Thursday, August 28, 2008


midmorning this morning, the fabulousity arrived:
the wonderful patchwork that heather made and sent to me from cape town (one of my favorite places on the planet!)
look, it actually has matryoshka on it! i love those!!

and a mere few hours later, my parents and sister arrived as well. strangely, i totally failed to photograph that, but we have had a wonderful time catching up, laughing and eating good food. this is gonna be a great week!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

6 meters of books

what do six meters of books look like?  pretty much like this:

but there are still about 3 boxes of books yet to unpack. must build library building next.

the road to hell.. paved with good intentions.

and as the party looms before us, i can see all of my monday good intentions going out the window.

i'm now thinking things like:

  1. it's ok if the real floor isn't in the writing house and if the walls aren't painted.
  2. where can we stash boxes of crap out of sight because there's no time to sort through them and put them away?
  3. should we just take them to the dump since we haven't used them for a year anyway and didn't really miss them?
  4. my sister can help me take all those bottles to recycling when she gets here.
  5. mom can make the bread.
  6. and the sauce.
  7. do we really need to paint the doorframes one more time?
  8. cushions? who needs cushions?
  9. will anyone appreciate that i ironed the tea towels?
  10. why did i use precious time ironing tea towels?
do you think the guests would mind if we ask them to paint?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

a day i'll never have back...

this was one of those full of promise, so much time stretching before me and so utterly wasted.

you know the kind of days where you go from task to task, doing a little of something here and little of something there, but finishing nothing. you drive to ikea. you find the stuff. although you are very focused (this is, after all, your SIXTH trip in 10 days), it still takes forever--mostly because you are unable to shed the cultural and societal pressure of following those damn arrows through in the right direction, not to mention the irresistible call of the meatballs. the line is long but that doesn't really matter because you have the world's worst queueing karma anyway, the cashier is slow and then a little suspicious when your addled brain accidentally tells him you have twelve shelf brackets when you really have fourteen. despite this, it still occurs to you that maybe it would have been easier to just move into ikea. because if you lived there, you wouldn't really have to worry about the check-out. plus, everything is so pretty! and very swedish! ;-)

on the drive home, the meatballs let you down and you crash hard (not literally, but almost), feeling very, very sleepy, so you have no motivation whatsoever to pick up any of the million tasks you were working on (lining drawers, hanging pictures, arranging books) before you embarked on the ikea mission. and then you have to take husband's oldest child, who is suddenly mad for bonsai trees to the plant school where you needed to go anyway to get dirt to repot the very tall palm tree you bought for the addition in ikea. you drag yourself through this as though there is lead in your shoes.

you make a coffee. it doesn't really help. you go into the dining room where you see that husband has actually removed a bunch of the books you so carefully arranged yesterday and you try not to cry because he is just trying to get the new shelves in place correctly. but it seems a little overwhelming. they send you to get pizza for dinner because let's face it, you're not in the frame of mind to make any dinner. then you remember that you have a parents' meeting at the school this evening. so you know that this day is now completely a wash-out.

the first bit of the parents' meeting is good--it's interesting to hear what the teachers have to say. they give an overview of what's on the agenda for second grade, aside from some worrying statements about a subject called "christianity," you think it sounds pretty ok. you spend a few minutes having a conversation with yourself in your head, reminding you that they have such a subject in a country where there is a state church rather than a separation of church and state. you make mental note (and actual note in little black book) to discuss the subject with sabin and encourage in her a healthy skepticism.

your mental reverie wanders to the difference between the two second grade teachers. one is a traditional teacher-type--a little bit hippie-agtig (that's one of those danish words that's just better than "ish") in clothes she made out of hemp fibers she wove and dyed herself (or so you imagine--it is your reverie, after all). the other in a tailored white blouse, smart jeans and an expensive haircut--still looking every bit the lead stewardess flight attendant she was before she became a teacher.  you're a little bit glad that your teacher is the former flight attendant. she looks like someone who belongs in business class and seems like someone who would keep a cool head in an emergency. tho', of course, you hope there aren't any of those in the second grade.

