Tuesday, January 31, 2012

C for Cars under Cover (ABC Wednesday)

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We’ve been having COLD weather here lately!

For ABC Wednesday - C

Monday, January 30, 2012

Macro Monday: Behold the Turtle

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Detail of the same sculpture as in yesterday’s post.

Linking this one to Macro Monday at Lisa’s Chaos.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Braving the Elements (SOOC Sunday)

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For Straight Out Of the Camera Sunday

Friends in a Box

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Scrolling back through my new timeline layout in Facebook I was reminded of another “in the box” story (compare yesterday’s post). In a FB comment just before New Year, I mentioned that I intended to have friends over for the occasion. Mysteriously, as I was writing, the word friends caused an automatic suggestion to pop up  that maybe I meant FRIENDS as in the TV show!

Actually it was a little spooky, because I was in the middle of re-watching that series on DVD. But how on earth could Facebook know? And rather rude of them to suggest that I’d have nothing better to do on a New Year’s Eve! (Not to mention that the assumption on this particular occasion was actually wrong…)

Why it happened has remained a mystery – until now. I just figured it out. It so happened that when writing that status update, I used the phrase “me + friends”. It seems it was the + that did it! (Perhaps you already knew that. But I didn’t!)

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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Thinking Outside The Box

“The Box” I have in mind just now is Facebook; while Blogger  counts as Outside, because here I’m allowed all the space I want to think /rant /ramble…

On FB, I summed it up thus: “My life does not fit into the boxes.” 

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(No, I’m not moving again. This is a picture from the last time I did, 3½ years ago. I have no wish to repeat that any time soon!)

If you are a Facebook user, you have probably noticed that they are introducing a new layout with a Timeline. I decided yesterday to give it a tryout before they force it on me anyway.

Seductively, they seemed to promise me a chance of reviewing and changing settings before these were made visible to anyone else. This, of course, was not true. People may not have seen the new layout (perhaps!) until I pushed that special button, but my trial and error “activities” were obviously made public step-by-step just as usual. Not that it mattered much – I was just a bit surprised when comments started to drop in about things I did not think I had actually published yet!

Don’t get me wrong. I think the new layout looks good, and as for the timeline I can see that it has its advantages – especially if you want to use Facebook as a complete CV and summary of your life; rather than just a meeting place to say hi and hello to few people now and then.

It’s when you don’t want FB to be a complete CV that it tends to get complicated. Because the new Timeline suggests it should be.

Personally I signed up for FB mainly as a means to keep in touch with certain old friends (and a few new ones). But I’ve been a rather passive or irregular user so far and with no special wish to track down and reconnect with every person I’ve ever known.

Therefore I’ve also seen no reason to list the whole history of my life in the “About” section. The only things I put down was where I went to secondary school vs. university.

But after I had switched to the new timeline layout yesterday, I happened to notice that when moving the cursor over my profile picture, up popped a little box displaying not only my name, but also the name of the university from which I graduated back in 1985.

It seemed that because I made no entry in the Job section (having been in disability retirement for the last eight years), FB would forever pin me down as either student or working for the university in a town I moved away from 26 years ago.

Not that I really mind being the eternal student. Actually I think I’d much rather still be hallmarked as student than anything else! But being tagged to the university in a town where I haven’t lived for nearly 30 years did not seem quite right.

Listing myself as an ex-whatever did not appeal to me either.

For a while, I half-seriously contemplated to enter also having been a student at Hogwarts, Hogsmeade (“studying” Harry Potter 2001-2007). Or The Unseen University, Ankh-Morpork (Terry Pratchett’s Discworld). But then I chickened out… 

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However, after various trial and error experiments, I’m happy to say that I now seem to be successfully registered as a student at the University of Life. That I can live with! And the day I graduate, it will be Someone Else’s problem* how to enter the date!

