The Sun shines and warms and lights us, and we have no curiosity to know why this is so; but we ask the reason of all evil, of pain, and hunger, and mosquitoes, and silly people.
R.W. Emerson (1803-1882)
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Monday, 30 August 2010
Sunday, 29 August 2010
Exactly 24 years later, a little baby girl was born. Me. (Held by my grandmother in the picture.)
It’s not always a barrel of laughs sharing your birthday with another family member. Growing up, I very rarely got to have a birthday party “of my own”, with friends. (For relatives, the “two for one” was probably practical.) In my 20s and 30s, when I did not live in the same town as my parents, I made up for it with quite a few birthday parties with friends, no family (the family celebrations often held either before or after the actual day). At 40 I had my only really big party (about 40 people), including both family and friends. At 50, I went away to celebrate with a few old friends.
Had circumstances been different, I might have tried to make a bit more of turning 55 - also being born in 1955.
Circumstances being what they are, however…
First I allowed myself a very lazy morning. I did not get up (properly) until noon! This was not really because I felt all miserable, but spoiling myself.
Then I went out and bought myself a big bouquet of flowers and enjoyed that while I ate my lunch (which in itself was not all that special).
Then I split the bouquet in half, and in the mid afternoon took one half of it with me on a 45 min bus tour across town, to “celebrate” for an hour with dad at the short-stay nursing home (and then another bus ride home again).
I asked dad if he remembered what day it was. He said yes, but did not elaborate. (I’m not sure, I think the staff might have talked to him about it after I phoned earlier in the day.)
Anyway I suppose it was good I went to see him even if neither of us was exactly in happy birthday mood.
I tried to tell dad briefly about the moving plans, even brought him a couple of pictures of his new place. He again said “yes” but again I’m not sure how much he really takes in. Don’t know how much help photographs are either. Most of the time he sat staring out of the window. I don’t think his eyesight is very good either now. Or perhaps it is mine that isn’t! The thing is that while I see the black roof of the next building in front of some green treetops, dad seems to be seeing a lake. And of course that is really a much better view than mine! It’s just one of those reality clashes that is difficult to handle in conversation “right there and then”…
Going home on the bus, the pictures in my first photo album came to mind. Mum put the baby photo of dad in there for comparison. I’m not sure whether they took the photo of me deliberately in that position, with the old photo in mind, or if it just “happened” that way. My paternal grandfather was a good photographer (and journalist at the local newspaper).
Not to leave you with too sad an impression of my not-exactly-happy birthday, I should probably mention that five birthday cards and one parcel arrived for me before the weekend; and some phone calls have been dropping in as well. One friend even singing to me on the phone! So I’m not really feeling “forgotten”. Just too tired for partying.
Thursday, 26 August 2010
From the patio outside the “assisted living” place my dad will be moving to – shortly. Exactly how shortly is still not 100% clear, which is causing us some trouble.
We have to wait for redecoration to be finished before any stuff can be moved in, and stuff has to be moved in before dad can be moved in… Well.
When all is in place, including dad, I expect it will be as good as can be, when life is no longer as good as it was, and help is needed with things you hoped you would never in your life need help with. Still a place to call your own (with some old things to hopefully remind you of who you are), right inside a bigger home (unit for 8), right inside an even bigger home (complex containing a whole range of similar units with different levels of care), right in the centre of a village you know better than any other place. Or at least used to.
Most likely I won’t be around in Blogland as much as usual over the next couple of weeks, because what little energy I have will be required elsewhere.
The weather is not being very helpful. It does not show on the picture above, but going out to the village by bus yesterday (which takes me just over an hour at best, and often an hour and a half, one way), I also had to fight storm winds and torrential rain showers.
Come gather ’round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone
* For the times they are a-changin’
Wednesday, 25 August 2010
Tuesday, 24 August 2010
… Hmmm… Maybe some day I’ll be ready for proper HDR…?
This is an old abandoned building, I think it used to be a transformer station. Whether it was or wasn’t, it could perhaps be said to be one now, since I used it for my own photographic “transformation” experiments…
Here’s another experiment with the multi-exposure in Picasa collage. Can you identify it? It is something you have already seen on this blog, just recently. (If you have been following, that is!)
