Going Home

There’s reasons why we haven’t traveled as much as the past years. We now have a pet, who would probably be fine alone overnight, especially when the weather gets warmer, but I feel bad about leaving him alone. There was the whole election thing and the shock after that. The main reason was to save money and PTO days to visit home. Instead of doing our traditional August road trip to somewhere west coast, we are going to spend two weeks in Finland. I am going home.

But maybe, just maybe, I could fly to Vancouver as well to meet up with my best Finnish friends, who have visited me every year since I moved here. This would mark their 4th annual trip to this continent. I feel like the year is missing something without that uncontrollable laughter in the car, the west coast fog, tsunami warning signs or the giant red trees, or even learning to fly.

Moro Rock, Sequoia National Park, California.

Moro Rock, Sequoia National Park, California.

Giant Sequoias, California.

Giant Sequoias, California.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The last rays of sun.

This year I’m trading the Pacific coast and giant red tree forests to smaller but denser forests, clear cool nights and to almost 200 000 lakes. I’m going home for the first time in 4 years.

Posted in Personal, Photography, Travel | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

March Forth

I wrote a long paragraph about Women’s March and reasons why I march. WordPress ate the entry. Let’s just say there is no reason not to protest. I’m not going to sit silently while everything I love, including civil liberties are going down the drain.

Women's March in Denver.

Women’s March in Denver.

Women's March in Denver.

Women’s March in Denver.

Women's March in Denver.

Women’s March in Denver.

Women's March in Denver.

Women’s March in Denver.

Posted in Colorado, Denver, Personal, Photography | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Finally

After 8,5 long months of waiting, last week’s Friday I received a message that my new green card extension has been approved. I’m yet to receive the actual card, but it’s already in the mail, traveling to Denver. During the process and way longer wait I had expected, I felt a lot of things. Frustration, depression, anxiety, even when I knew that my marriage is very much real, I’ve been a good little green card holder for the past 2,5 years and there should be nothing to worry about, it feels like you have no control over it.

365 pictures

From the project 365 pictures.

I always thought that after the wait is over and I get the decision, I’d feel happy, light and relieved. Instead I felt emotionally drained. I felt like sleeping for days and not talking to anyone. Go to work, work, chat, laugh, exhausted afterwards. Slowly everything seems to return to normal. I’ve dreamt about Helsinki and it’s old pastel pink apartment buildings. Now it’s time to start to plan a trip back.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Denver got some snow, and now it’s all gone.

Posted in 365 Photography Challenge, Personal, Photography | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

1/365

I don’t recall ever making a New Year’s promise. If someone has asked I’ve come up with something as vague as “being happier”. Sometimes it has worked and at the end of the year I’ve been happier than the year before and some years, not so much. This year I want to try to take at least one picture every day. Going through pictures from 2016 I noticed I’ve carried my camera with me daily, but actually only taken it out of the bag when traveling. I’m going to give this “picture a day” -thing a try. I won’t promise to post them here, in Facebook I didn’t even tell about the challenge. The thing is, that it will truly be a challenge and I’m afraid of failure. I promise to TRY.

1/365

1/365

I still promise to try to be happier too. A tradition, you know?

Posted in 365 Photography Challenge, Photography | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Finds

Today we drove to east Colorado, to North Sterling State Park. We didn’t find Philip K. Dick’s grave in Fort Morgan, but there was a giant raccoon in the restroom and we saw a pheasant, red tailed hawks and a big old dead fish.

North Sterling State Park, Colorado.

North Sterling State Park, Colorado.

North Sterling State Park, Colorado.

North Sterling State Park, Colorado.

A dead fish

The fish.

North Sterling State Park, Colorado.

North Sterling State Park, Colorado.

I have no picture of the raccoon. I was not prepared to see anything worth a picture in the restroom and the raccoon was huge. We left it as is, door slightly open, sitting next to the toilet seat.

Posted in Colorado, Photography | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Still Alive

Do you know, what it feels like to wait for a decision about a permanent green card? When you’ve already had a conditional green card for two years but have to apply again, for the permanent 10 year one, just to see the USCIS service center to slow down right before it reaches your application (and of course the applications of everyone else who filed the papers around the same time). When it should be so simple, since you are obviously still very much married to the same husband than three years ago when you first applied for your first green card, but having to prove it by printing out dozens of pictures of you two, inches of documents and some more documents. When you know everything should be fine, and it should just be a matter of waiting, but still your fate is once again in the hands of a faceless bureaucrat and making long term plans feels pointless. When everyone tells you to calm down, because everything should be fine with your application and you know it yourself, but waiting and being patient* have never been your strengths. At least for me there’s a lot of anxiety involved.

Today for the longest time I felt like writing something to my blog. I started to miss this. We haven’t been doing much, the last time we left the state was in October, for the Albuquerque Hot Air Balloon Festival. This weekend we got snowed in. I’ve been working, learning Adobe Lightroom, reading. I had some slow days at work and learned the locations, capitals and flags of all the countries in the world, just to keep myself too busy to not obsess about the filing. Slowly it feels like there might be some room in my mind for the blog too.

