October 31, 2008

Happy All Hallows Eve.


I love Halloween. I first became aware of this tradition when I moved to the US in the 90's.
At that time the festivity of Halloween was non-existent in Scandinavia. Growing up in Sweden, however, we did celebrate All Saint's Day on the first Sunday in November, a common religious observance which exists even in the Slavic part of Europe, where I was born. It is considered a somewhat serious and solemn day, with the tradition to light candles and visit the graves of deceased relatives.

While living in North Carolina, I became very fond of the Halloween celebration and all the traditions that it included, such as pumpkin carving, the trick-or-treating, eating pumpkin pie and watching all the horror movie marathons on the television. I honestly missed the holiday greatly when I relocated to Denmark 9 years ago.

Interestingly enough though, in recent years, this Celtic festival has spread around Europe and has become immensely popular even here in Denmark. Particularly the carving and displaying of jack-o'-lanterns. Seemingly they fit so well in the dark, cold season this far up north.
I carved my very own one this past Saturday and, as seen on the picture, it is ready to scare of anything sinister that might be approaching my house tonight.

Happy All Hallow's Eve everyone.:)

October 30, 2008

The Chimney Sweeps.



The other morning I had a very curious encounter. I had my fireplace built last year and this was the first time the chimney sweeps came by to clean it, since it was constructed. I have had fireplaces before, especially while living in the US, but I never saw anyone cleaning them. As I guess the property managers took care of it while I was at work.
I think I was mostly amazed by the fact that chimney sweeps still do exist. This strikes me now as a bit ignorant on my part, as of course how else would the chimneys get cleaned? I remember seeing them as a child, as I remember reading the fairytale by H. Ch. Andersen, "The Shepherdess and The Chimney Sweep".
But I have no idea why I have never seen them since. Perhaps I never paid enough attention. They wear the same uniforms they have worn for ages, black with golden buttons, cap or hat on their head. And they still use - mostly- the same equipment they always have. They climb the roofs and use long brushes in chimneys and are all covered with ashes and sot in their faces. It was an amusing and pleasant encounter. Where I come from, the encounter with a chimney sweep is considered to be a lucky one. It is encouraged to touch the buttons of their uniform for luck. I almost did it, but then changed my mind, as they would most likely consider me a bit odd. But perhaps that would have made their encounter with me unforgettable as well.

October 29, 2008

Mouse Art and Moo's.


The title of this post might seem strange. I am not talking about mice, the small rodents (at times cute). Nor am I referring to cattle or the sound cows make. I am referring to two separate, yet connected issues of my past.

The first one is associated with drawings or art created using a computer mouse. I was inspired to write about this by Stevyn. He recently posted a delightful piece on these kind of drawings, which made me think about a little creation I did about a decade ago. Actually, come to think of it, almost 15 years ago (now I feel old). It was a drawing of horse, as horses were (and still are, although to a lesser degree) my great passion. I was at that time, member of one of the first Internet based communities connected to tripod.com, called Moo. Now that brings me to the other part of the title. Moo stands for Mud Object Oriented and describes a text based virtual community, where several players can be connected at the same time, interact with each other and create objects and can build and extend the environment around them. One of the most famous Moo's is LammdaMoo. Ok, this makes me sound like a nerd, and perhaps I am.

At that time, tripod tried to move this text based environment into the web browser, allowing players to interact not just through text, but also images and pictures. I thoroughly enjoyed creating rooms and objects using my imagination and my humble artistic skills and the drawing depicted here was one of them.

Unfortunately, tripod decided after about a year of its creation to shut this Moo down, despite petitions and protest from all the players. Luckily, after digging through my back-up system, I found all my pictures posted there intact.
Thank you Stevyn for inspiring me to take this walk down the memory lane.

October 28, 2008

Unofficial Beer of the Halloween.


My handsome Irish room mate has recently made me aware of a great site. We were - for a reason I can not recall now - discussing beer and he mentioned to me that one of his favorite brands is Hobgoblin, made by the Wychwood brewery. I totally love this name, as I so enjoy this annual autumn event, that it refers to. We talked about this for almost an hour, while visting this "unofficial beer of the Halloween" site. I am particularly fond of their gallery, as well as the postcards. A great site dedicated to this celtic holiday.

