January 31, 2009

Lazy Saturday.

This last Saturday in January was cold and cloudy.
I parted with the first month of this year in the
company of a good book, a hot cup of coffee
with white chocolate (send from Ireland) and relaxed
in front of the fireplace with Batcat.
This is my kind of day.
Happy Saturday everyone.;)



video

January 30, 2009

My Signature.


This morning I was at the post office to get a package. Yes, it was the result of my recent Saturday shopping.
Usually I have to sign for the parcel. With my signature, which keeps looking more odd the older I get. It is at this point unreadable and resembles just a mix of mindless doodling, than any known letters.

I am not sure exactly at what point my handwriting started to deteriorate. As a child, I was taught to write with a neat cursive handwriting, using an ink pen, also called fountain pen. I remember dipping the pen into the inkwell to begin with, but about two years into my school start, the pens became more modern and came "ready to be used" with ink cartridges. Every note book I remember using would contain a sheet of pink blotting paper, for removing the excess ink after writing.
When I was in 7th grade, the schools introduced the modern ballpoint pen, making our writing easier and neater. No more ink smudges in our note books. And slowly the presence of blotting paper disappeared as well .

When I was thirteen years old, my parents moved to Sweden. In school I realized that the handwriting of the Swedish children was different to mine. No one wrote in cursive style. They all wrote printed style, which was certainly odd to me. However, I tried to adapt in any way I could, so my writing changed slowly as well.
Today I still print when I write. I write all the letters as capital letters, imagine that. All caps, as if I was shouting!

To date the most beautiful handwriting I have ever seen is that of my Irishman. His letters to me are my most treasured possessions. He is an artist, not just when it comes to the writing style, but he has a way with words as well.

But back to the signature. My signature looks nothing like my name. In fact, it is unreadable, even by me. I recall a memory from my childhood, today with great amusement; I used to watch my mother sign letters and prescriptions (she was a pediatrician) and I kept asking her, if she used "the grown up style" writing. Not being able to read what she wrote and seeing that her handwriting looked nothing like mine, I believed that we all learned the "grown up" handwriting when we grew up.

Well, certainly, I did learn it; or at least the unreadable signature.

January 29, 2009

Prince Bruncvík.


The tale of Bruncvík was one of my favourite ones, when I was a young girl. It had all the elements that appealed to my then naive, romantic mindset.

Bruncvík was an adventurous, passionate Prince, who left his young wife in Prague and embarked on travels of the world. He can be perceived as the Slavic Odysseus, as his journey took him away from his home for almost a decade, while he crossed exotic lands and foreign oceans. His experiences are countless and amazing, anything from surviving raging storms and being shipwrecked to fighting monsters with his magic sword, side by side of a mighty lion, who later became his life long friend and companion.

Eventually, Bruncvík returned home, filled with satisfaction, carrying unique, unbelievable memories. He won back the love of his wife, who was to marry another, believing him dead and lived happily until old age, with the lion, his friend, by his side.

The legend states, that his magic sword disappeared with him. It is believed, that it lays buried in the structure of the Charles Bridge. Once the Czech nation is in great need, St Wenceslaus will rise from the dead, draw Bruncvík's sword and summon the Knights of Blaník, to lead the Czechs to victory. This legend shows striking similarities with the famous tale of Excalibur.

I was completely enthralled by the story of Prince Bruncvík, when I became familiar with his legend after reading a book during my childhood stays in Prague. The depiction of him fueled my romantic fantasies. I often visited his statue during that time, one which to this day can be seen on the side of Charles Bridge. It depicts the young Knight with his magic, golden sword, his shield and his loyal friend, the Lion.

Even today, a visit to Prague is never complete, unless I walk down the bridge, close to sunset and gaze upon the eternally young face of Prince Bruncvík.

January 28, 2009

Just A Child.


There are always lots of campaigns and promo ads on the television encouraging us to help. To help those less fortunate. To save the environment. To help preventing animal abuse and to help protect the nature. On daily bases I feel I am bombarded with images of starving children, abused animals and environmental disasters.
I usually dislike this kind of approach. I feel it is unpleasant, often staged and perhaps emotionally exhausting at times, at least to me. I might be very wrong, but that is my perception.

