The first time I saw a blue jay ever, was in January 2004 in Quebec. It was thirty degrees below freezing, he was embedded in snow, and I could hardly believe my eyes. I’d never seen anything so beautiful. Didn’t know about blue jays before that.

That image is forever etched in my memory, and now since I got the camera I have like a little ‘goal’ or project … to capture a blue jay in snow. Yesterday, I was getting close. I walked a little bit along a trail in Rockwood Park, because there were so many people around the feeders, talking with the squirrels and chickadees. Wanted to capture the snow clad bows and branches … and there he was! I want one, though, where you see more of the tail and the back of him. Patience!

It’s not only a matter of my own patience … it’s Gerry’s too! He’s amazing! We go to the park almost every day, and he has to wait while I pursue all my little ideas.

We got a lot of snow overnight last night … in the afternoon the sun came out and it turned out to be an absolutely glorious winter’s day — just like this day.

We’ve watched a great deal of junior hockey from Buffalo, NY. Last night Sweden lost in a shoot-out against Russia, so on Wednesday Canada will play vs. Russia for the gold medal. Luckily it’s not tonight because tonight a new season of my favorite show starts! Flashpoint! It’s a Canadian production that has also won a great deal of acclaim in the United States. It all takes place in Toronto.

I’m perhaps not a big «TV-person», but this show is something that I really look forward to … just like I used to do with Sopranos.


Cat post

If I were to turn this whole blog into a cat blog, I’d have an inexhaustible well of stuff to write about. I’d never have to ponder what’s on my own mind. I would subsequently bore myself to death. The general idea with all this blogging whole business is partly that I like the thought of going back, in a few years or so, to read about what we were up to … what I was thinking, or how I felt.

However … every now and then I’ll write about our McDuff because he is a family member … he is my friend, and none of the three cats I’ve lived with, has had his picture taken this often! Didn’t have a camera with the previous two.

I like to take pictures of him, and he doesn’t mind … he’s very patient. Cats, ducks and little flowers … that’s what I like to take pictures of … not that there’s anything wrong with that, I think.

McDuff is a timid, little lad … a little bit shy, but not scared of people [except one]. He just needs a little time … to sniff them out, so to speak. By choice, we don’t have a great social life, so he doesn’t get to see too many new faces.

He had four, gray sisters … I remember how little he was when we picked him up, adopted him … they were all sleeping in a big, gray pile — he and his sisters.

Funny how they — even though their vocabulary is pretty much limited to «miau» — are such totally different personalities. These three, that I’ve had … Hadassah (Persian blue), Murphy (Sacred Birman) and McDuff have had very little in common, personality-wise. Picky eaters, but that’s about all. Yeah … another thing — they all liked fresh linen in the bed. When I’m changing the bedding, he sits and waits for me to finish so he can jump up and have a really good snooze. He might even try and jump up prematurely 🙂 Hadassah went underneath the covers … sometimes I didn’t notice, so when I went looking for her, I saw a big bump on the bed.

It’s nice to have a cat. Before 1986 I wasn’t a ‘cat person’ at all … I didn’t even trust them. Couldn’t even imagine sleeping in the same room as a cat! I was so biased. Then I went to visit a friend, who had just got a black persian … Oscar. Spent the weekend there, and was surprised how nice it was. He was such a cool cat — I’d thought they all would be climbing the curtains or some such. Oscar was friendly and slept a lot.

The Monday after that weekend, there was a small ad in the local paper that stood out … it was like that ad was calling out to me: «persian kittens for sale …big fur». I thought … ‘what the heck — I could always go and have a look’. «Have a look!» Ha! I was sold from the first moment … the breeders had only one left when I got there, she handed me Hadassah, we looked at each other and it was Love. She lived to be almost 16.

In Quebec, I hadn’t really thought of getting a cat. My whole life had changed with the move to a new country and everything so that had not even entered my mind. Strangely enough … the person who suggested I’d have a cat is also the only person he cannot stand. He hissed at him. Must have been something in their personal chemistry that clashed. Now it’s been more than two years since they met, but I think it would be the same again, were they to meet.


Just wanted to write that date somewhere, on this, unseasonably warm, New Years Day.

Okay, so now we have a new and shiny year in front of us … like a huge, white sheet of paper … just waiting to be filled … with good stuff!

