Thursday, September 30, 2010

in which she doesn't dare

it feels like there's so much these days that i don't dare. i don't dare to quit my job because i don't dare to try to live from my creativity - whether it's writing or photography or making pretty things. and i don't dare to try to live from my creativity for a variety of reasons, only one of which is, "am i good enough?" reasons like - would it still be fun if i were dependent on doing it? would i be able to keep being creative? to keep evolving? would anyone want any of it? are photos that aren't of people somehow devoid of content? will i ever be able to set up that loom properly? what if i don't know how much money will be coming in in a given month?  if i held creative weekends for moms and daughters/sons, would anyone come?

you get the idea.

maybe it's just a girl thing.

do men ever sit around with self-doubt? there's not much evidence for it that i can see. don't men just jump in and get started? they seem so angst-free. does our mole man ever doubt that he can catch moles? no. does the gravel guy ever doubt whether his big scooping machine will be able to fill up that next gravel truck? no. all of the small businesses you see around, businesses of all kinds, happen because someone believed enough in themselves and their abilities. because they dared.

i'm otherwise a confident person.  so why don't i dare?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

in real life...

in real life...
tall sunflower

...the sunflowers are ten feet tall, maybe twelve. should never go to work for a friend.

...not everything makes sense.

raspberry bug

...when you pick raspberries, you get a lot of bugs too.

...getting a good night's sleep really does help you ward off a cold.'s not always about you.

sunny sunflower

...sunshine makes things seem much better. can't fool a horse.'s boring to make the child a lunch to take to school every day.

mushroom tart

...making a really brilliant, simple dinner has the capacity to make you feel ridiculously satisfied.

...thus, things are simpler than you make them out to be. will stray from the recipe.

...there won't be any leftovers.

raspberry dessert

...your child will amaze you more than you would ever have imagined. daily.

...rereading a favorite book is a very good thing.'ll waste a lot of time, put off doing laundry, avoid cleaning the sink and on occasion let your refrigerator get kinda disgusting.

morning light will feel much better all day if you stop to breathe, look and take a picture of a scene like this. even if it's only taking a picture in your head. *click*

Monday, September 27, 2010

more scenes from berlin and the answer to it all

i think i'm coming down with a cold...scratchy throat, dull headache and feeling generally slow and sleepy. so before i crawl off to bed to reread a bit of murakami, i'll leave you with a few more shots of berlin goodness...

i love that this building is #42 - because as you know if you're a fan of the hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy, 42 is the answer to life, the universe and everything.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

scenes from a weekend

we had a lovely weekend at the yearly crayfish gathering in sweden. we get together with husband's swedish siblings and the danish cousins for a mountain of crayfish, aioli, homemade bread, lovely quiche and tarts and salads and loads of snaps and beer. the danes contribute the alcohol and the swedes do the rest. and it's always an evening of high spirits, interesting conversation and laughter.

such a weekend leaves me feeling fueled to face the week...i hope yours was great, wherever you were.

Friday, September 24, 2010

in the looking glass...

i wrote once about mirrors. and about the version of ourselves we might leave behind in them.  in a room of old mirrors like this one, i was struck again by that thought. there was some magic in that faded, decaying but once grand room. and somehow it felt like you could catch a glimpse of its former glory if you looked just right into the mirrors.

so i took a lot of photos of the mirrors. hoping to capture that moment. that glimpse of the gateway to memories not my own. so present in the air, yet so inaccessible. palpable yet elusive. the air was heavy with magic in that place. it felt so empty and abandoned, but full. i had the feeling we had to whisper and the feeling that there was whispering all around me...silks rustling, voices, music..there but also just out of earshot. it was there somehow, to be glimpsed in the mirrors if you caught the right angle.

so i looked for the angle. at the light. at the puddles of black where the silvery backing is falling away. and i listened. and i imagined i could glimpse all who floated past those mirrors over the decades. and it felt like touching magic.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

empty chairs and empty tables

do rooms retain memories of the things they've seen? could you hear what they've heard if you just listened carefully enough? do they feel sorrow? pride? anger? neglect? do they miss the voices? do they hear them at all? or are they just there in all of their beingness. or are they nothing? empty. space. waiting. liminal.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

in flow

after the wonderful weekend full of laughter and great conversation in berlin and a day and a half of meetings and more laughter and great conversation with some old friends in svendborg, one of my favorite places in denmark, i am feeling positively in flow. ideas are coming to me. and with them opportunities and a glimmer of the path ahead.

