Sunday, April 24, 2016

making pottery is hard

three whole days of creativity. turns out operating a pottery wheel successfully is rather difficult. and while you can manage to make something in only three days, it might be a bit on the wonky side. but i enjoyed decorating my creations very much. and i enjoyed spending three days in a wonderful creative space.

the weather was crazy over the weekend, covering all the seasons in the space of a few minutes. it was good to be inside at the wheel. even if the wheel was very difficult.

a few of the pieces i ended up making. they'll be glazed and fired and i'll be able to take them home in early june. looking forward to seeing how they look when they're finished!

and now, packing up my suitcase and getting ready for the week ahead. yoga, seafood and brussels on the horizon. it seems life is as ever-shifting as the weather around here...

Monday, April 18, 2016

a to å challenge: e is for energy

this one was easy. i’ve had reason of late to ponder energy, as i’ve felt mine returning after too long a hiatus. and i’ve also thought about where energy comes from for me. it comes from having a job in which i travel. it also comes from having people around me who inspire me. people who take my ideas and have ideas of their own, which makes everyone’s ideas grow and multiply. it comes from meeting interesting people (see travel above), who give me new perspectives and new experiences. it gives me energy to be seen for who i am. for my talents to be recognised and utilised and respected and yes, even liked.

when energy returns to me, i have so much more to give to everyone and everything around me. i have energy to read, to listen, to engage, to be alone, to go to yoga, to contribute at work. i am more open, more engaged, more forgiving, kinder, more inspired. i am so much more who i want to be.

i don't want to be my job, but whether i like it or not, i'm much more energetic when i’m working at a job that gives me energy rather than taking it away. i’ve simply had too many jobs that robbed me of energy instead of giving it to me. but now, that i’m once again a place that charges my batteries, rather than depleting them, i hope that i will finally learn the lesson. i fought it for a long time, but perhaps here in the so-called first world, we are what we do for a living. but also so much more than that.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

a little hello from sunday night

it's quiet, except for the sound of rain on the roof. the child is back at school. husband is on his way back from a meeting in copenhagen. it's just me and the cats. it feels peaceful. it's been busy the past couple of weeks with travels, meeting new people (and seeing some old friends), generating new ideas, taking loads of pictures and stretching outside my comfort zone photographically, practicing yoga, moving to a new place in copenhagen. life feels full and happy. i've been giving what leftover time i have to curling up with a good book in the evening. it seems to be what my soul craves of me right now. yoga is teaching me to listen to that.

more soon.

Monday, April 04, 2016

a to å challenge : d is for drinking

i've had this post open for hours. i've had a hard time deciding what "d" is for. is it death? divided? downpour? depressed? diamonds? downward facing dog? i know it's not a regular dog, since i'm a cat person. and then it hit me...drinking. (i had to use this photo because it includes both a cocktail and a cat, which, i realize, both start with c, not d.) 

back when i got my first job in denmark, i remember being very surprised that there was beer at lunch in the canteen for those who wanted it. it was next to cokes and fizzy water and milk and people did occasionally take one. of course, i was surprised there was a canteen at all, since in the states, we'd go out and grab some lunch somewhere, but in denmark, it's very normal that there is a work canteen and that you pop down with your colleagues, eat lunch, talk and then go back to work, taking about 30 minutes together to eat. alas beers in the canteen are no longer the norm (not that i ever recall taking one). but, even still, in general, danes have a very relaxed attitude towards alcohol.

the same cannot be said of norwegians. i've been doing photoshoots of late and have had to work around a norwegian law that mandates that norwegians cannot even see alcohol in an advertisement. apparently it's too dangerous for them. so even photos of a wine or whisky tasting have to feature empty glasses, leaving the alcohol to the imagination.

and i would maintain that that just makes things worse. like with teenagers, the thing you forbid is the most attractive. so when norwegians get access to alcohol at reasonable prices, they go a little crazy. much like south dakota teenagers on a saturday night when someone of age has bought them some beer and they sit in their cars(!) drinking it.

