Monday, February 28, 2011

Macro View That Makes A Difference

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“Birds view” from decorated window at the Textile Museum.
for Macro Monday at Lisa’s Chaos
 
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“Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.”
~ William Jones ~
 
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William Jones who? The mathematician? The philologist? The anthropologist? Admiral or soldier? British, US or New Zealand politician? Man on the street? Blogger? Sorry. I have no idea!!! I just saw the quote somewhere – probably in the gadget in my sidebar – and added it in my notebook… Whoever the man was who said it… I like the double twist of the quote. One of those you can chew on for a good while. (Er? But? Hmm. Yes. Or?)
 
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My thoughts with this photo and quote go to New Zealand, to the people living in or otherwise affected by the earthquakes in Christchurch: May you be able to hold on and get ‘a new grip’ and once more rebuild your future, even if vision may seem blurry and confused right now. “Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.”
 
♥ ♥ ♥
 
If you did not already read my post from last Tuesday: Lace, Punch Cards and the World Wide Web, there are some related thoughts there. I refer you back instead of repeating them again.
 
One thing the news of the earthquake in NZ made me do was to ask myself if I know where blogging friends live. The answers vary between exact address (only a few) to not even being sure of the country. What’s more, on my Blogger dashboard list, it happens that I find myself staring at some title, unable to connect blog with blogger. (I suspect others may have the same problems with mine!) Comes from adding quite a few new ones lately that I’ve come across participating in various ‘memes’. 
 
So I spent some time this week on updating my ‘blog rolls’. One advantage of the sidebar gadgets (compared to the dashboard list) is that there I’m able to add a bit to the standard info; giving my memory a bit more to hold on to about who’s who.
 
One of the links I recently added goes to Fi at Four Paws and Whiskers in Christchurch, NZ. A blogger I’ve not been following on a regular basis, but yet familiar from the comment sections of other friends’ blogs. Familiar enough that I did remember her location; so when I heard of the earthquake I thought of her.
 
She has been been doing some really admirable reporting this past week, in the midst of chaos. A living example of acting as if what you do makes a difference. It does make a difference! I’d call some of her posts a “macro” view of the situation – focusing on detail in a way that gives a better understanding of the whole.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Straight Out Of the Loom

… for SOOC Sunday

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“Oh what a tangled web we weave…”
(“… when first we practice to deceive” – Sir Walter Scott)

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… but this one seemed to come out straight in the end!

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“Destiny itself is like a wonderful wide tapestry
in which every thread is guided by an
unspeakably tender hand, placed beside another thread,
and carried by a hundred others.”
~ Rainer Maria Rilke ~

Bookish Temptation

The last week in February in Sweden means Book Sale, where ever in the country you happen to live. This tradition goes back to the 1930s or even earlier. It has changed a bit over the years. Originally  it was an opportunity to get odd copies of books going out of print; nowadays some books are even reprinted in new editions especially for the sale. Even in our digital age it is still quite a popular event though.

In recent years I have not been buying a lot of novels. My bookshelves are full; and having some problems with both neck and eyes I often prefer to listen to audio books now.

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What I’m mostly tempted by at the sales nowadays are illustrated fact-books. Books I wouldn’t buy at their original full price, and the kind I like to return to to look things up in, rather than read them straight through. Books on history, religion, mythology, symbolism, dreams… Last year I bought a book on dragons! (Been meaning to read that one but still haven’t got round to it…)

These are what I came home with yesterday:   

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Now there’s a challenge to get to the bottom of the mysteries!!!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Weekend Reflection–Mirror, Mirror On The Wall

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Not obvious, perhaps, but the photo above is a mirror shot.
Can you see me?

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No, that’s not me!
(She’s got little window reflections in her face…)

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Here I am again, in another mirror.

Still at the Textile Museum
(from where I’ve been posting all week)

The first shot is from the Visitors’ Workshop Corner,
where they also have a clothes rack full of stuff
which you can try on in front of a big mirror.
Before you comment, perhaps I’d better add
that it’s my own clothes I’m wearing.
Just to save us from embarrassment!