i must remember what makes this impulses, great people, laughter laughter laughter, and intelligent conversation (and a bit of not-so-intelligent conversation -- that story of the one-legged boxing would-be bomber is still cracking me up like crazy). plus a little sunshine doesn't hurt either.

the trick is remembering all this the next time there is a flow failure. because that's the tricky part, getting there when you're not. but enough about that, i'm going to relax and enjoy this, my idea notebook at the ready...tho' first i think a good night's sleep is in order.

don't worry, i'll go back to the berlin posts tomorrow, the best bits are yet to come!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

things i love about berlin - blue berlin: part 2

i had my white balance all wrong on these because of some settings i used on photos i was taking the night before, but i decided i love the blue cast they had, so i didn't fix them. i am still processing, both photo-wise and in my mind, my fabulous weekend in berlin. i didn't expect to fall in love with berlin the way i did. i think i had some preconceived notions of it based on other german cities i've been to and how i imagined it would be. and they were pretty much all wrong.

we spent most of our time in prenzlauer berg and mitte, both old east berlin. i don't think i expected the level of charm that was there. tree-lined streets, cobblestones, unique independent shops, well-dressed people with real style (and no bad socks), picturesque little balconies, sidewalk cafés, galleries. it was just wonderful and charming and laid back and welcoming.

for a city divided so long, berlin is surprisingly comfortable in its own skin. it's neither more nor less than it is and it's certainly not trying too hard. it doesn't need to. and the city seems to know that. there's also no residual schizophrenia evident from the long division it underwent. it seems that berlin was much more than the wall and it retained a character and life of its own despite that dividing line. just imagine the  history it witnessed and bore on its strong shoulders, coming out of it unscathed and with its charm intact. in a way, it's a bit like being east berlin and west berlin preserved a sort of independent, unique spirit that other cities - filled as their streets are with chain shops and restaurants - don't have. and frankly, maybe being east berlin protected it from too much capitalist western influence, allowing it to flourish as it so undoubtedly did. it must really be among the best of the european capitals.

i can't believe i waited this long to visit it. i've been reading for ages on various blogs and in magazines like *wallpaper, how great it is, but i guess it really is one of those things you just have to see for yourself. and i'm really glad i saw it in the company of a group of totally awesome, smart, funny women. that undoubtedly made it even better.

Monday, September 20, 2010

things i love about berlin: part 1

red bicycles - white vespa
white vespa - take 2
ok, it may not be a vespa, but it's a cool retro scooter in any case.
and i want one.
the lamps
pretty street signs 
big hamburger street
more to come. but suffice it to say, i. am. in. love. with. berlin. it's like the apple or the nikon of cities. i really don't know why anyone lives anywhere else.

Friday, September 17, 2010

and the sun breaks through

it's been a stormy week weatherwise and although i often feel that the weather reflects my mood and pause to wonder if i'm causing it, this week that hasn't been the case. i have definitely felt the sun breaking through a cloud that's hung over my head for the better part of the past few months. one that i strangely didn't really realize was there until it dissipated. how is it that we're so inside of ourselves that we can't see what's really going on?

i feel so happy that the mild depression i've apparently been in is lifting. and it's lifting just in time for blog camp berlin. and i feel truly excited and happy to be leaving tomorrow morning on the train. i've got energy again and am ready for loads of laughter and talking and catching up and getting to know a couple of new people in person. tho' thanks to the blogosphere, they already all feel like old friends.

i don't know what adventures lie ahead the next few days, but i'm looking very much forward to them, whatever they are...

happy weekend one and all...may the sun break through wherever you are.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

this girl: an update

thanks to some hints from bambi and her sister barb and their recent this girl posts and because i'm finally feeling like myself again, it seemed like it was time for an update of the this girl post (which, to give credit where credit is due, was started by the fabulous gillian ever so long ago).

