Photo (and Poetry) Blog

Day 90 of 365

Crocus, Krokus

Day 90 of my "365 Days" project. Crocus and snow.

The winter came back for a short while this morning; but the skies cleared in the afternoon, and the sun is now working hard to melt the snow. From hope to dispair and back in one day, i.e. typical spring weather.  The winter will not leave without a fight though, but we're prepared for the last round.

Crocus, Krokus

Snowdrops, Crocus

Crocus, Krokus

Tough spring flowers. They don't mind snow and a few minus degrees.

Photo of the Month: March

Crocus, Krokus

The Dead Sound

Perfum Bottle

Looking back, 

I knew it was over:

the way you hear

a pot break

and you can tell,

with no sign

of a crack, just by

the dead sound it makes

that it's gone, that it's

only a matter fo time.

by Robin Robertson

Robin Robertson (b. 1955) is an award-winning poet, hailing from Scone, in Perthshire, but now living and working in London. He is the winner of the 1997 and 2006 Forward Poetry Prize and winner of the Scottish Arts Council Poetry Award. He was also shortlisted for the 2006 T. S. Eliot Prize.

Day 89 of 365

Crocus, Krokus

Day 89 of my "365 Days" project. Spring in my garden.

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Crocus, Snowdrops


Snow this morning, then rain at lunch and sun in the afternoon. Spring in other words.

Day 88 of 365

Flowering Tree

Day 88 of my "365 Days" project. Spring is in the air!

Day 87 of 365

Crocus, Krokus

Day 87 of my "365 Days" project. My garden today.

Haiku Tuesday

Fallen leaves

Blown from the west,

fallen leaves gather

in the east.

by Yosa Buson. Translated by Robert Hass.

Yosa Buson (1716-1783) was one of the greatest Japanese poets from the Edo period, along with Matsuo Basho and Kobayashi Issa.

Day 86 of 365

Bumble-bee and Crocus

Day 86 of my "365 Days" project. The first bumble-bee of the season.

Day 85 of 365

Pink Flower

Day 85 of my "365 Days" project. Pink blossom.

This is the (now flowering) tree I captured in an earlier post ...

Tree Shadow on a Sunlit Wall

… that time as a shadow on a sunlit wall.

We Tend to Sleep Better When the Clock is Wound

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than we do

when it's all

wound down. 

I don't know

why we settle

to the sound.


the regular

click and chime

of passing time,

like water, turns

a water wheel

that turns a gear

that turns a stone

that turns upon

another stone

and fine

and finer in between

our dreams like grain

are ground.

by Todd Boss. 

Day 84 of 365

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Day 84 of my "365 Days" project. Primula in the making.

The garden is waking up. First were the snowdrops and crocuses; now the primulas have started popping up. This will become a drumstick primula (primula denticulata). I love their colour orgy when in bloom. I started with three plants a few years ago, and since then they have spread everywhere. 

It's so thrilling to see new plants popping up here and there in the garden! I'm not rigid about my garden, and even though I have a plan in the beginning, I let the plants grow where they want. They grow best when they can choose their place, and unless they threaten to take over existing plants, I don't move them. This is also a very good method of getting new plants for new flower beds. I always find there's room for one more bed.

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And this is how the little rosette will look like in a couple of weeks! Butterflies and bumble-bees love them. 

I always make sure that I pick plants that insects love when planning new flowers beds. Insects are very useful in the garden. They help pollination and provide food for smal animals and birds; birds eat noxious insects that usually attack plants. Insects and birds are also very pleasant, the whole garden hums with life, and it's such a bliss to be outdoors a fine summer day! Only two months to go!

Day 83 of 365

Crocus, Krokus

Day 83 of my "365 Days" project. Crocus.

Garden day - been outdoors the whole morning, working in the garden. No sunshine, the sun came out a few minutes now and then, but that was all. Very disappointed, I was so longing for the sun! It seems it's sunny and nice everywhere in Europe, but here. Very unfair. Pretty chilly too, only ten degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit).

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Different sorts of ivy make the mostly barren garden to look lush green.

