Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Thankful Wednesday*

Thanks to everyone who has been sending prayers and thoughts my way over the past week or two. How ever that sort of thing works, it seems to be working rather well at the moment, so please keep it up! :)

Not that I don’t have my moments of frustration. Today, for example, I was convinced I had booked the laundry room in the afternoon. Well – almost convinced. Just to make sure, I went down there in the morning to check. Turned out that I had made a mistake and had missed my laundry time yesterday! But – tomorrow afternoon was still free, and so was I, so never mind.

Instead of washing, I got my hands dirty today, getting rid of the pansies on my balcony (which were withering in the sudden heat wave that hit us this week) and replacing them with some new plants. (Photos some other day, they’re still in the camera and I’m tired, so for once I’ll do a post without picture.)

In the early evening I spent about an hour searching every nook and cranny of the flat for my pocket diary. Big mystery! It seemed to have vanished into thin air. In my second round of searching I took the opportunity to tidy up a bit at the same time, since I had to lift everything anyway in case the diary was hiding underneath.

Then the phone rang (again) and this time it turned out to be the clergyman who will be holding the burial-service for dad (in two weeks). I had been wondering to myself if I’d have to go out to the village to meet him in the parish hall or something. But it turned out he lives only a few blocks away from me in town and he’ll be coming to me instead. We agreed on tomorrow morning around 10. Since I had just tidied the whole flat looking for the diary, that seemed as good a time as any. Considering the heat we’re having just now that will be the best time too – before the sun hits my living room in the afternoon.

After I put the phone down, I went back into the study and found my diary neatly tucked away exactly where I usually keep it. Just about the only place where I hadn’t looked! (Did I mention my brain does not work very well in temperatures close to 30°C?)

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* Some blogging friends do Thankful Thursdays. I’m hoping I’ll still have reason to feel thankful tomorrow as well. But for now, I’m taking one day at a time! ;)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

ABC Wednesday - X for Unknown

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“The usage of x to represent an independent or unknown variable can be traced back to the Arabic word šay' شيء = “thing,” used in Arabic algebra texts…” (Wikipedia)

Hence X is often also used to represent other unknowns.

Sometimes life seems X-tra full of X-factors and crossroads.
My brother and I have some Unknown territory ahead of us now, after the recent death of our father. A lot of stuff to sort through, and (when we’re done with that, which will take a while) selling the House; which, although it was not our childhood home (but dad’s), has been there all our lives. (The link goes to a blog post of mine back in February 2010. Six months later dad had to move into an ‘assisted living’ kind of nursing home.)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Macro Monday: Mussel Shells

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Freshwater mussel shells for Macro Monday at Lisa’s Chaos.
Found them on the beach by the lake on Midsummer Eve.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Weekend Reflections: After the Rain

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“Tears are often the telescope by which men see far into heaven.”
~ Henry Ward Beecher ~

Weekend Reflections

Friday, June 24, 2011

Midsummer Eve

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I woke up early to a grey sky but no rain.
I walked into town and took the bus out of town to Nowhere.

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(Intet = nothing or nowhere)
(I love getting off the bus here)

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I walked through the woods down to the lake,
where on this chilly morning I had the whole beach to myself.

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Well – almost…

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And from there through the birch wood…

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… to the House…

… where I spent a couple of hours thinking, remembering …
and taking photos to help me continue doing the same at home.

The watercolour was painted by me in the garden in the mid 90’s.

 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Booking Through Thursday: Music



What, if any, kind of music do you listen to when you’re reading?
(Given a choice, of course!)

Often I prefer silence - but only if it really is silent. If there are other noises in the background that I have not chosen myself, I prefer (if possible) to drown that with my own choice of music. Which in that kind of situation would be the type of music that best creates a "solid wall", i.e. not too many pauses or variations between soft and strong, and either instrumental or the kind of singing where focus is on the 'sound' rather than the lyrics. Typically I might choose for example baroque music (Bach, Handel, Vivaldi) or modern Celtic (Enya, Clannad).

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

ABC - W for Wednesday and Winnie-the-Pooh

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I had intended to stay off all memes and themes this week, having too many other things on my mind. But then it struck me that for ABC Wednesday I did not really have to stretch my mind to think of a word, since this week’s letter is W.

Time is a whirlwind just now. The calendar tells me today is Wednesday; but yesterday felt like a Friday rather than a Tuesday, because for me it was the kind of day when certain things had to get sorted out before the end of the day or it would all have to be postponed until next week.

