Sunday, February 28, 2021

daily delight - february 28

here we are, the last day of february and the last day of my daily delights. maybe i'll even continue because it's become a habit now. today, there were several and i didn't photograph very many of them. warm, homemade, browned butter blondies, some time at the sewing machine, a coffee and a brownie with a good friend, where we got to laugh and complain a little bit and talk through a recent stumbling block we both encountered. it put it all in perspective to talk it out and laugh a bit. i also listened to a bunch of podcasts and made some really delicious mushroom soup. it wasn't as warm today as yesterday, so i didn't spend that much time outside, but the sun came out for awhile and that was good. i spent ages looking for my chekhov books in various boxes (i have a lot of boxes of books) so that i can dig into my new book in earnest. i read the intro to it this morning and while i wanted to do nothing else but read it today, i also kind of didn't, because i already know that i will feel bereft when i'm done with it. you know that kind of book? bittersweet delight. and that's surely the right note to end this month of delights.


Saturday, February 27, 2021

daily delight - february 27

you might think that the molly dolly in the sunshine is today's delight. and she does delight me daily. but today's delight was something unexpected and hard to photograph. it was a phone call. i'm not normally that thrilled by phone calls, but this one was very nice. it was a great opportunity to talk through the recent strife in our little creative group and i felt immeasurably better afterwards. she managed to put things in perspective for me and i understood what happened a whole lot better. 

these are such strange times. we're all more vulnerable and fragile than usual. we take things harder and more personally. or at least i did this week. it was a stressful week. very intense. things moved quickly and i worked some really long days. it was both exhilarating and exhausting. energy-giving and energy-draining. things can be two things at once, even seemingly opposite things. we can be happy and sad. we can be disappointed and surprised. we can be curious and unable to understand. and people usually reveal themselves in so many ways and yet we can still be blind to them. we all both hide and give away more than we imagine. and it's human. and as bewildering as it may sometimes be, it's also delightful.

Friday, February 26, 2021

daily delight - february 26

it's snowdrop season! i filled my wonky little ceramic vases with snowdrops today during a brief break for fresh air in the garden. it's been a long week. i'm glad it's friday. i'm glad that husband went to get chicken tenders for me from carl's junior. he's a good person. it probably would have made me feel better to make some dinner, but honestly, i didn't have it in me. so i'm looking forward to those crispy chicken tenders. and to relaxing this weekend. doing something creative. catching up on photographing my #100daysofpayesgrey (see instagram), digging a bit in the garden and maybe baking something delicious as a treat. doing a bit of writing. and maybe some reading too. so many delights ahead. but tonight. relaxing. and enjoying the snowdrops.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

daily delight - february 25

this has been a crazy week with a really big project at work. long days filled with teams meetings online and long evenings working. it's both exhilarating and exhausting and one last zoom at the end of the work day that stretched to almost two hours was a bit miserable (see previous post). more than a bit actually. and i cried real tears when it was over. at least that one wasn't work. the work stuff is good, even it is very intense right now. or maybe because it's very intense right now. but the book i ordered the other day - george saunders' a swim in a pond in the rain - arrived today and though the stupid post person left it out in the rain, leaned up against the door, it wasn't there long enough to get more than a bit damp. and though i have a lot of books piled on the shelf beside the bed, there's something delightful about a brand new book, freshly arrived. 

guarding my energy

as they always say in the nytimes cooking facebook group - a kitten for the algorithm

the older i get, the more i feel aware of my energy and how the people i am around affect it. especially in these times when we're not around people all that much, it becomes much more apparent who gives you energy and who doesn't. and i find my lifelong desire to be part of a group (who doesn't have that?) at odds with whether or not that group gives me energy. and as i sit here on a zoom with one of those groups, i can tell you that it does not give me energy and in fact, i feel it draining what energy i had left at the end of a long and very busy day. and i am going to have to put aside my desire to belong and protect myself and my energy. my energy is more important than being part of a group. i don't think i've been very good at that equation for most of my life - too often choosing to persevere and go for the belonging, so it's high time i started listening to myself and my needs.

