Saturday, October 31, 2009

blog crush: holli's ramblings

normally when i blog crush, i offer my blog crush a tasty beverage, however, this world art that i snapped last week in the airport in copenhagen just seemed so appropriate for my latest blog crush. especially as it features africa right there in the middle of the picture. serendipity? i think so.

because my latest blog crush is holli's ramblings, a blog by a canadian in ghana (which, as we know, is in AFRICA) who calls herself a pale observer. she's been by here at MPC several times lately and i've been so busy, i didn't get a chance to check out her blog until today.  ASIDE: bloggy tip - if you leave me a comment, i will always click your profile and check our your blog and if you have an email address attached to your profile, i'll probably even answer you directly! so leave a comment, ok?  anyway, back to my blog crush....

a pale observer is funny, smart, thoughtful, living outside the country of her birth and like me has some magnetic force which interferes with electronic devices (damn, that shoulda been one of my secrets). she keeps stuff in boxes in her parents' basement (also like me), only her stuff is all deep and erudite and mine is pretty much a lot of clothing from the 90s that i'm never going to fit into wear again. she writes about deep stuff like the environment but also about hair-related accidents. she's one of us!

in short, holli's ramblings is my latest blog crush and she should be yours too.

Friday, October 30, 2009

friday confessions - halloween

it's friday. the day dawned cold and frosty, but clear and eventually the sun made its way over the horizon. but despite the crisp freshness of the air and the last glories of the autumn colors glowing in the sunlight, i confess i'm in a mild depression. and it's not just because voldemort has split his soul into multiple horcruxes and the challenge of destroying them all seems so daunting.

autumn brings about mixed feelings in me. while i love it the most of all the seasons, there is a sorrow about it. the leaves on the ground are beautiful but melancholy in their decay. there is a sense of passing. i have a vague dread of the dark months ahead, made worse, no doubt, by how very dark it gets in these northern climes i inhabit. so in all, i'm left feeling mildly depressed.

i also confess....

~ that panic is about to set in because we've invited 20 3rd graders to a real Halloween party tomorrow and i have no idea what i'm going to wear. pirate? witch? morticia addams? zombie cheerleader?

~ i have a lot of cooking to do for the halloween party. since i've got harry potter on the brain, i'm wondering if i can come up with some butterbeer and cauldron cakes?

~ i love carving pumpkins. we carved the first round last night and will do more this evening in preparation for the party. i'm looking forward to it with a childlike anticipation that almost throws off my mild depression.

~ i wonder if i'll finish sabin's costume before she gets home from school?

~ i do wonder how we're going to fit everything in preparations, riding lessons, costumes...before the kids arrive at 4 p.m.! eek!

i'm really grateful for all of the encouraging comments and emails from all of you after my post about moving on to something more creative as a job. it comes pretty close to lifting my mild depression. thank you so much.

i hope you have a lovely weekend!

p.s. have you checked out our halloween week over on across ø/öresund? there also will be halloween-related recipes going up on domestic sensualist (as soon as i get some pictures taken). be sure to check out both!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

accio morning tea

i'm rereading all seven harry potter books in one big harry potter marathon - shooting for finishing inside of ten days. i think in honor of halloween. i stay up late every evening reading them and if i wake up around 4 a.m. (which i often do), i read some more then. but i think it's affecting my brain. i had the strangest dream that husband fell into the fireplace, but tumbled himself out of it, unharmed, on the other side. that has to be harry potter-induced, what with floo powder and transport via fireplaces and all. but it was the kind of dream where you wake up heart pounding, with a dull headache. not a pleasant way to start the day, i must admit. on the bright side, the day can only get better from here...

need a cup of tea. now where's my wand?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

cogs and wheels and making your own luck

it seems that lately, the issue of what constitutes a career keeps popping up. my view on the subject has most certainly changed over the past two years. when i left my fast-track traditional career job at the end of 2007, i thought a career consisted of striving and promotions and brownnosing the right people and political infighting and a bit of strategic backstabbing and of CMA (cover my ass) operations to prevent oneself from being stabbed in turn. and oddly, i even enjoyed all of that. and was really quite good at it. and i was proud of that fact.