*(Some years ago, I joined a heritage website, trying to sort out my family tree and timelines. The problem is, they made some access changes since I first joined. After my dad died last summer, I wanted to enter the date of his death; but was not able to do that the proper way. Why? Because while dad was still able to use a computer he registered himself on the website as well. Which means he needs to log in himself to make further changes in his own profile. Only… Well!!!)

By the way, do you know the background of the expression Thinking Outside the Box? Not sure I did… Check it out!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Nature Meets Architecture (Weekend Reflections)

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For the first time this winter, we’ve had snow staying the whole week. Not ‘too much’ of it either, and not too slippery for walks. I have to say I do love when the snow clings to the trees like this. 

The photo is from yesterday (Thursday), when I went for a walk ‘along the river’ into town in the afternoon. (I can’t follow the river all the way, but part of it.) Today, I think most of the snow will probably have blown off these trees, as well as the ones just outside my windows. I could see the difference already this morning, looking out the window... The temperature is still below zero, so not thawing – but there’s a stronger wind blowing, and the trees are bare. I’ve not been out today; not so fond of chilly winds, and having indoors things that needed doing anyway.

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Linking to Weekend Reflections.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Friday Fence

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I’ve seen this meme/challenge around on other blogs…
Thought I might join in since I happened to have a fence picture.

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Friday’s Fences

A Good Story Deserves Good Writing (BTT)

Time for another bookish question from Deb at Booking Through Thursday :

What’s more important: Good writing? Or a good story?
(Of course, a book should have BOTH, but…)

Yes, too right a book should have BOTH! As all regular readers of this blog know, I’m not a fan of choices like this… It’s almost like having to choose between flour or fluid when baking!

I think I’d have to say good writing, though. Good writing can lift a feeble story; and a good story can be ruined by bad writing.

PS. Here’s a link to my recent review of a book that had BOTH:
Kate Morton – The Forgotten Garden

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Feeling Sheepish

23rd January (our calendar) was the Chinese New Year, and rumour has it that we then entered into The Year of the Dragon.

I’ve heard and seen this piece of info mentioned from several different sources lately, in the news as well as in blogs; because in the Eastern culture, the Dragon is a lucky symbol; and being born in the year of the Dragon is apparently considered a good thing.

One blogger I’m following who mentioned it a couple of weeks ago was Snowwhite from Japan, giving interesting insights into how the Dragon is viewed rather differently in Eastern vs Western culture.

Then on the Day, Scriptor Senex had a Happy Chinese New Year post; followed by GB blogging On Being A Monkey. I commented on both these blogs to the effect that I've never been a fan of or believer in astrology… but that following Scriptor’s link to Chinese horoscope personalities, I had to admit to being a little taken aback to find the following introduction of the Sheep (which would be my Chinese sign):

Sheep simply want a bit of peace. They enjoy carrying on with life in their own quiet, individual way, content to be in the middle of it all rather than to be leading it. Sheep are quiet and calm people. They enjoy cultural things and focus much of their energy on artistic hobbies. Sheep are easygoing and relaxed, happy to be going with the flow.

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Not so sure perhaps about the ‘easygoing’ part… (I have to say – before someone else does! - that I feel rather fussy about some things sometimes!) But as for the rest, my soul said “Yes!” …

Of course the more one gets down to details though, the more one finds that could be questioned.

On the whole, I suppose I’m likely  to remain a sceptic, whether we’re talking Western or Chinese zodiac. Even if there are some of the common keywords for my Western zodiac sign as well that might be applied to me… (But I’m sure they will also fit many people born at entirely different times of the year…)

I think I’m just not very partial to the whole idea of immediately trying to fit people too tightly into a certain frame or personality. So on principle, I always avoid giving my zodiacal sign in profiles or first introductions.

This, by the way, I just learned is probably typical of the Sheep!!!

They are private and do not generally tell you everything there is to know about them until they have tested the waters and are sure they want to reveal themselves to you.

And I who thought that was just good old Virgo scepticism…!

