February 28, 2009
Venus has been emerging as an evening star for quiet while now here in the north. If the sky is clear, it is visible as the first star of the evening in the far south, almost southwest. I am trying to enjoy the sight as much as I can, as Venus does move in an orbit around the sun and will, soon enough, disappear and become the morning star instead.
February 27, 2009
Very often, if not every day, while connected online to a certain man in Ireland, when we discuss the current events and other subjects of interest, such as history or art, we often take walks back into our past. Recollecting incidents in history, literature and cinematography, we laugh with amusement or sentimentality, as we reminiscence over images, movie clips or sound bites from old TV series belonging to a by gone era.
By a sheer chance, yesterday, such a discussion brought me 36 years back into the past. For the first time, in all those years, I once again got to enjoy a very melancholic, serene, at times almost ethereal theme music from a popular French TV series called "Mysterious Island", based on the famous book with the same name by Jules Verne. I used to watch it as a child with my parents; hearing the music - after what I perceive as an eternity - suddenly made me feel like not a day has passed since.
It was a strange and surreal experience.
The power of music, which so evidently and with an elegant ease brings back precious moments in our past, clearly underscores the relativity of time. Time is fleeting and constant, but our senses seems to define it's laws at all times.
February 26, 2009
Below is a list of things I still remember that existed or did not exist, which exposes me for the dinosaur I really am.
1) I remember when a telephone was not common at all; and I remember the telephones with a crank handle being still in use. Of course my whole childhood was spend with a rotary dial telephone only.
2) I remember when mobile (cellular) telephones were science fiction.
3) I remember when personal computer was a wishing tale and the word computer meant a huge, wired monster that took up a large room in a secret building somewhere filled with computer nerds. I actually remember hearing the word computer for the first time.
4) I remember the introduction of Internet late in my adult life.
5) I remember when owning a car was a rarity.
6) I remember when horse drawn carriage was still a common mean of transportation in the country side.
7) I remember when the only heating source in a room was an ceramic or steel oven.
8) I remember kitchens without running water and with stove that was heated by coal.
9) I remember the time when television was black and white, not colored.
10) I remember when remote control did not exist.
11) I remember when there were no digital clocks or displays.
12) I remember the first time I saw a calculator; when only one family owned one in the whole neighborhood.
13) I remember when fax-machines did not exist.
14) I remember writing with a pen that had to be dipped into inkwell.
15) I remember the introduction of escalators and sliding doors.
16) I remember LP's and tapes, I remember the time before CD's.
17) I remember radios so big, they were standing on the floor and took up half of the room.
18) I remember how impressed I was when I saw a VCR for the first time.
19) I remember when microwaves and dishwashers did not exist.
20) I remember when refrigerators were rare, freezers non existent and milk not pasteurized.
February 25, 2009
In my younger days I used apples as objects in the still life I was forced to paint in my art classes. It was not my preferred subject, as I love to depict movement and speed in my art. However, it taught me to observe forms and the play with light and shadow, as well as the ability to mix and use the colours appropriately.
For a while I would see all this in an apple, every time I was about to bite into it. Sometimes I miss those days, when my sensitivity to everything around me was ever so present; today the only thing I remember about an apple is the notion it might keep the doctor away, at least for now.
February 24, 2009
I have been in New Orleans twice while I lived in the US in the 90's, although these visits were in the summer and not in February. Both times I had an incredible stay. New Orleans, together with Las Vegas, are my two favorite American cities. The two couldn't be more different from each other and I guess therein lies the allure, as I like them for different reasons.
While Las Vegas is a place like no other, a fantasy playground, where anything can happen (and to me a very American city), New Orleans always struck me as exotic yet so very European in some ways. The French influences are very apparent, particularly in the architecture.
When I visited The Big Easy the second time in 1996, I did something I never did before or since. I willingly posed for a street portrait artist. She drew a large black and white portrait using charcoal only. I like to believe the finished piece is a reflection of how the artist saw me, even though the likeness between me and the girl in the picture is pretty much non-existent. It took her 2 hours to finish the drawing and although I suffered greatly and had to endure stares and comments from all the onlookers, I am very happy I did this. This piece of genuine art is one of my precious possessions to this day, as it is a very unique souvenir.
February 23, 2009
There are a few sites on the net that I like to visit once in a while, when I run empty and out of things to write about here. When my days are a bit boring and nothing much is happening, like on this last Monday in February.
Today I am posting a result of "The Perception Personality Image Test" that I took at "Hello Quizzy".
