PLEASE NOTE

This blog goes on under a different name and new web address from January 2011. Please follow me...

Beyond the Lone Islands

http://dawntreader-island2.blogspot.com

Sunday, 31 January 2010

Simple But Promising


These blueberry branches came with the bouquet of tulips  I got the other week. They are still "alive" and developing buds, serving as a reminder that winter will eventually be defeated; even though this morning the thermometer was again down to -20°C.

Saturday, 30 January 2010

One Mustn't Complain


"Of course, I've still got all this snow to do what I like with.
One mustn't complain." 
Eeyore (A.A. Milne)
PS. Eeyore pictures by E.H. Shepard. I hope no one will sue me because of the collage...

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Tiddely-pom





'... The more it snows, tiddely pom - '
'Tiddely what?' said Piglet.
'Pom,' said Pooh. I put that in to make it more hummy.
The more it goes, tiddely pom, the more - '
'Didn't you say snows?'
'Yes, but that was before.'
'Before the tiddely pom?'
'It was a different tidddely pom,' said Pooh, feeling rather muddled now. 'I'll sing it to you properly and then you'll see.'
So he sang it again.

The more it
SNOWS-tiddely-pom,
the more it
GOES-tiddely-pom,
the more it
GOES-tiddely-pom,
On
Snowing.

And nobody
KNOWS-tiddely-pom,
How cold my
TOES-tiddely-pom,
How cold my
TOES-tiddely-pom,
Are
Growing.

A.A. Milne


Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Indoor Experiments on a Snowy Day





It has continued to snow all day. I have not set foot outside.

I did however experiment with some photos taken through the window. The top one was edited in Picasa using both auto and manual adjustments. The two bottom ones have not been edited at all except that they were made into a collage. They were both taken at twilight, in macro mode, with auto flashlight; kind of sideways, so that reflection of the flash was avoided. (More luck than skill!) In the picture on the left, you can see a glimpse of a lamp post outside. In the one on the right, there is a reflection of a potted plant on the window sill.

I also "discovered" something which I had not thought of before: It is (of course) possible to make a collage with only one picture, just to make use of the possiblity to put a coloured frame around it.



You can also do some interesting things with just a little detail from a photo. This image was also made in Picasa, from one of the macro photos of snow crystals on the window. Heavily cropped, maximum sharpening, colour alteration, and collage to add a frame.

If you like, tell me what you see in the last picture!

Snow, Wind, Fire and Definitions



If the photo seems familiar, you may have seen it before in a post entitled Fire and Ice back in December 2009, about a Christmas Market and the making of an ice sculpture.

Today, I'm looking out of my windows at a snowstorm outside, and feeling lucky that this happens to be a day when I don't have to go out. (Traffic warnings have been given, around here defined as a No 1 warning, on a scale of 1-3, with 3 as the worst.)

My thoughts, however, are circling more around some recently read posts at other people's blogs.

Yesterday evening, I was reading a post at {Simply}Heather's Blog, entitled Furious or Cleansing Winds. I have to confess: I don't always find Heather's thoughts all that "simple". Sometimes they raise protests within me, while at the same time I partly agree, which can be very confusing. (That is not meant as criticism. The best writers are often the thought-provoking ones.) Sometimes, like yesterday, I find myself wondering whether 20 years or so ago, at another stage of my life, my reactions would have been the same, or different. I keep turning thoughts like that over, and don't always really reach a conclusion. I am the same, yet different; because my life has changed a lot since then. (What is it they say? Every cell in the human body is replaced and renewed within a period of seven years...)

Part of Heather's post had to do with the word "religious" used as a label. I get her meaning, and yet when I look back through my own life, I find that I no longer react quite the same way to that word as I used to. I quote my comment:

Words are tricky sometimes.

When I was younger, I think I had that same definition of 'religious'. And if someone asked me if I was religious, I would automatically say: No, but I am a Christian.

Today, I think I would say: 'Define religious!' before I accept or reject the epithet.

Because the primary definition of the word is simply: "having or showing belief in and reverence for God or a deity" (Free Online Dictionary) or "relating to or manifesting faithful devotion to an acknowledged ultimate reality or deity" (Merriam-Webster).

I would still want to add that not just any deity will do for me. But the word in itself (religious), for some reason, has become a lot more neutral to me. I'm not sure why. Possibly just because I have had more time to think about defintions...

It might also have something to do with the fact that these days, most of the rules and restrictions that I find myself forced to follow are set by my own body.