Recently I caught a glimpse of such an add, or campaign, if you will. However, this one was different. It was real. Or rather, it felt real. It touched something in me, that I can not adequately describe. Unfortunately, while watching it, I was oblivious to the message and therefore, before I knew what it was all about, it was gone.
The image I saw kept returning to my mind forever. I kept thinking about it for days after. It was disturbing and touching in more ways than one, as it depicted a small child in a refugee camp. The child looked abandoned and it was struggling. What was very apparent to me most of all, was the the perception of an adult in the little body. A result of the unimaginable hardship of its every day life. One that leaves little room for toys or play or any kind of childhood; only the hard reality of a terribly disturbed present and a hopeless future. Images like these seem to put my life into quiet a different perspective.
I took me weeks to finally track down the movie clip.
I still think about it every day.

January 27, 2009

The Run Of Wild Horses.


When I was young, I was crazy about horses. I was one of those mad girls that would do anything to be able to ride. I pursued this interest with a strong passion of a young girl, one that I today miss and even envy.
It took months of persuasion until my mother allowed me to ride. As any parent, she was worried about me, but finally gave in.

We all have recollections of complete and ultimate happiness. Those moments in time, when world stands still and we are simply happy. When this emotion consumes us and overtakes us entirely. Those are rare occasions in life and can be easily counted with fingers of one hand.
Being on a horseback was one of those moments for me. The sense of freedom, the feeling of speed, the loss of control, yet simultaneously, the overwhelming feeling of being in charge of an impressive animal, were all enthralling.

Unfortunately, I only got to ride for a short period of my youth, as more important things, such as school, took over my time.
But I never forgot horses. I drew and painted them as often as I could. The essence of speed and the symbol of ultimate freedom in their motion were an incredible inspiration, which I longed to capture on canvas. I always loved when my paintings depicted movement.

Here is an example of one of those paintings, on display in my guest bedroom. I left it unframed, to accentuate the wild run of the spirited animals.

January 26, 2009

Hair.


Human hair holds so much fascination. In many cultures and during different times in history, it has been a symbol of beauty, wealth and power.

I love long hair.

I have had long hair during the most of my life. For a few years as a child, my mother used to cut it, as she herself enjoys short hair and has had short hair as long as I can remember.
Neither me nor my sister have inherited her beautiful type of hair. Thick, rich and luscious. My sister at least got a beautiful, natural chestnut brown color, however I got a color that has no definition, at least in my book.

Both my mother and her sister had gorgeous hair, judging from the few photographs that exist from their childhood. My mothers hair was straight and my aunts beautifully curly. In those times, according to my mother, washing her long hair was a nightmare. She recalls hating that so much, that as soon as she could, she cut it short. And short it has remain until today.

I find long hair attractive in both men and women. To me, nothing is more feminine nor masculine -oddly enough- than a rich mane of long hair. Maybe it has to do with my romantic inclinations. Dreaming of princes and princesses as young girl, the images would not be right unless the hair was long. Any color would do. As a teenager I was fascinated by knights and the real ones had always long hair. So did their leading ladies.

As a rule, when it comes to our bodies, we are often unhappy with what nature has bestowed upon us. I for once always longed for curly hair and often laugh at the stories my mother told me about her sister, my aunt. She hated her curls and longed for straight hair so much, she would sleep in a cap or roll a scarf around her hair in the night, in order to get it straight.
As a teenager I could briefly achieve curls by using curling irons and hair rollers. Oddly enough, when I got older, and particularly when living in the humid southeast of the US, my hair was often curly. Not very, but significantly enough for me to be pleased.

I have experimented with my hair since me teens. I have had every colour that is possible to achieve using "at home coloring kits"; even green and bright orange. I have been crying and laughing over the results of haircuts and very rarely been pleased by the outcome at the professional hair saloons.

Now my hair just grows, it is wild and free and I hardly ever trim it. And I can never ever imagine having it short. If someone would force me to cut my hair, it would bring me into an absolute panic. Just like in the clip below, taken from the movie musical "Hair", with the films title track. Directed by the Czech director Milos Forman, it is one of my favourite musicals ever.


January 25, 2009

Last Sunday Of January.


