was more according to average. If I had to select the best and the least liked book of the year, the least liked one is an easy pick: Berlin Poplars by Anne B. Radge. The best one is more difficult to pick, but I think if I had to choose only one of this year’s book to take with me on a desert island, I think I’d take Erin Morgenstern’s The Starless Sea. Or maybe Kate Morton’s The Secret Keeper. It’s a tie.

Photos next. The Top Nine’s from Instagram are kinda bs, for depending on the app you get a different set of nine. Best Nine app creates collages without watermarks (unlike the Top 9 app that wants you to pay a few euros to remove the watermark), so we’ll go with them. Flickr, unfortunately, doesn’t give a yearly recap, not even yearly stats.

Lastly, blog posts. I still have a bunch of blogs in Blogger, even though all of them get updates rather infrequently. The Happy Dogs Diary was the most active of them this year, mainly due to Ace, and me writing quite many posts about him during his first months. The most viewed post was Ace’s first day at home.

https://dogs.marilka.net/

Artzy Bunny had some new posts too during the year, since I did do some painting and other art projects this year too. The most viewed post was my painting of Ace, go figure 😉

http://artzybunny.marilka.net/

From Kitchen, with Love had a few new posts during this year, too. It is my most viewed blog, for sure, even though I don’t add much content there anymore. The most viewed post of this year was, in fact, a recipe from 2013, that of a feta and spinach pie (a very delicious pie, I can assure you!)

https://food.marilka.net/

This one, the home of marilka.net, had 2,113 views this year, with a total of 20 new posts (not including this one) and five new pages published this year. The most read post is still that one about the busted OBHNordica blender 😀 There’s a few other posts that keep on keeping on in the top list, like the one about sulphate free shampoo and the one about a snowy winter’s morning.

Top 15 – pages and posts alike

I think that wraps it up for this year, with 5 hours to go until the Mad Max year of 2021.

Looking back on 2020

I almost wrote something about the “Corona year”, but truly, it hasn’t defined my year, even if it has had its impact on my life just as everyone else’s. Life has continued through it all, things have happened – both good and bad – and now it’s time to take a look at all of it.

January

Corona was distant world news only, nothing bigger than the SARS everyone had already forgotten about. More important things were those like going to the IMAX movie theater to see the latest Star Wars movie with daughter, and starting the remodeling of our studio/office. Daughter and I started dance lessons again after a few years’ break.

Quote of the month: I think they’ve gotten it all wrong here at the airport. We actually need to board the plane, get in the air and fly to our destination. NOT enough to just gather people to the gate and turn off the lights. (Me)
Book of the month: Garber, Stphanie – Finale (Caraval #3)
The finale of a series that in many ways resemble The Night Circus. A world of magic and illusion. The battle of good and evil, not only in the world but inside of individuals.

Pic of the month:

Poor frozen bunny

February

There was the Ypäjä open doors, daughter’s school production, our new bed, and an ear infection. Nothing major going on.

Quote of the month: To expect something greater after life was to forget that life was the greatest thing of all. (Nina George, The Little Breton Bistro)
Book of the month: George, Nina – The Little Breton Bistro
Seek and destroy. Escape and find a new life. A book about finding oneself, one’s selfworth, the essence of life and family – not necessarily of blood but of friendship.

Pic of the month:

Staying warm

March

A day trip to Tampere, and Bryan Adams in concert in Espoo right before the Corona shits started for real in Finland. No more dance classes, stay at home working, stay at home school. Just, stay the fuck at home.

Quote of the month: My life just changed when I realised that Bon Jovi sings “let it rock, let it GO”, not “let it rock, let it roll!” My life has been a lie (Me)
Book of the month: Itäranta, Emmi – Teemestarin kirja (Memory of Water)
A dystopia where water is restricted, owned by the government and used as a means of oppression. A young Tea Master still has a secret water source and she tries to help the villagers inconspicuously. She also plots her escape, to go to her mom. A rather fascinating read.

Pic of the month:

We will survive

April

More of stay at home. Except that we didn’t entirely, but went for an outing or two, out into the nature, just to get away from the four walls closing in. Ok, once. Once we drove to Linlo. Other than that we had walks aroung here. And we went to see a lady about a puppy ❤

Quote of the month: Quarantine ups: teen’s room stays clean when she wears her jammies day and night (Me)
Book of the month: Riley, Lucinda – The Shadow Sister (The Seven Sisters #3)
Perhaps my favorite of the Seven Sisters books, perhaps because it travels in the booky world. I read them all – except for the seventh one which is to be expected next year. I fancied them all what with the mixture of contemporary and historical all over the world. Not all stories ended well – actually quite a bit of them didn’t – but life always wins.