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

B for Bird’s Eye View (ABC Wednesday)

Taking a lazy bird’s eye view with this week’s ABC-post, I decided to just scroll back through my photos until I found something beginning with B. Luckily I did not have to go back very far. This photo was taken only a couple of days ago, after a snowstorm. And there are at least three or even four B’s in it.

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Birdhouse, bark (I love the texture of it!) and bare branches!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Kate Morton–The Forgotten Garden (Book Review)

Back in November, I walked into the bookshop in the town centre one day and browsed through their shelf of English paperbacks. (I live in Sweden, remember! – so most of the books sold in our bookshops are in Swedish!)

I bought two titles from that shelf just on a whim, without having heard of neither the authors nor the book titles before. As it turned out, I loved both of them and listed both in My favourite books in 2011. (The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen, and The Distant Hours by Kate Morton.)

After having finished The Distant Hours, I checked our library catalogue (online) and *surprise* found that they actually had Kate Morton’s other novels as well (she’s only written three), and one of them even in English: The Forgotten Garden. So I ordered that one from the library. I just finished it this (snowy!) weekend.

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Just like The Distant Hours, The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton is an intricate story, told from several different perspectives, stretching over four generations, and also involving fairy tales written by one of the characters within the book.

A maze plays an important part in this novel, and indeed the story itself can also be described as one. It gets quite tricky at times for the reader (or at least it did for me!) to keep all the “threads” together in one’s head. The author, however, manages to tie them all up in the end.

At the end of the first world war, a little girl is found abandoned on a ship to Australia. A woman she only remembers as the Authoress had promised to look after her - but mysteriously disappeared without a trace.

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In 2005, in Brisbane, Australia, Cassandra’s grandmother Nell dies, and Cassandra finds out that Nell left an unexpected inheritance behind which she never told anyone about: A cottage on the coast of Cornwall, England.

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The story shifts back and forth between the perspectives of Cassandra (as she travels to England to inspect her inheritance), her grandmother Nell’s similar journey back in the 1970’s, the little abandoned girl back in 1913, the mysterious Authoress and her illustrated book of fairy tales vs the story of her own life; and the history of the inhabitants of Blackhurst Manor, to which the cottage used to belong, before in modern days the manor was turned into a hotel, and the cottage sold.

Homage is paid to the author of the well-known classic The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett (1849-1924), not only by the title of the novel, but she also appears briefly as a character in it. (No, it is not she who is The Authoress.)

I loved the book, even if at times it ‘befuddled’ me.
Remember my recent post about Dangerous Doorways?  

…when you pass through a doorway, your mind compartmentalizes your actions into separate episodes. Having moved into a new episode, the brain archives the previous one, making it less available for access. It’s as if you slam a mental door…”

That describes pretty well what it’s like to read Kate Morton, with each chapter taking place in a different time and place, and events suddenly seen from different character’s point of view. But with each move, the author manages once again to draw you into the fictive NOW, as if that’s all that exists at the moment.  

Even after closing the book and knowing how it all fit together, I’m still intrigued as to how the author manages it!

That’s why, in spite of having finished it, I’ve just ordered my own copy of it, together with her first novel, The House At Riverton. (So I’m reading her books in reversed order; but since each novel is a separate story, that does not matter.)

 

Quotes from The Forgotten Garden:

She’d slept terribly the night before. The room, the bed, were both comfortable enough, but she’d been plagued by strange dreams, the sort that lingered upon waking but slithered away from memory as she tried to grasp them. Only tendrils of discomfort remained.

‘You make a life out of what you have, not what you’re missing.’

Macro Monday: A Christmas Survivor

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Poinsettia - we call it “Christmas star”… This one I bought very cheap before 1st Advent in a grocery shop, from a stand quite near the draught from the door, and I hardly expected it to survive Christmas. But it’s still looking quite perky!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Snowy Weekend

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I took this shot out of my window in a snowstorm yesterday (Saturday). As you might guess, there was a dog attached to the leash… I wasn’t fast enough zooming them in. (No, that’s not my brother!)