here in denmark, we also have a relaxed attitude to young people and alcohol. the drinking age is 18 (to buy alcohol), but most young people drink at parties long before that and to be honest, it's their parents buying it for them. as i see it, this is a good thing, because then you know how much the kid has and where it's come from. there are these shots that are very popular "the small sour" they're called - they come in a variety of flavors and although they are ostensibly vodka-based, they are only 16% alcohol (rather than the usual 40% vodka boasts) and they, along with soda-sweet ciders, are what the young people want to drink at their parties. frankly, they are foul and i think they serve to put the young people off alcohol more than encouraging them to drink more.

interestingly, the relaxed attitude towards alcohol seems to make the young people more sensible about it. it's not forbidden and therefore much less attractive. we are always more compelled by the things we cannot have. 

* * *

i do not buy this argument that the way the rest of the friends treated ross signaled the beginning of the end of western civilization. ross was an annoying, mopey, whiny git from the first episode. he was the least appealing friend and quite frankly, he wasn't that intelligent. i never bought him as a paleontology professor.

* * *

and on that note, has the art world also gone to hell in a handbasket?

* * *

j.k. rowling's twitter is putting people off her work.

* * *

on motherhood and the hard truths of messy, wonderful, full lives.
"When we lay our struggles and our worst selves bare, we help others feel less alone.
It takes a village to help us retain our sense of self."

i think i needed to read that sentence today in light of my revision to this post.

Sunday, April 03, 2016

a to å challenge: c is for competition

today we went to one of the many gymnastics exhibitions the child's boarding school is participating in. as we watched the schools and clubs that came before flemming, it struck me that this aspect of danish culture is really interesting. i'd always been puzzled by it because of the lack of competition in it. the exhibitions are just that...exhibitions, performances of elaborate routines which took days and weeks and months to learn, but there is no winner at the end of the day. no scores, no medals. and for me, as an american, that's always been strange - how do you know you did well if you don't find out who wins?

but today, it struck me that what these kids are learning is much deeper than just a dance routine and a few flips. they're learning to perform both as individuals and as part of a larger team. they are each learning their part and doing it to the best of their ability, but it's only as a larger whole that it all comes together. when 200 kids are standing on the floor, doing the same routine and doing it well, it has a power and an impact that's much larger than a single individual doing the same routine alone. and these kids leave the floor, elated with the energy of a performance well done, so there's no need to know who wins to know you did well.  i suspect there's a lesson in that. i also suspect it's a lesson that will serve them well as they grow up and enter the workplace.

Friday, April 01, 2016

a to å challenge: a is for awesome

it's a bit predictable, i realize, me, saying things are awesome. everything is awesome, as they sang in the lego movie. and things were awesome in those days (2014), then late in 2014, things got less awesome when they (read: an uncommunicative, short-sighted middle manager with no vision who had only worked in lego in all his life and never had any other job) decided to do away with my awesome job. and then my father died. and then i worked for the team (which was decidedly not an awesome place) as a freelancer (can you say incompent psychopath at the helm?). but then, in august 2015, i decided to listen to what my fatalist presbyterian soul was telling me and look for something else. and that something else led to me awesome job back in shipping. a job where i'm using all those skills i honed right here on mpc - writing and photography and generally being creative. things really couldn't be better. in the next week, i'll spend a couple of days in a creative workshop on a ship, then i'll fly to london and spend a couple more days sailing back and forth on the english channel on another ship (or two) taking photos and then head home. it's hard to imagine that life could be any better. so for now, everything really is awesome. and i'm definitely well on the road to healed (and wiser) from the wounds inflicted by my lego experience.

i have to thank my awesome friend amy from tilting at windmills for tipping me off to this little blog challenge. because goodness knows, i'm a girl in need of an assignment.

*this is really supposed to be the #atozchallenge, but here in denmark, the alphabet ends in å, so i'm gonna go native.