Draken Harald Hårfagre

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10.8.16 ~ Draken Harald Hårfagre ~ Mystic Seaport ~ Mystic, Connecticut

Over time, I have come to realize that our culture has made valuable contributions to our world heritage at large. For me, it’s important to turn the spotlight on these contributions, and not just the more recent ones, but also our fantastic contributions to craftsmanship and technology. Shipbuilding was the rocket science of the Viking era.
~ Sigurd Aase
(Draken Harald Hårfagre ~ Expedition America 2016)

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10.8.16 ~ Draken Harald Hårfagre ~ Mystic Seaport ~ Mystic, Connecticut

10-8-16-0865On a gray, misty Saturday we went over to Mystic Seaport to see the Viking longship Draken Harald Hårfagre. Draken means dragon and Harald Hårfagre refers to Norwegian King Harald Fairhair. I didn’t get to see her sail into Mystic with her red silk sail because we had been in North Carolina visiting the little one. But much to my delight, the ship will be wintering here at the Seaport. She will be covered over, though. If I keep my eye on the newsletters from Mystic Seaport, a living history museum, I hope to catch her sailing away in the spring.

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10.8.16 ~ costumed Viking enthusiasts who were also waiting in line

Draken Harald Hårfagre is the end result of a daydream of the ship’s owner, Sigurd Aase. After our tour I bought a lovely souvenir guidebook, full of stunning pictures of the journey here from her home port in Haugesund, Norway. Stops were made at the Shetland Islands, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland, Newfoundland and cities along the Saint Lawrence Seaway and the Great Lakes. Then it went through the New York State canals to the Hudson River and finally down the river to New York City and then Mystic.

The ship has a lovely website: Draken Harald Hårfagre

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10.8.16 ~ Draken Harald Hårfagre

It’s a big challenge to sail a ship of this old variety, and to prove that it is possible to sail a large open Viking ship across the seas.
~ Capt. Björn Ahlander
(Draken Harald Hårfagre ~ Expedition America 2016)

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10.8.16 ~ Draken Harald Hårfagre
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10.8.16 ~ Draken Harald Hårfagre ~ notice the fika (coffee) “machine” near the entrance to the galley ~ our guide assured us that modern-day coffee was very important to the crew members!
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10.8.16 ~ Draken Harald Hårfagre ~ personal items were stored in these chests which fit in the deck of the ship ~ the lid becomes part of the deck itself ~ our guide explained that no part of the ship is water tight so they wrapped their belongings in plastic before putting them in these narrow chests
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10.8.16 ~ notice the little dinghy with a sail tethered to the longship
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“King Harald Fairhair” as portrayed by Peter Franzén on the History Channel’s television drama “Vikings”

And now for a pet peeve of mine. There were several visitors wearing “Viking” helmets with horns who were approached by other visitors asking them where they could get a helmet for themselves. Of course they weren’t for sale on the ship or at the museum gift shop! The guide book, if they cared to read it, debunks the myth of the horned helmet:

One of the most widespread myths in history is the one about the Vikings wearing horned helmets. Their helmets had no horns. The popular image dates back to the 1800s, when Scandinavian artists like Sweden’s Gustav Malmström included the headgear in the their portrayals of the raiders. When Wagner staged his Der Ring des Nibelungen, commonly refers to as the “Ring cycle” in the 1870s, costume designer Carl Emil Doepler created horned helmets for the Viking characters, and an enduring stereotype was born.
~ Draken Harald Hårfagre guidebook ~ Expedition America 2016

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10.8.16 ~ Draken Harald Hårfagre ~ Mystic Seaport ~ Mystic, Connecticut

The line to tour the ship, which only took a few minutes, was very long and stretched around other exhibits at the Seaport. Fortunately we were near the beginning and were marveling at how long the line still was two hours later. In spite of the rain!

The Gokstad ship we saw in Norway last year was one of the inspirational sources for the design of this ship: Viking Ship Museum.

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This is a fantastic opportunity to create history by reliving the challenges our Viking ancestors overcame. An adventure one wouldn’t miss for the world. It is thrilling to bring the Sagas to life and do something a little crazy and down to earth at the same time.
~ Arild Nilsen
(Draken Harald Hårfagre ~ Expedition America 2016)

meteorological mast

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4.16.16 ~ Avery Point ~ “Pig Iron” by Timothy Kussow

It’s been a while since we went down to Avery Point so we decided to take a sunset stroll last night. Believe it or not, our bathroom renovation still is not finished. It started on February 29 and was supposed to be done on April 1. A series of tile and fixture delivery delays stalled the job at various points. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that the new bathroom door will be put in place this afternoon as promised…

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4.16.16 ~ Avery Point

After taking showers at my sister’s apartment for five weeks at least we could finally use the shower here, but we still had no toilet and had to continue using the one in the basement. We’ve only had the new toilet for two days now… One thing I’m thrilled about is my new linen closet in the bathroom!!! No more running out in the hall dripping wet when we forget to get a towel!