Anyway: Then, this morning, I read a post by Don at Musings and Misc. Thoughts, entitled I've Been Burned. No attempt to sum it up would do it justice so I really recommend taking the time to read it in full. But it has to do with getting burned by life, but at the same time learning the difference between "consuming" vs "refining" fire. Which in turn led my thoughts back to Heather's title - "Furious or Cleansing Winds".

The Bible is full of thought-provoking contrasts like that. However much you try, you can never quite pin God down and define him. You just end up first with Himself teasingly defining Himself as "I am who I am" (Exodus 3:14); and then, in the New Testament, his Son nailed to the cross, and put in a sealed and guarded tomb - and still breaking loose! You might say, not only did Jesus refuse to obey the rules, he also refused to be defined as dead...

Monday, 25 January 2010

Collector's Madness

Are you a Collector of anything? I mean, are you really possessed by that Collecting Mania that makes you want "the complete set" of whatever-it-may-be?

So far, I have not thought of myself as one. I guess I have some collector's instincts, but in my own opinion they were never really all that strong. I do have a lot of books, and quite a few CD's and DVD's. With books, if there is a series where the individual books connect to each other with an ongoing plot (and if I like them), I do of course like to have them all. However, most of my books are paperbacks, or bought on sale; I'm not really a collector of valuable First Editions or The Complete Works Of.

In later years, DVD boxes of old TV series have become very popular. My brother does have quite a nice collection, and he is more of a proper Collector than I am - which I benefit from, since I get to borrow them, or get copies! And when he does buy a DVD series, he usually wants the whole set - seasons one through whatever.

My own collection is smaller, and more random. When a true Collector looks at my collection, he may approve of my owning a number of first seasons of various series; because a first season can be seen as a beginning to be followed by more. What the Collector finds much harder to understand, is why someone would have just season 4 out of 9 of  Seinfeld, or seasons 4-6 of M*A*S*H (out of 11). When a Collector sees a lonely season 4 out of a much higher number, something within him is deeply disturbed. Eyebrows go up, forehead gets wrinkled; something is not quite right in the world...

Until just recently, I owned only one Complete Series of that Many-Seasons kind. And even that collection is not quite right from a Collector's point of view, because I have seasons 3 and 4 recorded from TV (with one episode missing), and then bought the rest (1,2,4,5,6,7). The series? Gilmore Girls. My absolute favourite American 21st century series (2000-2007), starring Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel. (The dialogue is marvellous, which to me means I can watch it over and over and pick up new things every time. And funny without ha-ha studio laughter.)

Last week, however, I must have got a stroke of collector's madness.

Looking in on one of the websites from where I sometimes order things, there happened to be a sale. As a result,I can no longer brag about being completely free of collector's syndrome, and hold up my seasons 4-6 of M*A*S*H as evidence; because today I received a package containing not only seasons 1-3, but also seasons 7-11.(There will always, however, be some evidence left that I did not buy the whole series at the same time, because while my old seasons 4-6 came in the old-fashioned thick kind of covers, seasons 1-3 and 7-11 arrived in the slim kind of covers...)

If I wasn't insane before, I probably will be after watching them all in one swoop. Do I really want 11 seasons of dirt-coloured Army Hospital humour??? Well, that remains to be seen...



Quotation of the Week (4/2010)



If instead of a gem, or even a flower,
we should cast the gift of a loving thought
into the heart of a friend,
that would be
giving as the angels give.


(1824 - 1905)

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Portrait of the Artist as an Old Woman



(Alluding to the book title Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce...)

In gloomy moments this week I've been feeling I've run into a major writer's block. Checking myself, though, I realize that two or three days without blogposting probably cannot be counted as a more than a very tiny block. Not really worthy of the dramatic complaint I had in mind!

However I do feel a bit like that snow(wo)man. (Surely it's a woman, don't you agree?) Been holding up for a while, but a bit tired now, and feeling as colourless as the surrounding winter world... (Now I'm exaggerating again. When I go out, I usually wear a cheerfully red coat!)

I was playing around a bit with this photo the other day, just to experiment how much (or how little) fun you can have with an all white photo. Not a whole lot. When I had done what I could, I still felt it at least needed a frame, and I couldn't find any of those in the editing software. And of course couldn't think of anything to write either (since I was suffering from writer's block, remember?).

Then I found this Online Image Editor which offers frames (among other things). So I tried that out, and voilà! I had a framed picture. But I still couldn't think of a title.

