Jan 28, 2003

One of these days I'm going to have to see if there's an astrological reason why I sometimes go days without blogging. I know Mercury was retrograde for a while and it seemed to effect me by making me lethargic. The moment the planet went direct, it felt like I got new energy. What's retrograde, you ask? Or maybe you're asking, where'd I leave my beer? (Where were you doing just before you sat down to read my blog? That's where your beer is.) For those of you who are able to focus and remember the retrograde question (and where you put the beer), NASA has an explanation here.

Basically, retrograde means a planet appears to be moving backwards relative to our vantage point, just because of the way orbits and distances from the Sun and stuff is. Astrologically, it means the planet's expression takes a more indirect route than usual; it also means going over old ground. That means a Mercury Retrograde period is great for getting rid of paper clutter (I did do that), but planning for or acting on the future needs some extra caution. Many astrologers believe that retrograde planets in a birth chart show issues from a past life that need re-working in this lifetime.

Any planet can be retrograde at some point but the Sun and Moon can't. They never appear to be moving backwards. Mercury is retrograde about 3 times a year, and so is Venus, since both orbit the Sun very closely.

Anyway, I'm feeling energized these days. Tomorrow I'm going to give two strangers astrological readings; it's a "practice run" for my participation as an astrologer at Bergen's New Age Fair in March. I've never done this sort of thing before, so I'm very excited and a bit scared. I wonder if the butterflies in my stomach like beer? I hope so. They're getting some.

Jan 17, 2003

Did you know the Sun is green sometimes? Apparantly, it can flash green at sunrise and sunset. A search on Google for "green flash" will turn up a lot of information about it. This site explains the phenomenon and has pretty pictures. I myself have never heard of this before and have never seen it.

Jan 16, 2003

Some stuff rattling around in my head:

Chinese medicine groups the body's various parts differently than does Western medicine. We group according to type of tissue – bone, nerve, muscle, etc. – whereas the Chinese group according to function. In their system, the gut, lungs and brain are all grouped together because they all are similar in function (i.e. nutrition in – waste out in the same movement).

In Western astrology, Mercury, the planet that rules intellect, also rules lungs and intestines.

I have also always trusted my gut instincts. They rarely steer me wrong.

These rattlings come together in this article about the body's second brain: The gut.

Jan 13, 2003

I asked a friend: "What did you have for dinner?" Then he sent me these pictures. It's anyone's guess...

Jan 12, 2003

There is a fact of life, that applies to all of us (women, too) and that is farting (or passing gas or flatulence). I was directed to this educational and funny webpage answering all kinds of questions about the gas we pass. By the way, it's good to fart, though you may still not want to do it in public. :-)

Jan 8, 2003

Some things about living in Norway:Norwegians don't decorate their houses with Christmas lights American-style – yet. They do do lights that mark Advent and that are kept up until the 13th day of Christmas (Jan 7) or sometimes 20th day. The picture of the snowman who appeared on New Year's Day this year, shows two types of lights commonly displayed for Advent: An eight-pointed star and a seven-armed mock candelabra. (This is the view from my living room window. My apartment building is similar-looking.)

I went to do a little bit of shopping this evening. A large number of grocery stores stay open until 9 pm (21:00) now. But in Norway, the sale of alcohol (which means beer) has to stop at 8 pm. Like that makes any sense. There are still powers in Norway that want to hang on the old way of thinking, which means Alcohol Is Bad. (Curiously, one of the senators in the US who suggested Prohibition, was apparantly of Norwegian descent.)

I'll bet you're thinking all Norwegians get in the way of booze is beer. Not so. But beer is the only thing allowed sold in regular grocery stores. Ales and other spirits that have an alcohol content higher than 4.5 % have to be sold through the state monopoly Vinmonopolet (literally, "the wine monopoly"). This leads to another tradition: The interminably long lines before major holidays and weekends to buy booze, even an ordinary table wine. However, the personell are specially trained, and so are as much consultants as clerks. I haven't been steered wrong yet. The Vinmonopolet is a good place to people-watch, too, because it's the one store where all walks of life shop.

Jan 3, 2003

This new moon has been full of good news for me. On my way home tonight, I looked up at the light-polluted skies above what I call home, and found Orion, looking much paler than I remembered from the darker nights of my childhood. And then I saw it: A shooting star – streaking very fast north to south right above me.

I was so happy to see it. I had no wish to make. My wishes seem to be coming true, anyway. I thought the shooting star was a confirmation of that. It made the evening – in fact, the whole start to 2003 – feel magical.

Jan 2, 2003

My spider's back! Not dead! Probably just temporarily relocated – for whatever reason spiders relocate. My little spider is back on my bathroom ceiling, hanging over my shower. (I have arachnephobia – a fear of spiders; as long as the spider is small, not black, and doesn't go moving all over the place, I'm OK.)

Jan 1, 2003

Happy New Year, everyone! It's officially Januar 1 2003 in all of Europe. And it's snowing in this part of the continent. It's been snowing and blowing all day. Large flakes are coming down and currently it looks like we've got 4 or 5 inches of snow and not much visibility for the fireworks.

In Norway, small fireworks are sold for New Year's Eve and folks set them off themselves. I've been watching my neighbors tonight. Sparks have literally flown through the air, most upwards and high, some directly at buildings and bushes. I took my picture of fireworks through my living room window.

I watched some kids mess around with what I assume were some of the cheaper types of firecrackers.

  1. Light a firecracker in your hand
  2. Toss it a good 20 meters
  3. Watch nothing happen
  4. Light a firecracker in your hand
  5. Hold it a bit longer, make a friend yell "Throw it" at you
  6. Throw it
  7. See a red dot light up in the snow (kinda cool)
  8. Make a small mound of snow
  9. Light a firecracker in your hand
  10. Place it in the mound of snow
  11. Watch it explode into zooming green lights [Oh, so that's what it does]
  12. Place firecracker in mound of snow
  13. Light firecracker
  14. Watch it try to escape as it goes off with some zooming green lights
  15. Place a firecracker deeper in mound of snow
  16. Light firecracker
  17. Watch mound light up bright red from inside and then blow out a side with a FWOOMP.
That last one was pure comedy and gave me a big laugh. The first of 2003! What promise for the new year!