Rachel Hair – “Marie’s Tune, Art Okeefe’s”.

Hiya people! 🙂

Yeah, another set of tunes from Rachel Hair, cus why not? These two pieces can be found on her album called Hubcaps and Potholes – Scottish, Irish and Original Harp Music. – The first piece – “Marie’s Tune” – is Rachel Hair’s original composition, whereas Art Okeefe’s is a traditional one, arranged by her for harp.

Rachel Hair Trio – “My Darling Fair One”.

Hey people! 🙂

Last month I already shared with you one tune, or actually a set of tunes, by this Scottish Celtic harpist – Rachel Hair – which she played together with the multi-instrumentalist Ron Jappy. – Rachel Hair is a very active, prolific and versatile artist who does all sorts of things with the harp and also has her own record label called March Hair Records. Among the things she does is she’s also a part of a trio, simply known as Rachel Hair Trio, and this song that I’m sharing today with you comes from their album Tri, released by the aforementioned label. I don’t know who else is in this trio and haven’t been able to find out, but the song is a traditional one and I really like this minimalistic arrangement.

Clannad – “The Last Rose of Summer”.

Hi hi people! 🙂

Since summer has just passed, I thought this would be a very appropriate song to share at this particular time of year. There are several versions that I like, but, at least for today, I chose Clannad. Perhaps some time later on I’ll also share others that I like.

The Last Rose of Summer is a poem written by the Irish poet Thomas Moore while he stayed in Jenkinstown Castle in Kilkenny, where he was said to be inspired by a flower of rosa old blush. It has later been set to a traditional Irish tune called a Young Man’s Dream in English and has been interpreted gazillions of times as it seems, classically and folkily.

This poem starkly reminds me of my little Misha and how he often is concerned about leaves being lonely, like when they fall from trees and one leaf is blown away from the other leaves or is blown on to the heap with leaves from other trees that it doesn’t know and doesn’t feel well with, or when all leaves have fallen except one who is still on the tree and is alone and cold. I think he has even written about that on here at least once back when he did regularly. This song has a very similar feel to that imo. I’m not sure if Misha has had similar thoughts about flowers during transitions between seasons, but he definitely has an affinity with them too and likes to nibble on them and smell themm.

Travelle – “Sweden”.

Hiya people! 🙂

In the last couple months, I've shared with you a few songs from the Norwegian singer, songwriter and producer Trollguten. I've also mentioned that he's also been more or less known under several other aliases, one of them being Travelle and that I'd like to share with you some music that he's made under this name as well because I actually like it even though I don't really often listen to stuff like this in general. So I figured I'd finally share something by Travelle today. He achieved some popularity  (apparently to some degree in the US) with his debut single Nobody Else in 2016 and since then had been quite prolific until like 2018, but as we haven't heard from him as Travelle since that year I suppose in the end he must have decided that he'd rather focus more on his more cheesy, russ music activity, as he's become popular as russ musician under a different name around the same time,  and his russ stuff is way more popular with his fellow Scandinavians as it seems which is rather sad imo, I'm always saddened to see talented folks wasting their skills. 

Like with his early activity as Trollguten, I like his Travelle music because it feels very genuine. I really like music where you can actually get the idea of the mind and the person behind it and that's what I feel is the case here. And despite, or actually perhaps because of, his lyrics often seeming quite personal and even quite a bit raw sometimes, I guess they still have a lot of potential for being relatable for people and some are even for me. They draw one's attention and they sound very direct and candid. 
The song by him that I want to share today is all about Sweden, so it's little wonder that it drew my attention. 😀 More exactly, it's about shopping in Sweden, from a Norwegian perspective. You may or may not know that life is generally quite pricey in Norway, particularly, as far as I’m aware, stuff like groceries, not to mention alcohol which is heavily taxed. As a result, a lot of Norwegians travel to Sweden to get groceries and all sorts of drugs fand stuff used for gradual, hedonistic self-destruction of human beings, om booze to snuss (the Scandi snuff) to chocolate at cheaper prices. The phenomenon is widely known as Harrytur (Harry trip) in Norway. Every nation has such names that are very strongly linked to some stereotype, like Karen is in the US these days. That's the case with Harry in Norway. So the Norwegian Harry is I believe typically  a middle-aged guy, although I suppose age doesn't really play much of a role here, what's more important is that he's rather unsophisticated and, among other things perceived as unclassy that he does, drives grocery shopping to Sweden. It can also be used as an adjective so you could say that Norwegians shopping in Sweden are very Harry. The female equivalent is apparently Doris, and obviously as a name nerd when I first learned about these Norwegian stereotypes some years ago I was curious why Harry and Doris. Turns out that, just like I believe was the case in Sweden, in 1920’s, Norwegian lower-class parents would give their kids English names, which distinguished them from their upper-class peers whose parents preferred to stick with all the classic slike Ole and Sven. So the upper-class kids called the lower-class kids Harry, kind of collectively I guess. 

When I first heard this song it seriously made me laugh, I like how graphic it is that you can actually imagine the whole thing vividly and I like its humorous feel.

Enya – “Dark Sky Island”.

And after sharing a song by Maire Brennan for yesterday, for today I chose a song from her younger sister’s most recent album, the opening title track from it. Dark Sky Island takes its title and inspiration from Sark, one of the Channel Islands, which was designated the first dark sky island in the world and where its entire small population has an interesting way of living, adjusted to the sky, for example cars are not allowed there. Enya’s lyricist, Roma Ryan, clearly has a keen interest in all things relating to astronomy, so it’s no wonder that it has become a huge source of inspiration for her, and for Enya as well.