and now it's over and i have an overwhelming urge to cry. the pettiness and the snark. i just can't take it from people anymore. i think these times have left me feeling raw and even a little bit broken. i don't have anything in common with several of these people. they don't give me anything, least of all energy and frankly not even just general kindness. i have to not second guess the feeling in my heart that it's simply not worth it. and the ones in the group who i do like, i can still like them without being on this board. the snarky, energy leeches take too much. 

in these strange times, we need people who give us kindness and creativity and energy and we need to stay as far away as we can from those who don't. it's really that simple. maybe that's the good thing about this time we're living in, it has given me a lot of time to consider what's important and who deserves my time and energy. damn, i want my two hours back.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

daily delight - february 24

i couldn't let the month of daily delights go by without including what's a daily ritual - perfume. even through the pandemic, i put a spritz of perfume on every day. these two, both of which were given to me by my sister, have been in daily rotation. in fact, my barrel from min new york is getting dangerously low. i love its smoky, rich undertone and it's been the perfume of winter. but dirty flower factory by independent perfumer kerosene lifts me up and makes me happy like no other perfume. it meshes perfectly with my own chemistry as it unfolds during the day, the scent subtly changing throughout as i wear it. both of them are somehow related, but very different - maybe it's the deep, musk, ambergris undertones both have. dirty flower factory is lighter and brighter and more flowery, while still seeming lived in and down-to-earth. barrel, more wintery and smoky, like curling up with a peaty islay whiskey on a bearskin rug in front of a fire. i love them both so much and feel a moment of conscious delight every time i use them.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

daily delight - february 23

this cat. he's such a character. he makes me laugh. he snuggles with me while i sleep. he's very set in his habits - treats from the drawer below the t.v. around 6 and a couple squeezes of cat malt at bedtime. dipping his paws in my paint water. insisting on pawing open the bathroom door when i go in there (ok, that's a little irritating). he's a good companion for all this working at home. he's a good boy. hollister. today's delight.

a few random things i've been thinking about

into the fog

after listening to that great episode of the ezra klein show with george saunders yesterday, i've definitely been pondering how to get more ideas and less netflix into my life. one big step would be just to read more actual books. after four years of being glued to my phone by the latest antics of the former guy (twitter's new name for him, thanks to biden), i feel like i got dumber. hell, the whole world did. i think we're going to have to have to claw our way back to intelligence, one great book at a time.  and we need to have deep conversations about those books. in fact, we need to have more deep conversations in general. 

i feel like my ability to understand the world has degraded. perhaps because i more or less stopped reading books. i didn't stop reading - i just do most of it on my phone these days. and that's clearly not good for me, nor for my understanding of the world. after four years of constant abuse at the hands of a sadistic narcissist, i feel bruised and damaged and my brain is fogged and confused and it honestly feels harder to make sense of things. mostly because truth is so strangely up for debate. i hope it's not a permanent state, but i feel like i will need to work hard to make sure that it's not.

even just my ability to understand people and their motivations and actions feels like it's degraded. perhaps it's from working at home and not seeing or being around other people - more or less not really seeing anyone but husband these days. and all those old people i try to avoid at the grocery store don't count. i feel like i'm forgetting how to be around people. and communicating via messenger and email and teams doesn't help.

as usual, i find myself bewildered by people who don't look like who they are. that's kind of ironic, since right here on this blog, i wrote a post about how i didn't look like who i was. but in this case, the person looks super creative and alternative and fun and turns out to have the equivalent of a very straight-laced, persnickity, finger-wagging, rule-following accountant on the inside, without actually being an  accountant, in fact, i don't really know what this person does for a living, but it must involve following lots of rules and even coming up with new ones to also follow. maybe i object because it's so disappointing. i think if it was the other way around - someone who looked like a straight-laced accountant, but was actually super creative and alternative - i wouldn't be disappointed, but pleasantly surprised. and maybe even a little bit giddy. which is maybe why the actual situation leaves me confused and maybe even a bit sad.