then, the meeting breaks into the two classes and out comes the cake and coffee.  you gaze around the room. these public institutions are very alike--they have curtains of a certain pattern that can only be called offentlig and they all have designer arne jacobsen chairs. you try to focus, but it's a lot of talk of planning obsessively some picnic tour next may. that's may 2009. you have difficulty focusing on such discussion as you have no idea what you'll fancy doing tomorrow, let alone may 2009. you can't commit to that date.  you think, wow, this discussion is really danish. is there no viking spirit left in these people? the vikings surely didn't obsessively plan the raping and pillaging months and months ahead. they just packed up the boats and rowed away when the wind was right.

then came the great risengrød discussion (it's a christmasy rice porridge) and for the past two years, we've had an evening where we all eat it together and make christmas decor. i think we may have decided to do it again, but by then i was heavily into fox-like thoughts of chewing off my own arm in attempt to escape.

then there was the great homework discussion, during which it transpired that there wasn't really too much homework, but the kid of the one who brought it up was just really, really slow.

i amused myself by going around the room and making a mental note of which newspaper each person/couple was. i have a theory that you can tell by looking at people, especially danes, what newspaper they read. there were 2 politiken couples, one jyllands-posten, possibly 2 berlingske (including myself), no information (unless i include myself again and it doesn't really count because it's my auxiliary backup newspaper) and the rest (read: overwhelming majority) were either BT or extrabladet, which are arguably NOT newspapers at all. i told myself that this internal dialogue was anthropological in nature and definitely not elitist snob in nature. but by then my brain was mush and i might be a little bit wrong about that.

anyway. tomorrow is another day and the new version of my list, while still long, shall be done tomorrow. wish me luck!

whoa, do people actually LIVE here?

progress was made yesterday, i emptied three boxes of books. there are still, sadly (or perhaps shockingly) ELEVEN more to empty (tho' thankfully not all of them are completely full)! which means i have to make ANOTHER run to ikea today. we'll line the whole top of the room with bookshelves, which should just about do it. it will also take some of the stark whiteness away from the room. it's a bit too swedish for me at the moment, but my husband has indulged his inner swede. he grinned and said it had taken him ten years to be allowed to let his swedish side out and paint a room white. i told him i'd do my best to see that it didn't happen again.  i will admit in this case that the room is amazing and part of the reason is that it's white.

the view from ground level:

and above:

and yes, that's a CD player on the red-topped købmandsdisk (what are those things called in english?). my mom would call it a buffet, but it's really a big chest of drawers that once stood in a shop. the one in this picture used to be in my father-in-law's house in, you guessed it, sweden. at least husband thinks it would be sacrilege to paint it white. it must remain as it was in peter's house. anyway, back to the CD player. despite our iPod intensive household, years of music love have resulted in about 1000 CDs, which we still have and still use (can you imagine how much storage space i would need to play those puppies into iTunes?), so yes, there is a CD player in the dining room. i have one of those little cords that enables you to attach an iPod, so we can still play the music we don't have on CD (and which definitely didn't come from limewire or eMule). so it's not entirely retro to have a CD player. the 90s can't really be retro yet, can they?

i hope that maybe my fabulous patchwork might arrive from south africa today so i can get started on turning it into a massive "canvas" in the space above the dining room! i'm trying not to hold my breath and be too impatient about it.

in the meantime, i have to make do with heather's vinyl protea stickers. i have one left to put up, it got a little dark on me yesterday (the electrician hasn't yet been here to fix up the lights in the kitchen), so i didn't finish. they look really cool! there will be a little shelf right below, which is why i've left so much room above the backsplash.

well, it's time to get to work on today's tasks. i must get some things done before the big trek to ikea. that list from yesterday isn't really getting any shorter (in fact, i added 5 items to it last night!)!!

and the countdown continues...

i should be asleep

..but i drank too much coffee and have been away from all my favorite blogs for almost a week! so, i'm up late, catching up. and i found the most amazing pictures of luxor, taken by my one blog friend who actually lives in the same country as me! :-) she's got a holga and a nikon as well (at least i think she has a nikon--anyway, a good SLR) and her pictures of her recent trip to egypt are totally awesome!!  go, look at them now. let me sleep.