As for me, I was inside, glad that I did not have to go out. Actually I spent most of the day curled up in/on my bed with a book; partly because that seemed just the thing to do on such a day, and partly because the story had me really hooked. (The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton.) I think the book might deserve a post of its own so I’ll get back to that.

Today we still had snow. But the sun came out, so I did too! The snow might be staying for a while this time. If it keeps thawing and freezing, some of the walkways could get very difficult in a day or two… But today with fresh snow (and bare ground underneath) it wasn’t too bad; so I took the opportunity to walk to the supermarket for some fruit and vegetables.

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No, that’s not me! Just ‘someone’ I met along the way…

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Weekend Reflection: The Four Elements

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… Earth, Water, Air and Fire …

Another photo from the beach at the lake near my parents’ old home the other week. (Looking in this direction it always reminds me a little of a Scottish loch.)

Find more images to reflect about:
Weekend Reflections and SkyWatch Friday

Thursday, January 19, 2012

BTT: Skipping Ahead

Deb @ Booking Through Thursdays asks:

I saw this article the other day that asked,
Are you ashamed of skipping parts of books?
Which, naturally, made me want to ask all of YOU:

Do you skip ahead in a book?
Do you feel badly about it when you do?


I got curious and followed the link to the article by Robert McCrum in the Guardian. He discusses the viewpoint taken by Somerset Maugham 60 years ago in an essay, “The Art of Fiction”, where Maugham claims that skipping is perfectly fine because  "a sensible person does not read a novel as a task. He reads it as a diversion".

McCrum, as I understand it, argues with this, claiming that Maugham “comes from a another time” in which the artist was paid to satisfy the audience (which would make it okay to skip if one was not satisfied). He also says “Writers today are taught to write to make every word count” – and seems to imply that modern readers too take reading more seriously (so less inclined to think it okay to skip).

I have to say I’m not convinced that either the writers’ (or publishers’) or the average reader’s point of view has really changed all that much throughout the past 60 years.

If anything – thinking of all the film versions made from old classics – I would say that in our time we’re more inclined to “skip” than ever. (I was reminded of this just recently when reading Helen’s list of books she read in 2011. There were some titles I’ve seen as film but don’t think I ever read the book.)

When I find a book interesting and entertaining and easy to read, then it rarely occurs to me to skip ahead.

If on the other hand I’m finding a book uninteresting, difficult or seriously confusing, and if I am reading for entertainment rather than as a “task”… Then I definitely feel free to skip both back and forth as much as I like, and also to quit reading. I might also try to find a summary on the internet, if I think that may help bring clarity. The only time I would feel bad about skipping is if for some reason I was supposed to read the book straight through from beginning to end, as a “task”.

I also find it varies whether it’s of any use trying to “skip ahead” in a book. I’d say that depends a lot on the structure of it. In the book I’m reading just now, for example, it is the book that keeps skipping (back and forth in time) rather than I!

Writing this post, I am reminded that three years ago I set out (not for the first time) to get through Tolkien’s Silmarillion. I even wrote two blog posts about it while reading it, to help myself get on with it. My reading of that book might be described as a task, although set up by myself. However, I still have a bookmark about 3/4 into it; which would be how far I’d got around the time my mother died… I wonder if I’ll ever get round to pick up again from where I left off then, and actually finish it!

Some years ago I used to have a postcard on my notice board with a list of “reader’s rights”… hmm… {googling} … Ah yes:

The Rights of the Reader by Daniel Pennac
(the
link goes to an illustrated PDF poster):

  1. The right not to read.
  2. The right to skip.
  3. The right not to finish a book.
  4. The right to read it again.
  5. The right to read anything.
  6. The right to mistake a book for real life.
  7. The right to read anywhere.
  8. The right to dip in.
  9. The right to read out loud.
  10. The right to be quiet.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A for Azalea / ABC Wednesday

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Monday last week – 9 January – I passed by this optimistic plant, which seemed to be expecting the arrival of spring any day now. I’m afraid it might have been rather disappointed by the snowfall later the same night; even if the snow did not stay very long.

