a friend went to nyc

photo: s-o hogberg

A friend of mine in Sweden, just got back home from New York City. He’s 75 years old and doesn’t speak one word of English! I guess he had some sort of hang-up … that he really wanted to see NYC. Not like me … I want to go there too … it’s like the city itself is calling me … no, he wanted to visit some jazz club (Blue Note). His wife didn’t want to go, so he persuaded a niece to travel with him.

At first, I was under the impression that the niece didn’t speak English either. In Sweden, I’d say most people are more or less fluent in English BUT … not people that were born before 1945. That’s just an impression I have … something must have changed with regards to education around that year. My brother was born 1945 and he’s good in English. Turned out that I’d misunderstood and that the niece did speak a little English after all!

Now … I found this to be really brave. Okay, many people travel to different countries without speaking the language but they might either travel in a group or have some kind of arrangements. These guys were on their own. I kept thinking about what it would be like … being in a huge city, not being able to pronounce the simplest word?! How do you order in a restaurant? How do you tell a cab driver where to go? I guess you can point on a map, but still…?!

Nevertheless, they made it back and forth and he’s sent me pictures of the usual stuff … Statue of Liberty and so on … this one here is from the top of Empire State Building, I suspect. Very courageous!

This word … «courageous» leads me to an entirely different subject. «Brave, courageous» are two words that I apparently have not had the full grip of in English. They are used differently compared to my native tongue. I know what they mean, alright … it’s just the usage of them.

To me, those words used to be reserved for firefighters, people who jumped in to stormy seas to save a life … stuff like that — not because of writing a blog about your inner thoughts or taking part in a photo challenge. Now I know, but at first I found it a bit confusing when a person I used to know said that she didn’t have the courage to take part in a photo challenge we were discussing. Languages are funny that way … words can take on a much wider meaning in one language!

Now, that was a parenthesis. Back to NYC! One day, I’ll go there too … now that it’s more within my reach, so to speak. It’s one of my hang-ups … it keeps popping up in my dreams. I even wrote down a dream I had, as a blog post. I have it in my drafts folder and will post it some time soon. I’ve tried to explain to Gerry what this is all about … I’ve written about it before, I think. It’s no particular place there that I desperately want to see … well, the ordinary, touristy stuff … but it’s that I want to … once in my life get to experience the immensity of it all … feel the pulse of it … the pace. When I go … I’ll make sure it’s in late October or so, so that it’s not too hot and I’ll be able to enjoy.

My Father

It’s Father’s Day in North America … like anyone could have missed that, with all the commercials ads about what things we should buy?!

I’m not a huge fan of Fathers/Mothers Day … it’s a personal thing, but if all the businesses can make a buck, I guess that’s alright too. It’s always about money anyway. Those days stir up all kinds of memories, emotions, feelings of guilt in peoples lives — do we really need that?! Can’t we remember and pay tribute to our parents in other ways?!

When I was a kid in school, we all had to make cards for Father’s Day. The thing was, my Father was no longer around … he died when I was two. This was a small school in a rural area, I was the only kid who didn’t have both parents. Those were the days…  the pitiful smiles and the teacher saying «surely you can make a card for your uncle or something?!»

Nevertheless, I’m blogging about my Father today because it’s his birthday. He would have turned 104, had he not died on that fateful September day in 1957. Like I said … I was only two, but I’ve missed him all my life. It’s like I know him without really remembering him.

This pencil drawing, that he made of himself, is one of the two images I have of him. I look at it and I see my own eyes.

wild

This time of year is wonderful! Everything is so lush, green and juicy. Lots of flowers … wild flowers that might look ‘insignificant’ at a glance but are truly gorgeous when you take time out to really look.

Imagine that all this has been buried underneath the cold snow all winter!

I don’t know what this white flower is, but it was growing quite abundantly outside town … near Boars Head Rd. At first, it led my thoughts to a common Spring flower back home … Vitsippa, or Anemone Nemorosa … but this flower is larger than that and the leaves are different.

A white flower in bright sunlight … that’s not the easiest thing to photograph … and it’s still a little overexposed, but it was the best I could do.

It was a fine day yesterday, and today is looking good too, so far. It’s only 8 o’clock in the morning. Got completely side-tracked here, when I found a little speaker icon in the Google search box, that I’d never seen before! Clicked on it, and it said «Speak Now!» I said “hello”, and I was stunned to see the word “hello” appearing in the seach box. This whole internet thing never ceases to amaze me. I tried many words after that, and it all worked great as long as I kept it in English. Tried the name of my hometown several times, but that didn’t fly.

UPDATE: Found the flower –it’s «Canada Anemone».

customize your blog?

The other day, in the WordPress daily topic-blog, they asked what features people might like to see here in WordPress.com. I think that’s great, that they’re interested to hear from their users. They got lots of answers there — as it stands now, 101 comments  — many, many wanted the ability to make adjustments to the theme … i.e. changing colours, adjust width of columns et cetera.

This was five days ago.

Yesterday, they announced their new Custom Design feature! Something that makes it much easier for people who just want to make little adjustments to the looks of their blog … changing fonts for different headlines, for example. For those who know CSS, there’s a real handy little thing where you can preview all your changes before you apply them.