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And the forsythia will soon explode in an orgy of gold; the buds are swelling for every day that passes.

Music Tip: Sivert Høyem and Madrugada. Sivert Høyem (b. 1976) is a Norwegian singer who is best known as the vocalist of the rock band Madrugada. The band broke up because of the death of Robert Burås, the band's guitarist, in 2007. He continued as a solo artist and also as a member of The Volunteers.

In September 2010, Sivert Høyem releazed "Prisoner of the Road" in order to raise awareness for the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRF). NRF is an independent, humanitarian non-governmental organization that provides assistance and protection to refugees and internally displaced persons.

Day 82 of 365

Crocus, Krokus

Day 82 of my "365 Days" project. More crocuses.

First day of gardening this year - such a bliss! And very early too; usually I can't start the big spring clean up in the garden until beginning of April. The winter has been extremely mild this year, and I'm thanksfull for that.

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Today I remembered to take a "before" photo - this is the peony flower bed that I worked on. There are a lot of snowdrops, crocuses and daffodils as they bloom early in the spring, when there are not many other flowering plants; and then the peonies start growing, and hide the withering blades of the crocuses and daffodils.

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And this is the "after" photo! Nice and clean.

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I just love the explosion of colours in the garden in early spring, when there's not much going on otherwise.

Day 81 of 365

Crocus, Krokus

Day 81 of my "365 Days" project. Crocus.

Finally some real sunshine today; one could feel the warmth of the sun caressing one's body. It has tempted the crocuses and the snowdrops to abandon thier coocoons and stretch towards the sun.

Crocus, Krokus

Crocus, Krokus, Snowdrops, Snödroppar

My garden today - six months of waiting are finally over. 

I have big plans for the week-end, there's so much to do in the garden now. I should probably take some "before" and "after" photos, so you can actually see the difference. I plan to do this every year, but in most cases I forget. I'm so happy to be outdoors and eager to be working in the garden again that I just get going and forget all about the "before" and "after". We'll see how it goes. 

Day 80 of 365

Sheraton Schiphol

Day 80 of my "365 Days" project. Sheraton Schiphol Hotel.

In Amsterdam for the day, conducting a workshop. I finally got over my cold and could talk the whole day - hurra! Great location, Sheraton is located in the airport, making it very convenient to fly in, have a quick meeting and then fly out again. Very well isolated too, you can't hear a thing in the room, even though you have a perfect view over the airport and  all the planes landing and taking off.

Sheraton Schiphol

View from my room. I love airplanes so this was perfect!

Haiku Tuesday

Green Abstract II

longing for the grass

at the bottom of the pool

those fireflies

Yosa Buson (1716-1783) was one of the greatest Japanese poets from the Edo period, along with Matsuo Basho and Kobayashi Issa.

Translation by David Cobb

Day 79 of 365

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Day 79 of my "365 Days" project. Ready for a quick trip to Amsterdam.

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My lovely luggage label. I bought in a nice little shop called "Fireworks" in the Bellevue Shopping Mall, WA.

Day 78 of 365

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Day 78 of my "365 Days" project. Crocodile on a sandbank.

It has started snowing again and the spring seems to be far away again. Crocuses and snowdrops have coocooned themselves and wait for the sunny days. I did the same and stayed indoors.

Once again a macro shot: a crocodile made of tigereye stone. I bough it in the Natural History Museum in Vienna, one of my favorites when in Vienna. The building is a magnificent one, build in the neoclassic style and with splendid decorations; the collections are vaste and the shop a very good one indeed.

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The building of Natural History Museum, Vienna

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Kunsthistorisches Museum

The Egyptian Collection

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The Roman Collection

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Natural History Museum, Vienna

Watch on YouTube

Day 77 of 365

Seastar and Shells

Day 77 of "365 Days" project. Another macro shot.

The bad weather will continue (yes, I'm a Pink Panther fan). And my cold doesn't seem to get better. Therefore more indoors shots. 

All the souls of my loved ones...

Chinese Garden, Sydney

All the souls of my loved ones are on stars high above.

