Moon landing


I cannot remember when men first landed on the moon, in 1969. I was alive and old enough to remember something like that. We had a TV. That is to say, my granduncle had a TV—up on the old farm, in a little valley above a fjord. There was nothing on it until 6 pm, when a children’s program would come on, then the news. All in glorious black and white. Everything was in black and white until 1974 when Norway decided to allow the broadcasting of color TV even though protesters thought it would be bad for people.

People have the weirdest reasons for not wanting change.

My folks kept their black and white TV for quite a while. It wasn’t broken and we were used to it. The first thing I saw in color was at a friend’s house, a scene from a British series, “Black Beauty” (yes, the one about the horse). The only thing strikingly different from seeing the same show in B&W was the grass. Incredibly green in color. Black Beauty was still black.

But why can’t I remember the moon landing?

Because I was asleep. It was night time in Norway. I was 8 years old. I couldn’t stay awake even if I wanted to. But I remember my grandma telling me they stayed up to watch it. My grandparents saw astronauts in real time step onto another world. On a TV on the old farm Grandpa was born on in 1901.

Today’s prompt: stripes, lemonade, astronaut

Apples, APP and another abbreviation

Apples makes me think of the old gold mining town of Julian in Southern California, a charming and tiny place that today specializes in apple pie. Warm apple pie with cheddar cheese on it is a wonderfully delicious combo!

Lasers make me think of when laserium shows were new. Started in Los Angeles, at the Griffith Observatory, and I loved it!  I didn't have the sense then to appreciate the show’s choice of music from Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon". I appreciate the music more now, but it's still not an album I play much. It is, however, produced by Alan Parsons and I love Alan Parsons Project (APP).

Michigan's two letter postal code is MI. I didn't have to look that up. I actually know all the state postal codes by heart.  

I have no good pictures of the city itself, only Julian’s plaque explaining its history

I have no good pictures of the city itself, only Julian’s plaque explaining its history

Today's prompt: apples, laser, Michigan.


So something a bit shorter today, rather than the lengthy letter home of yesterday’s two blog posts (wherein I mention yoga).

I can’t ever seem to go to a beach and not want to pick up a seashell or smoothed rock. Bad habit, really. It sadly just becomes clutter because I’ll never do something fancy with these things like paint a face on the rock or glue the seashells to a picture frame “for interest”.

My dust-gathering finds do remind me of where I found them, but so do pictures. Here’s one of the last beach I collected seashells from. It’s in Normandy, France.

I like how the waves are making waves in the sand

I like how the waves are making waves in the sand

Today’s prompt: letter, seashells, yoga

The next rebels

I belong to the generation that followed the boomers. No, not Generation X. That other generation. The small one that is considered boomer but really isn't. We're just the tail at best. We aren't the ones that rebelled. As my high school history teacher said: We're the nothing-happened generation.

There's a lot of good to be said for the Baby Boomer generation. They changed the rules, making it possible for patients to get a second opinion, to have sex (and babies) outside of wedlock, to get women into management and politics and marathons. A lot of important things started before the boomers became old enough, but they were the first generation to live the change as teenagers or college students or young adults. I admire their chutzpah and appreciate their efforts. My "tail" generation, c. 1958 to 1966, just followed along and got the fruits of the "older kids'" labors.

Now they're approaching retirement or have retired. They're still in jeans and I see the contours of the next mark they're going to set on society: Wine and rock-n-roll in nursing homes.

The boomers that have become CEOs, rich patriarchs, well-established, safe and settled, owning their own home (and members of my generation are in there, too) have also become the ones that don't want to share or accept change that others want. Conservatism is not specific to boomers, however, but is just something that seems to be more and more common as we age. What's not good is when conservatism is born out of fear of loss, rather than complacency or satisfaction.

