January 28, 2014

22 Years and Not Stopping

So, yesterday was my birthday and I turned 22-years-old. I had been very – what’s the word… nervous about turning 22. It felt so old – I would not be 18, 20 or even 21 but actually 22. It’s towards 25 which is a cornerstone for me so that I would have done something significant with my life by then...

Yesterday I slept late and took a long, hot shower. We had thought about to go to eat outside but it is rather painful and difficult task trying to find vegan or vegetarian places for a reasonable prices – and when I finally find some place which serves tofu, I can not pay 13 euros for a piece of tofu when I can get a block of tofu from a store for half a price! AND almost every side dish was cooked in duck fat (
what the f..?) and cost from 2 to 6 euros - and it's not that I can't afford it, but it is all for principle. But that's that... So, in the end we decided to get our reliable hot sandwiches from a café downtown and go home to eat them with a glass of wine.

I really didn’t expect it but my mom got me a beautiful, big, white rose for my birthday (is it becoming a tradition already?) – but this time it was with a crystal and glitter:

I didn’t expect anything from anyone but my dad gave me money so I can buy a new cellphone (because my phone is antique by now, no internet, no nothing) and my mom got me this beautiful skirt: 

On this birthday I didn’t bake a whole cake, but I baked “mokkapaloja” (mocha bites?) which is kind of Finnish chocolate brownies (but not as sweet, heavy or greasy as the traditional brownies), where the topping is made of cocoa powder, coffee, powdered sugar and vegan margarine (for I like to keep all of my baked goods vegan). Just google it, for God's sake! ;)

About my age now... I tend to compare my age to how the people of the Victorian Era saw it; a lady would be a spinster if not dutifully married by the time she reached 25 years of age. Luckily I haven't even realized that I'm 22-year-old now, so it's not that big of a shock. Oh well... Maybe I become more accustomed to it in the coming days. At least, I don’t seem to stress about it as much as I did before my actual birthday. Now I seem just okay with it...

January 25, 2014

Seeing The World Through A Lens PART 4

Another photographing post right after another... Maybe because the previous one wasn’t that much of a photographical when talking about of the amount of different photos. On last Tuesday I was again in a hurry to leave to the bus stop so I can get on time for my singing lesson, but I had looked from the window how beautifully snowy everything was and fret that again I don’t have the time to go outside to photograph.

But! After the singing lesson it was still so light, I could go outside to photograph. I got my camera and went outside (I first went outside without my gloves, and thought it would be okay, but no it was not!)

I was photographing for over half an hour, and this is the result that I got:

When I finally got back home, my toes and fingers were absolutely freezing! Hopefully I put on my socks right after I got in and I felt much warmer...

It felt good to get some winter pictures in my photo collection, for I have plenty of summer and any other season pictures but winter...

By the way, I was not the only chilly one around here:

Lara has been a fan of our star-patterned blanket from since when we bought it. It was supposed to be ours but she claimed to herself only.

The rest of the evening (which is quite short after these few classes) went well, while I was trying to warm up my toes and fingers again... We got our music theory books on last Tuesday so I have been trying to study the music theory from then more than ever, so I would be ready for the big text at the end of the class...

There’s nothing wrong when there’s something nice to do, just like photographing and studying music theory and singing. I just enjoy the Tuesdays...

January 19, 2014

Seeing The World Through A Lens PART 3

This time there’s no series of photos like on my earlier posts, but one particular photo which I love even it’s not perfect one. I was looking through my vitrines drawers and found a bunch of old drafts of one certain photo as well as negatives of the photos I had took.

These are the negatives and the negatives printed on paper:

As you can see, many of them are either overexposed or underexposed – I didn’t know how to photograph at all back then...

However, I managed to find one good photo out of them which I have printed on a glossy photographic paper. First off I made a test strip to determine how long to expose the photo to the light.

I tested the exposure time by making a sheet of paper and exposing it to light for different times with each test and the negative focused on it.

Then I printed the final photograph on a glossy photographic paper.

