Monday, May 20, 2013
today was pinse, the last of the easter-related spring holidays that mean loads of days off in denmark. it is ironic that the danes take that whole jesus thing so seriously when they're some of the least religious people i've ever witnessed, but hey they'll clearly take all the time off they can get. and so will i.
it was a great day for planting the garden. overcast, but warm and unusually still. we've been preparing this piece of the garden for nearly two years. it's been covered in black plastic to kill off all of the weeds and husband has tilled in a bunch of cow poo as fertilizer. we have extremely sandy soil, which makes for great drainage, but which requires far more fertilizer. it's taken us three years to realize that.
molly, who is going to have her kittens any day now, had to inspect my work in the herb beds. i fear she thinks they're a giant litterbox, just for her.
she's so cute, i had to include another shot. it seems like her tummy just couldn't get any bigger. i can't wait to see her kittens.
here's all a whole day's handiwork. we planted leeks (winter and summer), kale, red cabbage, carrots, beets, parsnips, asier (a kind of hearty cucumber), zucchini, squash, edible flowers, peas, borlotti beans, green beans, potatoes and shallots. look how happy our rhubarb is down at the far end. i've picked enough to make 6 liters of juice and a rhubarb crumble and it hasn't made a dent. apparently rhubarb loves sandy soil.
the strawberries are blooming. in just another few weeks, we'll be eating them and freezing them and making jam and juice. strawberries also seem to like sandy soil. and plenty of poo. it finally feels like we're getting the hang of this gardening thing.
there's the rhubarb. encroaching a little bit on my asparagus, which is also doing really well. two rows from seed - they have to grow one more year before we can harvest them, but the roots we planted the first year are producing very well and we've been eating asparagus for the past week. it's a short and fleeting season, but worth the wait.
our planting today made husband very happy. he said at one point that having a garden like this was like being in the john seymour books he so loved looking through during his childhood (and still does today, to be honest). it's a gradual process, but we're getting there.
Sunday, May 19, 2013
it's that time of year again. the rapeseed fields are in full, buzzing bloom. it's that yellow that makes you feel a bit dizzy if you look at it directly. they speak the language of danish summer. short, fleeting, but intense.
today was filled with slow tasks. picking violets to make violet cordial. getting enough of them takes time and there's no way around it, you just have to pick them, one at a time. it was cloudy, but still and warm, so picking them was a pleasant, rather meditative task. it worked rather nicely to clear my mind and funnily enough, i didn't really think about anything at all in particular. some days, that's precisely what you need.
Friday, May 17, 2013
|don't mess with the sugar nose|
just a little of the light reading that's on my nightstand. the bottom one about technology and urban development and the environment was written by my father-in-law in 1974. you'd be amazed how well the ideas about what makes a city livable hold up. he was a brilliant man. according to goodreads, less than nothing is the most lucid zizek in years. i love the loops he takes my brain on. it's kind of like how i imagine cocaine would be, only without all of the expense and needing to have clear sinuses. it's kind of interesting to think that libraries dispense something with the capacity to make your brain high on thoughts.
lest you think i've gone completely mad, here's the lighter reading on my nightstand. i've never read raymond chandler, but murakami loves him, so how could i not give him a whirl? i'm going to try to read them in order, but i don't always have control of when the books i've ordered come in at the library, so i've ordered the first four to start with.
that celebrating the third place book is full of stories of amazing places - plant nurseries, bookshops, cafés - that people love and use. we're working on something along these lines, so i want to read all i can about great third spaces. i've ordered the book by ray oldenburg that started it all - the good great place - and am impatiently waiting for it to come so i can read the theory behind the concept. roughly, as i understand it, the first place is home, the second place is work and the third place is somewhere you want to be. it can be a café, a library, a bookshop, a bar - anywhere that people gather because they desire to be there. such places develop a life of their own and i want to find out how.
other than reading, the weekend holds a party over on the devil's island and, as it's yet another long weekend with a monday holiday, lots of time in the garden. we've got to get planting now that the night frosts seem to be gone.
what are you doing this weekend?
Thursday, May 16, 2013
hot pink tips! sabin wanted to update her initial foray into the ombre world that's so hot on pinterest. in december, she had gotten the ends of her hair bleached. but after being in berlin and seeing all of the many daring haircolors on the streets, she wanted to go pink and purple.
so the ever-game sophie at sophie's salon said, sure, let's do it! and we had a consultation about what colors and how to approach it on tuesday afternoon and then the actual appointment yesterday. the bright, bright pink went on first, followed by purple.
sophie then worked the purple upwards and downwards a bit so there wouldn't be such a hard line between them. sabin had to sit super still, but unlike her mother, she's capable of that.
her new vans (courtesy of aunt monica on her recent visit) matched the wall!
and here it is, the vibrancy of the finished product! it looks super cool, even when she piles it all on top of her head into a bun. i realize there are many people who would frown on allowing a 12-year-old to get her hair colored, but i think it's awesome! i'd much rather support her in it and take her to a salon where it's done properly than have her try to do it herself and go horribly wrong. it kinda made me want a little streak of aqua in my own hair, but thus far, i'm restraining.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
i have to start by saying that i have long loved abercrombie and fitch, from the artfully ripped jeans to the dark moodiness of their stores, with that alluring scent of buy-me that they waft through the air. i get a little light headed just thinking about it (in a good way). hell, i even once named my cats after the place. the A&F items in my wardrobe are largely sweatshirts, but one of my favorite dresses - a simple blue linen one, that i've worn to tramp through egypt, russia, morocco, turkey, greece and the balkans, as well as my own back yard is also one of theirs. these clothes are old friends - they've been with me through thick and thin, we've had good times together and we will continue to do so. they're somehow an essential part of who i am. and also of how i see myself. and want to see myself. it's also how i want to see husband, so his wardrobe has had its share of A&F items as well.
