Sunday, January 24, 2016

A Bit of a Snow Storm

Our back deck, Saturday morning about 7:30.
So it has been snowing here - sometimes more, somethings less - since about 9:30 yesterday morning. I tried to keep about half of the back deck cleared most of the day so we could get out to feed the birds and basically just get out. What you see on the table above started accumulating about 2:-00-3:00 in the afternoon when we got tired of cleaning it off.

I did run the snow blower yesterday afternoon about 2:30 or so to keep things from getting crazy. Clearly I failed in that aim. I cannot now tell that I did anything in the driveway and it is deeper than it was when I plowed yesterday.

It is still (time now is 9:30 AM) snowing pretty hard out - big flakes and lots of them. I shoveled about a foot or a little more off the back deck this morning and after about an hour and a half, I had nearly two more inches.

I sitting here trying to work up the gumption to run the blower again and knock the top off of the driveway and sidewalks. We're told that it will be nearly 40 F tomorrow and it will all be ok. Eventually.

In just over a month, I will be in Maun, Botswana where it is in the low 90's every day. Anyone for seasons? Looking forward to it.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

After Lemon Tree Passage

Kangaroos grazing near Pebbly Beach.

South of Sydney is Murramarang Naional Park which containPebbly Beach. Located at this site are a series of "shacks", small holiday cabins where you can stay near the beach. Near the beach where the kangaroos graze! We have booked a couple nights towards the end of November to stay in one of the shacks and just be at the beach, and enjoy the kangaroos.

Thursday, January 07, 2016

A Few Details



I have a Rokinon 14 mm lens for my Nikon D800E that I have found very useful for photographing churches, cathedrals, and other architectures of interest. Extra care is required since the lens is manual focus. Since we have all gotten used to autofocus, it is a real effort to handle a manual focus lens. Especially when using the lens in places that are not brightly lit.

For a "normal" lens, focusing is not all that hard, but for a wide angle lens it is a bit tricky since the variation in focus is slow with a turn in the focus ring. So much is in focus, or nearly so, it is hard to tell what you are doing through the viewfinder. So let's change the game and simplify the process.

Filling in the Details

A Google map's eye view.
We have booked the second stop on our Australian tour: Lemon Tree Passage. It is in New South Wales located about a 45 minute drive from Newcastle and a couple hours from Sydney. Two dogs and a cat are waiting for us.

This visit is for a half a month and looks like a perfect place to walk the dogs, enjoy the beaches, and with a little luck, see some koalas in the wild. Ah... to be at the beach in November!

Sunday, January 03, 2016

About Stockholm

I write this from the airport, having finished a breakfast sandwich and some coffee that would have powered the entire 7th Fleet for a week. The instant caffeine headache is slowly subsiding. It seems like a good time to post a few thoughts on our first visit to Sweden.

Waiting for the tram on Strandvägen.

Saturday, January 02, 2016

Biskvi!

Steve has been encouraging me to contribute to our blog. Fossilized Catholics such as myself can't imagine anyone being interested in our mundanity, but I've compromised by agreeing to write about my favorite topic -- yummy, interesting, special food treats.

Meet, the biskvi. The biskvi is a Scandinavian Christmastime treat we discovered by serendipity in Cafe Kladdakan, a cozy coffee shop in Gamla Stan, Stockholm. Biskvi is composed of a chewy almond macaroon base with buttercream filling, clothed in chocolate that crackles when you bite into it. Loosen your stays, ladies, the combination of textures and flavors will make you swoon.

Speaking of swooning, biskvi are also called Sarah Bernhardt Cookies, but most of the US recipes I found lean more toward marshmallow than buttercream. Here's a recipe that sounds right to me.

I'm not kidding you when I say this is the most delicious thing I've ever tasted.





Friday, January 01, 2016

Stockholm Stadshus

Stockholm City Hall from the "inside.".The building is an open rectangle.
The Stockholm Stadshus (City Hall) is an impressive structure. Outside, it has a great tower in one corner and sits directly across the lake from our hotel. Inside, however, it is a special place.


The LogInn Hotel

MS Kronprinsesse Märtha, a cruiseship ordered in 1928 was built by the "International Ship-building and Engineering Co" in Danzig. It was delivered in the summer of 1929 to Stavanger, Norway.


The MS Kronprinsesse Märtha.