squeeze days :)

Christmas is over and now we have a few ‘ordinary days’ before New Years.

In my native tongue, this type of days …. that falls in between two holidays … are called something that would translate to «squeeze days» [klämdagar]. Guess they get squeezed in between, in this case, Christmas and New Years.

People can save and accumulate vacation, so that they can take time off, but usually there are fewer work days in between — this year Christmas fell on a Sunday. In November, there used to be a «squeeze day» always, thanks to All Saints Day.

As most people there have five weeks of vacation each year, they usually save one week so that they can take a day or two off every now and then.

A couple of days before Christmas, I came across one of Google’s, so called, Easter Eggs: In the regular, Google search box, you typed in the words ‘let it snow’, [you can still do it] and little flakes started falling, slowly, all over your screen. If you just let it stay there, after a little while, you’d have a total white-out, with only the blue DEFROST button visible. If you clicked and dragged your mouse over it, it was like cleaning off the snow.

I’m a child at heart, so I enjoy those little things immensely, and told Gerry to do it too. Nothing happened! What they hadn’t told me was that it only worked in the Chrome- and Firefox browsers. Gerry still uses Internet Explorer.

Which browser do you use?

we have snow!

Woke up a short while ago to a Winder Wonderland, and I better enjoy it while it’s there. Won’t last many hours as the temperature is +5C, but for now, Saint John’s Old North End looks really spiffy. I wish it would though … at least for the two, coming days.

Tomorrow is [obviously] Christmas Eve and it would have been cool (!) to have snow, while watching Donald Duck on the computer at 10AM [on the Atlantic Time Zone].

I’ve been cleaning and scrubbing but not at all the way I used to in younger days. This time, I decided that Christmas will come, regardless of if I’ve dragged out the whole linen cabinet and scrubbed the walls there. I’ve set up a few, little projects for myself each day, and most of them are completed. Last night, I took out the drawers in the kitchen and cleaned them … the fridge is up to snuff.

Gerry and I decided, this year, to give ourselves one, really useful, Christmas gift so I now have a black, gleaming, external harddrive sitting here on my desk! What a treat! 1TB and I’m slowly but surely transferring photos there. I was so behind, burning DVD:s and my own harddrive was filling up.

My sister-in-law, back in Sweden had one too. I showed her, that she could select many files at the same time — she didn’t have to transfer them, one at the time — by pressing either CTRL or holding down the SHIFT-key. She thought that was just a marvellous revelation! The thing was, she was constantly sitting and playing around with the touch-pad on her laptop, sort of moving it round and round, which caused her ending up with 30,000 duplicates at one time! Imagine the job to sort that out!

it’s snowing…

but only here in WordPress. Very nice of them to put the snow script back, because outside everything’s just brownish gray.

Took a walk yesterday, thinking I’d take some photos. Only brought the 50mm lens and went up on Fort Howe — the look-out point here in Saint John. The sunlight was extremely bright and either I wasn’t inspired enough or my mind wasn’t really ‘open’ … I couldn’t come up with anything that I liked.

In the lobby here in the apartment building, Christmas is in full swing already. I used to make those balls in Photoshop! Still, when I see nice ones in the stores, I think to myself; «I could easily make a virtual one like that myself!» 🙂 It was a lot of fun doing that, especially when we were a bunch of people in the blogosphere who were into the same stuff.

Just yesterday, I came across an old account I had in Photobucket and found a folder full of backgrounds and other images that I’d made back in 2005-06 …. hundreds and hundreds of them, many I’d forgotten. It was fun to see but most of the background images were too …. wild …to intrusive. I’ve put one up here in this blog right now, that’s just on the limit. The images shouldn’t take away from the blog, but back then … in that group I was in … we were more about graphics than content.

Eleven down, one to go


We’ve entered the twelfth month of this blogging challenge and I’m still hanging in here.  I knew I could do it, even though I came close to quitting a few times when my inspiration took a dip. The quality of these posts one can always discuss, but I’ve managed to squeeze one out almost every day. Much easier than the photo-a-day challenge I was involved in for a while. That was different because I somehow put much higher pressure on myself … not to shoot just anything in order to take a shot.

Speaking of taking photos … when I was home, my best friend decided to buy a DSLR camera, like I have. She had a little point-and-shoot camera and kept taking pretty nice pictures with it, but she wanted to step it up a notch. There was this offer in one of the stores, where she could get a nice Canon with two lenses for a very good price, so she went for it.

This was just before I was about to leave Härnösand, but we managed to get one photo-walk in and we talked a little about aperture, shutter speed and all that stuff…

The other day, they got the first snow back home, and she sent me a few pictures of it. Boy, that woman must be a fast learner, as she’s only had the camera for a little over a month! She had resized the pictures for email, so unfortunately I can’t blow them up to size but still … here you go…


When I was at that stage, I kept shooting ducks that turned out as little dots because I had not understood what the 18-55mm lens did and I felt really sad. Things started to look up a little after I took the camera course, and bought the long lens, but I had seriously considered to just sell the camera.

it’s a snow day

… and yesterday, it was nice like this — the calm before the storm, I guess one could say.

Woke up to a Winter Wonderland, but there was no surprise effect as there was so much talk about this ‘storm’ all night on TV yesterday. We’re the lucky ones as we don’t have to go or drive anywhere — here in Canada, Thanksgiving is all over. We’ll just bundle up inside. I just brought a piece of meat out of the freezer, because today I’m going to make kalops — the Swedish meat stew that I’ve mentioned in this blog before. This link, however, gives a very good description of it [will open in a new tab/window]. The anchovies brine, I won’t include now though. I’ve found that the little cans of anchovies that I buy here, contain hardly any brine at all and it’s very different from what I’m used to. Besides, I can’t taste any difference in the finished Kalops.