Song of the day (20th September) – The Chieftains ft. Maire Brennan – “Lullaby for the Dead”.

Hey people! 🙂

I thought I’d share this beautiful, very sad, Irish lullaby with you. I like a lot of lullabies and I love how Irish Celtic folk music is so full of lullabies. This one is soulfully sung by, probably well-known by now to the readers of this blog, Maire/Moya Brennan from Clannad, Enya’s sister, who is accompanied by the very popular Celtic music band from Dublin – The Chieftains – who were formed in the 60’s during the Celtic music revival in Ireland and often collaborate with other well-known Irish folk musicians.

Saara – “Superpowers”.

Hi people! 🙂
Today I have for you a song from a very interesting, Finnish (or actually half-Finnish, half-Swedish) singer and YouTube personality. Saara, born Sara Maria Forsberg, previously also known as Smo(u(kahontas, grew up travelling a lot, due to both her parents being Baptist missionaries. That’s why her English is so good. Since I love Finnish, I know well what it sounds like and I know what Finns sound in English and I would never have guessed that she’s Finnish based on her accent. Currently she is based in LA.
I’ve known this song in its acoustic version for a long time and have always liked it a lot. But since lately I’ve shared a lot of acoustic versions of songs, and here I like the standard, electronic version just as much, that’s the one I’m sharing.

Maire Brennan – “Big Rock”.

Hiya people! 🙂

For today I chose to share with you a Christian song from Maire Brennan. A lot of her lyrics feature more or less strong Christian themes, because she herself is, if I remember correctly, a devout Evangelical Christian. This song’s chorus is in Irish Gaelic, and as you can find out on

this great website,

they translate to:

 

Christ, cover me

Christ, guard me

Christ, keep me

Christ the King

|Christ, deliver me

Christ, guide me

Christ, teach me

Christ the King

CajsaStina Åkerström – “Är Det Så Här Det Känns Att Komma Hem?” (Is This What it Feels Like to Come Home?).

Hey guys! 🙂

Today I’m sharing with you the second, and the last, song from this Swedish pop singer that I like. Just like with the one I shared yesterday, I don’t really know why I do, because as I said overall her music isn’t very much my thing. Perhaps it’s because of the time when I first came across it, and that due to this I have some nice associations with it. It also has quite interesting lyrics, which I was even able to translate for you. There probably are some things wrong with this translation or things that perhaps could have been phrased better or that I haven’t understood myself for what exactly they’re supposed to mean, but as I always say these translations are only to give you a reasonably good idea of what the song is about and in my opinion this one is good enough to do just this. There is one word in it that I absolutely wasn’t able to figure out what it might be called in English, the Swedish word is sly and I thinkit’s some kind of either lower vegetation layer or an individual shrub.

 

Led lights from a window

through layers of haze

A smell of freshly baked rye bread

traces of solicitude and life

Summer-bleached sheets

In a nice, freshly made bed

Is this what it feels like

To come home

Years and miles of longing

Have brought me to your door

I inhale this freedom

That lifts guilt off the back

The song is playing on the radio

With a beloved, known chorus

Is this what it feels like

to come home_

Days come go

The despair lasts for years

In mould that died the spring is blooming

A sigh for every step

I was ready to give up

But then you came

Like a long awaited, beloved friend

Is this what it feels like

To come home

The air after thunderstorm

Like starting over from scratch

The mask I once wore

Has now played its role

With you a circle has closed

Now that time becomes too long ago

Is this what it feels like

To come home

Days come go

The despair lasts for years

In mould that died the spring is blooming

A sigh for every step

I was ready to give up

But then you came

Like a long awaited, beloved friend

Is this what it feels like

To come home

Remains of a closed down track

With fireweed and sly

A deserted building plot, a thicket of nettles

Once the world was new

What caused the hope to escape

Led lights from a window

through layers of haze

A smell of freshly baked rye bread

traces of solicitude and life

Summer-bleached sheets

In a nice, freshly made bed

Is this what it feels like

To come home

Days come go

The despair lasts for years

In mould that died the spring is blooming

A sigh for every step

I was ready to give up

But then you came

Like a long awaited, beloved friend

Is this what it feels like

To come home

Like a long awaited, beloved friend

Is this what it feels like

To come home

CajsaStina Åkerström – “När” (When).

Hey people! 🙂

Today’s song of the day is from a Swedish singer with whose music I’ve been familiar for quite a few years. If I remember correctly, it was around the time she took part in Swedish Eurovision preselections Melodifestivalen when I was starting to take deeper interest in Swedish popular music, and was relying on Last.fm for music discovery, and as a result Last.fm often recommended her music to me since I believe she was particularly popular at that moment or something. I don’t really love her music, but there are a few songs by her that I like, like this one. I don’t know why, as they’re not really very much my style, but I just do.

