Monday, October 31, 2011

Macro Monday: Blue Flowers in Rain and Frost

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Yesterday I went for a walk in the rain and found these blue flowers still in bloom in the park. Quite a colour shock against the yellowing leaves in the background.

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I was surprised to see that they had managed to survive the frosty nights we had earlier in the month:

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The frosty pictures were taken on 21 Oct, the rainy ones 30 Oct.

It’s Macro Monday at Lisa’s Chaos.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

SOOC: For A Moment, Time Stood Still

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How beautifully leaves grow old. 
How full of light and color are their last days. 
~John Burroughs~

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For Straight Out of the Camera Sunday

~~~

This morning I first woke up very early – too early – so went back to sleep. When I next got up, it was nine o’clock. After breakfast and getting dressed and so on, it was still nine o’clock! This because today we go back to ‘winter time’ here in Europe, and I started my day by making a tour round the flat to set back all the clocks. Except… oops… excuse me for a couple of minutes…

… I forgot, as usual, about the DVD and video recorders …

I find the whole daylight saving time system rather confusing. Actually I often think that up here in the north, the winter would be a better time than summer to try and save some daylight and prolong the afternoons!  

I usually adjust quicker to the time change in the autumn than I do in the spring, though.

Today seems to have decided to help (?) us by letting us remain in a sort of  grey dusk and need of artificial light all day. Enough to keep anyone confused about what time it is.

The photos were taken on Tuesday this week. As long as there are still leaves on the trees, there really is an extraordinary beauty about this time of year. Even on a foggy day, the yellow leaves seem to give off a magic light of their own. (The lamp-post in the first photo makes me think of Narnia.)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Weekend Reflections: Almost Abstract

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Tree branches touching the surface of the water and reflected…

Thursday, October 27, 2011

BTT: Hard

What’s the hardest/most challenging book you’ve ever read?
Was it worth the effort?
Did you read it by choice or was it an assignment/obligation?

The BTT questions come from Deb at Booking Through Thursday.

I’m not sure. I suppose the most challenging were probably some that I never got through. Which makes it even harder to say if it was really worth the effort to read as far as I did in any of them.

One such that comes to mind is The Forest of Hours (Rövarna i Skuleskogen) by Kerstin Ekman, renowned Swedish novelist and also member of the Swedish Academy between 1978-1989. This is a very strange novel, sort of ‘historical fantasy’, but very dark, heavy and cruel. I think when I tried to read it, it was recently published (1988). I can’t remember how far I got – maybe halfway, something like that. It was not an assignment, and I found I just liked it less the further I read. So I didn’t finish it. The main character is a troll, a human-like but not yet quite human creature who lives on for 500 years (1300’s-1800’s). Looking around the internet for reviews now, I find suggestions of themes in the book that I probably was not able to quite see 20 years ago. Even though I might be better at doing so now, I still don’t really feel tempted to give it another try.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Less Than Or Equal To Zero

Do you ever have days when you feel like that? I might have had, but today is the first time I can recall having come across it as a requirement. When I tried to link a post from my Picture Book blog to Watery Wednesday, the Linky site refused to accept me, requesting that "The length of your name must be less than or equal to 0". How depressing is that?! I did try giving my name as ‘0’ just to see what happened. Nothing happened. As for going further into nothingness below zero, I think I must refuse.

There are strange goings-on in my physical universe as well.
For example, someone seems to be stealing all the trees…

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… and I doubt that this time I can blame the fairies

Hey, that’s my butterfly park! I know the butterfly season is over. But I’m wondering what they’re planning to do… (I mean They as in the Park Authorities. Not They as in the Butterflies.)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A (Not So) Quiet Day

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“This has been an unusually quiet day on the internet,” I thought to myself; based on the fact that nowadays I have come to rely on my Android phone to give a little bleep when an email drops in. /Makes me feel in touch with the world ;)/

Then I went to check out the comment sections on my most recent posts; and found more comments waiting there than what had dropped in as emails.

It seems my email account suddenly went paranoid and sorted at least a dozen comment emails today as Spam. I have no idea why. It never happened before, at least not ‘en masse’ like this. 

I hope nothing important slipped me by earlier in the week, and that the email account will regain its usual sorting abilities soon.

[Please scroll down/back for my ABC Wednesday post.]

ABC Wednesday: O for Oak and Otherworld

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In the woods between my parents’ old house and the lake nearby, I came across a strangely shaped oak tree. Very low and wide, no proper tree trunk… Almost as if someone had tried to pull it down from below

… In Celtic mythology, a sacred tree, generally considered to be an oak, stood at the center of the world; its limbs stretching up to the heavens, its roots reaching down to the Otherworld, or the realm of Fairy. The Celtic name for oak, duir, is the origin of the word door. So the oak was a doorway to the Otherworld …

Oooh, that tickles my fantasy!

ABC Wednesday: O

Monday, October 24, 2011

Hanging Art [2]

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Another oil painting I took home from The House. This one is small, only 35 x 29 cm, frame included. So it was easier to find a place for than the big one in yesterday’s Hanging Art post.

Not only do I like the painting itself  but also the fact that the frame is natural wood. It now hangs in a solitary position between my living room and my hall, with only a clock above it.