How good it is that there is no one left to lose

And one can weep. The air of Tsarskoye Selo

Was created for the echoing of songs.

By the bank a silver willow

Touches the bright September waters.

Arisen from the past, silently

My shade comes to meet me.

Here so many lyres hang on the branches,

But it seems that there's a place for mine as well.

And this shower, scattered and sunny,

Is comfort and good news to me.

by Anna Akhmatova, translated by Judith Hemschemeyer.

Anna Akhmatova (1889 - 1966) is recognized as one of the greatest twentieth-century Russian poets.

Day 76 Of 365

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Day 76 of my "365 Days" project. Gerbera.

No sign of the spring, it's cold, damp and grey. Bought some bright orange gerbera and shot some macro. Their bright colour creates an illusion of sunshine indoors.

Day 75 of 365

Tree Shadow on a Sunlit Wall

Day 75 of my "365 Days" project. Shadow of a tree on a sunlit wall.

Day 74 of 365


Day 74 of my "365 Days" project.  Snowdrops.

The spring is officially here, now that the snowdrops are blooming in the garden!

Day 73 of 365

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Day 73 of my "365 Days" project. Safari style.

Still shooting indoors. My throat is better, but I don't feel that good yet to dare go out and hunt some new photos. It's still chilly (temperature seems to be fixed around freezing point) and, on top of that, a polar wind howls since Sunday.

Haiku Tuesday


fresh young leaves - 

the sounds of a waterfall

both far and near

by Yosa Buson, translated by R. H. Blyth. Buson (1716-1784) was a Japanese poet and painter of the Edo period. Along with Matsuo Basho and Kobayashi Issa, Buson is considered among the greatest poets of the Edo period.

Day 72 of 365

Medicine Tray

Day 72 of my "365 Days" project. At the sick bed.

If you're wondering about the little bell: I use it to call my husband to wait on me nowadays. 

My sour throat is aching and I've lost my voice (a blessing for my husband, for sure; he's enjoying the peace and quiet). And the pain! Oh, the pain! Imagine your throat being scrapped by sandpaper first; then lots of tiny broken glass pieces stuck here and there; and finally, all that being topped by salt and acid! Icecream and old movies are no solace anymore. All I want now is to get healthy again!

Note to self: do not deliver a full hour presentation to > 50 people at the top of your lungs if you have a sore throat!

Day 71 of 365

Pine Branch

Day 71 of my "365 Days" project. Pines.

Very short walk in the woods to find something for today. Luckily I found this pine branch just around the corner and deemed it good enough. I still have that bad cold and didn't feel for walking much or setting up anyhting in the studio. 

Day 70 of 365

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Day 70 of my "365 Days" project. Christmas Cactus.

My Christmas cactus is in bloom again, now closer to Easter than Christmas. Visit the Backyard Gardener for care instructions.

Day 69 of 365

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Day 69 of my "365 Days" project. Tea on a chilly day.

I had a lot of plans for this week-end, going for the woodpecker, that old scoundrel, among others. Everything came to a halt as I got a bad cold and the weather is very dull, chilly and damp. Instead, I'll stay indoors with plenty of hot tea and books. Not so bad in the end. 

Being sick, but just a little, is not that bad sometimes; you don't have to do any boring chores and you don't have to feel guilty about it either. After all, you are sick. And you can lay in the bed for as long as you like, coocooned away from the world, watching your preferred movies, eating icecream (it's good for your throat, so it's more like medicine, right?) and reading the books of your childhood.

I've just watched the new "Jane Eyre" movie, directed by Cary Fukunaga, and it is really good. Don't miss it! I wasn't sure I'd like it. I've read the book so many times since I was twelve years old, and you know how hard it is to like a movie based on your favorite book. You have already imagined that whole world in your own way, and then a stranger does the same to "your" book. Tough. But this was very well done indeed. The lightning (most of the time provided only by a fireplace or candles) and the subtle music of Dario Marianelli create that unearthly atmosphere of the book.