Although I rarely believe in these tests and look at the results with amusement, I have to say this one was right on.
Your result for The Perception Personality Image Test...
NBPC - The Daydreamer
Nature, Background, Big Picture, and Color
You perceive the world with particular attention to nature. You focus on the hidden treasures of life (the background) and how that fits into the larger picture. You are also particularly drawn towards the colors around you. Because of the value you place on nature, you tend to find comfort in more subdued settings and find energy in solitude. You like to ponder ideas and imagine the many possibilities of your life without worrying about the details or specifics. You are in tune with all that is around you and understand your life as part of a larger whole. You are a down-to-earth person who enjoys going with the flow.
Take The Perception Personality Image Test at HelloQuizzy
February 22, 2009
Today "Fastelavn Sunday" is celebrated all over Denmark. A festivity, coinciding with other similar celebrations; such as the "Mardi Gras" in the US, the Rio de Janeiro "Carnival" and the "Fasching" in Germany. This is the beginning of the forty day fasting period that indicates the start of the religious observance of Lent.
Fastelavn can be can be described as the Nordic, or rather Danish Halloween, when children dress up in costumes and gather treats by knocking on doors in their neighborhood. The tradition includes also the kids to "slå katten af tønden" ("hit the cat out of the barrel"), which is somewhat similar to a piñata, except that it is a wooden barrel, which is full of candy and has the image of a cat on it.
The bakers sell particular pastry made for this holiday, called Fastelavnsbolle, which a sweet bun with icing and a filled with whipped cream.
As for weather, it has been some odd 24 hours. Yesterday we had a snow storm, and received up to 10cm snow, which caused traffic problems and made everything look like a winter wonderland. I was forced to go outside and brush the snow of some of my bushes, as there was risk they would break under the heavy weight of the snow. However, already in the early hours of the morning, a wave of warm air approached from the west. Today, although very windy, is a sunny spring day. All the snow is gone, like it has never been there in the first place. Wouldn't it be for the pictures I took, I would have doubted it happened at all. This was the shortest snow storm on record. April weather is arriving two months too early this year, I guess.
February 21, 2009
Even though Miss Winter is holding us still in her firm grip (and it is snowing heavily as I am typing this), she can not keep back the sun. The sun is returning slowly, raising up higher in the sky and each day many more minutes of light are added to our days. The contrast between winter and summer, when it comes to daylight, is incredibly obvious this far up in the north. While in the winter, we have days with only twilight at the best, in the summer, the sun is still shinning late in the evening and if I stay up really late, or wake up really early, I can see the sunrise and the sunset simultaneously. I am still in a complete awe of this natural phenomena and will remain fascinated by it forever.
Finally it is now light in the mornings, when I get up to go to work, which makes it less painful to actually leave the bed.
One morning, this past week, when I awoke and looked out of my bedroom window, I could watch a spectacular sunrise, almost a celestial show, a feast for the eyes. The sun moves so fast at this time of the year, that I only managed to capture the event with the camera on my phone; nevertheless this was the first sign foretelling the sun is returning once again.
February 20, 2009
Interestingly, while looking for more information about satellites and man-made objects in space, I stumbled upon a very fascinating article and was very surprised about the content. As seen on the picture, there are thousands of man made objects orbiting the Earth, some of them loose debris and junk. Few of the more unusual articles floating around are a camera, a glove and some numerous wrenches and screwdrivers, all lost by astronauts during space walks. Al the space junk put together would produce a weight of about 11 million pounds here on Earth. Amazing!
Overall, NASA is apparently tracking more than 500 pieces of debris, as the floating garbage might pose a threat to the International Space Station or complicate the shuttle launch.
February 19, 2009
Anyone who wants to play, just ask me for a letter.
There is nothing more soothing, especially after a long day at work, and after a cold winter day, then taking a hot bath. Unfortunately, I have no bathtub in my house. Yes, weird indeed. Denmark, known for it's "green" and environmentally sound politics, has made tubs very PI and not fashionable. Most houses built in the 90's (my house included) were built with showers only. I guess the next project in my house will be to re-introduce the tub again. Until then, I can only dream of the luxury of a bubble bath and continue taking unreasonably long showers.
I love to barbecue. I am not very good in operating a grill, but I own one and have used it numerous times. To barbecue is a big tradition in Scandinavian countries. As soon as it gets warmer, actually the first real summer evening, the barbecues are out EVERYWHERE. If one could scientifically measure the amount of grills being used on that evening, it would probably account for 99% of the population, that live in houses with gardens or patios.