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On the back of this painting is written the name of a street and the town where I live. The street no longer exists, but I found the name in an old record of street names on the internet. 70-80 years ago it was a cross-street to another street which still exists. I think from that I can guess in which direction the artist was looking. I shall have to go and check out some day if I can find the spot (although I suspect there will be buildings in the way to block my view).

What I have not been able to figure out, so far, is the name of the artist. The signature is there – I just can’t read it! Can you? I know it’s a long shot to ask a question like that on this blog, since most of my readers are not even Swedish. But I welcome any suggestion what you might make of the name.  H. B… But then what? And are the last two characters part of the name, or a year?

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Macro Monday: Ice Flowers

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“If you are going to walk on thin ice, you might as well dance.”
~ Author unknown ~

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It’s Macro Monday at Lisa’s Chaos.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Hanging Art

Browsing some blogs today I was amused to find a post about Hanging My Art by Katherine at The Last Visible Dog. (Go help her when you’ve finished reading mine!) Amused because last weekend I took home some paintings that belonged to my parents and grandparents, and just spent the whole week scratching my head over where and how to hang what; and how to combine old with new.

Buying something new and taking it home is one thing, and can be challenge enough when your home is already pretty full. With inherited artwork comes the extra strangeness of it being familiar and new all at the same time. You’ve been used to seeing it hang in a certain way, on a certain wall, together with certain other things. Taking some such items out of their earlier context, and bringing them home to mix with your own things, is a strange feeling.

It’s not like I had an empty wall waiting for just those paintings; so of course it led to a rearranging of things that were already there. It also led to buying new frames for some of the water colours, both old and ‘new’. And to the removal of one or two of my own that no longer seemed to fit in.

I’m still not sure I’m “done” but I think I’m getting there.

Some of the paintings in my parents’ home in turn came from my paternal grandparents: oil paintings in dark colours set in big heavy gilded frames. They may have fit the earlier generations’ style of interior decoration (maybe); but as for me, too much of that would make me feel like I was living in a museum.

So out of the bigger oil paintings, I chose to keep only one:

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(60x52 cm including frame)

… which, in spite of being a winter scene, is one of the brightest.
It fits in with other colours in my flat, and it is also special because I know it was bought by my paternal grandparents as a wedding gift for my parents. So it’s been there all my life.

I also chose this small pastel (25x30) with similar colour scheme and the bare branches in common with the one above:

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… and have now hanged those two together with a water colour (possibly gouache?) painted my maternal grandfather (have a closer look at that one here) …

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The painted casket is another inherited item – it belonged to my paternal grandmother and still contains some old notebooks and things of hers.

Enough for today. Now don’t forget to stop by Katherine’s!

 

 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Weekend Reflections: Autumn Leaves

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“Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all.”
~ Stanley Horowitz ~

Reflections in a street puddle for Weekend Reflections.

 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Booking Through Thursday: Vacation and Reading

Do your reading habits change when you’re on vacation?
Do you read more? Do you indulge in lighter, fluffier books than you usually read? Do you save up special books so you’ll be able to spend real vacation time with them? Or do you just read the same old stuff, vacation or not?

The BTT questions come from Deb at Booking Through Thursday.

I find it difficult to give a clear answer to this week’s question, because it’s been 11 years since I last had a proper vacation. In fact, it strikes me that it was exactly 11 years ago today that I had a silly accident at work that put an end to normal life in the sense of working full time with proper vacations once in a while. I’m not going into all that here; but one of many side effects was that the whole concept of Time somehow seemed to change as well.

Which reminds me of this clock from Ginny at Let Your Light Shine.
I just love it. (Visit her post to see more funny clocks.)

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Where was I? Ah yes, reading habits. And the vacations that I no longer have; because there is no getting away from myself.

However, if I do save certain books to read when I feel I’ve got a bit extra time and possibility to concentrate on reading – then it’s the kind of books that I suspect would benefit from that. Like a good classic or mystery or something of that sort.

And if I am able to stay in that other world without too many interruptions from “this” world – then that is a sort of vacation.

One of my most memorable vacation reading experiences may have been Goethe’s Die Leiden des jungen Werthers (The Sorrows of young Werther). This because I was able to read it – or at least part of it – in the geographical vicinity of where it was written. On the banks of the river Lahn in South Germany. I was studying German at the time (back in 1983) and the book I think was on my reading list for the upcoming term. I can still sort of recall the thrill it added to look up from the book and see the same landscape that Goethe described.

So forget about light and fluffy. For a proper vacation, I want my books cooked ‘al dente’.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

ABC Wednesday: N for Nature

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Slow down and enjoy life.
It's not only the scenery you miss
by going to fast -
you also miss the sense
of where you are going and why.

~ Eddie Cantor ~

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Nothing like a walk in Nature
to put things into perspective!

