Category Archives: Culture

Where I ponder what we do, and why we do it, occasionally examining how traditions have evolved, and how we are interpreting them today. Sometimes I look at historical developments, and compare traditions between my native and my adopted lands.

On Scandinavian painting traditions – aspirations, light, and mindset…. Part 1

Although we have effectively turned the corner, with both the winter solstice and 2016 behind us, it doesn’t yet feel as if the light is coming back. At least not to me. But – you have to trust me on … Continue reading

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An evening at the Japanese Garden

Day or night, I rarely – if ever – turn down an invitation to experience the Japanese Garden. So when Drake (the owner of the company I work for, and also a board member of the Japanese Garden) asked if … Continue reading

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Whippings, weather and witches – and other superstitions relating to Swedish Easter traditions.

Well friends – it is Spring again and with it, time for another ancient and mysterious holiday. To me, in some sense, the word “Spring” is an onomatopoeia of tremendous potency. Here in our northern hemisphere, it is the time … Continue reading

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Fatten up with a Semla on Fat Tuesday!

Well my friends, once again, it is Mardi Gras, Fettisdagen, or Fat Tuesday – whichever moniker you prefer! Back in the day, that meant that this was the last day of Shrovetide, and your last chance to gorge yourself on … Continue reading

Posted in Culture, Food and Drink Recipes, Scandinavia | Tagged , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Nothing says “Christmas” like a pink flamingo…

In many ways, I enjoy living in the US. But there are some instances where this gal from the old world feels like a real alien. One of those instances is the Holidays. What is up with the  Christmas ornaments??? … Continue reading

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Magic and Mysticism in Scandinavian Vernacular Architecture – on Folklore, Superstition and on How the Gods Really Were in the Details…

The urge to decorate is as old as mankind. Since time immemorial, adornments have served as status indicators, cultural and national insignia, as well as tribal trademarks. Heraldic badges and coats of arms mark political and familial affiliations, and entire … Continue reading

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Celebration of the times before the big disconnect – how the old masters selected wood

I spent my childhood summers on a farm in a rather desolate part of northern Sweden. At one point, much later in life, we were looking into moving a small grain storage barn on the property. It was situated a … Continue reading

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From shou-sugi-ban to acetylated wood – a clean, green future in wood preservation

Tar kiln or “tjärdal” from Öland, Sweden. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia. Since humans began using wood, the material has always been subject to more or less successful methods of wood preservation. Alexander the Great is said to have soaked wood … Continue reading

Posted in Color, Cool building materials, Culture, Environment, Green Living, On Building | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

From Hallow Ghosts to Weary Witches – a Primordial Peek at Halloween

    Those of you who have read my post “Lucia, Yule Goats, and other interesting occurrences” know that I find the origins of our holiday celebrations fascinating. Although it was never traditionally celebrated in my native country of Sweden, Halloween … Continue reading

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Lucia, Yule Goats, and other interesting occurrences

December 12, 2010 Okay – so the Holiday Madness is upon us, yet again! Since I’m a transplant away from my own country, I always think it’s fun to compare traditions – especially since the US represents such a wide … Continue reading

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