January is almost over. Named after Janus, the god of the doorway, the dreary month has only one more week left to go. I feel sorry for January, as it is hated by so many. Me included.
I am trying though, to do my best to find something good about this poor month. I am an optimist at heart and so here is a small list of positive things, to wish it good bye;

1. The days ARE getting longer, in contrast to December.
2. As the first month of the year, it offers us fresh starts and new beginnings.
3. January Sundays are perfect to sit curled up in front of the fireplace with a good book or watching movies, without bad conscious of wasting a day.
4. This month is as made for using and burning many candles.
5. The best (the long days of summer) is YET to come.

January 24, 2009

Charlie, The Friendly Neighbor Cat.


I am lucky to have really nice neighbors. Living in close proximity to four other families is not easy. But we manage to make it work.
My house is one of 5 chain-houses, positioned in a L-shape, creating a serene courtyard. The design of the buildings is very interesting, with large windows, multitude of levels, airy spaces and spectacular views. Built according to an extraordinary design, it attracts extraordinary people as well.
My neighbors are all animal loves, which means that Batcat has neighbors too. There are several cats in the neighborhood and one of them is Charlie, who stopped by today.
Charlie is a beautiful Norwegian Forest Cat and an outdoor cat as well. Batcat is not. As I live in close proximity to a major road, I decided to keep him inside, which suits both of us just fine.
Today Charlie came for his familiar daily visit. He will usually sit in front of the back or the main door and stare in. My cat will then stare back and they will sit giving each other long stares for quite a while.

January 23, 2009

Hot Chocolate.


Hot chocolate is the "Drink of Gods". That is what the lovely BPG calls a version of it in one of her posts (and I absolute agree with her), where she shares a delicious recipe. I have completely forgotten about that wonderful beverage this winter season. And today is a day as if made for a cup of hot, creamy, wonderfully scented chocolate, to be enjoyed at home in front of the fireplace.

I woke up to a very windy and dark morning. Honestly, it was on of those mornings when I do have a dialogue in my head with myself; one part is persuading me to finally get out of bed, the other is saying it is inhuman to be dragged out of bed and I should just call in sick.;) Well the first part always wins eventually.;)

While driving to work, I was contemplating whether it will even get light today. The ocean, that I pass on my way, was raging. It was a magnificent sight; the waves were crushing against the shore violently, the color of the water was a mix of dark green and grey. The white foam made the ocean look wild and free, while the sky was very low and thick with clouds the colour of ashes. The wind is so strong it takes hold of everything and moves the air around and anything with it.
As this weather was truly frightening, I came to think about drinking something warm and comforting. I therefore picked up box of hot Chocolate during my usual Friday grocery shopping and made myself a cup as soon as I came to the lab.

Below is a very "overdue" quiz that I took around the holidays. I stumbled upon this quiz in December on a wonderful blog of the lovely Gal Friday. It is simply entitled "What Holiday drink are you?" and considering the outcome, I can still share it anyways.;)




You Are Hot Chocolate



Your holiday personality is generous.
The holidays are your favorite time to practice the art of giving.
You enjoy picking out presents, sharing treats, and making everyone's day a little brighter.
And you don't even notice if you don't get anything in return.

January 22, 2009

A Picture Tag.


The wonderful, hip, stylish and cool Valentine has at this point realized that I love tags and she has tagged me again this past weekend.
Wonderful Valentine, please keep at it.;)
It is a picture tag and I love those.




For those of you who feel like being tagged by me, please feel free to play along.;)
The rules are simple;

Post the 4th picture in your 4th folder and explain it, plus tag 4 people to do the same.

I have already posted my 4th of the 4th and even 5th of the 5th. But considering this was a while ago, my picture folder content has somewhat changed and so 4th of 4th is now a different photo all together:



Very appropriately, the folder is labeled "January 2006" and was taken almost exactly 3 years ago, when we got hit by a very bad ice-storm. It was so bad, that the pebbled driveway in front of my house was completely fused with the tires of my car, making it impossible for me to drive to work or anywhere, for that matter. I recall the eerie silence, as most people were confined to their homes and there were no cars on the nearby road. One could only hear the chimes of the ice-covered branches as they were moved by the very weak wind. However, it made for some amazing pictures.