October 27, 2008

Passing On An Award.


Recently, my talented friend Diane granted me an award, which I am to pass on.
This award, if accepted, urges you to list 6 things you love and should be passed on to 6 others.
I am going to pass it over to some people that I feel deserve this award more than me, as I admire their blogs, their creativity, the way they write or their sense of style.

With that said, as I do not want to offend anyone, I want to stress the fact that no one has to feel obliged to accept it, or can accept it with no strings attached, meaning not to have to list 6 things they love, nor needing to pass it on to anyone.
I guess I am bending the rules a bit.;)

1) I am sending this award back to Diane, as she is one of the most talented writers I have ever met, the eloquence and the sincerity in her contemplative posts are so touching, and she has the biggest heart.:)
2) The next one goes without question to Holly, she so incredibly sensitive, stylish and so creative, this award must have been made for people like her
3) The third one goes to Hazel, for creating a blog site that appeals to the romantic me, I love the jewelry pictures and the way she has designed the site
4) The fourth one goes to Stevyn, I have visited his blog for only a short time, but am already hooked on the unique, unpretentious way he describes his thoughts and experiences
5) The fifth ones goes to Donna, and her wonderfully artistic blog full of breathtaking pictures and designs and her writing which always strikes me as very kind and thoughtful
6) The sixth one goes to Blog Princess G, whose distinctive writing, style and over all wonderful, vivacious blog is the reason and inspiration to why I have started writing mine

I also give an un-official award to Hilary, I simply love the design of her site, the incredibly evocative pictures she takes and her perceptive writing. Please feel free to ignore this award Hilary, as I respect your feelings about this kind of "tagging", and accept it simply as my admiration and acknowledgment of your talent.;)

Back to Work Monday.



Yesterday we went off the daylight savings time, which means an hour more of sleep this morning. Wonderful, as I love to sleep. I recently included sleep as one of the things I love, and this list included my work as well. Considering that and the fact that work is in the title of my blog, I thought I would dedicate at least one post to this subject.

I work in a laboratory, in the field of biochemistry and the pictures here show the stickers posted on the entrance door of my lab. Yaiks!!! But, it is less dangerous that those signs indicate and I seem not to have been damaged or affected by anything sinister (yet;).
When I say I work in a lab, many people picture all those labs they have seen on all those popular TV shows. But let me tell you, it is nothing like that. Although I enjoy seeing shows where laboratory work is described or included, I always have to skip a few scenes in my mind and dismiss them with amusement.
I wish we had those fancy machines, which all the crime scenes investigators keep running back to. They always seem to be calmly and methodically pipetting solutions and samples in a tube, mixing, then placing those into some miracle working instruments, getting result within minutes. Nope, this does not happen, usually results take hours, sometimes days or weeks to obtain.

I do enjoy my work though, even though it is at times tedious and energy consuming. I love the fact that I am free to play around like a child. I am free to use my imagination, while exploring issues and fields that no people have entered before me. Or very few. Even if there are obstacles to overcome and even if the tiresome repetition and hard work are the key.

October 26, 2008

Sunday Sunset.


Today my day was filled with dark clouds, wind and rain, reflecting my emotions and the state of my mind. But just before the fall of darkness, the clouds dispersed, revealing a magnificent sunset. And likewise, my mind was put at ease.
Todays sunset as seen from my living room window.

October 25, 2008

Coffee and Chocolate.

And YES, I ate ALL
the chocolate on my own.

October 24, 2008

My First Award.

My dear friend Diane, a wonderful and gifted writer, thinks I deserve an award.:) Thank you Diane so much.
I am sending her one right back.
Ok, I have to list 6 things that I love, so here they are:

1) I love to sleep.
2) I love the sun and the sea and to experience both at the same time makes me happy.
3) I love to watch sunsets.
4) I love my work.
5) I love chocolate and my fireplace.
6) And last, but not least: I love my family and my two room mates, I feel blessed and lucky to have them in my life.


I will try to pass this on to a few people in a little while, as I need to give them all a rest after they have been tagged by me recently.;)

An Evening Without Technology.


