Tuesday, March 31, 2015

100 happy days :: day 31

we woke up to snow on the last day of march. almost more snow than we had all winter. i'm not sure molly liked it, but it was (mostly because it melted quickly) quite welcome, since we didn't really have much all winter. a blanket of snow does have a way of making the world look clean and fresh. and tomorrow? a bit of shopping in hamburg to look forward to.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Sunday, March 29, 2015

100 happy days :: day 29

playing some more with reflections for the upcoming spring exhibition in our local creative group. the sun peeked out for a very few minutes today, so i ran out with robots on bicycles in my pocket and took advantage of the puddles. i think the middle one is my favorite.

the view from sunday night

doodling in my art journal and pondering both the week that's gone and the week ahead. i love how art journaling stimulates the meditative thoughts.  my thoughts return again and again to the germanwings plane crash. authorities seem to have rather quickly jumped to the conclusion that the co-pilot intentionally flew the plane into the alps, killing himself and 149 innocent people. i do not envy those who listened to the recording from the flight data recorder and came to that conclusion. i find the articles and op-ed pieces, laying the blame on depression quite alarming. it seems to me that what merits a closer look is the practices of low-cost airlines that would cause a young pilot to hide his medical condition and not use a note from his doctor, excusing him from work on the very day of the flight. did crewing personnel from the airline bully him into flying anyway on that day, perhaps even threatening him with firing if he didn't fly? knowing what i know of crewing department bullies in the shipping industry, i wouldn't be a bit surprised if that wasn't the case. and i hope that person has a very guilty conscience right now.

today marked the switch to summer time (daylight savings time to my american friends) here in europe. it was a grey, rainy, dreary day and we didn't much notice the switch, other than that the day seemed to fly by all too quickly. i have to wonder if we still need these time changes. wouldn't it be best to just stay on the summer version, so that light is always extended into the evenings? people want the extra light when they get home from work, don't you think? shouldn't we just stay on this time instead of switching back again come autumn?

i find myself still thinking about the enormously provocative exhibition of photographs and a video installation by richard mosse we saw at louisiana last weekend.  mosse is an irish photographer who uses infrared film developed in the 40s by the american military to expose camouflaged landscapes. it makes everything that's green a bright, vibrant pink. mosse used it to photograph the forgotten (by the world) war in the congo and the effect is sobering. it took several hours for emily and i to shake it off and it has lingered in my mind for days. it's a bit of a gimmick, using such film, but the candy floss landscapes of horror it creates definitely make you think about war anew. we are so numbed by horrible images today, that it takes such a jarring shift - horrible scenes in bright, surreal pinks - to make us notice it afresh. he somehow really does achieve an art of war. they had posters there that you could take, featuring a couple of the striking images and we took them before we had really looked at the exhibition. i don't think i can bring myself to hang it on the wall. google his images and you'll see what i mean.

and now, to shake it all off again...i'm smiling to myself about...

~ bacon and eggs going for a scooter ride between showers.
~ pairing husband's socks all wrong. it started off as an accident and now it's a little game i play. 
~ how my sis and i saw aziz ansari at a comedy club in nyc and i had no idea who he was. it seems he's a rather big deal comedian at the moment.
~ the gentle wisdom of mma ramotswe. i needed some comfort reading and so i'm rereading the no. 1 ladies' detective agency series of books. it seems several more have come out since i last read them, so i've just ordered them up from the library. mma ramotswe is so gentle and wise and there is much to learn from the old botswana morality.
~ getting a rather larger bonus than i expected and how these things often come exactly when you most need them.
~ doing a job where i can learn a lot and not have to have any emotional investment or anguish about the intrigues going on around me.

* * *

creations somewhere between toys and art by the sucklord.
perhaps moving us towards an answer of why adults today still want to play with toys?
i don't know yet.

* * *

love the dear data project!
i found out about it here.

it makes me want to do a snail mail-based project with someone.
anybody got an idea?

Saturday, March 28, 2015

100 happy days :: day 28

we started off our morning with a little family doodle around the breakfast table. we each had a pen color and each of us had to add to it in turn. sabin drew a little animal and i drew rain clouds above it (i woke up in a contrary mood after not sleeping very well for several days). husband drew windows because he has windows on the brain. a rather good way to start the day.

