Wednesday, November 22, 2023

sacred space

i've lived in denmark for nearly 25 years and weirdly have never previously gone inside the marble church, which is the church right by amailenborg, where the royal family lives. i'm not sure how that happened. but we were in copenhagen on the weekend and i finally took the time. 

while i'm not a religious person, there is something about spaces like this. we stepped from the cold, crisp autumn air into the warmth and the hush. quite a few people were there, but everyone was silent and respectful and it felt like a special place. with its towering dome, and a kind of heavy gravity in the air, it felt like a sacred space. if there is something to that whole god thing, it's a space like that that s/he'd show up.

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

what does it mean?

"memory is a kind of ceaseless remodeling." - this is from that harper's piece on memory. i kept reading and kept thinking about it. 

and then old friend of the blog, malorie, wrote a lovely piece on the weirdness of the pandemic time on her substack. her thoughts are far more eloquent than mine. but i thought it might be time to start to figure out what i think about it and what it did to me.

to be honest, we didn't have it that bad. we already live in the countryside, away from people. i took more walks than normal - i discovered a new path around our lake after ten years of living here. it was actually quite nice. even though i started a new job just as the pandemic started, even that worked out very well, though i wondered in the beginning if it would. 

where things have changed is on the social front. i find it hard to restart a social life. we used to have people over for dinner regularly. these days, we hard ever do so. we are having some people over for friendsgiving this weekend. it's a smaller group than it has been some years. husband and i discussed the guest list and we just couldn't get our heads around a bigger group. so we'll be 8. i used to not blink at 20. i think this difference is one of the consequences of corona time. 

but i don't know what else is. it feels so hard to judge something when you don't have enough distance to it. and when it feels like everyone has forgotten it. i don't hear anything about it at all here in denmark. they haven't even recommended a booster shot this year for the new variants. and i haven't even had it. at least not that i know of. it's kind of like everyone has forgotten. but i suspect our bodies and our psyches haven't forgotten. but what it means? i have no idea. what do you think it means?

Friday, November 10, 2023

i'm making a podcast at work

you guys, i'm making a podcast at work. it's about danish design. and it totally fulfills my desire, at this stage of my life, to just make cool shit. you can find it on spotify and apple podcasts and probably also where ever you listen to podcasts. i'd love to know what you think, so please listen! 

Saturday, November 04, 2023

protective energy

most amazing experience today. we had an open house in our atelier at the top of the library. the purpose was to show the community the kinds of things we do in our little creative group and hopefully gain some new members. i hadn't seen a certain member since the day she screamed at me and drove off. i didn't see her come in and only realized she was there when i heard her voice behind me. i said, "hello, nice to see you," as i walked past. but i'll admit i felt nervous about her being there. she awkwardly stammered back a hello. 

i went downstairs with my good friend and told her that i felt nervous. she said, you have to protect yourself with some good energy before you go back upstairs. she tried to guide me to do it. she told me to picture a calming blue light, starting at my head and enveloping me. i closed my eyes and tried. the only light that would come was orange. then she stood in front of me, warmed her hands and raised them above my head. as soon as her hands were there, the light turned from orange to a rich, dark blue. then she proceeded to draw a line of protection around me. i could feel prickles of energy, though she didn't touch me. i got all goosebumps. and i really could see that rich, blue light enveloping me. then she gave me a big hug and told me she loved me. it was amazing and though i know it sounds completely woo woo, i really felt protected. 

back upstairs, my nemesis sat near me and i could feel waves of bad energy coming from her. and i swear i could almost see my protective energy field pushing them away, protecting me from them. i found myself smiling and feeling calm and happy. it was mind-blowing. and it felt absolutely amazing. 

she left early. maybe she could feel her bad energy being pushed back at her. i still feel sorry for her. she's still clearly in a bad place and it hasn't gotten better. i really hope she gets some help.

i think everyone left in a good mood, feeling great for having being creative together for a few hours. we definitely need to do more of these sessions. 

Sunday, October 22, 2023

it's mushroom season!

i love these magical amanita muscaria. i thought they were the stuff of legend until i moved to denmark. i also thought there weren't going to be any this year, they're here a bit later than usual. chalk it up to climate change. that last one looks like it might need to visit the doctor. 

i also found some edible mushrooms - porcini and puffballs. dried the porcini in my dehydrator overnight and added the puffballs to some kale from the garden for dinner last night. 