~ hates righteousness, but can be pretty righteous at times.

~ needs more courage.

~ needs more discipline.

~ needs more practice.

~ needs less stuff.

~ needs to focus.

~ loves rocks and cameras and feathers and books and art supplies.

~ takes photos every day.

~ hates to capitalize. especially i.

~ talks too loud.

~ gets what she wants.

~ has a sneaking suspicion that it will all work out.

~ likes robots and eyeballs and embroidery floss and brand new pens.

~ wears blue nail polish.

~ watches too much LA Ink, Miami Ink and What Not to Wear on Discovery Travel & Living.

~ has a list of names to submit to What Not to Wear (with Clinton & Stacey).

~ should probably herself be on that list.

~ is superior and humble. haughty and kind. snobby and forgiving. messy and obsessive compulsive. thoughtful and oblivious. one big mass of contradictions. and likes it that way.

~ loves cats and horses and bunnies.

~ wants pigs and a few chickens.

~ goes to bed too late every single night.

~ loves her iPhone. and iMac. and iPad. and her nikon(s).

~ wishes stuff didn't matter so much.

~ wishes sometimes she didn't care so much.

~ is glad she cares so much. because it's what makes her who she is.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

a tale of a one-legged boxer and wanna be bomber

last friday, an unknown young man accidentally exploded a homemade bomb in the basement bathroom of a hotel in copenhagen, near one of the busiest train stations in the city. shrapnel dotting his face, he fled into a nearby park, losing his prosthetic leg along the way. despite this, it still took police more than two hours to find the injured, one-legged man under some bushes in the park. but find him they finally did and took him in for questioning.

he refused to speak anything but french and refused to give any information whatsoever about himself. evidence of three different false identities was found on him. but it took a tabloid reporter who thought the young man's nose looked suspiciously like a boxer's to track his true identity to a boxing club in belgium. reasoning, rightly enough, that a french-speaking one-legged boxer was a bit of a rarity. turns out he's a 24-year-old from chechnya, who has lived the past five years in belgium. he lost his leg to a mine as a child in chechnya. and he did indeed go to a boxing club in belgium.

are you waiting for a punchline? does this sound like a joke? well actually, it's not. it's all true.

still no one knows what he was doing in copenhagen and what really happened with that shoddily-made bomb. speculations abound, of course.  but for the most part, it strikes me as a kind of farcical comedy led by keystone cops. i just hope it's not a distraction for something else on the horizon...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

grateful tuesday: because it's been awhile

it's been far too long since i did any posts about gratefulness. a mild depression over huge change and upheaval (even if self-chosen) in our lives surely intervened - changing home, part of the country and work all at the same time is stressful, even if it's what you want. but i feel it lifting. and even tho' the kitchen i have to live with for the time being (flaky (if adorable) architects and building permits take time) continues to depress me (and cause my continuing absence from domestic sensualist), i am coming up for air. i can feel it. interestingly, what's triggered it today is sabin's morning fever, which caused me to stay at home with her today. waiting on her, running to the store for the cottage cheese she was craving, drinking tea together and watching an entire afternoon of BBC Lifestyle programming gave me a sense of well-being that i could scarcely remember. (note to self: remember this.) and all of that has filled me with a desire to express gratefulness...

i'm grateful to lisa of lil fish studios for our recent swap. i sent one of my painted feather stones and she sent me this gorgeous feather stone of her own. very different from mine, yet a sister of it somehow. and an immediate treasured possession. and i'm ever grateful to trinsch for getting me started on the feather stone thing in the first place.

i'm grateful for being published - in an art book by hong kong-based artpower publishers (and i'm grateful that it finally arrived today) and even more grateful for the amusing asian translated subtitle of the book (because who doesn't love different color shades that serve as prevalent colors on the sock). but on the inside is a whole beautiful 8-page spread of my photos of my beloved blue room (along with a whole lot of other inspiring artists that i will share soon). and that just makes me smile.