Pic of the month:

Who’s the fake?

May

I suppose the month could be just as well named Ace. First impatiently waiting for him to come, then our life revolving around the little meatball. Though, we actually got a whole lot of renovation stuffs done in our hallway while waiting for the little dude, and I did go to the hairdresser too.

Quote of the month: Deep down we all want to be twelve years old again. With all the innocence of childhood still lingering, with all of of our life still ahead. We all have that one thing that took us over the bridge. (Me)
Book of the month: Mujunen, Salme – Pentuaapinen
Puppies for Dummies or so. The beginner’s guide to caring for a pup. We’ve had dogs for years, but neither one came to us a puppy. It was ok, lot’s of tips and stuff.

Pic of the month:

Stop to smell the flowers

June

Oh, glory! I turned 45! Went kayaking with some colleagues, swimming at our summerplace, and just, erhm, stayed at home. Oh, we ventured out to the public enough to enjoy a sunny evening on the terrace of Torpanranta (in Munkkiniemi). I lauched my new FB page Mama Loves Bully – all about dogs.

Quote of the month: You know it’s summer when there’s no socks of mine in the laundry (Me)
Book of the month: Barker, Pat – The Silence of the Girls
Interesting different approach of the legend of Achilles and Troy. Really. It’s not so much about the war heroes, more like the ugly side of it all. Told by the women in the camp of those so called heroes. The only thing I missed in the book though was that there was no Trojan horse. I mean, how was there no Trojan horse!

Pic of the month:

Come rain or shine…

July

Vacation month. Zippy ziplining with daughter, day-trip to Hanko and Tammisaari, a weekend at our summer place, a few days at a cabin up in Vesanto picking up daughter who worked for a week at our relatives’ dairy farm. Stuffs like that – in addition to reading in the sun on our terrace, whenever the sun decided to warm our days.

Quote of the month: I KNOW you KNOW how to [use a knife, drive, do whatnot], it’s just that you’re so absent minded. Like, driving down the road, you’re like thinking of unicorns and other universes and such. (H)
Book of the month: Morgenstern, Erin – The Starless Sea
An adventure between worlds. Who is good, who is evil, who is right, who is wrong? And why, and does it even matter? Morgenstern knits a dreamlike world full of intrigue and danger, but somehow this book is just not as dreamy and amazing as her first one, The Night Circus.

Pic of the month:

Just let me spill my coffee so you can fix me a new one

August

Back to work. Actually back to work at the office, at least a couple days a week. We spent some time outdoors in Linlo and Luutalammi, visited some friends in Labböle, ate crawdads at our summer place, and whatnot. Hunted for an apartment (actually a room) for daughter, prepared for her moving to her own place at the beginning of September. Had my last drop of alcohol for the rest of however long time.

Quote of the month: Kuoleman läheisyydessä pelkäämme meluamista, aivan kuin viikatemies ei olisi vielä poistunut vaan etsisi seuraavaa uhriaan ja voisi kuulla. (Indrek Hargla, Apteekkari Melchior ja Olevisten kirkon arvoitus)
[Freely translated: “In the vicinity of death we are afraid of making any noise, as if Death was still lingering nearby looking for his next victim and could hear us.”]
Book of the month: Hargla, Indrek Apteekkari Melchior ja Olevisten kirkon arvoitus
Humhumhum. I did even get the next book in the series. It’s kinda like the C. J. Sansom Shardlake books. A bit slowpaced, like I suppose life was back hundreds of years ago. Much doesn’t really happen, the main character just goes about noticing things and finding the culprit with sharp-witted deduction. Not bad, but not my favorite style of writing either. Intriguing, though.

Pic of the month:

If I’m very still…

September

Daughter moved to her own place, a room in a dorm-like apartment. Son turned twenty and is not a teen anymore. I went kayaking with colleagues, and downhill biking with colleagues. Kayaking was all good despite the rough waters, but the biking ended in a broken arm and surgery. Gotta get some new experiences sometimes, right? So then, the rest of the month I was on sickleave from life.

