March 31, 2009

Falling Asleep In Strange Places.

Last week an interesting article was published in the newspapers here in Denmark. It seems that Danes are chronically tired.
A survey that was made for Hotels.com, used the answers of 1667 Danes, investigating their sleeping habits. Apparently, stress has affected their sleeping pattern and today they get about one hour less sleep on average than 100 years ago. This effects not just their professional and personal life, but also can be a contributing factor to work place accidents and traffic accidents. Furthermore, the sleep deprivation extends over all ages, meaning that students in schools suffer from lack of sleep as well.
All this results in the fact that Danes fall asleep in places and in situations, where they really should stay awake.

So, what are the top 6 odd places that the Danes fall asleep at?

1) 19% at lectures in schools or universities.
2) 17% in the cinema.
3) 15% in meeting at a workplace.
4) 12% while sitting on a toilet.
5) 12% while on a buss or train, while commuting to and from school or work.
6) 5% while attending church.


I have to admit, that I too have fallen asleep in all the places mention above, except the toilet.;)
The most difficult place to keep awake at is definitely meetings and lectures, they are like sleeping pills for me.
I have additionally also fallen asleep at parties, while lying at a pool or on a beach. Once I fell asleep on the buss while on the way to work and missed my stop. That was a bit embarrassing.

March 30, 2009

"Monday Child".

There is a wave of a music style, that has been successful in the last few years. I guess, it was initiated by the mellow, soulful, unique voice of Amy Winehouse.

Since then, many other female artist have been enjoying success with a musical "retro" sound that reminds me of the bygone eras, such as Duffy.

Even Sweden has its own cool blond, with Italian roots, whose soft voice has brought her acknowledgment and numerous awards.
Her most famous hit is the "Monday Child" (in Swedish: Måndagsbarn).
I love the sound of the Swedish language that comes to its full potential in this little piece performed by the very young Veronica Maggio.

March 29, 2009

Daylight Saving Time.

This night, we lost an hour. Or I guess, we payed back the extra hour we got to borrow back in October. Europe officially went back to daylight saving time.

In some way, I dislike the fact that my Sunday, my wonderful laid back Sunday is suddenly one hour shorter. Already my morning is effected; as soon as I open my eyes and look at the time, I realize that the time is all wrong, as in reality it is already one hour later. And I have gotten one hour less sleep. This means I will get tired one hour later this evening than I should and on Monday morning, my internal clock will be one hour delayed and it will be such an effort to get up.

But, there is also one positive aspect about this switch. It means that winter is officially over and spring has began for real. Commonly termed as "summertime", it indicates that we have just entered the best time of the year.

Below are pictures taken earlier this week, when we got the last snow of this season. Even though the snowfall became heavy at one point, the sun was strong enough to wipe out any trace of it within a few hours.

Winter has officially departed.

March 28, 2009

The Earth Hour.

Today, at 8:30PM I am turning of the light and will enjoy the darkness, or I guess, semidarkness, for 60 minutes. This in order to join the Earth Hour movement. One billion people, 3000 cities, 84 countries are joining in one of the biggest global campaigns ever. In only 3 years, it has grown to unite the world and has managed effectively to raise the consciousness of ordinary people, concerning our environment. A small way to contribute, yet so very profound and effective.

Here in Denmark in this short period of time “Earth Hour” has become one of the most publicized events on this day in March. Restaurants, bars, hotels and numerous companies and firms are all taking part in this universal movement that stretches from London to Beijing, from New York to Cape Town. Like a chain reaction, starting in Australia, it spreads all over the world, from the east across to the west.

I love the sentiment behind this more than I can ever adequately describe in words. I like the feeling of being part of something this immense and extraordinary, where participation is so simple and effortless, yet so very poignant. To turn of the artificial light for 60 minutes, while lighting the candles and enjoying an hour of solitude and reflection appeals to me in more ways than one.

March 27, 2009

My Kind Of Happy.


Today is Friday, my favorite day of the week. Everything feels easier, even the getting up in the morning. Fridays are like sneak previews of the weekend ahead. Well, to me, they are actually the beginning of the weekend.
My mood is usually very optimistic and I feel happy. Or excited, as the little quiz at the infamous blogthings tells me.;)
Happy Friday!