Also bought two bags of cranberries the other day, so I’ll cook some Lingonberry Jam from that. The Cranberry is just a bigger Lingon.

Cooking, is no great interest of mine … but I like to eat, though! Every now and then I pull myself together and make something in the kitchen — today seems to be a good day for that.

 

How the Winds are howling

That headline, made me think of an old song my friend and I used to sing when we were young: Donna Donna. It was Joan Baëz that made it popular but it’s an old, Jewish folksong. However, in the song, the winds weren’t howling – they were laughing. It’s a very sad song.

This new snow storm arrived overnight, and now … 7 o’clock in the morning, it’s in full force. Watched the news from Boston, before going to bed last night, and there, they even got thunder & lightning! We’ll see … maybe we’ll get that too!

Very few cars are moving outside, but I see a few people struggling in the winds and the snow … going to work. I don’t have to do that so I’m very blessed on a day like today.

I never had any problems adjusting to not working. Many people I hear about, almost seem to fear retirement. Perhaps the fact that I’d moved to a another country at the same time as I quit working made it different for me … everything was so new! I just never thought about it, until a long time afterwards.
Living in Quebec the first, almost five, years, also made it impossible to work, even if I’d wanted to, as I never got around to learning French.

Since we moved to Atlantic Canada, a little over two years ago, I feel that we’re more active. There’s hardly ever a day that we don’t go out somewhere … if nothing else, at least just a little spin to the park. It’s not far from here … I’ve never tried, but I think should I walk there, it wouldn’t take me more than fifteen minutes. Would have been able to see it from the balcony, had not Mount Pleasant been in the way.

I watched a criminal show on TV last night. The TV is on most of the time in the evenings here, but often I just watch in the corner of my eye, while I do something else on the web, but every now and then something comes on that captures my full attention. This one was British and called Silent Witness. This show used to be with an actress I really like before … Amanda Burton, but that has changed. It was about one of those school shootings, and I felt it was very realistic. I’ll have to wait one week now, to see part two.

As if that wasn’t enough – all the blood and guts — I watched Criminal Minds afterwards. I will never understand people … and not even myself! Why do I even care to watch these horrid shows, with really screwed up minds?! I’m not that type of pereson — what I really like to watch is drama … like on the Hallmark channel, but we don’t get that and it’s very rare that they show any of those films.

Now I’ll just sit back and enjoy the storm. Can’t be too bad, because our cat McDuff hasn’t even gone into hiding. He has opened the door to the closet underneath the sink, where he usually goes when the weather gets really bad. Still, he’s just sitting in the window, watching the snow falling sideways.

Ducky blog post

We’d been out to the mall yesterday, and before going to the grocery store, we took the way around the park. The ducks in the pond are getting more and more numerous and the open hole is getting smaller all the time, as it’s getting colder.

I got out with my camera, because I like to practice shooting ducks [or any bird] in flight. Even if they’re just sitting around … when a car stops there, they fly over because they think they’re going to get bread.

A few people  are still feeding them, in spite of the signs and all the talk there has been on  the radio and so on.

Anyway, as I was just about to get back in the car, I noticed that one duck was stuck to the ice … struggling to get loose. I just can’t handle seeing something like that … I told Gerry, who was waiting in the car. Heroic, as he is, he took a big stick, checked out the ice and started walking over to the poor mallard. Just as he was about to check him out … I guess the duck got really scared and empowered by that he got loose! Only a few feathers were left in the ice.

I cannot stand seeing an animal suffer, and neither can my husband. One would only wish that they could think rationally … go south for starters, and secondly … not sit on the ice when you’re wet. That won’t happen so hopefully the situation will improve as people stop feeding them.

Apart from all this, I was watching a big gull in the water … apparently they do the same thing with the wing-flapping as the ducks.

I noticed he did it exactly the same way, first the ‘washing’…dipping his head several times, and then stood up and flapped his wings.

This is probably more information about waterfowl than anybody care for, but I love to watch them. I’ve always loved ducks … mallards — they’re so beautiful with their emerald heads, and look so content as they’re paddling around.

We got a little bit of snow overnight but nothing much. We’re supposed to get 10 centimeters. My hometown, Härnösand, is now the place with the most snow in Sweden, I just read online!  My friend told me yesterday that they had 119 centimeters.

My husband receives a lot of jokes ‘n stuff in his email … sometimes those PowerPoint presentations with beautiful pictures — most of them are stuff you’ve seen and heard many times, but every now and they there’s something really spectacular! Most of them are in French, as he lived in Quebec for close to fifty years, but yesterday he got something really neat, that I had not seen before! Jig-saw puzzle! The text is in French, but you just have to click on the pictures. I did a few last night, and it’s a nice change from playing Bejeweled Blitz in Facebook. LOL.

I was actually thinking about puzzles the other day … that it would be cool to find a world map, and place the countries! I have one, of the United States — a blank map where you put in the states, and something similar of the world would be nice. It probably exists already — most of the things you can dream up are already online, somebody already thought of it.

My morning coffee is now finished so I’ll just get on with my day … McDuff, who seems to have a built-in clock, is walking around, looking at me as if he would like to ask «Aren’t you going to have breakfast soon??»

Snow

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.