September 30, 2009

Time For Chimney Sweeping.

I can not believe it is almost a year ago that the Chimney Sweeps came by last time. This morning they payed me their yearly visit and cleaned and inspected my chimney, making my fireplace ready for another year of fire burning.

I find myself completely fascinated by these men in their dashing black uniforms. To me it is almost like being transported back in time, as very little or almost nothing has changed about them through out history. They still wear black, they climb roofs and use similar instruments to clean the chimneys, with perhaps an exception of a powered vacuum cleaner. What strikes me about them today is their happiness. Incredible joy in their smiling faces, that is so rarely encountered these days. They were laughing, while soot was soiling their hands, exposing their white teeth in broad smiles in such a contrast to their ashy cheeks, while they kept telling me about their craft and how much they enjoy being outside at all times of the year. In return I think they relished my fascination with their profession and I made sure to touch the buttons of their uniform this time around, something that I forgot to do last year; in my culture this brings good luck.

The demand for Chimney Sweeps has been in decline over the last few decades, but interestingly, it is rising again. This might be due to many reasons; the financial crises being one of them, thus wood burning fireplaces and furnaces becoming an alternative heat source.

However, I'd like to believe that we are perhaps also trying to return to a simpler way of life. In today's world, when technology changes every second, bringing advances each day, our reality feels at times overwhelming, leaving us disconcerted and confused, perhaps even anxious and tired. Therefore it is comforting to occasionally return to something very familiar and basic, such as the simple act of lighting a fire in a fireplace.

Fire equals life and already the primitive man regarded it as a divine gift. Today, watching the flickering of flames can be instrumental in bringing us back to times of campfires, when we felt unified and safe and the connection with nature was ever so palpable.

September 29, 2009

Do Not Disturb, Please.

I write a lot about my cat, the Batcat. I guess I devote a lot of my posts to him, because he is a great pet and at all times an excellent companion.

I work long hours and even though I would love to have a dog, it would be just too cruel to leave him alone for over ten hours each day. Batcat on the other hand doesn't mind at all, in fact I think he quiet enjoys being in charge of his kingdom while I am gone. Being an inside cat, he is extremely calm and loves to sleep and to relax. And that is fine with me, as I love those activities very much as well.
And then, he is also extremely cute.

Abut five months ago Batcat developed a new habit. Every morning he would come up to my bedroom, jump on the bed and demand attention. I used to be one of those people who would objected strongly to this previously. I found having animals in bed or even on bed unhygienic and strange. Hmm, but little did I know I was slowly changing my principles in this respect.

It is impossible to throw ones pet that purrs loudly and plays cute, off the bed. IMPOSSIBLE. When he presses his little furry head against my hand and relaxes completely, it makes me relax too. I actually sleep better, something I would never expect.

Well, these days Batcat actually sleeps on the bed each night. As on a cue, as soon as the lights are out, I can hear his soft pads on the stairs. Then he meows loudly once and jumps up on the cover, making himself comfortable on the lower right side, purring loudly. I find myself drifting to sleep easily too, while listening to his rhythmic expression of satisfaction.

And every morning he appears so relaxed, playing cute, refusing to get up again, as seen on the clip below.

September 28, 2009

A Light In The Dark.

I live in a city positioned in bay, on the east coast of a Danish peninsula. My house is build on a hill, rising south above the city and throughout a year, I can glimpse the ocean out of my kitchen window. Unfortunately the view is obscured by three magnificent birch trees and by each year, more of it disappears. I often get the urge to find a way of getting rid of two of the trees, but then again, how I could I be instrumental in a such a cruel destruction?

As the autumn progress and the leaves slowly dissipate, the view becomes more free. I love to see the indigo blue waters and often I can watch ships and large ferries travel by, with a course towards other islands and the small peninsula just in my immediate northeast, called Mols. If the weather is clear, I can see the land as well, just lining the horizon.
I pass this very coastline even on my drive to and from work. It is my favorite part of the trip, as I descend down the hill , winding down all the way to the beach and then follow the coastline for about a kilometer or two. The ocean is never the same. When the easterly winds blow, it is rippled with rolling waves, it's foaming ridges hitting the shore. Then again, when the winds turn, it can be pristine and calm, the surface almost as leveled as a mirror, reflecting the colour of the sky.

In the autumn and winter, I drive home after the onset of darkness and I often feel like traveling in a fairy-tale landscape, when the moon is full, reflecting in the midnight blue surface of the bay. I can often see the lights of large container ships in the distance, as they wait for harbor access permission.

