Friday, September 30, 2011

Weekend Reflections: Misty Morning

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We have been having misty mornings this week…

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Some days the fog has not lifted at all… Other days the sun has managed to break through eventually.

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It is a time of year when every still morning and every sunny afternoon calls out to you to go out and enjoy it; reminding you gently that it might be the last one of its kind before the next rainstorm shakes the leaves off the trees. /Monica

Linked to Weekend Reflections

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Definition

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Just found this on a friend’s Facebook page…
So now I know!!!

Booking Through Thursday: Aloud

1. What do you think of reading aloud/being read to?
    Does it bring back memories of your childhood?
    Your children’s childhood?

2. Does this affect the way you feel about audio books?

3. Do you now have times when you read aloud or are read to?

The BTT questions come from Deb at Booking Through Thursday.

Nowadays I get most of my ‘reading aloud’ through audio books. For me the increased popularity of audio books has been a blessing, especially over the past eleven years, when because of problems with my neck I’ve had to spend a lot of time just resting, and having difficulties holding and reading ordinary books. With audio books I’ve been able to keep on reading and relax at the same time, which has also served as a distraction from pain etc.

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My bedside equipment ;)

My mother read aloud to me in my childhood, until I learned to read myself. Since my brother is six years younger than me, I also ‘listened in’ sometimes when mum read to him; and I think I probably also occasionally did some ‘big sister’ reading.

From childhood I also remember listening to children’s radio programs which included readings or radio dramatizations. No TV back then! Perhaps we got more practice just listening than kids do today (their world full of TV and DVDs and computers).

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A drawing of ‘little me’ by my mother, from the 1950s.

I never had children of my own, so not all that many memories of me as grown up reading aloud to kids. A picture book or two now and then to friends’ children when they were “that age”… Which I rather enjoyed! 

I’m so used to audio books now that they do not automatically remind me of childhood – that depends more on what book is being read, or by whom. But sometimes (especially at night) I choose an ‘old favourite’  – because a story I already know requires less concentration, and it doesn’t matter if I fall asleep half through – and that does sometimes produce a cozy bedtime story kind of feeling.

All in all, I wish all young children the privilege of someone reading aloud to them – and not just from tape or CD. I think the physical closeness plays its part too. But audio books are good too. When listening to a story, just like when reading – but unlike watching a film - you create your own images in your head; and I think that’s good brain exercise.

Back in … when? early 90’s perhaps? …  I had some friends who took turns arranging a literary evening now and then. On these occasions, those invited were supposed to bring a poem or a short story to read aloud to the rest. A nice way to socialize and discover new sides to old friends.

 

 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Troubled Waters Over Bridge

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(Bridge Over Troubled Waters is one of my favourite songs…)
Last week after days of heavy rain, this wooden footbridge across the river in town was not much use if you wanted to avoid trouble. I should perhaps point out that the water on top of the bridge came from above though… The water level in the river is very high but not quite that high.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Macro Monday: Smile

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Smile A smile is a language that even a baby understands.

Smile A smile is a powerful weapon; you can even break ice with it.

Smile Most smiles are started by another smile.

Smile If you see a friend without a smile; give him one of yours.

For more smiles, go look at some of the beautiful,
clever and funny photos at Lisa’s
Macro Monday.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

SOOC-Sweet Temptation

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This Friday+Saturday was our traditional Autumn Market. The old-fashioned “home made” kind of sweets are always popular!

I don’t often buy sweets (candy) nowadays. That does not mean I keep a sugar-free diet – I do eat dark chocolate, and ice cream, and have to admit that I do like a biscuit (cookie) or two with my afternoon tea... But I very rarely buy the kind of confectionary which is basically just sugar. Yesterday at the Market I fell for the temptation though… All on the excuse of being able to take nice close-up photos of them, of course! (Yes, I’m rather good at deceiving myself…)

The ‘mint kisses’ in the last picture is a favourite. (Sometimes in the past I used to make them myself for Christmas. With varied result. I tell you – if you’re unlucky and end up with a batch of sticky mess that will not harden, you’re likely to lose your taste for them for a while…)

In the top picture is a mix of soft marmalade + hard ones. The red-and-white ones are peppermints, the black-and-white ones salty, the red and green ones acid.

Which is your favourite?

Straight Out Of the Camera Sunday

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Weekend Reflections: Friends

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“A friendship can weather most things and thrive in thin soil; but it needs a little mulch of letters and phone calls and small, silly presents every so often - just to save it from drying out completely.”