Monday, August 25, 2008

gocco swap: mission accomplished

i did it! i have completed my gocco cards for the swap. although  here this morning, at the eleventh hour, i decided to add some watercolor to the fish ones and then they had to dry. but, they are now, as we speak, residing in little puffy white envelopes at the local post office. it is such a relief to have them sent! i've only rec'd three so far from my swap group, so i'm not feeling THAT guilty, but it was just really unnecessary for me to wait. why do i procrastinate, especially when i LOVE doing this kind of stuff?

here are the green fish cards with some of the watercolor:

i put my "signature" on the back--a martini glass with a small "j."
i have a whole collection of martini glass stamps.

here are the packages, all wrapped up and ready. 

i included one of each color of the viking ships (2 of the neutral because it was coolest) and one fish in green. one package has two fish cards in it (one in green, one in purple), as i strangely had an odd number of black viking ships. not sure how that happened. i decided to give everyone a taste of the different colors, rather than doing one-color packages. that's just what struck me as right this morning as i packed them up.

now, i'm anxiously watching my own mailbox to see what more goodness is headed my way! this swap was great fun! i love seeing the creativity on the swap's flickr as well! there are so many creative people out there! it's fun to be part of the group! at least once in awhile! ;-)

party preparations

to do this week:
  1. send off cards for gocco swap!
  2. scan and post last pages from steadyhandfaultyheart art journal course.
  3. empty two front bedrooms of all boxes.
  4. put away contents of said boxes.
  5. order window cleaner to come and do the windows.
  6. finish painting stairs.
  7. oil treatment on all kitchen/dining room window sills.
  8. make a bunch of pillows for the upstairs bench.
  9. write editorial for marine electronics.
  10. write feature for tanker update.
  11. invoices.
  12. turn fabulous skinny la minx patchwork into curtain artwork (as soon as it arrives)
  13. books on shelves in dining room.
  14. make room upstairs for MQ to sleep.
  15. make up guest beds.
  16. paint walls in writing house (if the boys get them put up).
  17. find fabulous recipe for barbeque sauce to slather on the whole hog we're roasting for the party.
  18. make said barbeque sauce.
  19. put away towels and sheets in new linen closet in upstairs bathroom.
  20. make new upstairs bathroom presentable.
  21. finish painting closet doors.
  22. throw away old ironing board.
  23. take all those bottles to recycling!
  24. stick fabulous skinny la minx protea decals on the wall in the kitchen.
  25. spread the wood chips in the upper garden.
  26. pick up parents and sister at airport.
  27. pick up rented dishes.
  28. make fabulous stuffed bread for party snacks.
  29. sew masses of cushions.
  30. hope fervently it doesn't rain on saturday!
  31. paint old købmandsdisk a lovely shade of turquoise.
  32. transfer all CDs to it.
  33. did i mention making pillows?
  34. find missing dibbern plates.
  35. make this place look like people live here!
  36. make ikea run for shelves.
  37. laundry.
  38. drawer liners.
and this is just MY list, husband has another huge one of his own with all of heavy constructions items on it! do you think we'll make it? at least we set expectations in the party invitation...we said, "ok, it's not totally finished, but it shall be done enough to party..." so hopefully no one stands on their head to see that i haven't yet painted the footboard under the big købmandsdisk in the kitchen.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

sunday evening catch-up

it's been awhile since i was here. it was a busy week, what with traipsing around scotland and all--all for a business meeting which was supposed to last 1 hour, but which stretched to five and a half! thank goodness part of that was lunch! while i was in glasgow anyway, i squeezed in a haircut with the most fabulous hairdresser--she's now given me the two best haircuts i've ever had in my life. i'll have to take a picture as have thus far utterly failed to do so.

so, instead of my new hair, i give you my new shoes. they're el naturalista and i adore them, tho' i have no purple clothes whatsover, so they match nothing. they were just too fab to pass up.

and here's a shot of abbot's brae, where we stayed. although it looks rather fawlty towers, the couple who ran it were far, far from basil and cybil and we didn't see a single sign of manuel or polly. although very much off the beaten path (and far, far away from glasgow, where our meeting was), i would actually go back. with my husband and daughter, of course. someday.

the best way to reach glasgow was on a ferry, where i saw this rather humorous sign. i love the phrase "monkey island." i didn't try to go there. didn't really see the officer of the watch, or i might have asked.

