Monday, May 31, 2010

a colorful week

here's wishing you all a colorful week (in the best possible sense of colorful)...

dreaming of colorful rooms

brightening up my kitchen (i'm thinking stripes)

curtains for sabin's bedroom - featuring the new echino spring fabrics (bought here)

what could be more perfect than colorful fabric featuring cameras?

unless it's also airplanes and nerd glasses?

and a little homemade color - i dyed these in some water i had soaked black beans in for dinner.
letting color set the tone for my week and i hope you do too!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

nonsense in publishing

"when single women changed the world's economy" says the headline
remember the insane thing i heard on the radio the other day about some woman who had written a book about sex and the city? well, i hate to give this topic any more publicity than it's already getting, but after reading the M/S section of today's sunday paper, which was devoted to SATC and more specifically, this ridiculous book - da sex and the city ændrede verden (trans. - when sex and the city changed the world), which is by a supposed journalist named iben albinus sabroe. i say supposed because i cannot imagine that any self-respecting actual journalist, who had had a proper education in journalism  (or even history or political science or sociology), would write such a poorly argued tome.

let me give you a few gems from the interview with ms. sabroe....

when asked how she as a married woman with children could write this homage to the single life....

"for me, the series is a picture of the fact that we are all single, we just occasionally live within a relationship."

when asked whether the designer clothing depicted in the series weren't a bit at odds with the new values we are beginning to create after the crisis...

"shopping in our time is about identity, crisis or no crisis."

when the reporter tried to dig in a little more to the designer clothing issue...

"they (the women in the series) are kind of superheroes and the luxurious look of the series is part of telling the story of the modern single woman as a success story." 

and what has SATC taught women who are in a relationship?

"it has taught women in relationships that they are responsible for their own happiness."

"we are all single" says the headline.  and yup, that's the author
she also makes the absurd claim that when the series began in the late 90s, it wasn't politically correct for women to go out alone after work - the only reason women went out alone was to find a man. what? i came to denmark in the late 90s and i can tell you that danish women seemed quite independent and capable of doing whatever they wanted on their own, just as we did in the US. she further credits the series for being what made it ok for women to go out on their own. the woman clearly has no knowledge whatsoever of history. women gained the right to go out in public on their own long before the late 90s and it had absolutely nothing to do with a shallow television series.

but it's not all bad - in an excerpt of the book that was published with the interview today, ms. sabroe brings up the interesting statistics that of the 8 million new jobs created in the european union since 2000 6 million of them have gone to women (tho' she doesn't say what kind of jobs they are). she also says that in 2011 there will be 2,6 million more women than men in american universities. now these are interesting statistics, but let me tell you where she goes with them. in her next breath, she says that these highly-educated, career focused women (us?) use their education and good jobs to spoil themselves by indulging in facials, designer bags and shoes and that that's been a good thing for the world economy (after all, the economist says so and even has a name for this economy - the bridget jones economy). oh wait, it is all bad. i mean seriously? please.

i should note that i suspect the book to be a self-published work, as the publisher funnily enough shares ms. sabroe's name. i'll give her credit - she's been very good at making the media rounds here in conjunction with the release of the new SATC2 film, so the publication is well-timed.

i could go on and on (and since this is my second blog about it, i probably have already) about how ridiculous i think this is as a premise, especially in light of what she said on the radio about SATC's one simple commandment "be fabulous" trumped the bible's 10, but i think her quotes above actually illustrate it for me very nicely.

this seems to me like the latest manifestation of the same cultural phenomenon that brought us reality television shows. presentation of mediocre material as a means of advancing a mediocre individual in their self-glorification - be it as they vie to be wherever's next top model or self-publish their own badly-argued book and then go on a media campaign flogging said crap. and although i'm generally in favor of the self-publishing model (this is, after all, a blog), i wonder about the effect this has long term on true journalism and quality writing.