If memory serves me right, it is an Azalea. * I can only hope it will survive the very confusing winter to show its true colour at the appropriate time – which should be in four or five months! (The photo below is from early June, 2010.)

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ABC Wednesday is starting over this week with Round 10.

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* PS. Just learned that English Wikipedia will be on black-out for 24 hours, worldwide, beginning at 05:00 UTC on Wednesday, January 18, in protest against proposed legislation in the United States.

In blogging, I probably use Wikipedia several times daily! Often I use it sort of like a dictionary, going from a Swedish article to the corresponding one in English, or the other way round. I find it very helpful, and wouldn’t like to be without it. I’m sure even the 24 h will be enough for a lot of people to miss it.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Macro Monday: Piece of Cake!

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Chocolate cake with mint chocolate icing… I baked it for Christmas/New Year +  saved part of it for my brother’s birthday last week (with whipped cream – mmm!).
Now it’s all gone… All that remains is this tempting photo!

Anonymous chocolate quotes:

Put eat chocolate at the top of your list of things to do today.
That way, at least you'll get one thing done!

Man cannot live by chocolate alone but it sure is fun trying!

I would give up chocolate but I'm no quitter.

I don't understand why so many "so called" chocolate lovers complain about the calories in chocolate, when all true chocoholics know that it is a vegetable. It comes from the cocoa bean, beans are veggies, 'nuff said.

I have this theory that chocolate slows down the aging process.... It may not be true, but do I dare take the chance?

Linking to Macro Monday.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

What-A-Week-Ramble

What a week it’s been. Weather-wise Monday started out with almost spring-like weather, followed by snowfall in the evening. On Tuesday everything was covered in the white stuff; but the sky all grey (while forecasts had predicted sun). On Wednesday, not a trace of snow left, and the sun shining from a blue sky (while forecasts had predicted rain). Thursday back to heavy rain and storm! Friday sunny again, but still windy and very chilly.

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My brother drove down on Monday and arrived before the worst snowfall set in. He and the dog stayed at The House outside town, but he stopped by here for a cup of tea since he had to go into town to pick up some things anyway.

Tuesday morning he came in again to fetch me, and we both spent the day at The House. The chairWorkman from the local history society also came over (as planned), to have a look at our inherited “archives”… 

What?! I wrote “chair(wo)man”, and the “wo” turned into a little briefcase! That’s almost as distracting as walking through a doorway!!!  …

… and she ended up relieving us of several carrier bags (not briefcases) full of old notes and photos from our granddad (who was a journalist with special interest in local history). The local history society will have a look at these and then pass them on to the Town Archive to be kept there for the future.

It’s still really just a drop in the lake… But it’s a start!

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Wednesday was Per’s birthday, so I took him out to lunch at a restaurant in town. Later, back at the House, we went for a sunny walk down to the beach…

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… er, what beach?! The water is so high this winter that there is almost no beach left to walk along! Compare the view in summer:

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Thursday Per went back home. Outside it rained and it rained and it rained… Well, for my part I had indoors things to do anyway – like taking down Christmas decorations. My window lights may remain up for another week or so though: Gradual withdrawal treatment!  … (Besides, I might need an extra week to make sure I’ve found all the gnomes…)

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Friday, January 13, 2012

!!! … And the Winners Are … !!!

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Who says Friday the 13th is unlucky? Possibly a handful of people who commented on my 3rd Blogoversary Post last week, and did not win my calendar…

… But three people did win, and here they are:

Pauline of The Paddock – New Zealand

Eva Ason of Eva Ason’s Art Corner – Ireland

Lady Fi – Sweden

One funny thing about how this came out is that one calendar goes to a Brit living in Sweden (Lady Fi), and one to a Swede living in Ireland (Eva)! But one also goes all the way to New Zealand.