~~~

ABC Wednesday

Continued Ramble

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(Photo from recent visit to the Textile Museum)

Oh dear… From comments to my Weekend Reflections post I gather that I (mis)lead some of you to expect I’d pick up the thread in the next post and go on straight forward from where I left off… Not likely! Life’s all twists and turns at the moment and so are my thoughts.

I said in that post that after my friends left last Thursday I had to turn my attention to other matters. This referred to the fact that on Friday my brother was coming down for a meeting with the bank re our father’s estate. We also spent the Saturday in “the House”, where there is still a lot of “stuff” left to sort out. Much still belongs in the category of not quite knowing where to turn next. In some ways we’re lucky – like no immediate pressure to get the house sold “yesterday” – but in other ways perhaps less fortunate (like neither of us really having the energy to get on with things very efficiently).

As I’ve mentioned before Dad had a collector’s instincts and was reluctant to throw things away. In younger days however he was also known for keeping things in meticulous order. Going through the top layer in his study now, it seems it was about twelve years ago he started just piling things up instead: Important, unimportant, originals, copies, brochures, magazines, press cuttings, envelopes, private papers, bills, photos, research notes (family and local history and national railway history) etc all mixed up. Which means it all has to be sorted through envelope by envelope,  sheet by sheet. We have made progress; but still a long way to go. Besides from being a shoulder-aching procedure, it is also sometimes kind of heart-breaking!

To be thankful for:
* Some of our grandfather’s local history research was published in a posthumous book (by our parents).
* A lot of dad’s extensive railway history research was also published in the form of (four) books.

 

 

 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Macro Monday: Thistles

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From Wikipedia I learn that the thistle is an ancient Celtic symbol of nobility of character as well as of birth, and has been the national emblem of Scotland since the 13th century.

According to a legend, an invading Norse army was attempting to sneak up at night upon a Scottish army's encampment. During this operation one barefoot Norseman had the misfortune to step upon a thistle, causing him to cry out in pain, thus alerting Scots to the presence of the Norse invaders.