Monday, 23 August 2010
Sunday, 22 August 2010
Within walking distance from where I live there is a little park which in my own mind I call the Butterfly Park, since last summer I got to see and take photos of several different kinds of butterflies there. (I’ve only been living in this part of town two years, and it was only last summer that I started bringing my camera on almost every walk.)
Earlier this summer I complained (I think it was in my other blog) that there didn’t seem to be any butterflies around this year. But now they’re back, and I’m very happy to see them.
Yesterday it was raining most of the day, and I was having a rather miserable day from ache-and-pains point of view. (Actually, to be honest - from almost any point of view.)
But in the afternoon I managed a short walk in between showers, and then I found this beautiful peacock butterfly in the park, performing a little “dance” for me – slowly turning around on top of a white cone flower, with its wings spread out (probably to dry!).
Putting the pictures all in a row for this post, and writing as far as the paragraph above, the hymn “Lord of the Dance” came to mind for me.
I was reminded that I’ve always been curious about the origin of this song. So now I looked it up.
It has sometimes been said that this is an old traditional hymn, but it was written by English songwriter Sydney Carter in 1967. However, he adapted the tune from an older American Shaker dance song "Simple Gifts"; and the lyrics follow the idea of a traditional English carol, "Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day" which tells the gospel story in the first person voice of Jesus of Nazareth.
Before I started this research, I had already put down Turn Around as the title of my post.
When I looked up the Simple Gifts lyrics (which I can’t remember ever hearing), this is what I found:
‘Tis the gift to be simple, ‘tis the gift to be free,
’Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
’Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain’d
To bow and to bend we shan’t be asham’d
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come round right.
Does that fit my turning butterfly, or what?!
"Simple Gifts" was written by Elder Joseph at the Shaker community in Alfred, Maine in 1848.
Below is a YouTube video of Lord of the Dance performed by the Dubliners; and the lyrics to that.
Dance, dance, wherever you may be
I am the lord of the dance, said he
And I lead you all, wherever you may be
And I lead you all in the dance, said he
I danced in the morning when the world was young
I danced in the moon and the stars and the sun
I came down from heaven and I danced on the earth
At Bethlehem I had my birth
I danced on the Sabbath and I cured the lame
The holy people said it was a shame
They ripped, they stripped, they hung me high
Left me there on the hill to die
I danced on a Friday when the sky turned black
It's hard to dance with the devil on your back
They buried my body, they thought I was gone
But I am the dance, and the dance goes on
They cut me down and I leapt up high
I am the life that will never, never die
I'll live in you if you'll live in me
I am the Lord of the dance, said he
Dance, dance, wherever you may be
I am the lord of the dance, said he
And I lead you all, wherever you may be
And I lead you all in the dance, said he
Friday, 20 August 2010
When I entered my email account today, an ad turned up at the top of the page, insisting that “Moving is the best medicine”...
My spontaneous reaction: “I don’t think so!!!”
Well. Related to exercise and arthritis (as the ad was) the statement probably does have some relevance. I’m not going to argue with that. (Not today, anyway.)
What is on top of my mind, is all the preparations for moving dad to a new home. Hopefully in the end it is the best possible solution (even if no cure) but just now it involves a lot of stress, tension and headaches for my brother and me, trying to sort out the details.
One of the details is that we still haven’t got the exact date. Today at least I found out that the reason for this is that the new place is going to be redecorated, which of course in itself is a good thing. Even when you are no longer able to take much notice of your surroundings, I think it must give a better feeling to move into a fresh and clean place than a shabby-looking one.
But not to be able to set a date for the whole moving apparatus certainly does not alleviate the general feeling of stress…
Hopefully I’ll be able to go and have a peek at the place next Wednesday; when it should be empty, waiting for the painters. Just to get a feeling of the size and shape of the room/flat – and some more info from the staff.
The pictures? Just some from the last month which I haven’t had any other use for yet… ;) That car in the last picture just rushed by in the street one day and I hardly had time to get the camera out of the bag. The photo was blurry - because the car was moving! - so I tried all sorts of editing to it, including blurring the edges a bit too and just keeping the colour on the most colourful parts of the odd-looking vehicle... (In case it is too blurry for you to see, it has no hood over the engine, but that is one clean-and-shiny-looking engine!)