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meteorological mast ~ 4.16.16 ~ Avery Point

We discovered something new installed along the Avery Point sculpture walkway, a meteorological mast.

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The Marine Sciences Program is located on UConn’s coastal campus at Avery Point, on the shores of Long Island Sound. Our Program includes the Department of Marine Sciences and the Marine Sciences and Technology Center. Within this program, faculty, staff, and students carry out cutting-edge research in coastal oceanography using cross-disciplinary approaches. We offer both undergraduate and graduate degrees that are characterized by an interdisciplinary foundation, high faculty-to-student ratio, and individualized plans of study and research. Our program offers the intimacy and support of a small campus, coupled with the resources of a top-notch public university and internationally renowned scientists. ~ http://marinesciences.uconn.edu/
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I loved the mauve tint to the sky opposite of the sunset.
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4.16.16 ~ Avery Point
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4.16.16 ~ Avery Point
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4.16.16 ~ Avery Point

We’ve never had a renovation done before – this has been a surreal experience. At last, though, I think I may have a touch of spring fever!

web of connection

9.20.14 ~ Chapel Hill, North Carolina
carnivorous plants ~ 9.20.14 ~ North Carolina Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill

Quantum physics shows us the universe as a dynamic web of connection.
~ Robert Moss
(The Three “Only” Things)

Technology is destructive only in the hands of people who do not realize that they are one and the same process as the universe.
~ Alan Watts
(Zen and the Art of Making a Living: A Practical Guide to Creative Career Design)

our well-being

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part of sprinkler system at Logee’s ~ 3.7.15 ~ Danielson, Connecticut

We humans have experimented with various social systems; some have endured and others not. I believe, however, that our well-being is tied not so much to the structure of our society and the politics that determine it, as to our ability to maintain contact with nature, to feel that we are part of the natural order and that we are capable of making a living within it.
~ Bernd Heinrich
(The Snoring Bird: My Family’s Journey Through a Century of Biology)

Steampunk’d Wonderland

10.28.14 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut
10.28.14 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut

Some of my readers may remember back a couple of years ago when Janet, her mother and I went to the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme to see a fanciful outdoor exhibit, Wee Faerie Village: Land of Picture Making. And in 2011 the theme was fairy tale birdhouses, if I remember correctly. Last October I missed it but this year Janet and I had a chance to go again, this time bringing her friend Kathy, too. And this year the exhibit theme was Wee Faerie Village in a Steampunk’d Wonderland. As in Alice’s wonderland.

For those who don’t know what steampunk is – I didn’t and I had to look it up – it’s a genre of science fiction that typically features steam-powered machinery of the Victorian 19th century rather than advanced technology. Think Jules Verne.

Local artists are invited to create fairy-scaled installations on the museum grounds for the public to view during the month of October. On the left is one identified as Cheshire Cat Reappears by Robert Nielsen & Billie Tannen.

For some reason I wasn’t much in the mood for taking pictures, so I left my camera in the car, and used my cell phone to capture some of the more appealing creations. (I seem to have lost my Muchness!)

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part of “Alice’s Celebration” by Dylan & Ted Gaffney ~ 10.28.14 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut
10.28.14 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut
10.28.14 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut

As we were wandering around Kathy happened to see something we hadn’t noticed before, a real live fairy! Her mother gave us permission to take her picture, after which the fairy scolded us and asserted that she wasn’t a real fairy. But we know better!

We enjoyed a leisurely stroll through the gardens, appreciating the lovely autumn weather and scenery. Lunch was very tasty at the Café Flo, where we dined outside and savored lingering in conversation on the terrace overlooking the Lieutenant River.

After we finished with the fairy village Kathy had to leave, so Janet and I checked out the indoor art exhibit, Life Stories in Art. We saw collections of the Tonalist and Impressionist paintings of Mary Rogers Williams (1857-1907), the intricate glass sculptures of Kari Russell-Pool (b. 1967), and the modern sculptures of Mary Lightfoot Tarleton Knollenberg (1904-1992).

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“Anticipator” by Matthew Geller ~ 10.28.14 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut
10.28.14 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut
part of “Alice’s Celebration” by Dylan & Ted Gaffney ~ 10.28.14 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut

virus two

After more than a week of concentrated and intense work on our family history and my garden, I sat down yesterday to catch up on this neglected blog and to visit the blogs of my friends. First I took my turns on Scrabble on Facebook, though, and while playing had my laptop attacked by another virus – apparently the same one (or similar to the one) that infected it when I was playing Scrabble back in March. In spite of my faithfully installing every virus protection update sent to me.