The generations after the boomers did not rebel in the same way. Generation Jones (the "tail"),  X and Y (the millennials) have their identities but did not protest loudly. My history teacher said what he said right after he said, "It's all been done." Somebody else had already fought. Somebody else had already protested. Somebody else had already demanded. Somebody else had already gotten the changes.  So by the late 70's/early 80's, there wasn't anything in our society that needed placards and megaphones.

There is now. There is a new protest generation: Generation Z. Like the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The ones who got fired up after they got fired upon. These kids haven't backed down yet. They have the necessary staying power. They are rebeling and will continue to rebel. They have a good cause. They see that society has let them down and they want change. I am proud of them, I have faith in them, and their voices are necessary. I am impressed by their intelligence, their focus and their stamina. I recognize a generational change, one that will alter the 21st century, like the boomers altered the 20th, and I welcome it.

In a home or a garden you need to get rid of the clutter or the weeds so it won't choke out healthy life. When a society gets too full of itself, has too many unhealthy laws or behaviors, the ones doing the tossing are the rebels. We need our next generation of rebels.


The Daily Prompt: Rebel

I made this!

There is one thing I will never flaunt, and that is my cooking skills. I am grateful if I enjoy what I made, because that's not a given. I'm about to declutter my kitchen and I think a number of spices will disappear when I do. I never use them. I don't know how to use them. And no, I'm not interested in learning. I can't learn.

My mother and her mother (and her mother) are/were all good cooks. Not fancy cooks, but the kind of cooks who can put together ingredients in a way to make a nourishing and tasty meal, and they can do that every day. (I do remember Grandma saying the biggest challenge to cooking was coming up what to make. Her tomato meatloaf was divine, by the way.) I did not inherit this talent from them.

You know how some things are interesting enough to make you want to find out more? I'm like that with computers or astrology, but not with cooking. I don't even watch cooking shows. I may as well be watching a quantum physics lecture for quantum physicists. Actually, I'd give that latter a try because I'd probably enjoy it more than watching somebody pickle fisheyes or something (it's probably been done). The only TV cook I've ever watched with any enjoyment (and even then, only a few episodes) was UK's Nigella Lawson because she was slightly klutzy in the kitchen, a trait that made me feel at home. And she talked about what she was doing in a way I could understand. I watched Jamie Oliver swear he could get dinner ready in 15 minutes, and does—3 courses—and at the end just tosses mint, ginger and lemon into ice water and I know that sounds good; I just cannot understand how he got there, how he knew to combine those. Because when he did, I realized that that would never have occured to me. And so got the same feeling with him that I had in high school chemistry: A mystified void where knowledge should have lodged.

That everlasting void is one reason why I don't know how to substitute. I don't what would work in place of an ingredient I don't have, because I don't understand the combination of the original ingredients. That understanding of how flavors or textures interact is a key to good cooking, and I lack it. The everlasting void is why I expect a lot of my spices will go, too, once I get around to decluttering the kitchen cabinets. They'll go because they were purchased in a mad attempt at understanding them enough to use them outside the one recipe that introduced them to me, and they'll go because rarely used spices in a household of one tend not to be good after a while.

However, in spite of all of the above, I feed myself. Perhaps not spectacularly, and perhaps not creatively, but definitely by my own hand in my own kitchen. I use cookbooks. The only thing I'll just do on the fly are eggs. I am very good with eggs.

I have to make my own food. Partly because TV-dinners get excrutiatingly boring after a while, and mainly because if I am to feed my body the way it needs to be fed, I have to do the cooking. I have to keep it healthy and, in deference to my own monkey brain, keep it simple.

So I try to find recipes where I understand the whole thing and I can do the whole thing. Recipes that do not require a dash of an obscure ingredient, or a food item not sold in Norway, or that have that one step I don't know how to do. I have one chicken recipe I love because when I cook the chicken breasts exactly as the recipe says, they always come out tender and moist. I don't understand why. I am surprised every time it happens. And grateful.