Personally I always associate thistles with Eeyore, the gloomy donkey in A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh. Thistles are his favourite food!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Weekend Reflections: Imprint

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It wasn’t until I got the photos up on the screen that I saw it.
The reflection of me and my camera on the the shiny roller of a textile printing machine at the Textile Museum…

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Linked to Weekend Reflections

Actually I do feel a bit ‘flattened out’ after this week – with more activities going on than what I’m used to in a ‘normal’ week. Although I suspect that what I mean by a ‘normal’ week is more like some kind of average that rarely occurs in reality!

Anyway, from Tuesday afternoon until Thursday morning I had two dear friends of mine staying. Gunilla and I have been friends for 36 years. Here whole life she has been under the pressure of a complicated set of health issues which I’m not going into. But she’s one of the most inspiring and positive people I know; always making the best out of every situation. She’s definitely a friend who has made a lasting and colourful imprint on my life.

When they arrived on Tuesday she was in better health than I’ve seen her in a long time. Unfortunately when she left on Thursday she was not feeling so good and had lost her voice – I have to point out, not entirely due to our incessant talking… She must have picked up an infection before she came here. 

In spite of that, we managed to make good use of our Wednesday together. I took them (or maybe they took me – it was they who had the car) to see the Textile Museum; and after that we had an excellent lunch in a Greek restaurant, and then a nice walk (in wheelchair for G) through the town park (past some of our ‘famous’ sculptures) back to where we had parked the car. It was a fine and sunny autumn day, even if on the chilly side.

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As they left on Thursday morning, they gave me a lift to the hospital for my usual time in the rehab pool.  When I got back home from there I immediately had to start shifting focus to entirely different matters; which however I think I’ll leave for a future post, having rambled on for a good while here already.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

ABC Wednesday: M for Morning Mosaics

This is why, on certain mornings, I can spend half an hour shooting pictures from my kitchen window before breakfast:

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Whither shall I go from Thy Spirit?
Or whither shall I flee from Thy presence?
If I ascend up into heaven, Thou art there;
if I make my bed in hell, behold, Thou art there.
If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there shall Thy hand lead me,
and Thy right hand shall hold me.
If I say, "Surely the darkness shall cover me,"
even the night shall be light about me.
~
Psalm 139:7-11 ~

[All the photos from the same recent morning between 7.28-7.56]

This is a pre-scheduled post, but I will be linking to ABC Wednesday.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Dream Catchers

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At the Autumn Market, I came across these Dream Catchers.
I was fascinated by the symbolism (see below), the craft and the colours; so could not resist buying one (or two – one for a friend).

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Originally the dream catcher was a Native American handmade object based on a willow hoop, on which was woven a loose net of sinew strands reminding of a spider’s web. It was then further decorated with personal and sacred items such as feathers and beads.

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Native Americans believe that the night air is filled with dreams both good and bad. The dream catcher when hung over or near the bed, swinging freely in the air, catches the dreams as they flow by.

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The good dreams know how to pass through the dream catcher, slipping through the outer holes and sliding down the soft feathers so gently that many times the sleeper does not know that he/she is dreaming. The bad dreams not knowing the way get tangled in the dream catcher and perish with the first light of the new day.

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Monday, October 10, 2011

Macro Monday: No Smoke Without Fire

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▲ Willowherb/Fireweed … Three months ago they looked like this: ▼

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In Sweden this plant commonly grows along railways, and so is sometimes called “navvy’s rose” (Swedish: rallarros).

Oh the colours of autumn are so different from summer!
Thinking of their English/American name Fireweed…
They look more like smoke than fire now, don’t they? ;)

For more macro photography, visit Macro Monday.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

First Frost

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The evening light yesterday gave a hint of a cold night to follow.

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I may not have a sea view, or a mountain view…
But it still changes a lot between a clear vs a foggy day!

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I did not get out until around 9.30 but then there was still frost on the ground in the shady spots. Leaves and grass bordered with tiny white ice crystals.

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Back home from the supermarket I exchanged the dianthus in my balcony boxes for heather. The ‘dusty millers’ I left as they were – they are hardy plants that will last through the winter season.

Linked to SOOC Sunday

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