this is the second time lately when i've read danish non-fiction that i've been left thinking that a critical and competent editor was missing. if you recall the book i mentioned a few weeks ago - skønhedens befrielse - by morten skriver - i felt it was missing an editor's watchful eye as well as it echoed many sources i recognized, but none of them were actually cited in footnotes or bibliography or even within the text. in that instance, i wrote to the publisher (a little speciality publisher who just might also be  enabling self-publication) about this lack of sources. it took a couple of weeks, but i actually got a response from the author himself. he was fair and balanced in his response, but dismissed my argument on the grounds that i was only the second one to complain about it (not saying anything about how many books he's sold - if it's only 4, then 2 out of 4 is half of us that think there should have been a bibliography). even more interestingly, he said that not using footnotes and a bibliography was "an artistic choice." so there you have it, apparently now plagiarism is art.

it's a slippery slope we're on here, people. and as lover of books, i'm more than a little worried about it.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

viking inspiration

on our little jaunt to the west coast last weekend, we stumbled upon a little town called bork, where they have a viking harbor museum. we have a long history at our house with viking harbors, stemming from the time we found a huge piece of driftwood that husband said came from a viking harbor and which we "implanted" in our first redo of the kitchen at the house on poppelvej street. and which husband would regale guests with a long story involving the english bombardment of copenhagen in 18-something or other and a phenomenon called continenticus tippicus which was going to eventually cause the island of sealand to flip because of all the heavy english cannon balls deposited in copenhagen and which explained why there had once been a viking harbor there in our kitchen. he usually had people on this story until he got to the continenticus tippicus part and then they started to look nervously at one another. it didn't help that i was often dissolving in laughter already from the beginning of his tale.

but anyway, suffice it to say, we were pleased to find a sight honoring the viking harbor. the little museum was closed, but we could still wander the grounds and snap a few pictures of inspiring three different models of viking fences. i would expect aspects of these fence ideas to be cropping up around our new property in the near future.

and a family flag modeled on these to adorn our backyard flag pole is definitely on the horizon.

and perhaps one of these for the lake? you can never have too many viking boats in your lake, right?

oh, and look, a gap-clad viking is coming our way through the arches as we speak...

Friday, May 28, 2010

house tour: an inside view

during my week at home sick with the dread disease (whatever it may be - the two doctors i've seen don't really agree, but it seems that some of the many meds i'm now taking are beginning to work), i've had time to give myself a little talking to about this house. i was having moments of depression and even anger about how awful it is and how little the previous owners seemed to do with it. and i was missing my beautiful kitchen on poppelvej. i won't say that i miss it any less (yes, you, my pretty red smeg), but i've talked myself around. there are things i can do to make this livable in the meantime before we build-on and create a brand new and even better kitchen. and we did, after all, choose this, so it's not like i've been forced into this situation (tho' leaving the appliances behind is something i've been forced into, but we're not going to go there. again.).

i thought i'd give you a little glimpse of the inside and what we have to put up with until the renovations can take place...