Yesterday evening, after returning from work, I turned on the TV to find not the news I expected, but lots of snow. After clicking through the channels impatiently with my remote, at least 10 times up and down, I was left puzzled. All 45 channels were showing snow. I have never experienced a total loss of all my cable and found this a bit disconcerting. I turned on the radio, which is receiving signals from the cable as well - and likewise, there was nothing but the loud sound of an empty aether. Finally, I noticed that the light on my modem monitoring the Internet connection was blinking red.
After going through all the emotions such as surprise, disbelieve, shock and finally anger, in this particular order, I verified quickly that this outage was indeed affecting a larger part of the city. The house felt much more quiet then I ever recalled and suddenly I did not know what to do with my evening.
I am used to have the TV and the radio on all the time, no matter what I am doing. I turn on the computer every evening when I come home from work and every morning when I get up. I use the Internet to finish of work, to check my mails and to stay in touch with friends and family either via instant messaging or by making online phone calls (as I am blessed with my near and dear to be spread all over the world).
Being without all of this, even for just one evening, was not possible to imagine. When the reality of all this finally sank in, I capitulated. I went through my large CD collection and decided for an old, favourite CD I have not listened to for a very long time. I pored myself a glass of really cheap French red vine, turned on the candles and spend the evening in the company of my own thoughts and memories, something that I have not done for ages. It was amazingly relaxing and brought tranquillity to my stressful mind.
Still, this morning, I woke up with an unsettling feeling which dissipated first only after I made sure, that my world was on-line again.

October 23, 2008

Vintage Stores and BookCrossing.


I have never been much for shopping at second hand stores. I always found them a bit creepy. The thought of wearing clothes that others have worn or even handling items that someone else has used was very distant to me. However, this all changed, when I met a book loving Irishman that introduced me to a new way of living, where recycling is an every day occurrence. He recently brought my attention to a delightful site perfect for anyone that loves books, called BookCrossing. Here members can share books freely, by leaving them at particular points in a city where they live, or in a foreign city to which they travel, for that matter, for someone else to pick them up. Making connection with people all over the world through books is such a very captivating idea.
Therefore today, anything vintage is intriguing to me. Of course, I have a somewhat romantic and very bohemian style, which makes it a bit easier. But nevertheless, I cannot wait to visit flea markets or any kind of stores dealing with re-used merchandise. Re-cycling things seems now so rewarding to me. Instead of throwing something away, I like the thought of it becoming useful in someone's hands or home.

October 22, 2008

Tagged by Stevyn.

I have been tagged again, this time by the very talented Stevyn, for the "fourth of fourth".
As explained so well in his eloquent post, this means one should choose the fourth picture in one's fourth picture folder and describe it, plus tagg four more people to do the same.
So, in my 4th picture folder, called "June trip 2008, visit with my sister" was this photograph:

It is a recent picture of me and my almost four year old niece, when I was trying to explain to her how old I am. There was not enough of fingers to go around, I am afraid.:)

I have never tagged anyone before and this is my first try at it. I am tagging my absolutely new best friend and a very gifted writer Diane, Hilary, the most talented and evocative photographer, the extraordinary creative Holly and last, but not least, Hazel, who makes incredible jewelry.

No Words Necessary.

October 21, 2008

Prague, the city of a hundred spires.

My father was born in Prague. Today, he and my mother again live there and the pictures here were taken on my visit to Prague in October last year.
I never lived in the city, but I did spend many of my childhood summers there with my grandparents. Every summer until the beginning of the 80's. I remember moments in time, fragments of experiences that still linger in my memory. Anyone who ever visited that city falls in love with it.

Positioned in the heart of Europe, it played important roles in its history. And history is what can be found on every street corner. Every building is an architectural treasure and behind every street name there is story to be told. Already as a child I was intrigued by "the city of a hundred spires", as it is called in the fables. I read with great fascination the tales of the city and took often long walks through the picturesque center with my grandparents, while they were pointing out to me all the places depicted in my favorite book. This was when Prague was dusty grey, some of its historical buildings in decay, with only a handful of tourists around. But at that time it held a particular magic that is since long gone, never to return. Historical places were easily accessible, one could walk undisturbed back into history, in an atmosphere of romantic melancholy in an almost "film noir" setting. To those familiar with the renewed Prague and its beautiful old town, which looks almost like a theater settings at times, the "Charles Bridge" comes to mind. A beautiful, pedestrian only bridge connecting the "Lesser Quater" with the "Old Town". The bridge is usually packed with tourist and street performers to the bursting point, almost at all times of the day, except for very early in the morning or very late at night. Although beautifully restored and an experience to cross, it is at times almost claustrophobic.