there's a tag on the inside of this sweatshirt that says, "this body is incredibly shaped to meet and exceed standards for perfection." i bought it in an A&F shop in a mall in fargo (we could ask how exclusive they really are if they are in the mall in fargo, but i digress) in 2003. it's ten years old. so what the ceo of A&F said recently isn't news. it's how A&F has always been - targeting exclusive, upscale, popular kids. like me. because i want to be that and see myself as that. and i do.
so i have to say that my feelings aren't hurt by his statement. in fact, i find it refreshingly honest. the world is full of hierarchies and most everything is aimed at one or the other place in the hierarchy. it's about marketing and target audiences and who you're trying to reach and what you're trying to sell. am i the only one watching mad men? and he was being honest - their audience is the cool the kids, the posh ones, the snobs. why is it that we can no longer admit that there are differences between people? why does the world (or maybe just the internet) get outraged by something so nonsensical and so not newsworthy (it not being news and all)? what the hell is the matter with people?
maybe it's all just a publicity stunt. but i still love my A&F sweatshirts and especially that blue linen dress. and i'm not giving them to anyone. they're part of me, part of my story, part of who i am. let the homeless have ralph lauren instead.
strangely, i don't really have a lot to say today, which is odd, because i've got tons of exciting things going on. developments towards that office/creative space that i've been wanting, plus some great projects on the horizon and some that are just finishing. lots of possibilities are hovering all around at the moment. i'm juggling approximately five great books at the moment. it's actually strange that i don't have loads to say about all of this, but i just don't, so i'm not going to force it. instead i'll share with you some really great links. click them, you won't regret it.
* * *
i like this.
this makes me long for manila (and wow, what an inspiring woman!)
be sure to read the interview that comes after all the fabulous photos.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
we set out for berlin on saturday morning, bound for a concert with british boy band One Direction (hereafter 1D). we found a hotel that could accomodate 7 in one room (it was actually two rooms with only one door), checked in, got all ready and set out for the concert. as you can see, it was essential to already be wearing 1D gear upon departure. my favorite part of this photo is the mad scientist political ad in the background (more about those in another post).
after a slight public transport snafu (there were repairs on our line, so it wasn't the four stops away we thought it was...it was three trains and a bus away, but we had time, so that was ok). once we got there, we had to pose for a photo with O2 World in the background (that was the concert venue). i'm not sure what that pose with the hands is, but it's apparently important (we would see it again, several times).
we walked in search of a quick dinner before the concert and came upon the berlin wall east side gallery - a section of the old wall (had to have been reconstructed, if you ask me) that was decorated by various artists, many of them apparently russian. we made the girls (ages 12-14) pose there as well, just to prove we had been in berlin.
traveling with five near-teens and teens isn't always a barrel of laughs, so there were a few times when we wished they would just get human.
i had declared before we left that we would not eat at mcdonald's and where do you think we ended up eating? yup, you guessed it, mcdonald's. i, however, grabbed a box of sushi from a nearby food court. i have to admit it was probably the mcdonald's equivalent in sushi form, but at least it wasn't actually mcdonald's. the girls were excited and happy by this time (feeding them helps) and this is probably my favorite photo of the whole trip.
they were singing loudly at this point, so we (my friend, who is the mother of two of the other children in the photos and i) let them get a little ways ahead so no one would know we were with them.
we then waited several hours in line to get into the actual venue. they were individually checking everyone's bags and taking cameras and iPads away from people (carefully numbering them, german style, so people could have them back after the concert), so it took hours to get in. i had time, while we were in line, to conceal my little nikon underneath my little iPad (which was in a case and therefore looking rather like a book). i was so happy i succeeded in smuggling my camera in (i actually didn't know at the time that they were taking iPads from people, so i didn't know that i was guilty on two counts).
as for the concert itself, 16000 screaming girls and a handful of dads and moms made up the audience. it was a cheerful, happy group. the boys are cute, well-mannered and not lip synching. they're humble and sweet. it made me totally ok with my child being so into them that her room is plastered on every wall with posters (and with driving 6 hours to see them). they can really perform and the production values of the entire show were high.
it was really worth the drive and the €50 per ticket. i loved the graphics - we could see the crew with computers and cameras down in front of us, expertly producing the show as it happened. and they did an awesome job. i loved this monty python-esque set - it even includes a blimp flying a red london double-decker bus. it seemed clever and not a gimmick.
it really is hard to decide which one is the best and the cutest. we all thought it was harry before we went, but actually zayn did most of the talking and is a pretty good singer. niall actually played the guitar on multiple songs. and there were a couple of moments where they were slightly off key, so they weren't just playing it all back. they actually gave a helluva show.
but the moment when they totally won me over was when they sang teenage dirtbag, that anthem of late 90s alternative loserdom. and it didn't even seem ironic. and the graphics on that song, like a cartoon - and awesome, just awesome. they also did a WAY better job on their cover to blondie's one way or another than they do on the recording of it. they won me over with that too.
in all, it was a really good concert. even i enjoyed every minute of it. the atmosphere was positive and the energy was great. the girls loved it and were so glad we went. and i'm so glad i smuggled my camera in. we thought about following them to hamburg the next night (it's impressive how they can take down and set up their elaborate sets/screens and move to another city and often another country on a nightly basis), since it was on our way home, but we restrained. it was really kind of the experience of a lifetime! tho' nothing like seeing lyle lovett at mesa amphitheater in the mid 90s.