Wednesday, July 31, 2013

At the Zoo

Just some wild things at the zoo!
Fredrik and his uncles, Anders and Christian, pose with an unidentified cougar
My brother and sister-in-law decided to take the kids and grandkids to the Hogle Zoo before the summer was gone.  (The Hogle Zoo is located near Salt Lake City, Utah.)

It was a beautiful, if warm, summer's day.  Just perfect for ice cream and seeing all the wonderful animals.

A little heffalump baby
The Hogle Zoo is a wonderful place, as attested to many times in this blog.  We've blogged about the cats there, but never about the elephants.  I love that little baby elephant (above).  What a cutie.

Little Miss Livia, age 2,  had a very nice time at the zoo with her Farfar and Farmor (Her grandparents, or Daddy's father and mother, as they are called in Swedish.).

Enjoying an ice cream on a hot day

Goldfish crackers, ice cream and elephants, it doesn't get any better than this!

Okay, Farfar!  Enough with the pictures, already!
In case you were wondering, all these photos were taken with an old 1950s model Rolleiflex on 120 black and white film, by my brother (aka Farfar), who loves to play with old cameras.  I truly enjoy the sharp contrast of black and white photography.  It always makes things seem more interesting, somehow.

Not that I would like a world without color! I'm just saying you tend to see things in black and white film that you don't necessarily notice using color.  It's as if form and texture suddenly take center stage, and photo composition becomes more meaningful.

Like this photo of Fredrik slurping down his ice cream cone.

I love this photo!
Fredrik will be turning 4 years old soon!

Although it was a rather hot summer's day, the kids really did enjoy their time at the zoo, giraffes and all.

Giraffes busy doing giraffe things at the Hogle Zoo
Below, we see Farmor by the giraffe enclosure..

Does she look like a grandmother to you?

Nope.  Not to me, either!

I hope you've enjoyed this short family sojourn to the Zoo.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Bon Voyage!

Going through security at Salt Lake Airport
How will you spend your summer vacation?  Or have you already been on a get-away?

My sister-in-law and my two youngest nephews took off last week for Sweden.

A-Yup.  Off to the land of Vikings, herring and trolls.

Christian, Kirsti and Anders at the airport, all set for their adventure
It's a long trip, even with the convenience of airplane travel.  The group first flew to Paris, then headed north to the land of the midnight sun.

Spectacular Sweden
 The little town of Eskilstuna, where Kirsti, my sister-in-law, was born, is a lovely place.

I can't wait to blog about their adventures.  When my brother joins them in a couple of weeks, he's promised to post lots of photos for us.  Hurray!  I like being an armchair tourist.  I hope you do, too.

The only thing you truly miss out on being an armchair tourist is all the fabulous food.

Shrimp Smørrebrød

Really really fabulous food.

And all the great people you would meet if you were actually there.

Kristina, Anna, Anders, Christian and grandmother Britt
The sign behind them reads, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Like the folks you might meet at your neighborhood church... where you might run into some American tourists with strangely Scandinavian sounding names!

Cousin Andrew on a  quaint, but deserted street in Eskilstuna
You don't get to really meet anyone from an armchair, so get out and go somewhere this summer if you are able.

The world is waiting.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Majestic Mountains - Carpets of Flowers

Talk about "Purple Mountains Majesty"!
This truly is America, the Beautiful.

My friends Meldee and Don went hiking up above the Alta Ski Resort last week.  They took these photos just for us!  This area is known as the Albion Basin, and it's not far from Salt Lake City, Utah.

I really love wildflowers.  I hope you enjoy these photos of the wildflowers, too.

This looks like a painting...

Carpets of yellow daisies!

I love thy rocks and rills, thy woods and templed hills!
(- from My Country 'Tis of Thee)

It's hard to see these photos of the wild flowers and not think of the artist Monet!

Am I right?

Mother Nature has a lovely artist's pallet of colors, doesn't she?

Okay, I think this is my favorite of all the photos:

I love this shot!
And now Julie Andrews will appear, twirl, and sing, "The Hills Are Alive With the Sound of Music!"

Ready. Set. Go Julie!

I feel like we need a voiceover at this point, with a deep male voice resonating the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Broadcast's famous sign-off:

...and again we leave you within the shadows of the everlasting hills.  May peace be with you, this day and always!

Friday, July 26, 2013

A Spa Day

A little bit of debris?
Meanwhile, back in Connecticut, my friend Donna was getting her house, roof and gutters power-washed the other day.  A little while later, she thought she saw some debris hanging from the gutter.

She wondered what it was.

Then she got a closer look!

Kermit's cousin, a tree frog
Nope.  It wasn't debris!  It was a big fat tree frog enjoying himself on a pleasant summer's day!

Some time later Donna found him all stretched out, just sunning himself.

What a cutie, huh?

Sunning and sleeping
Donna says she thinks that he probably jumped down from a neighboring tree.  I'll bet he enjoyed the shower and was having a real "spa day"!

Oh, for the life of a frog!

Little Sunny is not as green as Kermit the Frog.  Wonder if he can sing and dance?  Does he have a girlfriend too?  So many questions!

Enjoy your weekend, wherever you may be!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Viking Runes

Kristina posing with a very large Viking Rune Stone
Little Kristina is my sister-in-law's niece.  She is currently on vacation and spent some time at the family home in Sweden.  She is posing with a famous ancient runestone located not far from her grandmother's birthplace in Eskilstuna.