Friday, March 27, 2015

100 happy days :: day 27

new cut. new color. new part. i always part my hair on the right, but today, the friend who did my hair (i traded a cut/color for a concert ticket) parted it on the left. i think it's already making a big difference. i also like the grainy low-light photo. and my scarf. and my glasses. and that we age and that it's a natural process. so much happy if you just look for it. and accept it.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

100 happy days :: day 26

it was hard to narrow down today's happinesses, but finding this little guy on a desk i was using today rather sums it up. he's one of my favorite guys in animals suits and his presence made me smile today. but so did today's pleasant afternoon hours spent getting my hair cut and colored and eating cake. and this evening's gathering of creative souls. maybe we should all dress up in animal suits and smile a whole lot more. things are looking up. i think this happiness project is working.

photographic taste and other mysteries

i don't really know what to make of my taste in photography. i love these shots of nirvana and courtney love by anton corbijn and i love the subject matter of these shots of a siberian science facility by mexican photographer pablo ortiz monasterio (tho' i question how much skill they took with such subject matter). but i was completely provoked by conceptual artist jeff wall's exhibition that i saw at louisiana last weekend. whatever you do, only watch this video of him talking about his work if you would love to hear a pretentious git talk about himself to the dull masses.

but what is it that provokes me about his work? perhaps it has something to do with the fact that louisiana is displaying a photo of dirty rag being put into a washing machine (those yellow streaks are because i took this with my iPhone and it was in a kind of light box and possibly also because i sent it from my phone to iPhoto on my computer via airdrop, so it came out a bit strange). but seriously, this is worthy of one of the best museums of modern art in the world? really? and i am provoked because concept art, with all its pretentions, makes you think that you're the one who is too much of a rube to understand it. whereas i think i get this piece loud and clear...and i can hear mr. wall laughing all the way to the bank, smug that he convinced the world that this is "art."

i personally think this iPhone shot of his badly-framed boring street with power lines (supposedly painterly-composed) is improved by my own reflection like a window in the middle of it. a clear window onto the soul of his pretentions.

i think you can tell that wall's work provokes me and maybe that's what makes it art. art should provoke us, make us think, make us look at the world anew. but i also want it to be somehow aspirational. i don't want to look at it and think that i could have done it better. and frankly, i think my own shot of powerlines in manila is more interesting:

but i will grant that it's possibly because i'm not really a very good judge of photos...

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

100 happy days :: day 25

muddy pawprints. husband hates them, but they make me smile. of course, that's because it's not me who does the painting around here...

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

100 happy days :: day 24

slow but steady progress on the new kitchen. that ceiling looks just awesome. husband has done a great job. the windows are about to be ordered as well, so soon we will have a big leap forward in progress. hard to believe this was once a pig stall.

painting selfies before selfies were a thing

as a birthday present to myself, i went to louisiana, denmark's wonderful museum of modern art, on saturday. a member of husband's family is a curator there and she gave us a personal tour of the paula modersohn-becker exhibition that she had put together.  modersohn-becker was a german artist who died entirely too young, at the age of 31, in 1907. but she managed to put together an incredible body of work in her short time. she was revolutionary for her time - running off to paris to paint, hanging out with rainer maria rilke and painting loads of self-portraits long before the selfie was a thing. i hadn't heard of her before, but her work was fascinating and she was so revolutionary - painting ordinary people, mostly peasant women and children from a nearby poor farm, and painting nursing mothers. and painting them in a very naturalistic, non-posed manner, exposing their humanity in the process. oh, and she did a nod to matisse as well - actually, she may have inspired him, since this was painted in 1906 and he didn't paint his goldfish until 1912.

i often come away from visits to art museums thinking that i'm not doing enough with my life and wondering why i've never really hit upon something that would drive me to do it the way paula was driven to paint, even leaving her husband to go and live for a time in a garret in paris, painting and painting, just because she couldn't help herself. did i just miss that thing would have done that for me? or was i not listening when it called to me? or was there really nothing for me that would give me that kind of drive? is it too late? or is it still on the horizon? or am i destined to just live out an ordinary life?

i think that we always insert ourselves somehow into the things we view...bringing it back to our own experience, filtering it through our own lens. the art we see becomes entangled in our own perceptions and we assign meaning and emotions and feelings to it that are largely our own. more on that soon with regard to a couple of the other exhibitions i saw at louisiana.

edited: hmm, maybe it's not too late for me. 