Now that I’ve reached the mature age that I am, I know how quickly a year goes by. When I was a teenager, a year seemed like an immense amount of time — an eternity.

I kept procrastinating — for example, I was meaning to go back to school as an adult student — only to wake up and realize it was too late.

So yes … the future is beginning to feel more finite. If there is something I really want to do, I’ll try and make sure to do it right away.

Today and tomorrow, everything is closed here and I don’t know yet what we’ll do today. I’m still not finished with my morning coffee. We’ve watched a great deal of junior hockey — Sweden beat Canada yesterday, so I got to hear our national anthem! That’s kind of moving, when you’re no longer there … to hear the young lads singing on top of their lungs, and see our flag go up. Today there’s a pause in the hockey tournament.

Now, as I’m typing up this post, I’m using FireFox browser for the first time in a long time. I’m having some issues with the compose mode here in WordPress … the browser keeps freezing up when I’m typing, so I’m trying to figure out if it’s a browser issue or what. It happens both in Chrome and IE9. FireFox used to be a lean, fast browser, but after using Chrome for all this time, it feels …. bloated. Either way, I’ve written for several minutes now, and so far … so good. It hasn’t frozen, but I just got some pop-up box from it. It was some type of warning that said that the default manager was known to cause instability?! I really should have taken a screenshot of it…

UPDATE: Think I’ve sorted out my issue with the compose window. When I disabled visual editor the problem was no more. Yay!

There is something beyond those mountains…

This morning we were sitting at the kitchen table — I was having breakfast, and gazing away at the horizon … beyond Millidgeville and towards the Kingston peninsula. Was thinking of how beautiful it was … the different tones of blue, and one line from the lyrics of a Swedish song came to mind: the title of this post.

I had not thought about that song for years, but it’s probably the most beautiful poetry ever written in Swedish, as far as I’m concerned. It’s written by Dan Andersson, who at his untimely death was only 32. Went to YouTube to look for my favorite version of the song, with Thorstein Bergman but I found this with Björn Ulvaeus [formerly ABBA member].

This song has come back to my mind several times today … I know the Swedish lyrics by heart, and I was wishing I was able to translate them into English but thought that would be impossible. Just for fun I typed in a Google search: “Omkring tiggarn från Loussa translation”, and what do you know … found this excellent translation which even works with the tune! Amazing work by Ola Wikander.

Round the beggar from Luossa people gathered in a ring,
by the campfire they sat and heard his song.
And of wayfarers and mendicants and every wondrous thing
and of his longing he sang to them all night long.

“There is something beyond mountains, beyond flowers, beyond singing,
there is something there behind the star, behind my burning heart.
Hearken, something goes there whispering, goes there calling me and praying
‘come to us, for of this earthly kingdom you are not a part.’

I have listened to the tranquil waves that roll against the beach,
to dream of wild seas’ rest has been my lot.
And in spirit I have hastened towards the formless lands
where the dearest thing we knew shall be forgot.

To a wild, eternal longing we were born by pallid mothers,
from the labour pains of troubles rose our first and anguished cry.
We were thrown on plains and mountains then, to play with all our brothers,
and we played there elk and lion, beggar, god and butterfly.

I sat silent by her side, she whose heart was like to mine,
with hands so soft she tended to our nest.
But I heard my heart then calling: ‘what thou ownest is not thine’
and the spirit came and bore me off to rest.

What I love is far away beyond, concealed in distant darkness,
and high and wonderful is my true way.
And amid this clamour I am called to pray before the Heavens:
What no-one has I want to own, take all the earth away!

Follow, brother, beyond mountains, to the cool and peaceful rivers,
where in beds of mountain garlands all sea slowly goes to sleep.
Somewhere there beyond the heavens is my home, I have my mother,
in the golden-sprinkled mists, dressed in rosy mantle deep.

May the black and salty waters cool the cheeks that burn with fever,
let’s be miles away from life before the morning breaks above!
Not of this world was I, brother; hardships without end I suffered
for the sake of worries, faithlessness and of my burning love.

By a shore all dressed in seashells stands a gate of roses heavy,
therein sleep the mouldered shipwrecks, and the tired men find rest.
Songs unheard and high there sing like violins in distant echoes
under arches where eternal children live forever blessed.

