Sunday, May 31, 2015

holding on

it's time for a new toothbrush. i bought this one last november when i arrived in sioux falls without my luggage. after 15 hours on various flights, i was desperate to brush my teeth and insisted that my sister stop at a drugstore so i could get a toothbrush and toothpaste before we went to the hospital to see dad, who lay dying at the hospital. and somehow, this toothbrush has gotten bound together with dad in my mind and i can't bear to replace it. it's funny how that happens, how an ordinary object takes on a magnified significance in your mind.

i read a guardian piece yesterday about the significance of words when someone dies and i've been thinking about it ever since. i realize that i felt the opposite of author gary nunn about those words of condolence that people offered. the distancing phrases like "passing away" infuriated me, causing a slow boil inside that i had to keep bottled up. and everyone's need to say something or express how sorry they were also filled me with a rage that i had to stifle. i understand fully that people feel they need to say something, but losing dad felt like something that was mine and my mother's and my sister's and that no one could possibly understand it or be as sorry about it as we were. it felt private and solitary and so profoundly singular that no one else should have the right to say anything. i wanted to scream that at them and i wanted to run away from all those empty words that weren't going to bring him back.

and i guess in a way that i did run away from it, flying to london, determined to finish a project that i'd worked on for months. i don't regret doing that because it's the one gut feeling i had in the whole experience - that dad would think it was the right thing to do. but looking back, i think i was escaping all of those well-meaning but empty words of condolence. i wasn't able, at that time, to share dad's death with others.

while i was there, we had a storytelling evening, where well over a hundred people came to have a beer and share their stories about dad. it was that evening that i realized, to an extent, that i did share his death with the whole community and when it really hit me how important he had been to so many people. but i wasn't ready to share it yet then and i'm not even sure that i am now.

just last night, i woke up from a nightmare in which that horrible picture of him with a shirt and tie that didn't match at all was blown up poster size and displayed at the funeral. my dad, who was fired from his sports reporter job for refusing to wear a tie, immortalized with an awful tie on in that awful photograph. it still haunts me, even tho' we were able to get it switched out quickly in reality. i guess i'm having a hard time getting over it, just as it's hard to get over dad's death.

i think of him a lot as we're working in the garden. and i don't go around crying, it's more of an internal conversation with him that i have as i'm weeding or picking asparagus. i know he'd love to see our asparagus, it's finally doing well and there's enough for some for our meal almost every night. he would like that we have asparagus in the garden and i'd love to be able to talk to him about how our sandy soil and the right amount of horse poo seem to be perfect for growing asparagus. i think he'd also be impressed with our rhubarb. it's pretty shockingly prolific. he'd also get a big kick out of the way that our little molly cat loves to "help" out when i'm in the garden. it makes me smile to think of that. it feels like thinking of him in the garden helps the healing.

but i'm just not ready to let go of that toothbrush. so, i'm keeping it for now.

100 happy days :: day 92

zoomed in, low light photo, but you get the idea.
there's an election on in denmark.
and lotte rod apparently selected her name from the porn name generator.
that seriously cracks me up.

i might be simple like that.

but that doesn't make it less hilarious.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

100 happy days :: day 91

unexpected snail mail.
and polar bears.
it touches me more than i can say.
so much happy!

thank you, judith!

Friday, May 29, 2015

100 happy days :: day 90

i took a new way to drive the girls to school and spotted this.
what's not to love about someone thinking on a very grand scale?
out in the middle of nowhere.
worth stopping for a sneaky photo for sure.
and it totally makes me smile.
definitely a moment of happiness.

* * *

you have to read what my cousin is saying about her favorite places in europe.
hint:  one of them is right here at our place!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

100 happy days :: day 89


magical thinking

magical thinking. that illogical connection of disparate events in the mind. i think it's hard not to do it sometimes, both with good and bad things. the sparkle unicorn fairy waved her wand and the sun burst through the clouds at last. i stuffed her in my dark pocket and it clouded up and began to rain. a lump of adorable plastic does not have the power to make the sun come and go. i know that rationally, but sometimes you can't help but look for connections.

i wrote on facebook a week or so ago that i had a longing for people to just spontaneously drop by. right after, two different friends did so. there was arguably an actual cause and effect relationship there since they had read my post on facebook. but since then a couple of random folks have also dropped by. a charmingly toothless man, wearing an old-fashioned helmet and driving an ancient moped (words you never thought you'd see strung together) stopped by to see if we still had a saw for sale that was listed on our craig's list equivalent. i had a surprisingly delightful and funny conversation with him that gave me happy energy for several hours afterwards.

then, last evening, as i wandered the garden in the golden hour sunlight that the unicorn sparkle fairy had called forth, another stranger parked in front of the house and came up to me. he asked if he might try fishing in our lake one day. we chatted a bit and i agreed that he could. now, he and a friend just came and knocked on the door to say they were going to give it a try (despite the steady drizzle caused by the unicorn sparkle fairy still being in my coat pocket). i don't know his name and i'm probably not going to invite him over for dinner, but these are exactly the kind of random human encounters that i have been missing. have they come to me because i put it out there in the world that i wanted them? or would they have happened anyway?

who really knows? magical thinking.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

100 happy days :: day 88

a walk in the evening sunshine, picking a few lilacs and hanging out in the garden with the cats, who also seemed happy to have some sunshine at last. a happy end to a not-so-happy day where i was down with a stomach bug. thank goodness for laptops and getting work done in pajamas. 

