The loneliest whale

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It’s Monday and I’m feeling Mondayish – a bit reluctant to start ticking off things on this week’s to-do list. So here’s a post fitting my Monday mood: Have you ever heard of the loneliest whale in the world?

See, there’s this whale that scientists have been tracking for many, many years. The reason it’s so easy for them to track it is that this particular whale sings at a frequency much higher than other whales of its kind, or any whale, really. No other whale can hear its tenor voice, and thus, no one ever responds to his calls.

The lonely whale just keeps swimming, calling out for a mate or a friend, and no one ever answers. He doesn’t even follow the same migration patterns as other whales, which has led some scientists to believe that his high singing voice is not the only one of his problems; he may in fact be the very last of his species.

Doesn’t that break your heart just a little bit? The lonely whale with the high and beautiful singing voice that no one ever hears? Oh.

You can listen to his song here (although it’s been sped up to sound higher than it really is). Picture is linked to its source.

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Growth opportunity

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I think I’ve finally decided to grow my hair out – a task that will require infinite amounts of patience on my part. Like, a year or two. Or three. We’ll see what happens. I’ve had short hair before and I’ve tried to grow it out many, many times before and I usually always cave in somewhere around that awkward will-you-just-reach-my-shoulders-already-stage. I’m hoping I can stick it out this time. I’m finding myself drawn to long and luscious hair – which I haven’t had for about fifteen years (oh fine, I’m lying, it was never luscious).

These are a few of my inspirations for the time being – the photos (or, well, bloggers, mostly!) I stare stubbornly at when the urge to cut or the fact that I may very soon sport a mullet is getting to me.

The lovely Carrie of the equally lovely blog WishWishWish has gorgeous hair. Even the color is amazing – I’ve tried for that beautiful shade of brown many, many times but somehow always end up with a much more reddish color. (Except for that one time when it actually turned out Ronald McDonald-orange, but I try not to think of that too often. The horror.)

Equally lovely is this French lady, Valentine of the blog Hello, it’s Valentine. I’ll be happy as a hippo when my hair reaches that length. Isn’t she cute? And I have that same gold sweater, yay! (Is it wrong to be excited to have something so irrelevant in common with someone so cute and stylish?)

Alexa Chung in L’Officiel magazine, August 2010. (See more here). I like the color, the texture… Of her hair, I mean. And the photo. It’s a gorgeous editorial. I also quite enjoy the fact that she’s wearing a hat and yet does not look bald, as is the case with me and my pitiable short hair these days.

Last but not least, the woman behind one of my favorite blogs, Naomi Davis of Rockstar Diaries, has gorgeous hair. And the nicest smile. And coolest glasses and best wardrobe and the cutest daughter in the world. If I ever achieve hair like this I will consider myself a success in life and never moan about anything ever again. Promise. Also, is it possible to have family crushes? Because I think I have one on the Davis family.

So, apparently I have changed my mind regarding that whole going back to red hair-thing. Brunette. That’s where it’s at. For now. Now, just hurry up ,time. Pass! Pass!

Pictures are linked to their sources. (Well, except for Alexa, but I linked to the site L’Officiel redirects you to when you try to browse old issues, and you can see the rest of the editorial there. Ok?)

Missing from my life, March

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It won’t be my birthday for another six months, but I can still write wishlists, right? Pretend that one of these days some of the following items might pop up in a beautiful box with a bow and my name on it? Anyway, these are the things I feel are most sorely missing from my life at the moment:

A stylish, really powerful, very cheap food processor. I know, I have a better chance of finding a Bulgarian-speaking unicorn. (Hence, the abstract picture). It’s just that I only have so many more weeks in me of stubbornly using my tiny little blender instead of a real food processor. And I do love to blend. And, you know, process. Food. Once you’ve made your own hummus or falafel or sunflower seed pâté there’s just no going back… And I feel I can no longer live without stuff like this or this. Seriously.