I do know the photograph is underexposed but somehow I love it so much. Maybe it was because – if I remember correctly – it was the first time I was given a proper camera with film inside of it and I got inside a darkroom developing photographs for the first time. Or if not for the very first time but at least after it. And I remember walking around the roads and places trying to find something beautiful to photograph and to make the limited film count. I just didn’t understand the shutter speeds, exposure times and everything related to photographing at the time I had used digital cameras so far where you can see the photos right after taking them and deleting them making the memory card feel limitless. I was at art school back then and they taught us those cameras and they gave us “old” cameras with film inside of them and I was just way too excited about being able to take photos of anything I wanted that I didn’t realized to observe the light exposure indicator to see whether my photos were overexposed or underexposed for there were no screen on the camera to see the final photos.

To be honest, I miss photographing with the cameras such as I used back then
you put a film inside and just go photographing without seeing the final photographs. When you have to know what to do. And then go into a darkroom with your negatives and develop the photos all by yourself in the chemicals and not just put an USB wire to your digital camera and download all the photos to the computer – I’m looking for the instructions to develop photos in a darkroom right at this moment... I just need a camera and a darkroom!

January 14, 2014

Reasonable Doings for My Days (a.k.a. Singing & Music Theory)

First off, off the topic, there’s snow!! I have been waiting for snow for months and now it finally came... but so did the freeze... Today it suddenly was -17 Celsius outside even through the whole “winter” so far it has been from - 2 – +10 Celsius and no snow! And the sun has been clouded for such a long time – but the colder the weather, the more beautiful day it is and the sun will shine...

If I would have had time today I would have gone outside to photograph (the reason will become clear on the text below...) but if tomorrow will be as beautiful as this day, I will sure to grab my camera and go outside!

I have been concentrating on writing so much and my current life situation has kept me a lot of home, inside four walls. I have tried to get out of there every day so I won’t get cabin fever... But to be honest, in between writing, I have had a lot of free time I haven’t know what to do with. Even I have tried to change my lifestyle and see people more I sometimes feel... what’s the word... lonely, isolated, etc. My parents have told me to find something nice to do, a hobby or a class or something, anything.

Tampere's community college's booklet about their classes comes in every spring and autumn. The only problem is that it is only distributed in the area of Tampere (obviously) but since I now live in Pirkkala (still right next to Tampere) I will not get it – sure there’s a similar booklet of our area but the classes in it sucks and they are in the middle of nowhere (or more like in the places I don’t know). Luckily my dad always calls me when the booklet comes. He told he got the booklet and brought it to me, asking me to pick the classes I’m interested.

Last week I signed in for Tampere's community college's classes. I was late for signing in for the classes and first I thought it was all over for the spring. But then I found that signing in for the classes continues through the whole spring! Some of the classes I had been watching were already full (such as violin or piano lessons, but that was no surprise) but I managed to find classes that I found just right for me: singing lessons and music theory. I immediately called to the office of the Tampere's community college and they said I can only sign in advance for the music theory class but to sign in for the singing class I must go to the first lesson. The classes happened to be on the same day - the singing class was at noon and lasted two and a half hours while the music theory class was after seven on the evening and lasted for an hour and a half.

Today, my dad was kind enough to pick me up so I saved time. He dropped me at the community college and I went inside and found the right classroom. I went in and we waited for the rest of the students. There were about 7 or 8 students, me included. The teacher immediately spotted me and that I was a new face and asked my name. She is one of the few who didn’t have to ask how to spell my last name for many people don’t know how it’s spelled after first hearing.

The singing class started by stretching a little and opening our voices. It felt that the teacher assumed that everyone knew what we were supposed be doing next and I had to watch at first a little how the thing are done there because some of the students were “old” so they had been on the class before. The teacher gave us each pointers how to do the exercises better – to me she said immediately that I was doing the breathing exercise correctly. It was because I still did remember what my old singing teacher had told me when I had gone to singing lessons some years ago. The class’ name was “solo singing” and I had asked from the office, when I had called there to sign in for the classes, will it be one on one lesson with a teacher like violin lessons I had been on a few years back and she said it will be in group. I was of course nervous for that do I really have to sing in front of a group of people I have never seen before.

