Saturday, April 30, 2011

Saturday Surprise: Me For A Change

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I got my new glasses yesterday and decided to celebrate (?) with some self-portrait exercises. I know that some of you think that you don’t get to see enough of me, personally… ;) I usually much prefer to be behind the camera rather than in front of it…

Friday, April 29, 2011

Weekend Reflection: Mill Wheel

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Old mill, new wheel…
I wish it were as simple with us humans sometimes! ;)

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

2 Cor 4/ St. Paul

For more Weekend Reflections, visit Newtown Area Photo.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Catching Up

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Visiting Ginny’s post All Ears yesterday made me realize that perhaps for the first time (?) I put up no Easter decorations at all in my flat this year. Not that I have a lot of them, but usually I do take out the few items that I have. This year, I completely forgot about them!

I think it was the fact that Easter was so late, and that Nature decided to provide outdoor decorations of its own. Starting with the blue canvas of the sky, the sun as its brush, and bird song for encouragement, over Easter it painted the treetops green, and added splashes of colour in every glade, park and garden: white wood anemones, blue hepatica, yellow daffodils and forsythia bushes, pink cherry blossoms, and lots of others besides. 

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It was perhaps also the fact that my brother and I spent most of Friday and Saturday at The House outside town which has been standing empty since last summer (when dad had to go into hospital and from there moved to a geriatric care center). N.b. “empty” refers to absence of residents – not “stuff”…

Our grandparents built the original house in 1930. Dad grew up there. In our childhood and youth, our grandparents still lived there. Then for a while it was kept as summer cottage. In the early 90s an extension was added, and our parents moved in, and lived there for  17 years. There’s also an outbuilding as old as the original house. (Full of… Not sure what, but full!)

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We’re planning to hire a rubbish container for a week in the summer, but even that will just mean making a start. (The only things burning in this picture are branches that had fallen from the trees in the winter.)

In the meantime we’ve at least managed to secure the services of the same guy who mowed the lawns and did some other outdoor jobs for us last summer. Just to basically try to stop the garden from getting totally overgrown.

We also visited dad where he is living now. (Unfortunately he is in need of too much help now for it to be possible for us to take him with us to his old home even for a short visit.)

And we stopped by the cemetery where mum is buried, and several ancestor’s on dad’s side of the family.

So it was a strange kind of Easter in some ways; but the fine weather did help.

I also had to spend some time on tax declaration forms this week; and tomorrow I’m expecting a visit from friends who will be staying the night. So if I’m not around visiting other blogs as much as usual (or even my own) just now… that’s why!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

ABC Wednesday: O is for Old(field)

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Listen (at YouTube) to Sally Oldfield singing Water Bearer.

Or just look a while at these old trees in an old field…
Somehow they always remind me of the Ents in The Lord of the Rings...

Monday, April 25, 2011

Macro Monday: Cherry Blossom Time

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From weather point of view we had an amazing Easter weekend with summer temperatures and all of nature suddenly bursting out in colour all at once. I don’t quite know where to start so why not with the very latest. On a walk this afternoon I passed this little park with half a dozen or more cherry blossom trees all at their most intense. I know the place from before and I decided I had probably better go and have a look today. I’m glad I did!

See more Macro Monday at Lisa’s Chaos

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Booking Through Thursday: Cover




Today Deb asks: CAN you judge a book by its cover?

Short question, and my answer will be short as well. It depends on what you mean... It does happen that I pick up a book in a shop or at the library because the cover caught my attention. So the cover is not unimportant. However, the final judgement of any book will of course have to wait until I see if the contents meet my expectations. An interesting cover does not make up for a boring book!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

ABC Wednesday - N for Narcissus

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This is a collage from last spring, showing several different kinds of Narcissus that I found growing in my neighbourhood.

In Sweden we associate the yellow ones with Easter, calling them “Easter lilies”; while we usually refer to the white ones with yellow in the middle as “Pentecost lilies”. In English I would spontaneously have called the yellow one in the middle daffodil, and the white ones narcissus. Noticing last year how many varieties there really were though, I realized that it’s not quite as simple as that… (If anyone has opinions, please share!)