* * *

there's nothing funny about the slimy dugger case.
but this guardian piece might make you laugh,
just because it's so cleverly written.

* * *

mini cocktails. they're a thing.

* * *

i liked this piece on growing older and wiser (or not) from the house of edward.

* * *

it seems like the world is conspiring to try to talk me into running.

* * *

skopje has been "upgraded" and from what i can tell from the pictures, it doesn't look good.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

100 happy days :: day 87

yet another work week shortened by holidays. that's always happy-making.
as is having a bit of time and inspiration for playing with minifigs in the garden.
bacon & ears taking a spin on the little red scooter.
i had a lot of help from various cats, who all thought i was there to hang out with them.
and in the end, i was.

Monday, May 25, 2015

100 happy days :: day 86

these well-aged oak posts.
they seem to me like they have stories to tell.
and stories definitely make me happy.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

100 happy days :: day 85

it's a long holiday weekend here in denmark, the last of the spring holidays. our child is off to copenhagen for the weekend with her friends. as one does when one is 14. tho' it's still a bit chilly and working outside requires a heavy sweatshirt and scarf, we've been working in the garden (husband didn't wear a scarf). husband has once again changed up the greenhouse. this time, we used waffley plastic roofing as a covering and he built a back wall with repurposed wood he brought home from the harbor. me, i planted beans and onions and leeks and a couple of squash. in the greenhouse, there are now tomatoes and cucumbers and chilis and a couple of aubergine.

Friday, May 22, 2015

100 happy days :: day 83

two years ago today, frieda badida was born
she was molly's last kitten.
poor little molly was so tired by then that i had to gently wipe away the membrane so she could breathe.
i'm so glad i did.
she's quirky, sweet and wonderful.
and only occasionally expects to be let in the window at 4 a.m.
happy birthday frieda.

* * *

so many things tumbling in my mind to write about...ghosts, communing with the dead, what makes a good marriage (can you tell i'm listening to podcasts?), getting older, fears, plants, asparagus, peonies, gardening in general, memory, foxes, chickens, feathers all over the yard, buffy the vampire slayer, magic, painting, children becoming who they are, schools, whether it's ok to be the smart one, boarding school, summer holiday, content management systems, kittens...i could go on, but right now, it's all jumbled up. 

* * *

elvendale, not just where the LEGO elves hang out. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

100 happy days :: day 81

these are a selection of the little quotes and drawings i'm working on in the new kitchen. they will line the baseboards and have meaning for us in various ways...either because they are favorite sayings, or were said by our respective fathers or because they amuse us in some way. i've limited the palette to only black, red and a few gold or silver accents here and there, which has been both restrictive and a good thing. i love how they're turning out.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

100 happy days :: day 80

cloudy, windy, blustery, but the sun broke through a few times and i was ready with my camera.
definitely a happy. 

Monday, May 18, 2015

100 happy days :: day 79

i love this time of year, when the rapeseed fields are in full bloom, their mustardy brilliance cutting through even our weirdly dark, windy, rainy, autumnal spring. i couldn't resist this road, lined on both sides by their golden brightness, a straight path, leading somewhere exciting.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

100 happy days :: day 78

charlie had two perfect little kittens last evening - one boy and one girl, just like last year. 
she's so proud of them!

the cool kitchen :: an update on the progress

great strides have been made in the kitchen since our last update. i've shown you this red door before, but now it's hung up and the chalkboard has been painted next to it. i just love it!!

husband carefully crafted this 4 meter long kitchen island and he's putting it in place before the final coat of paint goes onto the floor. it's magnificent. and it's made from scrap wood from the harbor, so it's also upcycled. he's incorporated some very fine details. he's getting pretty good at this working with wood thing.

the sink, the dishwasher and the stovetop will go into this and leave plenty of counter space for rolling out cookies and such.

fitting in the panels. husband actually chose to use MDF for a very smooth surface, as we're going to have them painted with whimsical chicken art by an artist friend.

and the painting of the chickens has begun. we had a lot of fun, laughing and talking and listening to music. people should really consider having custom art done in their homes more often. our friend loves the project and we love having something very special. and it might not be as expensive as you might think.

here's where it stood at the end of the first day of work. it will probably take a couple of weeks to be finalized, but this is an ongoing project and we're not in a hurry.

as for me, i'm writing quotes and drawing little doodles on the baseboards that line the room. husband wanted to have those in place before he does the final coat on the floor. he's also given the floor a treatment of filler, as there were many little bitty holes showing up in the floor, despite 5 coats of epoxy paint, so that's why it looks dusty all of a sudden.

* * *

rem koolhaas' cool thoughts on architecture
and more specifically the hermitage in st. petersburg.

* * *

jill lepore takes down disruptive innovation.
it's so good to see someone taking on trendy business theories 
(tho' whether it's still trendy after 20 years is debatable).
and clay christensen, originator of the innovator's dilemma, answers back
(with a bit of the wizard of oz's "don't look at the man behind the curtain" air about him).

* * *

and now on a lighter note...this cute little video is clever and spot-on.
(if websites started dating.)

* * *

overheard at whole foods is my current favorite FB page.

* * *

have you seen the little post i wrote over at #stuckinplastic?

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

100 happy days :: day 74

we'd been looking everywhere, but finally, in the adidas store in copenhagen, we got to see all. the. colors. the awesome adidas supercolor superstars make you think you probably need them all. but at 50 x 700 kroner, that would be quite an investment.  i got yellow and sabin got purple. she would have chosen light blue, but they were out of her size. we will probably have to go back. one pair just isn't enough.