You Are Excited



You are vibrant and lively. You bring passion to everything that you do.
You are very animated and energetic. People find you dazzling and charming.

Beyond being happy, you are optimistic and enthusiastic.
There's so much life to live, and you're eager to experience so much!

March 26, 2009

Post-It.

I have often wondered what it feels like to make a discovery that is so successful, it will revolutionize the world. As I work in a laboratory, I have been involved in a few patents, but from a patent to a ready made successful product is a very long way.

Often the best inventions are mistakes, something that was not meant to be. Experiments yield the unexpected results, but because someone with imagination and an inclination to see what others failed to see is present, ground breaking discoveries take place.

Such is the tale of the penicillin discovery by the Scottish scientist Alexander Fleming in 1928. He left a petridish opened by accident, and when he later found it with mould growing all over the agar, instead of discarding it, he noticed that the mould caused an inhibition of the bacteria growth. And the rest is history.

Or what about the post-it notes? At this point, there will be very few people in the world that have not heard of post-it; one of the most successful inventions to date and example of a created demand for a product. I definitely cannot imagine my life without these little "stick on notes". I use them all the time, everywhere. They are so practical and easy. The history of the post it is a mixture of a discovery of a (at that time) pointless adhesive and a need. Dr. Spencer Silver accidentally invented the adhesive in the 50's, while an employee at 3M. However, at the time of the invention, there was no apparent use for this weak glue and so the formula ended up in the company vault. There it was until the 70's, when Art Fry, another company employee needed to bookmark pages of a book without damaging them. He experimented with this long forgotten and discarded formula and ended up with a product that is today essentially used worldwide.

March 25, 2009

The Touch.

I have in the past extensively described how much music means to me. How essential it is with the sound of a melody, in order to make me relax or to just have my thoughts wander in time, initiating a cascade of memories streaming back.

Likewise, there is something very comforting when hearing that someones familiar voice, a sound like no other, to sooth ones soul. Or the laughter of children, the play of a water stream, the singing of birds; it is all so vital to us.

As is the ability to scent familiar scents, whether they are natural or man-made elixirs, that bring on pleasure and relaxation, taking us back in time to places and people we once knew.

The other day I thought about the magic of a touch.

I know first hand how it is to experience lack of it on daily bases. Having a long distance relationship, I feel the absence of someone dear to me constantly. Occasionally, it can bring on emotions of sadness and melancholy and I can only find comfort in the notion, that I am not alone in this situation. I often think of the wives and girlfriends of soldiers or sailors, that are forced to be without their loved ones for weeks, months, perhaps years at a time. Additionally, some of these women live with a fear I can not even fathom.
Despite it all, my predicament is nowhere that extreme.

So what is in the human touch we so need and crave? It can mean so many things, depending on the circumstances; evoking feelings of intimacy, love, affection, care, compassion, comfort, safety, companionship or friendship, aiding in relaxation or pleasure. Proven even scientifically, the touch is absolutely vital to us. Humans already from infancy need to be held and cradled to develop into healthy adults. There is nothing more comforting to a child, than a mothers embrace. To feel the arms of someone we trust around us gives us a feeling of security and safety.

But of course, there is so much more in the touch. Already as children we use our hands to explore the world around us. How could we even live, if our fingers could not explore the texture of the objects we see? The softness of fabrics, the coolness of water, the caress of the wind, the warmth of a sandy beach. We use our hands all the time, almost in every task in our days to interact with other living things as well as our environment.

The loss and the lack of touch must be as devastating, as the loss of any other of the senses.

Here is my personal list of what appeals to the sense of my touch the most:

1) Clean sheets.
The scent and the texture of clean sheets is incredibly satisfying. Especially if the laundry has been dried in the sun - this combination is unique.

2) Warm sand.
I love the ocean and the beach - I love to feel the warm sand between my toes and through my fingers, while watching the ocean and feeling the sun on my skin. A plethora of impressions to satisfy almost all my senses, nevertheless the touch.