45 minutes waiting for the ferry was just enough time for one of these. an ice cold tennant's.

since i got home, it's been panic on poppelvej, trying to finish or have the house finished enough for the party next saturday. we moved the dining table into the dining room today and ate our dinner at the actual table! that was wonderful. books go on the shelves tomorrow and the big buffet goes in on the far end. as soon as the electrician has been here.

this sign was right next to the monkey island one on the ferry, but i thought it appropriate.

we must remember this the next time we are about to spend hundreds of dollars on legos. child + cardboard box = hours of cheap fun. ok, this wasn't that cheap, since 4 hans j. wegner chairs came in these boxes, but the concept is good.

and to take a little break from all the hard work (that downstairs bathroom is small, but it took FOREVER to clean it!) i finally finished up my cards for the gocco swap. but weren't you supposed to be finished on the 21st, you ask? why, yes, i was, but i procrastinated and only did it today, but i will be sending them tomorrow!  don't the inks look beautiful? i was mixing green and pearly blue. first time i tried that--super fun!

the used lightbulbs looked so pretty sitting on sabin's desk on top of her colorful mandalas.

since i live in denmark, i had to do a viking ship, tho' the one i modeled it on is in norway. i figured that was ok since i actually work in norway. and who knows, maybe we'll move there soon?! here's the inked screen. there's just something about that glistening ink that makes me happy!

and stacks of cards drying on the racks.

i'll be sending them off tomorrow to my swap mates. i've gotten a couple of packages of goodies from my swap group and i can't wait to see what else i'll get!  i don't really know why i procrastinated it, it was so much fun! and it's even more fun getting little packages of other people's creativity in the mail.

i'll keep you all posted on the house progress this week, as aside from an editorial for marine electronics and a quick (work) story arising from last week's trip, i'm going to be painting and putting all of our stuff into place this week.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

comin' atcha from dunoon, scotland

oh mylanta, as an old friend used to say...what a couple of days it's been! laughter, jokes, £160 cab fare, rides on an old ferry, trying to decipher what is ostensibly english spoken with heavy weegie accents, hilarious conversations with cab drivers, choosing cold or warm beer in a pub, buying new shoes because my feet were killing me in my jessica simpsons and the rain was really not good for them (the shoes), fabulous seared tuna for lunch and gorgeous monkfish for dinner (and you thought glasgow was all haggis and fried mars bars), g&t's with hendrick's (loved by a small handful of people, all over the world), more jokes, insider stories from work, learning about an innovative new design for LNG carriers (i do love me a bit of cryogenics), strange meetings, a glorious hour and a half in scotland's largest bookstore (borders on buchanan st.), a fabulous new design magazine (amelia's magazine), strong desire to mangle the travel agent who put us at fawlty towers in dunoon (he clearly did not look at map and the 40km away he said our hotel was may have been missing a zero), feet that are no longer speaking to me (you cannot go quickly from 1 month of straight havianas back to work pumps), fabulous tights, a reminder of how totally cool it is to be a woman in shipping, 2 brilliant issues of the guardian (i adore that newspaper), the absurdity of having the battery go on all three phones in my possession within 15 minutes of each other, finding the girl who gave me a fabulous haircut last october despite the fact that the salon she worked in had moved and she had moved to a different salon, having an appointment with her tomorrow for a haircut, the weirdness of walking in downtown glasgow while scotland-ireland played a friendly (some of them didn't look that friendly), did i mention lots of jokes and laughing? that's been the best part.

back home tomorrow night and we will then resume regular blogramming. til then, may your day be filled with laughter and great food and your cab fares less than £160 quid!

Monday, August 18, 2008

randomness on a monday (and a whole lotta links)

take one heavenly brownie with caramel and pecans, add in the coolest new purple shoes from el naturalista, a wonderful new notebook from bookbinders design for my art journal online course, plane tickets to glasgow, where there is a curry karaoke place (i clicked a google link), but where there are no hotel rooms within 40 kilometers due to some medical convention, necessitating that i stay here (which looks a bit like fawlty towers) and from which the connections to copenhagen are rubbish, further necessitating that i stay two nights. then toss in a flawless commute (via automobile, train, plane, train and taxi) (which is arguably where it all started), a day of laughter and inspiring conversations at the office, sneak in a couple of exciting projects that might lead to even more exciting career opportunities and you have my monday.