The red-and-blue mirror frame is from
the 60’s/70’s Design Exhibition.

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Weekend Reflections
is hosted by James at Newtown Area Photo

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Scroll down or click for
my SkyWatch Friday photo

 

A Clear Blue Sky

… for Sky Watch Friday

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Last Sunday the sunshine on the snow was so bright I had to wear my big dark sunglasses! Spring still seems a long way away, though – it has continued to be very cold all week.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

BTT: Something Old, Something New

Booking Through Thursday

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All other things being equal–do you prefer used books? Or new books? (The physical specimen, that is, not the title.) Does your preference differentiate between a standard kind of used book, and a pristine, leather-bound copy?

Oh… That depends. Most of the books I buy new are paperbacks because they are affordable and take up the least space. It’s only rarely that I buy a book “for the cover”.  My bookshelves all contain a mix of old and new, cheap and a bit more expensive. I categorize my books more by content and size than by looks.

I have few old books that are special to me as carriers of memories rather than for the quality of either content or cover. Most of them either from my own childhood or inherited from my parents or grandparents; or given to me on some special occasion.

In my bookshelves there are also a few old books that I have picked up in second-hand stores or markets. Some randomly, some because I have wanted to read a specific classic and not been able to find a new edition of it. I’ve never gone in for collecting rare books just for the sake of collecting rare books. Some of my own oldest falling-apart paperbacks are of more sentimental value to me. With books that I have read many times, visual memory of that exact copy plays its part too; it’s easier to find my way back to a favourite passage in the old book than in new edition.

Ever since early childhood I’ve also been used to borrowing books from the library. That has its own kind of charm.

Picture: Watercolour of mine from evening classes back in 1995

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

ABC Wednesday–F for Fashion, Fabric, Factory, Furniture

How fortunate for me that the letter F just happens to fit right in with my series of posts from our fabulous Textile Museum.

On the first floor of the museum there is a permanent exhibition of all kinds of old machinery from fabric factories and fashion industry.

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Familiar face?

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On the second floor, there is just now a flashy exhibition of 60’s and 70’s Swedish Design including furniture as well as frocks.

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It tickles my fantasy what that sofa really looks like?

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Maybe it’s just another piece of fold-it-yourself
corrugated cardboard furniture!

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This bedframe seems to be of more durable design.

To see what F’s other friends have found,
go to ABC Wednesday

To see all posts from the Textile Museum on this blog,
click the label Textile Museum.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Lace, Punch Cards and the World Wide Web

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Lacemaking machine:
The machine is equipped with 60 spindles. The pattern is determined by a jacquard pattern card chain.

The Jacquard looms have been called predecessors of  computer technology since they worked with punched cards (holes/no holes, cf 0/1) to control a sequence of operations.

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In a glass case in the machine hall at the Textile Museum there is a model ship. Take a closer look at the sails:

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"Lace is as much about the space between the
threads as it is about the threads themselves."
~ Lori Howe ~

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What the artist behind this work of art was thinking of I’m not sure, but my guess is the ships that first brought the raw material for the cotton industry from far away countries.

The first mechanical cotton mill in Sweden was built in 1813 (as it happens, located in the village where I grew up in the 1960s).

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Two hundred years ago, mail from distant countries travelled no faster than the ships across the oceans. The first commercially successful transatlantic telegraph cable was completed in 1866.

I started preparing this post yesterday. This morning, before I returned to complete my draft and post it, I had a glance at some other blogs. A short comment on one of them alerted me to the fact that there had been new earthquake disasters in Christchurch, New Zealand, while I was asleep. Since there is a 12h time difference this news had not got into my morning paper, and I had not had the radio or TV on in the morning.

So… The first news to reach me about this event was a concerned personal blog comment from a blogger living elsewhere in the world to a blogging friend in NZ. Then I typed a few words into Google, and in an instant I was able to take part of the latest update of the whole row of aftershocks. 

The NZ blogging friends whom I’m following on a regular basis live on the North Island. But my sympathy goes out to them too today, because they in turn have friends in the earthquake area.

