Moon landing

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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.

Golden

If you follow me on Instagram, you will recognize some of these photos. Leaving the good stuff only to IG isn't fair to my blog only readers, so here you go!

First up is from earlier this fall, in the neighborhood of our university, at Øysteins gate. I think Øystein was a king. We have a bunch of king names in this neighborhood, like Sigurd and Sverre and Magnus Barfot (Magnus Barefoot; apparently, he wore shorts). 

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Next is from two months later, i.e. last night. Another street named for a king: Olav Kyrre, who was the founder of Bergen, Norway, in 1070. The street now is a main transit hub in town. (Weirdly, our bus station isn't.) I was waiting for my bus after my annual lutefisk dinner. (It was delicious.) I need to go back because the Christmas lights in the city park (Byparken) are new this year.

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And finally, one of those rare moments when everything just comes together. Right place, right time kind of thing. Last week, we were covered in frost, and everything was coated in glittering, white fuzz. A low, warm sun added perfect light to a corner of my local pond, Ortuvann, transforming ordinary into magical.

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You may be thinking the above was taken late in the day, but it's date-stamped with a time of 12:54. Nearly high noon and yet shadows are very long. Such is winter at 60 degrees north.

Fjord flashback

Here's a blast from the past (September 13 2008). I love the play of shadows and the blue reflecting in the water.

Somewhere-north-of-here fjord

Somewhere-north-of-here fjord

I actually did not recognize where the above was until I looked at some of the other photos from the same day: This was from an overnight trip with my then-department. We went to Flåm and Nærøyfjord. The latter is on the UNESCO World Heritage list. The former is the destination for the "Norway in a Nutshell" trip that combines bus, train and bus—not necessarily in that order. The photo above is as we sailed out the Aurlandsfjord from Flåm.

Below the highway headed to Aurland, decoration made out of rocks and plants mimic Viking hieroglyphs. Or maybe it's just modern art deer. 

Or maybe it's cows… Skinny, skinny, cows.

Or maybe it's cows… Skinny, skinny, cows.

Nærøyfjord has tall mountains on either side, and in the winter only the midday sun manages to shed any light there. The rest of the time it is in deep shadow. In September the sun was making its way down one side.

I love how the shadows create a second row of mountain tops here.

I love how the shadows create a second row of mountain tops here.

Entering Nærøyfjord: Such drama. Such contrast.

Entering Nærøyfjord: Such drama. Such contrast.

A more classic view from Nærøyfjord (pronounced NAIR-oy-fiord)

A more classic view from Nærøyfjord (pronounced NAIR-oy-fiord)

Oh, hey, we've got company!

Oh, hey, we've got company!

There's a reason why tourists love this fjord. So do I.

There's a reason why tourists love this fjord. So do I.

Looking behind us in Nærøyfjord

Looking behind us in Nærøyfjord

In the old days (like, when I was a kid and a good while after), ferry service connected Gudvangen with Flåm. Then two longish tunnels gave the two towns a land connection. Tunnels, because it's way harder to build a road on the outside of the mountains. Gudvangen and Flåm both live off tourism.

Main street, Gudvangen

Main street, Gudvangen

Obligatory waterfall picture

Obligatory waterfall picture

Lyrical challenge Day 3 of 3

The final day of being lyrically challenged (in more ways than one), thanks to one of my inspirations for blogging, Paula at Light Motifs. If you're feeling inspired, please do your own challenge and let me know about it! And now for the third song with lyrics I not only paid attention to, but also bothered to learn by heart. But that came later, because when this song first played on the radio back in 1979, it made me cry. Every. Single. Time. This is one song that is on the short list as a song you may play at my funeral (the other songs are mostly happy disco tunes so bring dancing shoes). It is "The Rose" by Bette Midler.

Teen years are intense years, and the evening I saw the movie "The Rose" has moments that I will never forget. I had two friends at the time (I always end up in a trio of two girls and a guy; I'm on my third such grouping), Ann and Grant (hi, Ann!), and we went to see "The Rose". I drove us to the movie theater in my little Datsun B210. It wasn't a theater or part of town we had been to before, and we arrived too late for the intended show. So we ended up hanging out in my tiny car because all the stores at the nearby strip mall were closed or uninteresting. Grant told us the worst jokes in the world and I. Still. Remember. Them. Thanks, Grant.

