Sunday, July 31, 2005

Oh the pain

Well, well. I must say last night was about worth the half a year wait. That's how long it had been since I last went out partying with my darling friend Satu. We had a blast.

Sat back at my place first, drinking wine and talking girltalk, then proceeded into the nightlife of Turku. Which there was plenty of, thanks to the DBTL festival. We decided not to stay by the riverside, since there were loads and loads of people and definitely no places to sit and have a drink. Stand and have a drink, maybe, but we weren't feeling like it. So instead we went to a new bar called Edison for a beer. A nice place, not too crowded and not too loud at that point of the evening, either.

Since we both had an idea about dancing at some point during the evening, we did find ourselves in Börs Nightclub later on. I had almost forgotten how much fun it can be. Not that I like the huge crowd a whole lot, or the pieces of broken glass on the floor or the expensive drinks, but as far as it's not something I do every weekend, I don't mind.

I quite enjoyed watching people last night. I suppose we both, Satu and I, feel a bit detached from the "scene" nowadays, so it is interesting to observe the crowds. It's really funny, how most of the people (at least in this specific club) tend to look alike out there. It's the unwritten code of club fashions, naturally. There are the guys who want to look like cool surfers (they'll be wearing t-shirts of a very specific kind, combined to relaxed jeans), the girls who strut around looking anorectic in their tinytiny tops (the obvious man-hunters) and there are the people (both guys and girls) who look like they tried to achieve a certain look (whatever that look might be), but got it all slightly wrong. And oh yes, then there are people who just want to look ravishingly gorgeous (at least in their own minds) on the dance floor, which means they try not to look like they're having too much fun. It'd spoil the ultimate cool effect, because (omg) they might smile, or worse yet, laugh with their friends.

I do plenty of that. Smile and laugh, that is. It's the combination of me and music. Causes immediate happiness. It's something people have given me feedback about after seeing me perform oriental dance, too. They say I seem to look like I have fun while I dance. And heck yes, that's exactly the way I feel. And I'm very pleased if I manage to look like it, too. :)

Anyway, the evening was a success and the blisters in my feet, my aching knees and the sore muscles are a low price to pay for a good night out with a dear friend. Although I must admit I might have said something else about the feet part if asked about it when we were stumbling home around 3 a.m. My feet were killing me and I'm afraid Satu's situation was even worse. That was one of those moments when all the elegance fades away and all that is left is torture. But hey, the shoes were sexy (with high heels, of course) so as a woman I shouldn't complain. It is a universal truth that for beauty's sake we must suffer...

Friday, July 29, 2005

Time well spent

What's there to do on a Friday night in a town that has a city rock festival going on? Well, you can always stay at home by yourself and rent a few excellent movies.

Which is exactly what I did tonight. :) I have to reserve my strength for tomorrow, because that'll be my party night. (I'm just hoping I'll stay awake past midnight... eh.)

So I rented two movies I'd been waiting for to appear in my neighbouring rental place. The first one was Stage Beauty, the other one Closer. (Spoilers ahead, so watch your step...)

Stage Beauty is a historical drama about the 17th century London and its theatre world. A story of a time, when the roles of women in all plays were played by men, and in the case of this movie, by a very eye-pleasing Billy Crudup. He is excellently cast into the role of Edward "Ned" Kynaston, an actor who specialises in the female roles. Kynaston's career is at its height as he plays Desdemona from Will Shakespeare's Othello night after night to cheering crowds. However, when the king issues a law forbidding men to perform on stage as women, he's left with talent he's not allowed to use and no will to live.

Add into this the character of Claire Danes' Maria, who has for years helped Mr Kynaston backstage and secretly adored the actor and dreamed of acting herself. The result is a situation, where Maria becomes the star, to much of Mr Kynaston's disbelief. And before the end credits roll, there are a few acting lessons both Maria and Mr Kynaston have to learn.