looking into the living room.
naff ceiling constructed out of rough planks normally used for making fences.
covering up some of the horrible, cheap office-style carpet with my turkish rug.
i chose to put a few books (gardening, decor and craft) and things we love on the shelf, in order to make it seem more livable.
the carpet is yucky office-style carpet and that depresses me a little bit.
the curtains were on the windows, but i dressed them up with some fabric circles.
as you can see, that's the corner where i sit and knit.
sabin's scarf in colorful mercerized egyptian cotton is going rather slowly.
the kitchen from hell.
still pepto bismol pink (i will remedy that in the near future, for reals).
this crappy linoleum floor depresses me as well (i can't even get it clean!) - i miss my oak floors!!
but at least i have my kitchen aid and my posh red kettle.
and the window above the sink is nice.
plus there are lots of cupboards, and that's good.
i despise that stove (and refrigerator for that matter).
for one, it's not gas, for another, those glass-topped stoves just seem so fake and cop-outish somehow.
and the left front burner is totally iffy - sometimes too hot, sometimes hardly heating at all.
when i stand in the kitchen and get worked up about missing my old kitchen, it's because of this stove.
our bedroom - obligatory basket of clean laundry at the foot of the bed.
i'm good at doing laundry, but rubbish at putting it away.
great light from the window - i like that.
the pictures look a bit random on the wall, because we just used existing nails that were there.
it's hard to tell, but i also dressed up the curtains with a turquoise border - they were plain cream colored.
sabin has been allowed to set her inner artist free and is painting what she wants on her walls.
circles on the left and a little jackson pollack action on the right.
the t.v. will be hung on the wall once she's finished.
the one and only little bathroom - shower only, no bathtub (don't get me started on how much i miss my bathtub).
as husband says, it's actually the best room in the house.
by which he means it's the one that's been most recently redone.
and my little desk area - looking quite a lot like it did at the old house - some things can't change too much.
the light is also nice here, tho' the window looks out on a naff little entryway with makeshift clotheslines.
the people who lived here before were apparently obsessed with clothelines - they're everywhere there possibly could be one.
note the pretty scarf on the doorknob - it's from the magnificent debra! and i love it!
the indoor spaces being what they are, i had to create a homey outdoor space.
if the sun would just reliably shine, i'd be out there all the time.
i found out that tho' this looks fetching under that tree, i've got to move it.
too much bird poo.
we've been discussing the order of our renovations quite extensively. our architect is nearly ready with some drawings for us and we're getting excited to see them. the expansion of the house is essentially going to be a separate, new building off the back of the existing house. it will be one large room that's kitchen, dining area and living room in one. it will be joined to the old house by some kind of exciting, creative, mostly glass solution (at least we hope that's what erik will come up with). so it will be possible to build it first while continuing to live in the old house. once it's built and we have a new kitchen up and running, we can tear down the old main house, which currently houses the kitchen, and do the renovations to the "left wing" of the house, where our bedrooms, bath, laundry and living room are at the moment. now, if the old house would just sell....people keep looking, but they don't seem to be buying.

happy weekend, one and all....

Thursday, May 27, 2010

further proof of a world gone mad

cross-processed expired slide film in lomo fisheye2
this morning when i took sabin to school i heard a woman on the radio enthusiastically talking about her new book. i missed the title of the book and the woman's name (ya gotta cut me some slack, i've got pneumonia and my brain is bruised from all of the coughing), but the premise of the book was that Sex in the City has indelibly changed culture. in her words, the bible had ten commandments, but sex in the city has only one: "be fabulous." it was a given, to her, that this makes sex in the city vastly superior.

she went on to argue that the cultural seachange wrought by sex in the city was one of the cool, hip independent woman who doesn't need a man. i may not have seen every episode of carrie and her cohorts, but in those i have seen, the age old striving for a man and a relationship has been pretty much the main focus. that and shoes. and freakishly thin women with a lot of issues. and i'm not sure how that has really advanced us (women) as a species. other than perhaps upgrading how we look upon shoes, which frankly was already pretty much a priority for many of us even before they came along. but according to this woman, it's got something to do with a hip new yorker attitude. blah, blah, blah.

what is wrong with the world where someone can get PUBLISHED and go on the radio with such an absurd premise? the next thing you know, sarah palin will be president....

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

a little bit country

as some of you may know, i grew up in a very small town in the upper midwest. i know i seem like this dazzlingly cosmopolitan, sophisticated, traveled european woman (NOT), but really, i'm a small town girl. so it's not all that surprising that i find myself twenty-odd years after leaving for the city (if Iowa City counts - ha!), back in the countryside.

but having lived in orange county, phoenix, chicago and copenhagen for two decades, there are some things i forgot about country life. things like...

~ flies.

~ livestock grazing in fields (see flies above).

~ wind sweeping across with nothing to stop it.

~ that comforting sound of a horse crunching its grain.

gratuitous jumping shot, because i love this picture.
~ neighbors dropping by to chat - and to try to sell you a tractor.

~ riding lawn mowers.

~ trading for things instead of buying them.

~ having a BIG vegetable garden - instead of a dozen strawberry plants, we've got more like 150.

~ birdsong filling the air. and i mean filling the air.

~ the general intensity of the presence of nature. and spiders.

~ deer darting in front of your car on a winding country road.

~ people driving like complete maniacs on winding country roads.

~ getting stuck behind a tractor on the winding country roads.

~ a feeling of having loads of space - both physical and psychological.