3) Fresh soil.
I have listed this previously as my favourite scent, but the texture of fresh soil is my favorite as well; I often start using gloves when gardening and in the end just discard them while I plant my flowers. The richness of the soil between my fingers makes me feel as close to nature as I can be.

4) The fur of my cat.
I love to stroke him, when he is completely relaxed, lying in my lap. Many articles are published on this subject; apparently stroking our pets have vital benefits on our overall health and extend our lifespan.

March 24, 2009

Traffic Lights.

I drive to work every day. Most of the time I enjoy my drive, as it takes me through some beautiful parts of the city and also along the seaside. The duration of the drive varies anywhere between 10 minutes, when the traffic is light, up to 25 minutes if I am unlucky and need to drive during the rush hour.
As I am not forced to be in the lab at a given hour, I rarely feel pressed for time when I drive. However, my stress level rises occasionally, if I meet bad drives or encounter a "red wave" at the traffic lights.

Traffic lights are a somewhat strange construction, a necessity that keeps the traffic flowing, however, they also adequately know how to ruin our day. Or at least our drive. Sometimes, if I miss one green light, the rest of the traffic lights on my way will be red. Of course, it can be the other way around as well, when I hit the "green wave", which unfortunately happens very rarely and usually when I need it the least. Then there are the always red ones. No matter when I arrive, they always turn red, making me turn red in return.

I stumbled upon this amusing clip, showing a somewhat organized traffic chaos at an intersection somewhere in the world. One that would benefit strongly from having a traffic light installed.

March 23, 2009

History In Print.

This weekend I was going through some old boxes in my basement and I stumbled upon an array of items I have not seen for many years. Some of the items originated in my childhood, even back in the time when I lived in the former East block. I love this bittersweet remembrance of times long gone.







Among old drawings and some toys I also found old Swedish newspaper clippings. I guess as a young teenager I liked to save articles that interested me at that time. Such was the story of Charles and Diana’s royal wedding, printed the day after the ceremony on the 30th of July 1981.

Or the article describing the preparation for the first launch of the space shuttle in the December 1980. The newspaper states that it is to be launched on the 11th of March 1981, when in fact it was launched first on the 12th of April the same year.
Both of these events were highly publicized and I recall that we were even allowed to go home from school to watch the Columbia lift off. It is in some way amusing to contemplate the fact that once these were events that were happening in my present, while now they are history.

My more recent possessions of value in print are my three ELLE magazines from 1992. They are probably not worth anything to anyone, except are of sentimental value to me. It was my first year in the US and I finally made enough money to be able to afford a yearly subscription. This was in the time when supermodels still graced the covers, instead of actors and stars of reality shows. Come to think of it, it does feel like ancient history.

March 22, 2009

My Garden In Early Spring.

Spring has arrived and my garden is slowly waking up. The bushes have visible buds and all the spring bulbs are flowering, with exception of daffodils, which will bloom most likely in a couple of weeks, just in time for Easter. In fact, the Danish name for daffodil in translation is "Easter Lily".

The crocuses are now reaching their peak, in a week they might all be gone. They love the sun and on a clear day their crowns will open, bursting into brilliant yellow and purple. In fact, crocuses here are lining the roads and make up for a carpet of colours to be enjoyed on my drive to work.

The herb garden is still very barren, but I can see green sprouting here and there. The clematis that I cut down in February has buds. So does the rose, which displays small pink leaves.
Insect are slowly waking up too, such as the lady bug in the picture above, soaking up the sun while resting among the spring flowers.

Unfortunately, weather this far up north is still very unpredictable in March. Even though days full of warmth and sun have arrived, the possibility of a late winter storm is still lurking. Unbelievable, but true. It can snow as late as April and therefore, spring is at this very early stage highly unstable.

Today was a wonderful sunny day, but it was very windy. The wind was howling through my windows and even though the sky was blue, the air was still very cold.
A wonderful day to stay in, looking out. Amazingly, I woke up early , almost with the raising sun. This was one of those quiet mornings that I thoroughly enjoy. The rare mornings, when the rest of the world is still fast asleep. I enjoyed it while baking rye rolls and watching the world come alive with hot cup of steamy coffee.
I love these lazy Sundays.