Shakespeare in Love has for years been a favourite of mine, but in some ways I liked Stage Beauty even more. I'm not sure I can point out specific reasons why, because the latter didn't (for example) make me cry, which is something SiL never fails to do. Nevertheless the story was on some level more touching in SB. Or maybe the portrayal of a man who is "the last one to do what he did", because the world happened to change and he got caught up in the turmoil is a bit more interesting than a "simple" love story. In my historian's world. Although I do admit that speculations about Shakespeare's life are always quite fascinating, too.

What was interesting about the film was that it did deal with the question of homosexuality a bit, too. There is a homosexual relationship between Kynaston and the Duke of Buckingham, even though later on, when Kynaston's days as the lady of the stage are over, the Duke quite coldly tells him off by saying he always thought of him as a woman. So there's one character who denies being gay. What about Kynaston, then?

I think the brave (and oh so right) decision would've been to let the character of Kynaston remain homosexual. Or at least make his bisexuality more apparent from the beginning. Because the way they handled his identity now just didn't feel quite right.

Here's this character, who clearly has had feelings (lust, if nothing else) for the Duke of Buckingham. He's dumped for a lady and ends up in bed with a woman himself. That scene, however, is one of the funniest and most endearing ones of the movie. Maria asks him what men do when they are with men. And Kynaston proceeds to demonstrate. :) Very cute, especially when he finally gets sort of confused about whether he's the man-woman or the man-man.

Unfortunately, the movie makers have decided to take the easy way out of a situation, where they'd have a movie with no female love interest for the handsome male lead and so the passion between Kynaston and Maria is what we end up with. No more slashy scenes with the Duke... *sigh*

So, in short, a delightful movie, despite some minor weaknesses. I'm definitely going to watch Billy Crudup a bit more closely from now on. I quite liked him in Big Fish, but turns out he's pretty good in period drama too! And I think I may have to buy the DVD for myself, too. Material for one of our girls' night, maybe. :)

Closer, then. Not an easy movie, that one. Full of angst, love, desperation, deceit and well, sex. The story evolves around four beautiful strangers (played by Natalie Portman, Jude Law, Cliwe Owen and Julia Roberts) who (to make the story short) mix and match and get hurt in the process.

My thoughts are a bit fuzzy about this movie experience still. I liked it a lot, but I suppose I need to ponder about it more to know why. I do know one reason, though. Natalie Portman. I'm beginning to like her more and more after every one of her films I see. I really loved her performance in Garden State and in this one as well. She's got real talent and when she's given proper dialogue and direction, she thrives. And I bet that it must've been a challenge to her to play a stripper - and oh my, does she do it well or what. (Or actually, how would I know since I've never seen a stripper in my life? Erm...)

Oops, I seem to have been pondering about movies for so long that it's sort of getting late. I can't even see the little bat flying about my window anymore. I think I need to go to bed, so I can have a good night's sleep. I mustn't be dead tired tomorrow... :)

Monday, July 25, 2005

A trip to the land of nostalgy

I spent some time in Nousiainen this weekend. I was supposed to go and make arrows with dad, but turns out the store that sells the stuff I needed is closed for another week. Damnation.

I did, however, get to try dad's bow probably for the first time. He's got a modern olympic style bow (I'm not an expert on the terminology quite yet, heh) that weighs a whole lot more than my simple longbow and has all these equalizers and whatnot on it. And is basically impossible to use with my strength. It's a 40lb bow (about) and I honestly couldn't shoot with it. Dad got the bow strung for me, but I just couldn't draw the darned thing fully. Not enough strength in my back muscles quite yet... It will be interesting to try whether I'll be able to shoot with it later, because dad said he's going to build a target for us to put up in the back yard. Whee! But before that I really need to get some arrows for my own bow and do some test shooting, so we'll find out if the bow is fully balanced and doesn't need any more work on it.

Ah, but the nostalgy part. Well, I wasn't feeling like studying for my exam, so I decided I'd clean up a closet that's full of my (and my brother's) old toys and books and school stuff. I don't have enough room here in my own apartment to bring all that stuff here, but I'd been meaning to go through all of the clutter one day and maybe prevent everything from collapsing on top of some innocent closet-user. Sunday turned out to be the day for the clean-up.