In the midst of tragedy I can’t help being in awe of the speed with which news travel nowadays. And all the intricate lace of friendships that is being woven all over the world with the help of those little ‘zeros and ones’…

Monday, February 21, 2011

Macro Monday – Thread

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As every thread of gold is valuable,
so is every moment of time.

~ John Mason ~

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Visitors’ workshop corner at the Textile Museum

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 Macro Monday

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Also in memory of my mother,
* 20 February 1930 + 26 May 2009,
always sewing, knitting and embroidering.
(Habits and skills I have not inherited!)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Textile Museum (1)

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Instead of just continuing to complain about the sameness of winter, I decided to go and visit our Textile Museum. The town where I live (click the About Me tab to see map) was founded on textile industry. The textile museum, housed in an old industry building, has a permanent exhibition of old machinery, as well as temporary art exhibitions.

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Just now the Textile Museum is showing various art objects from their collections; and also a special exhibition of  “rebellious” Swedish design from the 60s and 70s.

I could see no signs to indicate that one was not allowed to take photos… So I snapped away; and will be making use of the results the best I can while waiting for spring.

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Time clock and sewing factory model.

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Singer overlock sewing machine from the 1940s

Friday, February 18, 2011

Weekend Reflection

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Some of you will recognize this statue in the river by now. His name is Bodhy and he was made in the image of his creator. What made me stop and take his picture on this occasion was partly the light reflections on the wall behind him and partly the people on the bench, absorbed in contemplation (or perhaps conversation) of their own. A not too common sight in mid winter.

This photo was taken three weeks ago but as for the amount of snow and ice and light it could just as well have been today. In between we had some thaw and slush but then it froze again and snowed again, and since then it has stayed cold (well below 0°C). No major weather change is predicted for next week either, so in spite of increasing daylight, spring still seems far away.

See more Weekend Reflections at Newtown Area Photo.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Getting Sorted

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If I don’t tell you, you’ll never know. Last week, while snow-chaos was going on outside for two full days, I actually made an heroic effort (in my own humble opinion) to deal with my own chaos of (mostly) white. (I mean paperwork, not laundry.) 

Not only have I managed to reduce the number of notebooks in active use, I’ve also sorted a mountain of various documents which had been piling up over the past 2½ years. I.e. from the day when my father suddenly had to go into hospital and my parents’ whole situation all of a sudden collapsed. (Seven months later mum died. Home care was arranged for dad, and he stayed on in his old home for another year, but last summer he got worse and had to be moved to a group home for seniors.)

Now don’t think I have not been filing anything in the meantime. Actually I sometimes feel like that’s all I’ve been doing the last couple of years! (Well – a bit of blogging in between...) But there has still been this ever growing pile of “pending” stuff that I just never seem to get to the bottom of. Some of it is still pending! But now I’ve filed most of it anyway. Pending or not, there was just no way any more to keep everything on top and within sight. Except possibly to start decorating the walls with it. And I doubt that would have felt very helpful. (I really prefer the wallpaper I got put up when I moved in, just before all this happened…)

There is of course already a new pile growing. Just one day’s average portion of new bureaucratic mail that I couldn’t immediately decide what to do with took care of that…

(Mind you, this was all just paperwork from the last 2½ years. Not the 80 or so years before. That’s all still in The House.)

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Scroll down or click here for my Booking Through Thursday post.

BTT: Romance

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Deb at Booking Through Thursday asks:

“What’s the most romantic book you’ve ever read? (Mind you, I don’t mean the hard-core stuff you hide in plain wrappers under your mattress. I mean True Love, Romance, deeply emotional, heart-tugging, and all that stuff.) And, secondly, did you like it? Is it your usual kind of reading, or did it take you by surprise?”

Sometimes, with questions like this, I guess one had better just go with the first answer that comes to mind. So I’ll do that.