Quote of the month: Consultant is a machine that turns coffee into speech (No one and everyone)
Book of the month: Lipasti, Roope – Jälkikasvukausi
How does one translate a word that is not really a word even in Finnish but more like a mesh-up of two compound words? Maybe it’s unimportant anyway. The story is that of a completely normal family with teens. It’s all about growth and pains and mistakes and learning from them. Written with warm humor.

Pic of the month:

Sure I can just lie here day in and day out not doing anything

October

Yey! Back to work again, feeling like a human again. We built a whole lot of cabinets in the room vacated by daughter. There was even a dinner with my dad and kids, and 69 Eyes gig at Tavastia. Kinda like almost like normal life.

Quote of the month: The wave harmonic theory of historical perception, in its simplest form, states that history is an illusion caused by the passage of time, and that time is an illusion caused by the passage of history. (Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy)
Book of the month: Radge, Anne – Berlin Poplars
I can’t actually recommend this one really. I think it was the worst book I read all year. Quite boring, going into seemingly unimportant details forever before getting to the beef – which really was the last 3 pages of the book. Yes, intriguing in a strange way, enough for me to not stop reading halfway (or fourthway or thirdaway or… I did consider!) with crash boom bang at the end. I guess it was worth it. Maybe.

Pic of the month:

Yes, I needed these boots, why?

November

November was actually a rather good month. It started all sorts of good new things in our life. Nothing special or major events, just good times together with and without our offspring who visited us every so often.

Quote of the month: Humor is looking at the broad picture, and then finding the incongruous detail. Humor is another word for looking at life from a slightly different angle. It means not taking yourself too seriously. In addition to all that, it adds a bit of fun to the process of living. (Elaine Cunningham, Elfsong)
Book of the month: Jones, Terry – Douglas Adams’ Starship Titanic
One of the lesser known Adams stories. While Douglas Adams was busy creating the video game, Terry Jones wrote the story into a book. Very much a Douglas Adams book, if not entirely written – or maybe finalized into novel format – by him.

Pic of the month:

You can still see my eyes

December

Oh Christmas tree…! No Christmas tree in this house, except for a tiny non-real one. Like 40cm tall. Surprisingly enough dude has left it alone, at least mostly. There was Christmas time, teens and the non-teen visiting. There was Cards Against Disney, puzzles, good foods, and just good times together. And then the year came to its end.

Quote of the month: “My life is such a mess,” I said to Lula. “Maybe,” she said, “but your hair looks good.” (Janet Evanovich, Fortune and Glory)
Book of the month: Adeyemi, Tomi – Children of Blood and Bone
A magical fantasy built on Nigerian culture. As is true in most fantasy, the main characters are barely out of their diapers – actually most of the characters are – but if you don’t let the naivety innocence of them bother you, the story actually flows rather nicely and I truly enjoyed the read. Way more than I did the sequel (and still I definitely will read the third one once it comes, for the second one left off on such a cliffhanger).

Pic of the month:

“Do not disturb”

Recap of a Decade

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As 2020 is coming to its end, it is time to take a look at the past decade. The first full decade after my divorce from my kids’ dad, a decade that has seen more than any before in my life, a decade that has seen my kids grow up to be adults (well, almost; the youngest one still has three months to go until she turns 18, but she is more or less independent, living on her own already, so adult in ways too). So let’s see, at the beginning of…

2011 I had been divorced for a year, went through a nasty-ending rebound relationship, and was licking my wounds after a short-lived affair with a married guy. During the Christmas time of 2010 I had made my peace with myself, and was rapidly settling down for a life alone with two cats and my every-other-week-kids. Right then, when I least expected, this Man stepped into my life and swept me into a rollercoaster of emotions that has now lasted for, well, a few weeks shy of a decade, and still going.

Highlights of 2011 were most definitely our summer vacation on Tinos ❤ with a twist of Mykonos, and our short but sweet 23 hour trip to Paris in December. I did do quite a bit of traveling that year – in addition to Tinos and Paris, I spent 2 weeks visiting my mom at Gran Canaria with my kids, a weekend in Tallinn, a week in Anaheim, CA, at a SharePoint Conference, and we went on a cruise to Stockholm, all five of us (me, my new man, our three kids).

Lowlight would be giving our cats away in August, with the understanding that my life simply did not support the wellbeing of them. It was bitter and I still sometimes miss them, but I did what I thought best at the time. Even in retrospect, it was the right decicion.