The stone in the photo above is called the Ramsund carving.  It is believed to have been carved in, or close to, the year 1030 AD.  The text tells us the following:
Old Norse transcription: 
Sigriðr gærði bro þasi, moðiR Alriks, dottiR Orms, for salu HolmgæiRs, faður SigrøðaR, boanda sins.
English translation:
Sigríðr, Alríkr's mother, Ormr's daughter, made this bridge for the soul of Holmgeirr, father of Sigrøðr, her husbandman."
The stone was raised by an aristocratic family.  The reference to building bridges is perhaps a reference to a bridge into the afterlife. 

The carver used the legend, or Saga, of Sigurd for the illustration accompanying the text, most probably because of the similarity in the names of the persons involved. 

It's easier to see the runes in this drawing:

 You will note the numbers in the drawing above, showing what it depicts:
1) Sigurd in front of the fire preparing the dragon heart, from Fafnir, for his foster-father Regin, who is Fafnir's brother. The heart is not finished yet, and when Sigurd touches it, he burns himself and sticks his finger into his mouth. As he has tasted dragon blood, he starts to understand the birds' song.
2) The birds say that Regin will not keep his promise of reconciliation and will try to kill Sigurd, which causes Sigurd to cut off Regin's head (3).
3) Regin is dead beside his own head.  His smithing tools (with which he reforged Sigurd's sword Gram) are scattered around him.
4) Sigurd's horse Grani is laden with the dragon's treasure. He is tethered to the tree.
5) Sigurd killing Fafnir, and
6) Ótr from the saga's beginning.
My dear Viking ancestors - they were a bloodthirsty bunch!

Runestones are generally raised stones with a runic inscription, but they can also be inscriptions on boulders and bedrock, such as the one above.  The tradition appears to have begun in the 4th century and lasted for hundreds of years.

They can be found all over Scandinavia and even in Britain.

Being a tourist is fun!
It's not every day you get to lounge on an ornate 17th century cannon
Scientists have discovered through use of electron microscopes that Runestones were originally painted with the common paints of the time: red ochre, red lead, soot, calcium carbonate, and other earth colors, which were bound with fat and water.  Vikings traveled all over the world, so they also imported fancier colors, such as white lead, green malachite and blue azurite from Continental Europe.

Here's another stone located in the same area.  This one is a more typical runstone, carved on a flat stone, and raised into a vertical position.

Cousins Kristina, Maren and Andrew posing with a large Viking marker
It's rather amazing to think of these messages, raised 10-15 or so centuries ago, still standing and readable.

It makes me wonder what our civilization will leave behind for future generations.

What would you like to be remembered for a thousand years from now?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Happy 24th of July!

Youth from the Whitter, California Stake re-enacting their Pioneer Heritage 
Happy Pioneer Day!

If we were in Utah right now (and maybe YOU are, but I'm not) we'd have the day off work because it's a recognized State Holiday.  I wish I had the day off, therefore it would be nice to live in Utah - well, at least today.

The 24th of July marks the day in 1847 when an advance company of Mormon Pioneers entered the Salt Lake valley and Brigham Young uttered those immortal words:  This is the right place! 

He was later to say he had seen the valley so many times in vision that he recognized it immediately when he saw it.

Today, to mark the event, Utahans get the day off and celebrate with parades.  The Days of '47 Parades are a lot of fun!

The South Jordan Stake was in charge of one of these beautiful floats.  It was on display at the South Towne Expo Center a couple of nights ago for a special float preview.

It takes a lot of talent - and more especially hard work - to put one of these together!

Firmly Anchored to the Future
South Jordan Glenmoor Stake's entry in the Parade
 Hundreds of volunteer hours are spent building and decorating these beautiful floats.

They are lucky in that there are no rules against using non-vegetable materials, such as in the Rose Parade of Pasadena, California.  For Days of '47 parades, which are held all over Utah, I think the general consensus for float building guidelines is to avoid the overuse of actual pioneers and crickets!

The SLCC Marching Band
Among the marching bands who will be performing, is the Salt Lake Community College Marching Band. The SLCC doesn't actually have a band, so they assemble kids from all over the area every summer to march at events such as this.

Sorry this photo is blurry, but the kids were all in motion.  That's my nephew Anders in front (second from the right) playing the clarinet.  Although the parade isn't until 9 .m., I was told he had to be ready to march at 7:30 a.m.this morning!

Brigham Young (my hero) helped settle Utah, Idaho, Arizona, Nevada and parts of Wyoming and California as well. I can't imagine what the western United States would be like today without his influence.  We do well to honor the pioneers who forged a civilization from the uncharted wilderness, mountains and deserts, of this vast country.
They, the builders of the nation,
Blazing trails along the way;
Stepping-stones for generations
Were their deeds of ev'ry day.
Building new and firm foundations,
Pushing on the wild frontier,
Forging onward, ever onward,
Blessed, honored Pioneer!
Text: Ida R. Alldredge, 1892-1943. (c) 1948 IRI

The Days of '47 Parade passing through downtown Salt Lake
Have a Happy Pioneer Day!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Royal Baby

Charlotte Jane
Born July 19, 2013
Amid the news of a Royal baby in England (a hearty woo-hoo to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, by the way!), I got the news of another royal baby - a sweet little princess named Charlotte Jane who came into the world on Friday in San Diego.

This is Charlotte's Great-Aunt Elaine holding her.
I think Charlotte feels all safe and snugly
Little Charlotte weighed 8 pounds and 3 ounces and is a real cutie pie.

Dad Nate and Mom Ashley with their little princess
Look at all that hair!  What a cutie!

Charly has wonderful parents.  I've known her dad since he was a little boy.  He's going to be a great Daddy.

Being a Daddy is a very special calling.

This little Princess may not be in line for the throne of England, but she is still from a royal lineage.

Welcome to earthlife, little Princess!