Thursday, October 19, 2023

fragments of memories

i was reading this piece in harper's on memory. and the list of memory fragments in the fourth paragraph made memories start to flit into my mind. driving along I-80 in iowa in 1982 and seeing the ditches alight with fireflies - the first ones i'd ever seen. we just didn't have them in south dakota. i suppose it was too dry. 

or a memory of lying on the dark blue scratchy wool carpet in our house in town, tracing the outlines of all the weird bumps that formed the pattern, thinking about how god had a big book with everything i'd ever do written down as a plan. and trying to defy it, thinking, he wrote that i'd move my arm right now, so i'm not going to. and then thinking, no, he wrote that too! 

then a memory of lying on a bridge on a hot summer night, down in the pasture by the lake we'd rented for our horses, surfaced in my mind. it was that life-changing summer where i broke up with my california boyfriend and decided to go to the university of iowa. i can hear the sounds of the crickets and cicadas and the splash of the water flowing under the bridge, the whisper of the wind gently moving the grass, the feel of the warm air on my skin. i don't recall any thoughts that were in my head, only the sounds, smells and the physicality of it.

some memories are so clear, or at least the fragments of them are. and i feel like i don't really choose them, they're just there. 

and now i'll go back and finish that harper's piece. just wanted to capture these fragments here. i'm going to see what other memories surface in the next days and try to capture them as well. then i'll see where they take me.

the long-awaited new bedroom

it's been ages since i've done any updates on our never-ending house project and it's not because there's no progress, it's more that i have less time to document than i did in the old days. 

sabin and i painted this mural on the wall while she was home this summer and husband has done the rest of the painting. we used fancy handmade, non-toxic paint and it's really beautiful, though husband thought it was very hard to work with, so i'm not sure we'll be using it in the rest of the upstairs. the room is a bit minimalist at the moment, as we're still painting the two chests of drawers that we got second-hand and they're not quite finished.

i've sneaked in a few more plants since i took the third picture. it's so nice to both go to sleep and wake up here. and since i've been battling a cold, i also spent quite a lot of time here yesterday, working on my computer in the beautiful light. 

oh, and i'm really loving that ikea lamp. and the pedestal husband built for the bed. it puts us up at the perfect height for waking up to that beautiful view. even though they harvested the corn on the field, it's still pretty and i keep seeing deer out there, sniffing out dropped bits of corn. 

Tuesday, October 03, 2023

fun with a pinhole camera

we had a two-day course over the weekend in creagive - it was with  photographer/journalist lars bertelsen and he was wonderful and inspiring! he taught us to make a pinhole camera using empty shoe boxes. we then learned to develop the photos in the darkroom. it is downright addictive and i'm thinking about which room could be transformed into a darkroom. 

the second morning of the course, i had my shoebox camera loaded and i stopped along my usual route along bækgårdsvej, where i knew that the single tree would have the kind of contrast the pinhole camera craves. i set it on the hood of my car. a bit more of that ended up in the picture than i had hoped, but it also gives it a vibe.

the weekend was cloudy, but that helped us learn a lot about light. light is super important with a pinhole camera and our results may have been better, had the sun been shining. but the fact it was cloudy also gave our photos a moody appeal. i  wandered down to the church, looking for shapes and contrasts. 

after the first one, i went back, looking for an angle that had some texture. i love how the cobblestones turned out against the church. i'll have to make a small video, as the church bells were ringing and i recorded them, thinking it would be the perfect accompaniment.  

lastly, we paired up to do a selfie. in this one, a 3-minute exposure, i turned my head after one minute and two minutes. i can tell you that standing still for a camera for three minutes feel like an absolute eternity. 

i have to take some photos of my shoebox camera and then i'll tell you more about the process. 

Saturday, September 30, 2023

the september garden

september 4

september 9

september 17

september 24

it's honestly still this green, but tomorrow is october 1, so a new month starts. the temperatures are still unseasonably warm and not cold at night, so no frost in sight. at least not in the forecast for the next week or so, so i haven't moved the citrus fruit inside yet. the mango plant (it's still a plant and not a tree - i grew it myself from a mango seed) is still very happy out there as well. i'm leaving them as long as i can.

Sunday, September 17, 2023

indigo dye pot

this indigo dying is another of those things that i never did until i learned to do it in danish, so i don't actually know what this is called. in danish it's a kypefarve. from what i can find online, it's called a starter solution - and it involves lye and powdered indigo and needs a few days to "marinate" before using it. 

you bring the water up to between 50-55°C and then gently add the starter solution. then a kind of shiny, iridescent surface forms. and then you can start dyeing.

we started off with some of the lovely mohair yarn we got from our recent visit to a mohair goat farm on fyn. 

we included a little bag of curly mohair locks. 

you can see some of the magic happening in this shot - it's a lovely green when you lift it out of the water and as it reacts with the air, it gets more and more blue. i absolutely love the alchemy of it and it's so magical that it comes from a plant!

this is my indigo bed. we didn't use fresh indigo for this. i want to learn to extract and make the indigo powder out of my fresh indigo. you can see what i did with the fresh stuff last year - here and here.

i also had some white linen napkins that i bought and they went into the pot as well - here you can really see the green color they have before the air does its magic. 

this is how the mohair yarn turned out. we could probably have left it in the pot longer and gotten an even darker blue, but i think this is just lovely!

and here's how the mohair locks turned out. we'll use all this yarn and such in our weaving projects at the museum. i have one more project to show in one last post, so stay tuned for more goodness from the indigo pot. 

linen dress in the indigo dye pot

i got this white linen dress on sale at cos last year. i've been waiting for the chance to dip it in an indigo dye pot for nearly a year! well, i got the chance last weekend! so i did a bit of prep on it with some fun shibori techniques. i put marbles inside and tied them with rubberbands. 

 my plan is to dip only part of the dress in the indigo and leave part of it white. 

and this is how i dipped it. i love the magic of indigo. it looks so green until it hits the air and then it magically turns blue (more about the indigo pot in my next post). 

how the marble bundles turned out - i love it! i'm really pleased with how it turned out.

i feel like i dipped it just the right amount. and i'm happy we've had a few warm days of indian summer, so that i could wear it in the past week.

and the back. maybe i could have dipped it a little bit more in the back. it has a belt too that i also dipped, but strangely, i failed to photograph that. i want to do lots of more of this!