There are two derivations of the name Narcissus. One is that of a young man in Greek mythology who became so obsessed with his own reflection in a pool that he fell into the water and drowned. The Narcissus plant first sprang from where he died.

The other derivation is that the plant is named after its narcotic properties (ναρκάω narkao, "to grow numb" in Greek). All Narcissus varieties are poisonous.

The name Daffodil is derived from an earlier "Affodell", a variant of Asphodel. In Greek legend the asphodel is one of the most famous plants connected with the dead and the underworld.

Anyway, this year our ‘Easter lily’, the yellow daffodil or narcissus, is springing into bloom just in time for Easter around here, even in the parks and gardens; thanks to the last few days of warm and sunny weather. The photos below is from today.

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Happy Easter!

Monica

ABC Wednesday / Letter N 

Monday, April 18, 2011

More Signs of Spring

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“It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important.”
~
Arthur Conan Doyle ~

No doubt about it any more: Spring is here. Found the first wood anemones today! Not in the woods but on a sunny bank by the river on my way back from the supermarket in the afternoon.

When I got up this morning the world outside my windows was all foggy and the thermometer showed +5°C . Going out at 8.45 am to take the bus to the rehab pool at the hospital, I put my winter jacket on. Going home 2½ hours later, it was getting sunnier, but I still did not really feel too hot in the winter jacket.

A few hours later, it was summer.
+20 in the shadow, nearly 30 in the sun on my balcony!

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There is one drawback, though… The allergy season has started too. I felt it already when I woke up in the morning… I suspect I forgot to take my evening dose of inhalers and sprays last night. I did take them in the morning, but I still got a sneeze attack later while in the pool! (Which makes one feel very silly!)

 

 

 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Spring Flowers in the Park

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This week they started planting spring flowers in the town park. These are all pansies in different colours along the water.

Except for Thursday afternoon when I took this, it’s been a greyish kind of week and I haven’t been out with the camera much.

So this photo is for both Straight Out Of the Camera Sunday
and
Weekend Reflections.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

BTT: Personality

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Watercolour by Lars Lerin (photo taken by me at an exhibition in 2010)

Deb’s Booking Through Thursday question  for 14th April, 2011

“In a related question to last week’s–

I was reading the other day a quote from JFK Jr who said on the death of his mother, that she died surrounded by family, friends, and her books. Apparently, Jackie’s books were very much a part of HER, her personality, her sense of self.

Up until recently, people could browse your bookshelves and learn a lot about you–what your interests are, your range of topics, favorite authors, how much you read (or at least buy books).

More and more, though, this is changing. People aren’t buying books so much as borrowing them from the library. Or reading them on their e-readers or computers. There’s nothing PHYSICAL on the shelves to tell strangers in your home, for better or worse, who you ARE.

Do you think this is a good thing? Bad? Discuss!”

My answer from last week will tell you that I very much surround myself with books; and yes, even if I also borrow from the library, and use the computer, my books do say something about me and my life. (As do my photo albums, and CDs, and DVDs.)

On the other hand, not a whole lot of complete strangers enter my home nowadays. If I hold on to my books it’s for myself; not really for other people.

Social habits are changing too – I mean in society at large, not just mine. The new way to show others who you are – including what you read, and what you listen to – is probably your website, your blog, your Facebook account etc. And most likely you share those with more people than those who physically enter your home.

I’m not sure I believe in extremes, either way. I suspect computers and printed books will continue to co-exist for some time yet, because we rather like to surround ourselves with “things”. But I think comparisons also need a bit of historical perspective. Go back one hundred years and very few people had a ‘library’, an even smaller number had a telephone, and radio was still just an experiment… Personalities, however, have existed for much longer. And we still read and retell stories today of personalities who lived hundreds and even thousands of years ago. That, I think, is something that will not cease to fascinate us.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

ABC Wednesday: M for Moya, and Music

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Moya (Máire) Brennan (born 4 August 1952), is an Irish folk singer, songwriter and harpist. She began her career in the family band Clannad in 1970. Her first solo album was released in 1992, and since then she has produced several more. (I am the happy owner of six of them from between 1998-2008.)