hope all of yours were equally wonderful!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

what i've been up to this weekend

much progress has been made inside the house this weekend. we sanded and oiled the new oak floors. yes, we did this previously in the kitchen, but now that the floor is laid in the addition as well, the boys decided to sand and treat it all again.
i think the way they joined the old house and the addition is just beautiful!
a single moment to rest and photograph after the first batch of oil treatment.
the entire addition floor after being treated with oil.
we wiped it all down by hand.
that was not easy.
i hung 14 colorful tealight holders in the greenhouse.
they were magical when it got dark.
why is the greenhouse, which has been made of all the odds and ends from the rest of the project, our very favorite place to be?
i made four trips to ikea (3 on friday, 1 today)
one of the results was these new karlstad chairs in an orange & red pattern that's perfect in the kitchen.
i can scarcely believe it, but when i just looked up that link to the chairs, i found out that they are actually about $50 CHEAPER in denmark! it must be the ONLY thing in the world that's cheaper here.
although the windowsills are all still full of painting and sanding supplies,
it starts to looks like people live here!
note my fabulous skinny la minx eep towel on the stove!
ignore the box-laden hallway and the stairs that need painting.
it's starting to be a home again!!
but we have a busy couple of weeks ahead, closing in on the big party on aug. 30!

Friday, August 15, 2008

5 places i love - #5 ephesus

yes, turkey again. i'm in longing mode for turkey. it's brought on by having stayed home this summer and by the tickets i bought for october. 

ephesus is the ruin of all ruins. in my opinion, it's better than the acropolis in athens, tho' what's cool about that is it that it's in the center of a bustling city. ephesus can be quite over-run with tourists, but if you go during the heat of the day, which we always do, the crowds thin out pretty well.

these pix are from our visit 3 years ago, so sabin's pretty little in them. i remember we were trying to potty train her on that trip. she must have been three and a half. she remembers the trip well tho', and is also looking forward to going back.

here, sabin and i are walking along paths once trod upon by john and paul of biblical fame (and probably the beatles were here too at some point). there is even a legend that john brought jesus' mother mary to ephesus. paul wrote that little epistle to the ephesians while he lived here for three years. although i'm not religious, these biblical figures were real, historical people who lived and breathed in this place and i love thinking about that as i walk the stone paths. 

ephesus is very well-preserved, there are temples and an amphitheatre, arches, columns and even a rather large group toilet that's quite amusing. 

i absolutely adore this picture of little sabin, sitting below a statue of sophia, the divine wisdom. one of my favorite moments of the whole vacation that year. sabin's twin sister, who was stillborn, was named sophia, so it's that much more meaningful to me, the notion of the divine wisdom looking down on sabin.  this one is blown up and framed on the wall in our hallway.

ephesus is definitely worth the trip and i've already made a reservation to stay here, at a fantastic chill-out place nearby, where we stayed three years ago as well. we'll be there mid-october if you want to come and hang out.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

serenity now

i'm starting with this lovely, calming image of a dahlia that's growing in my greenhouse because i need to quiet my mind and stop obsessing. but for some strange reason, that's proving difficult at the moment. to explain why, i have to back up a bit.

like about 3 years. 

three summers ago, we visited my family in the US. our best friends, a danish couple, and their three children came along with us. they spent every minute of this vacation depending upon us (mostly me) for their every experience. i had been working very hard and was looking forward to relaxing and seeing my family. but, the vacation was far from relaxing. 

we drove about 4000km all over the upper midwest. we went up tall buildings, we experimented in museums of science and industry, we ate huge plates of food, we camped, we rode horses, we took a balloon ride, we went to a baseball game, we ate great food, we explored a cave, we set up a real teepee, we ate some more food, we walked around the devil's tower, we shopped in outlet malls, we had a milkshake in an authentic diner somewhere in minnesota, we saw them blasting at crazy horse and cleaning the face of mt. rushmore. 

we spent two and a half weeks doing it all. and i spent that time leading the way and making decisions as to what we would do because no matter how many brochures i spread out on the picnic table the night before, the next morning when it was time to decide what to do, everyone looked at me. and then when i decided, they muttered to themselves afterwards that it was too touristy or too expensive or there were too many norwegians (true story, at the cave in the black hills). i did not find this very relaxing. in fact, i found it rather stressful and i was stressed out to begin with.