Today's dinner was inspired by ready-made bacon burger patties at the store. I've always thought that ramekin bread would make a good hamburger bun, if you layer with lettuce leaves so the condiments don't leak through, and with that thought (and the knowledge that I have frozen sweet potato fries in the freezer), I ended up with a proper hamburger for dinner tonight. Behold:

Hamburger with ramekin bun

Hamburger with ramekin bun

Those who wander

"Not all those who wander are lost." —J.R.R. Tolkien

Let me just say—as someone who loved to get lost in an encyclopedic dictionary when she was a kid, wandering from definition to definition like exploring room after room in a pre-computer adventure game—that this is one of my favorite quotes.

And that love of following a path to discover more, especially in words, made me love html and hyperlinks. That's what the internet is: A huge encyclopedia with cross-references all over and "see …" everywhere. The encyclopedic dictionary I lost myself in also included a list of the meanings of names, a thesaurus, famous quotes, as well as French, German and Spanish dictionaries. It was published by Reader's Digest, and it is one thing I sometimes wish I'd taken with me when Grandma died.

But then I remember I have the internet. So off I go, wondering if "vague" has anything to do with the vagus nerve, and it does. The Latin root of both words means to wander, and that is also clear in the word "vagabond", a word borrowed from the French in both Norwegian and English that means a transient person, a traveler, a wanderer.

That reminds me: I know nothing about the vagus nerve. (Search, click a link, jump to a definition…) Ah, it is called the roaming or wandering nerve because it meanders around as it travels through the neck, chest and abdomen supplying organs and structures on its way. Basically your good ol' local bus.

I'll have to look up the meaning of "bus" one of these days.


The Daily Prompt: Vague


There are some real-life genies: Ones who can give you exactly what you want, without any effort on your part. Like my hairdresser.

I think the modern term is "stylist" but my hairdresser doesn't style the rest of me—just the hair. But he does do magic with that hair. My hair has its own version of stubborn: Ruler-straight and baby-fine, it will not hold a curl without chemical help, and it won't even stay put in a ponytail. Within half an hour I have strands of hair gleefully escaping whatever I tried to hold them with.

But my hairdresser makes me happy with my hair. He finds ways to cut it to take advantage of what it is. And it is shiny and gorgeously mousy brown. No, wait, he once told me it is ash brown and one of the best hair colors out there.

He's less than two years older than me. I keep wondering what I'll do when he retires. I'll finally have to go find another cutter and that isn't easy. He has employees and some of them have had the opportunity to do my 'do when he wasn't there. It just didn't feel right or look right or handle right.

He seems to not want to retire any time soon, so we watch each other grow older, him losing what hair he has, and me sometimes asking how many grays I've acquired. He brushes that question off (heh). Which is why I've taken to studying what falls on the floor, looking for telltale "blond" strands. Saw a few more today, silver accents well spaced apart amidst the dark brown.

For over 35 years I've sat in a chair with him wielding sharp instruments near my ears, holding conversations with eye contact done via the mirror. I don't really know him, but he knows my hair. With just a few words from me, he goes to work, and a half hour later I am turned into a goddess.


The Daily Prompt: Genie

A glimmer of a post

I could give you all kinds of astrological reasons for why my flow suddenly choked, but suffice to say that the communication planet Mercury is slowing down to turn around and right itself on Sunday. Until then, I shall amuse myself—and hopefully you, too—by wondering about the "false friends" language has. Things that look related or alike, but do not mean the same thing.

Take "glimmer" for example. A word that means faint or wavering, especially of light. The dying beams of your flashlight are glimmering. Then there's the Norwegian word "glimmer", which means brilliant or excellent or brightly shining and flickering. Both the English and the Norwegian word have made the rounds but started with German. At what point did the English version come to mean faint rather than bright?

Anyway, if someone tells you you're glimmery or something like that in Scandinavia, beam brightly and steadily with pleasure.


The Daily Prompt: Glimmer