I love to read or have someone reading to me. I simply can not imagine a life without reading. There is nothing that feeds ones imagination more than reading a book. Even in the time, when other media has taken over somewhat, such as the Internet and the television, books are more important than ever. Interestingly, last year, there was an increase in book sales in Denmark, for the first time in many years.
I am a beach lover and a sun worshiper. Although I try to hold back, the older I get, due to premature aging and of course the risk of skin cancer, I still can not keep away from the sun. Feeling the warmth of the sun on my face and the texture of the hot sand between my toes, smelling the scent of the ocean and hearing the sound of the waves hitting the shore, while watching the blue-green ocean meet the indigo blue horizon; nothing can be more soothing or tranquil as when all the senses are satisfied.
The most important meal of the day; I never skip breakfast. I am always hungry in the morning and I like to enjoy the first meal of the day. I never rush it; being fortunate enough to have time, even on week days to take it easy while eating. The best breakfast I know is made by my Irishman; it can often be called brunch though. I love when he brings white and black pudding with him from Ireland and prepares it for me, the way it should be eaten, together with a toast, fried eggs and coffee.
Yes, I love broccoli! This poor vegetable seems to be so hated by many, I have no idea why. To me it is one of the most exciting vegetables I know. Growing up in Eastern Europe, we never knew other vegetables than those readily available to grow in our soil. I lived in "The Panelak" ghettos of concrete, ugly buildings, and all I knew of were potatoes and tomatoes, perhaps a pepper here and there. And a cabbage as well and sometimes carrots. I saw Broccoli for the first time when I came to Sweden as a thirteen year old girl. Together with avocado, it was the most exotic vegetable I have ever seen.
I miss bagels! They are not common nor readily available here in Scandinavia. In Durham, North Carolina, I would buy my bagels at Bruegger's Bagel Bakery. They had these amazing bagels and they sold the most amazing cream cheese with salmon taste and another one with walnut-raisin taste, I believe. It was fantastic, there is nothing like a bagel and a good cup of coffee.
I love beer. At any time, in any place. Born in one beer-drinking nation and now living in another one, plus having a significant other in a third one, beer is simply my preferred choice of beverage.
Need I say more? He is the most perfect companion and my most beloved friend.
Yes, I love a bartender. Not just any bartender. More specifically; he used to be one quiet a while ago. And that is all I have to say on that matter.;)
February 18, 2009
I dream in colour only and I am never aware of the fact that I am dreaming. To me everything is very vivid and very real. I love my dreams, no matter how graphically terrible they can be at times. I have been falling and flying, I have been trapped and been hunted by evil, while experiencing terror and fear. But I have also woken up from dreams that transcends anything, that leave me feeling invigorated and powerful. I have dreamed of encounters that were so authentic, that in the moments of the awakening the borderline between reality and fantasy was difficult to define. I have felt invincible and beautiful, with the ability to turn time around and to live in parallel worlds or experience alternate lives.
I have many books on the subject of dreams. No one really knows what happens to us when we sleep. It is known that all animals require sleep and many dream as well.
Some people have claimed to see future incidents in dreams, while others have solved problems, scientific dilemmas or mathematical equations while asleep. I have family members that have found lost items in dreams.
Well I have never solved any of the big problems while asleep. I know I need to sleep a lot, or my mood is melancholic, bordering on dark and my reactions are slow, my brain numb.
To me each night holds a promise of adventure, excitement and suspense. After a night full of exquisite dreams I very well understand the meaning behind the term "dreams come true".
February 17, 2009
Batcat on the other hand cannot keep his cool for very long. Remember that he is hot. And remember his wild eyes when you are watching the clip below.;))
February 16, 2009
Anyone who feels up to the challenge please be my guests;)
Describe your personal style?
My personal style could be described as a combination of vintage fashion with bohemian and eclectic influences. I love over-sized jewelry, vivid colors, bright patterns, flowing and loose fabrics and lots of bracelets. I prefer when my hair is free and wild and love to wear makeup that accentuates my eyes.
What are the staples in you wardrobe?
Jeans, loose tunics, tight sleeveless dresses or tops.
What's your signature look?
I guess jeans and loose vintage tunics made of Georgette fabric with wide sleeves in the winter or bright colored, tight sleeveless dresses in the summer. All worn with multitude of bracelets and over-sized earrings.
What inspires you?
Music and any form of art. Life stories and people's experiences; the way they manage to overcome the difficulties by keeping their optimism and their "Joie De Vivre".
Who is your fashion muse?