After warming up ourselves and our voices we sang a few songs together and then was a time to sing solo... But yes, in front of the whole group. At first I was so nervous and thought could I do it for I haven’t sang in many years in front of a teacher or anyone else – me singing in the shower doesn’t count! Everyone went to pick a song for them to sing solo and I couldn’t find anything but a children’s bed time song we already sang as a group. I was determined that I would not want to be the last one singing but I didn’t wanted to be the first... I watched how the teacher gave pointers to each students before me, stopping between the verses and singing along with some of the students to show how to do it properly - she was very nice and professional, not mean. I could only imagine what she would say to me for I didn’t even know did I even remember how to sing anymore properly and everything came into my head; what if my voice breaks, what if some of the students laughs at me, what if I’m not good enough?

After every student, the other students and the teacher applauded. When another student went sitting I just decided to rise from my chair and go in front of the class. I gave the sheet music to the teacher and started to sing. She didn’t stop between the verses, she didn’t give me pointers, she just played to the end of the song. I was nervous, why didn’t she said anything? And then it came... “You have a very good voice. Have you sang before?” I was stunned. “Yes, some years ago”, I answered a bit shy. She said I sing correctly and that my voice is strong, good and firm, which she meant it doesn’t “leak”. The only pointer she could think of was that I should put more emotion to the lyrics I’m singing and while the other students used their 10 minutes of solo singing working with their singing technique I was working to put more emotion to the lyrics instead of the technique. At first when I listened the other sing it felt that ten minutes was so very long time to be up there in front of everyone, but when I was there myself, the time seemed to fly... When my time was up, everyone applauded and I was so happy I had done it and faced my fears. I hide my big smile with taking the sheet music back to the teacher’s desk and turning my back when I did, smiling.

I kind of hoped the teacher would have given me more critique about my singing technique but maybe next time. I will be choosing something more challenging than just a children’s bed time song for next time, that’s for sure. I think of choosing the Finnish version of the song “Walking In The Air” called “Avaruus” (if I can find my old sheet music for it) for I have sang it solo in a church, full of people when I was 17. I’d like to see can I still sing it... It was interesting to see the feedback everyone got and learn from it too. I first thought two and a half hours would go by painfully slowly but it felt more like an hour.

We had admired the ice crystallizing to the window before the class started. Everyone were like “we need to take a picture!” and I said I had a camera with me (I always do). I tried to take a decent picture even though I prefer my single-lens reflex camera but my tiny (but surprisingly good) digital camera was all I had to work with at the time...

I left from the singing class so happy! I still had music theory later on that evening but I had time to go home after the singing class to relax a little and to get myself ready for the next class. I now waited the music theory class anticipated because the singing class had gone so well. When we left from home to walk to the bus stop, we saw this odd light appearance on the sky – it was like aurora but without moving: 

I changed bus in the city center and drove near the Tampere's community college and walked rest of the way. I found the classroom and I was the first one in there. The teacher asked my name and then she asked what was my relationship towards music. I told her that I used to go to violin lessons and I have sang since I was a child and that I’m listening all kind of music from classical to rock, heavy metal and movie soundtracks. The teacher asked me why had I came to the class and I said to her that I would like to refresh my memory of that when time I was still going to music theory class as a part of my violin lessons and that I would like to learn the theory behind the music. The teacher had time to talk with me so she asked why did I gave up playing violin. I said I didn’t gave up, but my financial situation at that time forced me to stop going to the violin lessons but since then I have been searching for a teacher...

As the other students started to get there, there seemed to be “old” students from last autumn, but from every new student the teacher asked about the same question; “what is your relationship with music?” The teacher called everyone’s names – not all students were present but the class started anyway. It seemed to start where the rest of the “old” students had left of from last autumn. Still the new students said they didn’t know what the teacher was talking about so we started at the absolute basics again – from major scale to minor scale, time signature, octaves, intervals, etc. The music theory class was so interesting! The teacher was funny, told a lot about the history of music and said we could ask anything at any time so everyone would understand everything. The music theory class had only one problem, the same problem with singing class: the time went by too fast! I was like “oh, is it over so soon?” when the class ended.

I’m nervous every time there’s something new and exciting and something to do with new people I don’t already know - I had been very nervous since yesterday and thought would I go to the classes at all. But my parents have talked to me about facing my fears and to conquer them. So I decided to put my nervousness aside and go to the classes, no matter what... It has been one of my best decisions I’ve made lately. And I had to admit to my parents that this was a great thing for me! My dad has been telling me to take these classes for years and now I finally done it (more than just one class in some random year). I was so excited after today’s classes – now after my Tuesday is full I’m playing with ideas what to do with my other days... maybe more classes, if that’s still possible..?

