Tuesday, May 31, 2011

ABC Wednesday: T for Tea

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I’m a tea-lover. I never learned to like coffee; I always drink tea.

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Did you know that…

Tea is the second most consumed beverage in the world, second only to water.

The earliest records of usage of tea as a beverage go back to the 10th century BC in China.

There are four main types of tea: white, green, oolong, and black,
which all come from the same plant, Camellia Sinensis. The classification is based on how the tea is produced and processed.

In East Asian culture, the term "red tea" has always been used to represent what the West understands as "black tea". This can be confusing in the English speaking world because “red tea” is now also used for the drink made with the South African rooibos plant (which has nothing to do with the Camellia Sinensis plant).

An average serving of coffee contains 145 mg of caffeine, the same serving size of black tea provides 50-60 mg, and green tea 25 mg.

Both green and black tea infusions contain antioxidants.

Tea is good for the heart, and for the blood pressure.

Tea also helps regulate cholesterol and blood-glucose, is good in several ways for the intestinal system, boosts the immune system, has some anti-cancer properties, and helps fight cavities.

Recently a study also showed that people who consumed tea had significantly less cognitive decline than non-tea drinkers.

(Facts picked from various websites including Wikipedia)

Monday, May 30, 2011

Macro Monday: Your World for the Moment

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When you take a flower in your hand and
really look at it, it's your world for the moment.
I want to give that world to someone else.
Most people in the city rush around so,
they have no time to look at a flower.
I want them to see it whether they want to or not.

~ Georgia O'Keeffe ~

- - -

Macro Monday / Lisa’s Chaos

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sunday Summary

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Straight Out Of the Camera Sunday

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Short summary of the week: I envy that gull his bendable neck!

Extended summary:
Weather-wise and otherwise it’s been a  rollercoaster ride of a week.

The “otherwise” has to do with mixed news about friends; and also what one blogging friend (Rae) calls “badiversaries” (more explicitly this week was two years since my mother’s sudden death).

“Weather-wise” we’ve had the kind of low pressure weather that seems to literally just knock me out flat these days. In some ways worse than the cold mid-winter (or maybe that’s just short memory on my part). Anyway my neck and shoulder have been in very uncooperative achy mood; to the point of nausea.

Yesterday as I walked into town (slowly, and carefully balancing my head), besides thinking I should have taken my winter coat out of the wardrobe again, I found myself seriously wishing (not for the first time!) for a way to leave my head and right arm back home in bed, and only take the rest of me to town. But then again… nah… I guess I’d probably need my head… But what if I could just carry it under my left arm instead?

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This is not straight out of the camera!
(Found it on some website for kids, Halloween section.)

Hmm. I’m guessing such an arrangement might make it rather hard to handle the camera, though... Not to mention how many people I’d scare out of their wits, I suppose! ;)

For now I guess I’m stuck with the duller kind of compromises. 

Friday, May 27, 2011

Weekend Reflections: Ducklings

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For some time now, I’ve only been seeing the male mallards swimming about in the river playing grass widowers. (Just for once, I wish I was writing this in Swedish, because the Swedish name for mallard translates “grass duck”.)

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Yesterday, however, I noticed some females were back… With their babies! (Just in time for Mother’s Day here in Sweden.)

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Not easy to catch with camera, though!  There were so many reflections in the water that they made themselves almost invisible. How many ducklings can you see in picture below?

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There are five little ones + mummy

Photography lesson learned: Even though I now have a camera with more zoom capacity, before I have zoomed in, the birds have disappeared way out of my focus!
– LOL –

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Booking Through Thursday


Do you ever feel like you’re in a reading rut? That you don’t read enough variety? That you need to branch out, spread your literary wings and explore other genres, flavors, styles?

I'd say my whole life tends to get into periodical ruts, which sometimes include reading habits as well. On the whole, though, I think I prefer to look at it more as going through different phases - in life, as well as reading. Sometimes I do get kind of absorbed by a certain genre or subject or author; but then, when I've had enough, I move on, or take a break. There are certain books and authors I keep returning to; but I read other things in between as well.

Over the last month I think my reading has been pretty varied:

The World According To Bertie by Alexander McCall Smith (4th in the 44 Scotland Street series), in English.

A novel by Anna Gavalda (French author) as audio book in Swedish. The English title is Hunting and gathering. "focus on the lives of four people living in an apartment house: a struggling young artist who works as an office cleaner at night, a young aristocrat misfit, a cook, and an elderly grandmother"

A novel by Swedish author P O Enquist, English title Lewi's Journey, (but I read it in Swedish of course), about the life of Lewi Pethrus: founder of, or at least very influential in, the Swedish Pentecostal movement back in the early 20th century.