The winter of 2006 was one of the most icy and snowy that I can recall from my years living in Denmark. Even in March, the landscape was still covered in deep snow. That year, long into the spring, one could find ice in places with permafrost.

January 21, 2009

Miracle Landings.


The other day I took a little quiz which listed fearless as "my word". Well, I am definitely NOT fearless when it comes to one specific subject; PLANES.

I have suffered from fear of flying pretty much after my first flight ever, which I took with my family, when I was sixteen. As a young woman I did fly, even though I was terrified. Each plane trip meant terrible feelings of anxiety and anticipation of certain death during the weeks ahead of the flight. I will not bore you with the possible reasons behind my aerophobia. Let say it is a combination of claustrophobia, fear of a loss of control and problems I at one point experienced in my personal life.
In any case, over the years, this fear progressed and it was not made any easier by the media. Every time an accident occurred, the news channels were full of dramatic pictures and lengthy, hour long broadcasting and reports depicting and dissecting the tragedy.
Therefore at one point I stopped flying all together.

In recent years though, I have started to entertain the thought of boarding a plane again. I guess mostly due to the fact that I still like to travel. I like to see and experience countries, which I can only visit if I fly.
And it helps a great deal, when miracle "accident" landings do indeed happen, like the one involving a US Airways flight last Thursday, when it ditched successfully into the Hudson river, with zero fatalities. And miracle is the correct term, may I add.

In Danish press, this incident has brought focus back on one similar occurrence, which happened on December 27th in 1991, involving an SAS plane. The Danish captain Stefan G. Rasmussen experienced problems with the planes engines immediately after take off from Stockholm Airport, Arlanda. Within minutes both engines stopped and he managed miraculously to land the plane, by gliding it over treetops and putting it down in a snowy landscape. Although the plane broke up, all the passengers survived. This incident is known as the Gottröra crash, and sometimes it is also called "The Gottröra Miracle".

Mr. Rasmussen later wrote a book about this experience.
He never flew again.

January 20, 2009

Meteorite.

Considering it is the a year of Astronomy, I find it quiet amusing that apparently a meteorite crashed into the Baltic Sea this past Saturday evening, about 300km (190 miles) southeast of where I live. The falling celestial object was seen by many witnesses, as it burned up on it's way through the atmosphere. Even video footage exists of this event, as the one below, taken in Southern Sweden.

January 19, 2009

"I like Chopin".

Music is important to me. It always was and always will be. I love the way my body reacts, making the hair on the back of my neck raise, when I hear a melody that is just right. When either the music is composed in a way that appeals to me, or when the lyrics reflect the state of my mind.

My radio is always on. There is music in my house at all times, except when I sleep.
When I was young, there was no internet and no iTunes. No mp3s. Any music we wanted to own, we had to purchase by buying a full LP. Or a single. Remember the vinyls?
Of course that was not possible, as in no way could I afford that. But then there were the cassette tapes. We could always tape the music we liked from the radio. I remember owning a small radio with a tape recorder, together with my sister. We would constantly fight over it. In the end we developed a schedule, where we would alternate using it every other week - she had it one week and me the other. Particularly weekends were important. The radio stations would be broadcasting charts and top 20, or top 50 pop music countdowns. And we would be ready with our empty tapes to capture our favorite tunes.

Yesterday, after not sleeping much during the night, I experienced a wave of nostalgia and decided to play a bunch of my 20+ year old tapes all over again. It was indeed a bit bittersweet to listen to the ancient, dusty tapes, which were filled with static, songs cut into by the talk of the DJs and sound of utterly poor quality. But exactly these faults made the whole experience magical. Some of the recordings originated from "Radio Luxembourg", a popular European radio station, that unfortunately stopped broadcasting in the early 90's, when the television, internet and the videos took away the allure of the radio. It was a truly melancholic moment for me, sitting there among the old tapes, realizing that a part of my life is forever gone.

Below is a typical Italo-pop tune that used to drive both me and my sister crazy. We loved it and played it over and over. Titled "I like Chopin", performed by Italian Gazebo, it is a typical 80's track (1983).
Watching it, is for me a deliciously lovely walk down my "musical" past.

January 18, 2009

Insomnia.