I'm sure we did more than jokes because Ann and Grant could get into some crazy conversations with each other, strictly for entertainment purposes.

And then it was finally time for the next showing to start and we went and saw the movie.

I didn't understand shit, and I certainly didn't get that the movie was loosely based on Janis Joplin's life. I was "Janis who?". But what I did get was the closing song. The Rose. And the radio stations got it too, and sometimes the tears and the ache that song produced in me every time it played was frustrating.

But that's how you know it matters: If it stops you in your tracks, if it freezes the moment, if it moves you to tears.

The song could be called a hymn, and I know of some people who thought it was a hymn. The imagery and variety in the lyrics, how nothing repeats itself ever but says the same thing, are a huge part of why I love this song. But the message felt like a commandment to me, a finger pointing out my responsibility in this life. And that's one reason for the tears. I take my responsibility as a spiritual person seriously. I was trying to do right by the message of "The Rose".

In later years, the lyrics have mellowed for me, and I no longer cry. Instead, the song describes the gift that each individual can contribute to the greater good. The song is no longer a harsh demand, but a gentle reminder that no matter what, the seed may become more.

And now I am crying again. "The Rose"… you still do that to me.


The Rose

Some say love, it is a river, that drowns the tender reed Some say love, it is a razor, that leaves your soul to bleed Some say love, it is a hunger, an endless aching need I say love, it is a flower, and you, its only seed

It's the heart afraid of breaking, that never learns to dance It's the dream afraid of waking, that never takes the chance It's the one who won't be taking, who cannot seem to give And the soul afraid of dying, that never learns to live

When the night has been too lonely and the road has been too long And you think that love is only for the lucky and the strong Just remember in the winter, far beneath the bitter snows Lies the seed, that with the sun's love in the spring becomes the rose

Songwriters: Gordon Mills The Rose lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

PS: I now know who Janis Joplin was (RIP), I have seen "The Rose" again and I love the movie and its cast.

Lyrical challenge Day 2 of 3

It is Day 2 of the song lyric challenge that Paula at Light Motifs has lobbed at me. With friends like that, et cetera. So I mentioned yesterday that I'm not really aware of what people are singing because not enough enunciation. (By the way, I was double-checking that I had the right word, and discovered it's not spelled "annunciation", which is a totally different thing. Heh.)

There was a time when being proud of America and happily waving the flag and feeling all kinds of good was the norm, rather than either a rarity or something that now makes you throw up in your mouth a little (take your pick). Point is, things have changed since the 1970's. But at the time, even if we got pretty beaten up during that decade, too, with resigning presidents, falling Saigons, soaring gas prices and waiting hostages, we still had reason to like ourselves and the rest of the world sort of usually liked us, too.

And there was always the Muppets to give one a bit of reprieve. The Muppet Show was a favorite in our household, and my mom and I were thrilled when the Muppets made a whole movie! YES!!!

So I remember two things, no three things (well, umpteen but we'll go with three) especially about the evening we went to the movies to see Muppets on a big screen: I got a parking ticket, we honestly thought the film was ruined (see it to see what I mean) so the entire audience gasped in dismay, and the entire audience heaved a deep sigh of warm fuzzy agreement at Fozzie's concluding statement after doing his version of "America the Beautiful". As it turns out, that song is perfect for road trips in the U S of A. At least the first verse is. I didn't even know the song/hymn had other verses until I could claim middle-age so here's a link to the whole song in case you didn't know, either.

I am also partial to that hymn simply because it is has so many wonderful visuals and color combinations and plains that aren't fluted but fruited (told you I don't hear lyrics too good) and a hope and blessing rolled into one. A short verse and short chorus pack a lot of poetic and inspirational punch and I sometimes wish this song was the US national anthem.

And now for the part Fozzie sings:


America the Beautiful

O beautiful for spacious skies, For amber waves of grain, For purple mountain majesties Above the fruited plain!

America! America! God shed His grace on thee, And crown thy good with brotherhood From sea to shining sea!

Lyrical challenge Day 1 of 3

I have been challenged by Paula at Light Motifs to do three days of song lyrics. I thank Paula for making me update my blog (no, really, I needed this) but I have no one else who is actively blogging to pass the challenge on to. That doesn't matter. I don't do anything that reminds me of chain letters, anyway.  :-D

I rarely listen to lyrics because I rarely catch what they're singing, anyway. But some songs had a singer with good enunciation, and even good lyrics, and so I became aware of the words.