I found my first ever diary, for example. I got it for my 8th birthday (it had a horse on the cover, naturally) and since I wasn't a very frequent writer, I used it up to the age of sweet sixteen or thereabouts. One of my earlier entries (I almost wrote "posts", ehheh) reminded me once again why Anakin Skywalker's "yippee" or "yahoo" or whatever the yelp was in Episode I when he gets the afternoon off, is in a way very realistic for a kid that age.

I had written down something in the lines of "Today was a nice day, because we had math in school. Yahoo!" (eli siis vielä suomeksi muotoiltuna "Jihuu!"). Later on there were a few literally expressed yelps of "Yippee" and so on. To make matters worse, the exact same entry almost shattered my carefully constructed self-image of a humanist. Math? Yippee?? Geez. I thought I specifically remembered never liking math that much, especially in elementary school when calculators weren't allowed. Huh, I'm so glad I realised there are more interesting things in life than math... ;)

I do have to wonder though, what is it that makes it relatively easy for me to have a blog (or two) and update it relatively regularly, because I never was much of a diary writer. It must be the idea of interacting with people that makes blogging so different from keeping a personal diary. I remember that most of my entries in my various diaries (even as late as during my exchange year in the States) are more like lists of things I did, not any philosophical ponderings on my inner feelings. Sure, there is a line I draw to what I blog about, too, but this media has definitely gotten me to elaborate a lot more on life. Could be also because it's so much easier (as in quicker) to type than it is to write so that the text is actually legible. :)

The closet also had other treasures in its belly. My old toy horses, for example. My precious, precious toy horses. My favorite, a big black and white mare with a carriage and the palomino foal that I instantly decided belonged to this mare. (They weren't a set or anything originally.) I never was into playing with dolls or Barbies, but I was always playing with the horses. I made all sorts of equipment for them (including saddles and such, believe it or not) and the few Barbies (or actually I think they were Daisy dolls) were involved only in the very marginal roles of the horse owners. Ah, such good memories.

And if there's something I love as much as I love the memories of playing with my toy horses, it's the memories of wonderful books. I took a bunch of my old favorites back home with me this time, so I can read some of my old favorite bedtime stories to any visiting toddler who is willing to listen. My godson or -daughter will not have a choice but to listen, though. ;)

It's such a warm feeling I get when I browse through some of the books. There was this one book, sort of sad really, called Talvinalle and I got all choked up and teary while reading some of the pages. (So in fact I'm not so sure at all I'm going to be able to read that stuff to anyone ever...) That has to be one of the absolute all time favorites in our family. It had to be read over and over again, we never got bored with it, me or my brother.

Of other books I distinctly remember some pictures and how they made me feel back when I was listening to mom reading the stories for me. There's a parrot I remember liking in that picture, I never did like that picture so much and so on. Just wonderful. Memories worth cherishing, for sure.

In case you haven't yet figured out my opinion about reading to kids - here's the short and sweet version. Always read to your children. The memories of those shared moments will be the treasures of their lives, for the rest of their years.

To finish up, the story of Talvinalle, just for the sake of pure nostalgy. And because I suddenly feel like a bedtime story. :) Am not going to translate it, sorry. (If you're interested, you can see if you can find the English original from 1974 by Ruth Craft, called The Winter Bear.)



Missä on saapas?
Missä on nuttu?
Taas se sama
vanha juttu:
aina on hukassa
vaate jokin,
eteinen menee
sikin sokin.
Mutta talvikävelyllä
täytyy olla lämmintä yllä.

Nyt on lapsia kolme tässä
pakkasretkelle lähtemässä.
Kuljetaan etelään, länteen, itään,
tutkimatta ei jätetä mitään.
Pengotaan pensaat, kiivetään aidat,
nuuskitaan polut ja polkujen laidat.

Pensaat on paljaat, ruoho jäässä.
Kukkia löytyy, jos silmät on päässä:
ruohonkorsia, kiulukoita,
varpuja, hahtuvapalleroita.

Linnuille talvi on aikaa tiukkaa.
Vilu on ankara, ruoka niukkaa.
Löytyykö siementä, marjaa tai muuta?
Voi kuinka monta nälkäistä suuta!