to compound the situation, we learned that our friends' english just wasn't very good. this, of course, caused stress for them. when you're in a loud restaurant and the waiter rattles of 16 choices of dressing and 6 different choices of potato, you feel pretty overwhelmed. if you're the husband in this couple, you get really, really pissy and starting throwing the "f" word around left and right, because it packs a whole lot less punch in danish than it does in english. and you are somehow so obtuse that you don't realize that you're in fact in a place where you may think you're speaking danish, but all anyone around you hears is "fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck." and that people, especially people in the midwest, do not find this charming.

so, when we got home, i thought, we take a cooling off period and we spend less time with these friends. but, they were so traumatized by the traffic the last day in chicago (we were, thankfully, in separate mini-vans for the vacation), that they called and  "resigned" our friendship. that's the exact phrase they used, "vi opsiger vores venskab." like it was a job or something. 

for three years, i have a felt a bit bad about this. not on a daily basis, but occasionally. i have especially felt really bad that although my family went out of their way to make sure these friends had a great time (cooking breakfast for 10 people isn't easy, but my mom did it uncomplainingly), it was never acknowledged by our friends. my sister arranged and paid for the balloon ride. my aunt hauled out SEVEN kayaks so everyone could kayak on the river. my own services as tour guide aside, don't you think they should have had the decency to send a small thank you note to my family for the great experiences they had?

do you think they did this?

you'd be right if you said, "no, i don't think they did."

and that's what's bothered me for 3 years. that and that i really NEEDED that vacation and it wasn't relaxing at all.

so, when planning the big party for our housewarming, we decided to bury the hatchet and invite these people. i sent them an invitation. i requested a response (for the caterer) by aug. 1. it is today august 14. we called and asked whether they were coming. they were very pleasant on the phone, but had another engagement, so they were not coming. but do you think they had the decency to tell us that? bear in mind they had received a written invitation in the mail with a specific request for RSVP by a specific date.

you'd be right if you said, "no, i don't think they did."

and so i'm all riled up again and in need of serenity now. this should SO totally not bother me at all after three years. it is completely in character. so why am i hurt and bothered by it? what on earth is wrong with me? why does it bother me that they are clearly rude and badly raised? it's really not my problem, but yet it's me feeling badly about it. they surely show no sign of it. the only thing that should bother me is my own stupidity for having thought it would be ok to invite them.

actually, in writing this, i do realize that there is some humor in the situation, so it will be ok, but man does it in some sense make me feel sad and hurt all over again. and that's not much fun. when will i ever learn? 

* * *

thankfully, just after writing all of this, on truth cycles, i found a place to make myself my own serenity goddess. so perhaps she'll help me (i gave her a skull necklace to scare off all of the evil):

art journal fun!

i signed up for an online art journal course that rachel of red velvet girls fame is giving. as we are all too painfully aware, i am amassing a ginormous stash of scrapping and art supplies and not really using them very much. so i signed up, thinking this would kick start my creativity. and it has really been great so far!  rachel has posted 4 tutorials thus far and she has great suggestions for pictures and for combining colors and where to look for inspiration. she gives a little assignment with each. so far, i've done 3 of them and these are the results...

for this one, we were asked to think about the season and how it feels right now. great way to be very conscious about where i am--physically and mentally--in the moment.

all these pages are folded because i'm doing them in my moleskine journal.

#2 was to be a reaction to our first page. since i was still in a very summery place, i used yellow. i love how this one turned out.

#3 was to start with the word "sometimes." it was supposed to have a blurry image and an image (or in my case, imageS) of comfort.

sabin was home sick yesterday after coming down with a fever on tuesday evening and she wanted to play along with me and do a page as well. although she's not journaling (being that she's 7), i love how hers turned out! it was a great thing to do together and it feels good to finally use some of the stash.

if you want to see more of what everyone is inspired to do, have a look at the flickr group for the course.

rachel will be offering another online art journal course soon. in fact, this one is still listed on her etsy site, so you can still get in and catch up. i can highly recommend it.