2012 H and I had had our first New Year’s Eve together, all five of us, actually. We had settled into a rather serious relationship and were working hard to get our kids accept it. In late summer we decided to move in together, thinking it would be better before our kids hit the teen years, so we rented a big house in August and began our journey together as a household.

The year saw me in Amsterdam (oh the Anne Frank museum!) with H, Las Palmas with my kids, Tallinn with H, Tinos for two weeks all five of us, and a business trip to London with a colleague. It also saw us in great distress during the last quartal of the year, for reasons better left unwritten here.

2013 we were living a rather normal life of a new family, an “uusperhe”. Kids were every other week with us, every other week with their other parents. I had my first (and so far last) speaker experience in an international Conference when I gave a session about SharePoint branding in the European SharePoint Conference in Copenhagen in February. In early August we went on a roadtrip with all kids around the Turku archipelago.

In June my mom was diagnosed with lung cancer and I went to Las Palmas to visit her alone in July. Later in the autumn mom came to Finland to live with us and my sister’s family. Around the same time we got our first dog, when Meggie came from Spain and found her forever home with us.

2014 I was scheduled for acoustic neuroma surgery. My mom was starting her chemo at about the same time. She moved from our place to my sister’s a few days before my surgery, and due to, erhm, disagreements, she never came back to our house, but instead moved back to Las Palmas a month before she died in mid-May. A couple weeks later my sister and I flew down to take care of her stuffs there.

My surgery was a success, though the recuperation was not a small thing. I had to learn basically everything from the start – walking, spooning stuff into my mouth, driving the car, washing my hair, everything. It did come back quite fast and after 10 weeks I was back to working, having suffered two major losses: hearing from the left side and my naval piercing. Oh, and my balance will never be the same again.

At the end of July our pack grew with another spanish rescue dog, when Timmy joined our family. He had a bit of rough start with a broken paw and a bloody diarrhea episode, but has fared well since those. In November we moved to another house in Paloheinä, and in December I visited Barcelona for a weekend with our company.

2015 we were doing all sorts of renovations in our new home (which was, in fact, a 60 year old house): kitchen, electricity, some plumbing even. And it went on for most of the year too, later spreading to other stuffs like painting hallways etc. The kitchen we managed to finish in May. Both of my kids moved to live solely with us for different reasons. Son in Febuary, daughter in August.

In May my grandmother turned 90, and in August she ended up having emergency surgery and died a week later. The surgery went well, but her heart couldn’t handle it. Second major loss for me in little over a year. I myself turned 40 in June and we had a biggish party in July. My only trip outside of Finland was a company trip to Berlin in November. The year went down as the year my grandma died.

2016 H was going on business trips every few weeks for a few days at a time while I worked at home a lot. My step-daughter moved to live solely with her mother, only visiting us for a few days or so every month. On the other hand my kids stopped spending weekends at their dad’s, only seeing him occasionally. In March I went on a business trip to Brussels, getting out of there only a day or so before the explosion at the airport. I also went on a girls’ trip to Tallinn with a bunch of my friends.

In May my son finished his mandatory school and decided to burn his school books in the yard so that’s what we did: had a book bonfire going for math books and Swedish book, mostly. H and I drove to Lapland for a week on summer holiday. In the autumn I traveled to Austria a couple times: a long weekend in Seefeld in early October and a short week in Vienna for a SharePoint conference in November.

2017 saw us move again. This time to my grandparents’ old home after my dad had acquired it for himself (and emptied it). H got his Finnish citizenship in March and in July we got married. Just the simple civil service with my dad and his wife, and my sister and her husband, and our kids attending, and some champagne at home afterwards. A few days later we had a big barbeque party for friends to celebrate our nuptials. At the end of spring the middle-daughter finished her mandatory school.

Unfortunately we didn’t escape renovations in the new home either (to be certain, they’re still ongoing), starting with a full kitchen remodeling. H tore everything old out and we built a new one from scratch, renewing even the floor. In July we took ourselves and the dogs again to Vuotso for a week. I had been to Tallinn on a company trip in June, and in the autumn I traveled to magical Dublin for a conference yet again, and Prague for a company weekend. Before Christmas my son moved to Ypäjä to study.