Moya’s sister Enya (born 1961) also made a successful solo career.

Moya’s music is usually classified as Celtic, and sometimes as New Age - many of her lyrics however are clearly Christian.

Listen to and watch Moya at YouTube, singing Tara from the album Two Horizons: 

If the embedded video does not work, try this link:
http://youtu.be/lA_-YqMp_LM

Monday, April 11, 2011

Water and Sun

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From this week I’m back to routines – two mornings a week in the (indoors, heated) rehab pool. I’ve been on a break/waiting list since Christmas. Having the break during the cold winter months had two sides to it (I could have used the exercise, but on the other hand I didn’t have to wonder on every snowy morning whether to venture out or to cancel). Just now it feels good to start again at a time when one no longer needs to dress like the Michelin man to go out.

We’ve enjoyed three days of sunny spring weather. Today I spent the morning (okay, 45 minutes of the morning) in warm water; and part of the afternoon in my sun lounger on the balcony.

Later on in the summer, there will be days when it gets too hot to sit there in the sun. But in the spring, and in the autumn, it is a blessing to be able to catch the first and the last sunny days.

Today as I sat there I watched (and listened to) gulls soaring high above against a clear blue sky, and occasionally landing on the roofs nearby. They are a sign of spring, since I live an hour’s drive or so from the coast, but only a short walk from the river… The sound of the gulls means spring/summer to me. They give me a summer holiday feeling. Sitting in the sun, and listening to the gulls… if I close my eyes I could just as well be by the sea.

Not much use trying to catch gulls with my camera… I tried yesterday down at the river but they escaped me. The mallards were a bit more cooperative!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Spring!

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The sun came out of the clouds on Friday afternoon and in spite of still very chilly winds, it finally felt like spring. In the town square, besides bunches of twigs decorated with colourful feathers (common decorations for Lent and Easter here), they were selling pansies… I bought four plants for my balcony box.

Saturday was even sunnier, and what’s more, the wind changed direction… Which meant that for the first time this year, I could spend a whole afternoon out on the balcony. I got my plastic rugs and sun lounger up from the storage room, and after arranging things, I just sat (comfortably leaned back) for about 2½ hours (listening to a book in my mp3-player)… I could hardly believe it. Protected from the wind I didn’t even need my winter jacket, just a thin jeans-jacket (and sunglasses and a hat!). Mind you, that was because the wind direction happened to be in my favour for once… (it usually isn’t). Going for a walk I still need the winter jacket; and next week is likely to be rainy again. But I’m thankful for this day.

- - -

Linking to Straight Out Of the Camera Sunday/murrieta365.com

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Saturday Surprise

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Going into town, one never knows what one might come across!

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The library was having some kind of drive for children’s books.
The last two are unknown to me, but the others I recognize:

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Pettson and Findus is a series of children’s books by Swedish author and illustrator of children’s books Sven Nordqvist. The books feature an old farmer (Pettson) and his cat (Findus) who live in a small ramshackle farmhouse in the countryside.

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Mamma Moo and the Crow by Jujja and Thomas Wieslander, illustrated by Sven Nordqvist.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Thursday, April 7, 2011

BTT: On Display and Tucked Away

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Booking Through Thursday question from Deb:

So … the books that you own (however many there may be) … do you display them proudly right there in plain sight for all the world to see? (At least the world that comes into your living room.) Or do you keep them tucked away in your office or bedroom or library or closet or someplace less “public?”

My answer: Yes. And yes!

That is – having lots of books, and not all that much space, I have books both here and there!

Where I live now, I’m lucky enough to have a separate study, and besides a lot of files and paperwork, I probably keep about 60% of my books in there. But there are books in the living room as well.