Well, I recall seeing a black and white photograph taken in the mid seventies. It was taken by my grandfather, as we were strolling across the bridge, me and my sister and my cousin, as children, on a Sunday afternoon. The striking part of this memory is the fact that we were the ONLY people on it. Such a solitary moment in this romantic city can most likely never ever come to pass again.

The Charles Bridge today.

October 20, 2008

Mindgames.

I recieved this in an email from a friend and was completely puzled by these tricks! Scroll down carefully and do not read the answers below the pictures until you are done:





This is not a test - just a phenomenon.
All readings are explained.


1.Read out loud the text inside the triangle below:




More than likely you said, 'A bird in the bush,'
If this IS what YOU said, then you failed to see that the word THE is repeated twice!
Sorry, look again.:))

2.Next, let's play with some words.
What do you see?



In black you can read the word GOOD, in white the word EVIL (inside each black letter is a white letter).
It's all very physiological too, because it visualizes the concept that good can't exist without evil (or the absence of good is evil).


3.Now, what do you see?






You may not see it at first, but the white spaces read the word optical, the blue landscape reads the word illusion.

Look again!

Can you see why this painting is called an optical illusion?:)


4.What do you see here?




This one is quite tricky!
The word TEACH reflects as LEARN.


5.Last one.
What do you see?





You probably read the word ME in brown, but.......
When you look through ME you will see YOU!
Do you need to look again?


6. Test Your Brain
This is really cool:

ALZHEIMERS' EYE TEST:
Count every ' F ' in the following text:

FINISHED FILES ARE THE RESULT OF YEARS OF SCIENTIFIC
STUDY COMBINED WITH THE EXPERIENCE OF YEARS...



How many did you counted?
WRONG!!
There are six -- no joke.
Read it again!
Really, go back and try to find the 6 F's before you scroll down.

The reasoning:
The brain cannot process 'OF'.
To count three is normal, four is quite rare.:))

October 19, 2008

My First Painting.


Now that I have disclosed the fact that I create oil paintings in my spare time (or at least used to), I thought I would share my art. This is a photograph of a painting that hangs in my living room just above my red sofa.
It is perhaps not my best painting, but it is my first. There are many flaws in it, but bearing in mind I was only 17 years old when I made it, it is not half as bad. The apples are a bit off, but I think I managed to capture the blue velvet cloth perfectly. Considering that I only could paint it once a week and had to find and arrange (or rearrange) all the items every time I did, it could have been worse. I painted this in an evening class that I attended once week, when I was a teenager. I was the youngest there at that time, as no one was below 40 and I felt badly out of place to begin with. The class was held in studio in the attic of an old building, and I recall the exposed beams of the wooden roof and the prevailing smell of turpentine and cigarette smoke. I was surrounded by people that longed to express themselves and did so. The teacher, an artist himself, was excellent. His way of teaching was very indirect, but very effective. He had one rule only; we were not allowed to paint from photographs or pictures, he urged us to paint “live” real things. Only “still life”. The studio was filled with all kind of “stuff”; statues, vases, furniture, flowers, cutlery, old books, clothes, fabrics, jewelry - anything an artist might find inspiring. All except fruit or vegetables, which we had to bring ourselves. His way of teaching was to give us free hands. “Please just paint what you see!”, he used to say while smoking heavily. He would then start walking around between the easels, in the quiet room, the only distant sound would be the music of Edit Piaf or Billy Holiday, streaming from aging records played by an old turntable. As he would pass us, from time to time, he would look at the paintings quietly, correcting or helping out with the mixing of the right colors, pointing out errors, suggesting corrections, showing tricks with a brush, telling us how to see the light and the colors.
I have forgotten about this first “art piece” of mine for years, well decades. I think it was stored forgotten in boxes, moved between several attics and basements, until it at one point got damaged being stored in my parents shed. My father, who enjoys painting himself found it and restored it. He had it framed and my parents gave it to me as a house-warming gift when I bought my first house.