There is also one more light in the dark ocean.

Just where the outline of the Mols coastline merges with the sea, a green and yellow light flickers in even intervals. Like a constant point in the vast distance, it directs boats around the very tip of the peninsula, guiding them safely around shallow grounds into the bay.
This is the Sletterhage Fyr in Helgenæs. Fyr is a Danish word for Lighthouse and it is positioned in one of the most fascinating places I have ever visited. Erected on a beautiful beach, it stands tall and majestic against the blue canvas of water and sky. Throughout the seasons it offers fantastic views of the city, of unspoiled and pristine Danish shores and of the elusive Nordic sunsets.

September 27, 2009

The Onset Of Colours.

This week the foliage has started to visibly turn. Every morning, on my drive to work, I noticed more colours added to the trees lining the road.

This is the most beautiful part of autumn, when it arrives with all its splendor. Even if in many places in the Northern hemisphere the season has not even started, here it will soon reach its peak. The red, yellow and orange colours will initially grow in multitude, taking over the different hues of green. They will magnify and deepen until they reach the various shades of brown. The tress will so stand in this fiery glory until the storms of late autumn wipe away any trace of their colourful foliage in about five weeks.

Below my continuous update on the birch tree, which starts to finally be interesting. Each weeks brings a visible addition of yellow, signifying the onset of the Fall season.

September 26, 2009

Autumn Feeling.

And so it has begun. Within a week, the autumn truly did arrive. Summer has left for good and there is no trace of it left, I am afraid. What a difference a week can make. The air is filled with scent of burning firewood and additional mix of earthy scents, that are so significant of this season. Even though it is still warm, the breeze carries golden leaves and the sun lies ever so low over the horizon.
It is time to light a fire in my fireplace, poor myself something strong and golden and spend a lazy Saturday evening with a good book and reminiscence about the sunny days, that will return first in almost a year.

September 25, 2009

Flashback Friday: "I Won't Let You Down".

One of the most beautiful songs ever written, in my opinion, is "I Won't Let You Down" by the group Ph.D. It was a hit in the beginning of the 80's and I recall hearing it as it reached the top of the UK charts, while I was listening to Radio Luxembourg late at nights. It contains the most haunting and enthralling chorus, that made my thoughts travel and made my mind wander in time and space. Even today it moves something within me and the compilation brings back memories of the static in the radio signal and at all times leaves me with bittersweet feelings of almost another life that I no longer recognize, but remember so well.

Unfortunately, I had a very difficult time finding the original compilation, available for sharing, in a recording of reasonably good quality. Therefore I decided to post a cover by the famous Italian singer Zucchero. I am not a fan of covers, but I think he did this songs justice. He slowed it down and gave it more of a rock, or even blues feeling. His powerful voice and the Italian lyrics, mixed with the original chorus in English is superb. He also altered the title, which I think reads something like "All The Colours Of My Life".

Nevertheless, if you find the time, please listen to the original as well; it is worth those extra few minutes, I promise.

September 24, 2009

Two Awards And A Tag.

I must thank two lovely ladies that so kindly showed their appreciation of this place by granting me two lovely awards.

The first one I received from the very kind and gentle Sprinkles and it is just so cute. "You are so special" award seems to be as cute as it is colourful.

The second one came from my young and hip friend MelRoXx. Entitled "Bookworm Award", it seems to fit me well as I love books.

Thank you ladies. I find it always so surprising and equally exciting each time any of you think I deserve such an attention.

On the same note, I have also been tagged by the very talented gaelikaa with an interesting book tag. I am suppose to list the fifth sentence on page 161 of the the book that is nearest to me.

Lets see; I am sitting in my red sofa and the books that are nearest to me are right behind me on a book shelf. As they are all in the same proximity, I guess I will follow the numbering in the tag and chose the fifth book in first the row.

This book is entitled "The Celestine Prophecy" and is written by James Redfield. It is one of my favorite books and I am sure most of you are familiar with it, as it was a best seller in the mid 90's. When I read it in my mid twenties, it was full of revelations that clarified a deeper meaning of life for me.
The book is written as an adventure story, but describes the perception of a more spiritual world, forcing us to focus on the eluding question dealing with the meaning behind our existence, in an unusually optimistic way. One can take from it as much as one pleases, believing in the thoughts presented within the pages or dismissing them as New Age hype; still it is a well written book and the adventurous plot is very enjoyable.