Would you believe that I do not have one? I guess growing old(er) means I acquire my own style. Today I pick and choose a bit here and there and make everything my own. I do not need a fashion muse for that.
Favorite purchase of all time?
Without question, my house.
My fireplace. It was costly, but it was oh so worth it!
What's your beauty routine?
I am high maintenance, which means I have a specific beauty routine, or rather routines. I spend one hour in the bathroom in the morning and 40 minutes in the evening. It would bore everyone silly if I listed everything I do; but I can say one thing; I never ever go to bed without removing my make up and brushing my teeth, no matter what.
What jewelry do you never take off?
A small, delicate golden cross on a thin golden necklace.
What are you wishing for?
Personally, for good health and love.
Overall, I wish the economical situation in the world would improve soon.
What are your obsessions?
Obsessions? I am not sure I am directly obsessed with anything. I take pleasure in certain things; such as relaxing in front of the fireplace in winter, while drinking hot coffee, watching romantic movies. In the summer I love to spend time in the sun, on the beach or in my garden. And I love to blog, which is, I guess, my latest obsession.
February 15, 2009
However, today, Winter was trying to remind us that she is not done just quiet yet. Like a guest that never wants to leave, she will be around for at least another six weeks.
February 14, 2009
Today is a sunny, bright day; the first time that I truly feel that spring is somewhere out there, not so distant anymore.
What a beautiful day for the 14th of February, also known as Valentine's Day. To me this is a tradition that I was first exposed to when I moved to the US in 1992. I arrived on the 30th of January 1992 and on the 14th of February I was already asked out on a date. Of course at that time I had no idea what Valentine’s Day was and would I have known that, I would have declined the offer.;)
I the early 90s, this celebration was not very common in Scandinavia. In fact I do not believe we celebrated it at all. During my absence, I think the people of the north embraced many of the foreign festivities, which is fine by me. I always like a reason to celebrate something and I love traditions.
And today is no exception. This is day meant to be a day of love; and even if it is the romantic love, which is in focus today, any other kind of love should not be dismissed.
I wish everyone out there a wonderful Saturday, no mater if you have a Valentine in your life or not. Or if you are, just like me, miles and miles apart from one.
Although highly commercialized in some aspects, I would like to believe that this day is simply a celebration of love itself.
February 13, 2009
This is the first Friday the 13th of the year.
To superstitious people, this is not a good day at all. Why all this superstition came about is very well explained here. Which also gives me an opportunity to make you aware of the "How stuff works" site, if you did not already know it existed. It is a great site explaining anything between heaven and earth.
In any way, in short, Friday on its own has always been considered as an unlucky day. Particularly sailors disliked embarking on voyages on Fridays and I just know that it means bad luck to get married on a Friday as well. This is all bad news for a Friday lover such as me. Although I am not married, I have embarked on numerous journeys in my life, all starting on Friday and they all were very lucky and safe. Actually, I once flew to California on Friday the 13th.;)
Why Friday the 13th is a particularly bad day is not clear either, although one story relates it to the Friday the 13th, 1306, when King Philip of France arrested the revered Knights Templar.
I myself am sometimes puzzled by the fact that number 13 in the western culture means bad luck. In my Slavic culture, 13 is a lucky number. In fact I was given a golden number thirteen pendant (picture) as a newborn, for good luck. I still have it to this day, but I do not wear it. However, being reminded of the fact that I have it, I might wear it again.
Eventually I like to believe that neither numbers nor particular days of the week has anything to do with our luck. Nevertheless, I will be paying extra attention to everything around me today.;))
February 12, 2009
As you all know I love tags and I always accept the challenge.;)) Therefore, keep them coming.;)
And as always, anyone can feel free to be tagged by me.;)
So, in my 6th folder, the 6th picture was this one:
The picture was taken in March 2006, while driving to the French Riviera. It depicts the main road crossing the Alps, close to the Swiss-Italian Border, in proximity of the San Bernardino Pass. Although eventually we opted for the San Bernardino Tunnel, rather than the pass, which might have been still full with snow and impossible to cross.
Nevertheless, even though crossing by tunnel, the road took us up to an elevation of about 1700m, through some of the most beautiful parts of Europe. Although the Riviera can be reached by many other, much shorter routes, the one leading through the Alps down to Genoa in Italy, following the coast of the Mediterranean while passing Monte Carlo in Monaco, is by far the most breathtaking route one can imagine. The fact that we got to pass close to three different seasons on the way down, adds even more magic to the whole experience; an early spring in Germany, late winter crossing the Alps and what would be a very lovely early summer (in Scandinavian terms)
once reaching Liguria, the coastal part of Northern Italy.