Yesterday I could not sleep at all. I was tossing and turning in my bed, while the rain was pounding at the window pane. The bed was too big and too empty, I felt alone and anxious and my heart was racing. I felt like I was ready to run a marathon.

I hate when this happens. When nights are long and dark and when “stuff” enters my head. Yes, those sleepless nights when I start thinking about “stuff”. You know, things I am afraid off (yes, I am NOT fearless), unresolved issues in my life, either personal or professional. Memory takes me back into the past, I analyze over and over my decisions and interactions with people, situations that did not go as I expected. I think about events ahead of me that I dread and that which awaits me in the future. Especially the unexpected. And I keep reevaluating my present, try to see it clearly, worry about it, wondering if there is anything I am badly misunderstanding and misinterpreting.
I have no idea why everything seems so depressive in the night. In the dark. Unsolvable, hopeless and scary. And no matter how I try not to pursue certain issues, they seem to only grow in importance until I feel, I am in a total panic.

In my life there are things and subjects, abstract and living, that I cherish, which I adore and I love. I worry about them as they are perfect and I never want them to go away. But I know that life has a way of taking that what we love most of all away from us. And at times this worry comes to full light in the dark of the night.

It is odd, as I never was this way when I was young. I slept like a log. From the time I went to bed till the morning. Nothing bothered me. What ever was to happen I was going to deal with it. And I always did. Sometimes I miss that carefree youth.

Ultimately I try to recall the way I was and be that way again. As Life is too precious to waste away on worries. Although things can change from one day to another, from one second to the next, there is also something that is constant.
The sun will always rise again and I will get another chance to get it right.
Or at least to try.

January 17, 2009

Saturday Shopping.


I like to shop. No, let me rephrase that, I LOVE to shop. I think all, or at least most girls, do. And women as well. They say, it comes from our past. The cave men were hunters and the cave women were gatherers. We gathered things. And that is exactly what we do today. I have female friends who enjoy walking around stores, not actually buying anything. Just looking. Turning everything around, trying things out. Walking from shop to shop comparing prices. This of course highly annoys their male companions and husbands. Men do not understand this kind of shopping. Well, we women do take their time. At least most of us do.

There is also the other kind of female shoppers, a category where I belong. I know what I want and when I see it, I buy it. My problem is that I tend to like A LOT of items. Clothes, perfumes, makeup, shoes, candle holders, small ornaments, decorations, you name it.;) I always seem to need more.
In recent years, I do no longer enjoy visiting stores and malls. They are overcrowded and I find the items too expensive. Furthermore, I rarely have the time or energy to be wandering for hours around the stores, like I used to when I was younger. No, today the best is to sit comfortably in front of my computer visiting online stores. I have a few favorite ones; anything from fashion to cosmetics, even decorations. I love browsing through their merchandise, sometimes for hours, while deciding what to purchase. And I love the feelings of expectation during the days while waiting for my packages to arrive.

The online stores have made my shopping so much easier and enjoyable. Last week I received all the new catalogs with the spring and summer fashions. It is so tempting to order new clothes around this time. Especially as the weather outside is so dark and gloomy. Today was therefore a perfect day to stroll around my favourite cyberspace shops. I really do enjoy sitting in front of my computer, in the comfort of my own home, with a cup of coffee while I shop-til-I-drop.;))
I do not think I have developed an addiction yet, but I do try to think things over a few times before I click the “buy” button .;)

January 16, 2009

"Horns Rev".


Outside the west coast of the Danish peninsula where I reside, lies "Horns Rev", one of the worlds largest off shore wind farms in the world. Completed in 2002, it consist of 80 wind turbines and is owned by Vattenfall. Although I have never seen it myself, I believe it to be an incredible sight.

Denmark is famous for it's windmills and the wind power produces about 20% of the country's electricity. In fact, the windmills are literally everywhere. On a clear day, I can see them lining up in the horizon when I look out of my living room window. Initially, they were considered ugly and a nuisance, destroying the appearance and the beauty of the landscape. However, today they are an integrated part of the country. In fact, Vestas, the largest wind turbine manufacturer in the world is located in Denmark.