CajsaStina Åkerström is a well-known artist in her home country. She also sounds quite versatile because not only is she a singer, but has a degree in archaeology and since I believe quite recently has gotten some attention as a painter. She is the daughter of the famous Swedish vissångare (visa is a typical Swedish/Scandinavian folk song) Fred Åkerström, who was particularly known for interpreting the works of the 18th-century Swedish poet Carl Michael Bellman, which is why I always think that she should have been called Cajsa Lisa rather than CajsaStina, because there’s a poem by Carl Michael Bellman called Glimmande Nymf (Gleaming Nymph) where the nymph’s name is Cajsa Lisa. Lol yeah, my inner name nerd/baby namer never sleeps. 😀

Fred Åkerström collaborated a fair bit with Cornelis Vreeswijk (one of my faza peeps) especially at the beginning of Vreeswijk’s career and helped to promote his music. I’ve never really felt Åkerström or his music quite as much as I do Vreeswijk despite all the similarities between them.

CajsaStina wrote her autobiography, which I haven’t read, but even looking at it’s title – “Du och Jag, Farsan” (You and Me, Daddy) we can assume that a lot of place in there has been dedicated to her relationship with her father. Later on she also toured together with Jack Vreeswijk – son of Cornelis. – These two definitely must have had very similar childhood experiences – having had larger-than-life, talented or even ingenious (certainly the case with Vreeswijk, don’t know enough about Åkerström to say that) fathers, who both struggled with addictions, were both quite obsessed about Bellman and other such people, and, from what I gather, were really cool fathers when they were around but more often they were not present or at least not in a secure way. – Both CajsaStina and Jack also lost their fathers in their twenties so that’s really early.

The song of her that I want to share with you comes from her album Vreden och Stormen (The Anger and the Storm). I really wanted to translate it for you but the results were rather meh, so I’ll just tell you what it’s about. The way I see it it’s about how the time of the lyrical subject’s life is passing, and she still doesn’t feel like she’s truly living the life she wants and like she doesn’t know who she exactly is or is playing some role that’s not really her, it’s about not having some deeper meaning, or truth, to her existence, and I guess it all feeling quite empty and she expects and longs for something more from her life than what she has.

The Belfast Harp Orchestra – “Earth, Water, Wind and Fire”.

Hiya people! 🙂

The beautiful piece I’m sharing with you today comes from an act who’s relatively new to me, but ever since I’ve become aware of their existence I like their music a lot. I truly love long, complex pieces for harp, and this one perfectly meets my expectations. 😀 Hope you enjoy it too. 🙂

The Belfast Harp Orchestra – “Earth, Water, Wind and Fire”

Nansi Richards – “Cainc Dona” (Dona’s Tune).

Hey people! 🙂

For today I chose another tune from the amazing late Welsh harpist Nansi Richards, also known as Telynores Maldwyn. I’m not exactly sure whether cainc indeed means tune, ’cause it also means things like branch and I guess several other things, but in this context I suppose it’s meant to mean tune.

If We Were Having Coffee… #WeekendCoffeeShare.

We haven’t had a

Weekend Coffee Share

in a while, so I thought we could have one today, ’cause I have a couple things to share with you all, and I want to hear how you’ve been doing, too. 🙂 So if you feel like having a cuppa, or something yummy to eat, come along and join me, and I’ll be super happy to have you here! 🙂

Grab a cup of your favourite coffee (we only have black, whole bean coffee in here right now, which I personally think is the best, but if you’d like something fancier you can bring it with yourself). I can also offer you some tea (we do have plenty of these), or cocoa, or some orange juice, or kefir if you like it or want to find out what it’s like, or plain tap water, or you can bring some other drink that you like. I don’t have much interesting stuff where food is involved, if you’re properly hungry and are a meat eater there’s a fair bit of meat left because we didn’t manage to eat everything for lunch, or I can make you a sandwich, but otherwise I suggest you bring something yourself if you’d like a snack with your coffee or something. Yeah I know, bad Bibiel, what sort of coffee share it is without providing your guests with snacks, and a proper variety of coffees. Will try to prepare myself better next time. 😀

 

So if you’re sitting comfortably and have something to munch and/or sip on, let’s get into it. 🙂

If we were having coffee, I’d ask each of you how you’re doing…?

If we were having coffee, I’d start with the mundane topic of weather and share what it’s been like here this week. Because it’s been quite warm, if not hot, for late summer, at least here. It’s a common thing that late August is all gloomy and rainy, and then the first few days of September it gets maliciously hot so that poor kids who are starting school are melting indoors and want to go out and play but can’t cus they have to do some goddam fractions or whatever else they have to do, but after these few days it usually gets a fair bit colder and stays this way. Well, not this year. This year, the first week of September was very very windy and rainy and quite chilly, whereas this week it was as high as 27 C on Tuesday. It felt a lot fresher outside though than the temps would suggest and was just nice and summery. Then yesterday we got pretty bad rain and storms, and today it’s cooler but still very sunny.

If we were having coffee, I’dfill you in on

the Sofi situation.

In the post above I wrote how Sofi is suspected by her new GP to possibly have Marfan syndrome and that she’s gonna have genetic testing in February. In the meantime, my Mum had been ruminating about it quite a lot, which is not her normal, but she’s now feeling a lot better about it as it seems. Like, whatever will be, will be. The good thing is that Sofi doesn’t have, to our knowledge, any major complications that can arise from this condition, so even if she ends up being diagnosed with it, I personally figure that we should feel lucky that despite this diagnosis, she’s been doing this well so far. Mum agrees with me, and Sofi herself doesn’t think much of it. What had been particularly bothering my Mum, and still does, to an extend, is Sofi’s height, as she’s already like 180 cm and shows no signs of wanting to stop growing any time soon. I mean, maybe she herself wants, but her hormones or whatever is in charge does not. Since the genetic testing is still to come and we still have to wait quite a while, there’s no other news strictly where it comes to Marfan’s, but, as you may remember, all the worry related to that also made my Mum worry that Sofi could have polycystic ovaries and that that may be the reason behind her still growing and still not menstruating. So she had her first gynaecologist’s appointment about a month ago or so, and, while she was extremely anxious before that, it all went well and there were no bad news, everything is perfectly fine with Sofiwhere gynaecology is concerned.

