my world

My World

For tonight’s blog, it’s all about giving you a glimpse in my world through the share your world challenge.  It’s one of the challenges run here in the blogosphere that make for fun and interesting reads while also connecting you to others bloggers.  So here it goes.

If you were having difficulty on an important test and could safely cheat by looking at someone else’s paper, would you do so?   I’m not good at being bad. So no I wouldn’t cheat because know I’d get caught.

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What things in nature do you find most beautiful?  I love the beautiful sunsets that light the Florida sky.  Also a top the items I find to be most beautiful are flowers, the beach, the fjords, mountains and waterfalls.   The Norwegian countryside was beyond beautiful.  Neither pictures nor words can adequately describe its beauty.

Complete this sentence: When I travel I love to…  I love to stay in the neighborhoods and experience the city or country as a local.  Consequently, we stayed in AirBnB’s in both Bergen and Oslo while travelling throughout Norway.  These accommodations were in the neighborhoods away, but not too far from the tourist sights.  In Oslo, our apartment had the cutest nest like area over the kitchen where the younger two boys could sleep.  Fortunately, they loved their little area.  Goalielocks had a similar room when we were in Bergen, which he also loved.  Nevertheless, the point is I want to be immersed in the culture of where ever I have traveled to.

What inspired you or what did you appreciate this past week?  This week I was heavily inspired by my dear friend Debbie, here family and our friends.  Months of hard work culminated with the Purple Stride event Sunday morning.  After the event, I was looking to see updated fundraising totals on the site and noticed a quote from Debbie. Here’s here quote that as a part of her keynote speech at the 2016 Broward Palm Beach Purple Stride event.

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My first PurpleStride was in 2015. I wanted to complete the 5K as my own personal challenge. Being able to attend my second PurpleStride this year in 2016, was about showing that patients can live, cherish the moments they have in their lives, teach others to celebrate their own lives and to remember the gifts of those lives that are no longer with us.”

Tonight’s song comes to us courtesy of Tom Petty.  Enjoy “Learning to Fly!”

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First day of fall

First Day of Fall

Today ushered in the first day of fall, which in Florida was marked by a continuation of horrible heat and humidity.  Admittedly, one of the things I miss most about living in the Midwest is the change of season from summer to fall.  As a child, my parents took us to see the beautiful fall colors along Lake Superior’s North Shore or down the Mississippi and Lake Pepin.  Each drive is a bit different, but equally beautiful.

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First day of fall at Split Rock Lighthouse

When we’d drive down the Mississippi, we would stop to see Maiden Rock.   This is a famous location along Lake Pepin.  It was on this bluff, where according to Dakotah Sioux legend an Indian maiden Wenonah jumped to her death.  She chose to jump rather than marry a man she didn’t love.

 

A short jaunt from Maiden Rock, is Laura Ingalls Wilder’s girlhood home.  As a young girl,  Wilder’s books about growing up on the Prairie were some of my favorites.  For me, it was a real joy to see where she was born.  It is also where one my favorite books take place.  Little House in the Big Woods, her first in the Little House on Prairie series, took place in Pepin, Wisconsin.

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Sadly, in Florida there’s no fall color aside from the brown leaves on the trees felled by Irma.  The heat and humidity continue to blast like a furnace and my hair hates it.  Oddly, the leaves on our maple tree still change colors randomly throughout the year.  The tree will then randomly drop a leaf or two.  It’s odd, to say the least, to see a leaf change colors in April and not October, but I think I can adjust.

We here in Florida, not so patiently, await the end to the oppressive heat and rainy season.  In the meantime, here’s a wonderful poem by John Keats on Autumn.

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An Afternoon in Vigeland Park

Our last full day in Oslo, we made a mad dash through several amazing museums.  My favorite as you may recall was the incredible Viking Ship Museum.  After an expensive pizza lunch we headed out for our afternoon adventures: the Munch Museum and Vigeland Park.

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My motivation of course for going was to see Munch’s masterpiece The Scream.  Unfortunately, after its second theft and subsequent recovery, it is not always on display.  The painting was damaged as a consequence of the second theft and is undergoing restoration.  In hindsight, I would have instead opted to peruse Oslo’s National Gallery that has The Scream on display (there were 4 copies.)

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After our brief visit, we headed to a more kid friendly location.  The Vigeland Sculpture Garden, which is on the opposite side of Olso was our next stop.  Thanks to the Oslo’s incredible public transportation system it is easy to get anywhere in Oslo.  We took the T-bane (Olso’s Subway) to the nearest station and walked down the hill to the park.

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Vigeland Sculpture Garden is a must see if you ever travel to Oslo.  First of all, it is free.  This is great because you’ll spend a lot of money on food in Oslo.  For other attractions and free public transportation, your best bet is to buy an Oslo Pass.  You can buy an Oslo pass for 24-48-72 hours.  It definitely pays to have the Oslo Pass.

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Back to the Vigeland Sculpture Garden, which displays the life works of Gustav Vigeland.  The city of Oslo gave Vigeland a studio, where his eponymous museum is now located. Vigeland Park is home to Vigeland’s sculptures and incredibly beautiful gardens.

