Posts Tagged ‘Life’

Midsummer is extremely important time for celebration for Finns. People flock into summer cottages and celebrate the long, light summer nights. No matter what is the weather, people leave the cities and head towards lake side cottages, festivals, camping sites – being close to lakes & nature, seems to be essential.

For nearly 20 years, we have spent Midsummer time  by Takajärvi, ” the Lake Taka”, by the summer cottage of my in laws, who have kindly offered a place for a crowd of  “Midsummer Orphans”.

This year the cottage become ours, and tradition continued.  And about 20 adults and 15 kids celebrated the summer again together. It was exceptionally rainy and cold – somehow it did not seem to matter, it was nice to be back to Takajärvi with friends. Some of our children have spend all their Midsummers here, with the “Midsummer Family”.

This year people shared their feelings also via Facebook statuses & discussions – and with Twitter, and with pictures in Flickr …

Merja … “observes nature’s cycles: the second generation of the Midsummer Family sits at the lakeside playing guitar. Suddenly we have a gang of teenagers instead of children.”  “… enjoys life …”

Kaisa … “ +10c and rain; several really new, fun-related innovations done. “

We were talking about social media, laughing to ourselves sitting next to each other, and posting comments on Facebook.  Social media enables us to stay connected also other times. Some are more active than others.  And we have been using social media for practicalities as well …  invitations are sent by -e-mail, including a link to Doodle – where we can see when people will arrive and leave. This year Rita co-ordinated responsibilities for various meals.  In 2007  we were using Kotikokki – for sharing menu & recipes.

This year my friend Kristiina was arranging at the same time “Midsummer Festival Simulation Party” in winter weather at Pretoria, South-Africa, which was far warmer than we had.  And we were also exchanging ideas how to simulate  Finnish midsummer into other side of the world…

Together we try out new things, share experiences and learn and enjoy life.   It is all about meaningful connections among people…  Even I enjoy experimenting with social media – I am also  already looking forward for the 20th Year Anniversary Midsummer Festivals by Takajärvi!


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Special places and patterns can be very delightful.

In our holiday in South Africa – patio by Ivory Tree Game Lodge and peaceful place by swimming pool at Kristiina’s house offered special places for morning yoga.

The special places can be every where, but do we recognize them, do we take time to enjoy them and do we remember them ?

In Kristiina’s garden I spotted heart shaped “for-get-me-nots”,  like the one I found last summer in our backyard. Little special patterns can also be all around us, but do we perceive them, do we stop to enjoy the beauty – are we able to remember our past experiences.

Contradictions of summer and winter strengthen experiences – opposites of cold and warm, light and darkness. Lately we have been enjoying snow and winter, skiing, skating, making snowmen, long walks by the sea around the nearby islands.

Each season has their own specialties – places and patterns.
Appreciating and enjoying them enriches life.

Things have been a bit hectic lately – taking time to stop and think, percieve and feel, stopping for an experience, delightful sight, sound or smell is fundamentally essential for enjoable life and learning.

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Amazingly nice weather over last weekend. We went skating to Lake Bodom, in north Espoo, and the ice was so smooth and clear, that you could see trough it, and the reflections were so clear.  There were quite a few people, yet plenty of space for all.

The nature offered also artistic experiences – small, delightful ice
sculptures,  tiny dog & bird figures and bubbles, captured in the ice. Days like this – I remember why I love winter time, and actually the differences allow us appreciate & enjoy more each season.

In the area there is Oittaa Centre, where you can rent skates, and skiing equipment, and if you dare – have a swim in the icy water. Below is winter swimming area – very cool and very refreshing, sauna facilities and restaurant area are very nice.

Things will be rather hectic during this spring. However, as a new year resolution, I will try to find also time capture some special moments and thoughts in my blog.

This is the first blog post to this with the new computer Dell Latitude XT Touch  Tablet PC , the user experience is just wonderful.  After 6 years of using IBM Think Pad, I wanted to try out something totally new.  Still learning some things of touch UI and Vista … will take some time to get the best out of this new set up.  But now it seems, I would not like to go back to traditional laptop…  Yet it is  a bit annoying that I have  boot the thing rather often, but so far benefits have been exceeding the problems. Tablet is really great for  Social Media.

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Heart shaped stones – from walks by the beach, from Sandy Hook, New Jersey. Tomi and I collected sea shells, small round stones, and heart shaped stones on long walks by the beach during summers 2001 & 2002.

The white stone is from Pikisaari, Lappeenranta. Close by where my mother lives, from walks around the island, summer 2007.

And I was so happy to find this picture of heart shaped stones in my favorite home decoration shop – Kokoro in Maplewood, New Jersey, while visiting friends there after 4 years we moved from there back to Finland.

So I was again so happy, actually thrilled to find a huge heart shaped stone in our backyard last weekend, for me it has such a special meaning and many good connected memories, from summer walks. Sometimes unexpected treasures can be found closer than we think. Home is where your heart is!

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Learning in Monkey Style

This week there  was an interesting article in the Finnish Science (Tiede) magazine about Japanese snow monkeys – Macaque. It was rather funny to see that, these monkeys have learned enjoy bathing and they actually have their own spas built for them, so that they would not enter onsens in their neighborhood.