March 21, 2009

Sky On Fire.

I am completely and utterly mesmerized by nature. It never ceases to amaze me; with its wondrous and breathtaking visions and the way it masterminds itself. At times I feel oppressed by the city life with all its problems, stressful days, time restriction and lack of space and freedom. One of my daydreams is to leave it behind and live out in the country, tending to a piece of land, far away from the busy crowds of the metropolis.

Of course this will remain a daydream and I am fully aware of it.

Still, at least I have my own private escape, which the evening sky offers me, almost every day in the spring all across the summer and long into the autumn.

The magnificent sunsets.

The clear, sunny days end with evenings full of spectacular celestial shows, taking place just outside my windows. Every time I watch these, my sentiments about nature being the greatest artist and the most talented painter are reinforced.


Sunset on 20th of March, 2009




March 20, 2009

Spring Equinox.

This week has been weather-wise the most beautiful week I can remember for a really very long time. Today is spring equinox, meaning the day has caught up with the night and they are both equally long. This is also considered the first true spring day.

Considering that I have made progress in my work and the fact that the weather has turned, I decided to take a "mental health day", as I used to call them while living in the US. "A day off" to sooth my mind and soul. So today has been my kind of Friday.

What does such a day look like?

I slept long and enjoyed a good cup of coffee while reading the newspaper.


I took a drive by the ocean.





The drive took me to the city where I took a walk.
Later I stopped by the post office to pick up a package containing long awaited summer fashion.
On the way home I went by the store to pick up my weekly groceries.

When I returned to the house, my weekly surface mail from Ireland was in the mail box, waiting for me.

And now I am off to do some gardening and to enjoy the wonderful spring weather, as in these parts of Europe one never knows how long it will last. Happy Friday everyone.;)

March 19, 2009

Leftovers.

No one in Denmark would ever ask to take the leftovers home with them, when eating out. If I asked the waiter in a restaurant for a "doggie bag", I would for sure get some strange looks.

This American custom is not implemented here, which I think, is a great shame. A shame in so many ways. Often, when we can not eat our food up, what is wrong with taking it with us home? I remember, when I lived in North Carolina, often the leftovers from an evening out would taste even better the day after. Furthermore, they would come to good use, instead of ending up in the trash. And that appeals to me even more.

A couple of weeks ago there was a debate about this on the Danish radio (and has been described in newspapers as well), where different people were asked if they would consider asking for the leftovers to take home after eating out. They all were very surprised and said no, some even thought it was quiet strange. The waiters and the owners of the restaurants on the other hand found the idea quiet pleasing. Perhaps next time I eat out here I will ask the waiter for a "doggie bag". Maybe I will start a useful trend.

March 18, 2009

Work And Play.

Sometimes I get to play in the lab as well. The young chemists know how to have fun. Recently we were creating smoke; it looked just as if we were making a magical concoction of some sort.
Please watch the video clip and try to guess what we are doing; or read the explanation below the clip;)

video

It is dry ice that has been dumped into the sink and mixed with water to create smoke. Dry ice is frozen Carbon Dioxide, or CO2, which is a gas under normal conditions. When in the "dry ice" state, it becomes extremely cold and in the laboratory it is used to transport or to "snap freeze" samples. When it mixes with water, the extreme cold causes the water vapor to condense into clouds. This was in no way dangerous as the amount of dry ice was very small; only a harmless fun to end a long day at the lab.;)

March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day.

Today it is a national holiday in Ireland, celebrating the Saint Patrick's Day.
I never knew of this celebration until my move to the US in the 90s, where this is an unofficial, but highly publicized holiday. I recall how people would be telling me to dress all in green and I had no clue why.

These days this holiday is observed to a more or lesser extend all over Europe, even outside Ireland as well. I guess often as a reason to party in the multitude of Irish pubs and bars, which are so popular all over this continent.

In the spirit of the day and considering that anything Irish is very close to my heart, here is a little something for everyone, who enjoys a perfectly poured Guinness.;)

March 16, 2009

Cloud Front.