 * * *

oh oh, bye-bye laughing emoji. i guess it's gone the way of thumbs up.

* * *

found a new substack - psychopolitica
i'm hoping it helps with the whole deeper thoughts and conversations thing.

* * *

there's also the sad news that they will stop making the dumle suckers. that delectable caramel, chocolate-covered goodness handed out in danish primary schools. the child is bereft. and i may be wondering if we can get into germany at the moment, so i could run for the border shops.

Monday, February 22, 2021

daily delight - february 22

i just listened to a marvelous podcast episode. it was the latest episode of ezra klein's podcast and he interviewed writer george saunders and it was a deep, erudite conversation, but not at all inaccessible. george has a new book, where he explores ideas through 6 russian writers - it's called a swim in a pond in the rain and i intend to order it as birthday present to myself. it's a wide-ranging conversation and it was exactly what i needed at the end of a long and hectic day, as a big project at work ramps up towards actual activation. i got into a pessimistic place at the end of the day had a hard time seeing my way out of it. so, i put on the podcast, took a long, hot shower (my speaker is waterproof), used my new function of beauty shampoo (it smells of lavender and is heavenly), and listened to george explain how he understands the world through russian literature. that's something i used to do myself and i was pleasantly reminded of that. and it was just what i needed to put aside my concerns, which i had managed to whip into a place of importance that they didn't warrant. and i used my brain on bigger thoughts for a little while. and it felt absolutely delightful. i suspect we could all use a bit more of that. go and listen to the episode, it's a great start. definitely a moment of deep delight in an otherwise rather stressful monday. oh, and how about that morning sunshine we had this morning? (see photo above) that was pretty delightful too.

Sunday, February 21, 2021

daily delight - february 21

husband dug out this foundation for the greenhouse this weekend. and while he was digging away, i trimmed the oak "hedge" we have in the garden, weeded around about half of the fruit bushes - until my hand cramped up, and pruned the pear espalier. i brought in all those branches i trimmed off in a vase - i hope they open into spring blooms. but even if they don't, those sticks look surprisingly fetching on the kitchen table. it was so nice to be outdoors all weekend, moving around, breathing in fresh air, listening to the spring chatter of the birds, drinking coffee in the garden and discussing our plans for a whole greenhouse village. we've already sourced a second used greenhouse, so we'll have two for this season. i'm already planning on having a table and chairs in one of them, so we can enjoy being in the garden even on rainy days. garden dreams are definitely today's delight. 

Saturday, February 20, 2021

daily delight - february 20

it's the first time in a long time that i collected a whole series of lego minifigures. but here you have it - series 21. i really like this one all but the policeman with a shield, which seems a little tone deaf of lego in these times. but they likely started development of this series 2-3 years ago, so it wasn't quite as bad back then. he may be a space policeman, but he's armed to the teeth, wearing body armor and has a shield. he's not my favorite. but actually, the rest are so good, it's hard to choose a favorite - the little amelia earhart with her plane, the beekeeper, the ru paul, the pug, the ladybug, the boy playing a violin, the centaur, the aztec jaguar warrior, the paddle board girl with her porpoise, the shipwreck guy with his teeny tiny little hermit crab. even the alien has cute little bumps on the back of his head. i think i like ladybug girl best, but she's closely followed by the pug and amelia earhart. and that beekeeper is pretty cool too. it was fun to stand and feel the bags, trying to make sure i got them all. that had lost its charm, but it seems like it's back. and that's just delightful.

Friday, February 19, 2021

daily delights - february 19

all of the lovely things one can order online these days are today's daily delight. this week, i fell for an instagram ad featuring actual mexican food online in denmark. prices were reasonable and shipping was really fast. i'm going to do pulled pork this weekend with some of these beautiful chili flavors and enjoy it on these real corn tortillas. looking ahead to some time in the kitchen is definitely today's delight. along with the giant gin & tonic i just poured myself. 