A bright pink lipstick to make me feel that Spring is on its way. And yes, I do feel like a fraud for being sick of winter after only being back in Iceland for three weeks while my countrymen have stuck it out since early December. But I can’t help it.  Spring?

This mugshot print of the charming Lenore from Larken design on etsy, created from the original Cincinnati police negative they somehow unearthed. I love it. Lenore looks like a fun gal, don’t you think? I wonder what she did to get arrested… Any guesses? My current theory is she was shoplifting something completely unnecessary – just for kicks.

A new lens for my camera, since my Canon EF 50mm f 1.8 suffered an accident during our travels in India and is no longer, I’m sorry to say. I’m praying that our travel insurance will cover it. The Canon EF 35mm f 2.0 sounds pretty good. Anyone have experience with it?

That’s my wishlist for March! Oh, and some more sunshine would also be very, very nice. Pretty please? Now it’s off to the theatre with my friend Dagný and her glorious seven year old son who always makes me smile. Have a lovely weekend!

Pictures are linked to their sources. 

Under the olive tree

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I was browsing Retronaut while eating my morning yoghurt and came across a series of photographs of prisoners’ last meals on death row, shot by photographer James Reynolds. Reynolds came across a list of last meals and decided to recreate them – a beautiful project, if you ask me. So many of our memories center around food – at least mine do. How do you choose your last meal? What do you think of? I know that in my case the choice would probably have less to do with my tastebuds and more to do with childhood memories and a sense of belonging.

You can see the photographs here. The inmates asked for everything from Häegen-Dazs ice cream to gum to what looks like a raw onion. I, however, was more struck by the thought behind one of those meals than the pictures themselves. The last photo of the set depicts a single black olive on a gaudy orange prison tray.

This is what Reynolds had to say about that particular meal: “The single olive still had its stone. The inmate thought that after being executed and buried, an olive tree—a symbol of peace—would grow from him. It was indeed a very profound thought or idea, but an olive tree has not yet been found on his grave.”

So sad and beautiful, it broke my heart. In a good way.

The photo of the olive trees is from here.

Oh, the (period) drama!

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I may be the last person in the northern hemisphere (I’m trying to not be too dramatic here, but yes, I really mean the world) to watch the widely praised ITV series Downton Abbey. Accordingly, I will very likely not be the first to tell you that it is great. Granted, I am quite partial to period drama. When I was little I loved books like The Secret Garden and A Little Princess, and I’ve read Pride and Prejudice about twenty times since I first reached for it when I was about 12 years old (as I’d already read everything else at home and wasn’t really bursting with excitement at the thought of sitting down with For Whom the Bell Tolls). I wanted to be Elizabeth Bennet. Or Jane Austen herself. Or just anyone who knew them, nevermind the fact that the former is fictional. So it’s not all that surprising that I’ve completely fallen for the goings-on at Downton Abbey.

Just in case you happen to be that other person on earth who hasn’t watched it yet; do it! Especially if you’ve previously enjoyed movies like Pride & Prejudice (although I much prefer the BBC series), Sense and Sensibility, Gosford Park or series like Upstairs Downstairs – which I somehow haven’t seen. Downton Abbey follows the lives of Lord and Lady Crawley, their three daughters and extended family, as well as the lives of their multiple servants during the second decade of the 20th century. The first episode actually begins with the family receiving news of the sinking of the Titanic in 1912. The costumes and sets are exquisite, the script is excellent and Maggie Smith is amazing as the stubborn, outspoken Dowager Countess of Grantham.

I give you a tiny bit of dialogue:

Lady Grantham (Maggie Smith): “You are quite wonderful the way you see room for improvement wherever you look. I never knew such reforming zeal.”

Mrs. Crawley: “I take that as a compliment.”

Lady Grantham: “I must’ve said it wrong.”

See? Oh, and did I mention how good it looks? 

Just go watch it, yes?

Almost home (sweet home)

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A wall in Udaipur, Rajasthan, India.

