Thursday, June 21, 2007

solstice, and a meme

There is only 1 day in the entire year when, from our front door, we get to see the sun rising over the actual horizon, as opposed to over the surrounding buildings.....and today is it! That is because, from the house, we only see a tiny sliver of the dunes across the bay, in a gap between buildings, and only on the day of the winter solstice is the rising sun far enough north to make it into the gap! It makes the whole thing something to anticipate, sort of like summer solstice at Stonehenge, but in our own backyard!

So I waited avidly all week, looked up the exact day of solstice online (it varies between 20th or 21st June) and dragged myself reluctantly out of bed, where I have retreated with a dose of capture this year's event for posterity!

Here is some info off Wikipaedia
"A solstice occurs twice a year, whenever Earth's axis tilts the most toward or away from the Sun, causing the Sun to be farthest north or south at noon. The name is derived from Latin sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still), because at the solstice, the Sun stands still in declination, that is, its movement north or south is minimal. The term solstice can also be used in a wider sense as the date (day) that such a passage happens. The solstices, together with the equinoxes, are related to the seasons. "

Ok, here is a meme I saved the other day and have been chipping away at between paintings....Charlotte over at Create a Connection set it up:

When did you begin your first blog and what inspired you to do so?
I started blogging in September 2006, because a friend who lives in Sudan had sent me her blog address and I wrote back and said “Duh? What is a blog?” and she wrote back and explained, and said I should set one up because I’d love it…..the rest is history!

The only purpose at that time was so that I could communicate with friends and family (we have them scattered across the globe) and share what was going on in our lives. I loved the idea of it being a sort of chatty open letter, but with no obligation on either side to keep writing emails back and forth, a sort of “take it or leave it… read it if you like, comment if you like” thing. So I sent the address to a bunch of family and friends, and I put up a few posts.

I also liked the potential for anonymity, although lately I have been less concerned with that. But at the time my son was in a draconian country where free expression was discouraged rather firmly… (At around this time a journalist was beheaded for expressing an honest anti-government opinion), so to be able to comment back and forth without fear of monitored e-mails and phone calls was great.

I didn’t even know about the concept of surfing other peoples blogs…until Max set up a blog for himself, and then lost it! I did a search, typed in a couple of his key words, and a whole list came up. On top of that list was a blog called Red Shoe Ramblings, so I clicked and got hooked! I loved meeting Deb and reading her opinions and wry comments on anything and everything. So I left a comment, and she replied. I visited some of the links in her comments, and before I knew it I was part of on of the microcosmic communities within the larger blogging and even larger internet community. I was addicted in no time.

That was still in the early days, pre beta (now new) blogger, and setting up the sidebar was much less idiot-proof than it is now. Bev, and Kirsty from Australia were very patient, sending answers to my really dumb questions, and so it began.

The international connections still thrill me…. I just love the idea that I can go for a stroll, see a whale, and post it. By the next day people from as far afield as New Zealand and Australia, North Africa, UK, USA and Canada have shared the same delight of spotting that whale! And the co-incidences are wonderful, like meeting CJ, who used to live in PE, but now lives in Scotland. She clicked my link on the comments page of one of her blogfriends, and now gets regular anti-homesick updates on what’s going on here at 34 degrees South!

Do you have more than one blog? Why? How are they different?
Until recently, no, because I find it confusing when people have lots, and my surfing time is limited, and I never know which one to read….. but now that I am doing art full time, it seemed messy having the art muddled up amongst personal daily news, so I have set up a separate one for the artwork at

How would you characterize your blog?
Creative Political Informational Community-oriented Or something else?
Probably all of the above …. I am such a well rounded person… ( hee hee, very punny) Well, it is a reflection of me, so it is chatty, varied, unscheduled, opinionated…. and reflects my passion for old buildings, restoration, books, travel, family, art etc. I have discovered in myself a teacher I didn’t know was there, she loves sharing info about places I go to. Because I am a photography fanatic, it is full of pictures to illustrate my ravings.

To paraphrase Oprah, what is “one thing you know for sure” about blogging?
It is addictive!

Is it important to you to get feedback in terms of comments or pings? Why or why not?
In the beginning it wasn’t, I was just putting my thoughts “out there”. But as the comments started coming in, I began to enjoy the interaction, especially when it is in the nature of an ongoing debate or adds to the topic. I think to a degree I need that feedback, if there was never a comment I would assume I was boring everyone into a coma, and that I was not succeeding in expressing my particular interests in a way that made them interesting to anyone else….
Apart from that, I have built up such great friendships through the interaction of the comments.

What 3 blogs would you recommend to our readers and why?
Well, all of those on my sidebar, but for this I think I am going to pick 3 that I visit when I get time, and find very thought provoking, but are not my regular blog buddies.

  • Designers Block, a UK blog all about good design, great interiors etc
  • Sudan Watch (along with its sister blogs Ethiopia, Uganda, Niger and Congo Watch) all fascinating if you want to go behind the scenes in Africa:
  • And Conscious Earth for a good update on environmental issues:
  • and, because I feel rules are made to be broken, and why should I stop at 3 anyway?..... here is a great one if you need to know anything about all the new software out there, comparisons, crits, what is safe to download and what isn’t, it is like computer geeks paradise, and computer dinosaurs such as me can benefit from their research!



RUTH said...

Sorry you're not well but glad you managed to get your superb photo.

Janet said...

With the flu and feeling bad you still got a fantastic photo!! How wonderful too that you have your own little "Stonehenge"

Loved the meme! I was a little like you in the beginning...."What the heck is a blog?" but I sure found out quickly and I'm also addicted!! Yours is always fun and I learn so much about your country. I'm so glad you started blogging!

Tammy said...

Amazing photo! I really love that it is a worldly adventure. I feel connected more to the world and not just the USA.

Blue the Spa Girl said...

Flu? Well, with solstice comes change, cosmic change too, which sometimes manifests itself physically, so you are going through a shift. You are one powerful spirit!

Shirley said...

Lovely solstice photo!