October 18, 2008

Baking Day.


I am not a very good cook. In fact, I do not enjoy cooking. I do not know exactly why. I have throughout my life lived mostly on my own and never found it interesting to cook meals for myself. And during those times that I have not been on my own, I have been lucky enough to be surrounded by excellent cooks that prepared great meals for me and enjoyed doing so. In fact, my current room mate makes sure my freezer is stocked to the bursting point with containers of wonderful meals that he makes for me on his visits. I am truly lucky that way.

But, with that said, I do LOVE to bake. It is so much more rewarding, I feel. The scent of freshly baked bread or pastry is heavenly and so much nicer than the heavy odor of cooking (that I never seem to be able to get rid off in my house). There is no stress in baking; in fact I find it very relaxing and soothing. When time permits, I bake bread and pies, muffins (cupcakes) and pastry. Cupcakes are so easy, as they are quick to prepare and can be varied in so many ways and can easily be frozen.
Today I baked apple/cinnamon cupcakes (that fit so well the autumn season) and bread roles. It was a perfect day to be inside, as the weather was cold and rainy and it became a baking day, instead of a gardening day.

October 17, 2008

Tagged by Diane.

I seem to have been tagged for a "MeMe" (it sounds so funny!!) by Diane, so I guess here are 7 things about me:

1. I am a cosmopolitan speaking fluently 5 languages, less fluently 6 and I have lived in 5 countries and worked in 3.

2. I paint oil paintings in my spare time and my secondary school teacher thought I was so talented he went with me to an art school to convince the school board to take me in. They refused and I dropped the art for a while after that.;)

3. I have been told I talk in my sleep. But fortunately make no sense.

4. I got my first grey hair when I was in my late 20-ties.

5. I cannot whistle nor snap my fingers, this has always irritated me.

6. I am so very scared of flying I have not been on a plane for 4 years.

7. I am ALWAYS on time and even though I try, I just can NOT be late.

So, this is it. Unfortunately Diane, there is no way I can tagg 7 more people, so that will have to wait for later.:))

October 16, 2008

Danish "Black Sun".


In spring and especially during the birds migration season in autumn, which is right now peaking in Scandinavia, a phenomenon called "Black Sun" can be experienced in south part of the Danish peninsula where I live. This term describes a flock of up to thousands of birds, particularly starlings, that lift into the skies simultaneously at sunset, before settling down for the night, thus temporarily "blacking" the sun. This assemble of birds might also perform the effervescent, but synchronized flight, when they feel threatened by the birds of prey. It is incredibly enthralling and intriguing, that such a vast quantity of birds can coordinate their flight and perform such beautiful acrobatics in the sky. Nature is astounding.

The Bog Man.


I am very interested in history and foremost archeology. As a matter of fact, as a young girl, I read with fascination the tales of the young pharaoh Tutankhamun and the curse of its tomb. Likewise I was captivated by a book depicting the life and work of Heinrich Schliemann and his excavation of Troy. I definitely had plans on being an archeologist myself. However, growing up, my romantic views of what archeology is really all about were somewhat crushed by the realization that very few students get to run around among the pyramids, or in the Valley of the Kings excavating ancient tombs or discovering lost cities. Most of them end up doing really hard work in bad weather, on digs that are much less fantastic, carrying out very tedious, at times boring jobs.
My interest in archeology remained nevertheless. Every time I visit a major city, I avidly seek out their museum of natural history, or ancient history and study all the objects with great interest.
Incredibly, not more than 5 minutes drive from where I live, one can find a piece of very interesting archeological curiosity. In a large, beautiful estate that became a museum, confined to an underground coffin with glass walls lies the Grauballe Man. One of the best preserved bog bodies ever found, dating back over 2000 years. I have seen him numerous times and still find the story of him intriguing. I can’t help but imagine his life and the fact that we can gaze at him today mesmerizes me. Recently he was thoroughly studied and many things about his life and his death were revealed, among others his true features. This made him even more real and captivating. It made the distant history very much present and made the relativity of time seem even so more obvious.