Thursday, February 18, 2021

daily delights - february 18


i have to try pretty hard these days to look for the bright spots in all this isolation. i am weary of working from home. i almost want to throw up, thinking of having yet another teams meeting. my back is tired from sitting too much. and while i love my joggers (they're not sweatpants), i want to put on real clothes, do my makeup and fix my hair and i want to leave the house. more than just to pick up packages at the back door of the local shoe store, where they've begun to surreptitiously sell shoes (i can't blame them) as well as dispense packages. i want to stop feeling mildly irritated at those idiotic people who wear that pointless clear chin mask that just sends all their covid droplets up into their own faces before disseminating them to the rest of us in the grocery store. i want to drive to the office, listening to podcasts while i drink my latte from the travel cup i made it in for the drive. i want to see my colleagues and laugh and have casual conversations that don't take place online. all of this sounds like it was pretty hard to find today's delight and it was. but i found it. one fat, creamy ball of burrata, a perfect avocado and a perfectly ripe, sweet papaya, sprinkled with a dash from my last precious container of everything but the bagel - i don't know whether it was a late breakfast or an early lunch (i ate it around 10:30), but i do know that it was delicious, decadent and yes, delightful. it's the little things. sometimes we have to look for them, but they're always there. and this too shall pass. and then i'll likely miss these days of sweatpants and an artfully placed scarf.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

daily delights - february 17

 quite probably my favorite LEGO animal ever. the hermit crab from series 21 of the collectible minifigures. utterly delightful. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

daily delight - february 16


a ceramicist from the area posted some valentine pieces in her instagram stories on sunday and i found this little yellow cup with her signature polka dots totally charming, so i snatched it up. she's also an american in denmark and i met her briefly and bought another piece from her at an event called upcomers a couple of years ago. the little plant in that other piece is still going strong. this arrived today and i immediately made coffee in it. these days, it's a bit rough going, all this working from home. i'm very weary of endless teams meetings. we all are, i know it's not only me. so grabbing these small moments of delight feels like a lifeline. 

* * *

this article is also delightful. and hopeful.

* * *

and i also really felt hopeful when i listened to hillary clinton's interview with amanda gorman.

grab all the moments of delight you can.

Monday, February 15, 2021

daily delight - february 15

really good leftovers are a precious resource. we ate this beautiful veggie curry that was cooked by husband's eldest, who is studying to be a chef, on saturday night and today, i'll warm it up, throw in a little more broccolini and voila - a delicious dinner that's super easy for me. absolutely perfect on a monday night after a long day in front of the computer, participating in endless teams meetings. 

Sunday, February 14, 2021

daily delight - february 14

swan footprints in the snow on the frozen lake. we haven't been able to walk out on the lake or skate in 6-7 years, but finally, it's been well below zero for at least 10 days and we were able to play down at the lake all weekend. the swans are a little sad there's no open water and these footprints were made with plaintive whining the whole way. it's apparently hard to take off from solid ice and not water. 

many animals are clearly appreciating the shortcut the ice represents and there were loads of animal tracks in the pristine white snow. i loved seeing them and leaving tracks of my own. this picture was so lovely, i accidentally posted it on my instagram stories twice. that was due to a connection glitch where it told me it hadn't uploaded, but it clearly had, but it was also so pretty, it was worth two shares.

we worked on clearing a spot of too much growth while we had the ice to stand on and decided to make a day of it - grilling sausages, drinking coffee and warming up some cider while we had a bonfire. it was the kind of weekend that filled me up with energy and happiness and fresh air to be able to face another week of working from home and endless teams meetings. it really was delightful. 

Saturday, February 13, 2021

daily delight - february 13

the sun was shining brightly, and it was -12°C, but there was no wind and so it was actually beautiful outside. while husband and karo headed down to the lake with a drill to check the ice. it was 10-12cm, so safe to be out on it. i stayed at the house and made some yummy homemade sausage rolls that we could eat as a snack. we planned to ice skate, but the surface of the lake is pretty bumpy and covered in snow, so instead, we just hung out and took a really lovely walk. and we drank coffee and ate the sausage rolls and the last of yesterday's birthday brownies. and we soaked up vitamin D and it was generally a really beautiful, delightful, practically perfect day.