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Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. I don’t have it; and it has been about 40 years since I first read it, and probably 35 since I last read it. I bought the film on DVD a few years ago though. I am not sure if I first saw the film before or after I read the book. That too would have been some time in my upper teens, at the cinema. What I do remember is borrowing the book from the town library. (We lived in a village outside town which had its own small library; which means I did not borrow this book until I had started going to school in town. Probably not until I was 16 and going to  secondary school in the town center. Possibly earlier, though: I had two weeks’ work practice at the library in town in 8th grade, at the age of 14.) I can see before my inner eye where in the library the book stood. It was bigger than a Bible, a comparison that came easily to mind because the text was printed in two columns on each page (first time I ever saw that except in a Bible) and it had a red library cover. I think I borrowed it at least twice within a few years time.

Then there is of course Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. I reread that one only a couple of years ago. And Jane Austen’s novels: Emma, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Persuasion, Northanger Abbey, Mansfield Park. All read more than twice.

I have a feeling that over the years I must also have read a number of romances more or less copying Jane Eyre: Governess coming to manor house or castle to teach some widower’s children or a bachelor’s nieces, revealing deep dark family secrets, and happy end… But I can’t recall specific titles or authors.

… Oh, one name just fluttered by. Victoria Holt. Looking her up in Wikipedia now, I find to my astonishment that she wrote under several other pen names as well. Her real name was Eleanor Hibbert and it seems that during her life (1906-1993) she wrote well over 200 novels! Gosh. I had no idea. I guess I might have read half a dozen at the most.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

ABC Wednesday – E for Electricity

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Electricity! What would we do without it? … For one thing, I would not be writing this, and you would not be reading it!

Looking up the word electricity in Wikipedia just now, I learned (or possibly re-learned?) this:

The word is from the New Latin ēlectricus, "amber-like", coined in the year 1600 from the Greek ήλεκτρον (electron) meaning amber (hardened plant resin), because static electricity effects were produced classically by rubbing amber. (Did you know that? I’m not sure if I knew that. If I did, I had forgotten.)

Long before any knowledge of electricity existed people were aware of shocks from electric fish. Ancient Egyptian texts dating from 2750 BC referred to these fish as the "Thunderer of the Nile".

Greek/Roman writers in the first century AD, like Pliny the Elder and Scribonius Largus (court physician to the Roman emperor Claudius) attested to the numbing effect of electric shocks delivered by catfish and torpedo rays, and knew that such shocks could travel along conducting objects. Scribonius reported back in 63 AD that pain was relieved by standing on an electrical fish at the seashore. Patients suffering from ailments such as gout or headache were directed to touch electric fish in the hope that the powerful jolt might cure them.

Two thousand years later, I am using TENS = Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation for pain relief (i.e. nerve stimulation by electrodes placed on the skin).

In the 16th through the 18th century various electrostatic devices were used for headache and other pains. Benjamin Franklin, inventor of the lightning rod, was one proponent.

The first modern, patient-wearable TENS was patented in the United States in 1974. Initially intended for testing the tolerance of chronic pain patients to electrical stimulation before implantation of electrodes in the spinal cord dorsal column, it turned out that some patients got relief from the transcutaneous stimulation (and found that helpful enough not to want the implantation).

I got my own unit ten years ago when I (and my physiotherapist) had been trying just about everything else on the neck-shoulder-arm pains I had contracted in connection with a seemingly minor accident, and which were turning chronic. I immediately found it helpful even if not a “cure” (no more than pain killer tablets are a cure). One of the major advantages was that I could use it myself at home whenever I felt the need. I still have pain problems; but I also still find TENS helpful and am convinced that I would be worse off without it.

Actually TENS was not on my mind when I started this electricity post, but the references I found to electric fish took me there. In the first years of my pain problems I must have read a dozen books on pain and treatment of pain. But as far as I can recall, none of them mentioned standing on electric fish on the beach.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Macro Monday: Valentine’s Day

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 ♥ ♥ ♥

Wishing You All a
   Happy Valentine’s Day
with Lots of Love

♥ ♥ ♥

Monica

 

Macro Monday

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Boots On the Table, Please!