Today when looking at the picture again, the distorted title of James Joyce's semi-autobiography came to mind. I have to confess I don't remember anything about that book except the title. I have it in my bookcase, but it's been over 30 years since I read it. Well, that in turn does make me feel old...

Circle closed. Now I'm going to publish this before that Block hits me in the head again.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Opening Up



It's been a rather dull and uninspiring week,
but the tulips are still looking good!



He who loses wealth loses much;
he who loses a friend loses more;
but he that loses his courage loses all.
Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616)

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Tulips



Yesterday I got flowers delivered to my door. By that I mean a surprise delivery by a messenger; not brought by someone coming to visit. This is something that happens very rarely in my life, probably not even once in a decade...



It was a lovely boquet of red tulips, from the friend to whom I sent the CDs last week.

Tulips are a reminder of spring, so they inspired me to take down the last of the Advent-Christmas decorations today (the electric candle-lights in the windows). The outdoor lights on the balcony railing however will stay until some snowfree and dry day. Which probably means they will be left in peace for some time yet. We've had more snow falling over the past couple of days.

Monday, 18 January 2010

Conversing With Appliances

Over the weekend my printer started complaining that it was running out of red ink. "What do you need red for?!" I ask it. "The whole world out there is black-and-white right now anyway!" But for some reason the printer is like me: It wants to be prepared. It does not trust me when I say I'll accept grayscale for a while. Every time I turn it on, it reminds me: "Hey, I'm in need of a blood transfusion here! Please help!" So yesterday I sighed, put on my boots and went to the nearest technology outlet to buy a red ink cartridge. (While I was at it, I stocked up on blue, yellow and black too. As I said, I like to be prepared.)

The problem with these stores is that while they do sometimes actually supply what you went in there looking for, they also seem to generate new needs. It's a bit of a mystery, really, at which exact point something suddenly becomes a must-have, when until just recently you didn't even know it existed.

In this case - a portable DVD-player - I think it was the combination of my extreme tiredness lately, and the fact that I happened to find one with 9" screen (instead of just 7"), and TV included.



I have sometimes made use of the laptop to watch a DVD in bed; but the problem is that the computer tends to be more interested in wandering off out onto the internet to look for updates than to watch the film. Then either it suddenly turns itself off to restart without warning (leaving to me to remember where we were); or, if I have managed to turn that possibility off, it takes its revenge when I get tired and want to go to sleep, by then saying "no not yet, first I need to..." By the time it is ready to go to sleep, I'm usually wide awake again!

What I expect from my new bed companion is that it will be more responsive to my immediate needs. Moreover, I also expect it to sit and chat with me in the kitchen sometimes, while I do boring housework.

The ideal invention for the future would of course be a machine that actually does the boring housework while I do the sitting and chatting... (Maybe in the next decade...?)

Quotation of the Week (3/2010)



“Hope is the struggle of the soul, breaking loose from
what is perishable, and attesting her eternity.”





Herman Melville (1819-1891)

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Sharp


"Sometimes you put walls up,
not to keep people out,
but to see who cares enough
to break them down."

(Author unknown)

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Playing Monet

When I had my computer crash back in November (an event that ought to be world famous by now), one of the programmes I lost access to was Paint Shop Pro 9, since I did not have the original CD.

Dan (of Wood and Pixels) then very kindly offered to send me an early version of Photoshop Elements (2.0) which he no longer had use for himself. I got it before Christmas, but I have waited to install it because I felt I needed to get my original pictures reorganized properly first. I did have copies of all my original digital photos saved but it took some time sorting them out anyway. (I'll refrain from boring you with every detail but it included some basic reorganizing and renaming of catalogs to better be able to find things.)

Today, finally... I decided it was time to take the plunge and install the new software and have a first look at it. Always confusing to try and find your way in a different set-up... But to prove I'm getting started, here is one of my very first random experiment with the Artistic filters (which is the part I have been missing the most from Paintshop).

I have not yet entered the mysteries of layers, but I might get there, some day...


Thank you Dan!



Friday, 15 January 2010

Where Have All The Hours Gone?



For no apparent reason, I've continued to feel abnormally tired all week. Around two o'clock p.m. some invisible power hits me with a hammer in the head, turns my body temperature down to ice cold and puts me in hibernation under a mountain of blankets for two or three hours. Curiously enough, my night sleep on the whole does not seem much affected by these extra hours spent in Nothingness.