The Lake Isle of Innisfree

The Lake Isle of Innisfree

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,

And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:

Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,

And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,

Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;

There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,

And evening full off the linnet's wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day

I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;

While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,

I hear it in the deep heart's core.

by William Butler Yeats (1865-1939). William Butler Yeats was an Irish poet and playwright, and one of the foremost figures of 20th century literature.

Read more about Yeats and his poetry on Poetry Foundation.

Day 68 of 365

Frozen Strait Lilla Värtan, Sweden

Day 68 of my "365 Days" project. The frozen waters of Lilla Värtan.

I know that I have been moaning about the fact that we had no real winter this year and I was longing for snow, but now I'm really not interested in winter anymore. Give me spring, please! The temperature stays fixed around the freezing point, and, as you can see from the picture above, there's still plenty of ice on Lilla Värtan strait. A few snow drops have courageously fought their way through the snow and ice layers in the garden, but it seems they're on hold too, they're still tinny. It'll take a few really warm days to get them going. Tempus fugit indeed, but it seems it applies only to the amount of work that has to be done, and not to the arrival of spring.

As always, books, photo and music save me from succumbing to seasonal affective disorder, winter depression, winter blues (take your pick). So to my ...

… Music Tip: Angélique Kidjo, a Grammy Award-winner Beninoise singer-songwriter. She was the first woman to be listed among "The 40 Most Powerful Celebrities in Africa" by Forbes Magazine.

Day 67 of 365

Miss Dior Cherie

Day 67 of my "365 Days" project. Celebrating the International Women's Day.

International Women's Day (IWD), originally called International Working Women's Day, is marked on March 8th every year. In different regions the focus of the celebrations ranges from general celebration of respect, appreciation and love towards women to a celebration for women's economic, political and social achievements. Started as a Socialist political event, the holiday blended in the culture of many countries, primarily Eastern EuropeRussia, and the former Soviet bloc. In many regions, the day lost its political flavour, and became simply an occasion for men to express their love for women in a way somewhat similar to a mixture of Mother's Day and St Valentine's Day. In other regions, however, the original political and human rights theme designated by the United Nations runs strong, and political and social awareness of the struggles of women worldwide are brought out and examined in a hopeful manner.

In the West, International Women's Day was first observed as a popular event after 1977 when the United Nations General Assembly invited member states to proclaim March 8 as the UN Day for Women's Rights and International Peace.

Source: Wikipedia

Day 66 of 365

Frozen Lake

Day 66 of my "365 Days" project.

Even if it's sunny, it's still chilly and there's plenty of ice on Lilla Värtan.

Haiku Tuesday


the dawn of day -

on the tip of the barley leaf

the frost of the spring

Onitsura, translated by R. H. Blyth. Onitsura (1660-1738) was, along with Basho, one of the most acclamated poets of the 17th century.

Day 65 of 365

Frozen Spider Web

Day 65 of my "365 Days" project. Frozen spider web.

These days the frost is covering everyhting in the morning, creating fabulous silver worlds. Nature is such an accomplished artist! We can only hope we can do at least as well.

Day 64 of 365

Sage Leaf covered by Frost

Day 64 of my "365 Days" project. Sage leaf covered by frost.

Day 63 of 365

Frost in the Woods

Day 63 of my "365 Days" project. Frost in the Woods.

Day 62 of 365

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Day 62 of my "365 Days" project. Still life.

I always become so restless this time of the year. With the return of the light I just want to be outdoors and work in the garden. Problem is, there isn't much I can do in the garden at the moment. And as every year, I buy a lot of potted flowers and create stille life scenes - this one in the kitchen.

Music Tip: Amanda Jensen, a young Swedish artist. She came on the second place in the music competion Idol in 2007. Since then she released two great albums, "Killing My Darlings" (2008) and " Happyland" (2009).

When You Are Old

Solitary Tree in Lake, Pilanesberg, South Africa

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,

And nodding by the fire, take down this book,

And slowly read, and dream of the soft look

Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,

And loved your beauty with love false or true,

But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,

And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,

Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled

And paced upon the mountains overhead

And his face amid a crowd of stars.

by William Butler Yeats (1865-1939). William Butler Yeats was an Irish poet and playwright, and one of the foremost figures of 20th century literature.