To add to the confusion, the real Friday this week is Midsummer’s Eve, which here in Sweden means that it is treated as a Saturday; because Saturday, which is Midsummer’s Day, is a “red day” in the calendar, and treated like a Sunday. All this in turn means that Thursday will also in some ways be like a Friday.

So for me this is a week with three Fridays and two Sundays and no wonder perhaps if Wednesday feels little bit wobbly and is wondering whether it might be Saturday or Thursday instead…

Having got this far in my ramblings, Winnie-the-Pooh popped into my mind, saying “I wrote a poem very much like that once…”

Lines Written by a Bear of Very Little Brains

On Monday, when the sun is hot
I wonder to myself a lot:
’Now is it true, or is it not,
That what is which and which is what?’

On Tuesday, when it hails and snows,
The feeling on me grows and grows,
That hardly anybody knows
If those are these or these are those.

On Wednesday, when the sky is blue
And I have nothing else to do,
I sometimes wonder if it’s true
That who is what and what is who.

On Thursday, when it starts to freeze,
And hoar-frost twinkles on the trees,
How very readily one sees,
That these are whose – but whose are these?

On Friday –

(A.A. Milne)

I’m afraid Kanga interrupted Pooh there, so we never got to know what happened on Friday.

What happened on my Tuesday-which-felt-like-a-Friday was that before the end of the day, we had come up with a date for dad’s funeral/memorial; and a death notice for the newspaper to be published tomorrow, i.e. the Thursday-before-Midsummer-which-will-also-be-like-a-Friday.

The funeral will be on Wednesday 13th July.

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PS. The picture, of course, is a dandelion, by most considered a weed,
but also a symbol of life and strength.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

In Memoriam – My Parents

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19 June was my parents’ wedding anniversary.

My mother, Birgit, born 20 February 1930, died on 26 May 2009, i.e. shortly before their 55th anniversary. My father, Bertil, born 29 August 1931, “joined her” yesterday, 18 June 2011 – the evening before the 57th anniversary of their wedding.

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Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon them.
May they rest in peace. Amen.

… … ..

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Hard Times

Sorry for my absence from Blogland at the moment. My dad is in the hospital's stroke-ward since Monday;  unconscious since yesterday. They say now it's a matter of days (or less) before he'll be leaving this life. I'm thankful for having had the support of my mum's sister and her husband for a few days this week. They went back home yesterday but then my brother came last night (they missed each other by a few hours).

I don't feel up to much writing just now but I do occasionally look at some of your blogs while in bedrest (neck-rest) position. (I/we are not at the hospital around the clock.) Thankful for your thoughts and prayers.


(Paint-Shop edited water lilies from last year)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

ABC Wednesday: V for Void

Did you know that when you google images for “void”, you get 11,900,000 results?!

This may be the 11,900,001’st:

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And the earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”, and there was light. (Genesis 1:2-3)

… … …

To step out of the void and visit ABC Wednesday, click HERE.

 

 

 

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Seeing Eye

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“Thank God I have the seeing eye, that is to say, as I lie in bed I can walk step by step on the fells and rough land seeing every stone and flower and patch of bog and cotton pass where my old legs will never take me again.”

~ Beatrix Potter ~

… … …

It’s Macro Monday at Lisa’s Chaos

Saturday, June 11, 2011

(SOOC) I Wish I Could…

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… i.e. I wish I could twist and turn my neck like that!!!

Straight Out Of the Camera Sunday

Another Cuppa

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Do you feel ready for another cup of tea?

I keep getting inspired by comments from my readers, so when Ginny and GB commented on My Cup of Tea, mentioning white tea and gunpowder tea, it led to another visit to my favourite tea shop. I know I have had gunpowder tea in the past but it was a very long time ago (probably back in the 1980’s); and white tea I was not sure whether I’ve ever had or not.

So I went into the tea shop and specifically asked if they had white tea. It turned out they did, but only two to choose from, one flavoured and one plain. Since I wanted to try out what it’s “really” like I chose the plain one without added flavours.

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White tea

The white tea is very little processed, more or less just dried; so it’s very “fluffy” compared to other teas. Luckily the girl in the shop advised me about this and said I could buy only 50g of it instead of the usual 100g. I’m glad she did, because I have to say my first impression is that it had no taste at all! But I’ll not be too hasty in my judgment. I’ll experiment a bit with how to brew it. Maybe it needs more leaves per cup.