* * *

small vignettes of the lives of immigrants in the uk, in their own words.

Monday, March 23, 2015

100 happy days :: day 23

a really good cup of coffee. 
a mug that fits perfectly in my hand.
pretty afternoon light.

birthday weekend catch-up

it was a fun-filled birthday weekend. i don't usually much care about my birthday or make a fuss, but this time, with a visit from my first cousin once removed (that's my first cousin's child, if you want to know), we made a festive weekend of it! good food, plenty of wine, lots of laughter, accidental dressing alike, a trip to louisiana, a scavenger hunt to find my birthday presents, more good food, more wine and more laughter. oh, and cake, delicious cake, that i didn't have to bake myself. even tho' the weather turned colder again, it was a lovely weekend.  i collected lots of happy days, so i've got to catch up on my posts for that as well!

i'll be back soon to process all of the weekend's experiences...but now, it's finals week on australian master chef and i've got to watch it! i don't follow much television, but australian master chef rocks.

* * *

i love these beautiful photographs of prosaic soviet-era locations in siberia.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

100 happy days :: day 22

my birthday presents from my family - a chemex coffee carafe, organic coffee and four new coffee cups made by a nearby ceramics artist named nina lund (i wrote about her atelier here). best of all, these were all purchased locally. the coffee carafe in a little interiors shop called bark interiors where the owner has just got great taste and has gathered an awesome collection of beautiful things, beautifully displayed. the coffee from a brand new little organic shop that just opened in our little town. and then, ceramics by a local artist. it makes a big difference in your community when you shop locally. (my dad taught me that.) and this was definitely one of many happinesses on my birthday. not least of all because my family put together a scavenger hunt for me to find the presents - it involved invisible ink, a long, long string, a climb up into the treehouse, a couple of maps and a brass bucket hoisted up in the rafters. a most happy (birth)day.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

100 happy days :: day 21

that magical feeling of infinity in yayoi kusama's gleaming lights of the souls at louisiana. if there hadn't been a long line outside of it, we'd have stayed in there much longer. it's utterly magical.

Friday, March 20, 2015

100 happy days :: day 20

homemade food, made together with other people while laughing, telling stories and drinking wine. definitely today's happiness. and these sweet potato chips? delicious dipped in garlicky aioli.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

100 happy days :: day 19

notebooks. new colorful pens. moleskines, bookbinders design, the local tiger shop. it doesn't matter. all that matters is that they are unlined and full of possibility. i've even got a whole pinterest board - the write stuff - devoted to such things.

the latest chapter of LEGO Friendsgate

it seems that lego friends is under fire again. the latest lego club magazine has advice for girls about haircuts suited to a particular face shape and that made a righteous nytimes mommy blogger just a tad unhappy. the website boingboing responded with similar tongue-in-cheek beauty advice for male lego executives. and cool mom picks had a more thoughtful response about the implications that our judgements about "girl's toys" have on how girls think of their toys and themselves. in my view, the face shape/hairstyle advice is a bit out of place in the lego club magazine and someone should have known better, but whether it warrants a whole online kerfluffle is another story. in any case, lego friends continues to have the capacity to inspire passionate feelings on both sides of the issue of toys aimed at a particular gender. but seriously, give me wonder woman any day.

* * *

the paleo diet is also under fire, so what's the next diet trend?

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

100 happy days :: day 18

mid-afternoon, when i bought the grillables and charcoal, the sun was shining and the nettles were visibly growing. by the time dinner rolled around, the clouds had rolled in, but we still fired up the grill, made quesadillas and grilled pork and sausages. and made the first batch of nettle pesto. food cooked outdoors simply tastes better, don't you think?  definitely today's happy.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Monday, March 16, 2015

100 happy days :: day 16

i have to say that despite all of the disappointments of the past few months, this nomination of my work on the LEGO ideas exo suit for a danish digital award makes me very happy.  please do click this link to see the nomination video as it wasn't possible to embed it here. it's nice to know, despite it all, that  my very first project last year was such a big success. it was completely due to the totally extraordinary group of fans involved in this project. i am so happy i got to work with all of them. it was so much fun.