but, one of the reasons i left is that i realized i didn't have the creativity and laughter in my life that i craved. none of those career-track things i was doing really fit who i was as a person and they definitely didn't fit who i wanted to BE as a person.  i was just another cog in the engine of the big corporate machine. and thankfully, i realized i didn't want to be that anymore and now i'm not.

but i have come to a point where i need to decide what it is that i do want going forward. i've had the luxury for nearly two years of working mostly from home and of having writing as my job, which i love and which is best done (at least by me) sitting in the quiet of my home, wearing my flannel pajama bottoms and a beloved soft t-shirt, mug of tea at hand. that's how the stories flow best through my fingers onto the screen.

but the commute to another country is wearing me down. it doesn't help that when i do go to the office, i don't get a great feeling from my colleagues in one way or another. whether they seem gleeful that i'm away from my family (not cool) or are telling me i'm incapable of doing my job because i 'm a woman (even more uncool), it's not good for me anymore (not to mention the C02). and that realization hurts me a bit, because i like to finish what i start (that Ph.D. aside) and i feel in the middle of several things. but it's really just a matter of timing at this point. i've mentally already moved on.

i feel like my entire view on what constitutes a career has shifted. i have begun to imagine creativity as a career. holding workshops, having a little shop (this keeps coming up) that sells some exclusive fabrics as well as the products of my own creativity and possibly the creativity of others, the shop would also have good coffee, tea and whatever cakes i felt like making that particular day, or perhaps some photography and freelance writing. when people ask what i do, which they inevitably do, i'd say, "i'm creative." and that would be enough. for me at least. i don't need to be defined by the high-powered job that i have. and for far too many years i thought i did.

but it's a bit scary and daunting, imagining not knowing the exact amount of money i will have on a monthly basis. because our world is so geared towards that. and it has made us think that knowing that represents security. and happiness. but what if it doesn't? what if happiness is a life that enables you to live out your creative potential every day? and what if the rest, including the money part, will come if you're doing just that?

i have more thoughts about this, but i think i will let them gel a bit more...

Monday, October 26, 2009

from a rainy weekend

a bit of the weekend's creativity to rained most of the weekend, so we had to stay indoors (when we weren't running off to riding lessons) and i didn't want to be too far from the fireplace, what with my battle against the dreaded twine foo...

the latest addition to my fiber art journal

it seems that with all of the focus on getting the house ready for sale, my fiber art journal wouldn't be complete without a reference to the house. i was watching husband paint up high on a scaffolding and i saw suddenly before my eyes a helleristning based on our street address. naturally, because of my blue room, i stitched it in shades of turquoisey blue. and i had to include a nordic sun symbol, as a nod to the importance of light year-round in these nordic climes.

i also started a little experiment based on this wonderful book, eco colour by india flint. it's all about using natural processes and plants to dye fibers. so i dashed out between showers and gathered some of the beautiful fall leaves from my yard and wrapped them in some plain, neutral, cream-colored cotton cloth and treated them with a sprinkling of vinegar before rolling them up into tight rolls.

i took leaves from cherry trees (above), blueberry bushes (they're a beautiful red color), red maple, some beech and some birch, plus a rowan leaf.

even a few of the last flowers from the greenhouse, just to see what happens.

now to have the patience to wait at least a month to see what happens. sigh.

and sabin and her big sister added to the growing group of happy plushie dolls.

once we crack a pattern challenge we're having with attaching heads to bodies on these, they are going to be for sale in my etsy shop. we're getting closer, but we're not quite there yet.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

that time of year

just a pretty picture of our backyard to look at while i snuggle up in bed with a mound of books and a mug of tea. i'm fighting it off valiantly and i think i'm winning. it seems everyone has the flu, swine or otherwise. it's just that time of year. frankly, i hope it is swine flu, somehow that seems more exciting. in the meantime, check out the comfort foods for those under-the-weather days, over on domestic sensualist.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

wine glue. fine poo. sign zoo. pine pooh.*

warding off the evil H1N1 with, well...evil eyes

on thursday, in one of those moments of bad parenting (wherein we only left the child alone in the country for under an hour, i swear), i talked to husband. he was in cambridge (england), trying to get pain relievers from what was otherwise a condom vending machine in a bathroom of a holiday inn (implications of condoms and pain relievers in the same vending machine interesting and possibly fodder for an entirely different blog post). he swore it was for a headache and not the mild fever he was running. but he sounded like hell. i think he might have oinked, but it wasn't a great connection, so i'm not sure.

