Wednesday, August 31, 2011

If I don't get to Europe soon . . .

. . . I think I'm going to curl up and die. I've been thinking of this for several months now, that I really need to cross the pond. Soon. I need some good European coffee and chocolate. I need some new shoes, and when it comes to fashion, they are at least 1.5 years ahead of us over here in the colonies. I would love to see my friends in Austria, Belgium, Finland, and The Netherlands. I'd love to visit some of the places I haven't been to yet, like Norway and Sweden and Greece. I'd be thrilled to see some of the places I've seen already. Just take me there. Please. Somebody. Soon. Consider this a cry for help. Are you reading this, SGR?!!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Good night and morning, Irene

Sunset last night, as the clouds from Irene were moving in.
I'm guessing that no matter where you are in the world, if you follow the news, you've heard that the East Coast of the USA is experiencing a hurricane. Her name is Irene, and she's HUGE. We first saw her "wings" late yesterday afternoon as we drove east from Charlotte to the farm. The farm is about 80 miles inland, so we're not seeing the full blast of Miss Irene like they are on the coast, but it's certainly been interesting. Last night the winds howled all night long. It was difficult to sleep because I was worried about a tree falling on the house! (Fortunately, that didn't happen.) It's still quite gusty today, and I'm not sure yet but I think we may need to postpone today's plans to plant the fall garden.

Looking southeast last night, just after sunset.
Apologies for the poor quality of these photos. I took them with my phone and it was really too dark out to be taking photos, but I wanted to try to capture what I was seeing anyway.

This morning at 0930. OK, Irene, darling, you're wearing out your welcome.
So maybe the worst is over for us here? Hope so. Also hoping that things don't get any worse for our friends up north. Will be keeping an eye on the news, for sure. Everyone be safe.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Shake, rattle, roll

Yesterday was a very interesting day on the East Coast of the USA. First, a personal tidbit: yesterday was my one-year anniversary with my "new" company (I guess it's not so "new" anymore). So I was feeling a little psyched by that as I walked from the parking lot to my office. The cooler weather and the beautiful Carolina blue sky put a little extra spring in my step, and I felt happy.

The morning went by quickly and shortly after lunch I was sitting at my desk, minding my own business, doing some project work, when suddenly . . . the floor started shaking. OK, sometimes this happens when people walk by, or when someone is pushing a cart through the hallways. Thing is, no one was walking by, and there was no cart being pushed. Everything in the office got really, really quiet. I looked up at the ceiling and noticed that the lights were swinging a little, and that's when I realized . . . THE EARTH WAS MOVING!!!

The whole thing lasted about 30 seconds, but it seemed to last longer because it was so surreal. Immediately, people started popping out of their cubes and offices, and everyone was asking: "What was THAT?!!!" Being the social networker that I am, my first reaction was to check Twitter. At 1:54PM, I tweeted: "Am I in California or North Carolina? I just felt a seismic shift!!! WTF!!!"

Then the Tweets started rolling in. The first one I saw was from someone I follow in Chapel Hill, who said she felt it there. Then someone from Raleigh posted something. That was just the beginning.

In the meantime, my coworker who sits in the cube behind me was checking the internet. At about the same time as she found it online, I was reading Tweets saying that there was a seismic event near Washington, DC. Within a matter of minutes, we were learning from social media that people felt it in places like Toronto, Louisville, and New York. Internet news agencies reported a 5.8 (or 5.9) and the epicenter was in a town called Mineral, Virginia (which is near Richmond). The reason we felt it so far away, according to news reports, is because the land on the East Coast is different and the event occurred in a more "shallow" location in the earth.

I've been all around the world, to places where tremors are frequent. I even lived in California one summer. But I've never felt the earth move until yesterday. Ironically, in a place where this kind of thing doesn't happen very often.

My one-year anniversary may not have been noticed by anyone but me, but I'll remember it for a long time!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

It's personal

Just a silly photo from yesterday's 5K event in the Elizabeth area of Charlotte. My co-workers and I had a blast doing our first event together (walking, obviously! - and at the back of the pack, obviously!) This event was kind of personal for me because it's the first event I've done since I busted my ankle in September 2009. I still have a little trouble with my foot, but the 5K distance (3.1 miles) doesn't seem to be a problem. Who knows, perhaps there will be more soon? You never know with me, huh?!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Changing names

After nearly three years of Gypsy Roots, I've decided to change the name of this blog. Originally, I chose the name because I'd just come back to the United States after living in Europe. I came back to a new house in a new neighborhood and I felt a lot like a gypsy being forced to put down roots. A lot of stuff has happened since then. I no longer live in that house . . . or that state. My world came crashing down around me, in a lot of ways. I ended up in the very city where my adulthood began. Life came full circle. So I think I'm gonna call this blog Full Circle for a while . . . at least until the next big chapter in my life. Hope you like the name. If not, too bad! :-)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Movin' out

We officially moved out of the city flat today, although we've been living in the suburban house for about seven weeks already. Can I just say that I hate moving? We're getting pretty good at it, though, given two moves in less than one year. Anyway, it feels good to be able to check something off my very long to-do list!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The great flood of 2011

Just a quick note to let everyone out there know that we were not affected by the flooding in the Charlotte area yesterday. There are parts of the city (particularly in the northwest) that got up to 7 inches of rain, but here on the southeast side, we "only" had about 3 inches. We're not near a stream or river, so all is well.

Scandinavian crime fiction

Since reading The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (by the late Swedish writer Stieg Larsson) and the other books in that series, I've been completely enthralled with the literary genre known as Scandinavian (or Nordic) crime fiction. I found out about Larsson's trilogy in the summer of 2008 when I was living in Europe. It was a huge seller over there, and my Swedish friend Katarina gave me a copy of the first book. I had no idea that one book would blow my mind so much and create such an interest in crime fiction and also this region of the world, but it has. Since then, I've discovered so many wonderful authors whose works (or at least some of their works) have been translated into English, including:
  • Karin Fossum (Norway)
  • Camilla Läckberg (Sweden)
  • Yrsa Sigurdardottir (Iceland)
  • Jo Nesbø (Norway)
  • Arnaldur Indridason (Iceland) 
  • Liza Marklund (Sweden)
  • Håkan Nesser (Sweden)
These are just the tip of the iceberg, hehehe. There are lots more authors from the region whose stuff I haven't read yet, but can't wait to read. Such as:
  • Kjell Eriksson (Sweden)
  • Anne Holt (Norway)
  • Johan Theorin (Sweden)
  • Henning Mankell (Sweden)
  • Jussi Adler-Olsen (Denmark)
  • Anders Roslund & Börge Hellström (Sweden)
Reading books set in Norway, Sweden, Iceland, and Greenland (the one I'm reading now is set there) makes me want to travel to these places. (I haven't read a Danish author yet, but I will soon and I'm sure that will make me want to go to Denmark!) Hopefully someday, I'll be able to visit one or more of these countries. Reading about this part of the world is also a good way to keep cool when you live in a place that's had 30+ days of 100F (37C) temps this summer. :-) I can't tell you how many times lately I've let my mind go to a special place (e.g., northern Norway in the month of January). 

Check out what I've been reading over at Mariandy's Book Blog. And check out the Scandinavians next time you're in a bookstore, library, or online. 

P.S. Apologies to anyone whose name I spelled wrong by not having the right diacritics on my English language-centric computer. :-o