If we were having coffee, speaking of Sofi (wow, what a cool rhyme lol, and yes, in case you’re wondering, this Sofi is pronounced like coffee with an S, not like Sophie because that’s how most Polish people say Sophie), I’d also tell you that recently she got vaccinated. Not for Covid, but for diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough (these sound really weird in English :O ). She got the vaccine on Thursday, then started having some arm pain in the evening. The next day her arm hurt even more but she still went to school as normal, but when she came back she was feeling horrid. She had a headache, sore throat, achy muscles, couldn’t breathe normally and was very tired and weak and had a bit of a cough. She was supposed to go have her nails done after school, which she did, but as soon as she came back she just went to bed, so it all felt kind of concerning given that she’s normally very strong and healthy. But I guess that could be the exact reason why she reacted to this vaccine so fiercely. She didn’t get up for the rest of the day and by the evening she seemed like she had some fever and it got quite creepy because not only did she have muscle aches but her skin seemed extremely sensitive to touch pretty much all over her and she couldn’t even change position easily ’cause she said it hurt so badly. My Mum claims though that as long as you’re hungry while sick, things are looking good, and by late evening Sofi got a wild craving for fast food so I got her some. When I was a kid I also got wild and very specific food cravings whenever I had fever, and especially at night, so it either must be a common thing that I didn’t realise or it’s genetic for us. 😀 On Saturday things were a little bit better and Sofi really wanted to go pick mushrooms with Mum, so she did, but she was quite drained by the time she came back and spent the rest of the day in bed. So has been the case today, and she’s also got a stuffed nose. Mum doesn’t really know what to do, since these appear to be vaccine side effects so it seems counterproductive to her to give Sofi some medicines because she thinks her body needs to deal with all this on her own. If things won’t get better until tomorrow, which it doesn’t seem like they will, Mum will take her to the doctor.

If we were having coffee, I’d share with you something about which I already wrote a couple times here, but not much and only in passing. This is not like a huge news or anything breakthrough, but I think it’s worth noting in its own place. This something is that I’ve kinda sorta started learning Norwegian, I guess it was some time in July. I think I’ve written at least one coffee share since but I still had too much turmoil in my brain surrounding it so didn’t feel able to write anything constructive. Perhaps you remember that, as long as my favourite languages list is, and despite it features languages like Swedish, Faroese or Sami, Norwegian had never been on it. And I’m still not sure whether it is now. But for some reason I’ve been feeling more drawn to it lately, and also want to have a closer look at how it works, so that I have some more idea about it other than simply through my Swedish. I don’t know why I’d need it because I could already understand a fair bit of (especially written) bokmål Norwegian (there are two written Norwegian languages – bokmål which is like more classic and nynorsk which is more modern and rural) via Swedish, but that’s what’s happening right now. I started to realise my feelings for Norwegian were deepening in late June, around the time when we were on our camper trip in Masuria, and Sofi and me rode in the back of the camper, on the bed, where if the roads were bumpy, it made us jump up high to the ceiling, so when people ask me “why oh WHY Norwegian? Have you got a faza or did something specific happen involving this language that made you love it out of the blue?” I say perhaps because I got a brain injury from all the close encounters between my skull and the ceiling on the trip, ’cause I really have no better ideas. I mean, I could tell you now, at the point where I am currently, that I like Norwegian for its extreme diversity, like, it’s one language, but it’s two languages, and in practice, as some say, there are more dialects than people there. 😀 This definitely contributes to me liking it now. But I only got to experience this phenomenon first-hand after I got into it. And my feelings started to deepen before I decided to go with the flow and get into it and try to learn it. And it wasn’t like these feelings came and I embraced them right away, far from it. At the beginning it was freakishly intense and I didn’t know what was going on and I was really reluctant to do it, actually. I mean, I’m learning Welsh right now, it’s my first Celtic language and it’s more difficult than any language I’ve learned before, have still like a dozen or so languages that I want to learn in the future, Sofi says I should be treated for that ’cause something’s wrong with me, so I seriously can’t afford another language, someone save me or it’s gonna kill me! In the end though, I just had no willpower left to resist my brain any longer and got pulled into it properly. It felt like I had no choice but make room for Norwegian in my life.

