Friday, November 27, 2015
Wednesday, November 25, 2015
Monday, November 23, 2015
Sunday, November 22, 2015
Saturday, November 21, 2015
Friday, November 20, 2015
Wednesday, November 18, 2015
Monday, November 16, 2015
Saturday, November 14, 2015
|There is NOTHING like feeling safe, warm and secure at home. It makes me relax to the fullest when I had a great meal, a glass of wine and sitting in front of our warming wood stove while a quite cold blustery wind is blowing in off the sea. And of course it is a bonus listening to my favorite |
“American-Songbook-Style” music from CBC-Radio. But being together with Bea and Molly is the best of all.
Of course this makes me also think of yesterday which happened to be Friday 13th. And if ever there was a worse Friday the 13th. I’d be surprised.
The happenings in Paris,France have thrown a dark shadow on everybody’s life in the west. Those despicable actions have caused outrage in every western country. And they will have wide-spread consequences in our society. As also happened after 9-11, our world will change again. Open borders will be closed or super-controlled. It will signify the end of the open-minded community of the European Union. It will be a throw-back into the first years after WWII when every country still was suspicious of its neighbours.
It will also have significant consequences for the millions of Syrian refugees. It will raise suspicion against them. It will cause right-wing cells in western countries to spring to action. It will influence politics in all western countries.
Likewise it is a serious strike against humanity as warfare will increase on both sides.
Internet posters are reminding us that love should supersede hate. Generally, I have no problem with a statement like that, but I have my doubts that ISIS will respond in any positive way towards love.
Feeling safe, warm and secure is a human right that is missing in many places.
Tonight I am enjoying this right but my thoughts are with the families of the victims and it makes me feel sad and angry at the same time.
Be safe out there!
Thursday, November 12, 2015
Let’s say you are NOT snowbirding into the warmer zones of the U.S. or Mexico. Let’s say you just tough it out at home – up north, where winter always comes in some form. We did that for many, many years – in Norway. We are about to do it again this year and we sure stood through it last year in Alberta. When you stay home, are you complaining a lot about this darn winter? Are you feeling like you step into a freezer each morning when you go outside? And do you join in on the yammering when another snow storm hits your house in the middle of April?
RESIDENTS OF NORWAY VIEW THEIR LONG DARK WINTERS AS SOMETHING TO CELEBRATE. HOW IT'S POSSIBLE TO BE CHEERFUL FOR THE NEXT FOUR MONTHS.
As the days get darker and colder in much of the northern hemisphere, it’s easy to indulge in gloom. For the next few months, you’ll be shivering. You’ll be battling foul weather. Thanks to daylight saving time there will be no chance to see the sun after work.
The gloom leads to a common question: What can I do to cope with the dark and cold?
If you truly want to be happy during winter, though, this is the wrong approach to the season. Changing your mindset can do more than distracting yourself from the weather.
That’s the takeaway from research done by Kari Leibowitz, currently a PhD student at Stanford University, who spent August 2014 to June 2015 on a Fulbright scholarship in Tromsø in northern Norway. Tromsø is so far north that from late November to late January, the sun never climbs above the horizon. Leibowitz went to study the residents’ overall mental health, because rates of seasonal depression were lower than one might expect.
Photo Credits: Flickr user Mark Robinson
At first, she was asking "Why aren’t people here more depressed?" and if there were lessons that could be taken elsewhere. But once she was there, "I sort of realized that that was the wrong question to be asking," she says. When she asked people "Why don’t you have seasonal depression?" the answer was "Why would we?"
It turns out that in northern Norway, "people view winter as something to be enjoyed, not something to be endured," says Leibowitz, and that makes all the difference.
To be sure, there are some aspects of the near-polar culture that might be hard to emulate elsewhere. Small Norwegian communities are tightly knit, and strong social ties increase well-being everywhere. That said, there are lessons that can help anyone think differently about cold weather.