Copyright Ola Wikander

Internet 1997 ~ At Home!

Rockwood Park today

As I wrote in previous post on this subject; to buy a computer of my own was out of reach. I continued my early morning chats, plus the weekends. It’s hard to imagine now, that I actually walked to my work place early Saturday or Sunday mornings [or both] to go online. Because of the time difference I had to be there rather early. 7AM meant 1AM EST so basically I met the ones on PST. The ones on the east coast had gone to bed.

It was still 1997 — May, I think — when my work place finally decided that they needed to upgrade the computers. All the new ones arrived with Win95 on them, and I could take one of the old ones home!!! Yay!  The same afternoon as I had it in my apartment, I went down to Telia — the major phone/internet provider in Sweden — to buy a, what they called, Internet package. That was an easy procedure, until I saw that the installation files were on a CD. My computer didn’t have a CD drive … only floppy. Went back to Telia … they were still open … and told them I needed to change to floppies. No dice! Had to wait almost a week for them to arrive. Those were long days, I tell you!

Wigeon today

Finally they arrived, I had taken some time off, so I had a few days to play with this. Got hooked up in no time and the feeling was unbelievable! I could surf, drink coffee and smoke — all at the same time! In my own home! Got an email address with Telia. It was really long and cumbersome — it was like they told you exactly how it should be formatted: firstname.lastname @ nameofcity.telia . se  Shortly afterwards they changed so that you could make up a shorter one.

One of the first things I did was installing Icq. That download took about an hour. I had dial-up and paid per minute! Don’t remember seeing any progress bar — just those files flying from the earth to a folder … endlessly, and every minute meant more money for Telia. I became one of their best customer 🙂 — they gave me a free, cordless phone one year and a caller-ID.

If my memory serves me right, I think I’d been clever enough to install Netscape before I took it home. My favorite hang-out, WBS, didn’t work very well with Internet Explorer, but with Netscape it scrolled automatically. We had an IT-guy at work, who I think, installed it for me. He suffered from Asperger’s Syndrome — so he stated publicly — he was really … anti-social, to put it mildly, but somehow I got along with him.

To keep this on track, and not get totally lost down memory lane … the first nights I stayed up really late! Even chatted with random people on Icq, but WBS was my main place. I had many, new friends now! Apart from Angharod and Tipman that I mentioned in previous post, there was now also Liam Seamroige, Cemoor, LadyB45, Stargazer, Ivan, LadyHawk, Glenstal, MikieinGA, BostonBelle, Jace, Fleurkat … oh my, the list could go on and on… The first six people here are actually on Facebook now, seven if I include myself.

Liam Seamroige is now my hubby! How about that?! 🙂 That’s a whole different story — there’s lots more to come!

I put in a couple of pictures, just to break it up a little 🙂

Internet — January 1997

…and the Internet nostalgia continues. This is part II.

I’d landed at a site called WBS. Webchat Broadcast Server. Bear in mind I was totally clueless about everything internet related. I had to sign up! Was extremely hesitant because I had to state an email address and the only one I had was my work address. It was too tempting though, so I got brave and went through with the sign-up procedure. Got the confirmation right away and that was my life’s first email!

Now … I had to chose a user name for myself, or “handle”, as it was called. Typed in Hadassah. That was my cat’s name. Thought I was rather clever and was almost in disbelief when it said «user name is already taken»! Got some numbers after my name. Okay … that was alright. Then I had to fill in ‘gender’. I didn’t know what that word meant, so I had to run upstairs and get the dictionary! 🙂

When I was finished with all this, it was time for me to start working — this took place early in the morning — but I managed to get to the huge list of ‘chat rooms’… all countries you could ever dream of, age groups, special interest groups … and more.

I clicked on Ireland. There were not too many people there, but there were a few and they were all in the States. I said «Hello». Almost immediately several «Hello Hadassah!» appeared on my screen! I was extatic! They answered me!!!

Today I’m not sure about who they all were that very first time, but Angharod was there and Tipman. Went back downstairs at lunch — I was forever hooked! — but then only one person was there … in the ‘Irish Room’. This was strange because this person … I even remember the name … I never met again after this lunch. He was extremely kind and helpful … explained so many things to me about the workings of the chat. He was from Helena, MT.