I’m back! Yay! Actually, I’ve been back from India for two weeks already, but they hardly count. The first week was spent in Sweden, trying to adjust to a new time zone (which took ridiculously long) and forcing my mother to make me all of the foods and drinks I’d missed while away. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that I’m rapidly approaching 30. What foods, you ask? I woke up screaming at night in Goa, craving multigrain bread, fresh from the oven. I’d be perfectly fine if I never saw another naan in my life. Oh, and real coffee. And chocolate cake. And smoked salmon. And basic and bland tomato soup. Apparently, you can get enough of Indian food. Who would have thought.

We arrived in Iceland a week ago and have spent our days in Reykjavik hugging friends and family, visiting the sorely missed outdoor swimming pools, and drinking vast amounts of coffee, while complaining about the cold. Yes, we’re those people. We’ll be leaving for Flateyri, our tiny little village in the West Fjords, on Tuesday. Which, by the way, experienced its coldest winter in decades. As did Reykjavik. Boy did we choose the right time to escape to sunnier climes.

I have only just started importing and sorting all our photos. If I really work hard at it I expect to be done somewhere around mid-July… You’ll have to wait for anything resembling a coherent travel/photo post, I can only handle about 500 photos a day without wanting to run screaming through the streets.

Since I’m still living in a suitcase and not really back to a normal routine yet, I can’t promise that I’ll be a superblogger the next week. I can promise that you’ll not have to wait a full month for the next post though…

Ahh. It’s good to be back!

Cardamom, smiles and the Arabian Sea

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I’ve been in India for almost a month now. It feels like years. And days. At the same time.

India has been kind to me so far – apart from the 50+ mosquito bites, of course, but that’s just business as usual. I’m very tasty, apparently. The past month has been spent travelling around Kerala, in the hot and humid south. We’ve eaten masala dosas in Cochin and watched rickshaws, goats and cows vie for space on the narrow roads: waved hello to a hundred little smiling school girls all shouting “Hiiiii! Howareyouuuu?”: found complete peace and serenity during our cruise of the Keralan backwaters (woooonderful): splashed about in the Arabian Sea and snacked on the best pineapple in the world on the beach in Varkala (paradise found?) and explored tea and coffee and spice plantations in Kumily and Munnar, where the smell of cardamom and vanilla lingers on the air. Glorious. The best part: the people. Everyone we’ve met has been friendly and helpful – and I swear Indian people have the most beautiful smiles on the planet.

Just this morning, my mother and brother headed home to Sweden via Dubai. Me and my boyfriend will stay on for another 6 weeks. We’re now enjoying our last day in Cochin – tonight we’ll board an overnight bus to Mysore, which will be interesting… After taking in the bazaars and museums and temples and the legendary Maharaja’s temple in Mysore, we’ll head to Hampi, Goa and Mumbai. Then, we’ll just have to see what time we have left and what we feel like doing. The deserts of Rajasthan, the Taj Mahal and Varanasi look good to us now, though…

I’ll admit I’m finding it a bit challenging (understatement of the year? Last year, that is.)  to be without my computer.
Which, using my green beans-logic, I think means it’s good for me. I do miss internet though. Ah. Oh well. Everything in its own time. Right now, it’s time to just be, see, absorb and reflect.

I hope the new year has been as good to you as it has been to me and look forward to being able to update this darling blog of mine a little more frequently. Hrm. If I’m lucky I might even find a better internet connection and be able to post a photo or two. Crossing fingers.

Photo from here.

I’m dreaming of…

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…not a white Christmas, no. I’ll be in south India. If it snows there, I predict total chaos. As promised, here’s my Christmas wishlist – in no particular order. Images are linked to their sources where applicable.

1. Mixed Crystal Keyhole Sterling Silver Ring by Laura Treloar. Available from her Specimentals shop on Etsy. I love the colors of this one – and one can never have too many pieces of jewelry, right?