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Gunpowder tea

Gunpowder tea on the other hand is very compact. (The paper bag with 50g of white tea was bigger than the 100g bag of gunpowder.) It is green tea where each leaf has been rolled into a small round pellet. It is believed to take its English name from the fact that the tea resembles blackpowder grains. The name may also have arisen from the fact that the pellet sort of  "explodes" into a long leaf upon being steeped in hot water. Another explanation is that the tea also has a smoky flavour.

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The “exploded” (wet) gunpowder tea leaves.

I remembered this taste very well already at first sip. Actually I quite like it. I have no idea why it’s been so long since I last bought it. Perhaps just because so many other interesting flavours came along to try out.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Weekend Reflection + Sky Watch Friday: Smile

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“A smile is happiness you'll find right under your nose.”
~ Tom Wilson ~

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Booking Through Thursday: Own or Borrow?




All things being equal (money, space, etc), would you rather own copies of the books you read? Or borrow them?

All through my life, I have always done both: Bought some, borrowed some. As much as I love books, I dare not think what my home might look like if I had bought and kept every book I ever read... In real life of course both space and money DO matter; and living in a small flat rather than a big house puts a limit to how many books I can have in my own home. And I do not really like permanent piles of books on the floor so I try to keep within shelf-space!

A key word to me is probably "easy access" rather than "ownership". Most of the books I buy and keep (especially in later years) are such that I find it likely that I may want to reread, look things up in and refer to, "at any time". With new books/ authors I often borrow first and then if I find them really good I might end up buying my own copy. Other reasons to buy rather than borrow may be that the library doesn't have it (for example if I want to read a certain book in English); or I want it NOW and there is already a long queue for it at the library; or I know I want to read it, but not just now, and when I do I can't be sure it will be available; or I suspect it may take me longer than the library loan time to read it.

But I love the fact that we have free public libraries which provide a wide choice of literature for anyone regardless of how much money they have. I'm sure there are lots of books I would never have read and lots of authors I'd never have discovered if I had had to buy every book to be able to read it.

Some of my Arthurian and other mythology books.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

ABC Wednesday: U for Um…

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Unnamed (?) umbrella sculpture by unknown artist.
Unbelievably ugly? or funny? or ultimately
an underestimated
unique illustration of the unfathomable Universe?

(The sculpture stands in a hospital corridor.)

ABC Wednesday

Monday, June 6, 2011

My Cup of Tea

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Idiom: “my cup of tea” = something that one excels in or enjoys

When I did my T for Tea post last week, I got so fascinated with various facts that I forgot to mention much about my personal tea habits. So I got some questions ;) and I thought I might as well turn some of the answers into a second post.

First of all maybe I should repeat that I never learned to like coffee, so I always drink tea. In Sweden, coffee is the more common choice for most people. Even more so back in my youth perhaps, but it can still be a problem to get a “decent” cup of tea in some places. (An indecent cup of tea = luke warm water poured from a jug that is sometimes also used for coffee, over an old tea bag that has lost most of its aroma.)

At home I use loose-leaf tea, which I usually buy at a tea/coffee shop in town (see picture in the other post). In my own tea cupboard just now you’ll find four black teas, three greens, one rooibos (which comes from another plant altogether and contains no caffeine) – and also some herb peppermint tea bags. I’m not otherwise a fan of herb teas.

In the morning, with breakfast, I have either black or green tea.

Before/around noon and/or after lunch, and in the late afternoon, I tend to drink black tea. In the evening, I usually prefer green tea, or rooibos; i.e. less or no caffeine.

I guess my normal tea consumption in one day would be two or three mugs of black tea and one or two of green.

Since I’m lactose intolerant I never take milk. I usually drink it unsweetened but occasionally add a few drops of honey if I’m not eating anything or if it’s very strong. (I prefer my tea “medium” strong – not too weak, but not bitter.)

I mostly buy flavoured teas. Just now I’m having a bit of a “love affair” with a new black tea that smells like peppermint rock candy. (Not a breakfast tea, but just the thing for the afternoon.) More constant favourites are black currant tea, and a popular local blend which I’m not really sure what it contains. I also like Earl Grey but since I’m a bit oversensitive to citrus I hold back a bit on that. One of my new green favourites contains Goji berries (wolfberries); another one has dried raspberries and blueberries in it. In the winter I tend to drink more “spicy” teas and in the summer more fruity ones.

On a hot day I also like iced tea. Sometimes I buy ice-tea powder that one just mixes with cold water; or when I have the time, I brew my own (with less or no sugar).

Now have I answered all the tea questions? ;)

Today was not a day to wait for hot tea to get cold, actually it would probably have been quicker to put a cold drink out in the sun and wait for it to boil! Well, perhaps not quite. But we suddenly had 30°C in the shadow, “desert winds”, and it feels like we’ve been waiting all day for thunder that never came!

