Saturday, January 30, 2016

taking pictures of ships

did i mention that my molecules are humming in alignment these days? i think it's probably mostly because i get to take pictures of ships. for a living. is there anything more a girl from the prairie could ask?

more soon. it's been busy and i'm spending the evening eating sushi with sabin and watching a webinar with lea thau (of the fabulous podcast strangers) about storytelling.

Monday, January 25, 2016

ship shape

tho' i'd love to have stayed at the shipyard forever, it is nice to be home. standing outside, filming the painting of the ship for several days did not improve my cough. but seriously, a shipyard is a fantastic place. there are not really any weekends or even nights - there are people working flat out on the ship around the clock - working to meet the deadline for when the ship has to go back into service. it's not really that different than shipping in general - ships run around the clock, not really cognizant of weekends  or holidays - arriving in ports, moving cargo, taking people and cars back and forth like clockwork, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. it's really the industry making the world go around and yet it's rather invisible to us as we make our way through shops, buying new clothes, picking up bananas or avocados or wine, never thinking about how all of those things got to us. well, usually, some link in how they got here is via a ship.

i had been out to the big shipyards in busan, south korea before, but i hadn't really been at a repair yard and not to a dry docking. there's something amazing about the way they line up the supports before backing the ship into the dock and then drain it slowly of water, gently setting the ship down precisely on the heavy steel and wood supports. it's amazing that a 40,000+ ton ship is balancing so precisely on so little. and yet it does. and there are hundreds of people moving in and around the ship all day long and it doesn't budge. it's quite awe-inspiring. and all the while, the ship is functioning as a hotel as well, with nearly 100 staff, and another 100 or so contractors staying and eating onboard on a daily basis. what an operation! what a privilege to get to be a part of it! i'll be sharing what we were doing there in the coming days as we release the content. i'm pretty excited about the work we did. 

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the danish concept of hygge will get you through winter with your sanity intact.
at least that's what wired thinks.
i'm inclined to light a few candles and agree.

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interesting photos (tho' they're in that crappy HDR that i loathe) of the inside of the costa concordia.

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finally, some substantial critique of the mindfulness movement.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

just when i needed it most

you know that thing where you spend time with precisely the people you need to spend time with? and they just lift you up and make you recognize yourself again (even tho' they themselves are totally different). and you can't feel other than grateful. and a little bit your old self again. and by you, i mean me. and me? i'm settling back into myself. finding comfort there again, after far too long.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

geeking out at a shipyard

so much to write about (after a long, dry spell, i've got a ton of notes in my little bloggy notebook), but my connection is a bit iffy and they're going to black out the starboard side of the ship to change some breakers, so these photos of the fabulous remontowa shipyard in gdansk will have to suffice for now. this is from the back deck, tenth story of our ship.

and a view in the other direction. there's a big floating offshore rig in for repairs next to us and a lot of other ships. some of them don't even show up on marine traffic (the best app for shipspotting geeks), so they're so out of service their ais systems must be turned off.

in the dry dock, the ship rests on these big steel beams, topped with wood. and nothing else. it's amazing they can hold an enormous ship!

and here, i even dared to walk around down underneath the ship, even tho' it's balancing on so little. so utterly amazing to walk around underneath a ship.

all of this is making my molecules hum in alignment once again. turns out what it took to make all things right in my little world, was a bit of quality time in the company of ships (and some of the pretty cool people who make them run).

Thursday, January 14, 2016

goodbye aunt ruth

my aunt ruth died last week. she was the eldest of my father's sisters. she made it to 91. there are only four of dad's siblings left now and six are gone (including dad).  i guess we've reached that point. aunt ruth looked more and more like our grandmother as the years went by. her voice came to match the same pitch, her weekly coiffed beauty shop hair increasingly white like grandma kate's. the same impatience if you were slow to play your card or made a dumb move in scrabble. her thrift - apparently no amount of leftovers was too little to save.  she had other parallels with grandma - losing her husband early and having to cope with a whole flock of children on her own.

she had five children, five cousins who i don't know as well as i know many of my other cousins. only two of them were in my age range. the others were quite a lot older than me and we never lived close to them. my impression is that only one of them has really stayed in touch with the family. i remember "brother bruce" calling my dad on occasion.

i have warm memories of the oldest of those cousins. the summer when i was 18, i lived with my horse trainer in rapid city and i went to visit aunt ruth frequently. barbara, her eldest, and her husband were there. in my memory, they were there that whole summer, but it may have been just a couple of weeks. memory is like that. it stretches out at times. especially in the long, hot days of summer.

i'd go over and have dinner with them and after dinner, we'd play cards. barbara and her husband would mix each of us up a white russian - kahlua, vodka, plenty of ice and a dash of cream. i was only 18, so it was deliciously illicit to me. it was legal in those days for 18-year-old in south dakota to drink "low point" beer, but white russians were a forbidden luxury until 21. and when it's slightly forbidden, it's that much better. and even aunt ruth drank them with us (that was decidedly un-grandma kate of her). i felt like i had joined the club. the club of adults. i don't remember ever getting tipsy from them and i don't remember if we ever had more than one. but i remember those card games very fondly. and to this day, when i drink a white russian (which is all too seldom) i think of those long luxurious summer nights when i was 18.

thank you aunt ruth. you will be missed.

Monday, January 11, 2016

as of right now

a most pathetic attempt at winter. big, wet flakes falling from the sky in clumps, to join puddles of slush on the ground. dismal. grey. depressing. this may be the reality of our winters now in a time of climate change. they say we've actually had such a shattering effect on the earth that we've entered a new epoch, the anthropocene. i hate to always talk about the weather, but it somehow looms large and always affects my mood and outlook on the world. on the bright side, at least it indicates a connection to nature.