Today I probably didn't get more than one proper hibernation hour in the afternoon because I had to go down to the laundry room between naps; plus I was up extra early in the morning to make a couple of Authority phone calls. (Authorities, especially Health Care Authorities, have very early habits.) The result is that at 6.30 p.m. I keep glancing at the clock on the wall to check if it isn't bedtime soon!

Should perhaps point out that the clock in the pictures is not mine. The photo was taken in one of the cottages in our museum park back in the summer.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Passing Through Stone



Above is a collage of winter and summer pictures of a sculpture.
I posted pictures of it back in July 2009 too. My comment then was: "This is another one of those sculptures that may work as a magic door, if you dare look through it instead of just circling around it." (The perspective you get when looking through the stone is different from when looking past it from a distance, and it is added to by reflections, since the inside of the hole has been polished so that it works like a mirror.)

I'm generally fascinated by (stories about) "magic openings". And I know this is something I share with people all over the world, through thousands of years back in history...

Today, a post at the Japanese blog Camera Works Blogger by Tsutomu Otsuka caught my attention. It is entitled Relationship Making and Breaking Stone, and tells of


a shrine with "a giant stone 1.5m high and 3m wide. It is said that the power of the gods flows into the round hole on the top side of the stone. Pass through the hole in the stone from front to back to break off a bad relationship. And then pass through from back to front to make a good one."


This triggered a memory at the back of my brain - something I read a couple of years ago about a stone on some island off the coast of Scotland, to which similar traditions were connected. At first I couldn't remember what island, or why on earth I had been reading about it, but it came back to me...

It was in connection with my "Harry Potter research" that I came across it. I had been reading up on and comparing Old Norse and Celtic traditions; and then, in connection with "unbreakable vows" (there is one of those made in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince), I happened to come across a web page about The Odin Stone on the Orkney Islands. Once I remembered enough to know what to put into the search engine, I managed to find the website again now.

The Odin Stone, or Stone o' Odin, was a "holed monolith" (thought to have been erected around 3000BC) that stood in a field by the Standing Stones o' Stenness; until it was destroyed in 1814 by an incomer to the island, by the name of Captain W. Mackay.


The stone was "approximately 2.5 metres (8 feet) high with a breadth of about one metre (3.5 feet)" and "played a major part in a number of Orkney wedding traditions".


"...the man being on one side and the woman on the other, they took hold of each other's right hand through the hole, and there swore to be constant and faithful to each other. This ceremony was held so very sacred in those times that the person who dared to break the engagement made here was counted infamous, and excluded all society" 
"It was likewise usual, when a husband and wife could not agree, that they both came to the Kirk of Stainhouse (Stenness), and after entering into the kirk the one went out at the south and the other at the north door, by which they were holden legally divorced, and free to make another choice." - Although in this case, the "divorce" took place in the church of Stenness, a short distance away from the Standing Stones, was this a later development? Perhaps an attempt by the church to draw the Orcadians away from their heathen practices? 
I just find it interesting, that in so different parts of the world, a giant stone with a natural hole in it should be connected to "relationship making and breaking"...

(The modern Swedish sculpture, as far as I know, has really nothing to do with this, except in my mind.)

The Little Things



It turns out I made a promise on New Year's Eve after all (and kept it!), I just didn't really think of it as such, because it was a very little thing...

When my guests arrived on New Year's Eve, I was playing Enya's CD And Winter Came on the stereo, and one of them remarked that she had had a tape cassette with Enya's music that she had used to play so frequently it got worn out, and she missed it. I said I could copy my CD for her.



A week later I did, and another one by the same artist as well; and posted them to her (she does not live in the same town). She is the sister of a friend of mine, and she and I don't really keep in touch, except that we sometimes meet when she is visiting her sister. Yesterday she phoned to thank me for the CDs which had just arrived by mail (she hadn't even listened to them yet). She said it made her day, because she had not really been counting on me to remember. So often people just say they'll do things like that and then forget.

More than likely I too may have forgotten casual promises like that more often than I've remembered them. But this time I did not forget; and a friend's joy came boomeranging back to me as a reminder of how much it can sometimes mean when one does remember "the little things"...

I probably needed that at much as she did, because I've been feeling so incredibly slow lately about getting other things done - "bigger things", which are less fun to do and also don't usually bring the same kind of immediate response.