The situation isn’t as bad as I feared, since I already know English and Swedish so there’s a whole lot of similarities between Swedish and Norwegian, they’re generally mutually intelligible, and Norwegian and English also share some common ancestry being both Germanic languages. That means it doesn’t really feel like I am learning a completely new language. More like a complicated dialect or something. It’s not like I have to learn everything in a sort of linear, structured way, starting from the very basics, because a lot of vocabulary I’m either completely familiar with or can figure out without much trouble, and a lot of grammar also already makes sense. Also, compared to Welsh, learning Norwegian is also way easier due to the wider availability of all sorts of materials. I’d long forgotten what sort of luxury it is to be able to learn a language via your mother tongue, and there are plenty of Polish immigrants in Norway, so plenty of Norwegian online courses, workbooks, whatever you want. Only problem is that a lot of the Polish material I’ve looked into isn’t of particularly good quality, like they teach a terribly unnatural accent if not plain wrong pronunciation (like you in Norwegian is du, where the u sound is pronounced like in the English word you, while I’ve found a Polish resource where they teach you that it’s pronounced with an oo sound, more like the German du. Except when you pronounce it like that in Norwegian it’s spelled do and it means the loo 😀 ) or only give you an idea about some stiff, official bokmål which might be a thing in writing but no one speaks like that. So I still tend to stick to the English stuff for the most part, and am also able to learn Norwegian in Norwegian itself, especially from written materials. So with a bit of effort on my part, I managed to make it work so that I can squeeze in both Welsh, which is still in the centre stage, and Norwegian, which I learn usually on weekends plus a lot of exposure in the meantime. It feels kind of weird to call it learning though, because for me language-learning is when your brain lets out steam and your brain muscles get all sore and pulsating, whereas here it’s rarely this intense. It’s still enjoyable though. I still wouldn’t say that I love Norwegian as much as I do all “my” languages, but I think if it won’t disappear as randomly as it appeared I’m probably going to get there and I do like it a lot. I mean, I’ve never disliked it, but now I like it more than ever, yet still don’t love like I do Swedish, Welsh & co. Like I said, I love the whole diversity in it and I’m loving more and more how it sounds. It’s so cheerful and childish compared to Swedish, and at the same time kind of more rugged than Swedish and less fluid, to me Swedish sounds more serious and sort of posher.

I don’t even know yet what I want to achieve with this whole Norwegian “learning” and where I want to go, what for etc. but maybe things will clear up. I guess it might come in handy when I’ll start with Sami. Maybe I’ll finally pluck up the courage to read all those Norwegian books my Mum bought me, thinking they were Swedish, including a grammar book from I guess the 50’s. :DBut overall, while I usually try to aim for as much fluency and familiiarity with a language as possible, at least for now I’m taking it very easy with Norwegian and don’t have any wild ambitions or anything, we’ll just see how it develops, I’m not in charge here anyway, my brain has taken over while I was on those Masuria holidays. Who knows, perhaps it’s just a short episode and I’ll soon be over it?

Now that I’m no more reluctant and have accepted the state of things and flowing along with it, I’m thinking that perhaps there’s something like destiny or whatever involved here, because I’ve had several people in my life who have told me in one way or another that I should learn Norwegian. My Swedish teacher started learning it at some point during the years he was teaching me and could go on and on and on about it and would often try to tempt me into it too saying stuff like that, actually, Norwegian is just like a little dialect of Swedish. It made me think what Norwegians would think of someone putting things this way and I thought it sounded quite diminishing. Like, I myself am half Kashubian, and while I don’t have a strong bond with the Kashubian language (I can barely understand it when someone speaks fluently) or culture, and also am far from supporting the separatistic notion that some Kashubians have, one of the reasons being that I personally identify as Polish far more than Kashubian, nevertheless it really irks me when people call Kashubian a dialect of Polish ’cause it’s just not a dialect. One day he devoted the entire lesson to introducing all sorts of Norwegian phrases and idioms to me that he wanted me to translate to prove to me how Norwegian is very easy when you speak English and Swedish. Sure, but at that point I just didn’t feel it, and if I don’t feel a language there’s no point in trying to convince me. It’s as if you tried to make someone be friends with or date someone else just because YOU think they’d make good friends or couple, while the individuals in question feel totally indifferent about each other. Now that I’m learning both languages, I totally agree that, while Norwegian as it is now certainly is not a dialect of Swedish, in many aspects it really seems like it could be. 😀

Then there was a classmate I had at the blind school, who didn’t know about my Scandinavian interests (which I was trying to suppress at the time because I temporarily wasn’t able to learn Swedish and it was a huge source of frustration to dwell on it or expose myself to Swedish in those circumstances) and for some weird reason he told me several times how in his mind he associates me with Norway, which I found rather hilarious. He didn’t know why either. Later my paternal cousins have come up with some weird theory I’ve no clue how, that we have some Norwegian ancestry. It’s always seemed doubtful to my Dad and my gran and me too, but in the past they would often say how I should rather learn Norwegian than Swedish ’cause we allegedly have some distant family connection to Norway.

And lastly there was my late friend Jacek from Helsinki, who shortly after we first met said that, as much as he praises my learning Swedish and considers it aesthetically superior over other Scandinavian languages, he felt that perhaps Norwegian would have been a better option for me, because of all them weird dialects and because they have two languages instead of one so I’d probably have more fun. All of these people would probably be happy now that it has come true, after all, lol.

