Saturday, February 27, 2016

it always comes back to you

i read a blog post late last night (after briefly falling asleep watching crossing lines on netflix, which my body/mind interpreted as a nap and then kept me up 'til 2 a.m. ... but i digress) that just really hit me the wrong way and frankly, rather royally pissed me off. i enjoy #stuckinplastic and i've even written a post or two for them on occasion. but this one really hit me wrong. it seemed so snobbish and arrogant. and frankly, people, you're taking pictures of toys, so how snotty can you be? get over yourself. this is supposed to be fun.

anyone sharing their life or their passion or their hobby online...whether via blogging or instagram or facebook or twitter or snapchat or whatever, has to be prepared for things to change. the communities change, the medium changes, those who are participating changes. you have to be doing these things for yourself, first and foremost and not for the sake of the likes or the audience or the reaction or the adoration or the discussion. it actually has to be about you. and i mean that in the best sense. that you do it for the love of it. for what it brings you personally. for where you feel it takes you. and not for anyone else. not for the comments. not for the likes. and for odin's sake, not because you want to be emulated (or not be emulated, as the case may be). do it for you. for your sanity. to find out what you think. to see where it takes you. and forget everyone else. this actually is the thing that's all about you. so enjoy it, will you? if it's not making you happy, stop doing it.

Monday, February 22, 2016

practicing :: a beginning

i went to a restorative yoga class today. my very first one. the physiotherapist cleared me last friday to begin yoga, which i've not really tried before, but which feels like the right thing to build up my weakened core muscles. he told me to take it easy in the beginning, hence the restorative class. it was super low key, lots of stretching and breathing and holding positions for what at times seemed interminable stretches of time. i discovered that my muscles are super stiff and quite sore after half a year of back pain and living in fear of new back pain. i had an inkling of that fact last week when i got a massage and it made me feel downright ill (nauseated and light-headed) for about four hours afterwards. it was better tonight with the yoga class. holding the various poses gave my muscles time to pass through the stiffness and pain and open up, softening and somehow filling with light, even tho' the room was dark and warm and quiet. or maybe because it was. it felt centering to be there, to be beginning a practice, to be taking the first step on what i hope is a new path.

the instructor talked about the full moon and how in it the sun has exposed the shadow side of moon. she said that our practice this evening, in sync with the full moon, could very well expose our own shadows, clearing them out, shedding light upon them.

lying there in the dark, stretching my stiff, too-long-unused muscles, breathing, listening to the music and the gentle guidance of the instructor, colors flitted across my closed eyelids...deep dark purples, peaches, rich glowing green, rosy pink and warm amber. i hated to open my eyes when it was all over, so soothing were my own personal northern lights. and i realized afterwards that yesterday i had painted something a bit like what i saw.

on wednesday, my new practice will continue with chandra hot yoga.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

pink martini and painting

my to do list is full of photoshoots and video shoots and salmon and the english channel and iPhone covers and terminals and ideas! idea for stories i want to write,  to produce, to make as a podcast. i need to learn more about photoshop and indesign and premiere pro and recording equipment. i need a more zoomy lens. i signed up for a yoga class tomorrow - one that should be gentle on my back, but for which i am so ready. the laundry is done (as long as everyone keeps wearing the clothes they currently have on). i sorted three bags of clothing from my closet to donate. per marie kondo, i thanked them all for their service to me over the years and released them. it felt enormously freeing. surprisingly so, in fact. the bed is made, the bathroom is clean, the kitchen tidied. and now there's even time for a little bit of afternoon creativity - listening to pink martini and painting. just how a sunday afternoon should be.

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these make me long for summer!

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this totally made me laugh - a review of what the presidential candidates look like.

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i dare you to read this and not download neko atsume, the cat game.

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does knausgaard deserve to be canonized already?

Friday, February 19, 2016

on parenting and advice columns and the natural progression of time

on the way home late last night, i listened to a couple episodes of the dear sugar podcast. it's the one with cheryl strayed of wild fame. i'm not sure what it is about advice programs on the radio - there's also one on saturday mornings on danish radio and it's somehow fascinating, even when people's problems seem far from my own. there's something comforting in listening to other people's problems and the opinions that the agony aunts (and uncles) have about them. cheryl and steve almond (who was sugar before her) are surprisingly compassionate and deep. i'll admit sometimes when i hear the letters people write in, i wonder how they're ever going to take it seriously and not just tell the person to suck it up or piss off, but they always do, in a compassionate and empathetic way, without being sappy. it's a delicate balance and they strike it. 

it seems like parenting and especially motherhood is often a topic and it got me thinking. i never wanted children. i was traumatized by my high school boyfriend's older sister getting pregnant in high school and going to her wedding instead of her senior prom, missing out on a basketball scholarship and not going to college. i also viewed my own mother as singularly unselfish and doing everything to give my sister and i all of the great experiences she could and i felt i could never be like that. so, i went around for 30 some years, not wanting children. but then i met husband and it started to seem like a good idea. and although along came sabin a bit before i was entirely ready, i have not once regretted becoming a parent. of course, parenting has its moments of frustration and no sleep, but overall, i have generally been in awe of this whole, amazing person that i made and feel like some kind of privileged bystander who gets to watch her grow up into the confident, funny, opinionated and smart young woman that was somehow there within her all along. 

she's away this year at a boarding school, coming home one or two weekends a month. next school year, she'll be in the states, getting a high school experience. people often ask me if i'm not horribly sad that she's not at home. and perhaps it will make me sound like one of those dear sugar parents who hates being a parent when i say that i'm not. i love watching her blossom into who she will be - confident, finding her way, learning who she is and what her style is. and being away at boarding school was the natural next step in that process, just as going to the states next year is the next step after that. it's how she will find her way to being who and what she wants to be. she needs us less. it's completely normal and natural and i don't feel sad about it. i feel happy and proud that she's come so far and is ready and embracing these experiences and finding her way. 

but, i can see on some of the faces of people who ask me, that they think i'm a bit heartless for not missing her more. of course, i do miss her, but i get texts from her pretty much daily, so it's not like we're not in contact. but there are parts of her life, her inner life especially, that are hers now and not mine to share. and that's just fine! it's how it should be, it's time for that. i hope that we've given her a solid foundation from which to unfold her wings and i am secure in the knowledge that she knows that we're here, should she need to rest them. 