The windmills here have even inspired the French composer of New Age synthpop, Jean Michel Jarre. In 2002, he performed a concert called "Aero - Tribute To The Wind" at a wind farm called Gammel Vrå Enge, located just outside Aalborg in Denmark, to an audience of approximately 50,000 people. His concerts are well known for their spectacular settings and unbelievable light shows.

The below photograph, taken by one of my friends on this day, is a clear testament to the fact that even large, modern, steel windmills can be alluring.

January 15, 2009

"Fearless".

I took a little quiz over at "Blogthings" recently. It is entitled;
"What is your word?"

I am quiet amazed by the result; as quiet frankly, fearless and my name has never ever before been used in the same sentence.;))





Your Word is "Fearless"



You see life as your one chance to experience everything, and you just go for it!

You believe the biggest risk is being afraid and missing out on something amazing.

Sometimes your fearlessness means you're daring. You enjoy risky activities.

And sometimes your fearlessness means you're courageous. You're brave enough to do the right thing, even when it's scary.

January 14, 2009

If You Love Someone...


Love is such a difficult subject to discuss, as love is not just irrational and illogical at times, but also very relative. A subject with so many variations and meanings, so very individual, it is difficult to describe adequately. There are many kinds of love; one we feel towards our parents and our children, or the way we feel about good friends and siblings. And of course then there is the romantic love. Yet, love is universal and connects us all, it inspires great artist, writers and talented musicians.

I am sure everyone is familiar with this famous love quote:

"If you love someone, set them free.
If they come back, they're yours;
if they don't, they never were."


I have tried to find the primary source of these words, however it seems to be unknown. There are a few variations of this quote and two authors have been accredited to be the originators of this citation; Richard Bach and Khalil Gibran.

I was very young when I heard this being mentioned for the first time and remember immediately finding a true significance in this sentence. I longed to be free in my youthful nature, when it came to love. I wanted to feel pursued at all times, or the love was not real; hence the object of my affection, that did not quest for me over all in the world was to weak and the love was not meant to be mine.
Most possibly at that time, I have yet not truly loved. Getting older however, this quote has become more difficult for me to understand and to appreciate, as it seems to idealistic and to unreal to be adapted to real life. When we love, even though love can be a consuming emotion at times, all we want is to have the ones we love near us. This applies to any kind of love. We want to cherish and be cherished. The affection of the one makes us better, our lives become richer and their presence makes us stronger. Loving someone means the least of all telling him or her to go away.

Of course, I am fully aware of the fact, that the quote basically warns of destructive and possessive love. One that ignites jalousie, one that confines us, that is uncontrollable, overpowering and impeding. Most of all, the unreciprocated love. However, to me that is not love at all; perhaps an obsession at the best. True Love is unconditional, it is a Love that is returned with the same token it is given and that sets us free on its own.

In my adult life I have found other love quotes, that I feel more appropriately describes my sentiments about love today.

These are the two favourite ones:

“It is impossible to fall out of love. Love is such a powerful emotion, that once it envelops you it does not depart. True love is eternal. If you think that you were once in love, but fell out of it, then it wasn't love you were in. There are no 'exit' signs in love, there is only an 'on' ramp.”
Unknown

"If you love someone, the greatest gift you can give them is your presence."
Thich Nhat Hanh



Finally, if I may be so bold, I would like to add my own variation of the famous love quote, which I believe is more factual, at least in my own life:

"If you love someone,
make sure your love sets them free
and if they truly love you,
they will stay with you forever."

January 13, 2009

Cats Are The Masters Of Relaxation.

I do not have to say much, as the pictures of Batcat below, taken this weekend while he was relaxing in front of the fireplace, speak louder than words. The best thing about having a cat, besides many years of companionship and lot of cuddliness, is the way they are able to relax. It is highly contagious. When they relax, you simply HAVE to as well. Nothing is more soothing than watching the felines being totally indifferent to the world.
Owning a cat is the best therapy against stress.;))





January 12, 2009

Impatient Flowers.