The Zahir by Paolo Coelho (in Swedish; I have not finished it yet) "about pilgrimage. The book touches on themes of love, loss and obsession."

And parallel to these, I have also been re-listening to the last two books in the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling (read by Stephen Fry) (The Half-Blood Prince and The Deathly Hallows)

I don't think this selection suggests exactly being in a reading rut - do you? Hmm. If these books have anything in common I suppose it might be a certain struggle with one's own true identity and goals in life. But then again - isn't that what most books are about?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

ABC Wednesday – S

Singer-songwriter Bob Dylan turned seventy this week, can you believe it? Still going strong, and his songs still spreading all over the world like seeds with the wind…

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How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man ?
How many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand ?
Yes, how many times must the cannon balls fly
Before they're forever banned ?
The answer my friend is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind.

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Yes, how many years can a mountain exist
Before it's washed to the sea ?
Yes, how many years can some people exist
Before they're allowed to be free ?
Yes, how many times can a man turn his head
Pretending he just doesn't see ?
The answer my friend is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind.

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Yes, how many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky ?
Yes, how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry ?
Yes, how many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died ?
The answer my friend is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Moody Weather

As I might have mentioned a few times, I’ve become very weather sensitive in recent years. Today the weather has literally been changing every five or ten minutes or so so guess who has been in and out of strange moods all day! ;) Phew. Glimpse of sun one moment, torrential rain and gusts of storm the next. I did go for a short walk in the morning (before the rain) to post a few letters; after that I’ve been staying in. Thought I might get all sorts of things done – but of course I didn’t…

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Monday, May 23, 2011

Macro Monday: Lilacs

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Every spring is the only spring, a perpetual astonishment.
~ Ellis Peters ~

Macro Monday at Lisa’s Chaos

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Congratulations and Celebrations

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Lots of people in the Town Centre yesterday.

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Balloons for everyone! No age discrimination.

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And cake!

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And a billboard for photos of the town, and room for
opinions about what we’d like to see here in the future:

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Why?

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Borås won a Town Centre of the Year Award
(‘Årets Stadskärna’)

The things the jury looks at include buildings, events,
cooperation between businesses and municipality etc.

… … …

Straight Out Of the Camera Sunday

(only the cake picture was edited with a bit of extra contrast)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Gorillapod

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I got a “Gorillapod” (small tripod with flexible legs) for my new camera. It weighs only 45 g, so even I can’t complain that’s  too heavy to drag around… ;) I think that even when not finding something to attach it to, it might sometimes be of help just as an extra handle to hold the camera steady when zooming or filming.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Weekend Reflection

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“You could almost feel the trees
drinking the water up with their roots.”

“I don’t believe this wood is a world at all.
I think it is just a sort of in-between place.”

The Magician’s Nephew: The Wood Between The Worlds
~ C.S. Lewis ~

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Booking Through Thursday: Age-Inappropriate (?)


http://btt2.wordpress.com/2011/05/19/age-inappropriate/

In contrast to last week’s question–What do you think of censoring books BECAUSE of their intended age? Say, books too “old” for your kids to read?

Since I didn't have kids of my own, my answer will be hypothetical. In general, I guess I believe more in recommendations than in censorship. If something is forbidden, and grown-ups fail to properly explain why, kids usually find a way anyway. These days my guess would be that what they pick up from TV and the internet probably cause more problems than book-reading, generally speaking.

If I did find my hypothetical kid in possession of a book I thought really inappropriate for him/her, I guess I'd ask where they got it from, and if they already read it or not; and try to take a discussion from there. (Sounds easy in theory, doesn't it?!)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