Thursday, 19 August 2010
This week's Blogging-Through-Thursday questions turned out to be a meme of no less than 55 questions. Gosh, that's Blogging-Through-Thursday-For-A-Whole-Year-And-More!!! I don't "do" memes that long. If you want the full list of questions, follow the BTT-link above. I decided to only answer the ones which brought an immediate short answer to mind.
2. What are you reading right now? Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll (re-reading)
3. What books do you have on request at the library? None.
5. What do you currently have checked out at the library? American Gods by Neil Gaiman. Where was Wonderland - a traveller's guide to the settings of classic children's books. The Magic Code - The use of magical patterns in fantasy for children.
6. Do you have an e-reader? No.
7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once? I often have several books going but then usually of different kind.
8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog? If they have, I'm not sure it is really related to the blogging.
13. Can you read on the bus? No.
14. Favorite place to read? At home in my recliner chair or bed.
16. Do you ever dog-ear books? As a rule, no. Might have been guilty of a few exceptions. Never a borrowed one, though!
17. Do you ever write in the margins of your books? It happens. (Again, only in my own books.) Mostly with "study" books. But in others too (especially cheap paperbacks) I have been known to mark some quoteworthy passage, scribble down a translation of a word I had to look up, a questionmark, or a reference.
19. What is your favorite language to read in? English for English books. Swedish for Swedish ones. I also read German but not very often now.
25. Have you ever read a self-help book? Yes. Sometimes helpful, sometimes not so much! (cf. 52)
28. Favorite reading snack? Don't usually eat snacks while reading. Cough drops, a cup of tea, maybe a biscuit or an apple.
29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience. The DaVinci Code, maybe. (I'll never know. Might have felt the same way about it anyway!)
36. How many books do you usually have checked out of the library at any given time? 1-5
37. How often have you returned a book to the library unread? Quite often.
43. What distracts you easily when you’re reading? Noise. Like the distant repetitious beat of someone else's choice of music. People talking. TV. (I either want it quiet, or my own choice of music.)
47. How often do you skim a book before reading it? Never with novels. Sometimes with other kinds of books.
48. What would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through? Getting interrupted by something more important. Or just finding myself bored or disgusted with it.
49. Do you like to keep your books organized? Yes.
50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you’ve read them? Most of the books I buy nowadays are books that I expect I'll want to keep.
52. Name a book that made you angry. Some so-called self-help books that did not feel helpful. Titles not worth remembering!
55. Favorite guilt-free, pleasure reading? Children's books, fantasy, mysteries without too much violence.
Wednesday, 18 August 2010
1. Sprouting 2. Flowergate 3. Live Rust
4. New Wave 5. Seed 6. Vine
7. Tradition? 8. Skansen-inspiration 9. Song of Songs 4:12
For a week and a half, I have been showing pictures of these gates at my DawnTreader’s Picture Book blog. I also showed most of them at the Soaring Through The World blog during “Fences and Gates” week. So some of my followers are probably tired of them by now… But for those who have not been following the other blogs, I thought I’d throw in a summary in the form of a collage here. The gates are all from an open air exhibition Gates - The Dream of the Secret Garden.
I was asked in a comment to reveal at the end of the show which one is my personal favourite. I have to say I find it hard to choose. It so much depends on the context – what kind of house, garden, fence, surrounding… I don’t have a garden, and any of them would look rather silly on my balcony!
The ‘Song of Songs’ gate I cannot imagine as entrance to somewhere I’d actually live. But as a sculpture, I love the mystery of it. All the other gates are of the kind you can see through. They are inviting kind of gates. This one however is the shutting out kind; but at the same time makes you wonder all the more what’s on the other side.
In that particular setting in the museum park where they were exhibited, with all the old buildings as background, I also took a special liking to the ‘Live Rust’ one. But if I actually had to use it daily, I would prefer one that was not rusty.
In an “imaginary real life” I would probably go for either the simple but elegant ‘Vine’; or possibly the somewhat bolder ‘New Wave’.
Tuesday, 17 August 2010
It’s not over yet, but nature is beginning to bear witness to the change of season…
One thing I like about the rose hip bush is that it sometimes has fruit and new fresh flower buds going at the same time.
What really speaks of the turn of season is the Rowan berries turning red:
Monday, 16 August 2010
Sunday, 15 August 2010
The local Election Campaigns have started.