When I moved into my white house on the hill, my parents introduced me to gardening. Until then, I was not that much interested in it. But that has all changed within the last 5 years and now I love to plant things and watch my plants thrive and grow. I never met the previous owners of my house, as the house was being sold by their lawyer. I do not know what kind of people they were, but I know one thing for sure; they did not tended much to the piece of land that came with the house. It was terribly neglected and bare. It is not a big land, only a long, wide tiled terrace lined by a hedge, with a few flowerbeds here and there. Not much work is required to make it lovely, no mowing of the lawn necessary, just tending to the bushes and my many flowers and plants in pots.

The first autumn I planted many tulip bulbs and crocus corms (type of bulbs), plus an array of hyacinth bulbs all over the place, anywhere I could, in many different colours. It is a true feast for the eye in spring, when all these plants bloom as the first flowers of the season, sometimes even through the last snow in March. However, in recent years, the crocus plants start sprouting already in January. I am doing all I can, short of pushing the sprouting stalks back, to prevent them from growing. This year I covered them with plenty of fall leaves, tree bark and even pine branches. However, I seem to have forgotten two spots, close to the fence, next to the foot of the climbing plants of Clematis. There the impatient flower stalks are clearly visible, as seen on the pictures taken a few days ago.
Even though spring is still light years away, I like these small signs telling me that the progress has already started.;)

January 11, 2009

Strictly Ballroom.


To me, there is nothing more sensual, passionate and evocative than a couple dancing. Nowhere is this more lovelier depicted than in one of my favorite movies, "Strictly Ballroom", which I watched again today. It is one of those movies, where every scene leaves me almost breathless. A modern take on Cinderella story, it is very romantic and at times fairytale like. Nevertheless, the point of the whole movie is summarized by one very poignant sentence, which is brought up several times through out the plot: "Life lived in fear is a life half lived".

Below is the most sensual dancing clip from the movie, in my opinion. However, it is much better enjoyed in the right context of the movie itself.
Watching this and the absolutely final dance scene still brings shivers down my spine.

January 10, 2009

Cool Meteorologist And Cute Cat.

The clip below is from a recent weather forecast on the German channel ARD.
Suddenly, in the middle of the forecast, a cat owned by one of the employees wandered into the studio. The popular TV-meteorologist, Jörg Kachelmann, kept his cool and picked the cat up without hesitation. He completed the forecast with the cat in his arms, without any apparent problems. He even finished by adding jokingly, that he hopes the cat has a heavy winter coat to endure the coming cold nights. The cat seemed to have utterly enjoyed the attention of the host and (quiet indifferently) those almost 2 minutes of fame.

January 09, 2009

Tagged by Valentine.


A while ago I was tagged by the very cool Valentine to list 6 unimportant things about me. I like this tag, as unimportant seems so much more intriguing, than important.

1. I have a very bohemian style in fashion, jewelry and makeup.
It is true, my style can be described as a mix of hippie chic and vintage retro. I do not look like a scientist at all.;) I wear big earrings, lots of bracelets, multicolored clothes in flowery fabrics with wide, flaring sleeves and I love heavy eye-make up (it has been pointed out to me that "less is more" on many occasions, but I ignore that completely).

2. I can only fall asleep lying on my right side on the right side of the bed.
I like to fall asleep lying on my side. On the right side that is. I have heard somewhere that one should not sleep lying on the left side, as it will squeeze the heart. It is most likely untrue, but it really feels uncomfortable for me if I do.

3. I eat faster than most men.
I have this ability of consuming food at an incredible speed. This usually surprises everyone (mostly men), as I do not look it. Sometimes when invited to fancy dinners, I have to consciously over-chew my food, or I will be the first one finished at the table. And eating fast in Scandinavia is considered to be VERY rude. My whole family eats fast, so I never knew about this until after I moved away from home.

4. I love to use candlelight instead of electric light.
Many of my guests think I keep my house too dark as in the winter I use almost exclusively only candles as a light source. Well, at least I am saving on the electric bill.

5. I disconnect electrical appliances from the outlets when not using them.
Everyone finds me a bit weird in this respect, that I have a disorder related to checking the house forever before leaving. I check the stove, the computer, the windows, if the door is locked - everything several times. I even return to check the door again. I also talk to myself when doing this; in fact this how my cat knows I am leaving and follows me to the door.;) Additionally I disconnect appliances such as the toaster and the coffee machine from the outlets. I would even disconnect the stove and the refrigerator, and the TV and DVD recorder, if that would be possible. I have been teased for this numerous times.