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The Monolith was carved out of a single block of granite and is located at the highest part of the park.  This is where our Vigeland experience began.  The kids were able to run free and explore the sculptures surrounding the monolith.  There were plenty of giggles emanating from the kids as all of the sculptures representative of man’s life cycle were nude.

While the kids giggled and climbed on the sculptures exploring the cycle of life, we were happy to photograph them as we took in the beautiful sculptures.  As they climbed, we ambled through the various sculptures.  Vigeland’s sculptures truly captured all of life’s cycles in beautiful and honest depictions.  The monolith is truly an exquisite piece of art.

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The kids got thirsty quick since it was a bit hot, by Oslo standards, the day we visited Vigeland. Near the bridge there was a tourist shop that sold water.  As the kids caught their breath and rehydrated, we were able to take in the beautiful sculptures on the bridge.   The sculptures on the bridge depict the children, men, women and their relationships.  The most popular sculpture is the one of the crying boy.  My favorite sculpture was the one that depicted a father juggling his children because it reminded me of my Hubby and my boys.

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If you find yourself in Oslo, Vigeland Park is an absolute must.  It would be the perfect location for a picnic lunch between museums.  Lastly, Vigeland is great for families with kids. Parents can enjoy the artistry of Gustave Vigeland while the kids can run freely about the park.

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Stopping to Smell the Roses

When I’m back home, my allergies are horrendous.  Here in Norway, they’ve been much better to the point where I can even stop and smell the roses.  My allergies have been present in Norway as there is a lot of pollen this time of year here as well, but they’re significantly less severe.  I enjoyed stopping to smell the roses.

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Even on the worst allergy day here, I can still smell the roses and flowers as I walk by them.  The fragrance of the roses, in particular, is very strong.  The smell is absolutely magnificent.  There is not a candle or potpourri on earth that can replicate the smell of these roses.

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Not only is the aroma amazing, but the flowers on the plants are gigantic, brightly colored and numerous.  Thank goodness for the close up feature on my Canon, which did a pretty good job of capturing the beautiful blooms.

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My New Toy

After leaving the nice camera on the shelf for the last year or so I brushed it off, charged its battery and got the lenses ready for graduation.  I bought the T2i for our trip to France back in 2011.   If you’re travelling to Europe or planning any major trip, it is worthwhile to invest in a good camera.    Many museums, cathedrals, castles, palaces and other landmarks prohibit flash photography, so you’ll need a camera that takes good pics in low light.

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Since 2011 my Canon EOS Rebel T2i has served us well, but after 6 years, countless trips to Minnesota, countless hockey tournaments and countless school events culminating with Jake’s graduation it is time to move on.  Truthfully, some of the photos from graduation were a bit cringe worthy.  The T6i comes with an improved lens compared to the T2i.  In addition, the camera is a bit heavy by current standards and lacks the connectivity to smartphones and computers built into the T6i and T7i.

The Canon EOS Rebel T6i can be controlled from my iphone.  No more running and tripping to try and beat the timer when taking a group picture off a tripod.  You can also review and manage images easily on your iphone, which is a huge plus.

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In preparation for my trip overseas, I’ve been playing around with the camera to try and learn the different settings and familiarize myself with it.  Fortunately, my puppies, my guinea pigs  and my kids have been happy to oblige.  My initial review of the Canon Rebel EOS T6i is that it is a huge upgrade compared to the T2i.  It is light, easy to use and easy to navigate the menus.  After my trip I will write a more comprehensive review.   Here are some of the practice pictures.

Beautiful Blossoms

Since I was a young girl, I spent hours in the garden with my mom, my grandmothers, and even my great grandmothers.  In Minnesota, there is no more welcoming site than the tulips breaking through the nearly frozen ground.  The tulips were a sure sign that spring was on its way and winter was starting to lose its grip.  Soon after the daffodils and late season tulips would follow.

My great grandmother’s garden in Minneapolis was absolutely exquisite and huge.  She a beautiful path that wound through the garden and led to a little enclave near a stump where a beautiful and delicate lady slipper could be found. As my great grandmother’s garden grew, she would divide the plants and thin them out to keep the gardens healthy.  The plants that were taken out of the garden were shared with my grandma, my mom and my aunts.  My mom still has peonies that originated from my great grandmother’s garden.

Peonies are my absolute favorite, but unfortunately I can’t grow them in South Florida as it does not get cold enough here.  Now instead of peonies, tulips and roses, I’ve planted gardenias and hibiscus plants.  In addition to the new flowers, we’ve added mangos, avocados, pineapples, limes, key limes and bananas to our garden.

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There’s so much beauty and peace that can be found in the blossom of a flower.  The bloom lives a delicate short existence, but in its short life it brings the world tremendous joy.  The blossom of a flower can teach us many things.  The blossom doesn’t wait for affirmation or bees for it to open.   The flower blooms and the bees come.   Lastly, the blossom is a poignant reminder of how beautiful, delicate and short are existence is on this planet.  Enjoy the beauty of life and don’t wait to blossom.

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