This day has been so awesome and I can’t wait until next Tuesday!

p.s. I already found many songs and sheet music to choose from for the next singing lessons...

January 8, 2014

More Space to Write On...

The modern age has made writing so much easier and faster with all of these computers around us. Oh, well, it is easy to write by hand but not so fast. Still I sometimes savour the moment when I’m writing my thoughts on an actual paper by hand.

Which was left off from my Christmas post was that I had bought an early Christmas present for myself; notebooks! They caught my eye right when I saw them and I felt like moth into to the flame and I had to buy them.

The color pink first confused me a little bit, and I think the notebook would have looked way better with red wine coloured pages, but I thought that sometimes it’s nice to have a little spark of color in between all of my black and white things...

I still have been saving them for something “special” – I kind of have an idea on what to write to the actual tinier, pink paged notebook, and the other, black one, is actually for kitchen notes. Which is awesome, so now I can write all of my recipes down on paper, instead of opening my computer every time I need to make vegan scones or vegetable lasagna.

I also remembered I have my ink pen in my vitrine. My mom has gave it to me, and I have been saving it, but now when I have these beautiful notebooks, why should I anymore? 

I also got a beautiful purple quill pen and a calligraphy pen and ink from my friend as a Christmas present... 

Now it is time to write!

p.s. I have talk a little bit about digital writing also. I have written my “book” project lately; I translated a bit over eight pages today and have now written 268 A4 sized pages. I can’t wait to finish my project!

January 1, 2014

New Year, New Tricks & New Layout

I didn’t have any big plans for New Year’s Eve – just making food at home and peering fireworks from our window, a nice evening at home – until my friend called to me and asked do I have any plans for the New Year’s Eve, and I said nothing specific. She asked me to go to watch the fireworks to the town center and then to the local bar we used to go. It has been about two years since we were at the bar after we had have been watching the fireworks at the same place.

The New Year’s firework happening was called “Timantteja Taivaalla” (Diamonds in the Sky) and it was traditionally held at Ratina’s stream pool, starting at 10 p.m.

We ate before we left. I ate a vegan patty with pepper sauce and cream-garlic potatoes (with vegan soy cream) and also fresh tomato and mozzarella salad.

We had time to eat, but when I was putting on my make-up, I knew we would be late... My mom dropped me near Laukontori (where the firework show would take place) and tried to find a place for her car. The firework show started exactly at 10 p.m.: 

After the firework show me and my friend went to a local bar where we always go. We drank everything from cranberry long drink to dry apple cider and shots – and blue lagoon! Many blue lagoons!

We stayed at the signal and after it we couldn’t even get a glass of water – and we’re not talking about alcohol (outrageous!). We left to see the taxi stands and found quite empty stand at Pyynikintori. We soon both got taxis from there and got home. I was at home around 4 a.m. I had told my mom I would be home at 2 a.m. but the night somehow lengthened...

I absolutely needed to go in the shower (after a bar night I somehow always do) for I have been poured two beers on and I smelled like bar (and felt filthy). After the shower my mom hurried me to go in my room – when I went in, I noticed a new bed sheets and an arrangement of stuffed sandwich, tea, a chocolate, sparkling wine and candle in my room’s desk.

What a nice surprise!

So. It is a new year, so what about the New Year’s resolutions... I have two kinds of feeling for it:

First off:

… and for the second:

I don’t really know how to react on new year anymore – you should be giving promises and all... In many years I have simply forgotten to give any promises and just watched the fireworks. Thus I have broken none of my “promises” during the next year... Sure, I give myself a lots of promises during the year but none of them are as permanent as the ones you vow on the New Year’s Eve, right?

Alright, I have promised to myself to make at least one promise this year – at least one promise I can keep. I promise myself that I would enjoy life more and take better care of myself.

I can’t believe it’s year 2014!!
p.s. Oh, and I almost forgot; there’s a new layout for the blog too – still mostly white but slightly different... There you go! Enjoy. :)

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