Dahlias



Just playing around a bit with some photos from last summer...
Feeling in need of some colour as contrast to the frozen white world outside!

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

The Very Last Day of Christmas

In Swedish tradition, 13th January is the day to throw out the Christmas tree. This is the twentieth day after Christmas, and in our calendar, "the name of the day" is Knut - thus, in Swedish: tjugondedag Knut. And as the Swedish word for 'out' is 'ut', we get a nice rhyme: "Tjugondedag Knut ska julen dansas ut". Exchange Knut for the old English version of the name - Canute - and you almost even get the rhyme (at least in some English dialects): "on twentieth day Canute, dance Christmas out". (If you didn't already know, there was a Viking King of England back in the late 10th/early 11th century by name of Cnut or Canute.)

Any unusual event is reason for a party, and in the good old days (hm) it was also tradition to have a party when it was time to throw out the Christmas tree. This of course arose from the original habit of decorating the tree with edible things, like apples and ginger biscuits and sweets.


Old Christmas Card by Jenny Nyström

I'm not sure how popular the tradition of julgransplundring ("plundering of the Christmas tree") still is. Back in my childhood in the 60s we still had them (for children), even though Christmas tree decorations weren't usually of the edible kind any more. But cakes and sweets were served, and there were games and singing and dancing around the tree; and before you left you also got a bag of sweets to take with you.

I very rarely if ever got to have a birthday party of my own as a child (partly perhaps because I shared birthday with my father). But there were a few getting-rid-of-Christmas-parties.

Today I've started taking down the decorations in my flat, but somehow it feels more like a lot of work than a party...! I think I'll wait a couple of days before I take the box down to the storage room... In some mysterious way, just when you think you've caught all the gnomes, you usually disover another one lurking in some obscure corner...

Monday, 11 January 2010

Bad Hair Days



What can I say? Still snowy and cold!
The cold a little less severe now, but still well below zero (C).

Trying to get back into some kind of normal routines (whatever that would be) after the holidays, but not very successfully.

 I did get back to my physiotherapy in the rehab pool today though. A wonderful 45 minutes in the warm water - but one does have to 'work' a bit extra for it in this weather, with all the extra layers of clothes to put on, and take off, and put on again (all within a couple of hours); and making sure to blowdry one's hair properly... *

Sleep still disrupted; got too little of it during the night, and then got so tired from the morning's getting-in-and-out-of-clothes-and-water exercises that I fell asleep after lunch and did not wake up again until it was too late to get other things done that I had half intended... (Well, come to think of it - maybe that should be counted as getting back to normal routines...)



* I've had to give up all attempts to maintain some kind of "hairdo"...

This picture I found on the internet, but it pretty much illustrates what happens to my hair too in cold and dry weather (static electricity)...

(And that look on one's face follows automatically, when facing a mirror!)

Quotation of the Week (2/2010)




In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.


Albert Schweizer (1875 - 1965)

Saturday, 9 January 2010

A Statue Revisited



I revisited a "friend" of mine today.
Some of you may remember him from before:



PS. This is my third post today, so please scroll down for more reading...

Photography Friendly Mittens

Lately it has been so cold outside (this morning again -17 C) that it has been hard to be without gloves for as long as it takes to get the camera out and take a couple shots. Even when you get your hands back into the fur-lined suède mittens, it takes forever to warm up those frozen fingers again...

But today, in a shop in town, I may just have found the solution:



For the purpose of keeping warm, the ones below are otherwise really what is needed just now... But with those on, I can't even handle the zipper on the camera bag!



PS. This is my second post today, so please scroll down for more reading...

About Me and Languages (6)

Again connected to my scanner (after a computer crash in November), and looking for just about any excuse to take a mental break from the cold weather outside, I decided to pick up and continue my sort-of-autobiography.


For new readers: This is a trip down "Memory Lane" that I began last year, and you will find links to previous episodes in a separate box below the Blog Archive.




 

In the summer of 1973, a month before I turned 18, I went on my next international adventure, although this time I did not actually leave Sweden. It was however the first time I went alone to a big international Christian conference. (I had turned to a personal Christian belief two years before.)

The conference language was English, several mission organisations were involved, and people from different countries attending. The focus was on Eastern Europe, where active Christians were in those days persecuted for their faith by Communist regimes.*

The conference was held in a village by the name of Dals Ed. Sleeping arrangements were simple - camping, or sleeping on air mattresses on the floor in the local school. The days were filled with Bible studies and meetings, mostly outdoors. It was a week of beautiful summer weather, in a beautiful spot.