October 15, 2008

Winnetou.



Long before I lived in the "wild west", I had my own romantic fantasies about what it looked and "felt" like. They were all based on the idealistic depictions of the west by the German author Karl May. The books were describing the adventures of Apache Winnetou, his sister Nscho-tschi and his "blood brother" Old Shatterand. I was 9 years old and read the thick book late at nights, with a flash light under the blanket. (Maybe that is why I am nearsighted today.) This book was magical to me and followed the cowboys as they crossed the Mississippi and the Rio Grande, both such a very exotic sounding names to me. I knew nothing of these far away lands, but they seem very exciting and dreamy to a young girl. In the years that followed, I have forgotten all about this hero of my youth, until I recently stumbled upon the Winnetou movie on one of the German channels on my cable TV. Although the movie felt outdated, silly and at times naive, it did bring back sentimental memories of my childhood, when imagination had no limits and everything was possible.

October 14, 2008

Computer Screen Message.



I got this card recently and I think it is truly funny! Don't we just all feel this way at times?

Translation:

Are you sure you want to shoot your computer now?

Cancel/Shoot

October 13, 2008

My First Hamburger.


Today I got to think about a curious experience from my childhood. I grew up in Eastern Europe. My parents wanted a better future for us (me and my sister) and decided to immigrate to Sweden in 1980. The process of the actual escape, as one might call it, was extremely adventurous and lasted almost 1 month. It included passages through many western countries, a two day boat trip from Hamburg, Germany to Helsinki in Finland, with an unscheduled stop in Estonia, part of the Sovjet republic at that time (a very scary moment for us) and a roller coaster trip from Helsinki to Stockholm, Sweden on a ship in a raging storm.
But the story I wanted to share has nothing to do with that odyssey of a trip, but with one occasion during our stay in Hamburg before embarking on the ship sailing to Finland. Here I visited a hamburger bar for the first time in my life. I (and the rest of my family) were convinced that the meal we were served was called a hamburger as we were in Hamburg and obviously it had something to do with the city.
Today this still brings a smile to my face and reminds me of my parent’s incredible courage, amazing persistence to never give up and to never be afraid of change and new beginnings.

October 12, 2008

My Autumn Sunday in Pictures.

October 11, 2008

Two Hearts.

I love candles. I have zillions of candle holders all over my house. In Scandinavia, October and November are the darkest months of the year and it is a tradition here to light candles in the evenings. Not just for the light, but also to spread heat and to create a cosy atmosphere.
Today has been one of those really dreadful fall days, that are so common in the North. Windy, drizzly, rainy, cold and most of all, dark. Perfect day to just curl up in front of the fireplace.
As I sit there, I can see two of my favorite candleholders, called "Two Hearts", which I placed on the shelf just above the fireplace. They were a birthday gift from one of my friends. I love the simple, natural design. Made of rough materials, such as concrete, metal and black glass, they are very sturdy but still appear so delicate and fragile. Just like the Scandinavian nature. Designed by a Swedish artist, Annica Vallin, they are a part of an art collection, called "The Hearts Desire". All the pieces are made out of natural materials and inspired by the rugged beauty of the Swedish west coast.

October 10, 2008

Contemporary Art.


Last week I visited the largest museum of modern art in Scandinavia, called Aaros. It was open to the public in 2004 and has since hosted exhibitions by many famous artists, both domestic and international. I have to confess that I am not a great fan of Modern art. I think mostly I do not understand it. I am much more captivated by the Renaissance period and the works of Michelangelo, DaVinci or Raphael. I actually do like some of the Impressionism painters, but when it comes to Contemporary form of art, I feel at times lost. I do admit being very ignorant in this field and therefore I do not like to criticize it, nor am I easily dismissing it.
Nevertheless, on my recent visit I saw a very interesting exhibition piece by the Danish artist Olafur Eliasson, called "Omgivelser, 2007" (translated as "Surroundings"), that is on permanent display in Aaros. It can be described as a small room, covered by mirrors in such a way, they give a feeling of endlessness and suspension in vast space. It was extremely intriguing and I thoroughly enjoyed experiencing this sensation, feeling almost like a child in a mirror maze. In some way it made me realize, that perhaps art is not meant to always just be visually exquisite, realistic and esthetic. Sometimes art is also just meant to provoke feelings of any kind, whether it is detest or fascination, beauty or contemplation. And sometimes art is suppose to just be fun.