Photo: The folded “lottery tickets” on the bottom of the big tin I used to shake them about in and then draw from. Interestingly, the reflections create an illusion of the tin spinning, although I could not do that while holding the camera.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Booking Through Thursday Interview

Every week Deb at Booking Through Thursday asks readers a bookish question or two. Or – this week – 15!

If you feel inspired to put your answers to these interview questions in a post on your own blog, please link to the original site Booking Through Thursday: Interview, Part 2.

Here are the questions with my answers:

1. What’s your favorite time of day to read?

It varies, depending on what else I have to do.

2. Do you read during breakfast? (Assuming you eat breakfast.)

The newspaper. Not books (not usually, anyway).

3. What’s your favorite breakfast food? (Noting that breakfast foods can be eaten any time of day.)

Tea with bread (toasted or not) and cheese and fruit.

4. How many hours a day would you say you read?

Can’t say. If you only count printed novels/fiction there are days when I do not read at all. And others when I do read for hours. But if you also count audio books (which I do!) it could be anything between half an hour to several hours, depending on what I have going. And if you add the newspaper and various internet texts (like blogs) then I read more.

5. Do you read more or less now than you did, say, 10 years ago?

An accident in the year 2000 that led to chronic neck pain was a major shift in all of my habits – reading included. While it led to less reading of paper books, on the other hand it also led to a lot more listening to audio books.

6. Do you consider yourself a speed reader?

No not really. Perhaps a bit more so back in my study years.

7. If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

Super strong like Pippi Longstocking! This because I’ve been struggling so many years now with problems lifting and carrying…

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8. Do you carry a book with you everywhere you go?

No! I carry as little as possible! (See above.) Nowadays I have an Android phone though, which can carry audio books at no extra weight… (hooray)

9. What KIND of book?

In the phone, usually some English classic because that’s what I have most of as audio mp3 files.

10. How old were you when you got your first library card?

Can’t remember. 13? Before that I borrowed books through school or with my mum. We lived in a village outside town. At 13 I started going to school in town.

11. What’s the oldest book you have in your collection? (Oldest physical copy? Longest in the collection? Oldest copyright?)

A novel for “young girls” that belonged to my maternal grandmother, printed in 1907, translated from German into Swedish. Author Luise Glass. The original German title is Im Krähennest from 1905 – In the Crow’s Nest. The book is very worn and almost falling apart. It was also read by my mother and my aunt in their childhood/youth. For me to read it in my childhood or youth was somewhat of an achievement since it’s in old Swedish spelling from before a spelling reform in 1906. (I also have my paternal grandfather’s school reader from 1910, there the shift has been made.)

12. Do you read in bed?

Yes.

13. Do you write in your books?

Sometimes. Mostly those I read for special study purposes though.

14. If you had one piece of advice to a new reader, what would it be?

Children just learning to read, or people who can read but just don’t…?? I guess to both I’d say: Read what you’re interested in!

15. What question have I NOT asked at BTT that you’d love me to ask? (please leave the answer to this one in the comments on Deb’s post, it’s she who is asking!)

I’ll have to think about that one! For now, I’ll just say that this interview could have been made to last 2 or 3 months… ;)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Z for Zebra at the Zoo

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The zebra’s stripes are unique to each individual. It was previously believed that zebras were white animals with black stripes. Embryological evidence, however, shows that the animal's background color is black and the white stripes and bellies are additions. (Source: Wikipedia)

At our zoo, the zebras roam a ‘savannah’ together with other African animals like elephants, giraffes and antelopes. (Follow the link for more pictures.)