5 places i love - #4 møns klint

down on the little island of møn, just south of sjælland, the island we live on, there is a fantastic phenomenon of nature called møns klint. it's huge, chalk cliffs and no matter what time of year, it's a wonderful place to go (if you're dressed properly for it). every once in awhile, a big bunch of it falls into the sea and that's a bit dangerous, but they're pretty good at knowing when the danger is high and they close the stairways then. because yes, there are stairways--two of them to get down to the beach. we counted 574 steps on one of them, but lost count on the other one.
these shots are from last february when we went. i haven't been there yet this summer, but looking at these shots gave me a hankering for it that i will no doubt have to satisfy in the near future.

there was a big landslide nearly 2 years ago, you can still see how milky chalky the water is in this shot.

when we reached the bottom of these stairs, our legs were like jello and we had to sit down for awhile before we could begin our walk on the beach.

here's sabin, poignantly resting on a beautiful piece of driftwood.
she's wearing her snowsuit.
you can go any time, as long as you're dressed properly for it.

when we're there, we search for these lovelies on the rocky shore.
they're fossils of small squid.
they're a beautiful amber color.
they say you can find amber too, but sadly i never have.

the other thing we search for is rocks with holes in them.
or with indentations that you can put a candle in.
and then we schlep them up the gazillion stairs.

but the last time, we seemed to find a lot of stone penises.

aren't they funny?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

so, so, so inspiring!!!

as we close in on being finished with the big things in the house and it's almost my turn (as opposed to husband's, who has done all of the heavy lifting and power tool side of things), i have been out buying fabric and then searching for inspiration right here in the blogosphere. and find it i have done.

starting with this absolutely gorgeous piece that heather at skinnylaminx is creating:

fortunately, i have convinced her to make it a little bigger and sell it to me, so it will be hanging in the opening from the old part of our house to the new--like a beautiful, extra-large (150cm x 350cm) super contemporary, lovely, gorgeous canvas! i just can't wait to see it in person!

and then i ran onto this beauty after i ordered some luscious fabrics from designer anna maria horner. it's a collage by stephanie levy and isn't it fabulous?

also on anna maria's blog, i found out about the wonderful quilts from gee's bend

and i even ordered up the beautiful coffee table book from amazon. i'll admit i ordered it for the pictures, but have found that the stories of these women absolutely blow me away. what incredible lives they have led and they have been exquisitely chronicled in this fantastic book. there's a whole section where the story is told in the women's own voices, here's just a little sample:

"i used to help mama work in the garden, raising collard greens, raising chickens. i love to raise chickens now too. i used to love to ride the mule. we had a pet mule, name of ollie, used to let us get up and ride his back. i used to could plow like a man. once i was grown, i could always work my crop out good, get finished, and go help other people. always was smart, loved to be doing something and helping somebody." --annie mae young

isn't that just marvelous? this book is definitely one to savor. there is just so much inspiration out there if you know where to look. what's beautiful and inspiring in your life today?

5 places i love - #3 basilica cistern, istanbul

down underneath the busy streets of istanbul, very close to the ayasofya, is the basilica cistern. although in the height of the summer, there can be a lot of people there, all escaping the heat down into the cool, mysterious depths, it is a marvelous place. it's a little bit spooky and dark and the way they've lit it and the slightly chilling new age music that's playing only lend to this delicious feeling of spookiness.
i recently saw one of the early james bond films where sean connery was still bond and there is a scene that takes place in the basilica cistern. it was originally built by constantine and then restored and enlarged by justinian in 532. it provided the royal palaces with water, even after the ottomans took constantinople in 1453 and clear up to modern times. there are marvelous columns (i've never counted how many) of all kinds, i suppose they were repurposed from old greek and roman buildings here and there. some are more elaborate than others, but it lends to the charm of the place.
two of the columns have a medusa head at their base. one is upside down and the one below is on its side. there's no adequate explanation for their presence there and the accounts i've read have no real idea where they came from. i'm not an archeologist but to me, it seems they were used because they were an available material at the time of building and the matter of their placement was one of engineering convenience. but perhaps i'm not romantic or imaginative enough to read some other meaning into them. they are very cool nonetheless.
it's quite a large chamber and there's absolutely no hint of it from the surface, you can walk along the streets with no clue whatsoever that it's there. i quite love the idea of it being there beneath the feet of the busy people above, languishing in its cool, mysterious depths and no doubt holding many secrets and stories.