~ pollen allergies from hell that turn to sinus infection and then a sort of asthmatic bronchitis which only more steroids than lance armstrong used in the last tour de france can cure. (i know, i know, he supposedly doesn't use any. yeah. right.) case of pneumonia which leaves you feeling even worse than you did because now it's been assigned that word.

life in the countryside generally has a completely different rhythm. after dinner, we go over to the horse - to ride her and groom her and spend time with her. as a result, we're watching far less t.v. this can only be a good thing. there's always something to be done outdoors - weeds to pull, seeds to sow, lawn to mow, a walk which beckons. we definitely feel much more the pull of nature. it feels healthy and good for us. it clears our heads of a day spent in the office or at school. but i guess i appreciate it that much more for having been away from it and lived in cities for a time (half my life, actually). it's nice to feel things slipping into an easier rhythm, one that feels more in tune with nature.

Monday, May 24, 2010

we got stoned at the beach

not that kinda stoned, silly. but it got your attention, eh?

i'm sick - allergies turned to sinus infection which has turned to the hacking cough from hell - so i give you pretty pictures of the stones we gathered at the beach yesterday, posed in little zen, fetching arrangements...

this is beach glass

some of the 24 heart-shsaped stones i found
more hearts

i'm crawling off to curl up in front of the t.v. and watch something totally mindless now. happy monday one and all.

SIAM CAM: Sophie Contemplates Time Management Strategies

my cousin has a siamese cat named sophie and she's trying to bring her up to be a productive member of society. let's check in and see how that's going....

Sunday, May 23, 2010

a day at the beach or bundle up folks, there's a reason they call it the north sea!

so that summer thing just lasted the one day. today dawned cloudy and got windier as the day progressed. determined to defy it, we packed up our wellies and headed for the west coast of denmark, which is now only about an hour away. it was cloudy when we first got there, but we (being me and sabin) were dressed for it (husband wore shorts, trying to prove his viking-ness, i guess). but the sun did eventually come out.

i love the beach.
todays haul: 24 heart-shaped rocks, 7 rocks with eyes, 9 pieces of beach glass
a bit cloudy, but the north sea is fantastic nonetheless.
it can literally blow all your cares away.
bonding time. he was probably making up some story or other. 
there was a big group of kite surfers on the ringkøbing fjord
have i mentioned that i love the beach?
since summer is so unreliable in these parts, you learn to take what sunshine you can get and do stuff anyway, even if the sunshine isn't there. we were so glad we went to the beach today. the sound of the surf and the wind whipping your hair is just good for the soul.

more tomorrow of all the stones we gathered....

Saturday, May 22, 2010

the blogger you have reached is not available... see, the sun is shining and there are picnics to had:

and naps in the garden to be taken:

we'll be back to regularly-scheduled blogging when the sun goes back behind the clouds....

Friday, May 21, 2010

by popular demand - i give you the house (at least from the outside)

people keep asking me to see The House. i suppose it's mostly because i keep talking about how it's crumbling around us and we have to tear it down and how i've generally been going on (undoubtedly to all of our dismay) about moving. this evening, it was gorgeous and sunny, so i took a lot of photos, so i give you, for now, the outside...

this would be the bit with the crumbling bricks.
made, via the miracle of lightroom, to look far more romantic than it actually is.
so much for that intentionally balkan look
the house - this is the bit we're going to keep.
it used to be the barn.
the inside of the barn/garage - where my eventual shop will be.
this bit is the barn/furnace room/garage/workshop
my new blue room will be upstairs in here. - 100m2. cool.
on the left - the garage/workshop bit
on the right - the original house.
we're tearing it down. 
this was originally a barn.
we learned from our neighbors that the owners they knew
did the improvements slowly.
which explains the 7 different ceilings.
the view from the back yard.
that middle bit will be torn down.
and we'll be building an addition instead at the end of the part on the left.
this is why it's good to have a guy you think of as your architect.
the best bit of the house as it currently is is this terrace.
however, we'll be tearing it down.
but it will make a magnificent greenhouse
the garden - loads of goodies planted here.
yes, there's a flag pole.
we're thinking of designing our own flag.
this barn belongs to the house next door, but was sold to them by the owner of our house in 1971.
we're renting it back for now. eventually we want to buy.
beautiful red maple in the garden.
it stays.
they left a dozen rhubarb plants. yay!