ABC Wednesday

Monday, January 9, 2012

Macro Monday: Turning over a Leaf (or Two)

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Frosty leaves – New Years Eve 2011 – for Macro Monday at Lisa’s Chaos

I have a busy week ahead which includes some ‘leaf-turning’ in a more literal sense. My brother will be here for a couple of days. We’ve also invited someone from a local history society to come and have a ‘glance’ at some old papers at The House. Hopefully a first step towards sorting out what should go into museums and archives for the future. (Our dad who died last summer wrote four books on railway history. His dad before him was a journalist with special interest in local countryside history. My brother and I inherited a house full of paperwork of this kind; but not the interest and knowledge and time to sort it all out ourselves.)

I won’t be around much in Blogland this week – but there will be a couple of prescheduled posts turning up. Like this one!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Swan Lake (Act 2)

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As promised, here is a video clip of the whooper swans from yesterday, with sound. [Some day I shall have to learn how to edit videos! For now I’m glad if I manage to upload them!]

Friday, January 6, 2012

Swan Lake (Act I)

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6th January is a holiday in Sweden. Our name for it would just translate “13th day of Christmas”; in English I think it’s called Epiphany. In church we focus on the visit of the three Magi or Wise Men from the East to baby Jesus in Bethlehem. I dare say, however, that for most people this day probably just signifies the end of the holidays. And for most people it is probably also less connected with specific traditions than Christmas or New Year.

My guess is that on this 6th January, in my town, probably thousands of people did almost exactly what I also did. That is: Slept late, had a lazy morning and a nice breakfast. Then, before getting dressed, we all stepped up on our bathroom scales, and a unanimous “Oh NO” was heard throughout the city.

Still in shock, we then all simultaneously looked out of the window, saw the sun shining down in a friendly manner from a perfectly blue sky, onto a very thin layer of powdery snow on the ground (only just enough to make the world seem bright after another rainy and stormy week; and not so much of it as to make life difficult); and we all decided that this must be the day to begin the healthier lifestyle we promised ourselves (or at least for a moment contemplated) last weekend.

And then it struck at least a few hundred of us that the absolutely best place and way to start this healthier lifestyle must be to go for a walk around a certain little lake beneath our open air museum park, which also serves a bird sanctuary.

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Some of us also had the brilliant idea to bring the camera along:

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I wonder if maybe someone behind me got a photo with three photographers in it?

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This guy came really well prepared! He even had his camera lens covered with a knitted something...

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While the walkways around the lake were filled with humans, the lake itself on this day would be worthy of the name Swan Lake.

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It looks very peaceful, but in fact it was rather noisy. Most of the swans were Whooper Swans, happily whooping and shouting and splashing about in the sun (studying the people on the shores).

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I actually also shot three short video sequences with sound. I have not yet uploaded these to YouTube, but if I succeed with that (it’s been so long since I last did it that I’ll have to “relearn”…),  I’ll put in another blog post where you can also hear the swans.

Linking to Weekend Reflections

Thursday, January 5, 2012

♥ ♥ ♥ 3rd Blogoversary Celebration ♥ ♥ ♥

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3 years ago, on 5th January, 2009, I created my first blog, The Island of the Voices (the forerunner of this one) and wrote my very first blog post: The Dawn of a New Year and a New Blog.

As blogging became a great boost for my photography interest, later the same year I also started DawnTreader’s Picture Book.

1 year ago, somewhat mysteriously having reached the limits of my free web album*, I started over in a new account and changed the name of my main blog to Beyond the Lone Islands; no longer feeling as lonely and invisible as when I first set sail to venture out into the Unknown. (As most of my regular readers know, my blog titles as well as my signature refer to The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis – one of the seven Chronicles of Narnia.)

All-in-all, it’s been an exciting journey, making new friends far across the oceans, and learning a lot along the way!

 

♥ ♥ ♥ Celebration Giveaway ♥ ♥ ♥

Somehow (don’t ask why) I find myself with three spare photo calendars for 2012. So I’ve decided to do a giveaway (or three!) to celebrate my 3rd Blogoversary.