Mansikki myöskin on kävelyllä
ruskea turkki yllä.
Kiltti lehmä, alahan tuosta
lämpimään navettaasi juosta!

Pensaan latvassa
jotakin tummaa.
Sukka tai kenkä
tai muuta kummaa?
- Riittääpäs ihmettelemistä sulla,
ei siellä mitään, ala jo tulla.

Nuorimmainen on toista mieltä:
kyllä se alas on saatava sieltä.
Vaan kuinka oksalle korkeimmalle
joutunut on pikkuinen nalle?

Märkä ja likainen,
ressukka parka,
mutta niin kiltti
ja kovin arka.

Yhdessä katsellaan
Pikkuinen karhu?
Tämäpä vasta.

Retkelle tulikin kumma loppu,
nyt on kotiin kiire ja hoppu,
- Hei äiti, löydettiin pikkuinen nalle
hautautumasta lumen alle!
Ihan alasti pakkassäällä,
ei edes villapaitaa päällä.

Ei ole ennen näillä mailla
karhua hoideltu tällä lailla.
Pestään ja pyyhitään,
kuivataan nenää.
Lääkkeen se ottaa
ilman tenää.

Sitten tyynylle parhaimmalle
pannaan istumaan Talvinalle.

(Ruth Craft 1974, suom. Marjatta Kurenniemi)

Hyvää yötä ja kauniita unia. :)

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

A little bit of sweat and just a sprinkle of sawdust

I finished my bow today! Whee! It's beautiful, even if I say so myself. :) Tomorrow or on Thursday I think I need to go and shop for arrowheads and feathers, so I can make a pile of arrows during the weekend with the help of dad. And then - I'm all ready for archery practice! Can't wait. Later on I can figure out how I'm going to solve the quiver problem.

I had a really good day at work today, too. I'm hoping my last three days as a direct sales person go just as well, so I'll end up with a positive frame of mind (and at least some money coming my way) when I step out of that door on Friday at 7 p.m. Three more days. 12 hours. A piece of cake. :)

Then, it's a three week panic before school begins. Three weeks filled with studying for three exams, planning the first Finnish & literature course for the seniors, reading the novels the seniors were required to read during their vacation (which means I have to read at least three Finnish realist novels in just a few days) and possibly preparing also the first few weeks of teaching to some junior high history class. Oh, and putting together Spin no. 3 for 2005. Geez. Can I have a vacation of my "vacation"?

But seriously, I'm very excited about "real" work beginning, even though I may be a bit stressed out because of it now (and in the future). And I've still got almost a month to do all the preparations. Which is plenty of time, right? Gotta keep thinking positively. :)

Friday, July 15, 2005

Achievement Award of the day

...goes to me and my prep course students! Today the university announced the names of the people who were accepted to study within the various departments of the Faculty of Humanities. The department of history was naturally included.

I was extremely curious about how my students had done and who had been accepted. Turns out that 9 of the 13 students I taught on the course were accepted! A mighty good percentage, I'd say. I had hoped for 4 or 5 of them to get in, but 9 was way more than I expected. I suppose I didn't do any irreparable damage to their process of preparing for the entrance exam, after all. :)

As a result of these wonderful news I spent most of the morning sending emails to congratulate the "kids". One girl had already emailed me a thank you note before I had even seen the results and three more had answered my emails during the day, thanking me for my help. It feels good that I had the possibility to help these kids to get forward in their life. I feel pretty accomplished myself, even though they were the ones that had to take the exam and study for it. But you know, it always feels good to get a few nice thank you notes even though the students themselves did most of the work. You know, were I a cat, I'd be purring right now. :)

A nice weekend ahead again. I had to cancel my trip to Tampere tomorrow, because frankly, I couldn't really afford it and I need to begin studying for my next exams (on Finnish history) for real. However, I don't know if the decision will save me any money (or give me any more time to study, for that matter), because tomorrow there's an archery event at Kurala (where I'm making my bow, which isn't quite yet finished, btw) and I'm afraid I might find something I need, heh. Like arrows or something. And even worse is the situation when I get to the book market event on Sunday. I hope I don't find any good books I'd need (read: want) to own... We'll see. Maybe I'll strategically forget my purse home. ;)

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Sweat and sawdust

In other words, I'm about halfway done making my longbow! Whee! I hope to finish it tomorrow so I can get to the shooting part...