6. I used to remember the faces of strangers.
I say used to, as it is slowly going away with age. When I was younger, I would remember any face that I have seen, even if only briefly. I could place people pretty accurately to certain times and location, to their big surprises, as most of them seemingly did not remember me, if we met again.
That used to irritate me quiet a lot, as I always preferred, somewhat egoistically, if people could remember their encounter with me.

January 08, 2009

International Year Of Astronomy.


2009 has been selected as the international year of Astronomy. Partly due to the fact that it is 400 years ago (1609) since Galileo gazed at the night skies through the first, primitive telescope, making significant observations.

To the scientist in me this is an intriguing prospect, appreciating the fact that a man in my distant past was driven by the knowledge for the unknown. I like the thought of the existence of such men or women, who dedicate their lives to be different, in order to move the frontiers of science, even if it is ever so slightly.
The skies, the stars and the cosmos have always intrigued me. The mystery of our past and our place in the universe is ultimately an enigma. The never-ending questions of whether we are alone or not. Where do we come from and why are we here?

Sometimes I like to look at the big picture. I have heard that many astronauts change their view of the Earth and their own lives on it, once they have been in space. Seeing it from such a distance, they claim to undergo an almost spiritual experience. They see this small, beautifully coloured object in the jet black sky, realizing suddenly their own – and all ours - insignificance, forgetting all about the drawn borders, conflicts and differences. They see Earth, the whole planet, as their home.

And we might be alone. Or at least separated from other intelligent life through such vast distances, we truly can just as well say we are alone. Not to mention that other intelligent life might look nothing like us. This notion should be significant enough for us to try to appreciate that, which connects us all, not focusing one what makes us different. I often think about this and other subjects, such as the Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11 spacecrafts, which are hurdling through the space as we speak. They are the longest travelled, man-made object ever; carrying information about us, engraved in plaques and disks. One of them is just about to leave our solar system. Pioneer 10 is destined for the star Aldebaran, which it will reach in 2 million years.

I have received another gift from - you know who, right? It is filled with wonderful pictures of space and our planet, one picture for each day of the year. I will try to post the most alluring ones here, during the course of the this year, "the year of Astronomy".

January 07, 2009

Happy Pink Feet.


This was a Christmas gift from the Irishman and I simply had to post a picture of my new slippers.;) They are HUGE and VERY pink.
I look indeed dashing when I wear these around the house. They must be either female Hobbit feet or very fancy pink Ogre-girl feet. But, I do love them to bits, as they are so cozy and warm. Of course, it took a few days for Batcat (the cat) to get comfortable around them, but by now he and the "pink feet" have become best buddies. That after the terror of the initial encounter has passed.

January 06, 2009

January, The First Month.


I have to admit, that almost as soon as the clock strikes midnight on New Years Eve, I am ready for spring. I know this sounds utterly insane, as January is only the second month of winter. And here in Denmark the winter is just beginning. As seen on the pictures, we have received our first snow and the temperatures have been below freezing for the last 3 days.
January is indeed a somewhat strange month. An anticlimax to December, when every trace of Christmas is suddenly gone and all we are left with is a big hole in our pocket and in our mood as well. In my case, additionally a very dark, long and cold season is waiting ahead. To be honest, I do not like January. I dislike it very much in fact. And this year is no exception. Moreover, the house is so empty after my Irish visitor has left and it is difficult to be back at work after two weeks of vacation. I guess I am not alone in my melancholy, as several days in January have been appointed by scientist to be the worst days of the year.

We have a saying in Sweden, which goes something like this: April, June, September and November have 30 days. The other moths in the year have 31, with the exception of January and February, which have 60 days each. It is indeed true and these are the never ending months in Scandinavia.

However, my optimistic nature doesn’t allow me to be in a bad mood for too long. Not to forget, today is actually still a Holiday connected to Christmas, even though it actually puts an absolute end to Christmas Holidays. So-called Epiphany is celebrated in parts of Europe, commemorating the visitation of the Biblical Magi to the child Jesus. This is the last day of the Twelve Days of Christmas.

And the best thing of all; here in my part of Scandinavia the day has by now become 17 minutes longer since the Winter Solstice.