I also have THREE uncles who all work in Norway (one full-time and two get sent there from time to time for some longer-ish periods) and one has told my family that apparently he’s learned to communicate in the language decently. He never said that to me, although we have talked about Norwegian vs Swedish several times, and he never talked Norwegian in front of me, but now I have to admit I’m looking forward to some bigger family gathering where all of these uncles of mine will be present so I can break the news to them and we can find out who can snakke (speak) better than Bibiel *evil laugh*. Or maybe I’m in for a surprise and any/all of them actually snakker better than Bibiel, which would be just as cool, they’ve certainly had more exposure than me and more potential opportunities to practice with people! 🙂

If we were having coffee, I’d mention that we’re having a bit of a national Catholic holiday today. This is because it’s the day of beatification of cardinal Stefan Wyszyński, the Primate of Poland. Beatification means that he is now known as blessed (which is like a step below canonisation when a person is proclaimed saint) and a primate is the archbishop of a country. Even due to his function alone, he was a very important and valued figure in the Polish Catholic church during his life and still is very much valued and respected due to his huge positive influence on the church and aspects like the so-called folk devotion to Mary, to name just one thing. Along with him, another person who was beatified was mother Elżbieta Róża Czacka who was the foundress of the religious order who leads the blind school I went to, and also the foundress of the school and everything around it as well. She was blind herself ever since she was 22, I believe, and is said to be the first person in Poland who has taken the problem of education of the blind seriously. This school is relatively well-known and quite a few people who have nothing or very little to do with the blind have heard about it somewhere and back in my school days they would ask my Mum whether I go to THAT school. I am talking about this because now that she and the whole blind centre and the order she founded have been talked a lot in the media and churches in the period leading up to the beatification, I’ve got quite a few people from my family and even beyond, asking me things like whether I’m happy that she’s gonna be beatified, and I found the amount of that and this specific phrasing of the question quite interesting so I thought I’d write a little bit about that and how I feel about it. Am I happy? Yes, I’m very happy! I feel tempted to throw an “obviously” in there, but since I’ve got this question so often perhaps it’s not so obvious for some reason. But I can’t think of a reason why I wouldn’t be happy. We definitely can’t complain about lack of representation of disabilities among saints but the more the merrier, and also I’ve got a feeling that blindness in general has gotten a little bit of spotlight in the Catholic church due to this, because they are telling her story everywhere now and obviously it’s impossible to tell her story without talking about blindness and the blind. Also while I can think of several blind saints, most of them have lived quite a long time ago and when reading about their lives there’s not much you can learn about their experience with blindness specifically, perhaps except for my dear patron saint bl. Margaret de Citta di Castello but she has also lived quite some time ago. So I think mother Elżbieta (or should I be saying Elizabeth in English now?… I never know if you should translate saints’/blesseds’ names or not, it seems so inconsistent) is going to be particularly relatable and close to the hearts of many blind people, and I think that sort of connection is important. I know many who have loved her long before she has been beatified, even if they were too young to know her or didn’t get a chance to meet her personally. I’ve heard of some blind people from that school who actually regard her as a sort of mother figure or something. And beyond that, whether it’s her or someone else, I think a beatification of someone new is generally a very happy event in itself for the Church as a community. My Mum also asked me whether I feel any sort of bond with her, which I think is a more interesting question. We’ve both had the same disability, so on this level I think there is some connection that I feel to her. Also, while personally I have very mixed feelings about both the school and my experience there, i feel grateful to her for the mere fact that she founded it, because the whole thing was extremely courageous of her, and that she devoted herself to the blind so much and on so many levels. One thing I’m extremely grateful to her for is that she adapted Braille to the Polish language. But I don’t feel much of an emotional bond with her like a lot of blind folks do. Or a very strong spiritual one. When I was at school, they’d talk a lot about her and I remember one person once suggested to me that if I struggle with homesickness and stuff like that, I could think of mother Elżbieta as my second mum or a mother figure or something, that some people have this sort of bond with her. I initially really tried and really wanted to, but somehow didn’t feel it. Then not much later I got truly sick of all that talking about it being our second home and stuff like that and I internally rebelled against it all, so there was no way I could think of her as my mum. When I was older, I read her writings and letters and several biographies and a couple memoirs involving her. She was incredibly wise and virtuous and strong-willed and in many aspects very extraordinary and fascinating, and while I didn’t see that at school because I had vastly different outlook on things and vastly different things on my mind, now I do admire her deep devotion to the Cross. Yet when I read her writings she doesn’t come across as someone whom I could truly feel close to. With all her admirable traits and all the great things she did, I think we just are too different for such a close bond to be possible. Or maybe I just have a somehow skewed perception of her despite all the stuff I read about her. And the mixed feelings I have about the school surely get in the way too, even though it doesn’t have to do with her directly. Like I said, the saint I do feel more of a connection to, and who also happens to have been blind and multiply disabled is bl. Margaret of Castello.

If we were having coffee, last, but not least, I’d share about a major purchase I recently made. I got myself an iPad, YAY! Now this is really a huge thing because not long ago I thought I wouldn’t be able to be able to use a smartphone, due to the touchscreen, and now I’m getting a second Apple device. This is because, actually, recently I had been considering a possibility of transitioning to a Mac from my Windows computer. Yeah, I’ve transitioned to a new computer over a year ago, but I’m sure Sofi would be more than keen to inherit this one from me, and also some of its parametres are well above what I need. I’ve recently got to hear a lot about how it looks in practice to use a Mac with VoiceOver (the built-in screen reader) and I was like, huh, this doesn’t sound quite as difficult as I thought. It sounds way more intuitive and non-geek-friendly than Windows. And I really have grown to like the way Apple does things ever since I’ve got my iPhone, while at the same time Windows irks me in more and more ways. Yet I’ve also heard about several blind people who have tried using Mac and it didn’t really work out too well, and because it’s not like I am incredibly tech savvy or anything, it felt risky, especially that Mac OS computers are not the cheapest in the world as everyone knows. So I was playing around with that idea for a long time until I figured that perhaps a cool golden mean would be getting an iPad, because I’ve heard of some blind users who just use an iPad with a Bluetooth keyboard as their primary device rather than a laptop or a computer, which they only use when something is just physically impossible to do on an iPad. Perhaps if I tried that, I would be able to say more decidedly in a couple of years how worth it and how risky for me getting a Mac is. And I guess in a year or two I’ll be able to apply for funding which you can get for an assistive device, and a computer counts as one. Since I don’t need anything more than a MacBook Air, perhaps the funding would even cover that if I’m lucky and counting right.