  • Example: I have chosen the theme Twenty Eleven here. The bar underneath the header image is black. I would like to make it another colour, which I could easily do with a few key strokes … with the help of CSS.

I tried it in this new editor and it worked like a breeze.

All this is fine and dandy, had it not been for the fact that it would cost you US$30 per year to use it.

Honestly, I think it would be really neat to be able to make a few changes here, but not neat enough for $30 a year. As much as I love WordPress.com …. I do think thirty bucks is a little pricey for that feature. Were I that eager to make design changes, I’d probably add twenty bucks and go back to self-hosted wordpress.org and get full freedom. But then again … I wouldn’t have been part of the wp.com environment and that was the reason I moved back here.

It’s not that I can’t afford $30 per year … it’s the principle of it all! I do think that many people are also on a limited budget. I just don’t like paying that amount for something small like that. Five bucks … and I think I’d signed up! With the Sandbox or Toolbox theme you’d get pretty much full freedom here too, and hence; the best of both worlds.

Guess there is no such thing as a free lunch.

things you never knew you wanted to know

It’s 6AM. The first rays of sun is just hitting an apartment complex here, making the otherwise rather ugly building look quite spiffy. I’m up because of this cold or whatever it is. There might be some little improvement but not much. Spent most of the day yesterday in bed. I’m not going to gripe about this here, because it really is just a minor annoyance … it could always be so much worse. Thinking of this … being sick … led my thoughts back to Sweden.

You guys, who read this blog, have probably gotten to know more about this little Scandinavian country, than you’d ever imagined you would. Like I said somewhere in the introduction to this blog … ‘it’s inevitable that there will be posts about Sweden … differences between North American living and there’. Even though I’ve lived here for seven years, it still sits there — I think the fact that I was ‘of a certain age’ when I moved … almost fifty, makes a difference.

Anyway, I started working in 1972. At that time … had I come down with a cold like this, I’d called in sick and stayed at home … in bed … until I felt that I was fit to go back to work. We could call in sick and stay at home for seven days without seeing a Dr. After the seventh day we had to go see one. This wasn’t just once a year or so … it was as many times as you got sick.The rules are somewhat changed now.

This system, I think, helped maintaining our way of dealing with a cold: Stay in bed … rest … perhaps a bath … but most of all: rest. Not many people were inclined to go to work when they were sick … that was also often frowned upon by your co-workers, because they could catch it too. OR, they would think YOU were thinking that you were irreplaceable, but that’s a whole different story.

Hence, there were not many cold medications in the pharmaciy [which, by the way, are totally different from here]. A few cough syrups perhaps and one or two others that I remember.

When you walk in to the section for cold remedies here in the drug store, it’s like a jungle!!! There seem to be several for each little symptom you might have … not only different brands, so you have to ask yourself … do I have cough, sore throat, cold, flu, mucous … the list goes on. I’m sure you can find one tailor made for you if you have the patience.

I’ve tried a few since I came here out of curiosity, thinking that there must be something to them as they are so many and seemingly popular. They certainly do something to ease your symptoms, that’s for sure. Most of them will raise your blood pressure too and that’s perhaps not so good. Cough suppressants, I’m a little wary of.

The section for potato chips and soft drinks in the grocery store is almost like the cold remedies in the drug store! There is nothing else in the grocery store that is so elaborate …. the choice of potato chips is immense! Still, after all these years, when I’m used to the choice of everything, the aisle with potato chips baffles me.

After having said all that … I think I might just crawl back to bed … or take a pill?! LOL

Photography

Wow … that’s some title, huh?! Ambitious!

The other day I asked my buddy and fellow blogger Gillian: «when do you consider a person being a photographer?» She had a good answer to that: «When you’re taking pictures because you want to and you like it, as opposed to just making images for, let’s say, insurance purposes.» For my inner vision I saw all those people in, for example CSI … they’re constantly taking pictures of crime scenes … They are crime scene investigators … not photographers, but they do use powerful Nikon cameras [yes, I’ve noticed the brand 🙂 ].

So yes … I take pictures because I love to do it. Our cat, McDuff … mallards in the park … and squirrels … all the things I find cute in life. That’s what I like to do. My passion for photo is what makes me ask Gerry to pull over because I see a tree like this …

Upham, New Brunswick, May 24, 2010

I’ve had very  few hobbies in my life. They’ve all dissolved … evaporated. My passion for photo came alive almost two years ago and I feel it’s not going away any time soon, if ever. My only ambition is personal improvement. I’m fifty five years old, I have all the equipment I need except perhaps in the long run, a flash. Since digital cameras came into play and became affordable, millions of photographers have emerged all over the world. An amount of talent that probably would have been dormant, had it not been for the digital camera.

It’s an extremely rewarding hobby, I’m having so much fun with this, and I’m thankful while looking back in my albums that I’m able to learn and make some progress.

It’s good for blogging purposes too! As I’ve said before; I like to write  — hone my writing skills and perhaps my English too at the same time. Here I can always post a picture — new or old — write a little about it, and I’ve combined two of my interests in life … three, really; Internet too.

After having said all that, I’ll go back to bed because it’s 2:30 in the morning!