and now, i feel it catching up with me. i'm beginning to feel slow, glassy-eyed and decidedly achy. i definitely have a dull headache and i think i'm running a slight temperature.  i thought it was just because i held myself like a tense and retarded monkey while i learned to crochet today (yes, you read that correctly, i learned to crochet today!), but i'm starting to have to admit, it's more than that. i think i'm coming down with a dreaded case of the swine flu. wine glue. fine poo. sign zoo. pine pooh.

i should have bought some of those beads when i was in turkey, instead of just taking their picture...i'm sure that would have worked.

* with thanks and credit to my sister for the fine title. and she seems to have lived through it, so i'm sure i will too...

Friday, October 23, 2009

weekend = time to play!

what's better to play with than replicas of old-fashioned tin toys? seen at den gamle by in århus. and yes, i did get one, it's that fish in the middle of the bottom picture. and it's so cool. it has a little fish inside of it. they really knew how to make toys in the olden days...

hope you have a lovely weekend, one and all...

an organized mess

the newspapers in denmark are full of environment-related stories in the lead-up to the COP15 climate meeting here in copenhagen in december, so living a more green life is at the forefront of all of our thoughts. but in all honesty, denmark is pretty far ahead on that front. it is, after all, the home of modern wind technology (think vestas). but for me, one of the most tangible signs of denmark's commitment to the environment is how organized our dumps are.

when we went last sunday, i snapped a few pictures to show you.

husband and mig unload stuff from the ancient toyota
ancient toyota might need to be recycled itself.
maybe in the large metal container?

one for newspapers, telephone books, etc.
and another for bottles and jars

put your old carpets here.

small burnables.
keep it under 1 meter, please.

large burnables (tho' this one was closed - there was another one).

small metal things.
it's here that husband found the fabulous sewing machine.


clothing donations
and yes, that was a bag of old linens in front of that one.
and maybe i did appropriate a couple of choice patterns.

mattresses and other feathery furniture.

separate containers for ceramics and tiles, cement, marble, stone, bricks

and i didn't even get pictures of the whole area where you can put old paint cans and batteries and electrical appliances and tires and garden debris and insulation. it's amazingly organized and there are little guys in orange suits patrolling and just waiting for you to accidentally put a ceramic flowerpot in with the glass, so they can yell at you. and odin forbid you try to put something longer than a meter in the small burnables.

but it makes me feel better to go there and to separate things and know that they're being recycled (tho' to be honest, i don't really know where they go). in the spring, you can go get rich compost for your garden, as much as you can carry away for free. it's the result of the trash they collect from our houses, where we separate into green and non-green trash. and i know that the burnables are burned in a big central place where they then capture the heat and use it to heat water for the fjernvarm system that heats much of copenhagen.

i like that the environment is the central topic around here at the moment and i like feeling that i'm doing my part by separating our trash and taking it to the organized dump.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

everything is illuminated

things i've learned through observation in recent days (because it was time for a list)...

~  white leggings with a heavy, shapeless white sweater and brown suede pumps on a late october day is a fashion crime in need of an executioner.

~  teenagers crave attention, no matter where you find them. even if they're standing right next to a picasso and a matisse, they will still think you should have all your attention on them and make a lot of strange sounds and statements to achieve this. even if you don't know them.

~  to get along in norwegian, you should know the phrase, ikke sandt (which i may have spelled in danish).

~ i detect glee on the part of my coworkers at the thought that i do not go home to my family in the evenings when i am working here. what is wrong with people?