I went alone to this conference, which again (like the stay in England the previous summer) was a valuable experience because it meant having to be open to new contacts. Most of the participants were from the Scandinavian countries, but all Bible studies and sermons were held in English. (Public sermons were also interpreted into Swedish.) This for me laid a foundation for learning to listen to the English language. I also bought tapes from some of the meetings which I listened to again afterwards. This conference also introduced me to the abundance of Christian literature in English. This in turn also laid a foundation for continuing to read such books in English, and to learn the theological terminology in English as well as in Swedish.



Music is important to almost every teenager. Music has also always been important in the church, all over the world. So naturally, music also played its part in this conference. It was the early 70's, and the Jesus movement brought a new type of music into the churches - simple praise songs, with the lyrics often based on direct quotes from the Bible, and also influenced by gospel music. To lead us in praise at this conference, there was a band from the American west coast - I can't remember now whether San Fransisco or Los Angeles. Anyway, they called themselves The Harvest Singers, and they were a bunch of really Cool people - and nice. I remember spending an afternoon sitting on a lawn in the sun, just talking to one of the guys - his name was Lee - for perhaps two hours, something like that. What we talked about, I can't remember. What I do remember is the feeling: A member of THE BAND, a really cool-looking, long-haired, guitar-playing American young man (in his early 20s, I guess)... talking to ME, out of all the people there... *LOL*

One thing he said, still lingers with me. That was on the last day of the conference, saying good-bye. He then said, very matter-of-factly:
If we don't meet again before - "I'll see you in heaven"...

One short phrase that just hit me, and never left. Somewhere at the back of my mind, there is still an image of heaven as a sort of reunion conference: a place where mysterious things will be explained, beautiful and sincere songs of praise sung, and we'll have all the time in eternity to finish all those conversations we had to leave dangling on earth...

*Footnote: I should perhaps add, that although this conference focused on mission in Eastern Europe, and working against the unjust treatment of Christians by the authorities in these countries, the teaching was not at all (in my perception) aggressive. In fact, I think it probably gave me a better understanding of the original ideas of Marxism and socialism than I ever got from any lessons at school.

Friday, 8 January 2010

Cold Records


Even the river is freezing now.



Some swans have joined the more common ducks (mallards) in the river. Two of them are grey. Not sure I've ever seen swans of that colour before? The all white ones are the most common here.

I've been trying to remember when we last had a really cold winter like this. I know the first two winters I after I moved to this town were extremely snowy and cold. I moved here on one of the first days of January 1986, and that day it was snowing heavily. I started a new job a few days later, in a village 20 km or so outside town, and had to travel there and back by bus every day(since I had no car). The landscape I passed on the way looked surreal with snowcovered forest and vast fields of deep, untouched snow. The next winter I was working mostly in town, but still had to travel by bus a lot between several different workplaces, and that winter too was very snowy and cold.

This morning, the local newspaper confirmed that my memory serves me right: This winter is the coldest we've had around here since 1987.



The ice sculpture in the Market Square revisited:
The little cub at the feet of the big bear
is now all covered in snow.


My personal cold record is from New Year 1978/79. (I was 23.)
That New Year, our youth gospel choir went on tour to the north of Värmland. Some of the cars we used were not in the best of shape. Our pastor, for example, had to steer his car with one hand and keep using the ice-scraper on the inside of the windscreen with the other hand all the time, the whole way. (About 100 km.) The car I was going in (belonging to a friend) had to be pushed to a start almost every time. We slept on air mattresses on the floor in the local school. From there to the little church where we sang in a couple of services, I think it was about 1 km, and most of us walked that way on foot several times during those couple of days. At midnight on New Year's Eve, we also sang at some kind of club. I caught a cold, and a fever... Afterwards - safely back home - we learned that the temperature had been down to -40C that New Year's night in the village where we had been staying. Probably just as well we did not know at the time exactly how cold it was!!!


New Year 1978/79, Värmland

(The other pictures above are from today.)

Thursday, 7 January 2010

For GB: Reminders of Summer

Looking at a post of GB's earlier today, from New Zealand, was such a powerful reminder of summer (in the middle of snowy winter here!) that it got me digging out old pictures from years ago...! Well, it's a project I had been meaning to get started on anyway: I need to back-up some original CD-R's of photos taken with my Olympus XA2 camera, which I do not have copied onto my laptop. (I had them on the desktop computer that died...) I've now bought a mobile hard drive on which I can store them (and more). So I started today with the first of my old picture discs. Among them were some pictures of that walkway along the Swedish west coast that GB's photos reminded me of... South of seaside town Varberg. I thought showing them might be a nice break from all my wintry snowy photos lately!