The fifth sentence on page 161 reads:

"Anxious thoughts filled my mind."

Short, but a somewhat ominous sentence I must say.There you have it. Anyone who would like to do this tag, please as always, be my guests.

September 23, 2009

The Autumns Of My Past.

Mushrooms symbolizes to me the autumns of my childhood. As far back as I can remember, we used to go for weekend hikes, to pick mushrooms with my parents. Starting in the end of August all through October, we would walk and comb the woods in the mountains, in the immediate vicinity of my birthplace, when I was a little girl.

I was born under the majestic Tatra Mountains, in north eastern Slovakia, in proximity of the Polish border. This part of Europe contains the most pristine and to date, still unspoiled and undiscovered nature.
I am often told by my parents that they experienced the best part of their lives living under these mountains. When I was a child, I spend almost every afternoon with my father in their vicinity. He would take me on long walks, placing me into a stroller or into a sled, depending on the season. One can say, that I spend the first years of my life mostly outdoors, surrounded by breathtaking nature. Perhaps that is when my incurable love for it was born.

Once I start to remember the autumn hikes taken with my family, I see in my memory the golden an red coloured spots here and there, among all the evergreen spruce trees, with the tall snowy peaks of the Tatras as a backdrop. The last five years out of the thirteen which I spend in my home land, preceding the immigration to Sweden, were spend in a more central part of eastern Slovakia. This is a softer natural environment called "The Slovak Paradise". It is a national park, with rolling hills and a multitude of rich wooded areas, lined by pristine meadows; all perfect for mushroom picking in the early onset of autumn.

My parents continued with this traditional autumn activity even upon our relocation to Sweden. In fact, the Swedish nature was abundant with this forest fruit, as the Swedes, or the Scandinavians for that matter, do not really enjoy mushroom picking as much as the central Europeans do. At least they pick quiet different kinds. I still recall the beautiful autumn weekends, when we returned from long hikes with baskets full of mushrooms and the way my mother would prepare these in the evening. The best ones were neatly cleaned, thinly sliced and dried, to be used later in the year in soups and winter cuisine.

Unfortunately, the tradition of mushroom picking has not been passed onto me, nor my sister, I believe. Today I can no longer adequately distinguish the poisonous ones from the edible ones and therefore I do not dare to pick them. A great shame. Particularly, as my backyard offers a plethora of mushrooms right now and most of them I do indeed recognize from the autumn walks I used to take in my childhood.

September 22, 2009

Equal Day And Night.

The Autumnal Equinox takes place today, making the day and night equally long; twelve hours each. The sun here will rise exactly in the east and set exactly in the west, marking the precise location of of these cardinal directions.

This is the true beginning of fall. The season that brings with it the onset of the dark period in Scandinavia, with the culmination in December, when the day is about eleven hours shorter than in June.
This loss is at all times difficult to deal with. It makes those of us living this far up North tired and blue. But then again, it also holds promises of the beautiful white nights, that will be there again to greet us on the other side of the coming six months.

Every season is magical and brings the good with the bad. It keeps the nature in balance and gives us at all times something to look forward to.

September 21, 2009

The Universe Within.

Being involved in scientific research is to me an incredible adventure and an incredible privilege. When I finished my education and started to work exactly twenty years ago, I had no idea what I was about to experience. My professional career seems to have flourished over the years, as I was seemingly in the right place at the right time and met people who made it possible for me to excel in the field of science.

Working in research is a very complex and unconventional occupation. The successful scientists will tell you, it is not work, it is a way of life. You have to love it, or you will hate it. There is nothing in between. Ninety nine percent hard work and repetitions and one percent true magic.
There are days when I feel helpless, trouble shooting experiments that should work, trying to solve a puzzle with a piece that should fit, but it doesn't. And it takes all my mental power not to give up. Then, when it finally does fit, and the hidden message emerges, the obstacles are all forgotten and the feeling that encompasses me is indescribable.
And occasionally, those few precious moments in time occur, when all this leads to discoveries. Those that signify that one percent of magic, making the hardship worth my while, thousand times over.

I often feel like an ancient explorer, taking a journey into the unknown. My work is all about using my imagination, combining logic based on experience with visionary possibilities, in order to explore the biological process within the human body and the incredible mechanism with which it functions.