Friday, February 12, 2021

daily delight - february 12

today's delight is clearly husband - it's his birthday. he's 56 and honestly, he just looks finer with each passing year (if only that were true of me. sniff.). it's also our 22nd wedding anniversary. should you want to know more about that, you can find it here. we just had beautiful steaks and bernaise sauce made by husband's eldest daughter, who is studying to be a chef. what a lovely meal. and now we're going to play a board game. despite it all, it really is a good life. 


Thursday, February 11, 2021

daily delights - february 11

molly, true to her minnesota roots, loves the snow. she's playful and energetic when it's snowy out, but she does also want to come inside and get warmed up and she's been spending the afternoons asleep on a fleece on a chair in the kitchen. she's still my best and favorite cat, even if she mostly wants to be outside. i think i love her most because she's so much her own - a little independent spirit - compact, fuzzy and perfect. and definitely not only today's delight. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

daily delights - february 10

what a world we're living in! you can order all kinds of things to be brought to you. including gin from a little domestic distillery called volsted. it's albatross, navy strength and it will come in handy this coming weekend when we're celebrating husband's birthday and our anniversary. they were kind enough to include a hand-written note and a can of fever tree tonic that goes nicely with the gin. i love the label as well and i thought that was a cool sticker, but it's just the notecard they wrote on. this post is not even remotely sponsored, but if you're interested, they just might send to you too. i haven't tasted it yet, but the packaging and the little gift and the hand-written note have totally won me over. definitely today's delight.

Tuesday, February 09, 2021

daily delights - february 9

today, the monotony of working from home started to get to me. i felt a little cooped up and just generally unfocused and mildly out of sorts. i escaped to go to the cheese truck and the fish truck to get some goodies to cheer us up. and also just to get out of the damn house. and over my lunch, i looked through all my pictures of arizona on my phone and uploaded a few to my computer to use as backgrounds for those endless teams and zoom meetings. and i found this photo of sabin and i one early morning in december 2019, before all this madness began, watching the sunrise cast its warm glow on papago. and i really did feel better. we're going to get through this, but some days, it's harder work than others. thank goodness for happy memories.

Monday, February 08, 2021

daily delights - february 8

 it snowed all day today and that fluffy white covering on the world makes winter a whole lot more delightful. 

Sunday, February 07, 2021

daily delights - february 7


i probably should have ironed that duvet cover, but life is too short. it's only 10 a.m. but i almost can't wait to get into bed between those fresh, clean sheets - isn't it just one of life's great pleasures? i am a bed maker. i feel totally out of sorts the whole day if i haven't made the bed. hollister loves to help, he's almost as excited about it as i am, especially when it's time to change the sheets. he dashes around, hopping on and off the bed, "helping." and then he can't wait to jump up and sit when it's all made.  he looks prettier than throw pillows.

Saturday, February 06, 2021

daily delights - february 6

the first snowdrops are poking up through the snow. the sight of these, every year, fills me with hope. these pretty little green shoots, forcing their way up and burstig through, despite the snow and a week of below-freezing temperatures, represents so much determination. it made me want to go in search of a poem about snowdrops. it took awhile to find one that struck the right tone, but i liked the sentiment of this one and that there's no capital letters or even punctuation.

snowdrop blaze

from late december onwards the day comes back
but not till february do we see those glimpses
that let us take deep darkness off the rack
and shake it free of lethargy that cramps us
through those dim months we’re made amanuensis
to what loud rain and bitter spells dictate
we seek bed early and must get up late

long january’s puffing in the right direction
but its early mornings keep that midnight feel
it still is subject to the date’s dejection
but once it’s over – see how light can steal
through cracks of trees and curtains - beneath the keel
of the eastern skyline (rocking like a boat
surprised so early to find itself afloat)

and from the earth presentiments are rustling
as cheeky snowdrops hoist their periscopes
within a week a mass of them is bustling
and white becomes the flavour of the slopes
and people flock invigorating hopes
seasons (they say) have forfeited effect on
one snowdrop-look and instantly dejection