A week ago I was still complaining about the cold; and for all I know I might soon be back to that again... Remains to be seen!

 

 

 

 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Swedish Summer Holiday Rules

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Sunglasses for sale at the Spring Market
for
Straight Out of the Camera Sunday

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This time of year, whenever people get talking, the standard question is: “And what are your plans for the summer?”

It’s an implicit rule that you must have plans for the summer.

Holiday plans should always include leaving home for at least a couple of weeks. The longer, the better.

If you have a house and garden of your own, rebuilding the house or digging up the garden may be accepted as “plans”, even if it means staying home.

But if you live in a flat you definitely have to get out of town, or you will be getting very strange looks.

Going away to stay in another town however, is quite all right. Although preferably it should be either a really big one (in Sweden that would be Stockholm) or a small, old and picturesque one. In the summer, any town on the coast or by a lake is okay. (Unless you happen to live there all the year round. Then you should go probably go hiking in search of the North Pole or something for a change.)

The farther away you go, the higher the holiday status.

If you are not going far or doing anything very exciting you should humbly add a “just” or “this year” or something of that sort to show that you are aware of the inferior status. For example: “Oh, we’ll just be at the cottage, as usual.” or “We’ll only be going away for one week this year.”

Since several years now I’m of no use at all when I comes to keeping a normal pre-holiday conversation going. The last time I had “plans” was in 2005 – and even then it was just (see?) to spend less than a week with friends in a town I’ve revisited quite frequently since I used to live there. (Revisiting does not rank high on the wow-scale.)

The next year I actually also spent a few nights away from home, but alas that was in hospital. I guess surgery must be considered an acceptable excuse for not going out of town though.

Possibly I may also be excused for the summer of 2008, because then I made plans to move right in the middle of July. (Not only did I make plans – I actually went through with them. But they did not take me out of town!)

If I had had any plans for the two following summers, they would have been thwarted anyway because of family troubles. So from my own point of view just as well that I never even did get round to much planning. In pre-holiday conversations however, it is of course the planning that matters.

To “take the day as it comes” is really only acceptable if you are planning to do it somewhere else. Then people say ah and oh and how good that sounds and oughtn’t everyone to do that more.

But if you plan to take the day as it comes from your own flat, then you get raised eyebrows, and the ah’s in a different tone of voice.

So at times I feel a certain pressure that I should at least pretend to have some kind of grand plan for the summer. But now it’s June already, and I haven’t even come up with a pretend plan yet! On the other hand, since I don’t really get a specific vacation anyway (not having a job to get time off from!) I suppose I might get away with pretending that perhaps I’ll do something “later”…

Who knows. Maybe some day I will.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Weekend Reflections: Fish Market

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Actually – no fish market, just the market place reflected in a fish!

Annual spring market in town this weekend.

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Weekend Reflections # 89

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Booking Through Thursday: Reviews


http://btt2.wordpress.com/2011/06/02/reviews/

Do you read book reviews? Whose do you trust?
Do they affect your reading habits? Your buying habits?

Someone else's answer drew my attention to the fact that we've had this question before on BTT, about a year ago. So should I bother to answer it again? Surely all my faithful followers memorized what I wrote back on 24 June, 2010 - on my old blog? Haha, as if. [checking up myself what I wrote] Well, at least I still seem to basically agree with myself. (Is that a good thing?)

I quite often read reviews published in my local newspaper, or other newspapers or magazines I happen to come across. I don't go out of my way looking for book reviews unless there is some special reason. If I read reviews on the internet it's usually either because they were written by a blogger I already know and who also writes about other things than books; or because I have gone looking for reviews of a particular book (or books by a particular author). Sometimes I also read reviews after I have read the actual book, to compare my own impressions with those of others.

Blogs that consist of nothing but book reviews rarely interest me; unless the same blogger also has another more personal blog that I follow.

I guess the conclusion is that on the one hand I try to keep myself sort of generally informed (whether I actually get round to reading the books or not); and on the other hand I'm interested to learn what my friends read and like (or don't like). And just occasionally, I might be interested in collecting a wider range of opinions about something.

I don't have the ambition to read "everything". I guess I'm partly influenced by reviews, but not overly so. I borrow from the library quite a lot. Nowadays (since my bookshelves are already full) I rarely buy new novels unless I'm pretty sure I'll want to read them more than once, or be able to go back and look things up etc.
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