Now I started to go to work really early in the morning … for two reasons: I wanted to spend as much time as possible with my newly won friends AND the earlier I was there, the more earlier it was in the States, needless to say. There was six hours time difference between Sweden and the east coast. I even went to my workplace on Saturday and Sunday mornings!

I noticed that most of the people there had little pictures beside their handles. I wanted one too! They were not necessarily pictures of themselves … one had a sunflower, for example. Started to ask around how to achieve this. Someone told me to find a picture and just copy the URL. I didn’t know how to find a picture, didn’t know what a URL was and even if I had known I wouldn’t have known how to copy it.

Somehow I managed to find a duck … my favorite bird … and got the URL in the right box. I never forget the feeling when it showed up on the screen! Here is the very duck! I’ve saved it for sentimental reasons 🙂 Imagine that! After all these years and many computers, I still have that bird!

This became a routine of mine and I quickly got to know these people in the WBS Irish Room. I wanted more time and I wanted to learn so much more. Read about something called Icq that many of them talked about. Didn’t really get what it was but it sounded like so much fun. Couldn’t download anything on my work computer though. To buy a computer to have at home was way beyond my financial limits at the time.

In order for this post to end, and not turn it into a novel, I’ll continue later … This whole thing changed my life forever so I want to write it down.


Colors are important to me, be it the choice of color scheme of a webpage, clothes or … in this case … lipstick! It’s one of my hang-ups I guess … I have a few 🙂

This might seem like a ridiculous thing to write about but I’ll do it anyway. In fact, I can hardly believe that I’m writing a blog about lipstick … but I’ve seen stranger things.

1994 I found the, what I thought, the ultimate color of lipstick. It was just exactly right for my complexion. The brand was Helena Rubinstein, so I thought … good! An old, trustworthy brand that will be around for a while.

When it was almost finished I went to purchase a new one, only to discover that this particular color had been discontinued. Why does this always happen to me? Same thing with my favorite perfume.

For all these years I’ve kept the little stump that was left, to use as a reference in my quest for a new, similar color. This might give you an idea …. of that I can be pretty tenacious. Like a dog with a rag! Thought I would find it when I came to North America, but that took me all this time. I’ve been pretty close many times, but not as close as this, that I found yesterday! It’s almost 100%. L’Oreal … because I’m worth it! LOL

I don’t know why brands do this all the time. This new one will be discontinued too. I appreciate that there are trends in fashion but I just wish that they could keep some basic colors.

Internet ~ December 1996

My first internet search was «santa». We had just been hooked up to the Internet at work. We were all clueless. A co-worker and I decided to try it. We saw an icon that said “Internet Explorer”, so we figured that must be it.

We were taken to the search engine Alta Vista … a box that said «SEARCH», so, as it was just before Christmas I typed in Santa. The first hit was some huge, animated Santa and we were in total awe!

That’s how I started my internet experience … at work, on our lunch break. The computer was a .386 and the only one that was hooked up, was placed in a conference room in the basement. The operating system was Windows 3.something … Here’s a reminder in case you’ve forgotten what it looked like: LINK

This doesn’t sound like much, but I was sort of hooked anyway. I’d heard the word ‘chat’ being mentioned with regards to the Internet, but I didn’t know how it was done or how to get a hold of it.

During the holidays that year, I read an article about chatting in one of the Swedish evening papers, and they even gave a link — I didn’t know it was a link then — to a Swedish chat server. I carefully jotted it down … made really sure that I got the http:// right.

As soon as I was back at work, I tried it! One thing I also remember about all this is how carefully I typed — like I was afraid of destroying the damned thing.. I don’t know. Either way, I was taken to a Swedish chat and there were lots of people in there, maybe because it was lunch. You could even see at which company they were … it said the company name beside their handles, Alfa Laval, Atlas Copco, ABB and so on…

I guess I said “hallå”. They were friendly enough and I wanted to know how to get in touch with people in other countries as I figured I saw enough Swedes in my daily life. One guy answered «look at the links to your left». Well … as I still didn’t know what a link was, I had that explained to me also, and then I bravely clicked on ‘foreign links’ [or some such in Swedish].

Landed at WBS … Worldchat Broadcasting System, but that will be another post…