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Ah, fill the Cup! What boots it to repeat
How time is slipping underneath our Feet.
Unborn To-morrow, and dead yesterday
Why fret about them if today be sweet?

'Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam’ (11th century)
translated by Edward FitzGerald (1809-1883)


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For Straight-Out-Of-the-Camera Sunday

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Weekend Reflections: Winter Promenade

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The Promenade along the river in the town centre. The white wall on the right was artfully decorated last year with mirrors reflecting the town park on the other side of the river. But on this day (a couple of weeks ago) it was the upside-down world in the water that caught my attention.

For more reflection photography, visit Weekend Reflections, hosted by James at Newtown Area Photo. 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Chaos

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I used to be an organized person. I worked as a secretary, for goodness sake! Now I’m not working, and yet can’t seem to keep on top even of my own paperwork. Well, to be fair – my own plus my father’s.

In connection with a phone call today, I found myself in need of making even more memo notes, and desperation started to well up! Where?! I have notes and notebooks all over the place: On my writing desk and on the notice board behind the desk; by the computer, on the computer and in the computer; stacked in piles, boxes, baskets, pigeonholes, binders and folders; in my pocket diary and on a wall calendar, in notepads and notebooks, on sticky notes and whiteboards, on the refrigerator and the freezer.

(Yes, I have tried using the digital sticky notes on the computer desktop. That just seemed to make things worse.)

I just made a tour round the flat, collecting ALL of my current notepads. Somehow, I doubt that the best solution is to add yet another one…

BTT: Ground Floor

 
Booking Through Thursday:

There’s something wonderful about getting in on the ground floor of an author’s career–about being one of the first people to read and admire them, before they became famous best-sellers.

Which authors have you been lucky enough to discover at the very beginning of their careers?


And, if you’ve never had that chance, which author do you WISH you’d been able to discover at the very beginning?
On Wednesday there was also a BTT special about a giveaway of a book by a debutant author. Just enter a comment at that post for your chance to win – if you live in the US, that is. Since I don’t, I just wish those who do good luck!
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Now I have to think… Are there any authors I have been lucky enough to ‘discover’ at the very beginning of their careers?

I’m not sure. If there are, they are probably Swedish… Hmm. The first who comes to mind and whose books have also been translated into English is Karin Alvtegen (grandniece of world famous author of children’s books Astrid Lindgren).


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Karin Alvtegen, born 8 June 1965


Her genre is crime fiction but not the regular detective stories. There is no common background story in her novels so you don’t have to bother about in which order to read them. Perhaps I can’t really claim to have caught her on ‘the ground floor’, since it was her second book that I read first. But that one was also the first one to get translated into English - entitled Missing - and I did read it before that.  I first listened to it as audio book in 2002. In 2003 it was published in English, and in 2006 an English TV series was based on it. In 2009 it was published in the United States and nominated for the 2009 Edgar Award for best novel by the Mystery Writers of America. Besides that one she has written five more novels. The last one from 2010 may not yet have been translated, but the previous ones have.


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Joanne Rowling, born 31 July 1965


Can’t claim to have discovered the Harry Potter books right from the start either, but I am glad that I did get acquainted with them about half way through. I did not read the first four books until 2002. But with the last three I shared the thrill of getting the new book on the first day of release (the same date all over the world). Between the last two books I also got involved in an internet fan forum and the speculations going on there, which was a lot of fun. I really learned a lot from it – not only about the Harry Potter world. It was a great place to get into international discussion about all kinds of literature and odd bits of this and that. Without that experience, I’m not sure I would have got it into my head to blog in English either. It was the forum discussions that first got me hooked on the whole world-wide communication thing.


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As for authors I wish I’d been able to discover at the very beginning, I can imagine it must have been a great thrill to be among the first readers of Charles Dickens (1812-1870), who wrote and published many of his works in serialized form in magazines. Unlike other authors Dickens often created the episodes as they were being serialized; so the first discussions of his stories among readers were held before they were completed. (Reminding somewhat of the Harry Potter discussions while that series was being written; or of soap opera kind of TV series.)
 
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