So in the end I got an iPad 8 and Apple says it should be here tomorrow and I’m really really curious and a little bit apprehensive. One thing I’m kind of afraid of not working out as well as I’d like is typing. I do a lot of writing, but while I have a Bluetooth keyboard for my iPhone as well as my Braille-Sense which works like a Braille Display and Bluetooth keyboard at once, I find writing on iPhone a pretty arduous experience, especially on the Braille-Sense which I prefer for longer writing because it’s easier and faster to review what I write. Except in the end it’s not because the cursor often flies around so it’s hard not to make mistakes, or in some apps it will randomly throw me out of the edit field after every few characters, or it will be very slow and freezy or otherwise buggy. Since iPad is essentially the same system, I’m not sure whether I can hope for much difference there. But it’s not like I am supposed to ditch the Windows computer and rely on the iPad for everything from tomorrow on. If, after a year or a few, I’ll come to the conclusion that I like the Apple ecosystem increasingly and the only thing that stops me from using iPad full-time is the typing, I might still get the Mac as I don’t think it has the same typing issues as iOS devices do.

What would you tell me if we were having coffee? 🙂

 

Gwenan Gibbard – “Paid â Deud” (Don’t Say).

Hey guys! 🙂

Today I’m sharing with you a song from Welsh harpist and singer Gwenan Gibbard, already featured on this blog multiple times. I don’t really know much about this song, not eve whether it’s her original composition, or a traditional tune, or maybe someone else wrote and composed it in modern times, but I think it’s beautiful.

Ryn Weaver – “OctaHate”.

Hiya people! 🙂

Today I have a song for you from an artist who is very new to me. Ryn Weaver, also known as Aryn Wuthrich, is an American indie singer, and the song I want to share with you was her 2014 debut single, also featured on her first EP called Promises. The song’s lyrics deal with Ryn’s first love, which was unfortunately very toxic.

Ruelle ft. Fleurie – “Carry You”.

Hey guys! 🙂

This song is the third, and last, at least for now, from Ruelle that I’m gonna share with you. But despite I saved it as the last one to share with you, I actually like it most of these three, and this is the very first song by Ruelle that I was introduced to. I heard it for the first time when I had an extremely shitty day anxiety-wise and I found the lyrics really soothing, and the song overall is so beautiful and amazing. As it happens, if I got it correctly, this one is also part of the Shadowhunters soundtrack, just like War of Hearts I shared earlier.

Question of the day.

I found this super cool name game on Reddit, on a subreddit called Namenerds, you can find it

here,

and as I had no idea for an actual question, and I myself love name questions, I thought we could do this, perhaps you’d find it fun too. 🙂 In this game, you’re an influencer and you have twelve children, which you obviously have to name, and there are different rules for each child. You can of course use nicknames as well. Here are the rules for all the children and below are my kids’ names:

Kid 1: (Male, 13) Name of your hypothetical honeymoon location, middle name is animal-themed
Kid 2: (Female twin, 11) Name starts with the same letter as Kid 3, middle name is Greek mythology themed
Kid 3: (Female twin, 11) Name starts with the same letter as Kid 2, middle name is Roman mythology themed
Kid 4: (Female, 10) Flower name, middle name is an English monarch name
Kid 5: (Male triplet, 8) Name starts with letter K, famous author middle name
Kid 6: (Male triplet, 8) Name starts with letter K, Movie character middle name
Kid 7: (Female triplet 8) Name starts with letter K, Fairytale character middle name
Kid 8: (Male, 7) Named after your favorite relative, Middle name starts with the same letter as the first name.
Kid 9: (Male, 5) Named after a scientist/inventor, Middle name is gender-neutral
Kid 10: (Female twin, 4) Name starts with P, middle name is star and space themed
Kid 11: (Male twin, 4) Name starts with P, middle name is plant themed
Kid 12: (Female, 2) Name can also be used as a surname, middle name is color themed
BONUS::
Dog: (Pug, Male) food themed
Cat: (Calico, Female) old person name

Alright, let’s do it:

Kid 1: Gwynedd (pronounced like Gwyneth except the th is pronounced as in the, not as in Thursday) “Gwyn” Lynx (this is the only animal name that I like enough that I could perhaps use, plus it has feline connotations and sounds very influencer-like imo as influencers like lyn names and the letter x).

Kid 2: Marigold Helena (HE-le-nuh or heh-LEH-nah, NOT heh-LAY-nuh or heh-LEE-nuh!, perhaps she’d go by her middle because while I like both these names I love Helena more. In this case I’d happily call her something like Nellie or Hellie or Ellie but I’m gonna have a Kornelia as well so it’s not a good idea really. The Polish Helenka would have to suffice, and will work well to suggest the right pronunciation for strangers. If she’ll be called Marigold then I don’t think I’d use any nicknames, I’m not crazy about Goldie).

