Sunday, July 23, 2006

Just me, my laptop and this mellow Sunday

I have achieved nothing today. Absolutely nothing, at least if only stuff that I should be doing is counted. I did finish reading a good book and knitted some (I'm making a poncho for Satu this time). Other than that, I've just slept, eaten, watched television and listened to the construction workers build the scaffolding outside our building. I feel sort of bad for so completely slacking all day, but darned if I can be bothered to do anything anymore. Too late, heh. I'll have to make up for the lost time tomorrow, then. Monday's are good days for getting back to work, right?

Last time I wrote, I was on my way to get me some sea legs on a nice boat trip to the archipelago. And what a wonderful trip it was! Unfortunately I had only my old camera with me, so no pics this time.

Heli's parents boat was very nice. Huge. I'm not exactly sure how long it really was, but I figured it must've been at least some 20 metres long and completely equipped for seafaring also over longer distances, to Denmark and so on (that's where Heli's parents went with the boat earlier this summer). The five of us (me, Satu, Heli and her parents) were quite comfortably accommodated and I'm sure at least another five people would've fit in still reasonably well. We didn't, however, get to try out the in-boat-sauna, since it would've heated up the cabin in the aft, where Satu and I slept.

But a couple days at sea and I felt like I had been away from home for at least a couple of weeks. In a good way, too. There was something unbelievably relaxing in the low growl of the engines, the waves hitting the boat and the shores... We girls spent most of our time basking in the sunlight on deck, reading, talking or napping. (And I've got the sunburns slowly turning into a tan to prove it.) I'm more than willing to say that it was the highlight of my summer. I loved every minute of the trip. I so love to be at sea and it's too bad I don't have the means to do it more often. (Perhaps I have to add a boat to the list of requirements of that Special Someone, hah.)

To make the trip even better, we spent the second night at Heli's family's summer cottage in the archipelago. A truly stunning place. A beautiful (and big) summerhouse (can't really call it a cottage) built high up on a rocky hill, facing the open sea. My god, I could've stared into the distance from the balcony for hours. But the sauna beckoned us, and I finally got rid of my "winter coat" as the saying goes. The water wasn't very warm, but it was still nice to swim in the sea. Relaxation extraordinaire, I tell you!

On Saturday evening I had a garden party to go to. Hobbiton's garden party had been long awaited and turned out it had been worth waiting for. Tytti and her hubby do throw very nice parties. We drank a ridiculous amount of fresh strawberry margaritas, ate well and had a good time. What wonderful friends I have.

A week ago on Monday I got to try something completely new to me. I took a short course on making wire jewelry! Heli has been doing wire jewelry for a while already (and she's advanced into silver wire) and she urged me to come and try it, too. And surely enough, after some five hours of twisting, sawing and fumbling about with tiny loops of wire I had managed to make a nice ankle bracelet out of brass wire and decorated it with glass beads. Go me!

I'm discovering all new handicrafty sides to my life - within a year I've made myself a longbow, a Harry Potter scarf, a poncho (and a half) and an ankle bracelet. In other words I've tried woodworking, knitting and metal work and managed to not mess everything up or get injured myself. Yay.

Well, perhaps I shouldn't consider changing professions quite yet, but new hobbies can be a nice way to break the routines.

One old hobby definitely remains, though. Reading. I just finished reading Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife today. A piece of maintstream literature, which was pure fantasy or science fiction. I suppose Niffenegger didn't intend to write an sf-novel, but that's what it was. Not too bad at it, either.

The story was that of Henry DeTamble and his wife, Clare. He has a strange genetic disorder that makes him travel in time. On these travels he meets Clare, his future wife, and visits her randomly when she grows up. The timeline of the story is, if I'm allowed an understatement, somewhat garbled as Henry travels from his present to his past and future, little by little revealing the whole love story between Clare and himself.

I found the book a reasonably entertaining read. However, I think many readers who haven't read any sf will find it more refreshing and new. For me the idea wasn't anything groundbreaking, to be honest. But as it was a well-written piece of literature, I enjoyed reading it. In other words, it was good literature, but not so good sf. But since it wasn't written as an sf-story, I probably shouldn't judge it as such. But you know, zebras can't get rid of their stripes and I'm pretty stuck with my sf-background when it comes to time travelling stories.

Oh, and another literature related piece of my mind. I just noticed the other day that they're making a movie version of The Other Boleyn Girl! I hadn't known about it before, but now - I can't wait! It'll have Eric Bana (!) as Henry VIII and Scarlett Johansson and Natalie Portman as Anne and Mary Boleyn. Sounds good to me! Something to look forward to, in addition to the third Pirates movie...


Margaret said...

Do you know anything about a Ahonen family crest?
Our Nephew is marring a girl with the last name Ahonen with roots in Finland
Margaret in Canada

Johanna said...

There are several Ahonen families in Finland, since it's one of the most common surnames. Therefore there isn't a single one family crest for all of us. And since the family is not originally of nobility, there isn't (to my knowledge) a historical crest to be found.

With a little bit of surfing on the site of the Finnish heraldic society (unfortunately only in Finnish and Swedish), I was however able to find one coat of arms & crest for a Henry Ahonen, but it has been designed in 1999. So I suppose that's not going to help you a lot, since it's a personal crest.

But as it is in Finland nowadays, you can always design a crest for yourself and have it registered, even. There are certain rules, but it's nevertheless possible. In other words, if for example some historical event or something like that from this girl's Finnish family roots is known, a crest & coat of arms can be designed based on that. (But of course, if you want it to be just an informal crest not registered at the Finnish heraldic society, you really don't have to be that picky with the rules! :) )

I don't know if this was any help to you, but I'm glad you asked. It was fun to browse through some of the crests people have registered. Maybe I'll design one for myself one day! ;)

Donna said...

I absolutely loved Time Traveler's Wife, but I'm not much of a SF critic. I can see how it wouldn't have seemed as good to someone deep into the genre. I have also read The Other Boleyn Girl and enjoyed it immensely. They are also making a movie out of The Children of Men by P.D. James, another book that doesn't quite fit into either the SF or the literature genres! As someone who struggled with infertility I enjoyed it and I'll go see the movie when it comes out, it stars Clive Owen (yummy), Julianne Moore and Michael Caine.

Oh, and I envy the fact that you can spend relaxing days on a boat, I get seasick in a canoe.

Johanna said...

I may have to check out that P.D. James book.

Oh, you really are missing out on something wonderful, if you get seasick very easily and can't spend any time on a boat. Being at sea is so wonderful and the archipelago is just beautiful. Too bad I can't do it too often, either, because I don't know that many people who have boats.

But you know, a big boat doesn't necessarily feel as unsteady as a canoe. You'll just have to get on a boat big enough... (and take some sea sickness pills before boarding!) ;)

Margaret said...

Thanks for your reply. Very interesting that one can format their own Family Crest in Finland.

Johanna said...

No prob, Margaret. :) I'm actually just very happy to see that someone actually reads my blog sometimes - even outside of Finland. (Which, of course is why I write in English...)

I hope your nephew will have a happy life with his girl with Finnish roots. Ahonen's are good people. I know my family is. ;)

(And should you decide to design a crest yourself, there are plenty of heraldry sites which will give you the basic rules of colours and such.)