A visitor who examines only the shelves in my living room will find predominantly Swedish novels (or novels in Swedish), photo albums, and miscellaneous fact books, mostly history. And CDs and DVDs. However, the door to my study is usually open, so by all means, feel free… Here you’ll find more fact books: dictionaries and grammar books, medical and psychology books, theology, religion, mythology, literary history. But also most of my English paperbacks, from the classics (Austen, Brontë, Dickens) to fantasy (Lord of the Rings, Narnia, Harry Potter). And high up on the top shelf some German classics, too.

If you’re the really nosy kind of visitor, you might even be tempted to peep under the curtain covering the back of a shelf sticking out from the wall. Sorry to disappoint: the curtain mainly serves as decoration and dust cover. You’ll find some old children’s books under there but not because I particularly want to hide them – just making best use of all available shelf space!

And the bedroom? Yes, there is a small bookshelf in there too. Novels waiting to be read; library books; audio books; and one or two others that one might suddenly feel a need for in the middle of the night. (Like a Bible, a couple of dictionaries and a small world atlas!)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

ABC Wednesday – L for Lilies

2010 07 28 lilies

While waiting for spring:
Luxurious Lilies from last summer.

Flower language symbolism:
White Lily: virginity, purity and majesty;
Yellow: gaiety; Orange:
passion; Red: love.

… … …

In my blog Through My Spectrespecs
you will also find an L-post today.

… … …

To see what other people have come up with
for the letter L, visit ABC Wednesday.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Walk A Mile In My Shoe

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“Three quarters of the miseries and misunderstandings in the world would finish if people were to put on the shoes of their adversaries and understood their points of view”
~ Mahatma Gandhi ~

PS: It’s not actually my shoe. I saw it “back stage” at the fashion show in the town square (see yesterday’s post); and no Cinderella in sight… Maybe it filled some purpose, but to me it is not obvious what that might have been! 

Sunday, April 3, 2011

SOOC Sunday: Fog and Fashion

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This straight-out-of-the-camera photo should give you an idea of the oppressive fog that was hovering over the town yesterday…

I made an effort to get myself out of my own fog and down town to watch a fashion show that was set up in the town square. It was hard to get in a good position to take photos, and my camera is also really not the best for this kind of thing. So I didn’t get a whole lot of shots worth showing – especially not without editing. But here are a few that I hope will give you an idea. (Two or three have been cropped a little but otherwise no editing.)

The clothes are from the local shops and the models were all local amateurs doing this for the chance to be a fashion model for a day.

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Notice the bare feet… brrr…

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There were littl’uns too!

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Back stage

… … …

Straight Out Of the Camera Sunday
is hosted by Jan at murrieta365.com

Friday, April 1, 2011

1st April Weekend Reflection: Grumbling Giant

Not a good Skywatch Friday today. Not even a really good day for Weekend Reflections. At least not if you want them all peaceful and sunny… However, since I’m in a sort of distorted kind of mood myself, this might do:

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Even better upside-down, perhaps.
Doesn’t it look rather like a frowning, grumbling giant?

Another sight that fitted my mood:

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Can’t you just feel the mood of the person who thrust the umbrella in there?
(No… It wasn’t me… honest…)

Sorry. I should be happy that the snow is gone again and the streets bare. And yet a grey pre-spring day like this can be thoroughly depressing. It is not to be trusted. It lays a shawl of heavy greyness on my shoulders, winds sharp steel wires around my collarbone, shoots pain up my neck, and numbness down my arm. It reminds of protections gone with the wind, chances lost and hopes dissolved. It unmercifully reveals every scar and wrinkle, and sends back grotesque and distorted images...

Jo Rowling describes it rather well with the Dementors in the Harry Potter series:

“… they glory in decay and despair, they drain peace, hope and happiness out of the air around them…” ~ The Prisoner of Azkaban, Ch 10 ~

Help. I need some colour, quick!

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Florist’s shop to the rescue.
And a mixed salad to save me from my own uninspired cooking.

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I found they had put up a salad bar in the grocery store so you can put your own takeaway salad together just as you want it. (There’s a lot more stuff in there than what shows in the photo. Tomatoes, cucumber, kidney beans, pasta, cheese, three kinds of melon and whatnot.)

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