What really triggered my interest was how did the snow monkeys learn taking baths, and the way did it actually happened. It was accidental discovery by a young female macaque “Mukubili” . She reached too far when drying to catch some floating soy beans, and fell into a hot spring. She liked the sensation much , and began regular bathing. Other young monkeys got curious and tried it as well.  Then the mothers joined in, and after a while the whole troop was into bathing. However, the older male macaques seem to avoid bathing since their tick and fluffy fur looks less impressive after bath.

This story really made me think how people learn. Lately, I have thinking about how can Social Media be used and utilized in business context, and how new ways of working will start and how they will diffuse to wider communities. For some people it seems like a natural evolutionary and easy step, but for some not. The diffusion will take some time.

Japanese Macaque are known of their survival skills, learning and intelligence. About 15 years ago I had an opportunity to visit at Tōshōgū shrine, Nikkō, Japan. There are the famous Three Wise Monkeys carved on a stable housing sacred horses  “Hear no evil. Speak no evil. See no evil.” It emphasizes the positive thinking and seeing good in everything.  This attitude – naive and altruistic – can be helpful when learning new ways of working. Keeping your mind open for new things, looking for possible benefits, and not too much worried about possible disadvantages.

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Sharing & Learning

Sometimes my friends or colleagues ask how do I keep up with – family & friends, work & studies, garden & hobbies etc. And do I spend most of my time by computer… Have not really measured that, but yes lately I have spent quite a lot of time in my favorite armchair with laptop, since writing a dissertation just takes time. However, there has to be time for personal recreation as well. And for me that is time with the family & gardening.

For social media and following my favorite blogs, I have tried to make it as easy as possible. So I use Flock – a social media browser for connections to Facebook & Flickr, for following some of the favorite blogs and for my own blogging as well. Flock provides a one stop shop for all social media connections & internet activities. It requires a bit of tailoring for own your needs, but it is worth it, afterwards usability is great.

And what kind of blogs do I follow …
currently a very limited selection, since I should spend more time writing than reading.

  • Coevolving Innovations & Distractions, reflections… by David Ing , David is a long time friend working for IBM – and he has been personal guide into the virtual worlds & social media since 1999. In 2000 David built a virtual Systemic Business Community of liked minded group of people, so we could be better connected, even we are continents apart. And David records there all meetings, presentations, recordings, & notes etc. Notifications of these came to my e-mail before I even knew what RSS was … He also set a virtual working space for Rendez project, where I started experimenting with blogs, and posted some innovation related things.
  • ELSUA ~ A KM blog by Luis Suarez – Luis I met in iForum event in Zurich, and before the meeting David who had followed Luis’s blog for a longer time and been in contact him yet never met face-to-face, recommended me to talk with Luis. A great guy – and writes about really interesting things related to social media.
  • Gumption by Joe McCarthy – My ex-Nokia colleague, we have met in real life and in SecondLife. Joe has been blogging for years before joining Nokia and also after leaving Nokia. Interesting reflective blogs, from multitude of things… and social media 🙂
  • What’s Next by Roo Reynolds – Roo I met also in iForum meeting. He is a Virtual world evangelist in IBm, actually I had been reading his writings in the Eightbar blog a year earlier, when I was investigating business presence in SecondLife.
  • Web Strategy by Jeremiah Owyang – Jeremiah is a senior analyst in Forrester Research. His blog I run into at work, and he was also recommended by Luis. Jeremiah writes about social networking & social media, very interesting posts.
  • What’s Next Consulting by Elina Hiltunen. We used to work together at Helsinki University of Technology and Elina is working with the future research and weak signals.
  • Oikeita totuuksia by Eero Holmila. With Eero we have met a couple of times. We is a founding member of Kotikokki and did his master thesis on social media and mobile services. I like to follow his observations on social media.

And for personal recreation I follow blogs by an other Elina :

So it seems I mostly follow blogs of the people I already know and trust, I have found their thoughts and ideas interesting in a real life and then decided to get connected in virtual world as well. I have not been that active in commenting their writings yet – working with dissertation take most of my capacity. However, their writings have been really valuable for me, for studies, for work and for recreation and fun.

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This weekend we will have an opportunity to meet with old friends in Hämeenlinna. 25 years ago I graduated from Hämeenlinnan Lyseon Lukio. And now it is time to get together with class mates and old teachers.


First there will be a session at the old school with traditional coffee and cake, introduction to schools new premises and donating a grant for successful students who graduate this year, actually within a couple of weeks. In the evening we will continue with a dinner party at Vanajanlinna . There will be ~ 50 people participating, and it will be so interesting to see and hear what has happened within the past 25 year.

It is odd to think that I never actually left the school life. After graduation I have been continuously studying for the next degree. After graduation I had been admitted to the Helsinki University of Technology TKK, yet I decided to spend a year in a very different context at Lepaa Rural Home Making School – that school does dot exist any more, but the neighbor Lepaa Gardening School is still there. It was actually during that year when I had my first official introduction to gardening. We could use the facilities for the neighbor school, which provided excellent opportunities for learning in practical context. After that I entered TKK and have been studying or working there ever since on and off. Now finally that stage of life will be over, but I guess learning will always be part of my life. But this weekend will be a great opportunity for reflection and celebration.

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