is whipped (though biting winds and brooding skies)
away from the pure white cream the eyes are lapping
a frisson blooms as every bloodstream tries
to come to terms with its own natural sapping
and from the earth reorganise that mapping
that reaches out to plot those far endeavours
a spirit yearns for (wishing its forevers)

so walk away – no spread of simple flowers
can change the limitations we must live with
snowdrops come and go – our fickle powers
play havoc with the talents we can thrive with
it’s just that february comes and lo - forthwith
for one brief snowdrop moment there’s a blaze
that lights the world up with its splash of praise

by rg gregory

Friday, February 05, 2021

daily delights - february 5

there's no picture for today's delight, because it was the pure sense of joy you only get when your calendar is completely empty and you don't have one single teams meeting and that's pretty hard to capture in pixels. i got actual work done today! i had no interruptions and i ticked a whole lot of items off my to do list. i even was able to update my to do list for next week and because i had time and peace, it didn't even seem overwhelming. and now it's the weekend and my chalk paint arrived so i can paint a second hand dresser that i bought a couple of months ago. it's a lovely sunny yellow color. and i'm about to have a friday glass of wine. delightful.

take a walk with me

i made these audio pieces as a christmas present for my brother-in-law. i wanted high production values, but decided in the end only to edit out bits and pieces and not add any music, so it was a more authentic version of my walk. in these times, we can't travel and so we have to make the most of our own surroundings. though i have uploaded them as videos, they are really just audio. if you'd like to take a walk with me down to our lake, have a listen. 

Thursday, February 04, 2021

daily delights - february 4


i accidentally made latte art when i poured the espresso into my foamed milk this morning. fitting that it looks like a swan, since our lake continues to be covered in a flock of trumpeter swans day and night. it felt a bit like serendipity. i love when things come together in an unexpected way and make the world seem connected and whole. 

Wednesday, February 03, 2021

daily delights - february 3

here we are, just three days in, and already i'm so much more aware of what delights me, so today, there are two delights, both involving food. this morning, i had a perfect avocado and i applied it generously to two pieces of toast. and i thought about how i would eat avocado toast with my grandmother, sprinkled with lemon pepper. i didn't have any lemon pepper, so i used a szechuan pepper and sesame seed seasoning that probably wasn't even thought of back in the day. but i still thought about grandma and that was a nice way to start the day. i even cut my toast in triangles like she would have done. totally delightful.

and then when lunchtime came around, much later than i had hoped, thanks to endless teams meetings, i made two more slices of toast, chopped a red onion and ate the first of the season's stenbiderrøgn. it's a light caviar from a flat fish and it's a sure sign of spring in denmark. you accompany it with a dollop of creme fraiche and a light sprinkle of salt and even though it's snowing outside, you just know that spring is just around the corner. along with good coffee, such a solitary lunch is one of the perks of working from home. and i have enough for tomorrow's lunch too. delight!

Tuesday, February 02, 2021

daily delights - february 2


today's delight - candles. and especially this candle holder. it's thin porcelain and features snowdrops and it was made by the wonderful nina lund. it keeps me company on the windowsill as i work at home. these days are dark and cold and its glow brings warmth and a moment of delight. i think about how the snowdrops will soon be poking up through the frozen lawn - that will surely be a delight later in the month. but for today, the glow of this candle is seeing me through.

Monday, February 01, 2021

daily delights - february 1

inspired by darrel bristow-bovey's daily delights and a need to consciously be delighted by something here at the end of the dark, cold winter and all of this damn isolation we have due to the coronavirus, i'm going to not only look for, but share a daily delight during february. 

today's delight might not look like much, but it's a big deal for me since i'm working at home these days. it's a new internet provider/router which has taken us from a mere 2.5mb to 10mb - the guy who installed it found a fault on the line in the process of changing it and fixed that. already, jumping on a teams meeting after the switch, it seems to be better, though i realize it's still pretty pathetic. but the real test will be this evening when everyone else along our old non-fiberoptic line is watching netflix. oh the delights of living in the countryside!