ABC Wednesday–R for Restaurant

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Yesterday a friend and I had lunch at a restaurant in an upper secondary school which has an education program for that kind of business. Good food and table service at low price in their ‘training’ restaurant. I hadn’t been there before but my friend had. It’s not open every day of the week and apparently it is popular, tables are booked far in advance. The meat was a little too rare for my taste but then I had not specified how I wanted it… Otherwise everything was delicious and the raspberry ice cream we had for dessert was excellent!

~~~

ABC Wednesday

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Bird-Watching Has Begun

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The bird-watching has begun! First thing I saw when I looked out of my window this morning was some big birds having breakfast on the lawn below. They behaved like pigeons but were much bigger than any pigeon I’m used to seeing here. 

So I grabbed my new camera and made my first daylight attempts to get acquainted with the new zoom… N.b. these shots were taken through the window (2nd floor) and the birds were probably 8-10 m from the house, and moving around. Well, at least I got a few shots good enough for identification, even if not super sharp. (These have been further cropped and edited in the computer.)  

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Mystery solved: it must be the Common Wood Pigeon (Swedish: ringduva, Latin Columba Palumbus)…  It is however not so ‘common’ just here; it’s different from the pigeons we usually see in town (compare the ones in my recent post Pigeon Went A-Courting). The Common Wood Pigeon is larger (Wiki says 38-43 cm which fits my impression of these), grey with pinkish chest, white markings on neck and wing, and yellow beak.

Unfortunately we’re having a very wet day here today. In a little while I’m off to meet a friend for lunch and wondering how to dress to avoid getting soaked… Hmm.

Monday, May 16, 2011

New Camera

I’ve been thinking for over a year, perhaps two, about buying a new camera. Especially every time I’ve tried to zoom in a bird and ended up with results like this:

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On the other hand I knew that if I got a big complicated camera with lots of lenses and stuff, for one thing I would find it too heavy to carry around with me, and for another no bird would have the patience to wait around until I’d figured out what setting to use!

However, while I’ve been thinking, digital cameras have evolved. This weekend a review in my local newspaper of the Nikon Coolpix S9100 caught my attention. (My old camera is a Nikon Coolpix 4600… ) So I went on to check out further details on the internet. But when I started comparing it to a few other similar ones within the same price range, there was another one that on the whole to me seemed even more interesting. And available in a technical outlet store within walking distance from where I live…

… I’m now waiting for the battery to load, so that I can start getting properly acquainted with my new …

 Casio EX-H30:

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Whether I’ll be singing its praises soon or muttering over some unforeseen disadvantages remains to be seen!

This more or less sums up why I bought it:

* It’s nearly as small and light as my old Coolpix.
* Long life battery (up to 1000 images)
* 16.1 megapixels (my old one 4.0)
* 12.5x optical zoom, 18.8 single Super Resolution zoom
   (my old one 3x optical zoom)
* 24 mm wide angle
* HD video
* Panorama function
* Manual options for shutter speed and aperture
* Macro shots as close as 1 cm

What I guess will feel a bit strange to begin with is the lack of optical viewfinder. (My old Coolpix has one.) But that was the same with the other cameras I compared this one to. What made this one stand out compared to the others was the battery, the manual options, the panorama, and the 1 cm macro.

---

Ah. The battery seems to have loaded in four hours as promised.
Looking forward to getting started with the fun! :)

Macro Monday: Bud

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“This bud of love, by summer's ripening breath,
May prove a beauteous flower when next we meet.”

~ William Shakespeare ~

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Weekend Reflections: Cherry Blossom Trees

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The Japanese cherry blossom trees in the Town Park are later to burst into bloom than similar trees in some other parks and gardens. I suppose there are a few different varieties. Anyway they’re absolutely gorgeous when they’re at their best… I hope no one minds that include a few more pictures in this post than just the one with the best water reflection!

For more reflection photography, visit Weekend Reflections.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Out Of Touch…

It’s Friday evening here, and Blogger has been down all day. It just seems to have come back on, but my lost Thursday posts are not back yet. I think I’ll wait until tomorrow and see how it goes before I try to repost anything, or to publish new photo posts. (Thankful for Windows Live Writer which enables me to save drafts locally…)

Earlier today Blogger had this message up on Twitter:

"To get Blogger back to normal all posts since 7:37am PT on Wed 5/11 have been temp removed. We expect everything to be back to normal soon"

A few hours later there was another Twitter message to say that they had started to restore the messages that had been removed.

Just now Blogger seems to be back on, but not the posts from yesterday that they had to remove – and on top of that, now their Twitter page (or even all of Twitter?) seems to have gone down. So I don’t trust that they’ve quite got things under control yet… ;)

In spite of still having internet access, and email, and Facebook, I have felt strangely “cut off from the world” today!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Booking Through Thursday: Age-Appropriate (?)


 http://btt2.wordpress.com/2011/05/12/age-appropriate/