2. I also quite like these earrings, available from Renee Johnson on Etsy. I like raw or rough diamonds in jewelry (although these are Herkimer diamonds – quartz, I believe, and not actual diamonds. Which explains the price!) Anyway, rough diamond jewelry kind of appeals to me – it’s polished but not too cute. It has an edge. I like it.

Next up, books! I’d like to read around fifty out of the many, many books published in Iceland during the holiday season. I’m thinking I’ll get them at the library or hope to borrow some from friends. The ones I love and think I’ll read again and again I’ll buy for myself. However, I wouldn’t mind finding a photography book or two under my imaginary tree… These, in particular:

3. South Southeast by Steve McCurry. I was researching India for our impending trip (in three days!) when I found this book. Some of the photographs I’d seen, but didn’t know they were his. McCurry is also the man behind the überfamous shot of the Afghan girl – the National Geographic cover I stared at for hours on end as a little girl. (I found her so, so beautiful. And my father explained about other countries and customs and that in some places, women cover their hair and I was just entranced by the sheer size and beauty of the world.) Anyway, I would absolutely love this book, with McCurry’s pictures from South and Southeast Asia. See more of his work here. How amazing are those colors?

4. Saul Leiter’s Early Color is out of stock and unavailable, it seems. I still want it. And since this is an imaginary wishlist, as I’m not really participating in the giving or receiving of gifts this year, I rule that doesn’t matter. Leiter was best known as a painter, but was an excellent photographer as well. His shots from the streets of New York are phenomenal.

5. This looks like pink fluff. It’s not. It’s pink salt, and I chose it to represent a whole gift category: edibles. Oooh, edibles. I like food (quite possibly the understatement of the decade), but rarely do I allow myself to splurge on luxury foods. My fridge is usually not full of foie gras and exotic vinegars. But I would be thrilled to receive any as a gift! So, apart from the Murrey River Pink Salt, I’d be just as blissfully happy with a bottle of truffle oil, a jar of dulce de leche, a bottle of elderflower syrup or a jar of wild blackberry honey or…

6. Oh, Diana, how I covet you. I have a feeling I’m going to end up with far more cameras than I can really justify owning. Now, I have five. One of which is broken and one I haven’t tried yet. It’s an old film camera I bought at a flee market and I doubt it’ll work… I’m not sure I would necessarily buy a Diana – I would have serious trouble justifying the purchase to myself – but I would be more than happy to receive one…

7. A couple of years ago, access to Reykjavík city’s museums was free of charge for everyone. Then, the country almost went bankrupt and the entry fees came back. A “culture card” is valid for a year and allows you free access to all the city’s museums and cultural institutions (and includes a free library card – yay!), and I’d be more than happy to receive one. (Original image from here.)

8. Last but not least: I would love, love, love tickets to the theater! Or opera. Or classical concert in our brand new concert hall. But mostly theater. I haven’t been in what feels like ages and I really want to see the play Purge, by Sofi Oksanen, which is showing in the National Theater now. I read the book this fall and it really moved me. Oksanen, who’s part Finnish and part Estonian, wrote the play some years before she wrote the novel, so I’m really curious to see how she first wanted to tell the gripping, tragic story of Zara and Aliide.

Right! I could go on, but instead I’m going to go do some yoga and then start preparing for tonight: it’s faux-Christmas! Since we’ll probably dine on some Masala dish or other on Christmas Eve – when we normally eat a traditional Icelandic Christmas dinner in our very best clothes – we’re going have a little celebration dinner in advance, just to get a tiny little taste of traditional Christmas.

At parties

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I laughed out loud when I saw this over at Cup of Jo and just had to share. (By the way, she’s doing fabulous gift guides. If I were actually giving gifts this year I’d be totally inspired.)

Me, at parties - by Gemma Correll

Indeed. Although it seems I need to brush up on my fairy tales. Wasn’t Snow White more into dwarves than animals? Please, enlighten me.

The print is by Gemma Correll and available here.