Kid 3: Michaela (either mee-khah-EH-lah or mee-ka-EH-la, NOT mi-KAY-luh!) Proserpina (would it be very very wrong if I used the nickname Micha or Michi? If yes, perhaps she’d be Mimi).

Kid 4: Salivia (sa-lee-VEE-ya) “Sallie” or “Via” Anne (salivia is Swedish (archaic I guess) for sage. It appears in a well-known Swedish folk song “Uti Vår Hage” (In Our Garden) along with several other plant names, and ever since I heard it for the first time I think all of them would make for great names, but Salivia is my favourite. It’s a herb, not a flower, but I guess it still counts, what do y’all think? Also, my other question to you is: even with the different pronunciation, does this still look/sound too much like saliva to you? I think I’d sometimes call her Sallie Anne as well).

Kid 5: Kristoffer (I very much like Polish Krzysztof too but I don’t want my followers to break their tongues and Kristoffer is also very cool) Jack (after Jack London whom I don’t care for, but… well, he’s a Jack 😀 I don’t like Chris quite as much as I do Kristoffer or Christopher but it’s a long name so I guess he’d end up being called that sometimes, as long as no one calls him Kris because that means crisis in Swedish).

Kid 6: Kilian Alexander (that was a difficult one because I don’t really have any more favourite K names for boys, and because I hardly watch movies. 😀 I sort of like Kilian but I’ve heard that for many people Killian/Cillian sounds like killing or something, and while in Polish it’s pronounced with the ee sound rather than ih, I’m not sure I’d be able to get English natives to say it that way. Alexander simply fits well for Kilian imo, plus I like this name, plus it would honour Olek, and apparently there was some movie about Alexander the Great called just Alexander. Not sure how famous it is. Perhaps to avoid the kill trouble he’d go by Alexander, and then we’d nickname him Sandy or Xander or Alec, I don’t know, I like most Alexander nicknames).

Kid 7: Kornelia “Nellie” Zofijka (Kornelia obviously in honour of Cornelis Vreeswijk, and Zofijka obviously in honour of my sister Zofijka, whose full name is of course Zofia but I don’t like Zofia, I despise the default nickname Zosia, and I’m an influencer so I don’t give a flip, I’m gonna call her Zofijka. In Polish we pronounce it zaw-FEEY-kah, but I wouldn’t mind it being pronounced close to Zofika or something like that, and also it’s just a middle name which I have a feeling she wouldn’t use a lot, due to other Zofijka.

Kid 8″ Jacenty (my grandad’s middle name, pronounced yah-TSEN-ti) “Jacek” John (not very satisfied with this combo, ’cause John is so filler, but other J names for boys that I like also start with Jac-).

Kid 9: Fulton (officially after Robert Fulton to whom I have no connection whatsoever, unofficially after Venerable archbishop Fulton J. Sheen who would make for an amazing patron saint and whose name I kinda like despite I generally am not a big fan of surname names) Lux.

Kid 10: Pilar Stellamaris (could you go more Catholic than this?! 😀 But Pilar is one of my most favourite P girl names, and since it’s a name very closely connected with the Virgin Mary due to one of her titles being Our Lady of the Pillar, and since I chose Pilar I thought we’d go Catholic and Marian-themed all the way, ’cause Stellamaris is another of Mary’s titles, meaning star of the sea in Latin. And obviously it’s also star- and space-themed).

Kid 11: Pio (yeah, let’s keep the Catholic theme, and aside from the Padre Pio connection I think the name is quite cute and it matches Pilar well and I don’t really have better ideas other than Phillip, which feels very matchy-matchy sound-wise with Pilar and also I prefer Filip anyway, and Peter which I like but is underwhelmingly boring with my other kids) William (as in the flower sweet William, which is also a name with numerous patron saints so it fits this recent theme. If Pio turns out not very practical he could go by William and then I’d probably call him Billy).

Kid 12: Elwy (my current faza’s Jacob Elwy Williams’ surname, which is apparently also used as a girl’s name somewhere, and is also the name of a river in Wales) Sapphire.

Dog: Biszkopt (BEESH-kopt, sponge-cake biscuit in Polish, I love the word).

Cat: Euphemia (Fiffi).

Yay, it’s a freakishly diverse sibset, but I think, especially given that I’m an influencer so I’m allowed to go crazy, it doesn’t feel glaringly mismatched or anything. What do you think about my kids’ names?

And what do you choose for yours? 🙂

Ruben ft. Emma Steinbakken – “Melancholia”.

Hey people! 🙂

So earlier this year, I told you what I think should be the anthem of introverts if we were supposed to pick one. I’m sure there would be a lot of great candidates but Leah Nobel’s “Talking to the Dog at the Party” strikes me as one of the most appropriate choices ever since I heard it for the first time. Today, I will present to you what I think should be the anthem of dysthymics, should we have one. As you probably know if you’ve been around here for a while, I have dysthymia and to me this song seems like it’s been written specifically with this condition in mind. 😀 It’s freakishly relatable! It’s performed by two young and very successful Norwegian singers who have both been featured on my blog. I shared a song by Ruben only a few days ago, and from Emma Steinbakken I showed you her Not Gonna Cry a couple years ago. I really like both of their music overall.