Our body is an amazing creation. Its simplicity and simultaneously its complexity, are astounding. We get up every day, never even realizing all the processes that has taken place over night, in the incredible machinery within us. While we have slept, multitude of small components started a chain of events, which has produced new material and new building blocks needed for repair, control or protection, inside a factory that never seizes it's production. With incredible precision, year after year, multitude of workers carry on, in order for our body to function adequately. And they work even harder, when it doesn't, as a part of our immune system. To me, it is almost as if we harbour a universe within us. Magical, fascinating and still as undiscovered as the space above us. And I get the privilege to venture into parts of it, every day.

The below is The Harvard 3D Cell Animation , which offers a glimpse into the micro-space that is the human cell. All the events depicted within the animation reflect the reality that is taking place inside all of us, right now, at a constant rate, endlessly. Resembling more an alien planet in a science fiction movie, than en environment in our cells, it can be difficult to comprehend that this world does truly exists within all humans.

September 20, 2009

A Bunch Of Golden Leaves.

As I seem to - for the first time - pay a closer attention to the change in the foliage in our birch trees, I have noticed a curiosity.

The change is basically constant and happens slowly. However, it is not spread out symmetrically. It is not as if leaves all over the tree here and there turn golden. It seems to be more a bunch of leaves in particular areas, that loose colour simultaneously. I noticed this as I took a walk in our backyard today, where a row of birch trees grows. They are the ones responsible for the loss of sun on my terrace. But I do not mind as they are beautiful.

I love the way their long branches sway in the gentle breeze and the contrast of the green and golden against their traditional white bark. I can watch them through the seasons and every year they seem to stand taller. Birch trees also line my view of the city below and I have observed, that the horizon where the sun sets starts to be obscured by their rich crowns.

The tree in our front yard is though by far the most majestic one. Placed right outside my kitchen window I can not help but take notice of it every day. And it is indeed changing, now significantly and noticeably for the first time since I stated my Sunday progressive photography of its foliage. There is a red hue appearing and the autumn colours are very palpable in the vegetation that surrounds it.

September 19, 2009

Summer Finale.

A beautiful Indian Summer week is ending with an equally stunning sunny weekend. The air is still, the sky blue and the sun is shining.
However - it is not summer any longer. The sun has lost significantly in strength and with its position low on the horizon, it no longer warms up my terrace. Already in the middle of the day, it hides behind a row of birch trees, emerging first an hour later, to cast its final rays upon my windows.

This Summer Finale is certainly a beautiful time of the year. I love summers endlessly, but the early onset of autumn holds a definite magic of its own. It brings a certain tranquility and soothing serenity. Watching the nature winding down slowly as the rich summer retreats is contagious.

As with any seasonal transitions, there is a feeling of anticipation of a change in the air...

September 18, 2009

Flashback Friday: "If I Were A Carpenter".

I have previously disclosed that I was not much into rock when I was a teenager. With age, I have started to appreciate some of its rough and genuine appeal. Certainly some of the rock ballads seem to have managed to allure even my younger mind.

I was in my mid twenties when a friend introduced me to a solo album made by Robert Plant. To be honest, I can not even remember today how it all came about, but suddenly I was an an owner of a rock tape. I still have it somewhere, in my old tape collection. If it would be possible to examine it, one can see that a particular song was re-played very often. "If I Were A Carpenter" is truly a classic. Originally composed by Tim Hardin, it seems to have been covered and performed by numerous artists.

Although I in no way can claim to know all the covers, from the few I have heard over the years, the below seems to be the best version. By far.

September 17, 2009

Return Of The Painted Sky.

Once again, the evening sky is a plethora of magnificent rainbow colours. The evening sun has moved significantly across the horizon since June and is now setting right in front of my windows. In a few days, we will reach the Fall Equinox, when day and night are equally long.
In Scandinavia, the day has lost almost five hours since the Summer Solstice and we are entering the dark season of the North.

However, the beauty of the painted sky, as the result of autumn sunsets, will continue for weeks to come and is at all times a true show in colour and light.
(Please click images to enlarge).

September 16, 2009

The Time Of Rose Hips.

In September, the many Scandinavian Rose hips bear fruit. Interestingly, they also do flower simultaneously, a certain curiosity I have observed during the past few years.

These sturdy plans grow everywhere, even on the sandy beaches. They are dominating the landscape where ever planted and will take over within years, displacing almost any other plants, thus are perfect to use as a natural hedge instead of a fence, due to their density and impenetrable shield of thorns.