why do grown-ups play with LEGO?

living vicariously through blog posts and instagram shots of the opening of the in LEGO, we connect exhibition a week or so ago at the bryan ohno gallery in seattle, i've found myself once again pondering the whole love of LEGO among adults. when i started working on this question in earnest a year ago, i think that one could still detect a slight sheepishness among some of the adults who loved LEGO. but that may have been my own uninitiated perspective.

today, i believe thanks (at least in part) to the LEGO movie, it seems that love of LEGO is everywhere. people get enormous and colorful LEGO tattoos (and they must be adults, since you have to be 18 (or at least reasonably look it) to get a tattoo). gizmodo writes about LEGO regularly and so do the folks at geekwire. there are elderly folks using LEGO to keep their fingers and their memories nimble. there are serious blogs, discussing the LEGO community at a rather academic level. and blogs analyzing in minute detail every new LEGO brick and color. thousands of grown up people around the world are unapologetically and even proudly devoting their precious spare time to their LEGO hobby.

there are also some folks who love LEGO who are making a business of it in grand style. people like ryan "the brickman" mcnaught in australia. warren elsmore in the uk. nathan sawaya in new york. these are folks who took their hobby and made it their very successful businesses. and they think they're lucky to get to play with LEGO for a living, there's no sheepishness in sight. as well there shouldn't be.

i wonder if this embracing of a childhood toy in adulthood is something unique to our times? we all want to hold onto our youth these days. and we do so in the form of elements of pop culture. so i find myself singing along to the same songs on the radio as my 14-year-old does and i too want urban decay eyeliner. and i want to play with LEGO minifigures. granted, i play with them differently now that i would have as a child (i say would have, because i didn't really play with LEGO as a child, i had a pony, after all). and my method of play - taking photos of them "in the wild" - actually rather embarrasses my child, who isn't that keen on me arranging marge simpson on a shelf next to a cup at ikea. so it is something other than holding onto my youth, at least for me, since playing LEGO wasn't a part of my youth.

but what is it? is playing with LEGO just like any other hobby? like flying radio controlled planes? or building model trains? or quilting? or painting or any other creative hobby? why do so many more men indulge in the hobby than women? can it be taken seriously? is it art? the three showing their LEGO photos in the gallery are daring to think so. and their photos are each marvelous in their own very different ways. and i think that's some pretty cool boundary-pushing.

monday morning at my desk

i don't know what made me open twitter first thing this morning. it's not something i normally do. i guess it was to complain to pinterest about how they changed their "oops, you've already pinned this" message to the much more boring and impersonal "you've already saved this pin." it's like they experienced people not knowing what "pinned" meant and so they changed it to "saved" to serve the lowest common denominator. come on pinterest, give us more credit than that.  but i digress... i went to twitter and then i foolishly stayed for awhile. and discovered that the feed is full of complaints (ironic that i'm complaining, i know, since i went there to complain myself) and fear and speculation and righteousness. whether it's arrogant white dudes admitting murder on HBO or the apparent disappearance of putin or vanuatu's destruction at the hands of a tropical cyclone (do cyclones have hands?) or the persecution of confused elderly people by the DSB or just jeremy clarkson, it's all negative somehow. and definitely not conducive to starting off my monday morning (which is already a bit grey and dull and generally blustery and march-ish) on the right foot. and making it slightly difficult to see what today's #100happydays post should be.

* * *

words matter. expat? just another term of white privilege? yup.

* * *

would love to see this exhibition of native plains art at the met.

* * *

a danish sexologist thinks porn should be taught in the classroom.
i've been in denmark long enough to agree.
and my child is actually in the target age group.

* * *

check out the putin's missing clock.
i love the internet.

* * *

this may be advice for young writers,
but i think it applies to old ones as well.
and to humans in general.

"Life is most transfixing when you are awake to diversity, not only of ethnicity, ability, gender, belief, and sexuality but also of age and experience."