~ Pam Brown ~

♥ This quote made me smile, because it brought some dear friends to mind for me. ♥

Weekend Reflections, hosted by James, is celebrating its 2nd anniversary this weekend. Congratulations! :)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Skywatch Friday: Autumn Colours

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Autumn has been creeping up on us this week! Most of the time it’s been raining… Walking under our umbrellas, staring down on our feet to avoid puddles – we’ve hardly noticed the trees changing colour until today, when we also got a glimpse of the sun and blue skies again!

Skywatch Friday

Thursday, September 22, 2011

BTT: In Public

http://btt2.wordpress.com/2011/09/22/in-public/


Do you carry books with you when you’re out and about in the world?
And, do you ever try to hide the covers?

Nowadays I rarely carry books with me except to and from the library. And during the actual carrying, they usually do stay hidden in a bag... But not with emphasis on "hidden" - just because it would be uncomfortable to carry a pile of loose books!

Back in the days before mp3-players and mobile phones - when I still also travelled more - I would bring a book for example on a train journey. I probably wouldn't choose one I'd feel a need to hide, though!

I guess the classic example would be hiding a novel in a school book or something. If I ever did that I've managed to forget by now!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

ABC Wednesday – J for Just Joking

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Just a few umbrella handles….

Why did your sister cut a hole in her new umbrella ?
- Because she wanted to be able to tell when it stopped raining.

'You never get anything right,' complained the teacher.
'What kind of job do you think you'll get when you leave school ?'
- 'Well, I want to be the weather girl on TV.'

How did you find the weather at camp?
- It was easy. I just went outside - and there it was!

What is the opposite of a cold front?
- A warm back

Why did the weather want privacy?
- It was changing

What did the fog say to the light rain after her vacation?
-  I mist you.

How do you cope with yet another day of streaming rain?
- By surfing the internet for some dry humour.

(Hey! I made up that last one. I think.)

It’s J-time at ABC Wednesday

Monday, September 19, 2011

Macro Monday: Purple

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Love comforteth like sunshine after rain.
                                                                             - Shakespeare

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I think it annoys God if you walk by the color purple in a field
     and don't notice.
                                                                             - Alice Walker
                                                                                From "The Color Purple"

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In my garden, after a rainfall, you can faintly, yes, hear the
      breaking of new blooms.
                                                                                  - Truman Capote

We call these ‘African Daisies’; I’m not sure what their correct name may be. Anyway I have a plant on my balcony, still producing new flowers in spite of the amounts of late summer/ early autumn rain we’ve had lately.

For Macro Monday at Lisa’s Chaos

Sunday, September 18, 2011

SOOC Sunday: In A Bubble

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For Straight Out Of the Camera Sunday

The past week I’ve been kind of in a bubble of my own. Might have exhausted myself last weekend, might have been a virus of some kind, might just have been the awful weather – or all three combined. Anyway I was feeling ill, and while the rainstorm raged outside, shut myself in for four whole days; until the sun came back out on Friday.

Yesterday the yellow smiley in the sky was still shining, and I decided to walk into town for a bit of shopping. What was I thinking. Turned out to be one of those Saturdays when the town was full of “goings on”. Streets I had intended to cross back and forth over turned out to be roped off for a race, busses were sent on detours, the sidewalks crowded with spectators, market stands in unexpected places…

I should have foreseen it, because there had been an ad or two in the newspaper. But I had not quite gathered how much would be going on…

So I had not even brought my ‘proper’ camera, because what I had in mind was trying on clothes; not to hang around in the streets watching people… Hmm… When shall I ever learn?

But I did have my mobile, so of course I could not resist the kids  having fun in the plastic bubbles on the river!

Today back to grey skies and headaches; more rain on the way. Maybe I should get me one of those bubbly things? ;)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Weekend Reflections: After the Rain

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It’s been raining a lot lately!
This is supposed to be a walkway, not a ditch.

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Is there such a thing as water-croquet?
(That sign in the background insists that this is a croquet-lawn.)

Weekend Reflections

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Booking Through Thursday: Replay



Have you ever finished a book and loved it so much you went right back and started re-reading it again?


Oh yes I have (and those who have been following this blog for a while will already know that!) ... The first that come to mind is each of the Harry Potter books. Mind you, the first four of these I first made acquaintance with as audio books in Swedish; so it was immediate re-listening in Swedish first; and later reading them in English, and listening to the English audio versions (there are two: read by Jim Dale vs Stephen Fry). With the last three, I read them as books first as soon as they were published (in English), and then listened to the audio versions pretty much immediately afterwards. I have re-listened to the whole series several times over during the decade that has passed since I first listened to The Philosopher's Stone. This is because they are so full of amusing details, and also because the story develops from one book to another; so that one may be struck by different things each time, and the understanding of whole actually grows with rereading.