Thursday, September 14, 2023


some years ago i wrote about someone i had encountered who seemed to be an underskudsmenneske (deficit person). i just reread that long-ago post and realized that i have encountered another such person and her deficit came to a head tonight in the ugliest fashion. 

happily, i had had a very good day. i'm feeling happy with my projects at work, i had a really exciting conversation with an artist whose work i love, i learned a bit about making paper and spent a little bit of time at my favorite little museum, which has a magical, energy-giving atmosphere. that all left me feeling like an overskudsmenneske (surplus person). the last time i encountered her, my energy wasn't as high and i wrote about it here

this evening, i think that the energy i was beaming was too much for this poor underskudsmenneske. she cracked and became herself, age 8 (though honestly, that might be unfair to 8-year-olds). it was shocking to me, who was the target (she flung at me that i was a "bad person" before jumping in her car and driving away), and my two fellow board members, who were also right there. we all stood there gape-mouthed. i may have actually said, "what the fuck?" 

i feel sorry for her and i hope she actually gets the mental health care that she needs, she's clearly going through something and since my energy was good this evening, i know that it wasn't about me at all. and i'm pretty sure i'm not a bad person. and also, who could feel bad with a sunset like that?

Sunday, September 10, 2023

the august garden

i'm not sure how it's already september 10 and i haven't posted the august garden, but better late than never. 

august 7

august 12

august 20

august 26

the light is fading fast in the evenings. the pumpkins and winter squash are ripening. the beans are done. and as i write this, we're finally having some quite warm days, so maybe i'll get a few ripe tomatoes from that jungle of tomato plants in the greenhouse on the left. 

Sunday, August 27, 2023

wegovy, baby!

in early may, i started on wegovy. my weight has been creeping up for some years and menopause hasn't exactly helped. it seems harder than ever to those extra pounds. my mom was about my age when she was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, so i was starting to think it was a good idea to shed those extra pounds. plus, a couple of my friends were trying it with great results, so i decided to try it out. 

in order to have it prescribed here in denmark, you have to go through a full physical and blood workup. you can have it if your body fat is 30% and mine was "only" 28%, but my blood test showed weirdly high cholesterol, so the doctor went ahead and prescribed it. 

in four months, i've already lost 10 kilos (22 pounds). it simply makes me eat less. i feel full more quickly and so i just don't eat as much. i've learned that i don't have to clean my plate (what a bad habit that was we were taught as children). and a nice side effect is that it also makes me drink less. i have a glass of wine while i'm making dinner and then i don't have any desire for another one. 

i've also been trying to exercise regularly. our rainy summer has gotten a bit in the way of that, but it has also helped with the weight loss.

for me, the main side effect is low grade nausea that comes and goes all day. and a positive side effect is that my nails are so much stronger! it's also positive that my clothes fit better and i just overall feel much better and more energetic. 

this morning, i was browsing instagram and came across some very vitriolic comments on emily simpson's (of real housewives of orange county fame) instagram. she's lost a lot of weight in the new season and the people in her comment section are castigating her for kickstarting her weight loss with ozempic (that's the version of the drug for diabetes). ozempic and wegovy are the same drug and both are made by danish pharmaceutical company novo nordisk but just marketed for two different purposes. 

i genuinely didn't realize that using the drug came with so much shaming. and i really don't get it. why not use all the help you can get on the road to getting healthier? it's not a miracle in and of itself, you still have to get more exercise and be sure that you eat healthy. you still have to do the work, but it just helps you along the way. why should anyone care enough about how someone else loses weight to leave nasty comments?

it feels like the world and especially the online world, has become such a nasty place. there's so much judgement and strife and a real lack of thoughtfulness and kindness.

i do recognize that i am privileged to live a place that has access to the drug - for now, it's only sold in denmark, norway, germany and the us. and it's not cheap. i've paid nearly 1300kr ($188) per month until this month, when it went up to 1800kr ($260). that's because your dose goes up each month on the regimen. i'm actually going back down to 1.0 (this month was 1.7) in september. it might slow down my weight loss, but it will also hopefully cut back on the nausea, which can be a little annoying when you're sitting in a meeting at work, trying to concentrate.

i'm happy to be using this drug and not afraid to say so. i don't know how long i'll continue and i hope that when i stop, i will have trained myself to eat less and get more exercise and it will be such a habit, that my weight will stay off. i'd like to lose 15 more kilos and then keep it off, once and for all.