Thoughts on thoughts and images of beautiful things

Monthly Archives: December 2014

Christmas decorations


I was so sad that I wouldn’t be able to decorate the house for Christmas this year because of an illness that impaired my walking ability, but as it slowly got better I was finally able to decorate a few days just before Christmas. I love decorating for Christmas every year because it makes the house feel so warm, cozy and festive. This is a sampling of our Christmas decorations this year. DSC_3746 DSC_3776 DSC_3781 DSC_3801 DSC_3806

Swedish ceramic horses DSC_3818 DSC_3819 Penguins DSC_3822 Reindeer DSC_3823 DSC_3824 DSC_3825 Santa Claus nutcracker DSC_3827

Our treeDSC_3845 DSC_3855 DSC_3859 DSC_3890 DSC_3901 DSC_3794 DSC_3795 DSC_3749 DSC_3757 DSC_3761



Little ski girl


Our new Swedish candlesticks


Christmas meals


I have a small family. I’m an only child and so are my parents. I only have one living grandparent. So our holidays don’t consist of large gatherings with aunts, uncles, cousins, anything-in-law, or grandparents. It’s just my parents and I. Our celebrations are small, but they are genuine and intimate. And we don’t have to make as much food! These are some pictures from our Christmas meals this year.

Christmas breakfast


Christmas dinner




Mushroom candles and penguins


Traditional German angel chimes








A Scandinavian Christmas


These are some of our Scandinavian Christmas decorations, many of them bought when we lived in Rome at a beautiful Scandinavian store on Via della Scrofa called Bottega Danese. On our most recent trip to Rome this past April, we were sad to find out that it is no longer there and is being replaced by a Chinese tourist shop. In light of this, we remember our trips there with even more fondness.






The two figurines with the tall hats are my favorite Swedish ornaments, purchased at the Christkindlmarket in Chicago, Illinois.



Dancing in cafes


This scene from Jean-Luc Godard‘s Band of Outsiders is one of my favorite scenes in all of film. Ana Karina is classically stunning as usual and the dance number is infectious and longs to be mimicked. While there is a voice-over describing what the characters are thinking, the dancing itself doesn’t really serve any purpose in the film’s narrative. It is simply there for its own sake and for the audience to take pleasure in, which is what makes it so great.

Safe and sound


I really liked this song by Capital Cities when it first came out, but I only recently discovered the music video. I always love period pieces, and having just taken a class on the silent film era, I appreciate the few allusions to silent film, and I like its originality and blending of time periods.

The film-viewing experience


The movies are about what we’re too scared to do in real life; or perhaps what we can’t do in real life. How else would we do what we can’t in life but absorb it through the movies? As I’m currently studying film and learning more about what film theorists have said about the film-vieweing experience, I’ve been particularly interested in what happens to us as we watch a movie. Theorists like Shobchack and Merleau-Ponty argue that we play an active role as we watch a movie, and experience it with all of our senses and throughout our whole bodies. We can, in a sense, feel what is going on screen and relate to the characters and the narrative in a way that we can’t with other art forms. That is because film is the art form that most closely resembles our reality; not only that, film can recreate reality because of its nature as a moving picture. It can take reality and rearrange it by juxtaposing certain things in side by side shots in ways that reality does not allow. Even in its ability to recreate reality, it is still the art form to display reality most like our own, and in this way, we can place ourselves in a movie for a couple hours ‘do’ what we can’t in real life. We can pause our lives for a couple of hours, fantasize, and then return to our lives, perhaps bringing some of what we absorbed from the movie to our real lives.



Having just experienced my first stay in a hospital, I have such a different perspective on the world of medicine and a deeper sense of empathy for those suffering from an illness, especially if it requires them to stay in a hospital, and for anyone who has to stay in a hospital for any reason.

Previously, I made the mistake of thinking that doctors are all-knowing. However, I have learned that they are regular human beings who have doubts and disagreements about what the problem or appropriate course of treatment might be. I am also astounded by the kind of work doctors and nurses do – what they do is unfathomable to me and I am so glad that there are in people in the world who feel called to do that type work and take care of the rest of us who can’t fathom doing what they do. They are truly incredible and deserve a tremendous amount of respect (in addition to every penny they make!)

I also gained a new perspective on a world that had previously been unknown to me. At the age of 23, I have been very healthy so far and have not needed much medical attention, aside from the annual check-up. I have never broken a bone, I have never had the flu, and I’ve never even gotten stitches. I’ve certainly never stayed in a hospital. Now, I know what it’s like to stay in a hospital and be nervous in anticipation of a diagnosis, as several doctors look after you desperately trying to figure out what’s wrong with you. Despite the kindness and knowledge of doctors and nurses, being in a hospital is a bit like being in prison (not that I’ve been in prison), but you are stuck there until they decide to release you and there’s not much to do. Once there was a diagnosis and I was finally released, I felt deep sadness and empathy for those who were still in the hospital – perhaps they were there for a chronic illness, recovering from surgery, or perhaps they were like me and anxiously awaiting a diagnosis. Whatever the case may be, as we started to drive away from the hospital I looked up at the all the brightly-lit windows and thought about the patients inside and the suffering they might be going through. A hospital is certainly not where you want to be so close to the holidays. I know I’ll be thinking of those people this Christmas, hoping they can find some courage and strength to carry on.