There are other books or series too that I have reread and relistened to several times over - The Chronicles of Narnia for one. But with those and a few other favourites that I first read a long time ago, I can no longer remember excactly how soon afterwards I made the first re-read. Then there are of course some books that I've started right over with for study purposes (like writing an essay).


Out of all the novels in my bookshelves, there is one that I have probably read more times than any other, and that is Three Men in a Boat by J.K. Jerome, first published in 1889. Although it was written more than 120 years ago, I find his observations and wit and humour timeless. My old Swedish paperback copy of it is from 1967, and I'm pretty sure I read it first time before our family's first trip to England/London in 1969 (ie when I was 13 going on 14). This because one of the most famous episodes in the book involes the maze at Hampton Court; which we visitied on that trip.



Anyway, I'm not sure how many times I've reread (or in later years listened to) that book since then, but I would not be surprised if it was at least once a year, which would make it about 40 reads (or more). And it still makes me laugh!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I for Ice Cream (ABC Wednesday)

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You can imagine the taste of it, right? No real need for a lot of additional information; except perhaps that this is a Norwegian brand of ice-cream, not a Swedish one. But sold also in Sweden, so I did not have to go to Norway to take the photo. Incidentally, when I looked up the Norwegian Wiki page about the company, I learned that the name of their ‘mascot’ is Eskimonika (my own name being Monica)!

To find more things beginning with I, go to ABC Wednesday.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Macro Monday: Red Admiral

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Hello… Who goes there? Friend or Foe?

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Can’t a fellow just be left to eat in peace!

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Ah. She’s still there. Well, I’m not bothered!

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Don’t think I daren’t face you!

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I guess I’d better just let her get her picture!

Yet another of my “friends” in the Butterfly park:
A Red Admiral (Vanessa Atalanta), on his favourite flower the Butterfly Bush / Summer Lilac (Buddleja davidii)

for Macro Monday

 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Weekend Reflections – Straight Out Of the Camera

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Well, more tilted than straight, perhaps – but unedited anyway!

Yesterday (Saturday) I took part in a local Photo Marathon.  More exhausting than I anticipated – partly due to the weather, which was supposed to be half cloudy with glimpses of sun, but turned out rainy and muscle-and-joint-aching chilly; but it was also the first time I took part in this yearly event, and I probably didn’t have the best strategy.

10 themes were given at the start, and 5 hours to do the job, and only one photo per theme was to be left on the memory card when handing it in (together with a form filled in to tell which photo was meant for which theme). We were allowed to use our own computers for the choosing and editing etc, so I went back home for that + a quick lunch. But just going back and forth by bus, and having lunch, took more than one hour of the total time; and the final job of choosing the pictures and copying etc got more stressful than I thought. With my experience from blogging I really should have foreseen that these things always take longer than one supposes! … But with blogging I’ve also got used to not really having to keep an eye on the clock like that. So I nearly gave it up… But in the end I did manage to catch the last bus in time to hand in my card a few minutes before time!

This is one of the many photos I did not submit. I was considering it for two different themes – Reflections of the town, or Up and Down – but in the end I chose other photos for both.

~ ~ ~

Straight Out Of the Camera Sunday

Weekend Reflections

Friday, September 9, 2011

My Grandparents

From my other blog, DawnTreader’s Picture Book, I take part in Friday My Town Shoot Out, with a different theme each week. This week’s theme is Grandparents’ Day. We do not have a special Grandparents’ day in Sweden, but I did (of course!) have grandparents… So I posted their wedding photos for FMTSO. But since I’m trying to sum up some family history anyway, I got inspired do an extended post here. It might be followed by more family history posts later as I continue to go through old albums and notes – we’ll see.

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▲ My maternal grandparents, Gunborg and Hugo, 1928.

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▲ The cottage far up in the north of Sweden where my grandfather Hugo (born 1901) grew up, with his parents and four or five siblings. His father was a sawmill worker. Hugo too started out working at the sawmill, but also studied per correspondence, and went on to become a teacher, and later in life headmaster.

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▲ The house (here in BorÃ¥s) where my grandmother Gunborg (born 1902) grew up. The house was demolished in the 1970s, but I remember it from my childhood, when two cousins of my grandmother’s still lived there. In Gunborg’s childhood, her family (with four children) shared the house with her aunt and uncle-in-law and their five children. All the children grew up like one family. Gunborg’s father was a clerk; and Gunborg herself before her marriage worked as a secretary.

Hugo and Gunborg actually got to know each other per correspondence – and in shorthand at that! The first couple of years of their marriage they lived up in the north; but then a year or so after my mother was born they came to live down here.