One of my favorite bands from the 70's is Little River Band, originally from Australia. I still listen to their 70's stuff (because I don't know if they did 80's or even 00's stuff), and some songs put me right back in California. They had that mellow, west-coast soft-rock sound. And good lyrics. Several of their songs tell good stories, dealing a punch here, a good tug on the heart there. LRB became a part of the tapestry of my life in late 70's California, following me from high school to work, an essential part of what I listened to in my car during commutes. Some songs bring back moments behind the wheel or in my messy teenager's room in front of the stereo.

One of the few ballads I love to listen to any time is LRB's "Cool Change". The song from 1979 is a true child of the 70's focus on getting grounded and centered and mellowing out, and you really do mellow out to it. Sometimes, I become so keenly aware of the words that I notice something I might not have been meant to notice.

If you pay too close attention, you may find your chill bliss interrupted by a bit of ridiculous phrasing, the kind that makes me sometimes utter at that point in the song, "Like you have a choice?" or start giggling while singing along. If you know what line(s) I'm reacting to, tell me in the comments. (Hint: It's not "staring at the full moon like a lover". That is an awesome simile, that.)


Cool Change Little River Band

If there's one thing in my life that's missing It's the time that I spend alone Sailing on the cool and bright clear water It's kind of a special feeling

When you're out on the sea alone Staring at the full moon, like a lover Time for a cool change I know that it's time for a cool change

Now that my life is so prearranged I know that it's time for a cool change Well I was born in the sign of water And it's there that I feel my best

The albatross and the whales they are my brothers There's lots of those friendly people And they're showing me ways to go And I never want to lose their inspiration

Time for a cool change I know that it's time for a cool change Now that my life is so prearranged I know that it's time for a cool change

I've never been romantic And sometimes I don't care I know it may sound selfish But let me breathe the air

Well I was born in the sign of water And it's there that I feel my best The albatross and the whales they are my brothers

It's kind of a special feeling When you're out on the sea alone Staring at the full moon, like a lover

Time for a cool change I know that it's time for a cool change Now that my life is so prearranged I know that it's time for a cool change

Songwriters: Glenn Barrie Shorrock Cool Change lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

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

The almost astrologer

So, I'm busy downloading old photos from my Flickr account because Flickr is being sold and I'm tired of dealing with various TOS. 'Sides, I'm paying for Dropbox. And digging through the old stuff, here's one from 15 years ago: The weekend I was a professional astrologer.

Giving an astrological reading at the Bergen New Age Fair (Alternativmessen) 2003

Giving an astrological reading at the Bergen New Age Fair (Alternativmessen) 2003

First of all: Dig the Mac laptop! The toilet lid, as Norwegian Mac afficiendos called it. Heh. I still have the striped knitted sweater behind me. Handknitted by a dear no-longer-with-us friend who picked quality wool and did quality work. I shared the booth with the Tarot reader in the corner. Haven't stayed in touch.

If you dig into the links to earlier pages, you'll find where I wrote about the weekend I spent at the New Age Fair 2003 in Bergen and some other astrology stuff.

I never stuck with it. It turns out I don't find people all that interesting. Let me rephrase: I like helping and stuff, but I don't really "get" people. It takes me a long time to understand someone else, and I usually never do. I never seem to learn anything about other people. I certainly don't understand their motivations. I understand human motivation; I understand why someone would cheat or murder or steal, for example. I just can't understand an actual individual's motivations. I can't apply the theory.

The friend who knitted the jacket for me? She always gave me amazing and appropriate gifts. I'm not aware of others enough to do that. I cared enough about her to pay attention and ended up buying her a book on a topic she had expressed an interest in several times. She burst into tears when I gave it to her. I was surprised. I was also relieved and happy I'd bought that book. I finally did something right in the gift-giving department!

You see? I'd been friends for years with her, paid attention to her interests, and was still surprised when I got it right. Honestly, sometimes it would make sense if someone told me I was on the autism spectrum or something. At any rate, I try to remind myself to pay close attention so I can do something nice for a friend.

Since it takes so much effort and energy for me to get into what's going on with an individual, even with the help of a horoscope, I decided that working with people as a counselor was not for me. But I'll happily dish out advice on the fly if you ever need it.