It probably would've been smarter to wait for cooler weather for this whole process, but even though I spent most of my afternoon sweating in a small room with no windows and lots of sawdust and powertools today, it'll be worth it when I can show people I've actually made myself a longbow. Without cutting any of my fingers off or anything. In fact there were two of us making bows today, and the other one, the guy, did have a tiny accident with one of the machines. I didn't. :) Gosh that makes me so proud of myself, because the last time I did any kind of woodwork must've been in the 6th grade.

It's the small joys in life that count. ;)

Monday, July 11, 2005

Under the heatwave

Huh. Finland is basking under a hot, hot Northern sun and I'm living on a diet of ice cream and Fanta Free. Temperatures have been around 25 to 29 degrees Celsius for about a week now without any signs of the weather getting cooler and it's wonderful and terrible all at the same time.

I, personally, tolerate the warmth quite well (except for at work, where there's no airconditioning whatsoever and it makes you feel tired and irritable as soon as you put your headset on), but I know people who really wouldn't mind a bit cooler weather. I do worry a bit about my grandparents, for example. And honestly, I'd rather tolerate the weather by the seashore myself...

Yesterday was good in that sense. After having spent the Saturday evening alone at home and bored to death, I was happily surprised by my brother. He called me around 11 a.m. and said "I'll be there in 5 minutes, get yourself ready." I of course started to protest, as I had just taken a shower and it'd take me at least 15 minutes to get ready, but then he informed me we'd make a few hour stop at the beach on our way to Nousiainen. Ahh. No need to dry my hair for a day at the beach.

I'm really not much of a sunbather, because the idea of lying in the sun doing nothing tends to make me feel frustrated (and it's not healthy, either), but the swimming part is absolutely fantastic. I love to swim and to float. My brother, the competition swimmer, doesn't like to "not go anywhere" while in water, so he went in and swam back and forth across the medium sized pond we were at, and naturally I had to do the same, too. But I took time to float in the middle of the pond, unlike the dolphin of our family.

Floating is so much fun. The sense of weightlessness is wonderful, in fact it's a feeling I sometimes have a physical craving for during the winter months. Floating in natural water. (Swimmingpools don't count for this.) And the silence of the water, when your ears are below the surface - I cannot think of many things more relaxing than that. In fact I've been thinking I may have to try that floating therapy thing sometime when I'm really stressed. Although I'm not sure I wouldn't get a claustrophobic attack in the dark "sense deprivation tank".

In addition to the beach life, yesterday turned out to be a really good summer day in at least one more way. I got to test drive dad's VW Beetle for the first time! That, if any, is a real summer car! It's as cute as a car can get and the "attitude" of it is from a whole different world than the attitude of my old Skoda, for example. It'll be fun to borrow the Beetle for some summery occasion. Maybe I'll ask dad if I can borrow it to go to my old friend's wedding in August. They'll be wed in Nousiainen, so I wouldn't have to drive too far.

Which brings me to the matter of weddings. I've already got two wedding invitations for the rest of the year. Whee! One wedding in August, the other in October. That particular October weekend is going to be like one long party, because my birthday's on Friday, the wedding's on Saturday and my cousin's confirmation is on Sunday. Yay.

But the wedding in August is going to be really special, too. This is, after all, one of my oldest friends getting married. We literally met at the same church they're going to have their wedding ceremony in. Some 13 years ago both me and Kirsi were attending a service in order to collect the necessary "points" to be confirmed and while sitting next to each other in the pew we noticed that we both had the same letters colored in our textbooks' cover. Turned out we both had a crush on a guy from 9th grade (we were 8th graders). Luckily not the same guy, though, they just had the same name. And that discovery marked a beginning of a long friendship. (Nothing ever happened with those teenage crushes, btw. We were both seriously shy and insecure girls, so we just watched from afar.)

