Thursday, May 31, 2012

posh gin

geranium gin - will it live up to hendrick's?

i went to the doctor today (remember that cough i had? i still have it) - it was only a hop, skip & a jump from germany, so i slipped over the border to a proper (read: has tapas, yogurt in jars, black beans, quinoa, amaranth and a whole wall of olive oil) grocery store. and i picked up this whimsical looking little gin. geranium gin. and am i ever glad i did!

posh tapas from the real grocery store in germany

while it's nothing like hendrick's (loved by a small handful of people, all over the world), it is definitely in the same category poshness-wise. i'd never stick a cucumber in it, like i do with hendrick's, as it's too gently floral for that, but it's just gorgeous - modern, light - precisely how a gin should be anno 2012.

the gin blog did a great review/history of it that you must read if you're at all gin-interested (and if you're here, i assume you are). it was actually developed by a danish guy and his father, tho' it's made in the UK. it's no ubiquitous grocery store gin, so you'll not find it everywhere, but look for it, you'll likely be able to find it in posh liquor stores or the duty free, or the finer(?!) border shops in your area. well worth the hunt.  and the 179kroner ($25) pricetag.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

some days are like that

"what happened to our summer?" asked samba (strangely, he didn't question the fact that we had placed a chive flower on his head.)

today was cold, windy and grey. we were spoiled last week, i tell you, lulled into thinking we'd have an actual summer this year. but alas, it was not to be. we might even have to turn the furnace back on.

the silver lining was that i didn't want to be outside, so i got loads of work done. none of it including doing dishes or putting away clothes or vacuuming or cleaning the bathroom, which is really starting to need it.  some days are like that.

then the horse got scared of some horse-eating invisible thing while i was brushing her (i blame the shift in the weather) and bonked me in the head with her head. i saw stars. and they weren't the twinkly kind in a clear, night sky. ouch.

i've still got a headache from that.

some days are like that too.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

gut feelings

photo of frankie's tummy (get it? gut feelings?)
how do you make decisions? do you think things through thoroughly and weigh all of the possibilities? or do you follow your heart? or a feeling in the pit of your stomach? do you take ages? or do you decide in an instant? do you line up all of your arguments and then decide? or do you do it on a whim? does it depend on what kind of decision it is - new house, new spouse, new shoes, what to have for dinner?

what happens when you make a decision in a different way than you're accustomed? when you don't follow your gut like you normally would? or when you do where you normally wouldn't? does it feel wrong and uncomfortable? or does it feel transformative?

changing is hard work. but i think that one thing that doesn't change for me is that my gut tells me the answer that's right for me when i'm facing big decisions. when i don't listen to that feeling in the pit of my stomach, i feel unsettled and just not right. there have been times when i didn't (especially a bad job and a mistake first husband) and i always regretted it. one of the changes i'm trying to make is that i tune into those feelings, listen to them and act on them. doing more of what my gut tells me to do.

the problem is that you can't always explain it. and people do look at you a bit funny when you say, "it just feels right." but i'm learning to go with the flow on that and trust my own instincts. and i'm slowly letting go of a need to explain. and at the age of 45, it's about time...

Monday, May 28, 2012

it takes two

we attended the wedding of a good friend of mine this weekend. we used to work together and i used to say that she was the keeper of my brain, or at least my memory and on more than one occasion, my sanity (i should note that the times when it didn't work are entirely my own and not at all her fault).  it was so great to be there to share in the happiness of her day.

it was a gorgeous weekend and she and her new husband looked so relaxed and happy amidst their friends and family. the church was lovely and filled with lilacs and people who were happy for them and children who plugged their ears when the organ played (what is up with organs? they're a terrible instrument). everyone gathered after the ceremony in her parents' beautiful, wide front yard for champagne from her father's own vineyard (in denmark, yes, it's true - and it was good!). then on to a dinner and party that lasted 'til the wee hours of the night. it was truly a stunning beginning to what i am sure will be a long and happy life together.

we stayed with her parents' neighbors, as we were a bit slow (what, me, procrastinate? really?) to book the pension they had reserved and all the rooms were gone by the time we decided we needed one. that turned out to be quite ok, because her parents' neighbors were a couple that knew husband when he was a child growing up in the heart of copenhagen. we had a leisurely breakfast with them in the sunshine before we left, reminiscing over the old times and the people husband knew when he was growing up. it is a small world after all.

but it got even smaller, as it turned out that the groom's parents had worked closely with my father-in-law on his technolution drawings - helping him with the latin names of all of them. husband and i had some nearly-tearful moments talking to the groom's mother about him. it's been more than five years since he died, but we do still miss him. it was very nice to meet someone who had known him and worked closely with him too. it made us both happy and sad at the same time and sometimes those are the best kind of emotions because they're so keenly felt. you feel alive at moments like that, when you are truly feeling something, even if it does make you feel a bit sorrowful.

a little bit weird to run into such connections from BOTH sides of husband's family (his parents split when he was 5) at a wedding where our connection to being there was actually through me, the girl from the other side of the world.

and it makes me think, once again, that we were undoubtedly meant to be. and tho' i shudder at times to think of the chain of events that had to be as it was for us to meet and how easily they could have gone another way, perhaps it's times like this that should make me realize we really were meant to be together. these things can't be coincidence, can they? there must be strong connections binding us - and we would probably have found our way to one another no matter what.

and now, our long weekend is winding to a close. a new week awaits. with new projects and new challenges ahead. but these experiences (and a lot of sunshine) leave us fortified and ready to face it head-on. but first, a bit of rest.

* most of the photos above were taken by sabin.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

make hay while the sun shines

the weather is absolutely glorious.
the sun doesn't set 'til after 10 p.m.
we're soaking up the light.
and time with the kittens.
it's good to spend time with kittens.
they live in the moment like nobody's business.

my writing is all going elsewhere at the moment (they pay me for it there).
but i'm bursting with thoughts.
and pieces of sanity madness things that i need to share.
but it feels like there's no time at the moment.
like the words are all gone when i sit down here in this space, where they usually flow so freely.
or maybe i'm just called outside by light like this.

and perhaps my extra words are going to an old friend who just got back in touch.
and it feels like they belong to her right now.
and i like that.

but it's also because business is finally taking off.
and i'm busy.
in a good way.
unexpected projects came our way (two in the past week).
and they're giving me energy.
the good kind.

and i've got plane tickets in hand.
which always feels good.
and it's been far too long.
sabin and i will go to the states this summer, for three weeks.
we'll visit friends and family and play with horses.
and buy converse and go to the gap and starbucks and get a new iPad.

there's so much to look forward to.
but there's also so much to love and enjoy about here and now.
(they promise sunshine 'til next tuesday.)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

when istanbul was constantinople

i just read about orhan pamuk's newly-opened museum of innocence in istanbul. it's a brilliant concept, actually - because the museum is an extension of his novel of the same name. a novel and a museum as two representations of the same story - quite clever, really. and it makes me long to go to istanbul. i haven't read that novel (am ordering it immediately from the library), but from what i can gather, it is permeated with nostalgia for an instanbul that is no more. there's something about balkan writers - they walk a fine line between kitsch and nostalgia and usually, they walk it well. go and read the piece about the museum. then i'll meet you there!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

why is it?

i have taken somewhere in the neighborhood of 120,000 photos (not kidding) since acquiring my nikon D60 in may 2008. my child, who is 11, has probably taken 1000 or so. i hand her the camera. she takes two photos before wandering off and both of them are more brilliantly composed, focused, lit and captured than the 63 i took this evening.

she's a natural.

i am both proud and a little bit envious.


the weather is awesome. business is good. so you get cute pictures of kitties. most of which were taken by sabin.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

sunday evening satisfactions

no bunnies were brutally killed.
there was sunshine.
there was lying on a blanket in the grass.
surrounded by playing kittens.
reading a good book (or at least trying to).

there was wine.
and interesting conversation.
and good food.
and fresh bread.

there were three fridays in a row.

there were interesting couchsurfers.
and the last episode of downton abbey (for now).

there were summer plane tickets secured.
and countdown calendars made.

there was rhubarb turned into juice. and crumble. and curd.
and fresh green beech leaves soaked in gin.
and the pure hope that is a garden.

there were horses traded.
and horses visited.
and horses turned out to pasture for the summer.
and horses dancing on their tippy toes.

there was dirt under the fingernails.
and the smell of freshly-mown grass.
and fields ablaze in yellow.

there were eggs gathered.
and chives chopped.
and a family project that succeeded.

it was everything a long weekend should be and more.

life is happy, full and content.
and we are fortified to face the week ahead.

sunday morning politics

back when i was in high school, we went every autumn to the world wide paint horse congress in wichita, kansas. as you probably know, wichita is a hotbed of rabid anti-abortion folks and other than the big horse show at the kansas coliseum and the hearty meals at the red barn inn, that's what i remember of the place. we'd drive past planned parenthood clinics where protestors with graphic signs verbally (and possibly physically) assaulted innocent folks who were going in for their yearly check-ups. it always raised a defiant feeling in me, making me wish i needed an abortion, just so i could march past those people (who i am quite sure were not at all prepared to take responsibility for unwanted babies, should they not be aborted) and exercise my choice over my own body.  i've mellowed since then and while i'm glad i never needed an abortion, i'm glad that the choice was there for me if i had.

this whole debate over same-sex marriage actually triggers a similar response in me. tho' i am a happily married heterosexual woman, the whole rabid righteousness of the debate makes me want to find a nice girl and settle down.

Thursday, May 17, 2012



i dearly wish this photo was in focus. 
i'm not really sure why it's not, except sometimes my macro lens does that.
frankie is our favorite of our batch of four kittens.
they're all boys.
here's some shots of him that are more in focus. 
it's a bit of a challenge getting him to hold still for his photoshoot.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

the road ahead

the way is clear, the light is good, i have no fear, nor no one should.

it has been a rather long and winding road, at times blocked by obstacles and obscured by fog, but it seems to suddenly have cleared and things are picking up speed. i've got my seatbelt on and i'm ready for the ride. 

i don't want to go all new agey on you here, but honestly, it seems that the best thing you can do in life is surround yourself with people who give you energy instead of taking it away or trying to smother it when they see it in you. i got wind of some of those people today, but because i've built up a new wall of energy-giving people and experiences around me over the past few months, it had no effect. and that was a new experience for me. one i definitely want to have more often.

it also seems that putting out positive energy brings more of it your way. a new project came our way out of the blue today and it's full of positivity. even rainy, cloudy days can't hold us back now, the road ahead is clear.

Monday, May 14, 2012

70 years of luck

i bought a stack of old books at the flea market the other day. among them was a little almanac for northern norway for 1942. i grabbed it because it had quaint handwriting in the back and interesting charts of things like animal prints in the snow and old norwegian measurements and how they compared to the metric system.  i was paging through it today and found this perfect four-leaf clover.  tho' my family helpfully, immediately and most unromantically suggested that it could have been put there anytime since, i choose to believe it was tucked in here in 1942.

that's 70 years of good luck.

i imagine it has such stories to tell and that if i listen very carefully, it will whisper them to me. (possibly in norwegian.)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

a weekend of contrasts

oh what a weekend. highs. lows. sorrows. satisfaction. relaxation. tension. irritations. delights. wind. sunshine. clouds. laughter. tears. all of the contrasts you can imagine.

at the end of it, we are tired in a good way from working outdoors.
we have 15 rows of potatoes planted.
all of the kale we seeded is up. and so are the beans. the squash are showing signs of bursting forth.
the strawberries are loaded with blooms.
the garden is prepped for planting as soon as those pesky cold nights are gone for good.

we are down one more bunny (don't ask).
we are very angry with one tiger cat (see above).
there were tears. many tears. and soul-wrenching screams.

we have new old cups and a new old teapot.
i love how my needlepoint pillow looks on the bed.
i used the new bowl to mix the eggs for my salmon tart, even tho' it was a bit shallow for that.
i loved it anyway.

bates can't really be guilty on downton abbey, can he?
and it's good that kate won australian master chef 2011. she seems like a good person.

i didn't get the stalls cleaned,
but i did move the kittens into a new nest in the straw, since they're starting to toddle around.
i did wonder if their little legs would be able to hold up their fat bodies.
but it looks like it's going ok.

i'm ready for the week ahead.
it's a short, but exciting one.
short because of kristihimmelfart (that's my favorite name for a holiday) on thursday.
exciting because of new projects and not-so-old ones that are progressing well.

happy sunday evening, one and all.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

flea market loot

i've long been looking for one (or 14) of these bread dough troughs. i didn't really want one that was painted, but i was somehow charmed by this folk-art motif and the price was right, so i got this one today. i'd like to actually use it, but who knows what's in that paint, so i'll likely not. i see it as the first of a collection.

i found that most everything that caught my eye today was a bit 70s. cups, the teapot, the pitchers, the bowl and the pillow (oh, that pillow, i love it so much). i think it's because we listened to america's greatest hits on the way to the flea market. humming: i've been through the desert on a horse with no name...

i've been wanting some copper pans for a long time, if only to hang them on the wall, but also to experiment with small batch dyeing. i found these two at a stand where everything was 50% off. the handles are really cool (tho' you can't really see that here) too, so that was an extra bonus.

the small string of rustic bells and beads make a sound like they should be hanging on the door of a shop full of magical things. since i want to have a such a shop one day, i had to have them. i think times have been a bit slow, because all of the dealers were eager to bargain. it was a good day to be a buyer.

these cups are by nissen denmark and the pattern is called rune. these with no handles are actually sugar bowls, but i scoured several stands, looking for them, because we want to use them as cups. one crotchety older lady lectured me about how they were sugar bowls and not cups, but i didn't care. and ultimately neither did she when i said i'd take all she had. it's the best trip i've had to the flea market in years.

*  *  *

loving anne brodersen's amazing embroidery art. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

picture perfect bunny and other pretty things

after losing her gorgeous sister earlier in the week, i appreciate peaches even more.
tho' i don't actually know if she is a she or a he.

i might have accidentally let snowy and samba spend some time together today. but it was only because snowy keeps pretending to be pregnant. she pulls out all her tummy fur and makes a nest and then nothing happens.

it was 15 years ago today that i met husband for the first time. but i'll admit that due to my lack of acquaintance with the domestication and grooming standards of the danish male, i actually thought he was gay. turns out he was just pretty (and not at all gay, tho' that's likely too much information). and he actually gets prettier all the time (even if i do say so myself). kind of like this bunny, actually.