Just in front of my terrace, there is a large area that is free and almost park like. A few years ago, the county decided to cut through it with a small pedestrian and bike trail, to all our dismay. However, we were happy to learn that the trails were going to be placed on the outskirts of our backyard and to be an underpass, leading below the ground level, becoming shielded from our houses by a large dirt bank. As soon as the work was done, we planted Rose Hips all over the bare surface of the bank. Interestingly, they seemed to have completely disappeared over the years, as the ground slowly became covered by natural growing wild plants.

It has been interesting to observe this development, as clearly different kind of plants gain footing each year. To begin with, only grass would grow there. This would be followed by an array of Dandelions and Red Poppies. Last year, a multitude of wild flowers took hold there and this summer, Thistles have been dominating the plant life. However, slowly, the Rose Hips are protruding through the vegetation, in higher numbers and more each year. In a few seasons, they will have outnumbered and out dominated all the other plants, creating an ocean and a protective wall of vivid pink flowers and red fruit.

September 15, 2009

Connecting Two Continents.

Have you ever traveled back in time, in your thoughts to revisit the reality of the world, as it was, just a few decades ago?

The technology of today was once the subject of science fiction. When I was a child, there were no fax-machines, no VCRs, no DVD players (no DVDs of course!), not CDs either. Not to talk about the existence of the Internet (at least not in the form and shape it is today), no personal computers and no portable phones.

Even the use of communication satellites, which have been in space for about 50 years, for the transmissions of personal communication, such as satellite phones, later mobile phones and of course the GPS systems, has been only available since the 80's and 90's.

Have you ever considered how exactly did the telegraph (and later telephone) signal travel across the Atlantic Ocean, before the invention of fiber-optics and the existence of satellites?

Well, a transatlantic communication was possible, about hundred years ago, due to an actual physical cable, called the Transatlantic Telegraph Cable, which was laid all across the bottom of the Atlantic.

I find this very impressive and extremely fascinating.

The first cable crossed from the Telegraph Field, Foilhommerum Bay, Valentia Island, in western Ireland to Heart's Content in eastern Newfoundland. The transatlantic cable bridged North America and Europe, and expedited communication between the two. Whereas it would normally take at least ten days to deliver a message by ship, after it was laid, it took a matter of minutes.

As described by wikipedia:
"Five attempts to lay it were made over a nine-year period—in 1857, two in 1858, in 1865, and in 1866—before lasting connections were finally achieved by the SS Great Eastern captained by Sir James Anderson with the 1866 cable and the repaired 1865 cable. Additional cables were laid between Foilhommerum and Heart's Content in 1873, 1874, 1880 and 1894. By the end of the 19th century, British-, French-, German- and American-owned cables linked Europe and North America in a sophisticated web of telegraphic communications."

Of course, in order for the transmissions to function properly, each end had to construct cable relay stations, which housed the most technologically advanced equipment for its time. There were several so called Cable Houses, and some still do stand today. The old cable station at Waterville in Ireland is well maintained and serves today as a Bed & Breakfast, while I really do not know if the original Cable House in Newfoundland is still in existence today. There were several buildings that served as relays, and there seems to be remains of one such Cable House in Hazel Hill, Guysborough County, Nova Scotia. However, it is falling apart. There are plans on restoration and I found many appeals throughout the Internet to save this important heritage from decay, however all these reports are several years old.

As I could not find any new reports on the faith of this important historic building, I wonder if any of my Canadian friends have more details on this subject.

September 14, 2009

My First Apartment.

Yesterday, while cleaning out my kitchen cabinets, I stumbled upon some old wine glasses. These were a part of so called "start pack", purchased in IKEA some twenty years ago, when I moved away from home for the first time - and for good. I was twenty something, I had finished school and I have started to work. I thought it was time to start my own life, in fact I longed to do that. If felt right in every way.

In the beginning of 1989, I found a short add in the news paper about a little apartment for rent. I recall it as if it was yesterday, when my father took me to see what would become my first own home.

Located in the opposite part of town, I moved, quiet unintentionally, as far away from my family as I could. A first, significant sign of what was to come.