~ people really don't like it if you do not reveal everything they think you should. even when directly asked. but sometimes there's stuff that's just not people's business.

couchsurfing totally rocks. i highly recommend it. you meet interesting people who have traveled and seen things and have both funny and poignant stories to tell. go, sign up your couch right now! :-)

~ i am not hungry for lunch at 10:45 a.m.

~ the dutch make some seriously good headache medicine.

~ norway excels at cinnamon pastries. they're like to die for. exactly the right amount of cinnamon, breadiness and crispy sugar on top. worth a flight to oslo just for them.

~ i miss reading all of your blogs, but i'm writing my little fanny off right now on work stuff, so i have no time to visit. it will ease up in about two weeks.

Monday, October 19, 2009

what i'm supposed to be doing

i think i found what i'm supposed to be doing. now i've just got to get off a plane long enough to learn how to do it.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

sunday reflections

the past few days have been spent with family and old friends. and there has been lots of time for reflective thinking. but there has also been a lot of time for living in the moment and just truly enjoying it. and sometimes, that's what you need most. to stop the endless looking for what's next and to enjoy what's right here, right now. the fact is, that i don't know what's next. i begin to have inklings of it that come to me in sharper and sharper relief, guiding me towards the right decisions, but i need to live within my life, right here, right now.

i am ever in awe of how seemingly innocuous, random conversations with people can move you forward in ways you wouldn't have imagined possible.

~ talking with a very good friend about the unexpected death of his father makes you realize that life is short, too short to do something that doesn't make you happy, where you're not respected and which doesn't give you the time you need with the people that are most important to you or enable you to live as you believe you should live.

~ telling your story to another friend, who you've known for a long time, but didn't really know that well, you realize that you are moving towards something new and you are closer than you thought you were. and quite possibly a whole lot braver than you had suspected.

~ a random encounter with a neighbor who happened to lock herself out of her house and needs a cup of tea makes you realize that sometimes in order to embrace what's next, you have to let go of something.

~ and in listening to your inner voices, you realize that you really need to listen to your inner voices.

i hope your weekend was full of revelations too...

Friday, October 16, 2009

the potato holiday

no real posts 'til sunday when we get home. we're on the kartoffelferie - potato holiday - the traditional autumn holiday that kids in denmark get from school because once upon a time they had to help gather the potato crop. now they don't do that so much, they get dragged around from one cultural experience to the next. today, i landed from istanbul and we headed off immediately for the wilds of jutland (that bit of denmark that's attached to germany). the ceramics exhibition at koldinghus was actually pretty cool. fantastic exhibition space that does that ultimate danish thing...combining old and new in a fresh, new way. tomorrow, the west coast.

and if i haven't been by to visit you lately, please forgive me. i'm on deadline at work and trying to sell the house and go to istanbul and then be on holiday and all.....but i haven't forgotten you and i'll be by soon!

in the meantime, another shot of the amazing light and the amazing space at koldinghus...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

energetic istanbul

despite having only a little bit of time to wander and have a look around istanbul, i was overwhelmed by a sense that it had changed dramatically in the two years since i'd been here. there's a feeling in the air that turkey is a speeding, unstoppable train. i don't feel even a whiff of economic crisis in the air here.

in the cafés, which are full, everyone is sitting around with their trendy mini net PCs on the free wireless, sipping cups of sweet tea or strong coffee. there are very few women wearing muslim head scarves and those who are seem to be making a fashion statement rather than a religious one. although the pulse is undeniably exotic and byzantine, istanbul (or at least taxsim) feels decidedly modern and progressive and despite the occasional wail of the calls to prayer from the many mosques tucked here and there, it feels very secular.

the sounds and the pulse of the café-lined side streets are hard to convey in words. music pouring forth, the sound of voices, the sweet scent of the sheesha pipes, so many impressions hitting you at once, it can be almost overwhelming.

i have this feeling that turkey's desire to join the european union has given it an energy that feels unstoppable and dynamic. it feels to me like it would recharge the EU and give it a momentum that it seems to lack.

it's interesting how the ancient and the modern exist here side by side, giving a sort of dynamic tension that feels electric, vibrant and alive. even if you've only got a few hours, istanbul is worth the trip.