We haven't been in touch very much lately, but every time we meet, we instantly fall back to the comfortable chitchat of old times. For me, that's a sign of a friendship that will survive through periods of time, when we don't meet that often. And since I sort of had something to do with Kirsi finding her significant other, I'm delighted to attend the wedding. I can't wait. I'll probably cry like a fountain in the church... :) And finally I get to say "I told you so!".

It was Kirsi who thought in the angsty times of our teenage years that I'd be the one of us who finds herself a good man right away and got married and had kids in a few years' time, while she'd still be waiting for her Prince Charming in her retirement years. Ha, I tell you. Now that she's going to be married, maybe the powers-that-be will feel pity for me and present me with a charming man to marry soon. :) You never know. *enter lots of wishful thinking here*

Oops, I've been rambling for so long that I'd better start getting ready to go to work. I'm so not in the mood now. I'd rather go to the beach. Anyone reading this between now and 7 p.m., feel free to drop me a text message in which you promise to take me to the beach around 8 p.m. today. Would be muchly appreciated, wink wink.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Go, London!

Aino already had this link in her lj, but I'll post it here too. Go and read how the Londoners are reacting to the terrorist attacks of yesterday. Keep it up, you Brits, you!

Nothing remarkable going on in my life lately. Had a wonderful evening at Pub Bremer yesterday at the local sf-fandom's monthly meeting and had a delightful couple hours of chitchatting with my friend Heli today after work. Got Spin 2/05 out from the printing house on time (yay, I'm managing to stay in the planned publishing schedule!), but won't be able to deliver any of those to the Helsinki sf-meet tomorrow, since our driver Ben had to cancel the trip.

Which gives me a completely free Saturday. Nice. I'll clean up the apartment (I haven't had time for that in ages...) and read Lymond. And possibly visit Susanna, to see how she's doing and get some more Lymond to read... ;) I'd say this is a win-win situation. I would've liked to go to Helsinki for sure, but I appreciate the days I don't have anything planned. I'll use the day to recharge my batteries for the fall.

Oh, and tonight I'm going to wait if there's a real thunderstorm coming (looks promising) and then later in the evening I'm going to listen from my balcony if I hear Rammstein performing in Ruisrock. The sounds do travel quite nicely usually. Du, du hast, du hast mich! Rrraaaahh! Amusing. I've sort of learned to listen to the band. :)

That's it for now, folks. Don't have anything really to blog, so I won't keep you from your more important activities any longer. Ta ta.

Monday, July 04, 2005

I'm as innocent as they come

Or at least innocent of such crimes as murder and manslaughter. How about that...

What is she rambling about this time, you wonder. Well, I received a copy of my criminal record in the mail today and now I'm just happy that the society knows I'm not a criminal. That's good. I could've told them that before, but I suppose an official stamp is needed to be sure. :)

But seriously, all of this is because I'm going to begin teaching kids under the age of 18 as a regular staff member in the junior high and high schools in Nousiainen. The law states that any person working with children (minors) has to provide this kind of document to the employer. And so I ordered one to send to the bureaucrats of my future workplace.

Of which I dream of daily now, since I'm getting really bored with talking to people who don't know how to speak up on the phone. Two guesses, everyone. Which kind of person answering the phone is the most difficult to understand?

The sleepy, the drunk and people from the Eastern parts of Finland are good guesses, but the winner in this category is teenage boys around the age of 16, approximately.

So here's a typical discussion that lasts for about 17 seconds (to make things easier for you, I've put the teenwords that have a meaning in italics):

The teen
(as my computer program nicely has gotten him to come and answer the phone): "Mmmhellomummblemumble."
Me (cheery as a proper direct sales person should be): "Hello, this is My Name from The Company in Turku calling. I'd like to talk to Such And Such Person, is she available?"
The teen: "Mumbleynghmmmehno. Mommumblegruntworkungh."
Me (desperately racking my brain for the teenguy-Finnish-teenguy dictionary): "Umm, so she isn't at home at the moment? Ok, I'll call back later then. Thank you, bye."
The teen: Mruhmumble. *click*

Ferchrissakes. Teach your kids how to a-r-t-i-c-u-l-a-t-e! Or at least please do try to tell them that Finnish actually is a spoken language, not a grunted language... I think I should take my communications course students on a field trip next fall, to listen to the direct sales people and their customers. I'm sure I could get my point of good communication skills through, don't you think?