i'm grateful for the creativity of my child. she creatively wrapped up the blog camp berlin presents today. and yes, i'm also grateful for the upcoming blog camp berlin.  the kid learned how to make these pretty boxes at school (thus i'm also grateful for the danish school system) and taught me how to make some today as well. and even if i do say so myself, i'm pretty pleased with what's inside.

and thank odin for that vintage scale, which seems to be where i take all of my photos of late.

latte. i'm pretty grateful for latte. and when it's accompanied by a tall hyldeblomst (elderflower) beverage and enjoyed in the sunshine at a gorgeous marina, all the better.

but today, i'm most grateful for an encounter i had with the folks at the apple help line. back in february, through the website, i ordered one of those big, giant 1TB My Book Studio external hard drives made by western digital. i was in terror of losing my 50-some thousand photos after spilling water in my MBP and having issues with my iMac (now solved, thankfully). i got it and hooked it up, but never really got it properly set up because it kept giving me a strange message that it was going to shut down because it was too hot after i had it on for about five minutes. i never did anything about it at the time because of the chaos of our move, but today, i finally called about it to see if there was anything that could be done. and would you believe that without argument or questions into whether i'd dropped it into the bathtub (for the record, i did not), they said they would send a new one out to me by courier immediately and collect the faulty one? so tomorrow, i will have a new 1TB WD My Book Studio external hard drive. now that's service. and a big part of why i love apple.

what are you grateful for today?

Monday, September 13, 2010

a voyage of discovery

"it is an adventure like a voyage of discovery that is filled with experiences and unknown dangers." - jane balsgaard

there are so many echoes of the sea in jane's work. delicate boats of all kinds whisper of voyages made and ones yet to be taken. and despite being a child of the prairie, i let the sea breezes they evoke wash over me.

fantastic creatures that seem to be of the sea are suspended in midair.

a captured breath of sea air adorns a wall.

brushes and sticks lie in wait.

vibrant colors show hints of the beauty that will come.

and handmade papers luxuriate on a le corbusier....

more of jane's work here.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

under distant skies: the art of jane balsgaard

last weekend i visited the studio of artist jane balsgaard. she's one of six artists that have their studios in a lovely old building in frederiksværk. a trained painter and sculptor, she has been working for many years with natural materials - handmade paper, bendy willow that she grows herself - materials that she gently twists into graceful, lighter-than-air shapes that seem to float.  i was especially fascinated by her boats. she allowed me to wander her light, airy studio with my camera(s) in hand.

jane balsgaard talks about listening to the willow as she works with it and about the point where she often allows it to bend her artistic vision to its will rather than vice versa. i asked her about the pieces she was sending to an upcoming show in chicago and how they would withstand the journey. she said the pieces are surprisingly durable. one had blown away from her last winter and she didn't find it 'til the snow melted in the spring, surprisingly not worse for the wear.

light, delicate sculptures of beautiful unique handmade paper, twigs and delicate fishline fairly float around her studio. they have a way of capturing an enigmatic moment, freezing it momentarily, but releasing it at the same time. the sculptures are elusive in their lightness, yet dense with meaning that feels like it's right there, waiting to be snatched up.

these columns on the wall gave me the feeling that they could capture light and channel it. or choose not to, according to their whims.

there is a blend of nature and fancy in jane's work. the two curvy works in the middle of this photo seemed to be in motion tho' they were still. i had a notion that they were singing softly to themselves and that i would be able to hear their song if it were quiet enough. and i kept thinking that they moved just as i looked away. for structures so light, they are heavy with potential meanings.

 this fantastic organic shape, kalabasbåden, suspended on the ceiling was part of an exhibition at the himmerlands kunstmuseum on års in 2009.

there was so much to look at, i could have stayed for hours. here's a hint of some fascinating feathery works that i will save for another post.

i had the feeling that this beautiful boat was already there, lurking within the willow and jane just called it forth, coupling it with her light and beautiful handmade paper.

for those in the chicago area, you're in luck, you can see (and buy) jane balsgaard's beautiful work for yourself in person at SOFA nov. 5-7, 2010 at navy pier.  she also has gallery representation in the US at browngrotta.

jane balsgaard's beautiful works have me thinking about art and artists and the lifetime it takes to hone a craft. has art made you think this weekend?