It’s a wall calendar size 20x30 cm, with one photo for each month. All photos by me. The calendar follows Swedish standard for holidays and name-days. The names of the months and days of the week etc. are in Swedish.

If you want a chance of winning one of the three calendars, just leave a comment on this post some time from now and one week forward (the last day = Thursday 12th January; Central European Time). Only one comment per person will be counted for the lottery.

Some time during the weekend after I will write down the names on separate pieces of paper, put them in a bowl or something, and draw three winners. I’ll let the winners know by email or blog comment, and of course also in a post here.

♥ ♥ ♥  Good Luck  ♥ ♥ ♥

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*About the Picasa web album, I seem to have managed to make better use of my allotted space with the new account. Now in one year I’ve only used 8% (which includes my Picture Book blog as well).

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The photo in this post is from last winter
and is my January picture in the photo calendar.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Dangerous Doorways

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Ever since I first heard about it – less than a week ago – it just seems to be getting worse! Or maybe I’m just getting more aware of it?? - ‘What?’ you ask. Room Amnesia! Forgetting things as I go from one room to another. Sometimes also called… er… hmm… Well, you know what I mean, don’t you? Often supposed to be age-related…

BUT – here’s the news: It’s the doorway’s fault!

A team at the University of Notre Dame (USA) have done research on it, putting volunteers through various memory tests. The result shows that it is passing through a doorway that makes us forget.

…when you pass through a doorway, your mind compartmentalizes your actions into separate episodes. Having moved into a new episode, the brain archives the previous one, making it less available for access. It’s as if you slam a mental door…

It does not even have to be a real doorway. It applies to computer games as well.

And contrary to what is sometimes supposed, it does not seem to automatically help memory to go back to the original room either.

I heard about this on the radio last Friday. Not until today did I get round to checking up sources on the internet. You can read more at the Scientific American website.

My flat is not very big, but on the way from my bedroom to my study (or the other way round) I do pass through four doorways. No wonder I keep finding forgotten and unfinished ‘projects’ lying around…!

(Not to mention all the virtual doorways/ windows we bloggers keep popping in and out of!)

On some level I think I already knew. I’ve just been thinking of it the other way round, and as mainly a good thing: That having separate rooms for different activities can be of help to concentrate and not get distracted...

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

ABC Wednesday: Y

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On New Year’s Eve, after waking up with a yawn, I felt the yearning to go out for a walk. And since I was in the mindset that day to look “way over yonder” for strange and wonderful things, my eyes also fell on this birch tree in the shape of the letter Y. “Yippee!” I said to myself. “Why look any further? Here’s the perfect Y for the very first ABC Wednesday in the year 2012!”

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Yours,  Monica
a.k.a. DawnTreader

http://youtu.be/Hqx28TxMiZ0

ABC Wednesday - Y

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year’s Eve: Mosaic and Macro

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New Year’s Eve I spent with basically the same little group of friends for the 12th year in a row; gathered in my home. (Five of us this year.) None of them like it much when I get my camera out - and myself I have to confess I prefer it behind the camera rather than in front of. But I think I might dare a little résumé in the form of two collages and a macro.

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The end of an old year: The initially carefully laid tables have somehow mysteriously turned into a mess of dirty dishes, empty bottles, and litter to be thrown away. Whatever happened?!

One friend’s eyes grew big when she saw me pointing my camera at my empty plate… What was I taking photos of NOW?!

And that after we had just watched a film - Everlasting Moments - with fascination with photography and catching the moment as one of the main themes…

But she must be excused, I guess… Not being a blogger! Winking smile

2011-12-31 New Year's Eve2

Quarter past New Year: Waiting for the banging of fireworks to die down outside, so as not to be hit by something  (or going deaf) on the way to the parking lot… No snow this year to soften the sounds, so it was really LOUD!

Ah well. They say everything started with a Big Bang, don’t they?

So now we just have to see how the rest of the year develops!

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Mosaic Monday at Mary’s Little Red House

Macro Monday at Lisa’s Chaos

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