Lucky me, other people have already written various Wikipedia articles in English about the political stuff, so I don’t have to bother with that.
Elections in the Kingdom of Sweden are held every four years, and determine the makeup of the legislative bodies on the three levels of administrative division in the country. At the highest level, these elections determine the allocation of seats in the Riksdag, the national legislative body of Sweden. Elections to the 20 county councils (landsting) and 290 municipal assemblies (kommunfullmäktige) are held concurrently with the legislative elections on the third Sunday of September, and use roughly the same electoral system.
The next general election to the Swedish Riksdag will be held on 19 September 2010. Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, leader of the governing coalition Alliance for Sweden, and his right-wing Moderate Party is facing a tough election battle against the opposing Red-Greens coalition led by Mona Sahlin, leader of the Swedish Social Democratic Party, who narrowly lead in pre-election polling.
I really just wanted to show the pictures.
For the next month, the political parties all have their own market booths in the town square as basis for the local campaigns. When they’re open you can go there and ask questions and pick up brochures and so on. (Or if you don’t, campaigners might come chasing you and offer you brochures anyway.)
Sometimes, they use other means to attract attention. Like hiring a band.
Not that I know if these guys were paid, or by whom.
Can’t help but think there may be some symbolism in that lack of clarity…?
Friday, 13 August 2010
Blogger made me very happy yesterday, by introducing the new automatic spam detection! I’ve been thinking for weeks, not to say months: Surely there must be some better way to deal with this problem than leaving it up to each and every blogger to keep chasing and deleting them one by one?!?? Thank you, Blogger, for the new Comments Tab and the Spam Inbox.
For you who have so far been lucky enough not to be troubled by spam, I can report that the new filter seems to work as intended. At least with the sort of spam that I have been subjected to for a while.
Thursday, 12 August 2010
Hmmm... I guess I will have to give another "yes and no" answer... Because of my tendency to still like children's books (at the age of soon-to-be-55!), and also in later years having re-read quite a few old classics, I guess I could simply say that no, it has not changed all that much. But on the other hand...
I think as a child and teenager, I had a preference for mystery, adventure, humour, romance and history, but not so much "fantasy" (even if I did have some favourites that were "more or less" that genre). In my teens I also read quite a few classics: besides Swedish and English ones also French and Russian (in translation). In my twenties, I studied English and German and history at the university; that definitely influenced my choices. I never acquired quite the same feeling for German literature as for English, though. It remains to me kind of "heavy" reading (even though the German books from my study years are really all very thin!). English classics on the other hand I have kept on exploring and re-exploring without the help of any schedules.
In my late teens I read Tolkien, and a few years later became a huge C.S. Lewis fan - not only his fiction, but also his theology and literature essays, and biographies about his life. From there I moved on to other worlds of fantasy as well.
In my twenties and thirties especially, I also read a lot of Christian books - theology, Biblical history, counselling, ethics, spirituality, mysticism and whatnot.
In my mid-forties my reading habits changed physically, because of neck-and-arm problems after an accident. I had to get used to reading more with my ears than with my eyes, i.e. listening to audio books. Borrowing most of them from the library, this led to some catching up with contemporary Swedish literature, and other books popular enough to have been both translated into our language and recorded as audio books. That means a lot of detective stories! I'd say a few too many, actually. Lately I find myself tired of them. Especially the all-too-realistic sort with super-abundance of forensic details.
But I have also had time over the past decade to delve into more fantasy worlds - like Harry Potter, and Terry Pratchett's Discworld. I have also read and re-read some classics that I had either half-forgotten or never read at all. As for none-fiction, I think "mythology" has dominated this period (trying to get behind the origin and inspiration of the modern fantasy genre). But also on and off some medical and psychological books about how to deal with pain and involontary changes in life.
To sum it all up, I'm more fond of fairy tales at the age of 55 than I was at 5, 10 or 15. I take comfort in the fact (for example) that C.S. Lewis, old bachelor and learned professor as he was, didn't write the Narnia Chronicles until he was over 50...!
Wednesday, 11 August 2010
I went out to post some snail-mail, and on my way back home I met the snail…
I didn’t even notice The One With All The Legs until I got it up on the computer screen…! (Click to enlarge…)
A flying little one going for a swim in a wet wild rose.
Just drops of water on the last two, I think…