Do you read books “meant” for other age groups? Adult books when you were a child; Young-Adult books now that you’re grown; Picture books just for kicks … You know … books not “meant” for you. Or do you pretty much stick to what’s written for people your age?

I don’t think I ever cared all that much about age groups.

Not that I think I started reading adult books extremely early; I guess from my early teens or so. (I think my mother rather encouraged it; she read a lot herself.)

I still enjoy reading or re-reading classic children’s books or young-adult books from time to time (even at age 55+). I  can’t say I have kept up to date with that kind of literature from more recent years though – except for the Harry Potter series and a few others in that genre.

On the other hand, I can’t really claim that I’ve been able to keep up to date with literature written for my own age-group either!

How Much For A Link?!

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As some of you may remember, besides this blog and my Picture Book, I also keep one devoted to the Harry Potter books. (See link in the sidebar.) Updates have been rather infrequent (as I knew from the beginning that they would be). Just recently I’ve been making a bit of a renewed effort inspired by ABC Wednesday; but other than that, I haven’t done much to promote it. This post is not an effort to do so either; I’m only giving you some background for the point (or story) I will eventually be getting to... Hang on!

I started the HP blog just to have a place to collect my thoughts on a special topic, rather than mixing too much of that into this one. In the sidebar there I have also added a collection of links I found useful in the context of my own HP ‘research’ (most of which goes back to 2005-2007). One of the things I have enjoyed looking into is J.K. Rowling’s very purposeful use of names, and their meanings and history. So among my links are a some that go to websites where you can look up that sort of thing. However, I have not made a point of collecting lots of links; I have only included some that I myself found especially useful.

Last week I got an email ‘out of the blue’ from someone who had come across my blog and liked it. (Which was of course in itself flattering.) She had also noted the links in my sidebar, and said that she had created a baby name site of her own, and she wished me to include a link to her site as well.

Suddenly I found myself in need of a policy! After thinking a bit, I sent an answer saying that so far I have only included links that I have actually made use of; in this very limited context. So for now I had added her site to my private bookmarks, and if I found it useful in connection with future posts, I would link to it then.

To my astonishment I then got another email, more or less begging me to include her link. So I had another look at it, comparing it to the site I’ve used most. I found hers not really able to compete. I also noted some ads flashing by which were not to my liking… So I turned her down again, but was at the same time half amused by her eagerness, so I asked if she had actually paid attention to my number of followers (=8).

When I got another email today, my eyebrows collided with my fringe…! Quote: “Listen, we’re not above bribery here. Would you consider putting our link up there and we could paypal your $20 or so for your trouble?” [!!!]

I’m not asking for advice. I already answered I don’t do things that way and it’s no use asking again. I’m still puzzled though. If I had had hundreds of devoted Potter-fans following my blog, then I would have understood the motive. But since that’s not the case… ???

So I’m curious: Has anyone else among my handful of devoted readers ever been offered cash to put up a link on your blog?! Is this a unique request, or is there perhaps a going rate for this sort of thing??? (Not that I’m considering starting to charge you for the links that are already there, mind…)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

ABC Wednesday – Q for Questions and Quotations

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Just recently on some blog (can’t remember which) I came across the word “quotography” for the combination of quotes and photography. Googling gave 12,600 results so I guess it’s been around for a while. Anyway I’d been practicing it before I had a word for it… Since long before personal computers and digital photography, I have always enjoyed making collages of texts and pictures. I used to collect quotes in a notebook – still do, but nowadays it’s usually easier to just search the internet, whether you know what it is you’re looking for or not!

The three photos above are all from the last week, and since this week’s letter is Q, I searched for quotes about questions.

Just in case some reader who actually knows my town should find themselves a little bewildered by the first picture: That one has been reversed. And I had a purpose behind doing that, can you guess what?? (You’ll find the answer at the bottom of this post.)

Actually that sculpture has been raising questions in my mind for a week or more now.  The thing is, we had a very similar one in a different spot in the park before. Or actually, originally it was placed in this spot, and then it was moved. So when I first saw this one, from a distance, I thought they had just moved it again - and were not quite finished assembling it yet. I.e. I was assuming that the arcs still lying on the ground were meant to stand up as well. But they’re still just lying there… Hmm… To be or not to be raised, that is the question!

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Searching for answers, I found that the sculpture we had on show last year was Arc x 5, but this is Arc x 12.  Googling the artist, Bernar Venet, I also found that he seems really obsessed with these arcs... (Click on the link and I think you’ll see what I mean.) Perhaps he had some left over that wouldn’t stand up … ;) … No, I guess I have to conclude that they’re supposed to be as they are. I still question why, though!

Did you guess yet why I reversed the top image before adding the quote? With the shadow on the right, it reminds of the letter Q!

Find more Q’s at ABC Wednesday

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