First, Norwegians celebrate the things one can only do in winter. "People couldn’t wait for the ski season to start," says Leibowitz. Getting outside is a known mood booster, and so Norwegians keep going outside, whatever is happening out there. Notes Leibowitz: "There’s a saying that there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing."
Norwegians also have a word, koselig, that means a sense of coziness. It’s like the best parts of Christmas, without all the stress. People light candles, light fires, drink warm beverages, and sit under fuzzy blankets. There’s a community aspect to it too; it’s not just an excuse to sit on the couch watching Netflix. Leibowitz reports that Tromsø had plenty of festivals and community activities creating the sense that everyone was in it together.
Photo Credits: Flickr userJan Fredrik Frantzen
And finally, people are enamored with the sheer beauty of the season. Leibowitz grew up near the Jersey shore, and "I just took it as a fact that everyone likes summer the best." But deep in the winter in Norway, when the sun doesn’t rise above the horizon, multiple hours a day can still look like sunrise and sunset, and against the snow, "the colors are incredibly beautiful," she says. "The light is very soft and indirect."
Most likely you can’t cross-country ski straight out of your house, and while Norwegian sweaters may be catching on, restaurants and coffee shops in more temperate climates don’t all feature the fireplaces and candles common to the far north. Still, there are little things non-Norwegians can do. "One of the things we do a lot of in the States is we bond by complaining about the winter," says Leibowitz. "It’s hard to have a positive wintertime mindset when we make small talk by being negative about the winter."
This is easy enough to change; simply refuse to participate in the Misery Olympics. Talk about how the cold gives you a chance to drink tea or hot chocolate all day. Talk about ice skating, or building snowmen. Bundle up and go for a walk outside, knowing that you’ll likely feel warmer and happier after a few minutes. Better yet, go with a friend. Social plans are a great reason to haul yourself out from under the covers.
But overall, mindset research is increasingly finding that it doesn’t take much to shift one’s thinking. "It doesn’t have to be this huge complicated thing," says Leibowitz. "You can just consciously try to have a positive wintertime mindset and that might be enough to induce it."
Well….there you got it. It’s all about attitude and in our heads.
Tuesday, November 10, 2015
Sunday, November 8, 2015
|It’s another windy day in late fall and I was walking
with Molly down the street when my thoughts wandered off several decades. |
I was a young boy then and it was fall again. The harvest was already done on the wide open fields. I was running along the edge of a field. It was bordered by a long row of trees. A strong wind was going through the bare tree tops making a strong sound, almost like an organ would do.
I heard that same sound this morning and I got to think about the different sounds of wind.
You ever heard a breeze going through an aspen tree? Actually it’s the leaves hitting each other making this gentle sound. Increasing wind force will alter the sound. I have heard winds going through high grass making a cautious swish. When I am at the beach I hear a different sound again. It mixes with the beach-crashing waves. Spruce and pine trees produce a very special swishing sound at high winds. Hurricane-force winds and winter storms are scary howling monsters.
As howling winds can be scary other winds f.ex. at night can have a very soothing effect on the human mind.
When looking up “Sounds of Wind” on the Internet I found a variety of You Tube videos about the topic. Here is one I found especially interesting as it has been recorded in the fall.
Wind intensity determines the level of sound we hear, and I find it amazing how the human brain can associate certain sounds with our remembrance of experiences a long time ago, like me running across a field in Northern Germany fifty years ago.
Would be interested to hear about your own experiences with Sounds of Wind
Friday, November 6, 2015
November is here and with it the days are getting a tad darker and more grey. Today we are having a typical foggy day and this fog did not lift off. So armed with our NIKON, I trooped out on our road to take a couple of shots documenting the change in nature.
It is also a very good day to have a wood fire going, reading a book and enjoying some warming food.
While I have been in NYC, New Brunswick had a big storm. My earlier posting mentioned some damage in our neighbourhood. Meanwhile I have received a video taken by Campobello resident Patty Bent. It was taken at Herring Cove Beach. For full size hit the button in lower right corner. It’s quite impressive.