I waited for that sun, that was promised to us, the whole weekend.
But - it never came.
It was foggy and rainy the whole Saturday and Sunday. Until Sunday evening that is. Just when the weekend was ending, the clouds were retreating, creating a clearly visible front. Typical.
Today is sunshine and warm, but that doesn't help much as I am heading back to work.
But at least my Monday is sunny.



March 15, 2009

A March Sunday In Pictures.

March 14, 2009

So Much For The Weather Forecast.

The meteorologists promised us sunshine and blue skies, instead we are getting rain and fog. But, the air is warm, the birds are singing and the rain creates a scent of spring. There clearly is no way back now, winter is retreating.

This inspired me to drive all the way to the other side of town to buy the first spring flowers to plant in my terrace pots this year. I also got 80 liters of new compost soil for my bushes, clematis and rhododendron (that was a heavy one to carry). I am therefore still keeping my hopes up for some sunshine and gardening comes tomorrow.

Today instead of being outside, I am trying to relax, in front of the fire in my fireplace, maybe the last time this season. Perhaps next weekend it will be too warm to make a fire. I love my Saturday afternoons with coffee and white chocolate, while listening to Diana Krall. Her voice is very relaxing and soothing. I am leaving you with her lovely version of Burt Bacharach's " The Look Of Love".

March 13, 2009

Friday The 13th, Again.

A month later, here we go again - yet another Friday the 13th.
As I have already described superstition behind this date extensively in my February post, today I will pay more attention to the statistics.

This year, the year of 2009, we can experience the total of three Fridays with this magic number; there is one more in store for us comes November. This is the highest number of Fridays the 13th possible in a year. The lowest amount is one, just like it was last year, in 2008 (only one in June). There is always at least one Friday the 13th in any given year and no more than three.
Next year, in 2010, again only one Friday the 13th will occur, and that will happen in August.
The next time around we will get three lucky Fridays will be in 2012 and these will occur in January, April and July.
The same sequence as this year (February, March, November) will happen in 2015.

There is a particular sequence of how Fridays the 13th are distributed and this sequence repeats every 28 years:

2001 April, July
2002 September, December
2003 June
2004 February, August
2005 May
2006 January, October
2007 April, July
2008 June
2009 February, March, November
2010 August
2011 May
2012 January, April, July
2013 September, December
2014 June
2015 February, March, November
2016 May
2017 January, October
2018 April, July
2019 September, December
2020 March, November
2021 August
2022 May
2023 January, October
2024 September, December
2025 June
2026 February, March, November
2027 August
2028 October


The longest period of time possible without a Friday the 13th is 14 months. Interestingly, statistically the date of the 13th occurs more often on a Friday than any other day of the week, tightly followed by a Sunday and a Wednesday (as a tie).

Famous people born on Friday the 13th:

Samuel Beckett (13th of April 1906)
Margaret Thatcher (13th of October 1923)
Fidel Castro (13th of August 1926)
Steve Buscemi (13th December 1957)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (13th of January 1961)
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olson (13th of June 1986)
Marco Andretti (13th of March 1987)


The Uruguayan rugby team’s plane crashed in the Andes mountain range on Friday, 13 October, 1972.
Last month, one of our students flew to London on Friday the 13th and there was a problem with the plane; after taxing away and preparing for the take off on the runway, the pilot announced that one of the engines would not start and the plane had to return to the gate.
Yikes.
The student told me he truly contemplated (for the first time ever in his life) to ask to be allowed to leave the plane. But eventually he found comfort in the notion that the pilots and the ground crew must know what they are doing.
After 40 minutes the engine was repaired and they took off without problems.;)

March 12, 2009

"Seize The Day."

When I was growing up in Sweden, as a young teenager, both I and my sister were devoted Dick Turpin fans. I have no idea if anyone else remembers this hero, who appeared in a British television drama series, that was send every Saturday morning (in Sweden) in the early 80's. The handsome Richard O'Sullivan starred as an adventurous "highwayman", who spend his time traveling on horseback, robbing people; well mostly the rich I assume.
It was truly entertaining and to us a very romantic perception of a hero. The opening scene, while the credits were rolling was very captivating and mysterious as well; full of shadows and silhouettes of horseman and horse drawn carriages in the mist and fog of the night. As was the music theme, which was very catchy and unforgettable.