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Getting medieval

This weekend has surely been one of the best ones of the summer. I've spent three days wandering around the Turku Medieval Market, enjoying the atmosphere and (ahem) spending money...

The medieval market is my absolute favorite of the summer happenings in Turku. Every year I wish I had won in the lottery and could buy all the pretty goblets and cups and swords and bows and quivers and dresses and jewellery - but alas, I don't seem to win anything. (Note to self - maybe I should buy a lottery ticket one of these days? Might make the winning part easier?) This year I happily spent a moderate amount of money, since I had had my pay day on Thursday. Good timing, I'd say.

This year's medieval shoppingspree resulted in the following. First of all I bought a beautiful sterling silver Celtic pendant, which is shaped like Arwen's Evenstar pendant from the LotR movies. I just had to. I can't afford "the real thing", in other words a replica of the movie necklace, so this was like hitting two flies at one blow. I got a pendant that looks like Evenstar, but which on the other hand also looks Celtic enough to please my eyes in any case. Very pretty.

Then I decided I'd finally do something about my less than authentic medieval dress selection and bought some fabric for a surcot. Although I usually go for anything and everything burgundy and purple, this time I chose a beautiful blue to be the main color and an equally beautiful silvery grey to be the "highlight" color. Now the only problem is whether or not I'm actually able to make the surcot. It shouldn't be too difficult, but with me and a sewing machine, you never know. (And yes, I'm cheating a bit with the authenticity - there's no way I'm not using a sewing machine!) I'll definitely have to worry about the cotte part later. I may have to ask for help with it. I'm not ashamed to admit I'm not much of a magician with the fabrics...

My last purchase will, in a way, lead to more handicrafts done by yours truly. I bought a leather arm cover for my future archery practices, you see. I would've loved to buy a grey leather quiver from this seller too (the thing was just beautiful), but since I couldn't afford to pay 65 euros for it, I bought the (way) cheaper piece of protective gear instead. Just because I can come up with some other solution for the quiver problem later, but I'd hate to have my arm all blue again like I did last summer after an unlucky shot at the Fantasy Feast... :)

And yes, here comes the resulting handicraft project. I'm finally going to go and make myself a real longbow. Whee! I hope to get it done as soon as possible (within a couple of weeks) so I can start practicing for real.

There's a real elegance to archery and I especially like watching the skilled archers who use the traditional longbows. I got really excited about this whole traditional archery stuff last summer, when we went to try out some of the weapons for the Fantasy Feast with Tytti. I loved the lot of them, the longbow, the crossbow and the really ancient spear thrower thingy. And to my utter delight I didn't suck at shooting at all! :) Especially the crossbow is relatively easy to use. But the challenge of the longbow is something else. I hope I manage to make a decent bow. I can't wait. :) Then I can have my own bow with me at next year's Fantasy Feast. Yay!

As this weekend is probably the closest thing I get to a vacation this summer, I've thoroughly enjoyed myself: lots of sunshine, meeting friends and absolutely no study related stuff to read. I was thinking about visiting the market once more today, but I'm not sure if I will after all. My legs are stiff from walking on cobble stones for four days in a row, for hours at a time and I would've liked to have some company this time, too. As on Friday we (Kirsi, Tytti, Maarit and I) went to the market all dressed up, which was fun, as usual. People kept stepping on my train and tourists took photos of us when we had stopped to talk for a while (I had my camera with me, too, but it's going to take me a while to get the whole film full, so I suggest you go and see Tytti's blog for pictures. She promised to post some later on.) and so on, but despite all of that (or maybe just because of it) the experience is so much more fun when you're properly dressed. We even had a few sellers bow to us behind their counter, because we all were wearing gowns of higher ranking ladies. Heee.

I was so born in the wrong century.