2018 life was just plodding along. Son was at Ypäjä, but I took my kids for a weekend at the company villa in Tammela for some hot tubbing and chilling. In May, right at the time of the Eurovision Song Contest (definitely not by design, quite the opposite! that’s what you get for not being interested in these popular events) I took daughter to Lisboa for a long weekend. Apart from that I visited Tallinn with my friends in May and Amsterdam in December.

In the summer we got a new car and took it and the daughters and dogs for a roadtrip to the Turku archipelago, just one night in a cabin and back home. Vuotso met us again in July, this time with the addition of my daughter, two inflatable kayaks, a bb-gun, and a horsebow. At home our summer was mostly spent in the phase 1 of our yard remodeling, i.e. clearing out the jungle. In the autumn I spent a wonderful day scouring the Helsinki Book Fair just on my own.

2019 one of the first things I did was helped my son buy a car for himself. A 15yo Audi A4 it was, the dream car for the young man studying in the middle of nowhere. This freed me from chauffering him back and forth when he came home for a few days every few weeks. This came to an end already at the end of spring, though, for he graduated in May and moved back to Helsinki, and into his own apartment in the autumn. Youngest daughter ended her mandatory school. In the summer we built our wonderful terrace and got an inflatable hot tub for the yard.

In May I traveled to France – Lyon and Sète – with middle-daughter. That actually was my only trip outside of Finland that year, and so far my last one. Our traditional company trip was supposed to be a cruise to St. Petersburg but that got canceled so we spent a weekend in beautiful Lehmonkärki instead. We didn’t even go to Lapland for summer vacation, our own yard being so nice and all.

2020 I was thinking that I had another year as usual ahead of me. One with a whole lot of normal life and maybe some special ups and downs. Actually, looking back, that it mostly was, despite the coronageddon. Before the pandemic hit Finland life was nothing out of special. I went to Ypäjä Open Doors with son, and saw Bryan Adams in concert with H and didn’t even think too much about the Corona that still seemed somehow so far away. Then it did hit with us and for a while it caused a lot of fear.

For five months we were all huddled here at home, I barely saw my son and dad, let alone any others. Then again, all of that is nothing out of ordinary, except for the part of not going to the office and daughter’s school being remote school. At the beginning of September, daughter moved to her own home.

In May, however, we got a new member to our pack when little dude Ace joined our family as an eight week old meatball. In June I took daughter to Zippy for some zipline adventures. We spent a day in Hanko. Daughter spent a week at Vesanto working at their dairy farm and we drove up there to pick her up, and stayed for a couple nights in their cabin. We even visited some friends at their summerplace in August, and went to see 69 Eyes at Tavastia in October. I returned to partial office work after my summer vacation, went kayaking, downhill biking and to the theater with some colleagues. Our Christmas party was online in Teams, though.

And had my arm operated. One could understand that downhill biking is not very safe for a person with less than perfect balance. So I broke my arm and had to have surgery. By the end of the year I’m still going to physiotherapy with it, but it’s doing quite good.

2011-2020 in stats

  • Marriages: 1
  • Countries visited: 16 (Sweden, Denmark, Estonia, USA, Belgium, Netherlands, Spain mainland, Canary islands, France, Germany, Austria, Ireland, England, Czeck Republic, Portugal, Greece)
  • Concerts: 7
  • Piercings taken: 3 (navel, tragus, conch)
  • Piercings lost: 1 (navel)
  • Surgeries: 2 (acoustic neuroma and arm)
  • Family members died: 2 (mom, grandmother)
  • Books read: who the fuck knows? Didn’t start using Goodreads until sometime in 2016, but if the stats after that are any indication, I’d say a decade would be somewhere around 350-400 books
  • Number of devices used: 20 – 7 cellphones (2 HTC’s, 3 Lumias, 2 iPhones), 4 tablets (Galaxy Tab, iPad 2, Kindle Fire, iPad 5 mini), 2 smart watches (FitBit, Apple Watch 4), 7 laptops (1 mini, 2 home laptops, 2 HP work laptops, Surface Book Pro 2, Surface Book 3)
  • Home addresses: 4 (Pakkala, Torpparinmäki, Paloheinä, Munkkivuori)

I suppose that just about does it. Oh, there’s been a lot lot more, a whole lot of things I won’t go into. A whole lot of difficult stuffs, but all in all, I think I’m ending this decade and entering the next one on the plus side of things.