Sunday, March 15, 2015

100 happy days :: day 15

i'm down with a bad cold, but looking for the happy moments anyway. a cup of tea. rereading mma ramotswe and snuggled under the quilts.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

100 happy days :: day 14

today's happiness, seen through the haze of a headcold and slight fever; an intimate concert with viggo sommer and a two-man (very talented) jazz band in the children's area of our local library. what makes me happy is that all the seats were full, people were close to the stage (hence "intimate concert"), the musicians were relaxed and talented and entertaining, everyone appeared to have a nice time. but even more happy-making is the creative thinking that led to it - who would have imagined we could move around a few bookshelves and create an intimate music stage in the library? who would have imagined we could attract people who had never been seen in the library before? who would have imagined we could pull it off? and yet, it was a very successful evening for the 70 or so people who attended. here's to daring to make things happen even when it would appear, on the surface, to be impossible.

Friday, March 13, 2015

100 happy days :: day 13

this room is a cozy spot of happiness for me. from sabin's painting on the wall, to shelves lined with favorite books, to beloved objects on windowsills and in bowls, to my great-grandmother's hand-sewn double wedding ring quilt on the bed, waking up here and going to sleep here every night, cats at my feet, makes me feel comforted and happy.

what else makes me happy? the sun is shining today. it's friday and that means that the fish guy and the cheese lady are in town, so we'll have something yummy for dinner tonight.

happy weekend, one and all.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

100 happy days :: day 12

you know it's going to be spring soon when the chickens start to lay eggs. we have three hens and i now (if i can find them), pretty reliably get 3 eggs every day. yay! we get to eat soufflés and omelettes again!

i even get a kick out of finding the eggs where they've hidden them. this one was in the straw bale stack, four bales up! i used to get help from frankie to find the eggs, but since we lost him, none of the cats have shown signs of being egg hunters. until today, tobias actually helped me find this one. so cats are good for something!

angry unikitty?

i took angry unikitty with me in my pocket this morning when i went out to do animal chores. it's a clear, bright, frosty morning. despite the frost, it's still very springlike. i think it's because the trees are full of joyous bird song. and maybe that's also why these photos of angry kitty just don't look angry to me.  i know her teeth are showing and her eyes and all closed, but it somehow looks more like a yawn than an angry meow to me.

even in this one, with her cool shadow, i cannot make her seem angry in my head as i look at it. i guess my own mood is too happy. a few days of sunshine, a few things looking up and beginning to happen, and all that bird song seems to have had a transformative effect on my mood (and possibly my life). or maybe that #100happydays project is working on me.

and even tho' i have a persistent sore throat - so much so that i actually dreamed about drinking warm tea and even in the dream i could barely swallow, i just can't make angry unikitty seem angry.

what do you think?

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

long live live theatre!

we saw an updated musical version of the three musketeers last evening at the utzon (he of sydney opera house fame)-designed music house in esbjerg. and the music was...wait for it...80s glam rock with a bit of madonna, cyndy lauper and eurythmics thrown in. and as weird and possibly awful as that sounds, it really wasn't. it was awesome. a cleverly-done update that made the three musketeers story relevant for today and totally struck the right notes of nostalgia for those of us who grew up in the 80s. to take a story that everyone knows so well and has seen a million times and to couple it with music that we've all sung along to a million times transformed both into something new and fresh. it was a bit of what the russian formalists called "making strange," and it just worked. it helped that the acting was great, the music was great and the lighting was very cool. and the way they played with mixing english and danish was brilliant as well. in this day and age with all of the amateur talent competitions in prime time and "reality" television featuring people of limited talent, it was refreshing to see performers who were just genuinely good at what they do. and theatre just lends an immediacy and an intimacy that watching netflix on the iPad just utterly lacks. long live the theatre!

100 happy days :: day 11

the flat white has recently come to denmark. it's darker, more brooding than a latte. i like it. definitely today's happy. and my new go-to drink.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

100 happy days :: day 10

today's happy? this cute face, jerry (his brother is ben), returned. we hadn't seen him since the end of september. i do wonder where he was all that time. he was very happy to see me today and i was happy to see him. he's half wild, but i am allowed to reach up to the loft and rub him under his chin when he inches close enough to the edge. when it looks like i'm going to stop, he reaches out for my hand with his paw. that was our routine before he left and he resumed it today, just as if nearly six months hadn't gone by.