I was in a very proximity of the ocean, on a quiet street in one of the best neighborhoods in the city. The small - or rather tiny - apartment was located on the second floor of a set of red brick houses, built in the 50's.
The place could easily fit into my current living room and there would probably still be some square meters left free. Consisting of one single room, one toilet, a shower inside a walk-in closet an a kitchen quite literally inside a closet, it was the smallest place I have ever lived in by then or since. Still, it seemed to have everything I needed and I loved it and my new found freedom that came with it. It even had a small balcony, facing the backyard, which I often used in the summers and where I planted my first plants, way before I became an avid gardener decades later.

It was one of the first significant milestones in my life, when I received the keys and moved in. I recall packing my small room in my parents place into boxes and relocating my few belongings into the 22 square meters (236 square feet), that would be my home for the next three years.

I guess, one can say I did grow into an adult during that short time. I experienced a time of enlightenment, when I started to discovered who I was and what I wanted out of life.
Every day, when it took me over an hour to get to work I was dreaming about a car. When the thin plastic of heavy grocery bags cut into my fingers, while I was walking back home during winter evenings, I used to look up at the dark sky, and the flickering navigation lights of planes, taking off at the nearby international airport. I dreamed about far away places, that were yet to be discovered by me and wondered if I ever was to board the planes flying south or west, towards future adventures of my life.
At the end of each month, when my salary check arrived and it again reinforced the fact, that I could never afford a bigger apartment, a car or take part in any exciting travels, I knew then, that I wanted more out of life. I only needed the right opportunity to present itself to me, the one which would offer a change. I knew I was only waiting. And I knew it was coming.

I made many sweet and precious memories while dreaming my days away in this first apartment of mine. I guess mostly, that despite my dreaming, I never stopped living. It was a time of care free years, when I had the privilege of a young, unblemished mind and held a curiosity to discover the world, with all the optimism and fearless joy that used to encompass me. Today it amazes me, how much actually did happened in my life in the span of those three years, a time that feels so short in my eyes today.

It was also here, when the opportunity I was waiting for, did occur during an early spring three years later. I took the decision to leave Sweden and move away from my family and everything I knew, across the Atlantic Ocean to the US. A move, that changed my life in such a drastic way - and in every way - it almost felt as it happened by a stroke of magic.

But that is an entirely different story all together.

September 13, 2009

The Autumn Heather.

Every time that the Autumn Heather starts to bloom, I know without a doubt that fall has arrived. I love this sturdy, beautiful shrub that grows wild all over Scandinavia in extreme abundance.

It exists as the Spring Heather, the Summer Heather and eventually the Autumn Heather and can be found in dry, sandy areas, close to the coast line. It is very common in the rocky, barren areas of the Scandinavian archipelagos, where it grows directly on the stone, where nothing else will gain hold.
I recall the beauty of its wild flowers, whenever I visited my aunts family in their summer house in western Sweden. Located in the Gothenburg Archipelago, that consists of hundreds of rocky island, which are almost completely devoid of trees, the surrounding nature displays incredible profusion of this lovely plant.

We used to pick the wild flowers, which would bloom in late summer all through into the end of October. The purple bouquet would be used as decoration, lasting for weeks and eventually months, as it would keep its colour upon drying.

Below yet again an update on my birch tree. Unfortunately, the pictures do not do the visible change any justice. I usually take these from my kitchen window, but in close proximity of this magnificent tree, many golden leaves can now be observed. Still, if you look closely, the change seems to be clearly visible on the surrounding plants, trees and bushes.

September 12, 2009

The Days Of Indian Summer.

This past week has been warm and sunny, thus signifying the beginning of the Indian Summer days in Scandinavia. This period will stretch about a month forward, into mid October, bringing a few summer like days; the final taste of this beautiful and fleeting season.

Although the air will grow cold with possible first frost in the early mornings and nights, the days spend in sunny, shielded spots can still offer precious few hours of vital sunshine. Those delightful final rays, before we pass the fall equinox and the sun will slowly start to disappear.

I only have a small front and back terrace, that is my own. However, I share an incredibly beautiful backyard with my neighbors. A park-like area, just in front of my windows, which is pleasing to the eye in every season.
Lined by beautiful birch trees, it is covered by bushes and shrubs, the name of which escapes me. During the course of the year, it either displays flowers or berries, adding colour to the green back drop.

I love this spot, as it is very serene and tranquil. In fact, when I stepped there for the first time ever, I decided to buy my house.

September 11, 2009

Flashback Friday: "Without Someone".