California

Picture from San Juan Capistrano, because it was nice and peaceful there.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Garden at San Juan Capistrano, CA.

Garden at San Juan Capistrano, CA.

And some flowers…

*A conversation between my mother and my brother when they visited me here.

Brother: She just needs to be patient, I’m on it, just a little bit longer.

Mother: I don’t think she knows what that word means.

I am trying my best. All I really want for Christmas is the wait to be over and be able to better plan international travel and simply just future here. At least I actually feel like updating this blog. Here’s to hoping it will stay.

Posted in Personal, Photography | Tagged , | 3 Comments

After the Shock

I have to say a little something about the election. If you voted for Donald Trump, you voted against me, who I am (a woman and an immigrant) and the things I stand for (for example protecting the environment and just the basic human rights). There’s no way I’m going to have any respect for that vote. And I had thought the Brexit is the stupidest thing to happen this year.

There’s been some other things going on in my life, visitors from Finland, some big but positive changes at work and getting used to living with the hedgehog, but let’s still head back to happier times before this current election, to California and to the Los Angeles area.

Crystal Cove State Park, California.

Crystal Cove State Park, California.

Our first stop was Crystal Cove State Park. Not much to say, other than the childish joy of wading into the ocean and feeling the cold water on your feet. I could just stare at the sea for hours.

Point Vicente Lighthouse, California.

Point Vicente Lighthouse, California.

The next stop at Los Angeles area was Point Vicente Lighthouse. The lighthouse is private property, but there was a cool little museum close to it, telling the history of the area and the sea and human interactions with the sea. The weirdest thing we saw at the museum: an eye of a whale.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Watts Towers, Los Angeles.

Stop 3 in Los Angeles area was enjoying the sea one last time before heading inland. We stopped at some random beach and relaxed, letting the waves tumble us back to the beach. I started to miss surfing but swimming was fun too. 4: Watts Towers Arts Center. Didn’t get to go inside, but walked around a bit before heading for dinner.

Star of Donald Duck, Los Angeles, California.

Star of Donald Duck, Los Angeles, California.

After dinner we had our final stop in Los Angeles. The star of Donald Duck. Finland and other Nordic countries are crazy about Donald Duck. Back when I thought Donald Trump is just a horrible joke, I used to joke that the worst thing about Donald Trump is that he puts the good name of Donald to shame and I always have to specify that I’m talking about the cartoon duck, not about the hate-mongering orange. Unfortunately I was wrong.

I wish we had more time in Los Angeles. I got quite good in finding the fastest routes around and we got to see quite a lot, especially considering we spent the morning touring the mission and had to leave on time to make it to good ol’ Bakersfield for the night, but it’s such an interesting city. Next time I want to tour some art museums.

Posted in Personal, Photography, Travel | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Time to Breathe

Our next stop after the La Jolla sea lions and camping on the beach was Mission San Juan Capistrano. At this point I was already highly annoyed of our 3rd wheel who didn’t want to do anything and just being grumpy from being in the car almost since Colorado. The place ended up being highly interesting and provided a nice rest stop between Carlsbad and Los Angeles.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Mission San Juan Capistrano, California.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Succulents in the mission garden.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Beautiful lily pond.

Green leaves in the garden.

Green leaves in the garden.

This place turned out to be great. It’s not the most typical place we go to, but gave us a much needed break. I spent a lot of time just sitting in the garden and being alone. And a the place has a bird legend… (Also, Zorro.)

Posted in Photography, Travel | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Sea Lions at La Jolla

The evening of our San Diego day was still spent nearby. We drove up the coast to La Jolla Cove to see the famous sea lions. Cute critters with an impressive set of teeth!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Sea lion at La Jolla Cove, California.

Sea lions in La Jolla, California.

Fat ones…

Sea lions in La Jolla, California.

…and little ones.

My favourite must have been this guy, who was angry at a sandal.

Seagull is angry at a sandal.

It’s ok seagull, I sometimes get angry at a sandal too. I understand you.

Posted in Photography, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , | 7 Comments

How’s It Going?

Things that have been going on this month:

-I turned 34. My husband turned 32. Here is an animation I made for him for his birthday.

-Rocky Mountain National Park to see elks bugling. I can’t stop laughing at them. An elk bull is this majestic animals, then during the elk rut it just pulls it head inwards and kinda screams. (Pictures coming)

-We’ve taken everything out from this perfect weather and tried to do as many things as possible. Photo walks in our neighborhood, picnics, driving up to the mountains to see the fall colours.

RiNo art district in Denver, Colorado.

RiNo art district in Denver, Colorado.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Guanella Pass, Colorado.

-A new family member. His name is Prickly Pear Cactus, he is a hedgehog and he is 8 weeks old.

14360074_634795843365195_3960233079846469632_n1

Prickly Pear Cactus, our baby hedgehog.

Posted in Colorado, Denver, Personal, Photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments