Tuesday, September 29, 2009

skewed views of stonehenge

back in mid-august when i attended blog camp 1.5, we visited stonehenge. i had the old family heirloom rolleiflex TLR camera with me and i loaded it with a roll of Kodak ektachrome professional film that had expired in 1991. well, after the film spent several weeks at my local camera shop where they were befuddled by the fact that not only was it 120 film but professional film and expired to boot, they finally sent it off for processing at a place that could do that and i just got it back today. and these are a couple of the results. i do so adore that you have no idea how expired film will behave. this, coupled with my inexperience with the rolleiflex produced these overexposed shots. but i love them. even more because i managed not to get any of the crowds of people standing behind ropes around the perimeter in the shots. so i think they do justice to stonehenge's inherent mystical, ethereal feel. and i'm pretty pleased that i remembered to do polly's signature skewed shot, which also seems to fit stonehenge.

* * *

please do check in on the new project - domestic sensualist. we're posting every day during this kick-off week!  and on across ø/öresund we're back to our nikons this week after a week of iPhone photos, so do stop by and see what we've seen. i'm off doing interviews and (happily) seeing some old friends for the next couple of days, but i'll be back wednesday evening.

Monday, September 28, 2009

weekend creativity

it has been a wonderful weekend of nonstop togetherness and creativity with sabin. we had signed up weeks ago to attend the stitch café at our local yarn shop so that sabin could learn how to knit using a knitting loom. and learn she did. she finished two beautiful scarves and has started on a third. so if you're related to us, you can guess what you'll be getting for christmas this year. and it won't be one of those presents that you wear for show when you know the child is going to be present. we bought gorgeous mohair yarn in jewel tones and it has been transformed into soft, luxurious, beautiful scarves by a child consumed by a new craft.

while sabin took breaks from her knitting loom work, we made invitations for her upcoming halloween party. we clipped and glued and stamped and drew spider webs and drank countless cups of sweet, milky tea. did i mention that husband was attending his quarterly port wine evening on saturday and so it was just me and sabin at home together? tho' we love having him around, it was quite wonderful to have time together, just the two of us.

#72 - halloween invitations

we also came up with a new idea for a plushie design (inspired by the fabric i got last week in panduro). i helped sabin cut it out, but she's making it all herself and he's gonna be cute. we couldn't finish because we had run out of stuffing, but here's a preview:

at the yarn shop (very dangerous kind of place for me, despite the fact that i can't knit - i adore yarn anyway and they also have all kinds of embroidery things and quilting stuff), i bought two Drops knitting pattern magazines. tons of beautiful, gorgeous patterns for only 10 kroner (that's under $2). apparently the patterns are available for free online, but it seemed worth it for the pretty photographs.

doesn't it look worth learning to knit or crochet to be able to make such beautiful things? that beautiful sweater on the left above is only a knit stitch and variegated stocking yarn. i could do that. i'm sure i could. so i came home and got out my crochet bible book that i bought in singapore and gave it a whirl once again. of course, with the idea of making a little outfit for a stone. this one of some fine silky gorgeous decidedly mermaidy blueish-green cord.

i didn't get far enough to assign it a number in the year of creativity scale countdown. but i'm going to go to the wednesday evening edition of the stitch café at the local shop and get some hands-on lessons.

and speaking of hands-on lessons, the other activity the weekend was taken up by was sabin's riding lessons. she rides on both saturday and sunday and she's doing brilliantly.  here, she waits her turn to go into the ring, holding onto felix, who is quite a big larger than she is (and i realize she's a bit out of focus, i managed to do that with a lot of horse-photos this weekend - i was playing with my settings a bit in an attempt to learn something. which worked, tho' it meant i got quite a few pictures that weren't as in focus as i may have liked).

* * *

and starting today, my new project together with the divine bee. domestic sensualist. not your run-of-the-mill cooking blog. we hope you'll stop by and check it out, we've got some fun planned this week. and it's already been so inspiring to me that i just ordered three new cookbooks from amazon!

happy monday one and all!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

what would madonna do? - #1

in the spirit of shag ~ marry ~ kill, i thought we'd play another new game..this one's called, what would madonna do? the idea came up because i was chatting with my sister after the surprise (even to myself) addition of britney spears - shag to my list and she said, that i must have been thinking, what would madonna do? because really, things have gone well for madonna. if you don't count that sex book and sean penn and guy ritchie (which went pretty well for quite a long time). so in addition to my twin philosophies of what are you gonna remember? and writing is the new praying, when i've got a vexing situation before me i'm going to ask myself from now on, what would madonna do?

scenario 1:  so you're at work, and you're invited to one of those parties where people are trying to sell you stuff. it's just after work hours, but it's AT work. and you think that this doesn't really further the position or image of women in your workplace and there's no way in hell that you're going. however, the person organizing the party keeps asking you. you, being a weak suck, keep avoiding the inevitable answer of "no." and even tho' you did finally say "no" outright, she continues to badger you.

what would madonna do? she would express herself and have the courage to tell the girl no and give her a piece of her mind as to how doing such a thing at work totally underlines the bimbo picture that the men in the workplace have of the women there and there's no way in hell she'd ever attend, even tho' she is, in fact, a material girl.

what i'd like to know is where the hell was madonna? (hmm, a potential new game?) last week when i needed her.

i'll be sharing these little tidbits of madonna wisdom whenever the need arises.

enjoy the rest of your sunday. i know it's what madonna would do....

Saturday, September 26, 2009

blog crush: urbaNiche

mmm, chocolate dessert in manila (clearly before i learned flash was the enemy)
forgive me, food pictures are HARD!
this cake is for you, urbaNiche!!

not so long ago, urbaNiche, a lovely blogger and fellow feature on apartment therapy found me (through a comment, lurkers, come out of the woodwork, will you?). she explained to me the other day in an email how she came to my blog (via the helleristninger stones on etsy), which is always a topic that fascinates me...how we make these connections in the blogosphere. she's a fellow nikon girl and her little sweet pea has the most precious chucks i've ever seen, tho' he can't wear them at the moment thanks to a cast (we hope he'll soon be fine). someday, i hope she comes to blog camp. but in the meantime, do go check her out, because she's totally my latest blog crush.

Friday, September 25, 2009

shag ~ marry ~ kill

since i've been writing such heavy stuff this week (i told you i was ponderous), i thought i'd lighten the mood a bit with a little game i call shag ~ marry ~ kill after a game of the same name by a danish comedienne called linda p.  i don't actually remember the rules of her version, which is why i say that my game shares only the same name. tho' in all honesty, it could be the same thing she did...

the idea is this. i make a list of celebrities/famous people/politicians and say whether i would shag ~ marry ~ or kill them. it's that simple. and then, you could do it too (and come back and leave me a comment, telling me you've done it, so that i can come and read yours and have a laugh). because it's funny. at least when linda p. does it.  and since i used to be quite hilarious in my own right, i'm sure it will be funny here too...or at least fun.

so here goes...

  1. johnny depp - shag (as if you didn't see that one coming)
  2. harrison ford - shag (it's my old guy thing, what can i say?)
  3. bill clinton - shag (again with the old guys)
  4. barack obama - marry (obviously, he's a keeper)
  5. george w. bush - kill (well, duh, tho' it seems a moot point now, doesn't it?)
  6. david letterman - shag, then marry (he's my ultimate old guy)
  7. brad pitt - kill
  8. that guy who played spock in the most recent star trek movie - shag
  9. fox mulder (i realize he's a character) - shag and then shag again
  10. dana sculley (yup, another character from the X-files, i'm so 90s, what can i say?) - shag also
  11. jennifer aniston - kill
  12. nigella lawson - shag
  13. nicole kidman - kill
  14. tony blair - shag, actually. i like tony.
  15. prince charles - obviously marry wasn't the right thing, so kill.
  16. jean luc picard (sorry, i've got some strange star trek groove going) - shag
  17. bono - shag then marry and shag some more
  18. tom cruise - kill
  19. haruki murakami - marry
  20. britney spears - oddly enough, shag
how about you, do you wanna play shag ~ marry ~ kill? make your own list (you don't have to use mine) and decide whether you'd shag marry or kill. :-)

slaying dragons and misogynist dinosaurs

sometimes you just have to slay the dragon.

"we approach every experience hopelessly lost in the fog of our own perspective." said cheeky monkey recently on not really. and it echoed back in my head today, when for the umpteenth time, i experienced a well-dressed (read: in a suit) older norwegian male barging ahead of any women in the area, to push up to the desk at the hotel and demand whatever it was he wanted, because he was obviously very important and his time was far more valuable than mine and that of the woman next to me. and that thing he wanted? it turned out to be the same internet cards i was standing in line, waiting my turn to obtain. rude self-centered jerk.

what is it with these guys? it was first a few months ago that i experienced one of these misogynist dinosaurs firsthand when he told me, unapologetically and to my face that i could not be allowed to go do an interview of a canadian CEO because i was a woman (yes, you read that correctly, a canadian CEO, not a yemeni or saudi one, which i may have been able to understand at least a little bit). i was left so dumbfounded by the experience that i didn't even say anything back. i was that shocked. because i would have thought that nearly a decade into the twenty-first century that otherwise seemingly well-raised, prosperous northern european white males would have gotten the message that it was not ok to discriminate against women for being women. but, i'm increasingly of the opinion that that message hasn't made it this far north.

i know what you're thinking..."you're in a man's world there with shipping, julochka. it's an old boy's club of the first order." and you would be right to an extent. however, with more than five years in this field, i never previously experienced any male person even giving me a hint that they thought i couldn't do my job because i was a woman. nor did i ever feel i wasn't completely accepted and respected in my position. until i came to norway. and it's SO BEWILDERING, i have to tell you. they give the nobel peace prize here, it must be ever-so-civilized, right? well, apparently not.

i think i've been so hopelessly lost in the fog of my own perspective that i couldn't understand this or even believe it.  and honestly, for several months, i couldn't even really admit how disappointing and demotivating it was that this happened to me. i even tried to tell myself that i'd misunderstood. but i'm afraid i didn't. and now i've definitely come to realize that i can't accept it. not anymore. sometimes you just have to draw the line. and i'm drawing the line here and now. so watch out misogynist dinosaurs, i'm going to do my best to see that you are well and truly extinct.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

you can run but you can't hide

there's something about blogging. something real and true and when you're not being real and true, people can feel it. they might not be able to put a finger on what it is, but they can feel it. and so, because they're lovely and despite not knowing you in real life, they email you and ask if you're all right. and you answer that you are, that it was just because you lacked internet. you do this not because you were intentionally lying or concealing, but because even you yourself hadn't really seen what the problem was. and then you have a fantastic, very grounding visit to an art museum and find that that you were totally out of sync with yourself, but the visit has settled you back in so that you feel once again comfortable in your own skin.

and so you begin to wonder what it was that was different about you and your posts. you know yourself that you hadn't been feeling the vibe, but that it was never so bad that you didn't feel like blogging at all, you just had a vague awareness that you lacked inspiration, mostly because all of the things that were foremost in your mind were things you weren't really prepared to blog about at that moment. so you were holding back. not lying, just holding back. because some things just can't be blogged about. at least not at certain moments. things like health fears (easy there, not serious ones) and work issues and money issues (part of work issues in that they are rubbish at paying my travel settlements and in case you haven't noticed, i travel. a lot). but there all that was, lurking in the background and keeping me from being the real me here in my little corner of the blogosphere. (aside: they said blogosphere yesterday on BBC World and it made me smile.)

all of this personal, internal revelation makes me realize once again that the nature of blogging as a genre is such that we can't really hide ourselves out here. and to be honest, i wouldn't even want to.

and i really want to say thank you to all of you for noticing and emailing me and well, for caring. it means a lot. and it helped. a lot.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

magic in the museum with iPhone photos

late-afternoon, energy flagging, i decided to go for a little walk for some fresh air and to clear my head. the office has a park-like campus along the oslo fjord and a short distance away is the henie-onstad modern art museum. i walked in that direction, thinking i'd just have a walk in the sculpture park and not go in, but for some reason, i was drawn inside. and happily, i learned that the museum is free on wednesdays!

first, i checked out the to be heard is to be seen exhibition, which featured paintings specially done directly on the walls and several interesting video installations, a sound installation and a rotating rhinestone-clad accordion. i wasn't supposed to take pictures, but since i was all alone, i sneaked out the iPhone and snapped some shots. they of course don't do it justice. even just the architecture of the place means it's a tremendous space, even without the art.

one of my favorite parts was a series of art-journal kind of pages featuring a poem by a scandinavian poet who i didn't know and whose name i failed to write down. this was my favorite page:

i like screaming i like my brain i like horses
in type, on ordinary paper and with faded cello tape. i love it.

tapestry by asger jorn
and a little peek of the hallway i describe below

then i headed for the other wing of the museum, feeling content with the fact that i was the only visitor. the exhibition on the other side was entitled the art of tomorrow today. it's a selection of pieces from their permanent collection, displayed in beautiful surroundings that completely do justice to the art. danish artist asger jorn apparently loved norway and the henie-onstad museum and donated a whole lot of his drawings and sketches and doodles. they were matted and framed and all hanging together in critical mass along a long, curved wooden hallway. my iPhone couldn't come close to capturing it, but it was so marvelous i had to go back and have a second look. here are a few shots i did manage to get.

in addition to jorn, there were miró, a couple of picassos, a matisse, jasper johns, warhol's electric chair 1-10 and some rauschenberg soviet pieces from 1988 that to me were very evocative of those waning years of the reagan era and the soviet union.

i really couldn't believe my luck, having those wonderful paintings all to myself, to enjoy in silence on my own, no one moving past me, getting in my way or breaking into my thoughts with their voices. the golden light of the afternoon sun coming through the windows into the (typically norwegian) wood-intensive space combined with the art did that thing to my molecules where they hum in perfect alignment.

i told the girl at the desk on my way out that i thought it had been quite magical having the place all to myself. and for free to boot! how lucky was that?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

inspiring me right now

it's been a long time since i've shared my sources of inspiration, but since i've been thinking about inspiration (again again) of late, i thought i'd show you my latest sources. mostly from etsy, of course. but some are also from the blogosphere and of course a bit from flickr.

i really adore these whimsical seasonal robots by botodesigns on etsy.

i'm enthralled by these handmade map beads by mygoodness on etsy.

one day soon, i'm going to order one of afiori's beautiful books (yup, from etsy).

this is the cutest use of old typewriter keys i've seen in a long time.
by allstrungoutjewelry on etsy.

this colorful wall art by artbyrosemary is just up my alley.

jude hill's thoughtful mini quilts are like art journaling in fiber.
her blog. her flickr. her big cartel shop (oh, i wish i didn't know that).

and i didn't resist a meter of cute new fabric featuring these whimsical figures at panduro.

what's inspiring you these days?

Monday, September 21, 2009

what a weekend...

saturday we hosted a party where all of the parents from sabin's class were invited. everyone had to bring a course and since we were hosting, we only had to provide snacks and a welcome drink, plus coffee and a bit of fun from the liquor cabinet at the end of the meal. i did up my famous stuffed bread and we made a warm spiced apple cider, since we started out with everyone outdoors on the deck to take advantage of the glorious weather. they could choose to spike it with calvados or a marvelous cinnamon-vanilla snaps (you can guess which i chose). we figured a good glug of liquor to start off would relax everyone. along with a little puzzle game, it seemed to do the trick.

i'll admit i hadn't really been looking forward to the party all that much. i had suggested an abba theme, where we all dressed up 70s and played abba music all evening and drank fun retro cocktails, but the less daring members of the party committee vetoed the idea as soon as my back was turned (tho' not to my face, of course). i figured that since all we really had in common with these people was breeding at the same time, the party would be short and everyone would go home by 10:30 or so. my dread was slightly confirmed when the first guests showed up not fashionably late, but unfashionably 15 minutes early. sigh. i was afraid it was going to be an awfully long night.

but people had gone all out on their assigned dishes and when we started off with a beautiful salmon herb roll artistically arranged on my marilyn monroe plates, followed by another spectacular creamy herby roll with scallops and shrimp, i cheered up considerably. main courses were a beautiful spinach quiche with a grilled eggplant salad, lamb kebabs and a fresh tabbouli laced with succulent red kernels of pomegranate, and a gorgeous spicy, lemon grass and coconut milk thai dish. for dessert, an apple crumble and a chocolatey ice cream cake. in all, a brilliant menu. and there's nothing like good food and plenty of wine to ease the flow of conversation.

it was well after midnight before the first guest left and nigh on 3 a.m. when the last ones departed, so i think it was safe to say it was really a successful party and despite my reservations at the beginning, i had a great time. less successful for me the next day after all that wine, but life is short and you have to go to extremes sometimes.

* * *

sabin and lizette

on sunday, while i took sabin to her riding lesson, husband was industriously preparing the outside of the house for the filsning it's going to have (i don't know what that's called in english...it's when you cover the bricks of your house with a thin layer of mortar and sand). part of the preparation involved getting rid of some cords on the outside of the house. one of which happened to be our live internet cable and not an old cord at all. and he snipped it off at the ground. which, you can imagine, made him very popular. he must have begged and pleaded, because TDC came out already this morning and fixed it. i think he knew his very well-being depended on it being fixed quickly, so he worked some kind of magic.

sabin and felix

sabin really jumped for the first time at her saturday lesson. she was riding felix, an oldenburg. he must be at least 17 hands tall and has the most beautiful gait and he eagerly jumped for her. you can see the big grin on her face in this shot. she was so happy that she got to jump for real that i just had to share this picture. our resolve is even greater to get the farm with space for horses. (hence the whole thing with preparing the house for sale.)

i'm a little bummed that i missed a day of posting, but it wasn't all bad to find out that i still existed, even when i wasn't online. catch you the rest of this week from norway.

nature's bounty

this weekend, i took the last of the season's bounties from the garden - tomatoes red and green, thyme, basil, chili peppers, zucchini, eggplant, parsley, zucchini flowers, shallots and borlotti beans and i turned them into this:

#68 - canned mixed veggies

for use this winter with some good bread and a salty hard prima donna cheese.  i was inspired by camilla plum's programs on preserves on DR2. so inspired in fact, that i also made these...

#69 apple butter, #70 preserved lemons, #71 apple chutney

more later about my 24 hours with no internet...

Saturday, September 19, 2009

in my own head...

in my own head...i'm not:
  • intimidating
  • exclusionary
  • snobby (ok, maybe a little)
  • prickly
  • clique-ish
  • confident
  • ponderous (ok, maybe a little)
  • brooding (ok, maybe a little)
  • harsh
in my own head...i am:
  • kinder than i seem
  • softer than i seem
  • less ponderous than i seem
  • not huggable
  • academic
  • domestic (at least the cooking part)
  • creative
  • innovative
  • intuitive
  • someone who follows her gut
  • always, always thinking
in reality....i am:
  • constantly analyzing
  • procrastinating
  • someone who has not used her time wisely
  • snobby
  • ponderous
  • brooding
  • looking for what's next
  • hoping
  • wishing
  • loving
  • real
who are you?