I did not happen to have any cyclists on these pictures,
but there was this walking couple...





The old 13th century fort today holds restaurants,
museum, and a hostel.




This is a beach right below the fort,
with an old wooden spa building on a pier.



There are other beaches further along the coast.
This is a small one which is very popular both
for bathing and for beach volley ball.

Onwards and Forwards


Snowman giving directions: That way, please!

Looking back at what I wrote yesterday about foresight, I have my doubts whether some things in that post will make much sense to anyone but myself, but never mind. Onwards and forwards...

Whether we choose to set long term goals or not, the New Year does have a tendency to make us recapitulate, and consider starting afresh with some things. If you do want to make a change of some kind, the New Year often seems like a good time to start. New calendar, with blank pages waiting to be filled in... (One of the things I haven't got round to yet! And as I write that, it also hits me that I have forgotten send a couple of birthday cards...)

For my blogs, I have no major changes in mind at the moment; but I did joggle some items about in the sidebar of this one yesterday. In some ways, the sidebar is like a flowerbed - you plant things in it, then leave it to take care of ifself for a while; and then one day you look at it and say "oops" - however it happened, it suddenly seems to be in need of some weeding...

The most obvious change is that I moved Quotation of the Day up to the top of the sidebar. (I had it before, but further down.) This is one of those automatic gadgets, so what appears there is not my own choice. However, after a year of Quotation of the Week posts, I find I've used up most of the English quotes in my old notebooks. So it's time to gather some new ones! There are of course plenty of quotation pages to be found on the internet; but there is a certain difference between searching one's own memory and notebooks for quotes, and trying to find appropriate ones from unknown contexts... I will however try to keep up the Quotation of the Week too, in one way or another. If nothing else, it might take myself to interesting new places (and books) worth exploring!

I have also updated my links list - Other Places To Visit - with a few new additions.Of those I would like to draw your attention to one photo blog especially: Ulrika K. I came across her page recently when browsing some Skywatch Friday participants. Ulrika lives in Lapland in the very North of Sweden and she has some really amazing pictures. The snow and cold I have been complaining about down here lately is "nothing" compared to what they're used to up there.

PS/ Still feeling "undecided" about some things, I've removed a paragraph in this post. There will probably be links somewhere in the sidebar to a series of autobiographical posts that I began during 2009, and hope to continue in 2010... I thought of adding them to the "About Me" box, but then I decided (I think) to put them in a separate place instead - probably under the Blog Archive.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Hindsight and Foresight



In my New Year's Eve post I quoted an Irish blessing:

May you have the hindsight to know where you've been,
The foresight to know where you're going,
And the insight to know when you have gone too far.

So far this New Year - celebrating my first "Bloggoversary" yesterday on top of all - my concentration has been mostly on the hindsight, looking back on 2009. I was also never really in the habit of making New Year promises - and right now, the mere thought of a list of detailed resolutions just weighs me down.

Reading other blogs over the last few days, I find that people often say "no, I never make New Year promises" - and then go on to make lists of resolutions or expectations anyway. So while I was out on a very cold walk in the snow this afternoon (after saying this morning that I would probably not go out but just stay in), I thought about that: Would I feel better about making a list of expectations instead of promises? Answer: No,I would not! I'm tired of lists. I'm tired of counting, and crossing things off, and still never catching up...

While writing the Bloggoversary post, it struck me that last year when I started blogging, I had no clear idea where I was going with that; and yet, looking back, I can see that in spite of lacking defined goals and expectations, I still had a sense of direction. That, I think, is the kind of foresight I need for this year, too - and the only kind that would not feel heavy.

That does not mean I will not be making any plans, or that I will never write another list of things to do. It also does not mean I can forget about all the things that still remain to do that I should already have dealt with last year! I'm sure 2010 will have its own fair share of all that, whether I like it or not...



But "the foresight to know where you're going" - that, for me, is about daring to be open to intuition, and listen to my heart: To notice if a gate is open or closed; to know when to give or accept (or decline) an invitation, when to speak or to be silent... That kind of thing!

If I am to wish only one thing for 2010 - that will be it, I think.

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