February 11, 2009
Considering it is Valentine's Day on Saturday, I thought I would share something romantic this week.
A while ago, I posted a list of answers to questions in a tag. The sixth question prompted me to list my favourite thing and my answer was Package(s).
So what are these packages all about?
It so happens, that there is this amazing man I know, that lives in Ireland. And I guess he thinks I am just a little bit amazing too. Even though we are far apart, he tries to make the distance work in our favor. Most importantly, he makes sure it is as easy on me as it possibly can be.
And to show he thinks of me, he sends me a package, or even two, each week. One parcel will always contain white chocolate. The other, a small gift. Or even a BIG gift. He is so generous.
The fantastic part is that he is able to give me the most fun, beautiful, amusing gifts - he seems to have picked up on what I like and love so easily. The parcels contain anything from jewelry and books to shoes and clothes, and even small, childish and cute things. I guess each week feels like a celebration.
February 10, 2009
This Christmas I received a fantastic book as a Christmas gift. It contains different pictures related to astronomy, one for each day in a year.
Today’s beautiful photograph is called "Big Dipper Castle". It depicts a castle in the Swabia Albs in Southern Germany, on a clear night, with the constellation of Big Dipper above on the velvet blue sky. I think that is the only constellation that almost everyone recognizes. It goes by many names, for example in Swedish and Danish it is called "Karl's Wagon" and in Slovak and Czech, "The Big Wagon".
On a warm summer night when I sit outside on my terrace, this well known assemblage of stars is clearly visible. It looks the same it has always looked, ever since I was a child. Gazing at it makes me feel as if time stands still.
February 09, 2009
Anyway, the tag means answering a few questions and posting his favourite picture.
I have consulted him and these are the replies from the number one house cat himself.;)
1) Do you think you are hot?
Of course I am hot!
But then again, I can also feel cold.
I love when the no. 2 of my staff lights the fire in the fireplace.
Then I get hot.
2) Upload a favourite picture of you.
3) Why do you like that picture?
Cause I am cute. Don't you think I am cute?
Can you see my wild eyes?
I still have eyes like that at times.
And I am also very young on that picture. That was when I was roaming the barn with my siblings. Long before I relocated to the white house on the hill, a.k.a My Kingdom.
4) When was the last time you ate pizza?
Is this some sort of a joke???
I do NOT eat pizza.
I eat only meals that consist of dry pellets. A particularly luxurious, classy brand.
I eat better than my staff. Yummy!
Sometimes though they share their meals with me.
The only food that I might accept, is a piece of well cooked chicken.
5) The last song you listen too?
The staff keeps listening to a German radio station at all times.
The last one that was on was this one.
It sounds like irritating noise to me; however the no. 2 of my staff seems to like it a great deal.
She does try to sing along and dances to it at times too.
People are truly weird creatures.
6) What are you doing now besides this?
Trying to sleep.
Do you mind?
7) What name would you prefer besides this?
8) Who is no.1?
Aren't you paying attention? I AM of course!
9) No.3 is having relationship with?
10) Say something about no.5.
His name is Charlie.
He seems to like to stare at me.
I think he envies me My Kingdom.
But man he ain't getting in here!
11) How about no.4?
His name is Tiger.
He sometimes fights Charlie.
I am so happy I am the only ruler of My Kingdom.
12) Who is no.2?
The Female of my staff.
Tag 5 people:
People? I do not deal with people. Perhaps only two; my staff.
But any pet reading this can consider themselves tagged, should they wish of course.
(Sundance, Jewel, Eddie, Bubbles ..anyone?)
February 08, 2009
I enjoyed my lazy Sunday morning with freshly baked bread roles and a cup of steamy hot coffee and watched "What happens in Vegas" with Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher. I was positively surprised, as the movie was really entertaining. It made me both laugh and cry, which is for me an indication of my kind of movie.
Later in the day I did my first gardening of the season. I have two clematis plants, which are a type of a climbing plant, growing attached to a fence around my terrace. They grow amazingly fast comes April - May and in July - August flower with the most amazing flowers. In order for the plant to indeed flower, it is necessary to trim it in February. The plant is cut down to about 30cm above ground and the old dried out stalks and leaves are removed. Even tough the clematis looks dead, already now there are many buds sprouting from the dry stalks; a clear sign that it needs to be trimmed.
It felt really good to be out in the fresh, crisp air and feel the sunshine on my face. Every time I cut down my clematis, I know we are getting closer to spring. And that is a very good feeling.;)