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as of right now...

current netflix obsession: person of interest
drinking: carrot and apple juice
enjoying: alone time
should not have: driven for 4 hours today. turns out my back's not ready for that
appreciating: the little wood burning stove care package husband made for me (split logs of just the right size, some small bits to get the fire started, firestarter blocks and matches in a cool basket made of a recycled tire)
in need of: lip stuff
missing: my aunt's funeral. my dad's older sister. and the person who taught me to drink white russians. she had a long and full life. i'm sad to miss out on the stories.
best new accessory: bose wireless headphones
disapproving of: the pressure the danish education system places on 14-year-olds to decide what they want to be when they grow up already at 14 (hell, i still don't know.)
need to stop: listening to true crime podcasts (sword and scale). i'm probably going to have nightmares.
need to start: going to yoga
thankful for: good friends
loving: foggy mornings

* * *

sean penn interviews el chapo, the mexican escape artist drug lord in rolling stone.
he may be a self-professed luddite, but he can write.

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an interesting read on the facebook algorithm. 
but let's face it, they are still pretty evil.

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war & peace - digested.

Thursday, January 07, 2016

making your own sunshine

this picture was in my head the other day. i even had to break into a new box of cloud cuckoo palace in order to make that sunshine on a stick when i couldn't locate the original one we'd built, or even the bits of it. it was a cloudy grey day and the notion of creating your own sunshine just popped into my head. and who better to do it than batman? what's funny is that aside from some shots of the yeti skiing that i took last winter, it rarely happens that i envision a shot in my head and want to create it. 

that notion of making your own sunshine seems a powerful one, these grey, dark, dreary days of winter. we haven't even had proper winter yet, it's been mild and rainy, tho' they promise snow tomorrow and over the weekend. i'll believe it when i see it. and in the meantime, i'm looking for spots of sunshine in my days. a day with less coughing than the day before. fun new projects at work that enable me to work with old (and super creative) friends. getting to geek out about ships again. finding a box of beautiful mixed mushrooms at the green market right when i wanted to make a mushroom tart. a solitary glass of wine enjoyed in a vibrant atmosphere. the pulse of the city. a short bike ride in the cold, clear air. the weight of a cat on the quilt at my feet. husband making my favorite comfort meal (ham, creamy spinach and potatoes) for when i came home. little rays of metaphorical sunshine. just when i needed them most.

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seattle art museum collects lego for ai weiwei.

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super interesting digitalization project at the ny public library.

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the nytimes' annual list of 52 places to go in 2016.
skåne is on the list.
(that's the bit of sweden just across the bridge from denmark.)
you might say we've been there, done that.
tho' at the moment, they're checking and double-checking passports on the way in.

* * *

oh, apparently one from my hometown.
yes, more guns please.

Saturday, January 02, 2016

arbness between coughing fits

i haven't got the heart to clean the outside of that window. those are frieda's muddy pawprints on it and i can't bear for them to be gone. not quite yet. i did, however, clean the inside of it, which you probably can't really tell by looking at this photo. maybe in the spring.

if the "recipe" calls for a box cake or store-bought dressing or jello or box pudding, it's not a recipe.

we finally saw star wars: the force awakens today. i enjoyed it, but i wasn't wowed. if you ask me, it all felt a bit too familiar...remote desert-y planet, cute, quirky droid containing a big secret, everyone tries to get their hands on said droid, guy in black helmet with voice modifier in torment, wise-cracking indiana jones type shows up, a visit to an out-of-the way quirky pub run by a woman who is ET's cousin by the look of her,  big battle where against incredible odds, a ragtag fleet defeats the baddies, ending left wide open for continuing sequels. along the way, echoes of lord of the rings with the odd horde of nazis thrown in. it's an odd mish-mash symbolically. highlights? adam driver as kylo ren, that badass rey girl, finn the former stormtrooper and carrie fisher as general leia.  and of course, harrison ford as han solo. there is comfort in familiar things. 

i hadn't had a bad cough in a several years, but i've got one again now. it keeps me from sleeping any appreciable length of time in a row. it gives my stomach muscles a good workout. and i'm very grateful it didn't happen a month ago, because if i'd had to cough like this right after my back surgery i'd definitely have insisted on being taken to the vet to be put down.

that's come up a few times of late.

i spent a lot of 2015 not sleeping enough and it seems to have continued into 2016. i hope to remedy that soon.

numbers 1 and 4 on this list are so much me. i'm going to try to remedy that this year.

Friday, January 01, 2016

sweet '16! 2016"

we didn't spend thousands (of kroner) on fireworks last evening, thinking we'd watch everyone else's and still have our money. but it was weirdly foggy, so we found some sparklers and set off chinese wish lanterns instead. it was much more wonderful that way. and we didn't miss the fireworks at all. after all, the clear, still air was filled with the sound of them. it was rather weirdly disorienting, actually. all that sound and none of the visuals.

i have so many hopes for 2016: to be healthier - in body especially, but also in mind and spirit and relationships. to creative challenges at work - i got an awesome idea yesterday and can't wait to explore it. for travel. for new experiences. for spending time with friends and family. for remembering to live a less consuming, more sustainable life. for finishing that new kitchen. for getting rid of this infernal cold (i got out the juicer and worked on that one today).

a new year always feels like a blank slate. fresh and new and full of possibilities.

happy new year, one and all! it's going to be a sweet '16. 2016.