Read more about Yeats and his poetry on Poetry Foundation.

Day 61 of 365


Day 61 of my "365 Days" project. Kalanchoe.

Although I do know the spring cannot possibly be here yet, I was carried away today by the warming sun, the blue sky and the air vibrating with the chirping of the birds returning from their southern vacation. I closed my eyes, and it was spring for a moment.


Men look for retreats for themselves, the country, the seashore, the hills; and you yourself, too, are peculiarly accustomed to feel the same want. Yet all this is very unlike a philosopher, when you may at any hour you please retreat into yourself. For nowhere does a man retreat into more quiet or more privacy than into his own mind, especially one who has within such things that he has only to look into, and become at once in perfect ease; and by ease I mean nothing else but good behaviour. Continually, therefore, grant yourself this retreat and repair yourself. But let them be brief and fundamental truths, which will suffice at once by their to wash away all sorrow, and to send you back without repugnance to the life to which you return.

Marcus Aurelius, "Meditations". Marcus Aurelius (121 – 180 AD) was Roman Emperor from 161 to 180 AD. Marcus Aurelius' Stoic tome Meditations, written in Greek while on campaign between 170 and 180, is still revered as a literary monument to a philosophy of service and duty, describing how to find and preserve equanimity in the midst of conflict by following nature as a source of guidance and inspiration.

The photo is taken at Millesgården. This head is what it remains of a Roman statue, copy of a Greek one, included in the Mille's antique collection.  I always loved its' serene, yet melancholic, expression that I always associate with Marcus Aurelius' "Confessions". I'm in awe of such art that can touch you through not centuries, but millenia.

Carl Milles (1875 – 1955) was a Swedish sculptor. Millesgården, that he designed and was his home, is now a museum with Milles' antique collection, sculpture garden, and art gallery. 

Thrilling Stories from the Wild East

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Have you discovered the Profusion thrillers? Profusion, a publishing house based in London, UK, offers Romanian crime fiction that certainly thrills, but also offers a glimpse into a country that used to be behind the Iron Courtain but is now part of the European Union.

Their books are available on the Profusion site and, in electronic format, through the Kindle Shop on and, or via the localised versions for Germany, France, Italy and Spain. 

Day 60 0f 365


Day 60 of my "365 Days" project. Mărțișor. 

Mărțișor (pronounced myrrh-tsee-shore)  is an old Romanian celebration at the beginning of spring, on March the 1st.The term might be loosely translated as ‘little March’. With this occasion, girls and women receive from family and acquaintances a double-threaded red and white string, usually accompanied by a small trinket. This object with its string also came to be known as ‘martisor’. The ‘martisor’ is pinned to the lapel and worn for at least one week. The origins of the custom are lost in the shadows of time, some believing it to come from Roman ancestors and their Ides of March celebrations. It could also be Thracian in origin, since it can be encountered in Bulgaria as well.

The symbolism of the red and white string hails back to the time of pagan beliefs, red symbolising blood and death, and white purity and rebirth.
Originally, the custom in Romania was to give the red and white string to both men and women, and it was worn tied to the wrist. With the passing of time, small charms and coins came to be attached to the string. The charms of the modern ‘martisor’ generally come in the shape of flowers or animals, and are made of materials ranging from wood and plastic to silver, gold, and precious stones.

After mid-February, the ‘martisor’ makers gather at the corners of public squares or in piazzas and exhibit their wares on stands. Shortly before the big day (March 1st), these areas are completely swamped with buyers. This is a must-do tradition, and it is considered in very poor taste and mean-spirited not to offer these small tokens of appreciation to the women in one’s family and to female acquaintances.

The people who receive vast quantities of such gifts are, as a rule, schoolmistresses and teachers. The regular ‘crop’ could be of more than 60 trinkets, of all makes, materials, and tastes. For members of the family and friends who live in another city or country, Romanians have invented the 'martisor' greeting card, which, if it doesn’t have a red and white string stapled to it, is at least printed with a red and white border.

The photo represents a 'martisor' greeting card that I received from my sister.

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