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amazing photos of a place both frozen and abandoned by russian photographer andrei shapran.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

another successful drink & draw weekend

i had a little weekend getaway with a few friends. one of them has moved over to fyn (the island between us here on the "mainland" and the big island where they keep copenhagen) to an idyllic little village and opened a gallery and B&B. so charming! and she's got a beautiful studio, where she showed us how to do the monoprint technique she's been working with of late. we used "china paper" - a thin, but surprisingly strong paper that can take a lot of layers of paint and texture.

so much fun. we each chose a color palette and after a walk, to gather bits and bobs from nature, we settled in to work. we used a variety of techniques - painting with acrylics, using gel pens, printing with feathers and plants, slowly building up texture on our pieces.

i found myself working with mustard yellow, teal, payne's grey (it looks quite black in these photos) and a peachy color that i mixed, plus the odd metallic gold accent. it was interesting how we were each drawn to a specific palette that i'm not sure any of us consciously knew we had in our heads.

some of my pieces worked and some didn't. some worked for awhile and then stopped working. it was an interesting process and one which i thoroughly enjoyed, but never really felt i had control over.

through it all, we laughed and drank some wine and enjoyed some good vegetarian chili, told stories, shared and laughed some more. we had moments of silence, deeply concentrating on our work, and then more laughter and sharing. it was that kind of powerful feminine medicine that you just need once in awhile.

i was surprised by the direction some of my pieces took - these two got rather dark after i became inspired to use a bit of dusty grey pastels on them, giving them a very different look than my other, bright pieces (underneath, the palette is the same). and some of my old favorite helleristning motifs came out from somewhere in my subconscious. it felt right, like moments of flow always do.

here's the end result of one of the others - i think you can tell that she's actually educated as an artist.

this friend did two rounds of the small sheets of chinese paper, with very different color palettes. she felt the second round went much better than the first. but sometimes it does take warming up when you're learning a new technique.

and our hostess, who had been working with the technique for some time, made some beautifully textured, multi-layered pieces. beautiful to see the individual ways our creativity manifested itself, expressing something utterly unique, using similar materials. magical. we definitely need to do this more often.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

a new happiness wardrobe or is it the happiness of a new wardrobe?

i did not buy all these dresses, but i wanted to. i do have some restraint. but at the same time, i am working in the more dressed-up world of shipping again and i needed some new work clothes. my old shipping wardrobe had been hanging in the closet for ages and was pretty out-of-date and just didn't feel like me anymore. i'm a different person now than i was then. and this person needed some new clothes.

i've been drawn to navy blue for awhile now, i think it's since i picked navy blue glasses about a year go. slowly, i've added blue items to my wardrobe. today, i went in to my current favorite store (COS, which is H&M's answer to banana republic) to have them remove the anti-theft device they forgot to remove from a necklace i bought the last time and there were new styles in the store. and frankly, i couldn't resist them. black isn't far from navy blue, but everyone needs a good little black dress and the cut of this dress? swoon! and to push myself out of the blue rut, i grabbed the mustard dress (those pockets are dark blue in reality, tho' they look black in this instagram photo, so there's still a bit of navy) and made myself try it. it didn't look like much on the hanger, but i fell in love with it. i didn't fall in love with the one in the middle, so it stayed in the store, but i did like the burgundy, pink and navy combo.

i think best of all, i realize in looking at these photos, snapped in a dressing room mirror, that i look happy again. and feel worthy of pretty new clothes. it's been far too long since that happened. i think it might have something to do with all those ships.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

the view from sunday night, which stretched well into tuesday

it's a sure sign that spring is on its way when you spot the first sharks in the garden.

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my pocket notebook is filled with jotted down must-blog ideas, but here i sit, keyboard before me, and nothing really comes out. i'm not sure why that is. maybe it's a lazy sunday afternoon (usually conducive to writing). the grey, cold, rainy, blustery day out there. a sense of contentment that makes me feel too at peace with the world to write. or maybe there are too many things happening in the world that bear commenting upon, so it's difficult to settle on just one.

it's rather interesting how the joy of the hunt for the new minifigs has returned now that i don't have ready access to whole boxes of them. i'm pretty happy about that, even if i do have to pay 7 kroner more per minifig (that's $1). it's a small price to pay for joy. and the excitement of feeling up the bags and trying to determine what's in them is worth every øre. funnily enough, i actually do better when i just grab some than when i try to go for a particular one.

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norway's slow tv movement.
the one that started it all, 7 hours on a train.

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the S.S. United States - still the titleholder of the Blue Riband -
the fastest to ever cross the atlantic ocean in a westward direction. 
look at me, using capital letters.

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smart, feisty pieces about beyoncé's culture-shifting formation.

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some hungarian ruin porn.

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WFT!?! is going on the state of my birth?
can you say regression back to the stone age?