Discovering music, and my deep love for it, started through the harmonies so eloquently performed by the talented ELO. When the hit Twilight was streaming from the radio, conveyed by the very characteristic voice of Jeff Lynne, I clearly felt the enticement beautiful melodies and lyrics held over me.

Over the years, I owned a few tapes of their earlier albums, but to date I only have one single CD. Entitled "Balance of Power", purchased many years after it's release date in 1986, it is still a very important album in my collection. It contains one song that captivated me when I was a teenager. "Without Someone", has a haunting, escapist sound. I used to listen to it, while sitting at the window of my room on late spring nights, watching the city lights below, while my mind and thoughts would wander...

The somber lyrics felt very familiar already those twenty years ago and still do effect me today. Particularly, as the loneliness and longing in the sentiments of the song can feel very significant and reflective, at any age, in many aspects of ones life.

September 10, 2009

Connected To Fall And Awards.

I have been given two wonderful awards in the recent week and I would like very much to acknowledge the kind award givers, both beautiful and talented ladies. It never ceases to amaze me that people think I am worthy such an attention and I cherish each occasion, when I receive these.

The first was given to me by the hip and cool MelRoXx and is called "Your Blog Is So Swank". The other was bestowed upon me by the very lovely and talented gaelikaa, and has the very splashing title "Splash Award".

Thank you ladies, these deserved to be given back to you with the same token they were given to me.

On another note I made a visit to the lovely blogthings again and took a test, to see which season my soul is connected too. I was amazed by the outcome, as I definitely am a summer child.
But I guess, my soul thinks otherwise.

Your Soul Is Connected to the Fall

You are a somewhat sensitive soul with a tough exterior. You are street smart and wise about the world.
You have the heart of a poet, but you're not too eager to let anyone else see it.
You are very creative and deeply talented. You are still looking for the perfect outlet for your expression.
You embrace change and think the cycles of life are beautiful. You don't shrink away from the darker elements of life.

September 09, 2009

Almost A Palindrome.

Do you ever pay attention to the numbers in the date? I do. Today is one of those days, when the date is the same, no matter how you read it; a palindrome. Of course this requires you to spell it the short way and it requires that you read the 09 as one:




I like this as it reminds me of symmetry and I like symmetry. But then again, I also like randomness. In some ways I am full of contradictions; I like when everything around me, or in the universe, follows order an functions according to laws; that is the scientist in me. But then again, I also love the mysterious, the curious and the unpredictable; that is the artist in me.

The wikipedia tells me that September 9 is the 252nd day of the year (253rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 113 days remaining until the end of the year.
So what has happened on this day in history? It seems that actually quiet a lot; here are a few events:

1543 – Mary Stuart, at nine months old, is crowned "Queen of Scots" in the central Scottish town of Stirling.
1791 – Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States, is named after President George Washington.
1850 – California is admitted as the thirty-first U.S. state.
1947 – First actual case of a computer bug being found: a moth lodges in a relay of a Harvard Mark II computer at Harvard University.
1956 – Elvis Presley appears on The Ed Sullivan Show for the first time.

If anyone is interested in the full list, including birthdays of famous people, it can be found on the wikipedia page.

Additionally, today is a big day for Beatles fans, as up to fourteen, digitally remastered and sound improved old albums are re-released.

September 08, 2009

My Passion.

Horses are my passion. Even though I do not ride anymore, I still recall the beauty of a ride through an autumn forest and the sense of freedom it offered me.

Today, what fascinates me about these animals is their elegance and the speed with which they move, with such an ease and grace. When I was young, I loved to draw horses and did this constantly. I even made clay artwork depicting fairy tale horses in art classes. I watched horses and studied their anatomy and the way they took their strides and how their body moved in a wild run. I developed a skill of drawing a horse very fast, just a few lines using a pen.

Today - and ever since I began to draw - I have been fascinated by two subjects; ethereal beauty and action in a movement. I tried at all times to depict these in my drawings or paintings; and both can be found in a run of a horse.

Below is a mix of images I drew when I was really young. I have posted a picture of one of my oil paintings previously, however I always preferred to draw horses with a pencil. Some are inspired by the old Czech fables and most are unfinished sketches, but all are over 2o years old.

The clip below documents an attempt to draw a horse the way I used to. I am of course a bit out of practice and although it is difficult to draw with one hand, while looking at the image through a lens of camera in my other hand, I think you get the idea. The drawing is a bit off proportionally (way too long front legs!), but the learned skill is still there, somewhere, even tough it is in need of some serious "dusting off".