Tech Support (Tim) worked on the situation yesterday and more this morning and then decided to take my laptop to work with him. I’m using his computer for now, again with no access to my word or picture files! But I do have some quote/painting posts scheduled ahead of time that will appear now and then. Feeling a little lost and disconnected…

Typhoid fever! A school child in Connecticut has come down with typhoid fever. Wonder how he or she got it? Hope he or she will be all right…

Decorated for Midsummer this morning…

Everlasting Moments

The past three days we have had absolutely GORGEOUS weather! Sea breezes and no humidity… Spent this morning inland escorting Auntie on her errands. She’s wobbly but still determined to carry on – I’m so glad she has the cane now… This afternoon the humidity started to creep back up, so when I got home I watched an inspiring movie called Everlasting Moments.

Agneta Ulfsäter-Troell wrote a biographical sketch about her ancestors in Sweden in the early 1900s, something I love to do, too, imagining what life was like for those who came before me. Her husband, filmmaker Jan Troell, used her manuscript to create a truly wonderful movie.

The story is narrated by Maja, daughter of Sigge & Maria, who starts the story with these words: “A week after Mother met Father, she won a camera in a lottery. Father thought the camera should be his, as he’d bought the ticket. Mother said if he wanted to share it he’d have to marry her. So they got married.”

But Sigge turned out to be an abusive alcoholic and the family was desperately struggling to make ends meet. Maria would often tell her seven children, “You see what you want to see.” When things looked very bleak Maria decided to sell the camera. She took it to a photography shop, where the owner, Mr. Pedersen, told her it was a Contessa and showed her how it worked. She was amazed and said, “I just don’t see how a picture comes to be!” He took the lens out of the camera and held it up in the sunlight between a butterfly fluttering inside the door and the palm of her hand. The moving image of the butterfly showed up on her hand. It was magic!

Mr. Pedersen decided that he would buy the camera from Maria but would let her borrow it. He kindly taught her how to use it and how to develop pictures. While Sigge was out drinking with his mistress, Maria was at home discovering her creative self while taking and developing pictures of her children and her cat. When a girl in the neighborhood died, Maria was asked to take a picture of her and soon she was being asked to take pictures for all sorts of special and everyday occasions.

“Not everyone is endowed with the gift of seeing,” observed Mr. Pedersen when he had a look at some of her pictures. And on another occasion he encouraged her by telling her that when she looks through the camera she sees a world to be explored, described and preserved. As a family historian that touched my heart.

Aunt Lil

Even after years of taking pictures, Maria was still in awe of the technology. She said, “Imagine, we’ll always be here. These moments will be everlasting.” Years after her mother died, Maja discovered an undeveloped picture in the camera, the last picture Maria took, and the only one she ever took of herself, capturing her reflection in a mirror.

When she was much younger than she is now, Auntie used to love to go on Caribbean cruises with her sisters, a hen party at sea. On one of those cruises she splurged and paid an artist to draw a picture of her. Now I am glad to have that happy moment in her life preserved.

I can relate to the thrill Maja had of discovering something special an ancestor has left behind! A clue about his or her life. Any little thing found that makes the picture of his or her life come more into focus. And the movie made me stop and think about how far the technology of photography has advanced in a hundred short years. All the thought and care that went into each and every exposure! Now with digital cameras we can be carefree, shooting whatever strikes our fancy in an instant. Perhaps I am reminded to slow down and think more about exploring the world and describing and preserving moments.

Elisabeth (Weekes) Freeman and her children, Warren, Rosilla, Ambrose and Elisabeth

The oldest moment preserved in my family is of my is my 3rd-great-grandmother, Elisabeth (1822-1908), and her four oldest children, taken between 1858, when her fourth child was born, and 1864, when her fifth child was born. Looking at the squirming bunch of children makes me think that Elisabeth had her hands full! I love this picture because what we call the “Freeman frown” is very much on display here. And yes, Ambrose is wearing a dress. Apparently back then baby boys wore dresses until they were toilet trained.

Anyone who loves family history or the history of photography (or both) will no doubt find Everlasting Moments to be an especially heart warming film. Watching Maria blossom as an artist in spite of the harsh circumstances of her life is inspiring.

energy and the sea

I don’t often get into controversial issues online, but I feel compelled to say how I feel about America’s first offshore wind farm. I welcome it with open arms!

I just don’t understand why the late Sen. Kennedy and others were and are so opposed to it. Because it would supposedly spoil the scenery of our beloved Cape Cod? (No one loves Cape Cod more than I do!) Every day our views are marred all over this country by telephone wires and power lines, yet we’re willing to put up with them so we can have all the conveniences electricity brings into our lives. Certainly a wind turbine looks better than a telephone pole!

And what about these off-shore oil rigs which are so dangerous and cost so much to use even when all goes well? I feel anger and horror when I see pictures of the catastrophic mess in the Gulf of Mexico. What have we done? What were we thinking? I cannot imagine a wind farm doing anywhere near as much damage to our little spaceship Earth, even if it failed to be used correctly. And I cannot imagine that in the long run the energy harnessed from the wind would cost any more than the energy we get from oil.

wind farm off the coast of Denmark

Looking out to sea I would rather see a wind farm than an oil rig. Aren’t theses turbines beautiful?

Cape Wind