As time went by, I have forgotten all about this amusing show I was so intrigued by those twenty plus years ago.
Until very recently, that is. Out of nowhere, suddenly, a very familiar and very unique piece of music was streaming out of the radio one day. After some time I realized, this was a new, modern version of the old Dick Turpin theme.

It is composed by two young guys, forming the Danish group "The Benefits". They were most likely not even born when Dick Turpin was a TV hit. This song that samples the TV theme is called "Seize the Day". "Carpe diem" has always been one of my favorite phrases; being reminded of it in a song with music from my youth seems in some way quiet appropriate.

March 11, 2009

Temporary Disenchantment.

I am dissatisfied with my work these days. Actually, more with the outcome of my work, if one can say so.
I work in a research lab, connected to the university. The lab is like a secluded world, which has a life of its own. It is a working environment like no other, in that respect, that it changes constantly. This due to the fact, that most of my colleagues are young students, which stay around for a couple of years and then leave. Sometimes I miss having colleagues that stay for extended period of time and are more my age, sharing my sentiments about life and understanding more the experience I have, and recognizing themselves in subjects I like to discus.
I remember when I was the youngest one in the lab; it feels like yesterday. Now I am almost the oldest.

I have described my work in one of my earlier post. Don’t misunderstand me; I completely LOVE what I do. But science is tough. Sometimes I face problems that just simply feel unsolvable. It takes persistence end devotion and all of my energy to move on with something that is not working. The most difficult part, at least for me, is to keep ones logic and sanity, to rely on facts and not let ones imagination run wild when experiments yield contradictory results.

At times like these I often wonder what would happened if I pursued something else in my younger years. I had many plans on what I wanted to become.
In a way I envy those who knew since childhood what their calling was, just like my mother. Already when she was a little girl playing with dolls, she was always treating them for something imaginary. She always knew she wanted to be a pediatrician (a child physician).
I on the other hand changed my profession as I went along. As a child I dreamed of excavating old tombs and digging up old bones and pottery. After reading about Heinrich Schliemann and his excavation of ancient Troy, I was going to be an archeologist.
As a teenager, I was interested in nature and agriculture and contemplated to marry a farmer and tend to a large piece of land.
Later on, on the encouragement of my art teacher, I played with the idea of studying art. However, after he took me around a few art schools and they all declined taking me in, I gave that idea up, somewhat disillusioned.
As a young woman, becoming more a realist and less of a dreamer, I realized I liked chemistry and figured maybe pharmacology would be something I could study. Eventually I ended up in the field of biochemistry.

Growing up in the 80s, we were encouraged not to pursue wild dreams, but get a real profession. A traditional one, such as a teacher, a lawyer, a physician. Becoming an artist or a journalist was out of question.

Today I wish someone would have told me, back then, that studying art did not mean that I had to make a living making my own paintings. There is so much in art I could have done and I wish I would have.
At times.

But then again, I know, that in a few days, in a few weeks, maybe a month or two, my impossible scientific problem will be solved and my troubles will be history and I would have overcome yet another hurdle. And then, when someone will ask me what I do for a living and I will describe to others what my profession is about, they will tell me that I indeed have the ultimate dream job, working in such a free and creative environment. In my line of work, I am a bit of an adventuress, pushing the frontiers of science forward - if it is ever so slightly. Like ancient traveler, I am privileged to discover and to thread a ground no one has before me.

March 10, 2009

Fragrances.

We are all ruled by our senses. Whether it is a visual picture that pleases us, whether it is touch, a delightful sound or a lovely scent.

I love fragrances and scents. They are not just enjoyable in a moment, they also bring back memories and can take us back to places in time.

There are many scents that I find pleasing, both natural and man-made perfumes. The history of perfumes goes back to ancient Egypt and is in itself almost an art form, or a science form that should not be underestimated. Making the perfect perfume takes talent and a lot of knowledge. Wearing the perfumed fragrance takes certain amount of talent too. Our scent is as individual, as our fashion style. It symbolizes who we are and who we would like to be perceived as. I love the idea of remembering a face, not just as a visual memory, but as a scent memory as well. To me wearing a fragrance is a part of who I am.