October 09, 2008

Tall Ships and Cruise Ships.


I live in a city with a large and busy port, which accommodates many container ships as well as passenger ships and in the summer months, large cruise ships. This principal port is located in the center of the city, as originally the first settlements were established along a small river delta. They slowly grew and expanded along the coast, to form a major city around its harbor. Archeological findings date it back some 1300 years into the times of the Vikings.
I love the harbor and I drive through it as often as I can find the time. I am always fascinated by the incredibly large container ships, that often anchor there, such as Emma Mærsk, the largest container ship ever built.
The cruise ships continuously use the port as a part of their itinerary. I pass the docks every day on my way to work and during the summer season, these large "resorts of the sea" arrive several times a month. At times I can not resist and have to stop to gaze at them in awe. Their size is incredible and overwhelming. Hundreds of meter long, with multiple decks and all the luxuries one can imagine. The most common are ships from P&O and Holland-America cruise lines. I often envy the passengers and the incredible adventure they get to experience.
A few years ago, Ooesterdam was anchored in the harbor during a large tall ship show. Sailing ships from all over the world gathered at the city port and it was possible to board them and get tours. It was an amazing sight, as there is so much romantic beauty in these old ship rigs.

October 08, 2008

The Magic Square.



Last summer I visited Barcelona, an incredible city. One of the "must see" sights is of course the " Sagrada Familia" church (or rather cathedral), that is and has been under construction since 1882. Many artist and sculptors have been in longer or shorter periods working on the construction. I was mesmerized by one interesting "magic square", that is seen on the "Passion" facade of the church. The sum of the numbers, whether they are added horizontally, vertically or diagonally, always gives the sum of 33, the age of Christ at the time of the Passion. Of course, as I always do on my trips, I purchased a small "magnet" replica of this curiosity in the souvenir shop.

October 07, 2008

What happened to Soap Bars?


I have been contemplating the fact, that it is difficult, or almost impossible to find bars of soap in the stores these days. All that is available are hundreds of brands of liquid soap. I do agree that lovely scented, usually handmade soaps can still be purchased in small boutiques to crazy high prices. But what about common supermarkets? I recall very clearly the time when I first left my parents home and moved to my own apartment. Well, it was the tiniest apartment I ever lived in - 22 square meters of space divided into two rooms. The shower was installed in a small walk-in closet and the kitchen consisted of a sink and two heating plates inside a cabinet. But I did not care, as it was MINE. And I was free and independent to do what I liked. Additionally the place did have a great view and even a small balcony. I lived there for 3 years before moving to the US. During this time I used only bars of soap and I remember my favourite one very clearly: it was green and freshly scented. The brand name was Shield. I have not seen nor used this soap since. I am sure if I smelled it today, it would bring me back in time.
In the beginning of the 90's, the liquid soap started to appear on the marked in Europe. Within a couple of years it became very popular and also very common. However, when I moved to North Carolina in 92, here the liquid soap was pretty much still non-existent. So I went back to using bars of soap again. My favourite by far was Camay. I bought it mostly due to a very fancy commercial I used to watch on TV (I guess they do work). Today companies are not advertising for soap bars anymore. The inexpensive bars have become outdated and a bit inconvenient. I wonder if they will ever make a comeback.

October 03, 2008

Playing Tourist at Home.


I have been having a visitor for almost a week now. I enjoy having people over, mostly, as it gives me a chance to actually discover and re-discover the beauty of the place I call home. Lets face it, when I work, I have very little time, if any, to stroll around the city, or make long drives in the country side. Not to mention visiting any sights. And when I take a vacation, I travel abroad, most likely south to a warmer climate. But every time I show my visitors around, I realize how beautiful western Denmark really is. Especially the penninsula I live on. The variety of the nature, the seaside, the woods, the cities. Sometimes, no matter how far one travels and what incredible things one sees and experiences, the most striking places might lie just around the corner.