--- --- ---

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▲ My paternal grandparents, Gustaf and Sally, 1930.

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▲The cottage where my grandfather Gustaf (born 1904) grew up. He was born ‘out of wedlock’ and was raised mainly by his maternal grandparents.

In his youth Gustaf started out as a shoemaker’s apprentice; but later became a journalist, photographer and editor at the local newspaper, with a special interest in local history.

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▲ The farmhouse where my grandmother Sally (born 1900) grew up. She continued to live there until she got married at the age of 30. She never had a job outside the home.

Sally’s parents were both widowed when they got married to each other. The father had nine children by his first wife (two of them died before my grandmother was born), and the mother had one daughter from her first marriage, eight years older than Sally. When Sally was two, she also had a little brother.

Her half-siblings on the father’s side were all grown up, but some of them still lived on the farm in her childhood. The eldest half-brother (30 years older than Sally) remained single and took over the farm a few years before the father died in 1907 (when Sally was 7 years old). Another of the elder brothers later also moved back to help with the farm. From then until 1930, the family on the farm seems to have consisted of those two brothers + their father’s widow with her two daughters and one younger son.

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▲ My grandmother Sally on the right; her sister and brother-in-law(-to-be) on the left, and their mother in the middle.

I’m not sure when or how Sally and Gustaf first got to know each other. I know that for a while before they got married Gustaf lived at the farm too, as a lodger, but I think that was probably after he and Sally got engaged. In 1930 they got married and moved into their own brand new house – but not alone. 1930 was a year of Big Change because all three the younger siblings got married and moved out. Sally’s sister and brother-in-law moved in with Sally and Gustaf in their new house, and so did their mother (69 years old by then). In my dad’s early childhood, they were still all an ‘extended family’: He and his parents living in one room and kitchen downstairs; his grandmother and aunt and uncle-in-law sharing the upstairs flat. Later, the aunt and uncle built their own house just down the road. The grandmother died in 1941.

One of the things that strike me from the family history is how both my grandfathers “worked their way up” from rather poor circumstances; and also how both grandmothers grew up in large extended families (but in houses that still suggest a somewhat higher standard).

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Booking Through Thursday: Queue



What are you reading now?
Would you recommend it?
And what’s next?


Just started on a new audio book - well, not new as such - I've even read it before. In between other books this summer I have been (re)listening to a series of Swedish novels set in our capital Stockholm between the 1860s and the 1960s - a sort of family saga through generations. I've now come to the fifth and last. I would recommend them all, but it seems only the first two have been translated into English: City of My Dreams and Children of Their City. The author is Per Anders Fogelström (1917-1998).


Recently finished This Body of Death by Elizabeth George. She usually manages to keep me mesmerized while reading, but afterwards I find that what "sticks" in my memory is mostly the development in the relationships between the main background characters - the detectives and their families and friends - rather than the specific mystery in each novel; which was as usual quite an intricate puzzle, approached from several different angles. From the "private" perspective I was not too happy with the way some things were left at the end. As a mystery though, I think it was rather clever, and it wasn't until towards the end that I began to connect some of the things which at first did not seem to be connected at all.


During the reading of this book I also came to question if I ever read the previous one in the series (Careless in Red). I think I must have missed that one; so now I've ordered that from the library. Luckily it turned out they had it as audio-CD in English. 


Our town's main library has just been reopened in newly renovated premises (after a year and a half or so in temporary premises). I looked in for a quick glance the other day. Of course they have shifted everything around so it will take a while to re-learn where to find things. New white bookshelves made it look airier and brighter than before. The shelves are also still half-empty because they gave everyone really long loans over the summer, to help with the move.


My favourite improvement so far is in the online catalogue. They've made it even easier to queue for books online now by also including the option to choose at which library I wish to pick them up. So I can order any book from the library catalogue, from home, and instead of having to go to the main library to pick it up when it comes in, they will send it to my local library which is only ~5 min walk from where I live. Excellent service. (It was possible to do this before as well, but then I had to go to the local library to ask them to order it for me.)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

H for Horses (ABC Wednesday)

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ABC Wednesday – H

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At the Harvest Festival I attended on Saturday, there was also horse-riding in the park for the children. Or should that be pony-riding? In my humble opinion a pony should be smaller, but I’m not really sure…

Tried to look for a definition in Wikipedia, but it was not helpful. It seems there are some ponies called horses, and some horses called ponies; so never mind!

I don’t think I ever rode either a horse or a pony – and I’m not intending to start now. I think I read a few books about them when I was ‘that age’ (when other girls actually took up riding); that’s about as far as my interest in horses ever went. I still prefer looking at them from some distance ;)

ABC Wednesday - H

 

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