But there are also natural fragrances, that can remind me of my childhood and move me back decades into my past, back to people and places I once knew. A scent can evoke feelings of happiness, make me relax and calm me down, put my mind at ease and let me enjoy the moment more intensely.
And there is nothing more powerful than the familiar scent of someone we love...

Here is a list of my five favourite natural scents:

1. Scent of fresh cut grass.
It will always remind me of my childhood summers, spend in a natural, rural area around Prague, with my aunt and her family. It also brings back a memory from the places around where I was born, from meadows in a beautiful part of the world. The scent of fresh cut grass always makes me feel carefree and signifies serenity.

2. Scent after a summer rain.
The freshness of the air, shortly after a summer rain is impossible to duplicate. The way it makes nature comes to life is astounding. Likewise, the scent of raging ocean, when the waves are crushing against the beach, while I walk along the seashore, makes me feel invigorated and alive.

3. Scent of fresh soil.
This scent signifies to me the oncoming spring and summer. It represents planting period and a renewal period in nature, when the sun rays shine stronger and feel warmer. I love to tend to my garden and to plant flowers, in pots and in flower beds. The scent of soil and the feeling of the rich substance between my fingers makes me as giddy as a child. Gardening to me is one of the most relaxing activities I can imagine. And one of the most rewarding ones as well.

4. Scent of burning wood.
I love the particular smokey scent from a burning campfire, or a fire in a fireplace. This scent sets me immediately at ease, and aids greatly in my relaxation. It works in any season, as it can remind me of cozy winter evening at home, or a late summer evening outside. I also enjoy the scent of burning leaves late in the autumn that too brings back the memory of fields in my childhood.

5. Scent of blooming Lilac.
The fragrance of blooming Lilac is one of the most beautiful natural fragrances I know. It is fresh, romantic and everlasting. The intense, persistent and lovely scent of any flowers in bloom underscores the fact that Nature is the best and the most talented perfume maker.

March 09, 2009

An Early Spring Sunset.

There are several signs that signify to me that Spring is taking over the reign from Winter. One of them is the returning sun. Once again, my living room window offers spectacular sunsets, that will only intensify in beauty as the sun moves further up in the sky.
Yesterday I could watch for the first time this season a "true" sunset, as the sun did set over the horizon, this time in the southwest, instead of hiding behind the hills in the far south. To me this indicates the true beginning of the final days of winter.
On the last picture, Venus, the now retreating first star on the evening sky, can just be vaguely seen to the left.








March 08, 2009

8th Of March.

Today the International Women's Day is observed in many countries. I remember this holiday particularly celebrated in the former east block, where I grew up as a child. It was more a political holiday in those times, celebrated as a tribute to the working women in the communist society.

I think today that is not the case any longer. However, my feeling is that this celebration remains in the former east societies, even if apolitical and more celebrated similarly to the traditional mothers day in the west. A few years ago, the Polish exchange students in our lab (all boys) brought roses to the lab on the 8th of March and distributed them among all the girls and women. It was a wonderful gesture and a surprise, as no Danish man would ever do such a thing. Shame but true. In Denmark, the holiday is acknowledged, but not widespread.

Today is a cold and rainy day outside. However, the sun is peaking through the clouds and the light has changed; it is more intense. My spring flowers are growing by each day. It almost feels as if by each hour. There is no way back now; spring is just around the corner.

March 07, 2009

Sapphire Wedding Anniversary.



Today, my parents celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary, also called Sapphire Wedding Anniversary.

My parents are by far the most interesting people I know. They live their life in a way that constantly leaves me in awe. Having changed it around more times that I can possibly count, they have continuously managed to maintain their optimism, their integrity and their joie de vivre.
And through it all, they have retained their love for each other and their unconditional love for us, their children.
Additionally, they have kept themselves impressively young, both mentally and physically as well.

Happy Anniversary mom and dad, you are the best!